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Conn. to Hold Sept. 11 Memorial Ceremony


Connecticut is set to hold its annual memorial ceremony honoring and celebrating the lives of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The state's 12th annual memorial ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.

Family members of those who lost their lives in the attacks will join the ceremony, and the names of the 161 victims with ties to Connecticut will be read aloud.

The state's memorial to the victims of the attacks is located on a peninsula at the park, where people gathered on the day of the attacks to observe lower Manhattan. 

The site was also used as a staging area for Connecticut's relief efforts to New York City.

Copyright Associated Press/NBC Connecticut

Fatal Motorcycle Accident in New Haven


New Haven Police are investigating a crash that took the life of a motorcyclist Saturday.

According to police, officers were called to the site of an accident at Seneca Road and Fountain Street.

Upon arrival, police found the rider dead at the scene.

The victim's name has not yet been released.

Check back for updates.

Man Stabbed During Fight Over Money


Police are searching for a suspect after a man was stabbed during an argument in Hartford Saturday night.

According to investigators, three men were inside an apartment at 98 Garden Street when an altercation broke out over money.

48-year-old Everett Bogle, of Hartford, stabbed one of the men multiple times in the stomach and then fled the scene, police said.

Bogle has a previous outstanding warrant for assault and officers are currently searching for him.

The victim was taken to St. Francis hospital and is listed in stable condition.

City Vehicle Involved in Serious Crash


The driver of a city vehicle was arrested under suspicion of drunk driving and hitting another car in Hartford Saturday night, according to authorities.

Police said the city vehicle, a white Ford Escape, was heading southbound on Prospect Ave when it drifted into the wrong lane, hitting a dark-colored Nissan Altima head on at around 9:30 p.m.

The female driver of the Altima was unconscious when emergency crews arrived. First responders  had to extricate her from her vehicle. She was transported to St. Francis Hospital in unknown condition.

The driver of the city-owned, Ford escape refused medical treatment.

Accident investigators were on scene to determine exactly what happened. No other passengers were in either car, said police. 

The identity of both drivers have not yet been released.

The city of Hartford is currently doing an audit of all its cars.

In July,  the Mayor’s former Chief of Staff, Jared Kupiec, was arrested for using his old city vehicle without permission after he resigned.

Last month, Andrew T. Jaffee, the director of emergency services for the city of Hartford, who was fired over several problems with how 911 dispatched emergency officials in the city, was also questioned for his use of his city vehicle.


Queens Street Named After 6-Year-Old Slain in Newtown


A Queens street has been named after a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. last year.

A ceremony was held Saturday to co-name 41st Street and Queens Boulevard "Benjamin Wheeler Place" because it is where the boy spent his first years. Benjamin was one of 20 first-graders Adam Lanza killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.

"These are the blocks where Ben first saw the world," his father, David Wheeler, said at the ceremony. "When he came home from Roosevelt Hospital it was the blocks here, and now this street will carry his name"

David said his son was especially fond of riding the 7 train, which is across the street from the street that is now named after him in Sunnyside.


General Mills Recalls Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls


General Mills has issued a recall on some refrigerated Pillsbury cinnamon rolls because the dough may contain pieces of plastic, the company said in a news release on Friday.

The recalled products, Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with Icing, come in 8-count single packages and have a "better if used" dates of October 30, 2013 and October 31, 2013. Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with Icing 2-pack with dates October 18, 2013, October 26, 2013 and October 31, 2013 are also being recalled.

Other flavors or varieties of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls or Pillsbury dough products are not included in the recall.

General Mills decided to proceed with the recall due to a broken piece of plastic on the production line. The products were sold in grocery stores across the U.S. 

Consumers that have any of the recalled products should contact General Mills Inc. at 1-800-775-4777 for a replacement.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Pillsbury

Father, Son Drown in "Devil's Pool" as Family Watches


Michelle Luciano is still coping with the painful reality. Her son and husband are gone.

"I couldn't sleep," she said. "Because my baby wasn't there."

Michelle's 13-year-old son Jordan Luciano and her husband Pete Luciano died in the waters known as "Devil's Pool" in Pennsylvania Friday afternoon as three of Pete's other children watched.

Pete Luciano, of Gowen Street in the Cedarbrook section of Philadelphia, was at Wissahickon Creek with his children on Friday around 2:40 p.m. when Jordan Luciano began to have trouble swimming. Luciano jumped in to help his son but both Lucianos didn't resurface.

