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New Haven Teen Arrested on Gun Charges


A young man is under arrest after West Haven Police found him carrying a loaded gun without a permit.

Police say they learned a group with possible gang affiliations had plans to fight another group at the city’s fireworks display Saturday night. Around 8:00 p.m. police stopped a large group of males near Kimberly Ave. and Elm St.

According to police, they found 18-year-old Jahmal Gibbs, of Munson St. in New Haven, with a loaded .25 caliber handgun.

Gibbs was arrested and charged with possession of a pistol without a permit, carrying a dangerous weapon, altering ID number on a firearm, and additional narcotics charges.

He was held on bond.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police Department

Hartford Remembers the 1944 Circus Fire


The city of Hartford came together on Sunday to remember the infamous Hartford Circus Fire 70 years later.

The ceremony took place on Barbour St, next to a memorial dedicated to the victims.

On July 6, 1944, as least 167 people were killed and more than 700 hurt during a fire at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance in Hartford. More than 7,000 people were in attendance, many of them women and children.

According to a release from the Hartford Fire Department, it is remembered as one of the worst fires in United States history.

Nancy Saunders Spada of Farmington is a survivor of the fire and remembers the chaos in detail.

"My father slid down the pole, because we were at the very top, and my mother threw the children down,” Spada said. “And somehow, we got out of the tent, and my father proceeded to go and help the people coming out."

John B. Stewart, the former Hartford fire chief, was 14 years old at the time of the fire.  He was outside the tent when it started.

"I looked up, and I heard screaming, and we saw the thick black smoke," he said.

The event led to a slew of fire code changes, such as using flame retardant tents, requiring fire extinguishers every 50-100 feet and having a CT State Police and local fire department presence at any performance held under a tents.

It also prompted a ban on the use of pyrotechnic and flame acts before audiences without approval through local and state permit processes.

At the ceremony, the name of each victim was read aloud and a flower placed in their memory. Spada said while the fire was a horrific event, she was glad to see the community come together in remembrance.  

Photo Credit: Monica Garske

Former U.S. Sen. Dixon of Illinois Dies at Home: Son


Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon of Illinois has died.

His son Jeffrey Dixon said the 86-year-old died Sunday at his home in Fairview Heights. He had recently been hospitalized for heart problems, but his condition had improved and he had returned home.

"My father cared deeply about people and was committed to public service for more than four decades," said Dixon's son, Jeff Dixon. "He was known and respected for his ability to work together with people of varied ideologies and political affiliations. He believed in the spirit of cooperation and compromise."

Dixon served in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1993. He also had a long career in state politics, serving in the Illinois House, Illinois Senate and as the state's treasurer and secretary of state.

He lost the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat in 1992 to Carol Moseley Braun. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

"Alan Dixon was one of a kind. A great leader and representative who always put the public's interests first," Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said in a statement Sunday. "He was a great friend."

The Belleville-born Dixon was an attorney.

His memoir titled "The Gentleman from Illinois" was published in 2013.

"From his days as a Police Magistrate in Belleville to his leadership position in the United States Senate, Alan Dixon was known for his honesty, his hard work and his commitment to the state he loved," U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said in a statement. "I lost a pal today and Illinois lost a man who brought honor to public service."

"Alan Dixon had a patriot's determination to do what was best for his state and nation," Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. "He was a statesman, but he was also a warm and friendly soul who never met a stranger."

Dixon is survived by his wife Jody and their three children -- Stephanie, Jeffrey and Elizabeth. He also had eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements at Lindenwood University in Belleville are not yet complete.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP

Suspect in Deadly Bridgeport Shooting Identified


Bridgeport police have arrested a man accused of killing his longtime girlfriend in a domestic violence incident.

Police say 37-year-old Jose Santiago shot and killed 24-year-old Kiromy Fontanez in a Peal St. home.

The shooting happened just after 3:30 a.m. on Sunday. Fontanez’s 5-year-old daughter, mother, and mother’s boyfriend were all in the home at the time. Jorge Jimenez, the boyfriend of the victim’s mother, attempted to stop Santiago and was shot in the leg.

