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Crash Closes Norton Lane in Berlin


A crash has closed Norton Lane in Berlin Friday afternoon during the 4th of July holiday.

The road was closed at Cole Lane as of 4:05 p.m.

Police, firefighters and ambulances responded.

The crash resulted in injuries, according to police, but information on the nature of the injuries and the amount of cars involved was not immediately available.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Hoax Call Triggers Emergency Response in Ellington


State police are investigating after a swatting incident in Ellington.

Police say swatting is a dangerous trend where people call in hoax incidents to trigger an emergency response. Back in April, multiple swatting incidents occured throughout the state.

According to police, they responded to a report of shots fired during a domestic incident on Brockway Road in Ellington on Friday evening. Early information said a man was barricaded inside the house at 28 Brockway Road.

Troopers left the scene when they found all occupants of the residence accounted for and uninjured. Police are now investigating the call.

State police and a tactical team were initially call in. Brockway Road was closed at the intersection of Brookfield Drive while authorities investigated.

NBC Connecticut was first at the scene and will provide updates on the investigation as they become available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Rainy Weather Soaks Holiday Campers


 Wet weather soaked beaches and campgrounds across the state this Fourth of July, but it didn’t stop some from heading outdoors.

At Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme heavy rains drenched campgrounds and flooded some of the campsites.

“It's crazy absolutely crazy we're soaked from top to bottom,” said Tashima Bowe. Getting soaked isn’t what she and her family expected on their holiday camping trip. But the rain didn’t force them out.

“I made my reservation 6 months ago I said I wasn't going to cancel it,” Bowe explained.

“We're not going to go anywhere - we're troopers,” said Sheilah Greene.

Many did take off as soon as the storm hit. “It’s not as busy as it normally is…some people pulled out,” Hope Cotter added.

Unfortunately the wet weather closed the nearby beach. “We want to do some beaching that's the one thing we couldn't do,” Tashima Bowe added.

The weather also put a damper on businesses, including Rocky Neck Inn & Suites.

“Once people knew it was going to rain they had 48 hours to cancel their reservation,” said the owner Steve Carpenteri. He told NBC Connecticut, there were a number of cancellations. He also runs the tavern next door, and that means more empty tables. “We thought we would be a little busier” Carpenteri explained. “The patio bar can't open because everyone will get wet,” he added.

The hope is that the rain lets up so this holiday weekend can be salvaged.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Grass Fire at Cali. Fireworks Show


A four-alarm grass fire erupted in Sacramento on Friday afternoon, prompting evacuations at the Cal Expo fairgrounds, where the city’s Fourth of July fireworks show is scheduled to take place Friday night.

The fire reportedly started shortly after 2 p.m. near Tribute Road and Highway 160. The grass fire was mostly extinguished by about 4:30 p.m., Cal Expo officials told The Sacramento Bee, but crews were still using extreme caution because the blaze was not completely out.

KCRA-TV reports the flames spread quickly along the banks of the American River and eventually carried over onto Cal Expo property.

Gate 12 at Cal Expo was shut down and people were evacuated from the Raging Waters waterpark, along with several other areas of the Cal Expo property.

Fire crews were dealing with erratic winds, the Sacramento Fire Department's Roberto Padilla said. Padilla said, usually, "you don't see these conditions until August or September," KCRA reported.

No injuries have been reported.

A preliminary report indicated the fire had consumed about 40 acres, KCRA reported.

Sacramento's Independence Day Celebration was scheduled to conclude with a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. at the Miller Lite Grandstand at Cal Expo. As of 5:30 p.m., the fireworks show was still tentatively scheduled to take place, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Raging Waters waterpark was evacuated due to the fire grass fire. (KCRA)

Photo Credit: KCRA

Long Lines at Pot Farmers Market


A large number of people were spending their Fourth of July in line to a unique kind of farmers market in Boyle Heights. The featured product: medical marijuana.

The lines were outside the door to the 20 to 30 medical marijuana growers inside the Boyle Heights California Heritage Market on Friday. Some people reported waiting up to an hour-and-a-half to get in.

Paizely Bradbury, the executive director of the farmers market, said she has been monitoring the line all morning long.

"I've been walking up and down the line. It's insane,” Bradbury said. “You are dealing with the growers themselves and you are going to get pretty much 70 percent off than a dispensary."