"Our dad went to get him and he didn't come out," said Jordan's brother, Justin Luciano.

Luciano's other children ran to nearby Valley Green Inn to get help, Philadelphia Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan told NBC10.

The kids ran to the inn, and the inn used its land line to contact dispatchers, since cell service is spotty in the area where the father and son went under.

By the time the police marine unit arrived it was too late. The bodies of the teen and his 41-year-old father were pulled from the creek near Valley Green Road and Forbidden Drive just after 4 p.m. 

"Jordan was my baby," Michelle Luciano said. "My sweetheart. He would wake up every morning and say good morning. I will always be indebted to him[[Pete Luciano]]. In life and memory. He risked his life to save our baby."

The Wissahickon Creek runs about 22 miles long from Lansdale in Montgomery County into Philadelphia where it flows into the Schuylkill River. It is illegal to swim in the section of the creek where the man and his child drowned.

NBC10's Daralene Jones searched police records that show 17 people have been rescued from the creek since 2010. Police say warning signs are posted near the area because the waters are shallow and then instantly drop.

Jordan's older brother plans to petition the city to seal dangerous creeks and rivers off in the hopes of preventing another loss of life.

This isn't the only creek that has claimed the lives of local swimmers. This summer, six people have been killed in area creeks, including today's two deaths.

In mid-August, 15-year-old Sebastien Sanon drowned in the Pennypack Creek. Sanon was with three of his friends near the creek when police say Sanon and a friend dipped their feet into the water to cool off when he slipped and was carried away by the current.

In late July, Dan Tadrzynski and Perry Krewson, both 18, were swimming in the Neshaminy Creek when they were swept away in the fast-moving current. Their bodies were found two days later.

11-year-old Brandon Boyle was playing with his brother in the Pennypack Creek in early July, when they were both swept away by fast-moving waters. His younger brother was rescued, but Boyle drowned.

Photo Credit: Family Photos

Leading GOP Contenders Face Off in Final Debate


The two leading Republican candidates for mayor faced each other in a final debate Sunday, with billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis trying -- sometimes awkwardly -- to explain himself and score points on his rival, former MTA chairman Joseph Lhota.

Lhota, a former Giuliani administration official who enjoys a large lead in polls, seemed to follow a strategy of disengagement, repeatedly passing up opportunities to attack Catsimatidis. Lhota often looked like an annoyed schoolteacher, scrunching his face or quietly shaking his head while Catsimatidis spoke. 

The candidates also exchanged sharp words throughout the 90-minute debate -- particularly when Lhota felt the need to defend himself.

The first such volley came during a discussion of keeping the city safe from terror.

Asked about their qualifications on emergency preparedness, Lhota cited his work as Rudy Giuliani's deputy mayor for operations, saying he'd been responsible for getting the city back to normal -- traffic, garbage, paychecks, assistance checks -- after 9/11.

Catsimatidis said vaguely that he'd "served in government in various ways that I choose not to talk about." 

Lhota squinted his eyes disapprovingly.

Then Catsimatidis accused Lhota of not accepting responsibility for the failures of police and fire radios during 9/11.

"They had the ability to fix those phones from 1993 to 2000," Catsimatidis said.  

He also suggested that Lhota was part of a decision to build the city's emergency management center "on a high floor" in 7 World Trade Center, a building at the site that collapsed the afternoon of 9/11.

Lhota said that the trade center was believed, at the time, to be among the safest places in the city, despite the fact it had been bombed before. The CIA and Secret Service also had offices there, Lhota said.

He also pointed out that the emergency management center was on the third floor, which he didn't consider "high."

"John, get your facts straight," Lhota said.

"I always get my facts straight," Catsimatidis said.   

Lhota and Catsimatidis — and a third candidate, Doe Fund founder George McDonald, who wasn't included in Tuesday's debate because he didn't meet Campaign Finance Board criteria for the leading contender debate — are competing for the votes of New York's relatively tiny Republican voting bloc to earn a spot on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

Find your polling place here.

The winner of Tuesday's GOP primary faces tough odds, because Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1 in the city, and polls consistently show the leading Democratic candidates beating a Republican by large margins.

