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Police ID Victim of Canton Hit-and-Run


Canton police have identified the pedestrian who was injured in a hit-and-run in Canton on Tuesday.

A Life Star medical helicopter airlifted Mark Barney, 32, of Canton, to Hartford Hospital Tuesday night to be treated for serious injuries. His condition has been upgraded and his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.  

Police have arrested Joshua Lacomb, 26, of New Hartford, who is accused of running into Barney and driving away, police said.

Police responded to 76 Simonds Drive near the front entrance of Canton High School in the Collinsville section of town at 9:16 p.m. after receiving a 911 call about a car hitting a pedestrian and found Barney on the ground.

The driver was nowhere to be found until police provided the information on the crash to media and someone who saw a broadcast of the crash called police to identify the pedestrian and the suspect.

Police found Lacomb and the vehicle involved in the crash at his New Hartford home.

Lacomb was charged with evading responsibility. Lacomb posted his $5,000 bond and was released from police custody.

The North Central Municipal Accident Reconstruction Squad continues to investigate the crash.

Anyone with information about the crash is urged to call Canton police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Canton Police

Georgia Man Had Loaded Guns in Bags at Bradley: Police


A Georgia man was arrested at Bradley Airport on Wednesday afternoon after TSA agents found two loaded guns in his checked luggage, according to state police.

Police said Theodore Franklin Low, 51, of Douglasville, Georgia, had one loaded gun in each of the two bags he was sending through the scanning machines.

Low was arrested just before 4 p.m. and charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit and tampering with airports.

Bond was set at $10,000.

Photo Credit: WVIT

Ramp From Route 8 South to I-95 North Reopens in Bridgeport


The ramp from Route 8 South to Interstate 95 North was closed in Bridgeport because of a tractor-trailer crash, but has since reopened.

The crash was reported at 11:46 a.m., according to the State Department of Transportation. The road was cleared just before 3 p.m., according to an update from DOT.

No additional information was immediately available.

Route 1 in Guilford Reopens


Route 1 has reopened at Church Street/Route 77 in Guilford after a contractor hit a gas line, closing the intersection earlier Thursday, according to police.

Church Street wsa also closed from Route 1 southbound to Broad Street in the center of town.

No additional information was immediately available.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Cousin Strangled Girl, Mom After Child Porn Exposed: DA


The cousin of a 62-year-old woman and her 10-year-old foster daughter who were mysteriously found dead in their New Jersey home earlier this month has been arrested and is charged with strangling them.

Prosecutors say Brian Farmer, a 58-year-old registered sex offender convicted of burning down a someone's house in 1996, also faces child pornography charges in connection with the 10-year-old victim, Veronica Roach.

The bodies of Roach and her foster mother, Joan Colbert, were found Aug. 1 in their Lippincott Avenue apartment in Long Branch. Authorities did not say at the time how they died, but the medical examiner ruled their deaths homicides. Prosecutors said Thursday they had been strangled.

Prosecutors say Colbert allegedly discovered Farmer taking pornographic pictures of the 10-year-old girl at the apartment July 30. A confrontation ensued, and Farmer allegedly killed them both. Their bodies were found two days later.

According to a criminal complaint, detectives found pornographic pictures of Roach on Farmer's phone. He allegedly made the girl engage in a "prohibited sexual act" while photographing her, as well as sexually abusing the child himself.

Roach's uncle, Brett Roach, called Farmer "an animal." He said the suspect came to the funeral for the little girl and her foster mother, gave him a hug and asked how he was doing.

Farmer was arrested Wednesday night and is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, as well as multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted of the top charges, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It wasn't clear if Farmer had an attorney.

Farmer served 13 years in East Jersey State Prison after being convicted in 1996 of aggravated sexual assault for "engaging in sexual penetration" with a 15-year-old girl while armed with a knife.