A grower, identifying himself only as Keith, said the response to the market has been tremendous so far on the first of a three-day event.

“So far this is crazy because nobody has seen the likes of this,” he said. “Neither farmers or people buying."

Membership and access to the market is free only to medical marijuana license holders, and organizers said ID’s were being checked before anyone entered.

Organizers said there is a possibility that the farmers market will be a weekly fixture if all goes well with the opening.


Investigate Beating: L.A. Activists


Local activists were calling for a federal investigation Friday after a video posted to YouTube showed a CHP officer repeatedly hitting a woman in the face on the side of a Los Angeles freeway.

The video footage, posted by David Diaz, shows the officer try to grab the woman's arm as she appears to resist near the eastbound 10 Freeway.

As he tries to gain control over the woman, he throws her to the ground. While the woman is on her back, the officer holds her down and delivers about a dozen hits to her head and upper body in about 11 seconds, according to the video.

Activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson said there was no possible justification for what he saw in the video.

“Subduing is one thing if you’re going to make a lawful arrest. There’s no question about that. You have the authority to do that,” Hutchinson said. “But a punch and a beating? I’m sorry, you’ve crossed the line.”

The activists said they believe the woman in the video may have been homeless and mentally ill.

“I represent for the women that are upset they're concerned and now they are fearful,” added activist Lita Herron. “They're actually admitting that now they're afraid to be stopped by highway patrol.”

The activists called for a meeting with the head of the CHP, and activist Pedro Baez said he was shocked because the agency has an admirable record on issues of community relations and racial profiling.

“We saw something that was just repulsive, reprehensible and totally out of character for them,” Baez said.

The agency issued an updated statement on the video Friday morning.

"The California Highway Patrol (CHP) just became aware of the video today and we are investigating the entire incident," according to the statement. "As a matter of policy, every time there is a use of force by our officers, there is a review conducted to determine whether the use of force was appropriate. That will be done in this case, however, since there is an ongoing investigation, it would be premature to comment on this specific video segment. After the investigation is completed it will be reviewed at multiple levels within the Department."

Fireworks Explosion Injures Sterling Man


A Sterling man was hospitalized after fireworks he and a friend were lighting in Plainfield exploded Thursday evening.

Damon Luberto, 34, was hit by a piece of shrapnel in the chest after bottle rockets he and his friend, Eric Bergeron, 36, of Cumberland, Rhode Island, launched in an "umbrella holder" malfunctioned and exploded as they ran for cover in a nearby treeline.

The men lit the 4-inch wick for the bottle rockets 50 yards from a home at 4 Picket Road and the explosion happened once they reached the treeline and turned around. Police and an American Legion Ambulance Crew responded at 6:38 p.m. on July 3.

Luberto was transported to William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich and treated in the intensive care for chest injuries.

Plainfield police continue to investigate the incident.

With the 4th of July holiday underway, police caution residents against lighting personal fireworks.

"The Plainfield Police Department would also like to remind members of the community that fireworks are illegal in the state of Connecticut unless under the supervision of a licensed professional," police said in the news release.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hurricane Arthur Contributes to Rainy Holiday


Following heavy rains and severe thunderstorms on Thursday, more rain is in the forecast for the 4th of July Friday and Hurricane Arthur continues to travel north along the East Coast.

The flash flood warning for New London County expired at 1:15 p.m., but there is a flood watch in effect in northern New London, Fairfield, Middlesex and New Haven counties until 10 p.m. Ocean Beach Park is closed Friday due to lightning and strong currents.

There's also a flood watch is in effect Friday until 11 p.m. for Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties, including Hartford, Windsor Locks, Union, Vernon, Putnam and Willimantic, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Arthur was downgraded to a category 1 hurricane Friday at about 9: 30 a.m. and is about 150 miles east of Connecticut, according to NBC meteorologist Monica Cryan. That's after the storm had been upgraded to a category 2 storm on Thursday evening.

Expect rain throughout the day, particularly in eastern Connecticut, lingering in parts of the state until midnight and likely clearing up in western Connecticut by 5 p.m., Cryan said. You may hear scattered rumbles of thunder.