But there is at least one historical fact in the Republicans' favor: the city hasn't elected a Democrat since 1989, when David Dinkins beat Giuliani. Giuliani won four years later, and was succeeded by Mayor Bloomberg, who ran as a Republican but switched to independent while in office.

Lhota has held considerable leads in recent primary polls, and has relied on support from Giuliani, who has appeared in campaign ads and is co-hosting a fundraising event on Monday. On the campaign trail, Lhota touts his experience in government affairs, and paints Catsimatidis as a rich guy with no government experience.

Catsimatidis, a blunt-talking, self-made billionaire whose business holdings include the supermarket chain Gristedes, has used his money to blanket the airwaves with ads.

Despite their frequent campaign-trail criticisms of one another, Lhota and Catsimatidis found a good amount of common ground during Sunday's debate. They agreed on a lot of law-and-order items -- both said they wanted to keep Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, would support appeal of a federal judge's finding that the NYPD's stop-and-frisks were illegal, would maintain the NYPD's intelligence-gathering operations on Muslims, and would hire more police officers. 

They also described themselves as middle-road, pro-business and socially moderate Republicans who would be capable of appealing to traditionally Democratic voters in the general election.

On Sunday, Catsimatidis called himself a "visionary" CEO with long experience creating jobs. He described Lhota -- whom he has called a "bureaucrat" in television ads -- as "more of a technical person."

"Joe is very qualified in technical items and there's nothing wrong with that. But you need a visionary and you need someone who creates jobs," he said.

Lhota said he wasn't a bureaucrat, but had plenty experience in cutting red tape.  

In one of the debate's odder moments, Catsimatidis said he was more electable because he had the "ability to reach out to the minorities."

"All of the minorities I've been to in the last three months, they love me," Catsimatidis said. "I have a love factor with minorities…They all give me hugs." 

Another cringe-worthy answer came when Catsimatidis was asked about his response in an earlier debate about how he'd respond if his son was stopped and frisked by police. Catsimatidis said at the time he'd ask his son if he'd been walking or dressing "funny."

Explaining that response on Sunday, Catsimatidis said: "If he had his pants half down with underwear showing or if he had his hat turned backward … walking down street as if you were drunk … you know, walking funny. That's what I meant."

Lhota looked mildly amused, but did not comment.

Both candidates said they disagreed with Bloomberg's remarks to New York Magazine that Democratic front-runner Bill de Blasio was running a "racist" campaign by featuring his mixed-race family in advertisements and on the trail. 

"The fact of the matter is, the choice of words was a little bit harsh," Lhota said.

But when asked about Bloomberg's statement in the same article that rich New Yorkers contributed taxes that helped poorer residents, Lhota said the mayor had it right. 

"That's the way our system works," Lhota said.

Then Lhota went on the defensive when a panelist brought up a campaign ad that notes Catsimatidis' past donations to Dinkins, a black Democrat. "He's not one of us," the Lhota ad says of Catsimatidis.

Lhota said that statement was aimed at Republicans, to show "who the real Republican is in this race."

Catsimatidis passed on an opportunity to criticize Lhota. But he said he supported Dinkins' Republican opponent, Giuliani, too.

In a "lightning round" question about the spread of electronic cigarettes, Lhota said they ought to be banned, just as regular cigarettes were under Bloomberg. Catsimatidis said he needed more information to make a decision.

By the debate's conclusion, it appeared that Lhota was having a difficult time restraining himself from criticizing Catsimatidis.

After hearing Catsimatidis repeatedly mention the changes he'd make upon taking office Jan. 3, Lhota, visibly annoyed, finally pointed out that inauguration day was Jan. 1, and has been for over a century.

"I thought it was Jan. 3," Catsimatidis said.

"No," Lhota responded.

The last question was supposed to be on the light side, about their responses to the MTA's decision last week to halt subways to avoid hurting two kittens that strayed onto the tracks.

Lhota, who said after the incident that he was against inconveniencing passengers for such reasons, insisted that he wasn't "the anti-kitten candidate."

"I have pets," he added. "I love pets. I grew up with cats."

Then, remembering that Catsimatidis goes by the nickname "Cats," Lhota gestured to his rival and said, "Not this Cats."

Catsimatidis, smiling, acted like he was insulted.

Lhota didn't seem to realize Catsimatidis was joking. "John, I don’t say anything bad about you. You’ve got to start telling the truth."

"I always tell the truth," Catsimatidis said.