Prosecutors said Farmer tied up the girl and her mother and held them in their home for three days before the two escaped, after which he burned down their home. Farmer was also convicted of arson and aggravated assault in that case. He was released from prison in 2009.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Alleged Fake NYC Landlord Arrested


A Queens man has been accused of posting for-rent ads on Craiglist for properties he didn't own -- and then renting them out to unwitting "tenants."

Terrence Hill was charged with grand larceny and burglary after his arrest Wednesday.

Authorities allege he collected more than $5,000 in payments from three renters in a scheme in which he identified empty homes on Long Island and put them up for rent on Craiglist even though he didn't own them.

Hill allegedly posed as the owner of a home on Elm Street in Valley Stream and agreed to rent it to two people who responded to his Craigslist ad. Police say he allegedly accepted a $1,600 down payment from them last Friday. On Wednesday, the rightful homeowner went to the home to do a routine check and found the two "tenants" in the house. The homeowner then called police.

When Hill went to the home later Wednesday, allegedly to collect more money from the two people who responded to his ad, he was arrested.

A subsequent investigation revealed Hill had allegedly rented another unoccupied residence -- this one on Cerenzia Boulevard in Elmont -- to another Craiglist ad respondent on Aug. 1, and collected $3,800.

It wasn't immediately clear if Hill had an attorney.

Anyone who thinks he or she may have been victimized by Hill is asked to call 516-573-6453.

Photo Credit: Handout

Police Search for Driver in Hit-and-Run Crash on I-84


Police are searching for the driver involved in a hit-and-run crash on Interstate 84 in Southington that sent two people to the hospital just after 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

According to police, the car in question was navigating a construction scene on I-84 westbound near exit 30 when the driver abruptly changed lanes, striking the back end of a Honda Civic.

The driver of the Honda lost control and spun out, colliding with a tree about 40 feet off the roadway, police said.

Driver Shaughn Adamski, 25, of Naugatuck and passenger Robert Piech, 26, of Naugatuck, were taken to the hospital and the Honda was towed from the scene. Police said Adamski reported pain in his lower back and left shoulder and Piech suffered a minor head injury.

The offending driver fled before either victim could get a look at the car.

Anyone with information about the crash or the driver in question is urged to call State police Troop H at 860-534-1000.

6-Year-Old Missing From New Haven


Police are searching for 6-year-old Navacha Robinson, who has been missing from New Haven since Aug. 5 and was last seen with her father.

Navacha is described as a black female with black eyes and brown hair. Police said she stands 3 feet tall and weighs 30 pounds.

Police said she was last seen with her father, Jonathan Robinson. They have not released information on the circumstances of her disappearance.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to call New Haven police at 203-946-6316.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Ansonia Police Search for Suspect on the Run


A man wanted by Ansonia police is on the run after struggling with officers and escaping at the Maple Street Plaza Thursday afternoon, according to police.

Police said an officer in the area stopped to investigate suspicious activity and saw the suspect trying to conceal alcohol. He also had a handgun in his waistband.

According to police, a struggle ensued when the officer approached to investigate. The suspect left the handgun in a parked car, which police seized as evidence.

The suspect is known to the Ansonia Police Department and authorities expect to file charges, police said.

Authorities are investigating.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Philly Cop Probed for Turned-In Gun


A Philadelphia Police sergeant is under investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs division after he allegedly hid his identity while turning in several guns to the force -- including one that was reported stolen.

But that officer says he was simply trying to make the community safer.

Sgt. Brandon Ruff, who served in the 16th District, is now on desk duty as the probe is carried out.

On the evening of August 3, Ruff walked into the 35th District in North Philadelphia carrying a bag containing three guns. He tells NBC10.com that a community member, in a different part of the city, needed help getting them to authorities.

Ruff, who himself runs the nonprofit Devoted Dads Inc., said the man had been buying the weapons from neighborhood kids in an effort to get them off the streets.

“I was working with this guy. He said he was interested in submitting firearms to me because he’d rather the kids have money to eat,” he told NBC10.com. He would not identify the man.