The rainy forecast has prompted some towns to postpone fireworks and cancel 4th of July events. The Groton parade was canceled and no rain date was announced. The Cheshire fireworks have also been postponed until Saturday.

Rain and wind around the state has caused trees and wires to come down in some areas.

Litchfield County Dispatch responded to a report of a tree on wires and a possible fire on Millerton Road in Sharon late afternoon, but no other information was immediately available.

There were 550 customers without power as of 2:18 p.m. in Deep River due to reports of downed wires burning and a tree limb down on Bridge Street.

A tree fell on a utility pole near a transformer on Tryon Street in South Glastonbury late morning, bending the pole.

Hebron Avenue was closed most of Friday due to a tree down on power lines, according to State Police. The road reopened just before 4:30 p.m.

Grove Road and Garden Terrace are blocked off Friday, as of 1:33 p.m., as crews make repairs to three telephone poles snapped due to the storms overnight and high winds that also blew down trees and caused power outages. According to CL&P, 80 customers were without power in Meriden as of 4:48 p.m.

A neighbor told NBC Connecticut that lightning struck a pole CL&P crews are working to repair and that caused it to snap.

Connecticut Light & Power crews are on scene. Seventy-eight CL&P customers are currrently without power in Glastonbury.

Route 21 reopened in Thompson after it was closed overnight, but there are several trees down in the area so police said to be cautious if you choose to drive on that route.

Nearly 20,000 customers were without power Thursday at the height of the storms, according to the Connecticut Light & Power outage map. Just before noon on Friday, 2,526 customers were without power.

Berlin police reported trees and wires down across town on Thursday, particularly in the Worthington Ridge area, and Southington police said they dealt with numerous accidents on Thursday evening, some of which may be weather related.

The state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is monitoring the hurricane and keeping tabs on potential indirect impacts to Connecticut, according to a news release from Gov. Dannel Malloy's office.

The town of Old Saybrook prepared ahead of time by launching StormArthur.com to keep residents up to date on the storm's developments.

More information about the state's response to Arthur can be found online.

Anyone who loses power during the storms should call Connecticut Light & Power at 1-800-286-2000.

The best news is that the rain is expected to move out late Friday, leaving the second part of the holiday weekend dominated by beautiful sunny weather Saturday and Sunday.

People planning on going to Rhode Island beaches this weekend should be cautious and check for the latest Arthur update and weather forecast before heading out.

Send your weather photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Sailor Surprises Family at July 4th Parade


A US Navy sailor on leave surprised his unsuspecting parents along the Arlington 4th of July parade route.

Photo Credit: Tim Ciesco, NBC 5 News

37 Shot, 3 Fatally, in Chicago


A surge of overnight violence struck Chicago on the Fourth of July with at least 22 people shot overnight, bringing the total number of people shot since the long holiday weekend began to 37.

The holiday’s latest homicide involved a young man who was killed late Friday night after being shot by police officers in the Portage Park neighborhood.

Police said officers approached the man just before 10 p.m. in the 3800 block of North Cicero Avenue when they saw “an object protruding from his waistband” and tried to stop him. The man fled the scene and pointed a “large revolver” at pursuing officers, according to a statement from Chicago police.

“He takes his left hand and pulls something out from under his arm, put it in his right hand and starts to turn,” said Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden. “He’s got a .44 magnum with a 8- to 10-inch barrel.”

Police then fired shots, fatally striking the man.

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, the man is believed to be in his late teens or early 20s.

The shooting marked the third police-involved shooting in 18 hours.

At least two others have been killed in shootings since Thursday.

The first homicide took place shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday in the 3800 block of West Monroe Street when two women were shot in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the city’s West Side.

One woman, 21, was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The second person, also 21, was shot in the arm, police said.

On Friday, a man was killed and another man was wounded in a shooting at a strip mall at 63rd Street and Damen Avenue.

Police said the men were standing outside a building when a black vehicle pulled up and someone inside the vehicle opened fire, striking both men.

A 34-year-old man was taken to Holy Cross Hospital and later pronounced dead. A 35-year-old man was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic.

Area South detectives are investigating the shooting, police said.

At least 21 others were wounded in Fourth of July shootings Friday night through early Saturday morning.

