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Twitter Reacts to Donald Sterling's Alleged Remarks


The sports world took to Twitter with their reaction to the racist remarks Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling reportedly made during a phone call with his girlfriend. The comments were made in audio released by TMZSports.com Saturday and set off a firestorm on social media. NBC News has not confirmed the authenticity of the tape.

L.A. Clippers president Andy Roeser issued the following statement today in response to the allegations:

“We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered. We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would 'get even.' Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him — both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter.”

The woman on the tape is challenging the Sterling family's lawsuit.

At a news conference Saturday night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA will investigate the audio recording. He emphasized the fact that it has not been confirmed that the man on the tape is Sterling:

"All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy, which is why I’m not yet prepared to discuss any potential sanctions against Donald Sterling."

Take a look at some of what NBA players, ex-basketball players and others have tweeted:



Photo Credit: AP

Woman Killed in Suspected Drive-By


A woman was fatally shot in Chicago Friday night while returning home from an anti-violence group’s fundraiser.

Leonore Draper had just returned home from A Charitable Confection, a fundraiser for teen anti-violence group Project Orange Tree, when she was shot outside of her home in the 1300 block of West 116th Street, police said.

Officers said they heard shots fired in the area around 10:30 p.m. and when they arrived at the scene, they found Draper, 32, in her car with gunshot wounds to the arm and chest.

A neighbor said she didn’t realize Draper had been shot until she saw the shattered car window.

“I saw her and I kept waiting for her to get out of her car but she didn’t and then I noticed her window was shot out,” said Robin Anderson. “She was 32. That’s it.”

Draper was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where she later died, officials said.

Police believe Draper was an innocent victim of a drive-by shooting.

Members of the anti-violence group Ceasefire went door-to-door in Draper’s neighborhood Saturday afternoon to speak to residents about the incident and gather information on the shooting.

“We need more people like [Leonore Draper]” said Jessica Morris with Ceasefire. “That is why we are here.”

Draper was one of four people killed in overnight Chicago violence that left 27 others wounded.

No one was in custody as of Saturday evening, but an investigation is underway, officials said.

Man Held Sister in "Dungeon" Conditions: Cops


Police arrested a 58-year-old man accused of keeping his 56-year-old sister locked in a Connecticut bedroom for several years in "dungeon"-like conditions.

The woman was locked up so her brother could avoid losing the Seymour house to the state, local police said.  

Arthur Gauvin was arrested at the home on 10 Eleanor Road Thursday night after police received an anonymous call from someone who was concerned about the woman’s welfare.

When police responded family members let them in. As they spoke to Gauvin, they noticed a foul odor and discovered a woman in a bedroom in deplorable conditions.

The woman was extremely thin, disheveled and covered in urine and human feces, police said. She had not bathed in a long period of time and it appeared she had been malnourished. 

There was a portable toilet inside of the room, which was in an unsanitary condition, police said. 

The one window in the room was boarded up to prevent the victim from escaping. It was also blacked out with black paint to prevent her from seeing outside, police said. There was also a clasp locking the door so she could not get out.

Police said the smell in the house was so horrendous that officers had to leave within minutes of being inside. 

A detective with a special Hazmat suit and a SCUBA device was called in to help patrol officers process the scene.

An ambulance took the victim to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be evaluated. She seemed to be "brainwashed," according to officials and not happy to be freed.

Children were also living in the house, so the Department of Children and Families was called and will conduct a follow-up investigation.

Police said Gauvin apparently kept his sister locked in the house so he would not lose it to the State of Connecticut. The woman had signed the house over to Gauvin around seven years ago, police said. He was responsible for taking care of her for nine years before she could receive any services from the state, they added.       

Police are continuing to investigate and help get the victim proper care and medical services. 

Officers had checked on the victim's welfare in 2010 and found nothing wrong, then again in July 2012.
Gauvin was charged with first-degree unlawful restraint, second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons. He was released after posting a $20,000 bond, but allegedly made a threatening comment to a family member in front of police that they said would impede and hinder the ongoing investigation.

He was then arrested for a second time and charged with tampering with a witness. Gauven was then held on a $25,000 bond, which he could not post and was arraigned Friday morning at the Derby Superior Court. 

On Friday, bond was increased to $145,000, He is due in court on May 13.                  

Gauvin is being represented by a public defender.