In plain clothes and failing to identify himself as an officer, Ruff tried to anonymously turn in the guns. However, he says district police on-duty that night repeatedly asked for his information and where he obtained the weapons.

“I said ‘You don’t need my information.’ I asked for a supervisor. I was not acting as a police officer at the time,” he said. “I’m just doing this anonymously in good faith.”

The 8-year police veteran says he then went to leave the district headquarters at Broad and Champlost Streets to get the information when several officers approached him from behind outside.

“One officer says ‘I’m f-ing tasing you.’ I said, ‘If you tase me, I’m going to sue you,” he said with two Tasers pressed up against his body.

Ruff said he identified himself as an officer, but that the proof was in his pocket, which he could not reach.

Officers then noticed the man’s personal firearms on his hip and disarmed him. Ruff said he was brought back into the precinct and treated poorly during questioning. He claims one officer called him a “piece of s---” and “disgrace to the job.”

Ruff said he was detained for seven hours until, around 1:30 a.m. that Monday, Internal Affairs detectives told him he was being investigated and taken off the street. He was stripped of his police firearm, as is protocol, and sent home.

“I just started crying uncontrollably,” he said. “I couldn’t believe that the people that I call my brothers would treat me this way.”

Law enforcement sources tell NBC10.com that ballistics showed one of the guns was reported stolen during a past burglary. The other two guns are said to be undergoing testing to find out where they came from.

A Philadelphia Police spokesperson confirmed that Ruff was the subject of an internal investigation, but would not elaborate on the details citing department policy. Officials would not say whether Ruff is suspected of any wrongdoing. The Fraternal Order of Police, the officer’s union, did not respond to a request for comment.

Illegal guns have been a major issue for Philadelphia, like many large U.S. cities. Last year, 1,128 people were shot and 201 died at the end of a gun barrel.

Those numbers were down 11 percent from 2012, however. City leaders have made a big push in recent years to crack down on illegal guns with tougher prosecution and new policing tactics.

Still, police say buying firearms on the street, despite good intentions to get them out of the hands of teens, is illegal.

Ruff believes he and the community member were simply doing the responsible thing. Asked why he chose to turn in the guns as a civilian and not a member of the law, Ruff said he didn’t want the teens involved to be “blacklisted” for life.

“I’m thinking, ‘He’s coming to me in confidence. Let’s get these guns off the streets,’” he said.

Philadelphia Police do not have a policy requiring citizens turning over firearms to provide a name, contact information and how they obtained the weapon. But a police spokesperson says officers use their own discretion as to whether to question individuals. They say in Ruff’s case, officers were suspicious about the situation and thus asked for information.

The man said had this situation happened at his district, the 16th, he would have never treated a person the same way.

“If an 80-year-old grandmother had come down to my district and tried to turn in a gun, I wouldn’t be hounding her,” he said.

Ruff says he’s been traumatized by the entire experience and has not been able to return to work since the investigation began. He’s not sure about his future with the department.

“I just want them to investigate it fairly,” he said. “Helping the community has been my passion since I’ve been on the job.”

NBC10 investigative reporter Harry Hairston contributed to this report.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Teens Paints Swastikas on Home, Public Signs: Police


Police have arrested two 14-year-olds suspected of painting swastikas on a vacant home, tree and public signs in a Stratford neighborhood.

The teens are accused of painting swastikas and the letters "SS" and "WP" along Wilcoxson Avenue in Stratford and other streets in the area.

Both teens are facing charges of criminal mischief and breach of peace, as well as possible hate crimes charges, police said.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

New London Mayor Lifts State of Emergency


New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio has lifted a state of emergency after a massive water leak caused problems in New London and Waterford on Thursday.

The leak sprung Thursday morning in a large 20-inch cast-iron transmission main, according to public utilities director Joseph Lanzafame. When the leak was detected, New London was losing water at a rate of 10 million gallons per day, or 8,000 gallons per minute. Finizio said the city requires a water supply of 7 million gallons each day.

