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Old Farms Road Closed in Simsbury


The intersection of Old Farms Road and Great Pond Road in Simsbury is closed after a car hit a utility pole and took down the pole and wires.

Police said the crash is under investigation, but might be weather related.

No injuries are reported.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

NY Man Charged With Sex Assault in West Haven


West Haven Police are investigating a sexual assault overnight at a home on Hinman Street and have charged a New York man. 

A female told police that Ivan Yadaycela, 32, of Woodside, New York, had been staying at her home, entered her bedroom around 4 a.m. as she was sleeping and had forcible intercourse with her, police said.

The victim told detectives that Yadaycera had also assaulted her earlier in December. 

Yadaycera was charged with first-degree sexual assault, unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct.

The booking report from West Haven police identifies Yadaycela as a UPS driver in New York.

He was held on $75,000 bond and is due in court in Milford today.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Snow Affecting Airline Travel


The state is coated in snow this morning and that is affecting airline travel.

At Bradley Airport, almost the entire morning flight schedule has been canceled, with the exception of six flights.

John F Kennedy International Airport was closed as of 6:12 a.m. and is scheduled to reopen at 8:30 a.m.

American Airlines has cancelled eight arrivals and departures at Bradley Airport for yesterday afternoon and evening. No information is available about today. 

Due to the weather, American Airlines is waving the ticket reissuing charge for customers traveling to, through or from the following airports on Jan. 2 or 3 to easily change travel plans:

  • Bradley Airport
  • Kennedy Airport
  • LaGuardia
  • Newark
  • Logan Airport in Boston
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Rochester, NY
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Westchester County / White Plains

Learn more here:

To change travel dates, contact reservations personnel at 1-800-433-7300.

Officials from Bradley Airport said  they have several cancellations, mainly due to weather in other parts of the country, but expect more cancellations throughout the day.

If you are traveling today, you are advised to contact your airline for updates.

When snow starts falling, share your photos with us at shareit@nbcconnecticut.com. 


Fairfield University Student Charged With Sex Assault


A Fairfield University student from Madison was arrested this morning and charged with sexually assaulting another student.

Joshua Delvecchio, 19, was arrested at the Fairfield Police Department at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 2.
Police started investigating on October when an 18-year-old girl told police she had been sexually assaulted by someone she did not previously know and went to the hospital to be treated for injuries.

Police said they examined evidence, including electronic communication that Delvecchio engaged in with other students, and interviewed witnesses and there was support for the victim’s complaint. 

Police said they gathered other evidence with help from the school.

Police said Delvecchio “was deceptive when questioned about the incident,” but forensic evidence refuted his statement about what transpired.

Police said Fairfield University advised students that a sexual assault on campus had occurred, according to university policy, and were told to take precautions.

Delvecchio has been removed from campus pending an investigation.

Delvecchio went to police headquarters voluntarily this morning after learning there was an active warrant.

He was processed, released on a court-set $50,000 bond and will be arraigned on Jan. 10.

Delvecchio was charged with sexual assault in the first degree, unlawful restraint in the first degree and assault third degree. 

Photo Credit: Fairfield Police

Woman Held Captive in Wallingford Home


A 28-year-old Wallingford man has been arrested, accused of holding his 18-year-old girlfriend captive in their Summit Drive home, restraining her, threatening her with a gun and forcing her to drink what he claimed was poison.

The woman contacted police at 11 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29 and told them that Daniel Kukish had held her against her will at the home they shared in Wallingford.

The incident started on the morning of Dec. 28, when Kukish was high on drugs, acting erratically and accused the victim of being unfaithful to him, police said.

Using electrical tape, he bound the victim to a chair, held her at gunpoint and forced her to drink what he said was poison, police said.

The victim said Kukish held her for several hours before driving her to a residence on School Street in Manchester, claiming he needed to find the person she was allegedly cheating on him with. 

The woman said Kukish left her briefly and drove somewhere else. That is when Manchester police detained him for driving erratically, according to police.

According to a Manchester Police report, a police officer saw Kukish driving erratically and tried to stop him, but Kukish led the officer on a brief chase.

At some point on Dec. 28, police apprehended him in front of the School Street residence he had brought the victim to, police said, and charged him with disobeying an officer’s signal and weapons in a motor vehicle. 

According to court records, he was also charged with operating a vehicle without a license and illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle.