Photo Credit: Seymour Police

Honor Student Stabbed to Death at Jonathan Law


A 16-year-old suspect has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of his classmate at Jonathan Law High School in Milford, Conn.

Maren Sanchez, a Jonathan Law junior, died following an altercation in a school hallway that occurred just after 7 a.m. Friday.  The attack happend just hours before the school's junior prom.

A school staff member witnessed part of the attack, which took place near a stairwell, and tried to save the victim, Police Chief Keith Mello said. Sanchez suffered several cuts to her neck, chest and face, according to police.  She was pronounced dead at a local hospital about a half hour later.

The suspect, a 16-year-old student at the school, was taken into custody shortly after the incident.  Milford police have charged the unnamed student with murder.  He is being held at a medical facility and is expected to be arraigned on Monday.

Police recovered a knife at the crime scene and executed a search warrant at the suspect's home.

Sanchez's cousin, Edward Kovac, read a statement from the victim's family on Friday afternoon.

"The unprovoked attack on Maren this morning, has unfortunately, for our family, resulted in the permanent loss of Maren Victoria Sanchez, a bright light, full of hopes and dreams with her future at her fingertips. Maren should be celebrating at her prom this evening, with her friends and classmates. Instead, we are mourning her death and we are trying, as a community, to understand this senseless loss of life," Kovac said.

At the school, students were trying to make sense of the tragedy.

Sean Chesler, a junior at Jonathan Law High School, said he has never know the suspect to be violent. 

"I’ve never known him as anything like that whatsoever," Chesler said.

Asked about rumors that the assault was related to a prom invitation, Mello said it is too soon to say what the motive was and whether the attack had any connection to the dance.

"This is a very raw, a very fresh investigation," he said.

School superintendent Elizabeth Feser said the high school is "devastated by the loss of one of our students," a teen she described as an athlete and a member of the National Honor Society. She called Sanchez "vibrant" and "an incredible contributor, someone who was respected."

Chesler said it took awhile for some people to find out exactly what happened, while others had more information.

"I had realized what had happened," he said. "I wasn’t scared that something else was going to happen, but I was nervous about how it was going to play out after that."

Mayor Benjamin Blake released a statement saying, "Our hearts go out to the family of Maren Sanchez, the sixteen year old junior at Jonathan Law High School who passed away this morning, and to those also affected by this tragedy."

The mayor called the attack an isolated event and said that there is an active criminal investigation.

"Jonathan Law High School will be open and counseling services will be available throughout the weekend. I encourage students, staff, alumni and members of the community to take advantage of these resources," Blake said. 

Students have been released for the day as police continue their investigation. The junior prom scheduled for Friday has been postponed.

The mood was somber this afternoon at Vazzano’s, where the junior prom was supposed to be held tonight, and the decorations are down.  

“There's no words to describe how we feel,” Eileen Prezioso, of Vazzano's, said. “It's awful.”

Feser said counselors are being made available to members of the school community. 


Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Facebook

3-Year-Old Seriously Injured by Falling Tree Branch


A 3-year-old is in serious condition after she was struck by a tree branch in Voluntown on Friday, according to fire officials.

Authorities believe the branch had broken during a wind storm and was hanging loose from the tree until it snapped off and fell on the child. She was playing outside on her birthday when it happened, firefighters said.

Deputy Fire Chief John Gileau said the child was “banged up very, very badly” but did not have an update on her condition.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Route 44 in Colebrook Reopens After Crash


Route 44 has reopened in Colebrook following an early morning crash, police said.

The road was closed for hours in the area of Flagg Hill Road.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates. 

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

March for Babies Comes to East Hartford and New Haven


Thousands headed to East Hartford and New Haven this morning to suppport healthy babies in the nation’s oldest walk fundraiser, the March of Dimes March for Babies.

Registration began at 9 a.m. at Rentschler Field, 615 Silver Lane in East Hartford and Lighthouse Point Park, 2 Lighthouse Road in New Haven. The walks began at 10 a.m.

The inaugural Run for Babies took place prior to the walk at Rentschler. Registration opened at 7 a.m. and the run kicked off at 8 a.m.

The March of Dimes said 4,000 walkers and 150 runners turned out in East Hartford and more than 1,000 walkers headed to New Haven.

The runners in East Hartford raised nearly $300,000, according to a release from the March of Dimes.