  • Just before 10:30 a.m., a 33-year-old man was shot in the leg and abdomen in the 8700 block of South Houston Avenue, police said. The man was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious condition.
  • A 26-year-old man was shot in the buttocks in the 9600 block of South Avenue L around 5:20 a.m. Saturday. He was taken to Trinity Hospital in good condition, according to police.
  • Around 5 a.m., a 33-year-old man was shot in the 5200 block of W. Washington Boulevard. The man, who police said was highly intoxicated and uncooperative, was shot in the right leg and taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in good condition. Police were still attempting to located the crime scene Saturday morning.
  • A 33-year-old man was shot in the city’s Austin neighborhood around 3 a.m. The man was listed in guarded condition at Stroger Hospital with wounds to the back and neck after being shot in the 700 block of North Lavergne Avenue, according to authorities. Police say he was involved in a verbal altercation with a group of people in a van. During the argument, the people exited the van and one person punched the victim before another fired shots at him. The offenders then fled northbound on Lavergne Avenue.
  • About two hours earlier, a 35-year-old man suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body in an apparent drive-by shooting in the 2800 block of South Homan Avenue, police said. The man was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition.
  • In another possible drive-by shooting, a 31-year-old man was shot in the shoulder around 1:10 a.m. in the 1800 block of South Allport Avenue in the Pilsen neighborhood. The man transported himself to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
  • Two people were shot just before 1 a.m. in the city’s Englewood. Two suburban teens were driving near 58th and Laflin streets when gang members opened fire on their car, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic. A 16-year-old boy was shot in the shoulder and taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in good condition and a 17-year-old suffered a graze wound to the arm and was taken to Saint Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center in good condition. Police believe the teens were mistaken for rival gang members. Area South detectives are investigating.
  • Around the same time, a 30-year-old man was shot in the parking lot of a Walgreen’s at 63rd Street and Austin Avenue. Police said the man was standing in the parking lot when someone approached him and opened fire. The victim is a documented gang member, police said.
  • Around 12:30 a.m., a 17-year-old boy was shot in the ankle after someone fired shots from a passing vehicle. The teen was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition, police said.
  • At about 11:40 p.m. a 26-year-old man was shot while celebrating with relatives in the 7600 block of South Oglesby Avenue. Police said the man was in the front of a residence talking with relatives when two offenders wearing dark-colored hoodies walked up and began firing handguns. The victim was struck in the right arm and torso and taken to South Shore Hospital in stable condition.
  • Twenty minutes earlier, a 26-year-old man was shot twice in the leg in the 5100 block of West Wabansia Avenue in the North Austin neighborhood. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition.
  • Just before 11 p.m., two people were shot during an argument in the 11700 block of South Union Avenue. Police said a 23-year-old woman was driving with her brother when she got into an argument with a 22-year-old man in another vehicle. The 22-year-old man fired at the woman, striking her in the arm and her brother then shot the man two times in the torso. Both the woman and man were transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in stable condition. Charges are pending against the brother and the 22-year-old offender, police said.
  • Around the same time, three people were shot at a party in the Altgeld Gardens neighborhood. Police said a large party was being held in the area when shots were fired into the crowd. A 24-year-old man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center with a wound to the buttocks along with a 26-year-old man who was shot in the head. Another 24-year-old man was shot in the back and taken by someone at the scene to Roseland Community Hospital but he was later transferred to Advocate Christ Medical Center, police said. All three were listed in stable condition.
  • Around 10:30 p.m. a 34-year-old woman was shot near 71st Street and Carpenter Avenue after she told police four or five men fired a gun in her direction. She was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center with a wound to the leg and was listed in good condition.
  • Just before 10 p.m., a 26-year-old man shot himself in the leg in the 700 block of North Christiana Avenue in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. The man was taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
  • Around 9:15 p.m., a 40-year-old man was wounded by a falling bullet while drinking with friends in the 5000 block of North Kildare Avenue. The man was treated and released from a nearby hospital.
  • An 18-year-old man was shot in the stomach at about 6:35 p.m. in the 6700 block of South Wolcott Avenue, police said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in serious condition. Details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.

At least 11 other people have been shot since Thursday afternoon.

Photo Credit: NVP/NBCChicago

More Immigrants Arrive in San Diego


A chartered airplane carrying another round of undocumented immigrant women and children landed in San Diego on the 4th of July.

