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No Suspect Identified Yet in Simsbury Homicide Investigation


Two weeks have passed since the body of a local insurance executive and mother was found on the side of a busy road in Simsbury and police said at a press conference that they are still investigating leads and stepping up patrols.

Melissa Millan, a 54-year-old mother and a senior vice president at Mass Mutual Insurance, was found on Iron Horse Boulevard in dowtown Simsbury around 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20 with a stab wound to the chest and transported to Saint Francis Hospital, where she died, police said.

Millan's death has been ruled a homicide and police have heightened patrols in response to this crime, which has placed the quiet, suburban community on edge. Police have not identified any suspects.

"We have not determined if this is random or not at this particular time," Simsbury Police Chief Peter N. Ingvertsen said.

Millan was killed with an edged weapon, Ingvertsen said, declining to comment further on the specific type of weapon.

The incident happened while Millan was jogging on or in the area of the bike trail on the Farmington Valley Greenway, he said. A passing motorist spotted her lying "on the paved portion of the northbound lane" on Iron Horse Boulevard just north of the Phelps Lane intersection, he said.

The police searched the "imediate area" several times the night of the stabbing and did expanded searches in the days following at varied times. Detectives conducted several interviews with Millan's family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances and with people who didn't know her but "called in relevant information," Ingvertsen said. Officers "have gathered" and "analyzed many items that may be of evidentiary value," he said. Investigators will do several more interviews and a "meticulous reviews of potential evidence," according to Ingvertsen.

The State Police Major Crimes Unit, Avon, Granby, Farmington Canton and Bloomfield police are assisting with the investigation.

Ingvertsen encouraged residents to keep using the nearby bike trail as they normally would, but to "play it safe," bring a running buddy and remain vigilant of their surroundings and to report anything suspicious to police.

"The town of Simsbury is generally very safe," Ingvertsen said. "Fortunately, crimes of this magnitude do not happen frequently in our community. But when they do occur, the natural reaction is to question public and personal safety. This is normal under the circumstances. Our advice is to take general day and day precautions. Be aware of your surroundings and report any supicious activity."

He said police are investigating all information provided by the public pertaining to the case and are following leads.

"Some of the leads have been discredited while others have proved to be of more benefit to the investigation," Invertsen said.

The news conference was brief and police do not make any announcements on suspects, arrests or a motive in the case.

"We are very cautious on releasing any of the information.... worrying that it will set the individual or individuals in another direction. So, we are very protective of the information that we have," Ingvertsen said.

Extra patrols will continue in the Iron Horse Boulevard area "for an undetermined amount of time," he said.

"The department has dedicated significant resources to the investigation and will continue to work dilligently to hold the person or persons accountable."

Anyone with information that can help police should call detectives at 860-658-3145.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/MassMutual

Swim Coach Texted Sexual Messages to Teen: Cops


A swim coach was arraigned in court on criminal charges Thursday after allegations that he sent inappropriate texts to one of the 13-year-old swimmers on the team he coaches in Bridgeport, police said.

Alan Marcel, 28, of Norwalk, reportedly texted messages "with sexual content" to a teenage girl on his team, police said. Her mother discovered the messages and reported it to the Park City Wolfpack Swim Team's Board of Directors.Marcel is an instructor for the swim club.

Police responded to the recreational facility that houses the pool at the University of Bridgeport at 400 University Avenue on Wednesday to investigate. Police looked at the text messages and confirmed that they "were explicitly sexual," police said.

The swim club Marcel coaches for is not affiliated with the university, police said. The pool is one of the locations at which the club swims.

Police charged Marcel with risk of injury to a minor and enticing a minor.

He was held in custody on a $10,000 court-set bond and is scheduled to appear in court again on Dec. 11.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Deapartment

Truck Catches Fire in Chaplin


A truck transporting hay caught fire near the Back Door Cafe along Route 6 in Chaplin on Thursday.

Route 6 was closed down so fire crews could put out the flames, but the road was reopened on one lane at about 3:30 p.m., according to a Quinebaug Valley Emergency dispatcher.The call came in about 2 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: Brandon Nickle

Man Asks Hamden Student to Skip School, Get in Car: Police


Police are looking for a man who asked a Hamden High School student for directions Thursday morning and invited her to skip school and get in his car, police said.

