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Bridgeport Woman Charged with Murder


Bridgeport police have arrested a woman accused of shooting her boyfriend to death after an apparent domestic dispute.

When police responded to the 200 block of Huntington Turnpike around 1:17 a.m. on Sunday, police found Jacob Lopez, 33, standing outside of a pickup, suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest.

While en route to Bridgeport Hospital, Lopez told police "Grisselle shot me,"  police said.

Lopez was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly before 6 a.m.

Detectives immediately began an investigation and found Grisselle Pizarro, 36, at her home on Evers Court. In an interview with police, she confessed that she shot Lopez, police said.

She said she and Lopez were in the pickup, talking, when he physically assaulted her. During the assault, she took a handgun from her purse and fire several shots, then ran home, police said.

Police said they recovered a .40-caliber handgun believed to have been used in the shooting and Pizarro was charged with murder and unlawful discharge of a firearm in relation to the fatal shooting.

While police said Lopez and Pizarro had been dating, friends of the couple told News 12 that the couple had recently married.

"We take all gun violence very seriously, and this remains a very active investigation. The priority always is keeping our kids and families safe," said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. "The investigation doesn't end with an arrest."

Accused LA Couple Go to Church


An embattled family only just returned from a two-year legal fight over the death of their daughter in Qatar received a standing ovation at a church service in their native Pasadena Sunday.

After he and his family received a standing ovation at the Lake Avenue Church's morning service, Matthew Huang spoke about how faith helped he and his wife, Grace, through the court case. The parents were accused of killing their 8-year-old adopted daughter, Gloria.

"The situation the past two years has been extremely difficult," he said. "It's taught us a lot about patience and trusting God."

While they were living in Qatar in 2013, Gloria died from what the family says was an eating disorder. Qatari officials accused them of starving the girl, leading to a two-year saga that finally ended Wednesday, when they were allowed to leave the country.

The church allowed media into the worship service and released a statement to their members.

"It is the desire of their hearts to be with their church family and we welcome them home," the statement said.

The Huangs were not expected to speak to the media.

Photo Credit: Melissa Etezadi

Car Runs Into Garner Protesters


At least one protester was injured Saturday night when a driver ran into a group of demonstrators chanting in a Riverside roadway and then took off, police said.

Cellphone video taken by a witness showed a dark-colored BMW driving through the group of demonstrators standing at the intersection of Mission Inn Avenue and Market Street about 6:30 p.m.

Officials with the Riverside Police Department said one of the protesters suffered minor injuries. The car may have rolled over the feet of two demonstrators.

The group of about 50 was demonstrating as part of anti-police brutality protests happening across the country.

Investigators were trying to figure out whether the car intentionally drove into the crowd. The driver did not stop to talk with protesters or police.

Hundreds of people were in the area for the annual Festival of Lights event at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa.

Investigators said they have a partial license plate . They planned to look at traffic cameras and surveillance video to try and determine if and how the driver was at fault.

3 Dead, 8 Injured After Car Hits Bear


Three people were killed and eight others injured, four seriously, after a car hit a bear in the Florida Everglades on Sunday night, police said.

The unusual accident happened around 7 p.m. on Snake Road, a two-lane stretch of highway just north of I-75 on the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, in Hendry County near the Broward County line.

An SUV struck and killed a black bear and another vehicle behind it stopped to help. Three people from the second vehicle were killed when a third vehicle crashed into the first vehicle, according to Gary Bitner of the Seminole Police Dept.

"There was a 45-year-old man, a 14-year-old son, his daughter and a grandchild in a Mercedes that we believe was that third vehicle," Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said.

Police identifed the three victims who died as Yoel Menendez, 44, Ricoberto Llanez, 43, and Alain Navarro, 46.

Eight patients were taken to Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Bitner said. Four of the patients suffered severe injuries and were airlifted to the hospital. Another four patients had non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to the hospital by ground rescue.