NBC Connecticut’s own Bob Maxon emceed the walk in East Hartford.

The March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization that works to promote the health of babies through research, education and vaccines.

More information is available online at marchofdimes.com and nacersano.org.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Stonington High School Student Struck, Killed by Amtrak Train


Stonington police are investigating after an Amtrak train struck and killed an 18-year-old Stonington high school student on the tracks Friday night.

The victim has been identified as Megan Briggs, of the Pawcatuck section of Stonington. Police said she was struck near the Palmer Street Crossing in Pawcatuck just after 9:15 p.m. Friday.

No additional information was immediately available.

Authorities are investigating.

Milford Play Production to Honor Stabbing Victim


Milford’s Jonathan Law High School was struck by tragedy, but the show must go on.

A week after 16-year-old Maren Sanchez was stabbed to death in the hallway, the school drama club – of which Sanchez was a part – will perform “Little Shop of Horrors” as planned.

The production will be held in Sanchez’s honor, according to drama department head Michael Mele.

Sanchez was a member of the drama ensemble and had volunteered to take on the role of pupeteering the plant at the center of the show, Mele said.

The group, still reeling from Sanchez’s death, has yet to decide who will take over for her, but Mele said production companies in New York City have reached out to the school to offer assistance.

In light of the tragedy, the group is changing the show’s original logo, which depicts letters written in blood, and will revise a few lines in the script referencing blood and violence.

The show will be held Friday, May 2 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 3 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. General admission and student tickets are $10 apiece. Tickets for senior citizens cost $5. Mele said he hopes the community will come out to show support.

The drama club will also remember Sanchez with a Beatles tribute show on May 17. Proceeds will be donated to a fun set up in Sanchez's honor, Mele said.

Community members will honor Sanchez at a vigil Monday night. Classes at Jonathan Law High School have been canceled for tomorrow.

Man With Headphones Killed by Train


A man is dead after he was hit by an Amtrak train in Midtown, according to the San Diego Police.

The 24-year-old man was struck near Pacific Highway and W. Washington Street around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Police said the victim was wearing headphones and looking at some kind of handheld device, so the incident appears to be accidental.

Witness Reno Torres was sitting in his car, waiting for the trains to go by when he saw the whole thing.

He told NBC 7 the man was just getting off the trolley. The railroad crossing barriers were down and warning lights were flashing on the street, but there is no barrier separating the trolley tracks from the train tracks.

Just as the man stepped on the tracks, a train approached. Torres said he tried to roll down his window to yell at the man, but it was too late.

The pedestrian was hit by the train, his body flying 50 to 60 feet from the initial impact site, the witness said.

Torres has seen a lot of things while serving in the military on deployment in Iraq, but he said this man's death is the worst thing he's ever seen. 

"I'm very distraught. This was very distrubing to see. A young man lost his life. I can only imagine what his family will go through when they find out," said Torres.

Emergency crews pronounced the man dead at the scene. 

The northbound COASTER train 689 has been cancelled, according to the North County Transit Twitter page. 

Photo Credit: Vanessa Herrera

42 Shot in Chicago Over Weekend


At least 42 people have been shot, five of them fatally, in a spate of violence across Chicago since Friday.

The latest homicide took place around 12:25 a.m. Sunday in the 3500 block of West Fullerton Avenue in the Logan Square neighborhood.

A 21-year-old woman was in the back seat of a vehicle driving eastbound on Fullerton when a group of men standing on the sidewalk shouted gang slogans and opened fire on the car.

The woman was transported to Norwegian American Hospital with wounds to the left side of her head and was later pronounced dead, according to authorities.

On Saturday, a 17-year-old boy was fatally shot when a man dressed in all black approached him in the 5500 block of West North Avenue and fired at him from behind. The teen was pronounced dead at the scene.

Less than an hour earlier, a 22-year-old man was fatally shot in the chest in the 5400 block of South Winchester Avenue in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

Police said the man was pronounced dead at the scene and a 19-year-old woman who was shot in the leg was taken in stable condition to Mount Sinai Hospital.

The two were shot when someone fired into a home from outside, striking them both.

Police are conducting a homicide investigation.

On Friday, a 32-year-old woman was fatally shot in her driveway in the 1300 block of West 116th Street as she returned home from an anti-violence fundraiser.