Santiago was found after the shooting on Stillman St. in the back of a taxi on its way to New Britain, according to police. He was shoeless and covered with blood. He later confessed to the crime.

This is one of three shooting incidents that happened in the early morning hours Sunday.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

Shark Survivor, Rescuer Reunite


A swimmer who was bitten by a shark off the coast of Manhattan Beach was reunited with one of his rescuers Sunday.

Steve Robles, 50, of Lomita was swimming near the Manhattan Beach Pier about 9:30 a.m. Saturday when a 7-foot juvenile white shark bit him as it tried to escape from a fisherman’s hook.

Robles made in back to shore safely with the help of Justin Hoot, 19, who was working at a nearby surfboard rental tent at the time of the attack. Hoot said he grabbed one of the boards from the tent and headed out to try and save the swimmer.

“By the time we had gotten you onto a soft-top surfboard, there were probably six of us pushing you in,” Hoot said.

Robles said he thought he was going to die as the shark lunged at him.

“I’m so fortunate that you were nearby,” Robles said to Hoot.

Robles spent eight hours in a Harbor-UCLA Medical Center emergency room being treated for chest lacerations and a punctured artery in his thumb.

“When it bit me I could feel its whole body vibrating on me, his whole body was shaking and I could feel it as it went into to my skin,” he said. “I grabbed its nose and I started to pull it off of me, I got lucky that it released itself.”

Robles said he is upset with the fisherman who hooked the shark and kept it on the line for about 30 minutes before it bit him.

A fisherman who was with the group that hooked the shark said they kept the shark on the fishing line because they did not want to release it near people in the water.

It's against California law to fish for great white sharks. Fishermen who catch one must cut it loose once they identify it.

Lifeguards said it had been more than a century since someone has been attacked by a shark in Los Angeles County.

Robles, a dedicated long distance swimmer, said he will return to the ocean.

Photo Credit: Reggie Kumar

Missing Marine Wife Had Planned San


A pregnant Marine wife, who has been missing more than a week, was planning a trip to San Diego.

Erin Corwin was preparing for her mother to visit and had bought tickets to SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo, according to the Praying for Erin Corwin Facebook page.

The 19-year-old disappeared June 28 from Twentynine Palms, California. Her husband, a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, reported her missing the following day, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

The search is focused on Joshua Tree National Park, where Erin was reported to be going to morning she went missing.

The sheriff’s department homicide unit is investigating.

“There is no evidence to lead them to believe a crime has occurred. But, she’s still missing,” spokeswoman Cindy Bachman told NBC 4 in an interview Thursday.

Erin is described as 5-foot-2 and 120 pounds with light brown hair and blue eyes. She is three months pregnant.

Her blue 2013 Toyota Corolla was found on base two days after her disappearance.

Searchers have been facing temperatures well above 100 degrees.

Photo Credit: facebook.com/LocateErin

Woman Hit by Officer Plans to Sue


The family of a woman who was pinned down and repeatedly punched in the head by a California Highway Patrol officer on the side of a Los Angeles freeway is planning on filing a lawsuit, attorneys representing the family said Sunday.

Family members said Marlene Pinnock suffered multiple injuries and that her civil rights were violated in the incident, which was captured on cellphone video by a passing driver.

"I never would have thought I would be standing here today talking on behalf of my mom because she was beaten on the side of a freeway by a CHP officer that was sworn to protect her. That makes me scared," said Pinnock's daughter, Maisha Allum, during a press conference.

Attorneys for the family said the lawsuit will be filed this week, but did not name who they would be suing.

Pinnock was walking on the 10 Freeway west of downtown Los Angeles Tuesday when the officer approached her. Pinnock appears to ignore him moments before a physical struggle. The officer pulls her to the ground and quickly hits her about a dozen times as she shielded her face.

CHP Assistant Chief Chris O'Quinn said Pinnock had "placed themselves and motoring public in danger" by walking onto the freeway.