Crews worked throughout the day to repair the leak, which had been 90 percent contained by Thursday evening. What officials feared could have turned into a widespread and long-term loss of water became a localized concern, Finizio said.

When the leak was detected, the city was losing water at a rate of 10 million gallons per day, or 8,000 gallons a minute.To put it in perspective, Finizio said the supply to the city of New London is 7 million gallons of water a day.

He declared a partial state of emergency and urged residents to be prepared for the worst-case scenario of a widespread and long-lasting disruption to the water supply. The public utilities director issued a mandatory water restriction for New London and Waterford, which applies to all nonessential water use.

The mayor said he learned of the problem around 6:30 a.m. However, officials believe the leak developed quickly around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, public utilities director Joseph Lanzafame said.

On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Dannel Malloy partially activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center to monitor and manage any issues that might arise because of the water main break.

Water pressure in the city has stabilized and city officials believe they have averted the worst-case scenario, but the mayor asked residents and business to conserve water and to avoid stockpiling water, which would only add to the problem.

Fort Trumbull was closed because of the problem, but has since reopened, according to an e-mail from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The repair process includes inserting an "inflatable bladder" in the line, designed to shut off the affected area and restore water. The excavation work will take longer, Finizio said.

The problem was identified in the nick of time, according to the mayor. It would have been much worse had it been detected an hour later. Fire officials said they were prepared for backup if necessary and a tanker task force was available.

The cause of the problem is unknown, but Finizio said significant flash flooding in the last 24 hours could have contributed to the problem.

If you see discolored water, low water pressure or an odd odor, please call 860-447-5222.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

State Senator to Continue Treatment in New Britain After Fall


State Sen. Andrew Maynard has been released from Rhode Island Hospital and transferred to the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain for physical and occupational therapy, according to a statement from his sister released Thursday.

Maynard, 52, spent several weeks in the hospital after falling from an outside staircase at his home on Grandview Park in Stonington on July 21.

His sister, Denise Mahoney, said Maynard suffered a traumatic head injury and was seriously injured. She describes his recovery as "slow, yet positive" and said he is awake and responsive.

"The past few weeks have been a trying experieince for Andrew and our entire faimly," Mahoney said in a statement Thursday. "The doctors, nurses and staff at Rhode Island Hospital have been nothing short of tremendous in their care for our brother; we are forever grateful."

Mahoney said her brother has a long road ahead but "doctors are confident that the recovery will continue to be positive."

Police said Maynard's fall appears to have been an accident.

Several elected officials released statements offering prayers and support.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy and his loved ones. Working with him has been an honor and a privilege. He is a powerful voice for his district and for the issues he cares about.  We join the rest of our colleagues in wishing him a full and fast recovery,” Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said in a joint statement.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Connecticut State Senate Democrats

20 Years for Accused Dallas Stalker


A man prosecutors say stalked a 13-year-old girl, tattooed her name all over himself and shot her father has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, in one of Dallas County’s most severe stalking cases.

Gabriel Ramirez, 23, was sentenced Thursday in a Dallas County courtroom after previously pleading guilty to charges of stalking and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Ramirez called a 13-year-old teen girl numerous times, sent her flowers before her birthday and went to her house only to be told by her father to go away, according to an affadavit.

Ramirez returned to her house in early June 2013, and when her father answered the door, Ramirez shot him three times, hitting him in the chest, liver and stomach.

The girl's father survived but has nearly $90,000 in medical bills after two surgeries. He said his life will never be the same.

What may have startled prosecutors the most were the nearly a dozen tattoos Ramirez had all over his body with the young girl’s name, her birthday and even her address.

NBC 5 is blurring photos of the tattoos in order to hide the victim's identity at prosecutors' request.

In court, Ramirez said he regrets the tattoos, which he said were all done under the heavy influence of drugs. He also said he was using cocaine, heroin, marijuana laced with PCP, Xanax, methamphetamine and alcohol the day he shot the young girl’s father.

