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Drama Club Dedicates Show to Maren Sanchez


The drama club at Jonathan Law High School in Milford dedicated their performance on Friday to Maren Sanchez, their classmate killed at the school a week ago.

The club put on its first performance of "Little Shop of Horrors," a show in which Sanchez was to play a key role. She was supposed to be the puppeteer manning the costume for Audrey II, the blood-thirsty plant at the center of the musical comedy's plot.

Michael Mele, the head of the drama department, said the 16-year-old Sanchez loved to perform and he believes she would want the show to go on.

"There was something about her. She just had this natural knack of making the plant move and becoming the puppet, and she enjoyed doing it, which is really important," Mele said. "She had a lot of fun. She just loved being there. We loved every minute we had with her."

Sanchez was stabbed in a hallway at Jonathan Law last Friday and died at the hospital a short time later. Christopher Plaskon, a 16-year-old classmate, has been charged with Sanchez's murder.

Mele said he decided to edit some of the show's lines referencing blood and violence. Some of the costumes were redesigned to include the color purple, which was Sanchez's favorite color.

The most emotional part of the night may come during the curtain call. After the cast members take their bows, they will move away from the center of the stage where a special purple light will shine. Part of The Beatles' "In My Life" will be played to honor Sanchez, before the curtains close.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

History of NYC Subway Derailments


A Manhattan-bound F train with 1,000 people on board derailed Friday morning in Queens, injuring at least 19 people.

Here is a look at past derailments in the 110-year-old subway system. 

May 29, 2013: A southbound 1 train derailed near 125th Street during the evening rush hour with 424 people on board. No one was hurt. Passengers were helped onto a rescue train that was then taken to the station.

Aug. 3, 2011: A 6 train derailed near 125th Street; no one was hurt.

Feb. 13, 2009: A southbound D Train derailed near the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. The train was evacuated, but no one was hurt.

May 4, 2008: A Brooklyn-bound N train derailed in midtown near the 57th Street/Seventh Avenue station, no one was hurt.

June 21, 2000: A southbound B train derailed just after leaving the DeKalb station in Brooklyn, injuring more than 80 people. Officials said the third car jumped off the track, pulling the second car along.

April 12, 2000: Nine people had minor injuries when a northbound 5 train derailed near 68th Street.

July 14, 1997: The last car of a southbound 2 train derailed near Franklin Avenue, injuring four people.

July 3, 1997: A Queens-bound A train derailed in Harlem, near the 135th Street station. Fifteen people were hurt.

Aug. 13, 1996: A Brooklyn-bound D train derailed as it left the DeKalb station, and no one was hurt.

Aug. 15, 1994: A southbound B train derailed in Brooklyn as it approached the Ninth Avenue station, injuring 11 people.

Aug. 28, 1991: Five people were killed and and more than 200 were injured when a 4 train came off the tracks at Union Square. The motorman was drunk at the time of the crash and was later convicted of manslaughter.

April 25, 1986: A motorman died after he had a heart attack and his IND train derailed in Queens. No passengers were on the train.



Photo Credit: Keisha Katz

Groundbreaking for Coast Guard Museum Held Friday


Governor Dannel Malloy, New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, local dignitaries and the leadership of the US Coast Guard were all smiles and shovels today at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the National Coast Guard Museum, along the waterfront in New London.

Construction of the museum, a 4-story 54,000 square foot structure, is expected to begin later this year. 

Fundraising for the $80 million project is on-going but the state has already committed $20 million and there is hope the federal government will match it.

In addition to the pomp and circumstance, Mayor Finizio officially turned the deed for the property over to the Coast Guard in a ceremony prior to the groundbreaking.  But, he admits, the citing will be getting a great deal in return.

"This is a transformative project for the city. To bring half a million to a million people a year into our downtown will be something that New London couldn't even begin to imagine", Finizio says.

Admiral Robt. J. Papp, the Commodore of the Coast Guard says the museum will serve not only to inspire future members of the USCG, but to memorialize the Guardsmen of the past. 