"You think you do," Lhota said.

"I always do," Catsimatidis said.

The official debate series is administered by the New York City Campaign Finance Board. NBC 4 New York, The Wall Street Journal and Telemundo Nueva York are sponsors. 

NBC 4 New York is also sponsoring and airing the final general election mayoral debate at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29.


At Least 16 Shot in Weekend Chicago Violence


At least two people were killed and fourteen others were wounded in shootings across Chicago this weekend, including three people shot while sitting on their porch in the Roseland neighborhood, authorities said.

Late Friday, two men were shot in the Wicker Park neighborhood after police said two groups of people began attacking each other.

Witnesses reported hearing between six and 10 gunshots in the 1400 block of North Damen Avenue.

The two wounded men were taken to area hospitals in stable condition, officials said.

The weekend’s latest shooting took place around 4:45 a.m. Sunday when a 34-year-old man was shot multiple times in the leg and chest.

Police said an offender approached the man's vehicle in the 3900 block of West Wilcox Street and fired several shots. He was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition and no one was in custody as of Sunday morning.

Less than an hour earlier, a 24-year-old man was shot in the 5500 block of South Mozart Street. The man was taken in critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital with wounds to the lower back and buttocks, accoridng to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

Details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available, but police said the incident appears to be gang-related.

Around 2:50 a.m., three people were shot while sitting on their porch in the Roseland neighborhood.

Authorities said a light-colored vehicle drove up to the porch and fired several shots.

A 27-year-old woman was taken in stable condition to Roseland Hospital with a gunshot wound to the foot, a 19-year-old woman was shot in the right hand and also taken to Roseland Hospital and a 25-year-old man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition with wounds to the left leg and abdomen.

No one was in custody for the shooting as of Sunday morning, Mirabelli said.

On Saturday, a 19-year-old man was shot in the hand and treated at Stroger Hospital, officials said.

The man said he was shot in the 6800 block of South Champlain Avenue, but police said the wound appears to be self-inflicted.

7:05 a.m. Saturday when police responded to a call of a man down in the 5100 block of North Ellsworth Drive.

A man in his 20s was found shot in the head and was pronounced dead at University of Chicago Hospital, according to Chicago police News Affairs Officer Michael Sullivan.

Another fatality took place around 6:45 a.m. in the 1800 block of West Monroe Street, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Michael Sullivan.

An off-duty Chicago police officer fatally shot a man on the Near West Side. 

The shooting took place around 6:45 a.m. in the 1800 block of West Monroe Street, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Michael Sullivan. 

According to a statement from Chicago Police, the off-duty officer was working a part-time job as a security guard at the Chicago Housing Authority building when he observed a female guard in a physical altercation with a male offender attempting to gain access to the property and shot at him. 

Less than an hour earlier, a teen was left in serious condition after he was shot near 26th Street and Lawndale Avenue.

Police said the man was hanging out of the rear window of a car shouting gang slogans at a group when someone from the group shot him.

He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital with a gunshot wound to the back.

Around 2:20 a.m. police said a 22-year-old man was shot in the chest and buttocks in the 7800 block of South Shore Drive.

Police said the shooter was refused entry into a house party and began firing into the house, striking the victim.

He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition.

Just before 2 a.m., a man was shot in the face near the United Center on the city’s near west side.

The man was shot in the 2100 block of West Van Buren Street, but no further details were immediately available, Sullivan said.

Around the same time, a police officer shot someone in the 6300 block of South King Drive.

Police said the officers observed a man firing shots at an unknown target and when they approached him, the man turned towards the officers with his weapon raised.

Officers fired at the man and struck him in the leg.

The man was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries and was placed into police custody.

No others were injured in the incident and the Independent Police Review Authority is investigating.

Around midnight, an 18-year-old woman was shot in the 3000 block of South Tripp Avenue, police said.

The woman suffered a gunshot wound to the upper right arm and transported herself to Loretto Hospital.

No one was in custody for her shooting as of Saturday morning, officials said.

Navy Vet, 26, Fights Personal Battle


Navy veteran Bryan Fazio, 26, is fighting a different type of war these days: he's been diagnosed with terminal cancer and only has months to live. NBC 7's Lea Sutton shares his inspirational story.