Officers reported hearing shots fired around 10:30 p.m. and the woman, identified as Leonore Draper, was found in her car with wounds to her arm and chest. She was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead.

Earlier Friday, an off-duty police officer shot his neighbors, one of them fatally, after one neighbor shot and injured the officer’s wife in an argument that stemmed from a long-running feud between the two couples.

Ten people were injured in overnight shootings Sunday.

  • Around 1:20 p.m. Sunday police said a 17-year-old man was shot in the lower right leg in the 1200 block of West 113th Street. He was taken in stable condition to MetroSouth Medical Center in stable condition. Details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available
  • Just before 1 p.m. Sunday,  a 21-year-old man was shot in the 200 block of West 111th Street. The man suffered a gunshot wound to the middle of the back and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in stable condition.
  • A 23-year-old woman shot around 6 a.m. in the 4700 block of South Loomis Boulevard. Police did not have any further details about how the woman was shot, but said she suffered two wounds to the thigh and was in stable condition at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center.
  • Around 3:20 a.m. a 21-year-old man was shot while standing on a sidewalk in the 4700 block of North Drake Avenue in the Albany Park neighborhood. Police said a silver sedan drove by and fired shots at the man, who was transported to Swedish Covenant Hospital by someone with a wound to his left shin.
  • Less than two hours earlier, two 21-year-old men were shot in the 2500 block of West Division Street. The two were on a sidewalk when a large group of men approached on foot and someone in the group fired at the them, police said. One victim was shot in the left shoulder and taken to John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital of Cook County in stable condition. The other victim was taken to Norwegian American Hospital with a wound to the right foot and was expected to be treated and released.
  • Around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, a 38-year-old woman was shot while sitting in a parked car in the 10000 block of South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, officials said. The woman told police a silver sedan drove by and fired shots at the vehicle she was in. She suffered a graze wound to the left shoulder and refused treatment, police said.
  • About 40 minutes earlier, a 24-year-old man was shot while driving near West 32nd Street and South Racine Avenue. The man was stopped at a stop sign when a man fired at him from the sidewalk. The victim drove himself to Stroger Hospital in stable condition with a wound to the right forearm, police said.
  • Just before 9:30 p.m., a 16-year-old boy was shot in the 500 block of East 47th Street in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood. The teen was walking on the sidewalk when two men exited a vehicle and fired shots at him. The teen was taken to Mercy Hospital with a wound to his left foot.
  • Around 4:30 p.m., a 36-year-old man was shot while standing on the 7900 block of South Vernon Avenue. The man said he heard shots and felt pain. He suffered wounds to his wrist and hip and was listed in good condition at Jackson Park Hospital, where he was expected to be treated and released.

At least 24 others were shot within 16 hours across Chicago.


Early Morning Shooting Leaves New Haven Man in Critical Condition


A 41-year-old New Haven man is in critical condition after he was shot several times on Davenport Avenue early Sunday morning, police said.

Officers responded to 260 Davenport Avenue in New Haven around 3:30 a.m. Sunday. They arrived to find 41-year-old Courtney Malcom suffering gunshot wounds to the abdomen, legs, arm and foot.

He told authorities he had been robbed and that the shooter confronted him outside the building, police said.

Malcom was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he’s listed in critical condition.

Police are investigating to determine whether the shooting was related to an illegal after-hours club operating at that location.

Authorities are following several leads and are searching for a possible subject, described as a light-complexioned young black man with a tall, thin build. Police said he was wearing brown cargo pants and armed with a black pistol. He reportedly fled the scene on foot.

Anyone with information is urged to contact New Haven police detectives at 203-946-6304.

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Clippers Owner Will Not Be Honored at Gala: NAACP


The interim president of the NAACP said during NBC’s "Meet the Press" on Sunday that embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling would not be honored at an awards gala in Los Angeles next month.

Sterling, who allegedly told his girlfriend that he didn’t want her to “broadcast” that she associates with African Americans, was set to be awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP on May 15.

Lorraine Miller, the interim president of the NAACP, said Sunday that he would not be receiving the honor.

“He is not receiving a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP that is coming up in the next few weeks," Miller said.

Miller also called for a previous award given to Sterling to be rescinded in a statement released Sunday.