Assistant District Attorney Leighton D’Antoni said the stalking didn’t stop when Ramirez was jailed. Ramirez sent numerous letters professing his love to the girl, as well as a letter to her mother and her father from behind bars, D'Antoni said.

“We’re talking about an adult who starts on a 13-year-old girl and stalks her,” said D’Antoni. “I think there were 11 total tattoos of her name that he started putting on his body when, again, she was just 13 years old. That’s more than a red flag. That’s scary.”

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Vice President Biden Heading to East Hartford


The vice president will be in East Hartford next week.

Vice President Joe Biden is heading here on Wednesday, Aug. 20 for an event on workforce development and skills, according to a news release from the White House

No additional information was immediately available about the trip.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

K-9 Tracks Shoeless Robbery Suspect


A 19-year-old from Bridgeport is facing charges after knocking a gas station employee to the ground and trying to rob him at gunpoint, according to police.

Officers chased Reginald Chavis through the neighborhood after he pulled out a gun and tried to rob a worker at the Gulf gas station at 1267 Fairfield Avenue, police said.

The gas station employee told police he was smoking a cigarette outside the store when Chavis approached and demanded money from the cash register. A scuffle ensued and the employee was thrown to the ground. An officer in the area heard yelling and arrived on scene to investigate, according to police.

Chavis lost both his shoes during the manhunt. K-9 officer Balu found his sneakers and picked up his scent, then tracked Chavis to his hiding spot on Clinton Avenue, police said.

He was arrested and taken into custody, still barefoot.

Chavis was charged with a number of offenses, including criminal attempt at first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, criminal use of a firearm and interfering with police. Authorities are working to determine whether he’s connected to any other robberies in the area.

He was held on $75,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

Legislator Speaks Up for Soiled State Park


Scantic River State Park is accumulating garbage, and now State Sen. John Kissel is stepping in to help protect the property.

“Many residents have expressed dismay about the way it is being treated by out of state visitors utilizing the space for large barbecues, drinking and unsupervised swimming,” Kissel wrote in an Aug. 13 letter to state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Rob Klee. “There is also a concern that drugs and other illegal activities and substances [are] being used within the park.”

Kissel said litter and debris collects each weekend, when large groups of people venture to the park for picnics and parties. He said last weekend, 86 volunteers got together to clean up the park and returned hours later to find “their efforts were already being cancelled out by the remnants of large group parties who occupied the picnic area during the afternoon.”

He asked Klee to keep a closer eye on the park and enact a proposed alcohol ban.

“Something has to be done to preserve this beautiful park for not only Enfield residents, but all Connecticut residents,” Kissel wrote.

DEEP Communications Director Dennis Schain responded to the letter in a statement Thursday. Schain explained that the park is intended to host small groups of people and has recently “become a venue that draws large numbers of people who spend many hours.”

Schain said the agency is aware of “concerns of the community about crowds, parking issues, and trash that visitors leave behind” and is stepping up police patrols in the area. He said the DEEP is also considering the alcohol ban and “discussing other local measures” with town officials.

The park spans some 784 acres in Enfield, Somers and East Windsor.

Photo Credit: Richard Thomas

Stamford Dad Accused of Groping 12-Year-Old: Police


A Stamford dad is facing charges after police say he fondled a 12-year-old girl sleeping alongside his own daughter and son late last month.

Aziz El Hattab, 42, has been charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and felony risk of injury to a minor. Police said he's a cook at a local pizza restaurant and has a 10-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, who were sleeping in the same room as the victim at the time of the alleged assault.

He’s accused of sneaking into the room and touching her breasts three times throughout the night. After the third incident, the girl texted her mother, who was staying at a local hotel. El Hattab's children slept through the whole thing, according to police.

Police said the victim is the daughter of a family friend from Pennsylvania who used to nanny for El Hattab.

"His own kids were right there, and it's a 12-year-old girl, which the family had trusted that she could stay over there too, so it's pretty disturbing," said Stamford police spokesperson Lt. Diedrich Hohn.