O'Quinn said Pinnock was not hurt, but the family said she suffered multiple injuries.

"We've been able to observe multiple lumps and bruises from her head to her arms, forearms, shoulders, lumps the size of plums," said attorney Caree Harper. "The lawsuit is virtually writing itself and it started writing itself the minute that officer's fist hit Ms. Pinnock's face multiple times."

Pinnock was being held on a 72-hour involuntarily mental health evaluation.

The officer, who has not been identified, remains on paid administrative leave as the CHP conducts an internal investigation.

"I don't think there's any doubt that if you look at the videos that it was an unconscionable act, that her civil rights were violated in the most egregious way," said civil rights John Burris, who is also representing the family.

The family and attorneys planned on holding another press conference Monday.

Local civil rights activists said they planned on meeting with the CHP commissioner on Tuesday to discuss the incident.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of attorney Caree Harper

Police Identify Man from Fatal Crash


Police have identified the man who died in a fatal crash that closed a portion of Townsend Avenue in New Haven for several hours Sunday morning.

Edwin Trelles Calle, 34, of New Haven, lived a block away from the crash scene, police said.

Police, EMTs and firefighters responded to the one-car crash at 4:46 a.m.

Calle was headed southbound on Townsend Avenue in a white, four-door Mazda sedan when his vehicle left the roadway just beyond the Fort Hale Road intersection. His car crashed into one tree and then another on the grass strip next to the sidewalk, according to police. Calle was alone in the car.

Firefighters extricated him from the vehicle and the Office of the Chief State's Medical Examiner removed the body from the scene, where he was pronounced dead at 5:20 a.m.

Townsend Avenue was shut down between Fort Hale Road and Morse Place for several hours as New Haven crash investigators "collected evidence and measurements," police said in a news release.

A neighbor told NBC Connecticut she heard a car speed by and hit a tree at about 4:40 a.m. on Sunday but no sound of screeching tires to indicate it was slowing down.

Police have not confirmed the cause of the crash and said "such determinations often take weeks." The crash is still under investigation.

Police did not release Calle's address at the request of his family.

The 30-mile-per-hour speed limit on Townsend Avenue turns to 25 just beyond the crash location, but neighbors told NBC Connecticut that cars routinely travel 50 to 60 miles-per-hour on this stretch of Townsend Avenue. There is a slight curve right before the crash site.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Six Shot, Two Dead in Bridgeport Shootings


Bridgeport police are investigating overnight shootings that happened Saturday into Sunday and left six shot and two dead.

Just after midnight, the hosts of a large house party at 170 Pitt Street asking police for help breaking it up, police said in a news release. Gunshots were fired when police arrived and three people were wounded, according to police, who said "the victims have not been cooperative."

Police found a 23-year-old man shot on Barnum Avenue after responding at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to the news release. The man was out drinking with friends, who heard gunfire after he walked away from the place they were at, police said. The man was taken to Bridgeport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Just before 4 a.m., police responded to a second fatal shooting that stemmed from a domestic incident. A woman was shot and killed at 344 Pearl St. and her mother's boyfriend was shot in the leg, police said. The woman's mother and 5-year-old child were in the home at the time of the shooting, according to police.

Police arrested a suspect in the case who walked to a Stillman Street cab company to request a ride to New Britain, police said. The man, whose identity police have not released at this time, was barefoot and had a bloody head at the time of the arrest.


Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Some Go Solar for Savings, Not the Planet


When San Francisco game developer Matt Householder installed solar panels on his rooftop four years ago, he wasn't thinking about saving the planet. He wanted to increase the value of his home.

“My thinking was the cost of installation was basically going to be recovered when I sold the house because it increases the value of the house as a fixture," Householder said. "It’s like adding a bathroom."

Householder, 59, was an early adopter in a new wave of homeowners embracing the economic payoffs of switching to solar power.  The average monthly cost of electricity in California in 2012 was $87.91, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Householder said he pays just $250 for the entire year.