A 17-year-old student told Hamden School Resource Officer Scott Jason that a man with a "bushy," black mustache approached her in a Toyota Camry and asked for directions to Fair Haven.

"You cute," the man then told the girl and asked her "to skip school and go with him," police said.

Hamden police have released a surveillance photo of the car and are seeking the public's help to identify him and locate the car. The photo captured a partial license plate number of 574-??Z. The car was likely burgundy.

Police ask anyone with information to call Jason at 203-230-4000.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department

Man Shot in Face: Police


A man was hospitalized after he and another person were shot in the face in Hamden early Thursday evening, police said.

The victim was hit when six to seven shots were fired near Dixwell Avenue and Easton Street, police said, witnesses told police. A bullet apparently ricocheted and struck another person's waistline, police said.

Hamden police are on scene investigating the shooting that happened at about 4:45 p.m. in front of Sammy's Grocery at 875 Dixwell Avenue. The victim shot in the face was conscious when police arrived.

Preliminary investigation shows that six or seven people on bicycles fired at the two victims, police said.

Police have a description of the suspect and identified the name of a possible suspect.

It's unclear if the victims knew the shooter(s).

The man shot in the face was transported to the hospital. The victims' conditions are unknown.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Life Star Responds to Colchester


Life Star responded to an incident in Colchester on Thursday afternoon.

The emergency helicopter was called to the town shortly after 2 p.m.

No other information on the nature of the call was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Several Norwalk Residents Without Water Due to I-95 Leak


A water main leak has delayed traffic on Interstate 95 South in Norwalk and many people in the eastern part of town are without water because of it.

The leak happened between exits 17 and 16 on the southbound side of the highway at the Strawberry Hill overpass, state police and Norwalk police confirmed. A "significant portion" of East Norwalk doesn't have water Thursday night as a result, Norwalk Police Lt. Paul Resnick said.

A tractor-trailer struck the bridge and broke the water main, Norwallk police tweeted.

A viewer submitted a video of water flowing from an overpass onto the highway in that area. The water was no longer gushing at 9:32 p.m., but the highway was still closed down to one lane on the southbound side.

The First District Water Company in Norwalk responded to repair the break. It's unknown when water service will be prepared in the area.

The highway was closed shortly in that area, but traffic is getting by in one lane. Police said to expect delays.

Photo Credit: Susan Cascio

2nd Man Charged in Diamond Heist


A gunman in a brazen daylight robbery of a jewelry outlet in Manhattan's Diamond District was charged with armed robbery Thursday after being apprehended a day earlier in Maryland, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Leon Fenner, 58, is accused of brandishing a semiautomatic gun during a Nov. 11 heist at a jeweler's office in a building on 47th Street, Bharara said. He allegedly pistol-whipped a relative of the jeweler during the robbery, which occurred while the city's Veteran's Day parade passed a few blocks away.

More than $600,000 in jewelry was taken during the robbery, investigators said.

Fenner is the second suspect arrested in the case. Nearly a week after the heist, police arrested Rondu Frisby, 37, who was said to be a business associate of the jeweler. He has been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and aiding and abetting an armed robbery, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Fenner was identified in surveillance video and through fingerprints on envelopes he left in the jeweler's office, investigators said.

Fenner is charged with armed robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of brandishing a firearm during a robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum of seven years in prison.

It wasn't immediately clear whether either suspect had an attorney.

A search warrant executed at Frisby's home uncovered more than $100.,000 in cash, prosecutors said.

Gay Church Worker Sues Over Firing


A gay former Catholic choir director has sued the church where he used to work for firing him after he announced plans to marry his partner.

Colin Collette, along with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Cook County Human Rights Commission, filed the suit Thursday against Holy Family Parish in Inverness and its pastor at the Rolling Meadows courthouse.

Collette says he was fired over the summer from his position as the choir director at Holy Family when he announced his engagement to his longtime partner.

“It saddens me to have this integral part of my life taken away because I have chosen to enter into a marriage, as is my right under Illinois law,” he said.