Feds: Man Tried to Enter U.S. Via Red Chiles Shipment


Authorities say an immigrant suspected of entering the country illegally attempted to make his journey in an unusual but hot place — a shipment of red chiles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at a New Mexico border checkpoint said the man was discovered Thursday face down among a commercial load of the spicy stuff.

Columbus Port Director Robert Reza says next to the "highly intoxicated" 35-year-old was a bottle of tequila.

The man, who authorities described as a Mexican national, told agents that he climbed into the commercial hopper while it was being staged in Mexico. He got into the truck-full of chile in hopes of catching a ride to Chicago, the El Paso Times reported.

Agents said he got less than 100 yards into New Mexico before he was discovered. He will be returned to Mexico, officials said.

The red chile shipment was later released. 

More Southern California Stories:

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Asia Images RM

Numerous Dirt Bike Thefts in Plainfield


The Plainfield Police Department is investigating a number of dirt bike thefts.

Five dirt bikes were stolen from area homes.

The bikes that were stolen are a 2002 KTM 125 SX, a 2007 KTM 450SX, both of which are orange and black in color, a blue colored 2005 YZ250F, a red colored 2012 Honda 250R and a green colored 2011 Kawasaki 110.

The police are asking for the public's help in finding the dirt bikes and the individuals responsible.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Plainfield Police Department at 860-564-0804.

Police ID Suspect In Dallas Serial Rape Case


On Saturday, the Dallas Police Department identified a suspect in connection with one of nine sexual assaults in South Dallas.

Dallas Police said there was a DNA match from one of the cases to the suspect, Van Dralan Dixon. He is a black male, born November 21, 1974. He is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 185 pounds.

An arrest warrant for aggravated sexual assault has been issued for Dixson. That warrant carries with it a $1 million bond.

Police are asking for the public's assistance in locating Dixson.

"Officers are working diligently to locate the suspect," said Major Jeff Cotner.

Anyone who knows Dixson's whereabouts is urged to contact Dallas Police.

Dixson does have an extensive criminal record, including an arrest in early August for deadly conduct by Dallas Police, court records show. However, police would not say how they got a sample of Dixson's DNA.

Major Cotner said investigators are awaiting more laboratory tests to come back on the other assaults. So far, Dixson is only officially linked to the one assault and police would not specify which of the cases Dixson's DNA is connected with.

"Detectives will continue to investigate all leads, even though a suspect has been identiteid," Major Cotner said.

Officers identified a person of interest on Thursday. Alan Mason was taken into custody on outstanding warrants but police said he is not a suspect in the sexual assaults.

Residents Still Concerned

In south Dallas on Saturday night, residents NBC 5 spoke with were still very concerned that no arrest had been made in the rape cases.

"Tthere's a lot of people afraid," one woman said.

"Very scary, makes me want to be very careful," said Delilah Andrews.

"Normally I go in the house at 12, now I changed it to 9 or 10, not trying to stay outside at night," said Latyoie King.

NBC 5 showed the residents the picture of Dixson. No one recognized him, but said they hope he is caught soon and that they'll keep an eye out for him.

Another Sexual Assault in Area

On Saturday morning another sexual assault happened near Pennsylvania Avenue and Holmes Street. It happened around 5 a.m.

Okema Thomas says her cousin heard something outside about the time of the attack.

"She heard some noise about 4 o'clock this morning and a guy in her apartment went outside, you know to see what it was, and found a woman," Thomas said. "She was putting up her clothes and she has been sexually assaulted, she had been raped."

Dallas Police said that sexual assault is still under investigation and has not been linked to the other rapes in the area.

Panda Mom Celebrates 22nd Birthday With Giant Ice Cake


The San Diego Zoo's famous giant panda mom, Bai Yun, celebrated her 22nd birthday on Saturday by indulging in a big, colorful cake alongside her family.

Bai Yun's birthday party began at 8:45 a.m. when zookeepers presented her with the fancy cake made of ice, bamboo, fruit and other panda-friendly treats.

It was a cake truly fit for a furry queen.

Zoo officials say the ice cake took an entire month to create with the help of many staffers. It was five feet tall and weighed 215-pounds (see photo below).

As soon as Bai Yun saw the cake, she walked over and began licking the ice and eating the bamboo. She shared the cool treat with her cubs, who climbed all over the cake and happily ate their share.

The zoo’s panda exhibit opens to the public at 9 a.m., so visitors were able to catch a glimpse of the birthday girl enjoying her special treat.