Now, a technology that a few years ago was widely considered too expensive and saddled with complicated paperwork to attract the average customer is hitting more homes across the country. And SpaceX and Tesla pioneer Elon Musk is vowing to bring the technology to even more people with plans to build one of the world's largest solar panel plants on U.S. soil.

Residential solar power is already seeing a boom, according to a recent report by the Solar Energies Industry Association and Greentech Media Company. The industry-funded report found that electricity-producing solar technology surpassed commercial installations for the first time since 2002 in the first three months of 2014. More than a third of residential installations reported during that time came on-line without any state incentives, according to the report.
Even with the surge in residential solar energy, solar energy is nowhere close to competing against homes still running on traditional electricity and gas.
The price tag of going solar continues to be a concern, especially amid projections that the escalating trade war between the United States and China, a major panel producer, will cause falling solar costs to rise again. But advocates of the energy source are turning their focus to streamlining the process and helping customers reap the benefits of rebates and tax incentives tied to solar power.
The "Hassle Factor" Removed
The complicated paperwork process to acquire permits and government rebates has been a leading factor deterring people from going solar, according to Tony Dutzik, senior policy analyst at Frontier Group, an environmental think tank.
“For many individuals, the challenge and the hassle factor is one thing that impedes them from going solar,” Dutzik said. “In places where financing is available and where financing would help solar homeowners make the leap, people say it’s too much trouble.”
John Cremin, 48, a senior scientist living in Sunnyvale, California, installed 12 photovoltaic solar panels on his roof six years ago to reduce his carbon footprint. He said REC Solar, one of the nation's largest installers of PV solar panels, did all the paperwork and got him rebates.
“That was pretty helpful. I’m not sure I would have done it without that,” Cremin said. On his list of concerns with going solar, “the rebate hassle and the regulatory hassle was No. 1,” he added.
In neighboring Palo Alto, the first city in California to be certified as a Green Power Community by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, officials have expedited the paperwork process for homeowners.
Before the overhaul, which was completed in full in May 2013, the city's development center issued 50 permits in a 12 month period. Over the next year, they issued 250 permits.
“We were one of the most difficult cities to get solar permits through, and we did a lot of streamlining so we can process things in a few days as opposed to a few months,” said Lindsay Joye, a marketing engineer for Palo Alto's utilities office.
Solar Leasing Vs. Buying
Many companies, SolarCity included, have started to let people pay off their solar system by the month instead of up front. The declining cost is expected to continue. One SolarCity executive told The Wall Street Journal that the company hopes to drive costs down so much that customers would be metaphorically "buying a BMW at a Ford price." 
Debra Katz, the communications manager of the Palo Alto utilities office, said that people who once had to "come up with tens of thousands of dollars to start," will soon be able to take "the plunge" without rebates and incentives.
Solar leasing may be budget-friendly for consumers in the short term, but experts say they doubt the homeowner will reap any resale premiums unless they own the panels. Homeowners who own their solar panels can make a handsome profit, especially in California.
A December 2013 study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found a premium of roughly $25,000 on homes in California with rooftop solar panels. Ben Hoen, a staff research associate at the lab who co-authored the study, said that figure was market dependent and likely different in other parts of the country. Still, he said “it is reasonable to assume" that houses in other markets with solar power could fetch a premium.
Steve Perkins, a resident of Evanston, Illinois, experienced that first-hand.
“Homes that have solar arrays sell fast. They move in the marketplace faster than those without, so that’s a value,” said Perkins, 71 and senior vice president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, who was part of the first group of 28 people in Evanston to get solar-powered hot water from US Solar Network.
The higher resale value that the LBNL study found for California homes may help explain why the type of consumer who shops for solar panels isn't the environmentalist of yesteryear.
"A lot of our early investors were concerned about climate change," Joye said of Palo Alto residents, but today "we are definitely seeing people jumping in for purely economic reasons."
Further to Go

Slightly more than 600 homes in Palo Alto, roughly 2.4 percent of all residences, have solar technology, which Joye and Katz say is one of the higher penetration rates in the nation. In April, the city approved a solar plan that charted out initiatives to achieve what Joye calls a "pretty aggressive" goal of getting 4 percent of the community's electricity to be solar. 