"To be able to bring this museum to fruition and have a small part played in it is just a great honor for me", Papp says.  

The National Coast Guard Museum is expected to open in the spring of 2017.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

81 Pounds of Pot in Woman's Luggage


Transportation Security Administration agents at Oakland International Airport found 81 pounds of marijuana inside a passenger’s checked suitcases.

TSA officials said Friday morning the luggage belonged to a 26-year-old woman traveling to Jackson, Mississippi.

The passenger was arrested by Alameda County Sheriff's Office deputies summoned to the airport by TSA agents. The deputies also seized three suitcases full of marijuana.

Officially, the TSA says it was a random search that turned up the vacuum-packed bricks of marijuana, but Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said agents probably smelled something suspicious.

“As most people may know, it’s not hard to smell the odor of marijuana,” Kelly said. “It’s very hard to conceal that odor.”

Investigators believe the passenger intended to cash in upon arrival in Mississippi.

“We in California are known for having high quality marijuana, and lots of it,” Kelly said. “So it’s basically being exported out of our state, we believe, to Mississippi, where it’s probably being sold at a much higher value.”

Officials said the marijuana seized at the airport may be worth as much as $500,000 in Mississippi.

While the passenger in this case is under arrest, the TSA says passengers who fly with much smaller amounts of marijuana don’t typically go to jail, as long as they have a medical marijuana card.

“Normally, if it’s an allowable amount of marijuana, when the police officers respond, they just allow the passenger to go on and travel,” TSA spokesperson Nico Melendez said.

This time police canceled the trip.

“It’s one of the larger drug busts that I recall in my 12 years with the TSA,” Melendez said.

Kelly said investigators are hoping to learn who the woman was working with and whether she has taken this kind of “business trip” before.   

Photo Credit: Transportation Security Administration

New Haven Man in Critical Condition After Shooting


A man is in critical condition after being shot on Quinnipiac Avenue in New Haven.

The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Georgetown apartments in Fair Haven Heights, according to police.

Authorities said 25-year-old Darryl Tyson, of New Haven, was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information regarding this crime or who may have witnessed the shooting is urged to call detectives at 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

New Information on Man Charged With Holding Sister Captive


New and disturbing information has been released about the man accused of keeping his 56-year-old sister locked in a Connecticut bedroom for several years in "dungeon"-like conditions, covered in feces and urine.

Police say her brother Arthur Gauvin forced her to live that way for years. He is now behind bars and facing criminal charges.

Seymour police describe conditions inside the home in question on Eleanor Drive as "horrendous." 

Last week police showed up for a welfare check and say they found a 56-year-old woman locked up in a bedroom that looked similar to a dungeon, but that was just the beginning. 

“It’s nothing ever I would have ever expected especially in a neighborhood like this,” said neighbor Ryan Flaherty.

Police say her brother Arthur Gauvin was supposed to be her caretaker, but now he’s accused of torturing her inside this place for years. 

A new incident report shows she was lying on a bed covered in filth, feces and urine, with only a bucket to use as a toilet. The only window in the room was blacked out and bolted so she couldn’t escape. She couldn’t open the door either, which was locked from the outside.

According to the court documents, Gauvin told investigators he locked her up so his dog wouldn't eat her food. 

Seymour police said the victim's daughter was also living at the home with her 6-year-old child and never reported the alleged abuse.

According to the report, when police interviewed the daughter, she admitted she expressed concerns to Gauvin about her aunt’s condition, but didn’t say anything because he allegedly threatened her and told her to keep quiet.

The daughter also said she and her daughter needed a place to live.

Police said they were still investigating and could make more arrests in the case. Officials say the victim is now in the custody of the Dept. of Children and Families.


Fisher Cat Spotted in Madison


A vicious visitor has neighbors concerned in Madison. A family spotted a fisher cat in their front yard and now they’re warning people to protect their pets. 

"It was not a UFO. It was not a sasquatch," said Michael Kuszpa.

He captured video of the "fisher cat" running through his front lawn Friday morning.