It remains unclear if the state’s gay marriage law will impact the Catholic Church.

“The courts will make that determination,” said Collette’s lawyer Kerry Lavelle. “[Collette] is not yet married. He is moving towards that, and he has that right under Illinois law.”

In September, Collette met with Cardinal Francis George to discuss his situation. He called the meeting “spiritual” and said her had a “wonderful conversation.”

Collette said Chicago Archbishop Blasé Cupich has not returned his calls.

On Thursday, Cupich said he was not familiar with the suit.

“We do intend to respond in the appropriate form in which it was filed, and I think that’s probably the best way for us to respond to it,” Cupich said.

Previously, the Archdiocese of Chicago said it was aware of the situation at Holy Family, but would not comment on an individual's personal employment issues.

"Pastors hire and dismiss all parish personnel and govern according to the teachings of the Church and Archdiocesan policies. This is a matter of personal integrity on their part," the archdiocese said in a statement. "Those that serve as Ministers of the Church, including worship ministers, are expected to conform their lives publicly with the teachings of the Church."

Cardinal George said before his meeting with Collette that it was Collette's decision that "caused this crisis."

For Collette, however, the suit is a step toward changing the ways of the church he remains committed to.

“My pursuit now is about change and justice, about acceptance and openness in the church,” he said.

Parishioners said the dispute has left churchgoers at odds.

“It has divided the parish tremendously,” said parishioner Delores Siok. “Being there for 25 years, I would walk in and be welcomed by so many. Now you walk in, and they kind of turn your head, because they know you’re in the other camp.”

Couple Cleared in Girl's Death Home


A Southern California couple cleared in the death of their adopted daughter arrived in Los Angeles Thursday after a two-year legal battle.

Matthew and Grace Huang had arrived, according to a tweet by the David House Agency, an international crisis firm that has been working with the family.

"Mission accomplished. Matt and Grace are in Los Angeles. They have not stopped smiling."

The couple left the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar on Wednesday.

The couple is from the San Gabriel Valley and moved to Qatar while Matthew Huang worked in the country on preparations for its role as World Cup host in 2020.

Officials in Qatar had accused the parents of killing their 8-year-old adopted daughter Gloria by starving her and also of obtaining all three of their children through human trafficking.

The Huangs maintained their daughter died from an eating disorder. The Huangs appealed their sentence, and after a two-year battle, a court ruling absolved them of any wrongdoing in the death of their child.

Their departure comes after the nation lifted a travel ban against the couple. The case drew Washington's involvement, with U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Dana Shell Smith accompanying the Huangs on Wednesday at the Doha's Hamad International Airport to ensure they cleared passport control and reached their departure gate. The Huangs' lawyer was also present.

Officials with the U.S. State Department said Tuesday it applauds the lifting of the travel ban, and is looking forward to seeing the Los Angeles couple reunited with their other children.

The Huangs were arrested in January 2013 on murder charges following the death in Qatar of Gloria, who was born in Ghana. The Huangs spent months behind bars before being let out on their own recognizance last November.

After murder charges were dropped, they were convicted in March of child endangerment and sentenced to three years in prison. They were allowed to remain free pending their appeal, but banned from leaving the country.

After a Qatari appeals court overturned charges of wrongdoing against the couple on Sunday and the judge told them they were free to go, the Huangs were stopped at the airport and had their passports confiscated as they tried to pass through airport immigration control later that day. The delay had been caused by procedural steps that needed to be completed first, according to the family's representative Eric Volz.

Relatives blamed a culture suspicious of interracial adoptions for the legal action, and said the couple never had time to grieve their loss.

A doctor in Qatar who conducted Gloria's autopsy determined that dehydration and a wasting disease were the cause of death. A report by Qatari police raised questions about why the Huangs would adopt children who did not share their "hereditary traits."

The Huangs said Gloria suffered from medical problems complicated by unusual eating habits. A report prepared in the U.S. by Janice Ophoven, a pediatric forensic psychologist who reviewed the case for the family, said that Gloria was severely malnourished when she was younger and would at times refuse to eat for several days before binge eating or getting food from unusual places, such as garbage cans or from strangers.