"There's obviously a lot of room to grow," Joye said.


Photo Credit: AP

Second Student Charged With Selling Pot Brownies at School


Bloomfield police arrested a second student suspected of distributing marijuana-laced brownies to peers at the second Metropolitan Learning Center.

Student Joshua Walker-Thomas, of Bloomfield, turned himself into police and was arraigned at Hartford Superior Court on July 3 on a charge of risk of injury to a minor, a felony.

Walker-Thomas is the second teen to be arrested in connection with the incident. A 16-year-old girl was also charged late last month.

He has not pleaded yet in the case and is scheduled to appear in court again on Aug. 5. Walker-Thomas was released from custody on a promise to appear in court.

The pot brownies reportedly sent a 15-year-old boy to the hospital in a "stupor state" on June 25, according to police.

The Capitol Region Education Council  (CREC) operates the Metropolitan Learning Center. 


Photo Credit: Bloomfield Police Department

LifeStar Responds to Crash on Route 2 in Marlborough


One lane has reopened after a serious crash on the eastbound side of Route 2 in Marlborough.

The accident happened near exit 12 around 10:30 a.m. according to state police.

LifeStar helicopter was called to the scene to transport a patient, police said.


Police Work to Identify Pedestrian Killed


 A pedestrian was killed after being struck by a car at the intersection of Ella T. Grasso Boulevard and Whalley Avenue in New Haven early Monday morning.

Police responded just before 1 a.m. after receiving 911 calls reporting the incident. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after police arrived. 

The pedestrian had no identification on him, so police are working out to determine who he is.

The driver of the car stopped and stayed at the collision site, according to police. He has been cooperative with police and has not been charged at this time. Police have not released the identity of the driver at this time.

The intersection remained closed for about five hours as police reconstructed the accident and investigated, but it has since reopened. 

New Haven police in the Crash Investigation Unit continue to investigate the collision. 

More information will be provided as it becomes available. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Broke into Shelton City Vehicles: Police


Police arrested a Shelton man who they say broke into city vehicles and fled police on foot on the 4th of July.

Stefano Cervera Jr., 28, of Shelton, took off running from the Shelton Community Center toward the woods on Friday when a patrol officer stopped to check out  a broken rear window on one of the city vehicles and several bags of tools piled on the ground nearby. 

Another police officer responded and chased after Cervera Jr., who threw a hypodermic needle on the ground as he fled, police said. The officer caught him and police charged Cervera Jr. with two counts of third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief, interfering with an officer and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Police also charged Cervera Jr. with third-degree burglary, theft of a firearm and criminal possession of a firearm in connection to a separate stolen firearm case reported on July 3. 

Shelton police held him in custody on a $125,000 bond and he is scheduled to appear in court in Derby on July 7.  

Photo Credit: Shelton Police Department

New Haven Police Respond to Two Hoax Calls


New Haven police are investigating two hoax calls made by the same person. 

The calls reported false incidents on East Street and Foxon Boulevard. 

The department's dispatchers received a 911 call at midnight Monday from a man claiming he shot a family member and had two tied up as hostages at 588 Pearl Street. He threatened in the call to kill them, responding police officers and himself. 

The second 911 call came at 1:07 a.m. from the same person. The caller told police that he had five hostages and five bombs at 315 Foxon Boulevard and demanded cash in exchange for releasing the hostages, police said. That is the address of Walmart.

Police responded to both locations, "but found nothing related to the calls," police said.  

New Haven resident Sophie Richards was woken up to police swarming the area and calling for her upstairs neighbors to come out of the building with their hands up around 2 a.m.

"They had a megaphone and when they came outside it looked like the police had guns outside," Richards told NBC Connecticut.

Richards watched through her window as her neighbors came outside with their dog and police searched the building. She said that it was "scary"  thinking of what her neighbors may have done to warrant the heavy police presence, but that police left within about a half hour. Police said they made contact with the residents and confirmed that everyone was accounted for and safe. 