Kukish was arraigned on Monday in Manchester Superior Court and is being held on a $10,000 bond in connection with those charges.  He is due in court next on Feb. 4.

Wallingford investigators went to the Summit Drive home with a search warrant, where they found firearms and a chair that still had electrical tape on it. The victim sustained minor physical injuries.

Wallingford Police said they have an arrest warrant charging Kukish with second-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault. Bond was set at $500,000 bond. 


Photo Credit: Manchester Police

Husband Stabs Man Who Gave His Wife New Year’s Kiss: Cops


A New Haven man is accused of stabbing the man who gave his wife a New Year’s kiss and punching his wife in the face.

Police responded to 100 South End Road around 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day to investigate a stabbing and found a man whose pants were soaked with blood.

The victim told police that he'd been inside the house for a holiday party and kissed a woman.

That woman's husband took offense to the kiss, grabbed a knife and stabbed him in his thigh, he went on to tell officers, according to police.

He said the man, later identified as Ferdinando Muoio, 25, was still inside and others were holding him.

EMTs treated the victim. Officers found two men holding Muoio down and tried to calm him down.

Muoio told police he’d been drinking and became upset when he walked out back and saw the other man kissing his wife, police said.

Muoio told officers his wife had been in a relationship with the man years ago and said that he didn't remember picking up the knife and stabbing anyone.

Muoio's wife told police the man gave her a New Year's kiss when her husband walked outside.

She said he punched her in the face, used insulting language and went after the man who had kissed her, police said.

Witnesses told investigators it took several other guests to separate the two.

Muoio was arrested and charged with assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree and breach of peace.

Governor Orders Early Release of State Employees


Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered the early release of state employees as the state prepared for heavier snow on Thursday evening.

The dismissals were scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. and continue in 15-minute intervals, according to a release from Malloy's office.

"Given the impending snow and the severe cold, I've asked all executive agencies to enact their early dismissal plans," Malloy said in a statement.

He also urged private sector companies to let employees leave early to help ease what could be a difficult evening rush hour.

A light snow has been falling throughout the day on Thursday, but the heaviest snow was not expected to fall until after sundown.

In past snowstorms, rush-hour traffic has made it difficult for state Department of Transportation plows to clear highways.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

60 Homeless After Texas Apt. Fire


Arson investigators will look for the cause of a devastating apartment fire in Everman that destroyed two dozen residences. Everman Police Chief and Director of Emergency Services Randy Sanders confirms the fire was the work of an arsonist.

Everman police said a witness saw a man set a fire on the northwest corner of the building and then run. The fire was first called in shortly after 5:30 a.m. on Thursday.

"We're going to have Tarrant County Arson Task Force coming in here to do that investigation. Whoever that individual was is apparently disappeared at this point. But we're going to follow that lead," Sanders said.

Sanders said firefighters will knock down some walls at the complex to make it safe for investigators and an arson dog to work. They are also putting out hot spots in the still smoldering rubble more than 12 hours after it started.

The American Red Cross said more than 60 people were displaced by the fire after 24 residences were destroyed by the fire at the Oakwood Terrace Apartments on 917 Coury Road.

Residents say many of those who lived on the second floor and to jump from windows to escape the building. Tony Patterson did so and then he had to catch his mother.

"I already jumped out the window, so I could go catch her," Patterson said. "I was trying to catch her, she didn't want to jump with no clothes on at all. I said, 'jump momma you got do this. I ain't gonna hurt you, I ain't gonna let you fall.' And I caught her ."

Strong winds made it very difficult for firefighters to get the upper hand on the fire.

"The wind was blowing very, very hard causing embers to blow throughout the complex," said Sanders. "When firefighters first arrived, it was a tough fight. We're still in a defensive position just trying to attack the flames."

Sanders said the way the building is constructed led to the quick spread of the flames. The building had a false ceiling, essentially an open space above the second floor that allowed fire to quickly devour the entire building.

Carolyn Roney could only wipe away tears as she and other residents watched their homes burn.

Roney said she was focused on getting her 83-year-old mother to safety. The thick, black smoke made getting to door a difficult -- nearly deadly -- challenge.

"I finally got my momma a jacket, and I tried to run back [to my bedroom] but I couldn't even find my jacket or my shoes, so I just ran outside in my pajamas," Roney said, choking back tears. "This is all I have."