The Huangs, who are of Asian descent, have two other African-born adopted children who left the Qatar during the trial to live with relatives in the U.S.

Photo Credit: David House Agency

New Derby Principal Weeks After Bomb Threat


There's a new interim administration at Derby Middle School two weeks after a bomb threat was found written on a girls' bathroom wall Nov. 17, prompting parents to voice concerns about how the school responded. Now, parents have a lot of questions.

Arnold Frank is stepping in as principal, according to the school's website.

"This decision provides us the ability, as a community, to give due diligence to the process and selection of the right team to lead the middle school into the foreseeable future," the website states.

But that's all parents know.

“I don't know why they did the changes. Was it because of the bomb threat? Who knows,” said DiCarlo.

A day after the bomb threat, classes were canceled while authorities swept the school as a precaution. Parents expressed their anger and outrage over the fact that the students were kept inside, not dismissed and that parents weren't notified.

“I really think they handled it poorly," said Colleen Hooks, back on Nov. 18.

“The kids are scared. They're being locked up, not really knowing what's going on. My son did text us. He's at the high school across the street, and they were in lockdown as well,” said Rich DiCarlo, a Derby parent.

Rich DiCarlo does think the school leaders at that time acted with the caution needed.

Parents have questions, including what can be expected from this new interim administration. But some in the community say the change was needed.

“A lot has to be changed in Derby. I've lived in Derby my whole life, and I'm 75. Is that telling you something?” said Toni Tillquist.

School officials did not return calls from NBC Connecticut.

The interim principal was meeting with parents Thursday at the school.

New Haven Pop Warner Football Team Heads to Disney


The New Haven Steelers Pop Warner football team has reason to celebrate. The team, made up of players ages 8 to 10, are headed to Disneyworld.

“Eight teams throughout the country are invited to play down at Walt Disney at the Pop Warner Super Bowl Championship game,” said Reggie Lytle, president of New Haven Pop Warner.

Since the team won the state championship and advanced through the regionals, this is their big chance to become national champions and bring the title home to Connecticut.

“I'm really excited because I already had two chances to go down to Florida when I played JP2. My first year, we didn't do so well. My second year, we made it to the regional finals, but lost to Worcester. This year, we made it,” said Sahin Hasan, one of the players.

However, the cost is a little overwhelming for the players and their families right before Christmas time. It costs about $40,000 total for the team’s trip. The team has been fundraising, but it still needs that extra boost, which it just got from the City of New Haven.

“I'm announcing a $10,000 contribution toward those expenses from the City of New Haven,” said Mayor Toni Harp.

The New Haven Housing Authority and the Board of Alders are also pitching in.

“It's good to have things like this, the Mayor coming to do her part and let these young men know that they work hard, and we appreciate it, and New Haven is going to stand behind them,” said Saladin Hasan, Sahin Hasan’s father.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fast Food and Healthcare Employees Protest for Higher Wages


Fast food and home healthcare workers took to the streets of Hartford Thursday as part of a nationwide protest for higher wages.

“We want to raise people’s awareness about what’s going on and that everybody deserves to make higher wages for the work that we do” said Sandy Bellino, a home healthcare worker.

In Connecticut, the minimum is currently hovering around $8 an hour, above the national average, but by 2017, Connecticut will mandate that to increase to $10.10 per hour.

“It’s a great start” said Jo-Ann Gesterling who’s worked for a Wendy’s franchise for six years.
“The thing is we need a living wage. $10 an hour doesn’t cover what it should. We’re falling short by far, not by a couple dollars a week.”

Protesters called for an increase to $15 per hour. They say they deserve to be paid more for their work.

“This is a decent paid state, one of the highest paid states in the country, one of the top highest paid states in the country, so at least what you can do is raise healthcare workers, fast food, pay it to fifteen dollars” said Keisha Barnes. “We deserve it.”

Burger King and McDonald’s both released statements on the protests.

McDonald’s said, "We believe that any increase needs to be considered in a broad context, one that considers, for example, the impact of the Affordable Care Act and its definition of “full time” employment, as well as the treatment, from a tax perspective, of investments made by businesses owners."