Police continue to investigate the hoax calls and are working to identify the caller who made both calls from the same number, police said.

"The number has also been used to make previous similar threats," police said in a news release on Monday.

Police said they plan to meet with FBI officials Monday about the investigation.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Fire Damages Waterbury Condos


A Waterbury condo complex was evacuated after fire broke out in one of the units on Monday.

Firefighters were called to 35 Pearl Lake Road around 11:45 a.m.

The fire started in a second-floor unit and spread to the unit above it, according to fire officials.

Everyone got out of the condos and no one was injured, fire officials said.

There is extensive damage to multiple units.

Fire officials have not determined what started the blaze.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Lightning Sparked Massive Glastonbury House Fire


A lightning strike caused a home on Thompson Street in Glastonbury to burst into flames last Wednesday night, according the fire marshal's office.

Fire had engulfed the house when crews arrived on scene, and the flames were so intense that firefighters were not able to get inside.

No one was home when the fire started, according to fire officials, and no injuries are reported.

The home is in an area with no fire hydrants, so crews needed to bring in water and several towns sent mutual aid, including Colchester, Marlborough, Portland and Hebron.

The fire broke out as severe thunderstorms rolled through the area.

A home in Warren was also struck by lightning that day.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigate Slew of Glastonbury Home Burglaries


Glastonbury police are investigating home burglaries that happened over a period of six months last year and are asking residents who live in the area of Whapley Road off Main Street to check their valuables and see if anything is missing.

At least 15 thefts have been reported in the area and police believe a number of additional homes may have been targeted based on pawn shop transactions in greater Hartford.

Daniel L. Taylor, 30, was arrested last month in connection with the burglaries. Police said he lived on Whapley Road at the time and has been charged with third-degree larceny.

Police said many victims didn’t realize at first that they had been robbed – the burglar took mostly cash and jewelry that was not often worn.

The suspect, who lived on Whapley Road at the time, discreetly entered the homes even though residents told police they had locked their doors.

Residents of the area should check their valuables and do an inventory of their jewelry. If anything is missing, call Glastonbury police at 860-652-4267 or 860-633-8301.

Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police Department

WATCH: Toddler Hears for 1st Time


A Dallas toddler is hearing for the first time, after a lifetime lived in silence.

Two-year-old Izzy Baker had inherited a gene from her parents that caused her to grow up with severe hearing loss.

She recently received cochlear implants, and last week, the devices were turned on at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas.

With a look of shock, awe and sometimes confusion, Izzy pointed to her ears as the hearing aids sent out beeps for the first time.

Her family said it's been a difficult road to get to this point.

"For her and for us, it's been a rough road," said Izzy's mom, Brittany Baker.

When Izzy takes off the clips and devices that sit over her ears, she will not be able to hear anything again. So, the Baker family said they will continue to make adaptations, like a phone that blinks instead of rings.

"She actually sees a speech [therapist] three times a week. I'm picking up sign language. We go to sign language classes," Brittany Baker said.

Despite the extra challenges the 2-year-old faces, her mother said Izzy has always been a happy, active little girl.

"And knowing it's from a gene that we carry, it's more of a gift from my perspective. It's like God made her this way for a reason. God put us through this for some reason," Brittany Baker said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

South Windsor Mom Arrested on Heroin Charges


A South Windsor mother who has a young child was arrested on heroin charges after she admitted to police that she used  the drug.

Police responded to a Long Hill Road home after the owner complained she found syringes and a white powder in the bedroom of tenant Jennifer Holtz, 32. 

Police seized drug paraphernalia and empty heroin packaging and interviewed Holtz. Her young daughter was home at the time and "had access to the bedroom where the paraphernalia was found," police said.

Holtz turned paraphernalia and "loose prescription pills" over to police.

Police charged her with risk of injury to a minor, possession of narcotics and possession of a drug paraphernalia.

Police held her on a $15,000 surety bond and she is scheduled to appear in Manchester Superior Court on June 7. 

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