"She lost everything. All the Christmas stuff she got for her kid, her grandkid. Just everything she had. Everything is gone," said Roney's brother, Rocky.

Rocky lives nearby and rushed over to bring his sister a coat.

"You can see her apartment there, burning. You can't see nothing but smoke," he said.

Most of the displaced residents escaped the building only to be stranded in the freezing cold wearing nothing but pajamas. Red Cross workers said they are distributing needed items like new shoes, socks and warm clothes to those affected at the Everman Community Center at 212 Race Street.

The shelter was moved to the Highland Hills Community Center in Fort Worth which could house the larger numbers and offered showers. The Red Cross asks anyone interesting in helping the victims to donate cash.

Two of the residents who escaped from the fire say they are lucky to be alive.

"I am blessed to be here," said Terry Pendergraph. 

Pendergraphy, who is in a wheelchair, lives with Dora Burns. Neighbors banged on the door and said there was a fire.

"I grabbed Terry, the wheelchair, and myself and ran backwards down the stairs," said Burns.

Everman police and fire have not yet given a description of the suspected arsonist. But residents have heard a name connected to the suspect and have a message for him.

"You turn yourself in, you ruined a lot of people’s live’s," said Rodney Homer, who lost everything but the clothes on his back. "Lot of people don’t like it."

While no one was seriously hurt, several people were taken to the hospital. Including several people who had to jump from the second floor.

On Thursday night, a person of interest was identified, but no arrests have been made.

NBC 5's Greg Janda, Julie Fine and Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Jeff Smith, NBC 5

Warming Centers Open


Temperatures will be brutally cold over the next few days and some communities are opening warming centers to help residents through the cold spell.

You can check 211 for more information about warming centers.

East Hartford

East Hartford has warning centers at the following locations:

  • South End Senior Center, at 70 Canterbury Street, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Raymond Library Community Cultural Center at 50 Chapman Place, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The police lobby of the Public Safety Complex, at 31 School Street, will be open for 24 hours on all days.

No special staff or services will be offered at any of the warming locations in East Hartford.


Senior Center at 299 Elm Street, from 5 p.m. on Friday until 11 a.m. on Saturday.  No special staff or services will be offered at the warming center in Enfield. No pets will be allowed at the warming center. For more information on Enfield's warming center, call 860 763-6400.


Hamden High School, Dixwell Ave. Opens 9 a.m. Friday


  • Meriden Senior Center, 22 West Main Street, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Phone: 203-237-0066
  • Meriden Public Library, 105 Miller Street, Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone: 203-238-2346
  • Westfield Meriden Square, 470 Lewis Avenue, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Phone: 203-235-3343.


The following warming centers are available to residents:

The lobby of the Middletown Police Department, at 222 Main Street, is open 24 hours a day. Other public facilities, such as City Hall, will be available as well such as the Russell Library on Broad Street during normal business hours.

Elderly residents are encouraged to use the Middletown Senior Center on William Street.  Times of operation over the weekend might change, so check with these facilities prior to travel.


Town Hall, 80 Main Street, Terryville
Opens 4 p.m. Thursday and will remain open until noon Saturday


Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow Street
Friday, Saturday 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

Eno Memorial Hall, 754 Hopmeadow Street
Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


Local warming centers posted on the 211 Web site include:

  • Torrington Health and Rehabilitation at 225 Wyoming Avenue, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Register Citizen Newspaper at 59 Field Street, weekdays only from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Torrington City Hall auditorium,at 140 Main Street, on Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Normal business hours start the week of Jan. 6.
  • Sullivan Senior Center at 88 East Albert Street is available for only senior citizens, from Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The city’s five firehouses and Government Center will be open as warming centers for residents with power or heating problems. The city is preparing a schedule to open the firehouses and Government Center.

Government Center is located at 888 Washington Blvd.

Photo Credit: AP

Father of Missing Boy Arrested on Drug Charges


The father or a missing 5-year-old Massachusetts boy was arrested on drug charges in New Britain.

Jose Oliver, 41, of Oak Street in New Britain, was arrested at 4:22 p.m. on Monday after he was found with 30 bags of heroin during a drug sweep, according to police.

Oliver, who lives in New Britain, is the father of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver, who has been missing for three months. Earlier this week. he made a public plea for help to find Jeremiah.