"I noticed this big weasel crossed with a wolverine and I knew it was a fisher cat, " said Kuszpa.

He saw it walking in his front yard in the middle of the day. After the animal made its way under the Kuszpa's car it ran off into the woods, started digging for something and bolted into his neighbors property.

"Usually they're by people that are out in the wildlife hiking that even to find their tracks is something unique," Kuszpa added.

It was unique for this New Haven science teacher to see but also worrisome because of the animal's hunting habits.

"They can consume people's pets, possibly attack a small child. I think it's highly unlikely but it's a possibility," he said.

The Department of Environmental and Energy Protection says these fishers are everywhere. They're part of the weasel family and because they tend to travel in open areas and be nocturnal they're rarely seen by humans until Kuszpa took the video Friday morning.

DEEP urges people not to leave small pets outside unattended because even if a fisher doesn't get them, a coyote might.

While Kuszpa knows there's not much officials can do, he wants the public to know as he looked on to see his two girls, Alexis and Nicole, and two Labradors run in the front yard.

Officials from DEEP also say it's unlikely "fisher cats" will bother humans. Officials recommend removing any food sources such as garbage cans from your property.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

SJSU Students Expelled Over Bullying Incident


San Jose State University administrators have expelled three of the four students accused of bullying their black roommate, Judge LaDoris Cordell said.

The Mercury News reports the students expelled by the university are Logan Beaschler, Colin Warren and a juvenile. The university found that they violated school rules and put the victim's safety in jeopardy.

The fourth student, Joseph Bomgardner, was suspended for one year. He also faces other sanctions and must take five counseling sessions.

All four white students are accused of putting a u-shaped bike lock around their roommate's neck and taunting him because of the color of his skin.

The student who was bullied has filed a $5 million lawsuit against San Jose State.

The accused bullies now face hate crime and battery charges.

The university has created a web page dedicated to the hate crimes, called "Toward a More Welcoming Community."

NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Damian Trujillo

Plenty of Heart at Annual Walk in West Haven


It was a sea of red at the annual Heart Walk at Savin Rock Park in West Haven on Saturday. More than 3,000 walkers headed to the start line with the goal of putting an end to stroke and heart disease.

Together, they helped raise more than $325,000 for the American Heart Association.

In the crowd were a number of survivors wearing red capes with the words “Heart Hero” on the back.

One of the smallest capes was worn by 18-month-old Emma Redente, of East Haven, who has been diagnosed with congenital heart defects. She was given a 20 percent chance of surviving delivery.

“She wasn’t going to make it,” said her mother, Jennifer Redente. “She shouldn’t be here today, but she is and we couldn’t be more blessed.”

Redente is a walking miracle, which is why her family found it important to take part in the Heart Walk. They know heart disease is the leading killer in the United States and are hoping to find a way to change the statistics.

“We were given our miracle and we want to fight and give back to those who aren’t as lucky as we are,” Redente said.

A lot of the money raised will stay in the community, with a number of research grants awarded to Yale University and Yale University School of Medicine.

“It’s not only treat the people with heart disease, but try to keep people from getting heart disease as well,” said Chris O’Connor, of the Yale-New Haven Health System.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Teen Stowaway Has Left Hawaii, Officials Say


The teen stowaway, whose 51/2-hour journey from San Jose, Calif., to Maui in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet captured the world's attention, has left Hawaii, officials said.

A statement from the Hawaii Department of Human Services late Friday night said that the teen is "safe and no longer in Hawaii." The department said that it has "no further involvement in the case."

Santa Clara resident Yahya Abdi scaled the fence at San Jose Airport on April 20, stowing away in a Boeing 767's wheel, surviving high altitudes, low oxygen and freezing temperatures.

Yahya's father Abdilahi Yusuf arrived in Hawaii last week to meet his son. Sources told the San Jose Mercury News that Hawaii social service agency officials have denied the father Yusuf access to his son.

According to media reports, Yahya was trying to go to Africa to see his mother, who lives in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.