"The remarks attributed to Mr. Sterling are outrageous and remind us that racism is alive and well at every socioeconomic level. With the election of President Obama, many were sold the idea that the United States would be instantly transformed into a post racial society and racism would be eviscerated. People who bought that idea were sold wolf tickets," she said.

"As a nation, we must ask ourselves if we are living up to the obligations of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Constitutional that require equality in opportunity for all people regardless of the color of their skin. If we cannot answer in the affirmative, we must redouble our efforts to ensure this goal is reached," Miller added.

In audio-tapes obtained by TMZ, a man who is allegedly Sterling tells his girlfriend that he doesn’t want her to be seen in public with African Americans. NBC News has not been able to authenticate the audio-tapes.

The comments were made after Sterling’s girlfriend posted a photo with Magic Johnson on her Instagram account, TMZ reported.

“Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” the man says in the recording.

“You can do anything, but don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see,” he adds. “And don’t bring him to my games.”

Miller’s comments on "Meet the Press" come after a flurry of responses to the allegations, including statements by politicians and NBA officials.

"The owner is reported to have said some incredibly offensive, racist statements that were published,” President Barack Obama told a group of people during a news conference in Malaysia. “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything. You just let them talk, and that’s what happened here."

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released a statement condemning the comments attributed to the Clippers' owner.

"These statements are offensive and despicable and have no place in Los Angeles," Garcetti said. "I urge the NBA to act swiftly. L.A. fans deserve and demand better."

Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price said in a statement Saturday that business owners should be held accountable by the same standards as athletes and elected officials.

"It is incredibly disappointing to see someone who is leading a nationally recognized brand, express this kind of ignorance and hatred. Unfortunately this is another example of why we must continue to fight racism everywhere," Price said.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he hopes to have an investigation into the allegations wrapped up in the next few days.

"The audio recording posted by TMZ is truly offensive and disturbing and we intend to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible," Silver said.

Clippers president Andy Roeser released a statement Saturday that suggested that the woman who is believed to have released the tapes to TMZ is currently involved in a lawsuit with Sterling.

"We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered. We do know that the woman on the tape -- who we believe released it to TMZ -- is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would 'get even,'" Roeser said.

The woman, V. Stiviano, is challenging the case.

Roeser added in his statement that Sterling was hurt by the allegations made against him.

"Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him--both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter," he said.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

21-Year-Old Killed in Crash on Route 66 in Portland


A 21-year-old woman from East Hampton died Sunday after her car struck a utility pole on Route 66 in Portland, according to police.

Jennifer Wall was killed when her car smashed into a pole near the intersection of Route 66 and Payne Boulevard, police said. The crash happened around 5:15 a.m. Sunday.

Route 66 was closed for several hours between Middle Haddam Road and Cobalt Road but has since reopened.

No additional information was immediately available.

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Milford Community Continues to Mourn


The Milford, Conn., community continues to come to grips with the tragedy at Jonathan Law High School.

Sixteen-year-old Maren Sanchez, a junior, was stabbed to death Friday morning in the school by a classmate. It was the day of the prom, and Sanchez was crowned prom queen hours after she died.

Classes are canceled Monday, according to parents who said they were notified via phone and email, and the school newspaper, which tweeted updates.

A vigil is planned for Monday evening at the football field, and both the softball and tennis home games will reportedly pay a tribute to Sanchez.

Students mourning the loss of Sanchez returned to the high school on Saturday for comfort and counseling.

"We're all very much connected, so this hurts. It hurts," said Jonathan Law High School parent Lucy Ferrara.

As night fell Saturday, the memorial outside the school continued to grow. Grieving friends and community members left flowers, balloons, candles and mememtos for Sanchez.

Mourners held each other close with some breaking down after seeing the memorial. All of them are trying to find some way to come to terms with such a loss. 

"Today is kind of hitting me because yesterday it was, you knew it happened, but you didn't know what to think about it because it's not something that happens every day and not something that you're ready for," said Kassandra Sebas, a friend of Sanchez's.

The suspect has not been identified due to his age. According to his attorney, Rich Meehan, the suspect is currently under psychiatric evaluation and a 15-day emergency commitment at a medical facility.

"We intend to waive the detention hearing and I expect that the matter will probably be continued until the emergency commitment expires," Meehan said Saturday, regarding the arraignment.

Meehan said the suspect will be charged as an adult.