The plane arrived at Lindbergh Field just before 7 p.m. Homeland Security buses waited nearby, ready to transport the passengers to their next destination. Many of those passengers appeared to be young mothers with babies and toddlers in tow.

The undocumented families and children from Central America were flown from Texas to San Diego for processing as part of the federal government's plan to address the nation’s border crisis.

The group, though initially expected to be shuttled to Murrieta’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) station, were bused to a San Ysidro processing station and an immigration office on Front Street in downtown San Diego.

Border Patrol Health and Safety director Ron Zermano told NBC 7 the families would be medically examined at those destinations and offered food and showers. Next, he said, they would most likely be transported to other Border Patrol facilities to be processed.

Meanwhile, throughout the day in Murrieta, hoards of both protesters and supporters had awaited the arrival of the buses filled with immigrants -- though they never came.

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, protesters showed up in Murrieta, blocking buses carrying the first round of approximately 140 undocumented immigrants bound for the CBP facility. The heated demonstration forced federal authorities to send the passengers to smaller processing centers throughout San Diego County including Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Otay Mesa.

Friday's protesters said they planned a repeat of those events.

The demonstrations began bright and early, and grew louder throughout the day, with two sides clearly divided.

Tim Donnelly showed up in Murrieta in opposition. He said he's concerned the undocumented children will be released to coyotes and drug traffickers, with American authorities making the process easier.

"I have a huge concern over whether our government is being made complicit in completing the trafficking circle. We could have sworn law enforcement actually completing the work of the cartels and coyotes by handing children over to a trafficker," Donnelly told NBC 7.

Tess Stein also came out to protest.

“I’m trying to make sense of what’s going on. I don’t understand where all these people are supposed to go. Why were they shipped here? It doesn’t make any sense. If someone wants to be in America, they should do it legally,” said Stein.

Orly Caitz agreed: “This nation is being flooded. This has to end.”

Despite the crowds of people gathered on both sides of the debate, the Murrieta Police Department said they could not confirm whether additional busloads of immigrants would actually arrive in their community Friday.

In a media release, the department did say the U.S. Border Patrol had originally reported buses of undocumented immigrants could be transported to the Murrieta CBP station every third day beginning on July 1. The department said the Border Patrol would ultimately have the final say on whether or not to keep using the Murrieta station as a facility to process the immigrants from Central America.

The police department also noted that officers have been assigned outside the facility to “maintain the peace, order and safety of demonstrators.”

The department said officers arrested one protester Friday morning for disobeying an officer. He was
booked and later released. Several other protesters were arrested throughout the day.

Meanwhile, pro-immigration supporters also banded together. The San Diego-based nonprofit, Border Angels, has been accepting donations for the immigrant transfers all week.

On Friday, La Mesa resident Roberta Villaescusa brought oatmeal, water, toothbrushes and other personal hygiene items to the Border Angeles headquarters to donate to the women and children.

She was on her way to the beach for the 4th of July and felt compelled to stop and contribute.

“They’re kids and women in need, and who doesn’t help people in need?” said Villaescusa, holding back tears. “Aren’t we celebrating our freedom? Our freedom to reach out, help others and show them Democracy can work if you do.”

Another couple walked into the Border Angels headquarters with boxes of diapers while another man, Sam Dhubar, brought apple juice, eating utensils and lice medicine.

He too felt strongly about lending a helping hand.

“Independence Day for Americans means that you need to give independence to people running away from violence. If they’re knocking at their door, you need to make sure that your door is open for them," said Dhubar. "They have the same soul that is in your body and my body.”

The undocumented families and children will be released from CBP to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials for additional processing.

The priority is to reunite the immigrants with families members currently in the U.S., officials said.

They will be given a scheduled date for an immigration hearing and will be expected to return to federal authorities. Undocumented immigrants are typically released in anywhere from eight to 36 hours after detainment, officials said.

On Friday afternoon, an ICE spokesperson told NBC 7 she had no information regarding how many, if any, of the immigrants had been released.

Meanwhile, Enrique Morones of Border Angels said he also hadn't heard anything new about possible releases. He said he suspects some of the immigrants may be released in small numbers throughout the weekend.