The little boy lives in Fitchburg, Mass., with his mom, her boyfriend and two siblings and was last seen on Sept. 14, according to the missing report posted on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website.

Jose Oliver said on Monday that he had no idea his son was missing until December and placed the blame squarely on the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

“It's their fault, 100 percent. The reason I say that is if they would have been doing their jobs, this never would have happened,” Oliver said during an interview with NBC Connecticut earlier this week.

Jose Oliver has been charged with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell and additional charges.

He said earlier this week that he's doing everything he can now to gain custody of his two other children who are in DCF care while the search for Jeremiah continues.

"Somebody has to say something. Somebody has to have seen something. I mean, for a person to be missing for three months and nobody knows nothing? Somebody knows something and just speak. I just want my son," Oliver said in a previous interview.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Law License Granted to Immigrant


An immigrant unable to practice law because of his undocumented status has been granted a law license by California’s highest court Thursday, NBC News reports.

Sergio Garcia took his case to the California Supreme Court in May. Oral arguments took place in September.

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Garcia, a law school graduate who passed the state bar, told NBC News that he is "speechless, tired, relieved," and is "glad it's over." 

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The U.S. Department of Justice opposed allowing him a license because as an undocumented person he wasn’t allowed to receive any benefits, Garcia said in a statement. Garcia said the Court agreed with the assessment, but also stated that a law could be passed to allow him and others in his situation to be granted a law license.

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A law passed seven days later allowing courts to grant a law license to an undocumented person who had met all the standard requirements. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the the bill on Oct. 5, 2013.

The law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles issued a statement after the ruling, saying the court's decision "bodes well for the future of the United States of America."

"The Dreams of many became much closer to becoming a reality today that the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of young professionals, like Sergio Garcia, who have met every requirement in the book to practice their craft but happen to be undocumented immigrants," the statement said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Fla. Rep. Returns After Drug Plea


Florida Congressman Trey Radel will return to work on Capitol Hill next week, ending a leave of absence that began after he pleaded guilty to a cocaine possession charge, a spokesman for him told NBC News Thursday.

"I look forward to getting back to work next week representing my neighbors in Southwest Florida as they face the burdens of Obamacare, a jobless recovery, and a federal government that continues to spend more than it takes in,” Radel said.

The freshman Republican, who represents Florida's 19th Congressional District, has said he will not step down from his House seat.

Radel was sentenced to one year of probation after his November guilty plea for cocaine possession, a misdemeanor. He acknowledged that he bought 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover police officer.

Afterward he entered a rehab program for alcoholism in Naples.

He stayed at the Hazelden addiction treatment facility for nearly a month, leaving it on Dec. 19. In a news conference that day, Radel said he planned to keep serving his constituents but would not give a timeframe for his return to the nation’s capital.

“Politics and re-election are the absolute last thing on my mind right now," he said then.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Warming Centers Open for Shelter from Bitter Cold


Several cities and towns have opened warming centers to help those who need it during the upcoming stretch of brutally cold weather. Call 2-1-1 for more detailed information on the warming centers statewide.


Hamden High School, Dixwell Ave.
Opens 9 a.m. Friday


Police Dept. Lobby, 222 Main Street
24 Hours a day

City Hall
Normal Hours

Russell Library, Broad Street
Normal Hours

Middletown Senior Center, William Street
Various times


Main Library

South Norwalk Library


Town Hall, 80 Main Street, Terryville
Opens 4 p.m. Thursday until no longer needed


Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow Street
Friday, Saturday 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

Eno Memorial Hall, 754 Hopmeadow Street
Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


Stamford Government Center Lobby: Friday (8am to 9pm)
888 Washington Blvd., Stamford

YMCA : Friday (9am – 5pm)
909 Washington Blvd, Stamford

Chester Addison Community Center: Friday (9am – 5pm)
245 Selleck St.
Stamford, CT

Union Baptist Church: Friday (9am – 2pm)
805 Newfield Avenue
Stamford, CT

Central Fire Headquarters: Friday (8am - 6pm)
629 Main Street, Stamford
Stamford, CT