A spokesperson for the suspect's family told NBC Connecticut their thoughts are with the victim and her family and that they'll release a statement after the arraignment on Monday.
Close family friends said the 16-year-old suspect is a good kid from a great family.
"I was pretty good friends with the kid," said sophomore Joe Coury. "He was on the football team. We talked a lot, and it's kind of shocking knowing one of your good friends did something bad like that."
Some students say the attack took place because Sanchez would not go to prom with the suspect. Police are not revealing a motive at this time and say the investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, a community continues to grieve for Maren Sanchez.
"It's a hard time. It's a hard time, but we're just going to stand strong and get through it," said Ferrara.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Stowaway's Dad Will Fly To Hawaii


The father of the Santa Clara teen stowaway, whose 5 1/2 hour journey inside a Boeing 767 wheel well captured the world's attention, said Sunday that he will fly to Hawaii to bring his son home.

The father identified the teen as Yahya Abdi. Yahya survived the flight from San Jose Mineta International Airport to Hawaii last Sunday despite high altitudes, low oxygen and freezing temperatures.

“My name is Abdulahi Yusuf and I am Yahya's father," a statement from Yusuf said. "Our family was deeply concerned when my son went missing, and we were relieved to hear of his safety considering the circumstances of his trip."

The statement was delivered on behalf of Yusuf by Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"My son, like many immigrant children, is struggling adjusting to life in this country," the statement said. "Our situation was aggravated by our displacement in Africa for many years after fleeing our home country of Somalia because of war conditions. As a result, my son was not able to receive any formal education before we immigrated to the United States. Yahya is a good kid who I love dearly."

Yusuf said that he plans to fly to Hawaii soon to be reunited with his son.

[I] "am excited to bring him back home to his family in California," he said in the statement. "We thank everybody for their concern and support, and ask that people continue to respect our privacy during this incredibly difficult time.”

Abdi told Voice of America in an earlier interview that his son always talked about going back to Africa, where his grandparents still lived.

The teen's mother Ubah Mohamed Abdullahi told VOA that her son had recently found out that she was alive after being informed by his father she had died.

"I was told that he did this because of me," she told VOA. "I know his mentality. You know our kids. He was the smartest of them (the kids). I know how he could react."

Abdullahi is divorced from Abdi. The boy lives with his father, a cab driver, in Santa Clara.






Photo Credit: AP

Rep. Grimm Surrenders to FBI


New York Rep. Michael Grimm surrendered to the FBI Monday morning and was arrested on federal charges, including tax fraud and mail fraud, for allegedly concealing more than $1 million in sales and wages at a Manhattan restaurant he owned before he was elected to Congress.
Grimm was charged Monday in a 20-count indictment that accuses him of under-reporting the payroll and earnings of the Upper East Side restaurant, Healthalicious, which he ran from 2007 to 2010. He pleaded not guilty in federal court and was released on bond.
"Michael Grimm never met a tax he didn't lie to evade," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said.
Grimm, a Republican, said he was being wrongly accused and said he had no plans to step down.
"I'm a moral man, a man of integrity, and I also know I have more service and leadership to provide this country," he said.
Prosecutors say Grimm employed a number of immigrant workers who did not have legal status to work in the U.S., and paid them in cash -- wages that were not reported to the government. He also allegedly "substantially under-reported" the restaurant's gross receipts, lowering its taxes.
Grimm sold his stake in the restaurant before running for office in 2010. The former FBI agent and U.S. Marine is serving his second term representing Staten Island, and is running for re-election this year.

Grimm's lawyer, William McGinley, suggested last week the charges were "politically driven."

"We are disappointed by the government's decision, but hardly surprised. From the beginning, the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth," McGinley said. "Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing. When the dust settles, he will be vindicated."

One of Grimm's fundraisers was arrested earlier this year by the FBI and is accused of using straw donors to funnel more than $10,000 into his campaign. Grimm has not been accused of any wrongdoing in that case, which is still under investigation.

In January, Grimm erupted at a local TV reporter on camera and threatened that he would  "break you in half, like a boy" after the State of the Union address when he was asked about the federal investigation into his campaign finances.

He later apologized.