Photo Credit: Candice Nguyen

Fourth of July House Fire Sparked by Fireworks: Officials


Officials believe a fire at a suburban Illinois home Friday night was sparked by fireworks.

Firefighters with the Orland Fire Protection District responded to the 11200 block of Poplar Creek Lane in Orland Park around 9 p.m. Friday, just minutes before the city’s official Fourth of July fireworks display was set to begin, after neighbors spotted flames on the roof of a home in the area, according to Town of Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania.

Officials said the flames were confined to an attached garage with a cedar-covered roof.

The cause of the fire was determined to be fireworks used by someone in the area and the Orland Park Police Department was questioning one person in connection with the incident as of Saturday morning, officials said.

“People watch as fireworks shoot up into the sky, and when done professionally, it is fun. But when it is done individually, the individuals forget that’s sometimes the fireworks can come back down and cause damage to property,” said OFPD Chief Ken Brucki. “Fortunately, this home fire, which we believe was caused by the use of fireworks, did not result in any injuries but it did cause what could have been a major fire that would have changed the lives of the people living in the home.”

Brucki said several other fires caused by fireworks were reported in the area but were considered “outdoor situations.”

Police were on alert for fireworks Friday and Brucki said they will continue to be on alert through the holiday weekend.

“This is another reason why we constantly urge the public to leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said OFPD Board President Jim Hickey. “They look beautiful when they are fired into the sky at night but no one thinks about the consequences of when the fireworks come down on property. You need professionals there to manage the fireworks and professional firefighters on standby to respond to any injuries or fires.”

Photo Credit: Ray Hanania/NBCChicago

Shark Bites Man off LA Beach


A long-distance swimmer was in stable condition after being bitten by a white shark near Manhattan Beach Pier on Saturday.

The 7-foot juvenile shark bit the 40-year-old man about 9:30 a.m., the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. The incident took place several hundred yards from the pier near a buoy.

Officials said the shark was hooked to a fisherman's line and the swimmer got too close. The swimmer was injured when the shark tried to bite through the line and ended up biting him under his arm.

Witnesses said the shark, which will become what is commonly known as a great white once it matures, appeared agitated prior to biting the swimmer, fire officials said. It continued to follow the victim after the bite.

A lifeguard placed the victim on a rescue paddle board and several people rushed to help bring the victim out of the water.

"He was laying on it holding his chest," said witness Justin Hoot. "He had some large lacerations on his side muscle showing."

"A lot of screaming and yelling," said another witness. "It was horrible. I couldn’t even watch it."

The Manhattan Beach Fire Department, who also were called to the scene, took the victim to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The swimmer was awake and talking to paramedics. He was expected to survive.

"It wasn't a full-size bite," said Capt. Tracy Lizotte of the LACFD. "It didn't seem to be a large bite."

Some witnesses said a group of three fishermen attracted the shark by throwing bait into the water. The fishermen were questioned, but were not cited.

A fisherman who was with the group that hooked the shark said they were looking to catch and release bat rays and tiger sharks. He said they kept the shark on the fishing line because they did not want to release it near people in the water.

As a precaution, officials closed the beach for several hours about 1 mile north and south of the Manhattan Beach Pier. It was reopened about 3 p.m.

Manhattan Beach police said fishing will not be allowed on the pier until Tuesday, July 8.

Shark sightings off the coast of Manhattan Beach have become a daily occurrence, officials said.

Marla Fain, Kate Larsen and Willian Avila contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Mimi Miller

Simsbury Announces Summer Cooling Centers


Simsbury has opened two cooling centers for the summer months as a place for residents to escape the heat.

Simsbury Public Library and Eno Memorial hall are the town's designated cooling centers for the summer, according to a news release posted Monday on the town website.

As a precaution, the Social Services Department reminds residents to keep hydrated, to avoid staying out in the sun for too long and  to check in on elderly family and neighbors and cautions people never to leave children or pets in a car unattended.

Cooling center hours are as follows:

Simsbury Public Library

  • Monday to Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Eno Memorial Hall

  • Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Simsbury Public Library is located at 725 Hopmeadow St. and Eno Memorial Hall is at 754 Hopmeadow St.