South End Fire Station: Friday (8am – 6pm)
215 Washington Blvd
Stamford, CT

West Side Fire Station: Friday (8am – 6pm)
80 Fairfield Avenue
Stamford, CT

East Side/Shippan Fire Station: Friday (8am – 6pm)
Stamford, CT

Woodside Fire Station: Friday (8am – 6pm)
1600 Washington Blvd
Stamford, CT

Belltown Fire Station: Friday (8am – 6pm)
8 Dorlen Road
Stamford, CT

Long Ridge Fire Station: Friday (8am – 6pm)
366 Long Ridge Rd.
Stamford, CT

Sprindale Fire Station: Friday (8am- 6pm)
987 Hope St.
Stamford, CT

Turn of River Fire Station: Friday (8am-6pm)
Buxton Farms Road
Stamford, CT


Westport Senior Center, 21 Imperial Ave.
Open through 8 p.m. Thursday, later if necessary

Photo Credit: AP

100-Foot Salt Pile Crushes Worker


A worker died after a large pile of rock salt fell onto the heavy machine he was operating at a suburban Philadelphia salt yard.

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The salt, which is used to keep roads clear of snow and ice, fell on the man at the International Salt facility at New Ford Mill Road and Bordentown Road in Morrisville, Bucks County, Pa. around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Falls Township Police told NBC10.

Police said the man was moving rock salt with a front-end loader when the 100-foot tall mineral pile toppled over, burying the machine and trapping him inside.

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Several emergency crews were dispatched to the scene of the industrial accident and firefighters used shovels to find the man. When they finally reached the machine, the man was already dead, still sitting in his seat, police said.

The man's death comes as many Southeastern Pennsylvania municipalities and state road crews prepared to deal with a winter storm that is expected to bring several inches of snow and frigid temperatures.

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Officials have not released the name or age of the victim.

NBC10 is continuing to follow this developing story and will update the story as more details become available.

Route 53 Reopens After Danbury Crash


Route 53 in Danbury was closed in both directions for several hours after a car slid into a utility pole Thursday evening.

According to police, the road was shut down between South Road and Shelterock Road.

Connecticut Light & Power crews deenergized the circuit to start making repairs to the damaged pole and switched most affected customers to a different line in an effort to restore their power as soon as possible.

More than 1,000 people were without power just after the crash, but all power was restored by 9:30 p.m., according to CL&P.

Police said no one was injured in the crash. 

View Larger Map

Photo Credit: Mark Boughton

Filner Begins 90-Day House Arrest


Former embattled San Diego mayor Bob Filner spent New Year’s Day at home Wednesday, serving the first day of his three-month house arrest sentence in connection with the sexual harassment scandal that ended his term as mayor in 2013.

San Diego County Probation Department spokesperson Sarah Gordon told NBC 7 that Filner’s house arrest sentence – ordered by a San Diego judge on Dec. 9 – went into effect on Jan. 1.

Filner will spend the next 90 days under house arrest under specific terms, including wearing a GPS monitoring attachment that will track his location, Gordon confirmed. He must stay confined to his residential building and is subject to searches at any time, as well as unannounced visits from his probation officer.

The plea agreement guidelines ordered at the time of Filner’s sentencing also require Filner to undergo mental health counseling. He’s allowed to leave his home to attend those counseling sessions.

However, Gordon said Filner must obtain special permission from his probation officer in order to leave his house for other things, including non-mental health-related medical appointments and trips to the grocery store.

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After Filner completes his 90 days of home confinement, Gordon said he will still have to check in with his probation officer and be subject to unannounced searches and visits.

Per his sentencing, Filner will also serve three years of probation.

If he doesn’t violate his probation within the next 18 months, Gordon said there is a chance Filner could be placed on something called “probation with the court,” where he would be required to check in with the courts as needed rather than being under the supervision of a probation officer.

If he violates his probation within the three years, Gordon said Filner could be ordered to serve up to 270 days in jail.

Under his punishment, Filner is not allowed to contact any of his victims. He must agree not to seek or hold public office and surrender his city retirement..

Timeline: The Bob Filner Sexual Harassment Scandal

Back inn October, the former congressman pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and two misdemeanor charges of battery involving victims of sexual harassment.

Those victims, identified in court documents as “Jane Doe 1, 2 and 3,” included a businesswoman who claimed Filner held her against her will and kissed her at a fundraiser. Another victim was the daughter of a longtime supporter who was grabbed by Filner while taking a photo with her family.

Those women were among a slew of others who accused the former mayor of inappropriate behavior and sexual advances during the Filner scandal.