And she certainly didn't mind eating in front of company.

Bai Yun, whose name means “white cloud,” was born on September 7, 1991, at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in China. Her birth was the first-ever successful birth of a giant panda at the facility.

According to the zoo’s website, Bai Yun moved to the San Diego Zoo on September 10, 1996, where she has been living ever since.

Over the years, Bai Yun has given birth to six cubs at the San Diego Zoo: Hue Mei; Mei Sheng; Su Lin; Zhen Zhen; Yun Zi; and Xiao Liwu, who celebrated his 1st birthday this past July.

Zookeepers describe the panda mom as curious, unpredictable and mischievous. Her interests include caring for her children, climbing things and anything scented with cloves, pine or men’s cologne.

NAACP President Ben Jealous to Step Down This Year


Benjamin Jealous, the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, says he plans to step down by the end of the year.

Jealous announced his plans to resign on Sunday. He says he plans to pursue teaching at a university and spending time with his young family.

The Baltimore-based NAACP is the nation's largest civil rights organization. When Jealous was hired as its president at age 35, he became the youngest leader in the group's history.

Jealous is credited with improving the NAACP's finances and donor base over the past five years and for improving its outreach.

Photo Credit: NBCMiami.com

Candlelight Vigil for Airmen Killed in Afghanistan


Hundreds turned out Sunday night to mourn a young airmen from New Fairfield who was killed in Afghanistan last week.

The vigil was held shortly before the town's annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony at 6:30 pm at the senior center in New Fairfield.

This year, it carried the added sorrow of another American killed in the line of duty.

Staff Sgt. Todd "T.J." Lobraico was killed on Thursday after his unit was attacked near the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. He was 22-years-old.

Many gathered to remember and mourn his loss.

"I know the mother, and my heart just breaks for her. As a mother of a son in the military, it's the call you never want to receive," said New Fairfield's First Selectman, Susan Chapman.

Lobraico grew up in Sherman and was a 2008 graduate of New Fairfield High School. He was a four-year member of the Future Business Leaders of America and worked with the Rebel Press, according to Dr. Alicia Roy, the school superintendent.

"One of the teachers, Chris Weltzer, was a veteran and remembered him from school. He said that he's one of the kindest, most compassionate students who ever walked the halls...he was a nice young man," said Roy.

Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Connecticut.

"This loss reminds us of the dangers faced by our men and women stationed overseas. We should all be grateful for their service and sacrifices to our country," Malloy said in a statement.


Photo Credit: Tom Kienzler

Malfunction on Carnival Ride Injures 18 People


Eighteen people, mostly children, were injured after an amusement ride malfunctioned at the Oyster Festival in Norwalk, Conn., on Sunday, according to police.

Authorities said shortly before 2:30 p.m. a "swing ride" in the Kids Cove section at Veteran's Memorial Park, on Seaview Avenue, lost power causing children on the ride to forcefully fall to the ground.

"People were screaming. Kids were screaming and crying, and the frantic parents were knocking the barriers over to get to their children," said witness Sam Razzaia.

Twelve children and one adult suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said. The victims were taken to Norwalk, Stamford and Bridgeport hospitals.

Police said all but one had been released by Sunday evening; the patient who was admitted had non-life threatening injuries.

"It was a little traumatic. A scary experience," said April Potasz.

Potasz was working a concession next to the ride when the horrific scene unfolded. She rushed over to help.

"I got a little boy off the swing, and he had a deep contusion on his leg. And his bone was sort of hanging out," said Potasz.

Hours after the incident investigators continued to look over the ride. While it remained shut down, the other rides in the park resumed at about 4:30 after the State Police Fire and Explosive Investigation Unit gave the okay.

Officials say all the rides were re-inspected before they resumed, but those who witnessed the frightening ordeal doubt they'll feel safe anytime soon.

In a statement, the event's organizers, the Norwalk Seaport Association, said:

"Our concerns remain for the well-being of those involved and their families. We are continuing to cooperate with the authorities."

Richard Stewart, owner of Stewart Amusements of Trumbull, said the swing ride is licensed by the state and was inspected on Friday. Stewart said he is cooperating with officials.

His company's website says it has provided rides and other attractions since 1983 at events in Fairfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut and neighboring Westchester and Putnam counties in New York.




Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Police on the Trail of Sexual Assault Suspect


Dallas police are searching for a man they say is linked by DNA evidence to a sexual assault case in South Dallas.

Sunday, Dallas police said in a statement that 38-year-old Van Dralan Dixson, identified by police Saturday as a suspect one of the nine sexual assault cases believed to be connected, has left his children in the care of family members and that his car was found in a Garland parking lot.

Dixson has, at this time, only been implicated in one of the cases.  Police said they are waiting on more laboratory tests to be returned in the other cases.


Also on Sunday, NBC 5 reporter Ray Villeda confirmed that Dixson was part of a neighborhood crime watch. The Mill City Community Association said Dixson's duty was to inform other participants of future meetings.

Dixson has a long criminal history, with charges of aggravated robbery and even aggravated sexual assault.  Sources familiar with his criminal record, tell NBC 5 he was arrested for deadly conduct, for pointing a gun at someone, just four weeks ago.

NBC 5 learned that, at the time, Dixson used an address on Oberlin Drive, where neighbors said he hasn't lived for at least two years.

“He is still getting mail here, from lawyers, my girlfriend was sending it back,” explains David Lewis. He now lives at the home.

On Sunday night, we broke the news to Lewis and his old neighbors; telling them about the arrest warrant out for Dixson.

“It’s a surprise to know it’s someone I know,” said Lewis. A sentiment echoed by many neighbors.

Lewis said he was in the neighborhood several months ago.

“He seemed like a pretty nice guy, raising dogs, selling cars, making money off of it. Had a business head like he was doing real estate, he moved, he use to come by here frequently,” he said.

Equally shocked was Dixson’s grandmother. Over the phone, she told us Dixson was a father of four, worked at a Plano warehouse and went to church. She added that he had been in trouble in the past but was doing good by his children, even taking them to Sunday school.

State Fair of Texas Concerns

With a rapist on the loose in South Dallas, fair organizers tell NBC 5 the State Fair of Texas already has plans in place to make sure attendees are safe.

There will be more surveillance cameras this year; a plan already in place before the rapes took place. Every year, Dallas police and fair organizers meet to finalize security plans. A spokesperson said the rapes will definitely be brought up and discussed.

Safety in South Dallas is already making some concerned about showing up to the fair. One mother told us usually she reassures her daughter every year they’re going to the fair, however this year may be different.

“This year, I don’t know if I can say, ‘Yes we are’ (going),” said Henrilyn Fennell.

Photo Credit: Dallas Police Dept.

De Blasio Widens Lead in Democratic Race: NBC4 Poll


Bill de Blasio, the Democratic mayoral candidate whose progressive message upended his party's primary campaign this summer, has widened his lead over his rivals just days before the election, a new poll shows.

De Blasio, the city's public advocate, has the support of 36 percent of likely Democratic voters, while his closest rivals, former Comptroller Bill Thompson and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, are tied at distant second with 20 percent each, the NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll found. Eight percent are undecided.

The poll reveals that de Blasio's populist, left-wing appeal to disenfranchised New Yorkers is cutting into voting blocs that would traditionally go to his rivals.

More blacks back de Blasio than Thompson, the race's only black candidate, by 39 percent to 25 percent. And more women support de Blasio than Quinn, the race's only female and once the clear front-runner, by 34 percent to 21 percent.

See the full poll here.

The winner of Tuesday's primary needs 40 percent to avoid a runoff.

The results reflect trends seen in earlier polls that showed de Blasio gaining ground through the summer, moving from the middle of the pack to first.

"The surge is real," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "Right now he's within striking distance of 40 percent. And if he doesn't reach 40 percent, he would certainly be the early favorite for the runoff."

Another past front-runner, disgraced former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, has dropped to 7 percent, just ahead of Comptroller John Liu's 5 percent. Bronx pastor Erick Salgado and former City Councilman Sal Albanese remain stuck at 1 percent.

The last NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll on the race, done three weeks ago, had de Blasio and Quinn in a statistical tie for first, at 24 percent among likely Democratic voters, and Thompson at 18 percent.

De Blasio seems to have seized the right issues at the right time, Miringoff said. His campaign rhetoric has tapped into voter anger over stop and frisk, income inequality and Mayor Bloomberg getting city law changed to run for a third term in 2009.