Photo Credit: AP

Family of Maren Sanchez Thanks Community for Support


The family of Maren Sanchez, the 16-year-old Milford student stabbed to death at school, has released a touching statement thanking community members for their kindness and support as they come to grips with the loss of their loved one.

“Our hearts are forever broken by the loss of our Maren. The outpouring of compassion, support, and love from the community she touched during her life and in her passing has moved us deeply and has offered our family great comfort and solace during this difficult time,” the statement begins.

It continues as follows:

“We wish to thank each and every one of you for your time, effort, resources, comfort and other support.

“To the students, parents, staff and faculty of Jonathan Law High School and the Milford Board of Education, the Milford Police Department, the Fairfield Police Department, State of Connecticut and Town of Milford officials, the Cody-White Funeral Home, and the Knights of Columbus of Milford, we are grateful. To the countless other businesses and individuals, who donated their time and resources, and every person, many completely unknown to us, who have reached out to offer their comfort and other support to us, we thank you all. We wish that we could thank each of you individually.

“Thank you also for your continued respect of our privacy. We ask that you keep us in your prayers during this time as we continue to mourn our loss.”

Sanchez died after she was stabbed in a school stairwell April 25. Her wake was held May 2, one week after she died.

Her alleged attacker, a classmate, underwent an emergency medical commitment at a local facility and made his first court appearance yesterday. He’s charged with murder.

This weekend, Jonathan Law students remember Sanchez with a drama club performance of “Little Shop of Horrors,” in which she had a major role.

A memorial fund has been created to start a scholarship in Sanchez’ honor.

Photo Credit: Facebook

U.S. Marine Held in Mexican Prison on Weapons Charge


Congressional leaders, including U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, are pushing for the release of a U.S. Marine veteran who was detained in Mexico last month for bringing outlawed weapons into the country.

Marine Reservist Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, of Weston, Fla., was arrested April 1 after driving his black Ford pickup into Tijuana at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, near south San Diego.

Tahmooressi, who was in possession of three U.S.-registered firearms, got lost near the border after dark and took a wrong turn into Mexico, his family said.

Now Tahmooressi, who was in the San Diego area to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, is shackled to a cot with his limbs restrained following an escape attempt at the La Mesa penitentiary, his mother, Jill Tahmooressi, told NBC Miami.

On Friday, Congressman Hunter sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking the State Department to “secure Andrew’s release,” saying it’s “critical” that the Marine be released as soon as possible.

"Andrew is neither a criminal nor a weapons trafficker, and his incarceration is an extraordinarily unfortunate occurrence," Hunter writes.

He described how Tahmooressi reportedly suffered a knife wound to the neck and was scheduled for transfer to a maximum security facility about 40 miles outside Tijuana. The congressman also explains how Tahmooressi has served three combat tours in Afghanistan.

To date, U.S. officials have visited Tahmooressi at least nine times since his arrest.

His trial is expected to begin on May 28. In the meantime, a WhiteHouse.gov petition has been posted to demand his release and a Facebook page -- "Free USMC Sgt Tahmooressi from Mexican Jail" -- has also been set up to support the soldier.

His mother said the wait for her son’s release has been agonizing.

"I've gotta be big and brave for Andrew's sake," said Jill Tahmooressi. "You know that expression that you leave no man behind."

The mother is begging anyone and everyone to take a moment to sign the White House petition this month so her son can finally come home.

"I'm pleading to the American public, to sign the White House petition; so that I can get that 100,000 signatures this month of May," she said.

Jill was able to visit her son at the prison on April 14.

The worst night for Jill was about four days into her son's time in prison.

"He said, 'Mom, I'm not going to make it through the night, I'm gonna be killed tonight. Whatever you do, don't come down here to ask questions’”

San Diego-based immigration attorney Saman Nasseri said Tahmooressi’s case is a difficult one.
“Mexico has very strict laws about carrying firearms as well. We have to respect those laws going into that country,” Nasseri told NBC 7 on Friday.

The attorney said the case is even more complicated because it involves two federal governments and different law enforcement agencies.

“You’re basically asking the U.S. government to tell the Mexican government, ‘Please don’t press charges on this person even though he broke your laws,’” he explained.