The accusations against Filner first went public in July when many of his former allies, including former San Diego City Councilmember Donna Frye, exposed his behavior and demanded he step down from office.

From there, more than a dozen women came forward with stories of sexual harassment at the hands of Filner, including former communications director to the mayor, Irene McCormack Jackson, who filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego.

After weeks of controversy, recall efforts and more accusers, Filner announced his resignation on Aug. 23 and officially stepped down from office on Aug. 30.

On Nov. 19, San Diego held a special election to fill the mayor’s seat left vacant by Filner.

Councilmember Kevin Faulconer finished first in last month's special mayoral election, securing one of two spots in the February runoff for Filner's former seat. Councilmember David Alvarez, who came in second place, will face off against Faulconer in February.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

"Boystown": World's Best Gay Hood


Chicago's north side Boystown neighborhood on Wednesday was named the best gay neighborhood in the world.

The accolade from OutTraveler.com said the nation's first officially-recognized gay village in the nation beat out other neighborhoods like San Francisco's Mission District, New York's Chelsea neighborhood, and communities in Barcelona and Madrid.

Editors and voters of the travel-themed publication liked the Lakeview neighborhood's massive pride weekend, the August Market Days festival and the recently-passed same-sex marriage law in Illinois.

OutTraveler named award-winners in other categories like "Most Decadent Destination Party," "Hottest Gay Beach," and "Best City After Dark."


Attorney Killed by Police


Dallas police said they shot and killed a resident inside a luxury condominium complex after the man barricaded himself and fired at police officers.

The shooting occurred in the lobby of the Glass House by Windsor condominium complex at 3700 McKinnon Street around 1:45 a.m. Thursday, just blocks from American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The Dallas County Medical Examiners Office identified the suspect as 47-year-old Michael Edward Schmidt. NBC 5's Ray Villeda confirmed Schmidt is an attorney that is part of a law firm in Uptown Dallas, near the shooting scene. When reached by phone, the law firm said they had no comment on Schmidt's death.

Police said the incident began after the resident talked to an employee of the building.

”He reported to the employee that his apartment was being burglarized,” said Deputy Chief Gil Garza of the Dallas Police Department.

After that employee called for police, Schmidt reportedly moved to a hallway adjacent to the condominium's lobby and began barricading himself inside.

When officers arrived, they spoke to the employee and were informed of the Schmidt's location and that he was armed.

“According to the employee, the individual shot at officers when officers tried to speak with him.  The officers then retreated into cover.” Garza said.

Witnesses said Schmidt continued to intermittently fire shots while officers spoke to him from cover. A witness that heard the situation unfold from across the street said he believed the gunman fired a half-dozen shots at police during the shootout.

Garza said that Schmidt moved from his barricaded position and went toward the officers at some point during the incident. Police said it was at this time that the officers returned fire, striking and killing the man. Schmidt was pronounced dead at the scene.

The witness that spoke to NBC 5 said he believes officers fired back more than a dozen times, killing the man. Police did not confirm how many shots were fired by officers.

Dallas police confirm Schmidt's 11-year-old daughter was inside the apartment at the time of the shooting. She was located uninjured after the shooting and was released to the custody of relatives.

Evidence markers were visible along the street and were believed to be marking shell casings from weapons that were fired during the incident. Garza said the weapon believed to be used by the resident during the shootout was recovered at the scene and that an investigation continues.

The windows of the lobby were blown out by gunfire during the shooting and the witness told NBC 5's Kendra Lyn he could see a body near the front doors of the lobby following the shooting.

Police said no officers were injured in the incident.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown announced that the department continues to investigate the shooting. 

The officers involved in the shooting have been identified as officers Manual Ortiz, Robert Wilcox, Derreck Evangelista and Sgt. Jason Scoggins. All have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

Schmidt made headlines last year, after winning his client's family more than $10 million when a woman was run over by a monster truck.

NBC 5 learned that Schmidt had recently gone through a divorce. A relative tells the Dallas Morning News that Schmidt was a father of four, adding that he was sweet and generous but had recently had some problems.

Residents Surprised by Violent Confrontation

The front of Glass House is still taped off as a crime scene. Residents can come and go through the parking garage, but can’t access the lobby where the confrontation between police and the 47-year-old resident came to a deadly end.

“I heard a couple shots, woke up, and cop cars were out there,” said Grant Threadgill.