Photo Credit: Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA

New Haven Parishioners Celebrate the Canonizations of Two Popes


People in Connecticut are celebrating the canonizations in the presence of a relic of St. John Paul II on display in New Haven.
With pride and joy hundreds marched down State Street in celebration of the canonization of now St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II. Many wore traditional Polish clothing and waved Poland's flag following behind a relic from someone once known as the "People's Pope."
"It's very exciting. Words can't even express how I feel just to know someone in my lifetime is a saint," said Hamden resident Annette Gwardyak.
Many in the area feel a close connection to St. John Paul II. Their celebration on Sunday began with a prayer service at St. Stanislaus Church, a traditional Polish church.
"To see him rise to the papacy to a position of leadership that high in the world was, in their minds, one of their own achieving something very special, and today he achieved the ultimate," said Peter Sonski, Education, Outreach, & Visitor Services Manager for the Knights of Columbus Museum.
At the forefront of the celebration was a relic from St. John Paul II, a piece of the cassock he wore the day of the assassination attempt against him back in 1981.
Parishioners followed the relic to the Knights of Columbus Museum and lined up inside to honor it. The moment brought them closer to a saint and with Catholics all over the world.
"It's great to be a part of a celebration that is universal, a celebration that of course began in Rome but has spread out throughout all parts of the world," said Sonski.
"He was from Poland, but he was everybody's Pope. And everybody loved him," said Gwardyak.
The museum will have the relic available for veneration on Monday and Tuesday.
To find out more about the events taking place to honor St. John Paul II, go here: www.kofcmuseum.org/

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

2 Planes Collide in San Francisco


Search crews are looking for a pilot after two small planes crashed in the air in the North Bay Sunday afternoon, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said a Cessna 210 and Hawker Sea Fury TMK 20 collided in midair about one mile north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. One plane and its pilot landed safely in Ione, Calif. around 4:45 p.m. at the Eagle's Nest Airport more than 100 miles away, but the Cessna crashed into the San Pablo Bay and that pilot remains missing.

"Right in the channel right here, it’s about 40 feet," Coast Guard Lieutenant Jeannie Crump said. "That’s the largest depth right here, but it goes to about 5 feet depending on where the plane went down."

Witnesses who heard the crash said it happened about three miles off the shore of the San Pablo Yacht Harbor.

"My wife came running and told me that two planes had just hit each other," Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor owner Eric Johnson said. "That an old World War II airplane and a Cessna had collided. Cessna lost a wing and spiraled into the water and hit hard."

The Coast Guard, along with support from other government agencies, has crews in the water and in the air searching. Several boats and three helicopters are still searching and the Coast Guard said they will continue overnight.

Debris has only been spotted so far in the water, but no people yet, the Coast Guard said.

"We’ve seen quite a bit of aircraft debris in the water here," Crump said. "We have not seen any persons in the water, and we have one person reported being on the plane that went down."

Johnson, who lives in the Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor, said a neighbor immediately went out on a boat to see if he could help.

"Any time something like this happens in the Marina, people jump to help," he said. "Whatever is running, they grab and they go, and he was the nearest vessel."

"Joe said he saw oil and fuel and debris on the top of the water," Johnson added. "No contact with any large debris or couldn’t see the airplane, no bodies."

Each aircraft just had its pilot on board. The Hawker pilot was reportedly uninjured.

Both planes in the collision were involved in the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show Sunday at Half Moon Bay Airport before the crash, according to a spokesman for the show. The planes were on their way back to Ione Airport after the event had ended, and the two pilots knew each other.

The spokesman for the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show issued the following statement:

"Everyone associated with the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show is terribly saddened by this news, and we hope and pray the missing plane and survivors are found."

The FAA and NTSB is investigating the accident, and the identities of pilots have not been released.

Prison Escapee Captured Nude in Tx.


The search is over for a prison escapee with ties to North Texas.

Kendrick Rishard Davis, 34, escaped from the Kyle Correctional Center just after 2 p.m. Saturday. He was captured sometime around 8 p.m.

KXAN-TV reports officers dragged Davis out of a wooded area several hundred yards from the correctional facility. He was naked except for the white socks he was still wearing.

Officers saw Davis jump a fence but could not catch him. At the time authorities said he was wearing boxer briefs and only one shoe.

The Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter searched for him by air while a tracking dog was used on the ground, according to Jerry Hendrix with the City of Kyle.

Davis was convicted in 1996 of two counts of aggravated robbery in Dallas County. He was sentenced to 25 years.

The privately-run minimum security facility is located between Austin and San Marcos.

Photo Credit: KXAN-TV
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