De Blasio's rivals have accused him of flip-flopping on many of the issues that make up the foundation of his campaign. Leading that effort has been Quinn, who backed Bloomberg's quest for a third term. She has pointed out de Blasio statements in support of ending term limits years before he opposed Bloomberg.

But those arguments don't seem to have stuck.

De Blasio does better than his rivals among Democrats who approve of the job Bloomberg is doing, and among those who disapprove of the mayor, the poll shows.

"In a sense, he's cornered the market on the kinds of issues that have been driving this campaign," Miringoff said. "He's fighting on the turf he wants to be fighting on."

Among all registered Democrats -- not just those deemed likely to vote at this point in the race -- 66 percent said they had a favorable impression of him, up from 48 percent in February. The number of registered Democrats who said they had a negative impression of him remained about the same, at 21 percent.

The poll was conducted Tuesday through Friday. It included 936 registered Democrats, 556 of whom were deemed likely to vote. The responses involving the likely voters carry a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. The responses from all the registered Democrats carry a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

If de Blasio seems to be hitting all the right notes, Quinn's campaign is appearing increasingly discordant. The most powerful of the candidates, and the one in charge of doing council deals, Quinn is suffering for her past alliances with Bloomberg. At the same time, she hasn't attracted enough voters who think the mayor has done a good job.

"It's been hard for her to navigate that for the entire campaign," Miringoff said.

Quinn's negative ratings are now at an all-time high, according to the poll. Among registered Democrats, 42 percent said they had an unfavorable impression of her, up from 17 percent in February.

Meanwhile, 46 percent of registered Democrats said they have a favorable impression of Quinn, down from 65 percent in February.

"This is the worst time for Quinn and the best time for de Blasio," Miringoff said.

Quinn has also been unable to tap into the fact that her election would mark the first for an openly gay woman.

Quinn spokesman Mike Morey said Sunday that the campaign is "confident that voters will put Christine Quinn into the runoff because they want a mayor who doesn't just talk like a progressive, but has a history of delivering like one."

For his sake, Thompson doesn't seem to have gotten much of voters' credit for coming close to defeating Bloomberg in 2009, despite being outspent by tens of millions of dollars.

Asked how they'd vote in various hypothetical runoffs, registered Democrats picked de Blasio in wide margins: 56 percent to 34 percent over Quinn, and 50 percent to 38 percent over Thompson.

Then there is what Miringoff calls "the Dante effect" -- de Blasio's use of his teenage son, Dante, in a campaign ad.

De Blasio's wife is black, and their kids are biracial; Dante sports a huge Afro that has attracted its own attention on the campaign trail.

Asked which of the candidates had the best commercials, 51 percent of registered Democrats chose de Blasio's.

Poll respondents were also asked about the primary contest for comptroller between Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. In that race, Spitzer is at 47 percent among likely Democratic voters and Stringer is at 45 percent.

Photo Credit: AP Images/NBC 4 New York

Fire in Bay Area Engulfs More Than 800 Acres


A fire near Mt. Diablo, about 35 miles east of Oakland, has grown past 800 acres and is 10 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. The fire is still growing.

A strike team of engines from San Ramon Valley Fire and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District responded for structure protection.

The response includes: 25 engines, 4 air tankers, 2 helicopters, 6 crews, 4 bulldozers, per CalFire.

About 50-75 structures are threatened by the fire.

Homes on Curry Canyon Road and Oak Hill Lane are under mandatory evacuation. Some homeowners were on top of their roofs spraying them down.

Homeowners have been asked to head to the Clayton Community Library at 6125 Clayton Road for shelter. Volunteers are there and have food and water for anyone who needs it.

Clayton resident Andy Cuellar said he was concerned about what could happen.
"There's 60 acres of open land behind my house, 40 acres of open land on the other side of my house and if a spot fire hits either one of those two properties, then I'm kind of sandwiched in between," Cuellar said. "That's the fate of most of us who live out here."

Those with disabilities who are not able to leave their homes on their own should call 911 immediately, according to the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department.

CalFire said it expects the fire to continue to grow for two reasons--weather conditions and firing operations, which are fires CalFire is setting in an attempt to steer the fire into terrain that isn't as steep.

Throughout the day, a massive plume of smoke could be seen from all over the Bay Area, including by people driving across the Bay Bridge. The fire started at about 1 p.m. Sunday.



Photo Credit: Craig Cannon
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