And, though leaders and Tahmoressi’s family are doing all they can to set him free, Nasseri said that right now, it’s really a waiting game.

“Unfortunately, he’s just to have to wait,” said Nasseri. “A little bit more time until the U.S. government and the Mexican government can get situated with each other and a resolution can be found.”

Photo Credit: Facebook.com/freeusmctahmooressifrommexicanjail

Recovery Mission for Man Swept Away in Connecticut River


A recovery mission is underway for a man believed to have been swept away by the Connecticut River on Saturday.

According to police, a 33-year-old fisherman was trying to retrieve a set of keys out of the water when a swift current pulled him in.

Police said the man was fishing from the west shore of the river when a female dropped her keys. The victim tried to get the keys by taking off his hat and sunglasses and getting into the water.

The incident happened around 5 p.m. Saturday, according to police.

Search and Rescue teams were immediately dispatched, to the west bank of the Connecticut River, south of Adrian's landing, authorities said. The Hartford Fire Department and the Hartford Police CREST Dive Team also responded.

Witnesses observed him above water, struggling for approximately 150 yards, moving quickly south downriver until he went under, police said.

The investigation is ongoing and man's name is being with held pending family notification. Police said on Sunday that because of murky waters, a strong current and the presence of debris, they don't expect to find him today.

According to police, many portions of the Hartford River parks are currently flooded. The water level is very high in this tidal area of the river and the current is incredibly swift at this stage.

Police said the river may appear calm, but can be extremely dangerous with a powerful current.

Police urge anyone who may fish the waters of the Connecticut River from shore or vessel to always wear a flotation vest or device.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Suspected Arrest in Va. Boy's Death


Richmond, Va., police have arrested a 16-year-old and charged him with murder in the death of an 8-year-old boy.

Initially, detectives were given information that the suspect was an adult white male with scraggly facial hair, but later determined the victim had been threatened and intimidated by the suspect, who is a teenage black male. Detectives identified and located the suspect and took him for medical evaluation before being charged with the crimes.

The victim, 8-year-old Martin Cobb, was defending his 12-year-old sister from the alleged attacker, who was trying to sexually assault the girl. The suspect struck and killed Cobb on train tracks behind the children’s home.

The suspect also faces a charge of strangulation in connection with the assault on the girl.

The family told NBC News that the girl was being treated at VCU Medical Center and was feeling “ok.”

A vigil is planned for Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Abundant Life Church in Richmond.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the victim's family, via WWBT

Snapped Rail Cause of NY Derailment


The MTA said Saturday that a section of rail that snapped when a subway train derailed Friday morning had been manufactured just last November and installed only weeks ago.

The statement from transit officials came as crews worked to repair the track and remove the train after six cars derailed and injured 19 people.

The MTA said the section of rail that snapped would be sent for metallurgical testing as part of the ongoing investigation into the derailment.

Subway service on the local E and F lines, which had been suspended, resumed Saturday afternoon following the derailment Friday morning of a Manhattan-bound F train with 1,000 riders on board near Broadway and 60th Street in Woodside.

Train service on the two lines was expected to be suspended again Saturday night for further repair and cleanup work, the MTA announced.

Firefighters had to rescue hundreds of passengers, four of whom were seriously injured, out of the subway tunnel through a sidewalk grate. 

The tunnel was dark, hot and full of dust as emergency responders climbed down through a sidewalk grate to evacuate the train, leading people out in groups of 20. Firefighters and EMTs went into every car to talk to riders and keep them calm before the evacuation, which took about an hour, began, Deputy Assistant Chief James Leonard said.

Some passengers told NBC 4 New York they heard screeching and banging as the train came to a sudden halt. 

"We heard these sounds of metal clanging," one rescued rider told NBC 4 New York. "It just stopped and no one knew what it was."

Officials said the track was also damaged, and it would be several days before full service could be restored. Crews were working overnight to free the derailed train and repair the track. 

The MTA said it was not immediately clear how fast the train was going, or what the speed limit is in that area.