More information is available by calling the Simsbury Social Services Department at 860-658-3283.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

West Haven Gas Leak Repaired After Evacuation


Part of a  West Haven street was evacuated Friday night due to a gas leak.

The leak happened at a restaurant near the intersection of Center Street and Campbell Avenue. Officials did not release the name of the restaurant.

Nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution, according to fire officials.

The gas company responded and fixed the leak.

State Police Release Holiday Enforcement Stats


State Police continue to increase patrols on Connecticut's highways over the 4th of July weekend.

From the start of the holiday operation at midnight on July 3 to July 5 at 9 a.m., State Police reported 144 accidents, 30 of which were with injury, and 17 drunken driving arrests, and troopers issued 796 speeding tickets, 151 tickets for seatbelt violations and 2,066 hazardous moving violation tickets for offenses like cell phone use while driving and unsafe lane changes.

By comparison, there were 370 accidents, including 55 with injuries, over the 4th of July weekend in 2013 and State Police made 65 operation under the influence arrests that year. State Police also reported issuing 2,491 speeding tickets and 5,737 tickets for hazardous moving violation last year.

State Police remind Connecticut residents to call 911 if they see a drunken driver on the roads because that is considered an emergency.

Police Arrest Third Suspect in Westport Robbery Case


Police arrested the third and final suspect involved in a TD Bank robbery on Post Road East in Westport late Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Derek Gilliam, 27, of Bridgeport,  is one of three people who robbed TD Bank at 1111 Post Road East just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, according to police. Police arrested Lancelot Andrew Supersad, 19, and Anthony Santiago, 20, of Bridgeport, both also from Bridgeport, earlier this week. One of them had a gun.

Detectives found Gilliam with the assistance of Stratford police and the New York Police Department after he fled Connecticut and hid in Brooklyn, New York. Police took him into custody at 10 p.m. on Friday.

He is being held at the 67th Precinct in Brooklyn on fugitive from justice charge until his extradition back to Connecticut to face further charges pf first-degree robbery, third-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit those crimes.

After stealing cash from TD Bank Wednesday, the robbers fled on Morningside Drive, according to police.

As police were searching for a car matching the description witnesses gave, they noticed a man walking in the area of Greens Farms Road and Westway Road.

He tried to hide from officers, but police were able to take him into custody and found evidence of the robbery, police said.

The man asked to be taken to Norwalk Hospital for a medical issue and was brought to the police department after being released.

Supersad, 19, was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and first degree, third-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree.

He is being held on a $100,000 bond and was scheduled to be arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court July 3.

At 1:45 a.m. on Thursday, Westport police arrested Santiago. He was charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, larceny in the third degree and third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny.

He was held on a $100,000 bond and was scheduled to be arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court on Thursday.

The Westport Police Department asks anyone who witnessed the suspects leaving the scene or has any additional information to call Westport police at 203-341-6080.

Yale Grad Takes Vow of Silence on Cross-Country Trek


A former Ivy League student who was once so dedicated to academics he’d fall asleep on the floor with his homework is now funneling that commitment into something else — walking. In silence.

After a full year of walking, he make it coast to coast. This week marked the final stretch of a journey that started July 9, 2013.

Greg Hindy grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire, where he was high school valedictorian and went on to enter the pre-med program at Yale.

In his last year of college, Hindy enrolled in a photography class, unaware that it would change his life. Now he's on a cross-country journey with a large-format film camera, and he hasn't breathed a word since before he left after graduation last July.

“It’s his reaction against all of the 24-hour news cycle and reign of fear, and all the things that we live with,” said his father, Carl Hindy, explaining that Greg Hindy’s mission is one of mindfulness and meditation.

It all started with a class project. The assignment was to capture a community in pictures, and Greg Hindy planned to photograph a church in New Haven. He stopped at a flea market to pick up some camera equipment – and never made it to the church.

He instead became immersed in the market culture and returned week after week. There, he completed his project and went on to display the photos at the New Haven Free Public Library.

Carl Hindy said his son’s pictures capture the pride and passion of ordinary people.

Before long, Greg Hindy traded his dreams of medical school for the life of an artist.

"Most of us are identity adopters, but Greg is an identity former," said Carl Hindy, a psychologist.

Funded by a Kick Starter project and grant from the Chase Coggins Memorial Fund at Yale, Greg Hindy set out to create his artistic identity on a walking trip from New Hampshire to Los Angeles.