Burger King Corporation’s statement read, “"Burger King Corporation and the franchisees who independently own and operate almost 100 percent of Burger King restaurants support and invest in the thousands of restaurant team members across the system."

Both companies pointed out that in many cases it is the franchise owners that dictate what to pay their employees and not the corporate offices.

Missing Student Wasn't Spotted: PD


The man whom a Kildare's bouncer saw walking on Main Street in Manayunk, nearly an hour after missing student Shane Montgomery left the bar on the night he vanished, was not Montgomery, police say.

Law officials made the determination that the man was not the missing 21-year-old West Chester student after reviewing surveillance video from the area of the supposed sighting. police told NBC10.

Earlier Thursday, exactly a week after Shane vanished, Kildare's Irish Pub said in a statement on its Facebook page confirming reports that one of its bouncers had seen Montgomery Thanksgiving morning nearly an hour after he left their establishment.

"We learned this information in our internal investigations, we shared this information immediately with authorities with the hope that it would help find Shane," read the statement on Kildare's Facebook page.

Shane Montgomery, who went missing after a night out with friends, was last seen as he left Kildare's just before 2 a.m. -- minutes after he bumped into the DJ booth.

News of the debunked sighting was released to NBC10 as the search moved into its second week and the same day that his parents, Kevin and Karen Montgomery, appeared on "Today," pleading for information on their son's whereabouts. 

"...All we need is a little point, a little direction," said Shane's father. "Somewhere to get us focused."

"People have to come forward," said Karen Montgomery.

The reward for information leading to Shane Montgomery was increased to $40,000 Thursday, thanks to Bimbo Bakeries USA, Kevin's employer, who added an additional $9,000 to the steadily growing pot.

Police have expanded their search and are now asking for surveillance video from the Schuylkill River to Henry Avenue and Green Lane to Lincoln Drive.

Anyone with information on the 21-year-old senior, who weighs approximately 140 pounds and stands 5-foot-11-inches tall is urged to contact Philadelphia Police or the FBI at 215-418-4000.

Judicial Marshal Has History of Misconduct


Judicial Marshal Michael Connelly, who was arrested last week on a charge of promoting prostitution, has had multiple run-ins with code of conduct violations, according to documents obtained by NBC Connecticut.

He was arrested last week at his home by Connecticut State Police.

Connelly is the brother of the late Waterbury State Attorney John Connelly.

Following 18 years with a clean service record, things began to go south for Connelly in 2001 when he was investigated and later found to have viewed pornography on a Waterbury judge’s computer. Following the results of the investigation, Connelly was fired.

A judge later heard the details of the case during arbitration and reinstated Connelly’s employment. In his ruling, the judge wrote that even though there was no doubt that Connelly had used judicial property for personal use to view content like sports and gambling information, the conduct was not illegal, and there was no reason for Connelly to assume that he would have been fired for such conduct.

In other instances, Connelly was investigated for making lewd gestures in an open courtroom and for displaying a picture of a naked woman on his cell phone.

Connelly’s attorney, Lenny Crone, responded to the recent charge against Connelly and the previous issues during an exclusive interview.

“They have nothing to do with Mike’s arrest. Nothing at all. Two totally separate issues.”

Crone said of the current charge against his client that he’s seen no evidence to support the claim.
He said the case itself has only made it into the public arena because of his last name and his brother’s stature in Waterbury and across the state.

“Anytime you’re associated with or related to a well known person you get the benefits of that relationship and you also get what won’t be the benefits, the negative parts of that and I think that’s happening with Mike” Crone said.

Crone described the charge against Connelly as “run of the mill.”

He also said it’s key to remember that a judge ruled in the past that he had not done anything illegal.
Connelly has his first court appearance December 10.

Farmington Residents Discuss Burglary Concerns


About 100 Highlands neighborhood residents gathered at the Farmington Police Department Thursday night for a community meeting to discuss what's being done to put an end to a string of burglaries.

"The attendance was phenomenal. It shows the community is very much involved and vigilant," said Maria, a Highlands resident.