The E and F trains will be running in two sections Saturday, and shuttle buses would also be in opration. The 7 train was set to make all local stops in Queens. Here are the latest service advisories:

Photo Credit: MTA/Flickr

Police Investigate Fatal Shooting in Danbury


One man is dead after an overnight shooting in Danbury on Saturday.

According to police, officers were called  to a large fight around 2 a.m. near Elm and Main streets. When they arrived, they found a man lying on the ground nearby on White Street with a gunshot wound.

The victim was rushed to Danbury Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police have not released the victim's name.

Anyone who may have heard or seen anything relating to the shooting is asked to call Danbury police at 203-797-4662. All calls will be kept confidential.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

60-Year-Old Man Killed in Stonington Motorcycle Crash


Police are investigating the motorcycle crash that killed a 60-year-old Mystic man on Interstate 95 in Stonington last night.

Douglas Johnson was driving northbound on I-95 when he lost control of his motorcycle near exit 90 in Stonington. Police said the crash happened just after 5 p.m. Saturday, May 3.

Johnson’s motorcycle struck a metal guard rail near the Route 27 overpass, continued onto the bridge and struck another guard rail on the left shoulder, according to police.

Police said Johnson was thrown from his motorcycle and died of his injuries. He was wearing a helmet.

Anyone with information is urged to call State Police Trooper First Class Armando Bettini at 860-848-6500 ext. 5052.

Man's Body Pulled From Naugatuck River


Police said the body found in the Naugatuck River on Saturday appears to be that of a man who ran from police and jumped into the water Friday night.

Officers responded to South Main Street in Waterbury around 9 p.m. Friday, where a man was walking in the middle of the road, police said.

The man ran from the officer, fled down an embankment and jumped into the river in an apparent effort to get across, according to Waterbury police. The officer reportedly called to the man and asked him to get out of the water. Police said the current was strong.

Emergency responders from Waterbury and Naugatuck searched for the man Friday night and all day Saturday. Firefighters found a body that evening, and authorities believe it’s the man they were looking for, Waterbury police said.

The man has not been identified, but police said he appears to be in his 30s.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Sandy Hook Playground Vandalized


Police are investigating after a playground built to honor a Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, a victim of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was vandalized overnight.

The purple playground opened up last month as part of the Sandy Ground Project, which has been building a playground for each of the 26 shooting victims.

Writing was found scrawled on the playground sign Sunday, May 4. Police said they believe the incident happened overnight.

Ana's playground was covered in her artwork, and the ribbon cutting was held on what would have been her birthday.

Hartford police said they're investigating the vandalism and are working to find out who's behind it. 

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

UHart Student Dies of Bacterial Meningitis


A student at the University of Hartford has died of bacterial meningitis, according to university officials.

The University of Hartford sent out a letter on Saturday informing students and staff that Connecticut's Department of Public Health discovered Patrick Chittenden, who lived off campus, died Friday from bacterial meningitis.

"On behalf of the university, I again want to offer our deepest condolences to Patrick's family and friends," said Dr. J. Lee Peters, vice president of student affairs.

The entire school community remains in shock as they mourn the death of Chittenden. Friends said he was in the school's actor training program.
"He was just a wonderful guy," said friend and UHart student Alex Domini. "Our school community is the strongest and best there is, and we're all pulling for each other."

Meningitis a communicable and treatable disease spread by mucus and saliva. The university listed symptoms to look out for including high fever, severe headache, an extremely stiff neck, nausea or vomiting and a red rash.

The university is urging those who were in close contact with Chittenden and who have symptoms to immediately head to a local emergency room. Those in close contact without symptoms can receive a dose of antibiotics from the school.
"I know the majority of my class is going to take that pill because we are so close," said Domini.
As friends remember and mourn Chittenden, they hope by spreading awareness about bacterial meningitis, they can help save the life of someone else.
"We honor him every day," said Domini.
The University of Hartford said all students are required to get a bacterial meningitis vaccine, so it's likely most are already protected.

Photo Credit: Facebook
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