"I am abstaining from just about all forms of entertainment other than the thoughts inside my head," Greg Hindy wrote on his Web site. "I hope to better understand the endurance-performance works of artists who came before me."

He's completely unplugged – no technology, no media, just Greg Hindy and his camera.

And a debit card. It's how Carl Hindy tracks his son’s progress across the nation – by monitoring debit card transactions and tracing his route on an interactive map.

Friends, family and everyone else can follow along on Facebook. Greg Hindy’s group is growing daily as the people he encounters log on to learn more about the silent young man on a cross-country quest.

Carl Hindy said his son travels about 25 miles per day and survives on convenience store snacks and the kindness of strangers.

That kindness came into play when Greg Hindy lost a notebook in Florida and a resident of St. Augustine found Carl Hindy's number and called to return it.

It was also evident as Greg Hindy made his way through Utah. Dehydration or food poisoning made him weak, and he collapsed at a gas station. Concerned bystanders found Carl Hindy on Facebook and sent a message to let him know.

A week later, Greg Hindy had Easter dinner near Salt Lake City with a family he'd just met.

"Everybody has gotten involved in different ways," Carl Hindy explained. He said it wasn't intended to be a "hands-across-America" project but no one could have predicted its unifying effect.

"It's sort of the wishes and dreams of America, I think, projected onto him," Carl Hindy added.

Greg Hindy set off on July 9, just before his 22nd birthday, and should arrive in LA around the same time this year. He'll break his year of silence by finishing the video essay he began before he left. Right now he’s in Idaho, trekking the same trail as Lewis and Clark.

It's not clear what the future holds, but Carl Hindy said his son plans to attend graduate school and will make his way back to Yale to share what he learned on the road.

In the meantime, Greg Hindy remains "totally committed to something that most people would think of as not an accomplishment – walking."

Photo Credit: Carl Hindy/Facebook

4 Killed in 4th of July Crash


Family members are mourning a couple killed in a car crash while traveling to a Fourth of July barbecue with their 13-year-old son.

The couple was among four people killed Friday in a head-on collision in southwest suburban Bridgeview, in a crash that witnesses say stemmed from a street racing incident.

Police, citing preliminary information, said a 2010 Camaro, driven by 21-year-old Aiman Salen, was traveling northbound on Harlem Avenue when the vehicle collided head-on with a Dakota pickup truck traveling southbound.

The driver of the pickup, Hector Gonzalez, 48, of Chicago, and his wife Maria Gonzalez, 52, of Chicago were pronounced dead at the scene.

Salem, of Worth, and a passenger in the Camaro, identified as Alaa Mustafa Alkhatib, 24, of Palos Hills, were also killed in the crash.

A juvenile passenger in the pickup, which family members said was the Gonzalez's 13-year-old son, was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

"I'm going to miss [my dad] a lot," said the couple's son Martin Gonzalez, who was not involved in the crash. "And there are people who know him that are going to miss him a lot too."

Witnesses said it appeared the Camaro was racing another car on the street before the crash.

"It didn't have to happen," said witness Lorie Heklowski. "It's sad that the white pickup and their family are suffering because somebody chose to, you know, race drag down the street."

Heklowski said witnesses found the teen alive in the pickup truck after the crash and cut him out of his seatbelt.

"I was by [the witnesses], talking to [the boy], trying to tell him to stay calm, stay down because he kept trying to get up," she said.

Police could not confirm details on what caused the crash and would not say whether street racing was involved, but said the incident remains under investigation.

"Four people lost their lives because of stupidity," said witness Debbie Heradia. "It is a shame."

Four red hearts with each of the victims' names sit at the scene of the crash.

"No child deserves to lose both parents," said neighbor Sonja Clincy. "It's sad."

Two Moosup Men Accused of Firearm Theft


Plainfield police have arrested two Moosup men charged with theft of a firearm.

Twenty-one-year-old Jacob Hughes of 32 Linnell Street and 21-year-old Aaron Easton of 12 Railroad Street were arrested Saturday on active warrants, according to police. The warrant stems from an investigation started when a firearm was reported stolen from a Moosup home.

The case is still open pending further arrests of other suspects.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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