This year police say the town has seen 51 burglaries, which is about average, but that within the last few weeks the Highlands have become a target. Authorities say the crimes take place during the day with the focus on stealing jewelry.

The police chief discussed the investigative process, and also gave tips on how to stay safe. Authorities recommend that residents alert them when homes are going to be empty for several days so police can keep an eye out, to consider an alarm system and be sure to use it, and to avoid posting travel plans on social media.

"There are bound to be burglaries. You simply have to be diligent, take care of your property, and follow common-sense advice that was given," said Maria.

Authorities also emphasized the importance of staying alert and reporting suspicious people or vehicles.

"It is great to have that extra set of eyes for us and encouraging them to call when they do see something," said Farmington Police Chief Paul Melanson.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

5,000 Protest for Garner in NYC


Thousands of people lay down in streets, blocked bridges and cut off tunnels in a second day of protests in response to a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict an NYPD officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Protesters in Foley Square chanted "I can't breathe" and "No justice, no peace" as they marched Thursday evening, holding up signs reading "Solidarity against police brutality" and "Equal justice for all." 

Garner, a 43-year-old father of six captured on amateur video, saying, "I can't breathe!" during an altercation with police. 

A view of the gathering from Chopper 4 showed a crowd of an estimated 5,000 at Foley Square before a few hundred other protesters from Union Square marched down to join them there. 

The protesters chanted "This is our reality, stop police brutality" as police walked and rode alongside them, monitoring the march and keeping order. 

They also invoked the Ferguson, Missouri grand jury's decision last week not to indict a police officer in the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown as they shouted "Hands up, don't shoot" and held signs reading "Ferguson is everywhere." 

"These officers need to be convicted. They belong in jail," said Richard Newbury of midtown Manhattan. 

Ashley Cissokho of Park Slope, Brooklyn, said: "It's not just anger toward police. It's anger toward the system that lets them get away with doing bad things." 

Some of the protesters headed to the Brooklyn Bridge, carrying fake caskets bearing the names of unarmed black men who died at the hands of police, including Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham and Akai Gurley. 

Thousands of others marched up from the West Side Highway, weaving through traffic.

Later, they went to Herald Square to lay down on the streets of the busy intersection, remaining silent for 11 minutes, signifying the number of times Garner yelled "I can't breathe." 

The Brooklyn Bridge, the West Side Highway and the Holland Tunnel all saw brief closures or major backups.

Danny Blackman was stuck in traffic for about an hour and a half. He called it "no big deal" and said "I understand the protests. I'm OK with that."

Not every driver was as understanding. In Tribeca, cars were bumper to bumper, a nightmare for taxi and limo drivers.

"A lot of stress today," said a private car driver. "Clients are stressed out. They had to walk half a mile to the restaurant." 

A law enforcement official said late Thursday night that there were roughly three dozen arrests in Manhattan, but the number is subject to change with the ongoing protests. They included eight arrests in Times Square when some people began throwing objects at police. Order was quickly restored after the skirmish. 

The decision by a Staten Island grand jury Wednesday to not indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death sparked immediate protests across the city. Demonstrators staged a "die-in" at Grand Central Terminal as they chanted "I can't breathe" and lay down on the ground. Others marched through traffic across Manhattan, bumping up against police barriers set up for the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremonies. Bridges and highways were also gridlocked for some time. 

Eighty-three people were arrested in Wednesday's demonstrations, which were largely peaceful. 

The medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide, saying it was caused in part by the chokehold. Garner's health issues, including obesity, were listed as contributing factors in the autopsy report. Garner's family said that finding and the video should have secured an indictment.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen on the video wrapping his hand around Garner's neck July 17 as the heavyset, asthmatic man gasped for air, released a statement shortly after the grand jury decision was announced Wednesday saying he never intended to harm anyone.

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into the case. The NYPD says its internal review of Pantaleo's actions is ongoing.