It's not the first time the victim stayed over at El Hattab's house, according to police, who said El Hattab denies having touched the girl.

He was arrested after a fight erupted between the two families and police were called to the scene.

El Hattab was arrested after posting $20,000 bond. Information an attorney was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department

Angel on Highway: Man Searches for Nurse Who Saved Life


As the river of blood flowed down the highway, all Larry Miles could think was “this is it.” But as Miles prepared to let go, a woman stepped in and saved his life.

Now he wants to thank the woman -- who identified herself as Debbie -- for her actions.

Miles and a friend were cruising on their motorcycles along Route 30 on Aug. 8 around 11 a.m. when a car turning out of a Wawa parking lot pulled out in front of him.

Miles was traveling about 35 miles per hour when the collision happened. His friend, uninjured in the crash, rushed over to him as someone called 911.

“I was sitting there when I saw my upper thigh was cut open and I was bleeding out all over,” Miles said.

The crash severed Miles’ femoral artery -- the most important artery in the leg. Anywhere from five to eight minutes after the artery is cut, a person can die from blood loss, according to Dr. John Chovanes, a surgeon at Cooper University Hospital's Trauma Center in Camden.

Miles’ friend was trying to comfort him as they waited for paramedics to arrive. Less than a minute later, as Miles was making peace with himself, someone approached them.

“This woman just walked up and said ‘My name’s Debbie, I’m a nurse,’” Miles said.

Debbie acted fast and made a tourniquet with a t-shirt and a stick to try and get the bleeding under control.

“She was just trying to soothe me and keep me calm,” Miles said. “She kind of took control until the paramedics got there.”

Eight minutes later, first responders arrived on the scene and Miles was air lifted to Cooper Trauma Center in Camden.

Miles said the last thing he remembers is Debbie kissing him on the forehead and telling him he’ll be all right.

It is unlikely Miles would have survived the crash if it wasn't for Debbie's quick actions,  Cooper University Hospital's Chovanes said.

“You have to know what you’re doing to apply a tourniquet properly,” Chovanes said. “If [Debbie] didn’t stop and have the courage to get involved in the right way, [Miles] would have been dead.”

Miles survived surgery to repair the artery, and after another surgery tomorrow to repair his calf, he is supposed to make a full recovery.

But that isn’t enough for Miles. He wants to thank the mystery woman who saved his life. The Winslow Township Police Department report only names an “unidentified female.” Miles was told by the police by the time he arrived at the hospital, nurse Debbie was nowhere to be found.

“I just want to find this woman who saved my life,” Miles said. “I just want to make sure I thank her.”

Photo Credit: Larry Miles

Bristol Police Arrest Man Accused of Helping Murder Suspect Get Away


Bristol police have made a second arrest in connection with a murder at a party in January. A man arrested this morning is accused of assaulting someone who was trying to help the victim, then helping the murder suspect flee from police.

The victim, Joseph Klett, 19, of Bristol, was killed in a stabbing during a party at 27 Irving Street in Bristol early on the morning of January 25, according to police. The man accused of stabbing him, Joshua Daniels, was arrested the next day in North Carolina.

At 12:52 a.m. on Friday, Bristol police arrested Anthony Johnese, 23, of West Hartford, and charged him with assault in the second degree, hindering prosecution in the first degree and reckless endangerment in the second degree.

Police said Johnese grabbed a liquor bottle and hit a man in the head who was trying to help Klett during that January party, then drove Daniels from Connecticut to North Carolina to evade police, police said.

Officers from the High Point, North Carolina Police Department caught them on Jan. 26 after a chase, police said.  

Detective Peter Dauphinais, of the Bristol Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, applied for an arrest warrant for Johnese and it came through on Aug. 8.

There were warrants for Johnese out of New Britain and Bristol. He was first turned over to New Britain, made bond, and was then transferred to Bristol police.

Johnese posted a $50,000 bond and was released. He is due in Superior Court in Bristol on Aug. 25.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Bristol Police
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