It's not how residents at Glass House, a luxury high-rise apartment complex in Uptown Dallas, are used to waking up.

“It’s pretty crazy. I chose this building because of the safety,” says Mini Hwang, Glass House resident.

“Death is always unfortunate.  I feel like the cops were probably protecting themselves,” said Threadgill.

"You don’t know what was going on with them, obviously something very traumatic,” said Allison Weiner, Glass House resident.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Mayor: 2014 Is "Year of the Bible"


The mayor of Flower Mound is receiving a lot of attention after declaring 2014 the "Year of the Bible."

Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden made the proclamation during a regularly scheduled city council meeting in the Dallas-area suburb last month.

"I ask that you join with me, Tom Hayden, Mayor of the Town of Flower Mound, Texas, in Proclaiming 2014 to be the 'Year of the Bible' in Flower Mound, Texas, and encourage all residents in their own way to examine the principles and teachings found in the Bible," Hayden said during the Dec. 16 meeting.

Along with the proclamation, Hayden promoted a website set up and administered by staff at the Calvary Chapel Church in Flower Mound.

Among the site's many features is a daily selection of verses from the New King James version of the Bible. The Jan. 2 selections include the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, John the Baptist and other readings.

On Thursday, Hayden explained the motivation for his proclamation to NBC 5.

"I believe that Jesus died for my sins and I hope to be able to share the good news with others," Hayden said by phone, declining to speak on camera because he recently suffered cuts on his face from an ATV accident. "Everyone's personal relationship with God is a personal decision. Your relationship with God may differ with mine. If I can, I would like to encourage people to read the Bible."

Hayden added that he is disappointed that the focus for some concerning the "Year of the Bible" proclamation has been on him and not, as he intended, on the teachings in the Bible.

Residents offered varied opinions about the mayor's move. 

"To me [it is] to each their own," said Vicki Bassinger, a Flower Mound resident, who said she is generally in support of the mayor's proclamation. "And you should be able to do the Bible at your own home. You don't have to go to church or whatever. And that's what he's recommending."

"Honestly, I don't think it's a very good idea," said Crysta McKenry, who works in Flower Mound. "I believe in the whole separation of church and state. If you start talking about Hinduism or something and you say, 'Oh, let's make this all about Hinduism,' there would be an uproar about it. So why make it to where Christianity is OK?"

There are dozens of churches in Flower Mound, which has a population of more than 66,000 people. The majority of the churches are Christian-based, but at least five of the organized religions with places of worship in Flower Mound are not. There is an Islamic mosque, a Hindu temple, a Baha'i temple, a Zoroastrian church and a Jewish synagogue.

"I think [Mayor Hayden] has made the wrong priorities in thinking about this," said Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis of the Congregation Kol Ami. "He thinks this is about him and his opportunity to promote his faith in his role as mayor. But I think he needs to realize that I and the other people who voted him to office voted him in as mayor, not as Bishop of Flower Mound."

Rabbi Dennis told NBC 5, he and other religious leaders in the community, first met with Hayden over a year ago when he approached them with this idea.

"When I first talked to him and said this is not a good idea his response to me was to become defensive and say, 'Well, I'm not ashamed of my faith,'" Rabbi Dennis recalled. "I tried to explain to him this is not about your shame or your pride as a Christian. This is about your respect for your constituents of all types in this community. It's clear he didn't get the message."

Hayden reiterated to NBC 5 Monday this proclamation was not an order on behalf of the municipal government, but was instead an action taken specifically and solely by him.

Photo Credit: thebible2014.com

Scientists: Earthquake Lights Exist


Want to know when an earthquake is afoot?

Watch for the lights.

Geologists say they have proof of a rare, elusive phenomenon called "earthquake lights," according to USA Today, when "balls of light" or reverse lightning shoot out of the ground before a temblor hits.

A team of researchers -- including a scientist working at San Jose State University and NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View -- have documented the phenomenon, often dismissed as a hallucination, at least 65 times since 1600. Their study appears in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

Rumors of light emitted during earthquakes have been around for centuries and have sometimes sparked UFO reports, USA Today reported.

In 2009, flames were seen in Italy seconds before a quake -- and security cameras in Peru recorded blue lights in 2007.

The lights occur only in areas that have certain types of rock as well as deep vertical faults, the researchers say.

That means "less than 0.5 percent" of earthquakes will have lights.


Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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