Thousands more protesters marched, chanted and lay down in streets in other major U.S. cities, too. Demonstrators stopped traffic on major highways in Chicago and a bridge in Washington, and in Boston, thousands of people protested peacefully at the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony and at City Hall.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said earlier in the week that the NYPD was anticipating protests and that the department had been preparing for them for months

The Rev. Al Sharpton announced Wednesday he and the Garners, along with the families of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old killed in Ferguson, Missouri, by a police officer a grand jury also declined to indict, and Akai Gurley, the man killed by an NYPD officer in a dark Brooklyn housing project stairwell last month, will lead a national march in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 13.

Photo Credit: AP

Elastic Kept Malnourished Dog from Eating: Cops


A sick, malnourished dog was found with an elastic wrapped around her snout, preventing her from getting much-needed food, police investigating the severe case of animal cruelty said. 

Someone flagged Meriden police down on State Street around 1 p.m. on Monday after finding the weak 1-year-old Maltese/Poodle mix in distress at the Connecticut town's Community Health Center, police said.

The elastic was placed around the dog’s snout on purpose awhile back to prevent her from opening her mouth, according to police, because it was embedded into the dog’s flesh.

The dog is now at a local animal hospital, being treated for infection, and will need surgery soon.

Despite the dog’s medical state, she is very friendly and docile,

Meriden Police are hoping that anyone who recognizes the dog will call the Animal Control Office, who is trying to find the dog’s owner. If you have information, call Animal Control Officer Kline or Animal Control Officer Bacon at (203) 235-4179.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police
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Teacher Has at Least 5 DUI Arrests: Officials


A Columbia middle school teacher charged in a drunken driving crash early Wednesday afternoon has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence at least five times since 1997 and stopped by a liquor store about an hour before the crash, according to police and court documents.

On Wednesday morning, Jessica Duers, 44, of Mansfield, taught one class at Horace W. Porter School before leaving to go home sick, according to Columbia Superintendent Laurence Fearon. He said that there was no indication that she was under the influence of anything at school.

At 10:49 a.m., she stopped by Columbia Package Store, around two miles away from the school, and spent $19.13, according to the arrest warrant. A clerk at the liquor store said she purchased a 750-milileter bottle of Fireball cinnamon whiskey while she was there.

At 11:58 a.m., Duers was trying to make an illegal left turn from West Main Street to West Avenue in Willimantic and hit a Ford with two people inside, sent it off the road and onto the sidewalk, where an 78-year-old man was struck, police said.

At first the man was unconscious, then he was screaming in pain and medics would soon determine that he had a fractured femur and several injuries, police said.

The two people in the Ford sustained minor injuries and all three were taken to the hospital to be evaluated, but Duers said she was not hurt and did not need medical attention, police said.

As officers questioned her, there was no smell of alcohol, but Duers' speech was slurred, she stared off into the distance and paused during the conversation, according to police.

At first, Duers denied drinking any alcohol and said she took a .5 mg dose of Klonopin and a 1 mg dose of Vexitran, but later admitted to drinking alcohol before the crash and failed several sobriety tests, police said. 

She also admitted to being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs several times in the past, according to the warrant.

Court officials said on Thursday that Duers has been arrested on driving under the influence charges at least five times since 1997, some under the last name Duers and other times, under her maiden name of Fleming

Duers was charged with driving under the influence, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle and restricted turns and failing to signal in connection with the crash this week.

When NBC Connecticut spoke with Duers' husband, Chris, yesterday, he confirmed the prior arrests and said his wife has struggled with the issue in the past and that she's had past incidents in East Hampton.

"She's a very good person, but obviously has done some regrettable things," he said.

Duers, a part-time life skills teacher, a subject similar to home economics, and has been at the school since September and is on paid leave.

She appeared in court on Wednesday, where a judge set bond at $50,000 and revoked her driving privileges. She is due back in court on Jan. 5.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Willimantic Police

West Haven Police Warn of Package Thefts


‘Tis the season for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts to be shipped out in time for the holidays and there is a Grinch on the loose in West Haven.

Police are asking residents to be aware after several packages were stolen. In the last few weeks, police have responded to four such incidents, including two on Campbell Avenue, one on Main Street and one on Gilbert Street.

Police are urging residents to take precautions by asking the company to leave the item with a neighbor or in an area that is not visible to someone casually walking or driving by.

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