Five of the victims were treated and released. Officials said some of the victims were children.

Two others involved in the crash were not injured, Bitner said.

Seminole Police are continuing to investigate.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.


"Swastika" Wrapping Paper Pulled


Walgreens is pulling a wrapping paper print from it shelves a day after a Southern California woman complained about finding swastikas in the design, a company spokesman said Sunday.

The woman, Cheryl Shapiro, said she was shopping in the Hanukkah section of a store in Northridge when she found a geometric blue-and-silver pattern that had lines connecting in the shape of the Nazi symbol.

The rolls were removed from the store after she complained to managers.

Walgreens said other stores were following suit.

"We are in the process of removing the product from our stores," Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso told NBC4.

Caruso said he could not comment on the design. He also did not have an estimate as to how many rolls were being pulled.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Shapiro

"Die-In" After Eagles Game


Protesters staged a "die-in" outside the South Philadelphia Sports Complex following the Eagles game Sunday night in a show of solidarity for Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

Clergy leaders with Philadelphia Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild (POWER) called for a “Solidarity Die-In” which took place at the northeast corner of Broad and Pattison Streets. Around 200 protesters gathered outside the complex for the demonstration around 7 p.m.

Around 7:45 p.m. they laid down in the middle of the intersection for about four minutes and thirty seconds.

"It's symbolic of the four hours and thirty minutes that Mike Brown laid dead in the streets of Ferguson," a POWER spokeswoman said. 

The demonstration was one of many sparked by the recent grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers involved in the deaths of Eric Garner and Mike Brown.

Brown, 18, was killed after being shot several times by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri. Wilson said Brown, who was unarmed, assaulted him and charged at him which prompted him to open fire in self defense. Brown's family and some witnesses disputed Wilson's report however. A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in the case prompting violent riots in Ferguson as well as protests nationwide.

Garner, 43, died July 17 in Staten Island, New York after police officers attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. Officer Daniel Pantaleo was caught on video wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck as the heavyset asthmatic repeatedly yelled, “I can’t breathe!” Garner was pronounced dead at the hospital an hour later.

On Dec. 3 a grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo, a decision which also sparked nationwide protests.

"While the protests are in response to these two incidents, the demonstrators say they are fed up with a justice system that has no regard for African Americans," the POWER spokeswoman said. "Black teenagers are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than their white counterparts according to national statistics. Protesters say the overarching problem is structural, systemic, institutionalized racism."

Whether they were frustrated by the Eagles' loss to the Seahawks, the fact that the demonstration blocked traffic or a combination of both, some Eagles fans were not happy with the protest.

"I think it stinks," said one fan. "People have to leave."

Some of the fans chanted "a**holes" and "get a job" as the die-in took place. Aside from that however, there were no reported confrontations or violent incidents.

"Yeah they were shouting rude things," said Raheem Manning, one of the protesters. "It just shows that this matters. We're getting awareness out." 

After the die-in, the demonstrators stood up and continued protesting, chanting "Black lives matter," "Hands up, don't shoot," and "I can't breathe" before finally leaving the area.

"This is the first one I've been to and I thought it was an important one, during a big event where a lot of people who may be ignorant to our cause are here," Manning said. "I think the issue is you grow up as a young black male. I'm college educated but I still have the fear a cop may bother me for no reason."

As the demonstrators chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot," one Eagles fan, Ryan Shane, decided to chant back.

"Hands up don't be a criminal!" Shane shouted. "Hands up don't attack police officers! Hands up be a good citizen!" 

Shane later spoke to NBC10's Randy Gyllenhaal.

"I think it’s an absolute tragedy that that young man was killed," Shane said. "I feel terrible for the police officer. And I feel terrible for the family and I feel terrible for that young man losing his life. It's an absolute tragedy. But you know what? Hands up, be a good citizen. If a police officer tells you to do something, do it." 

Philadelphia Police closed the intersection at Broad and Pattison for about 20 minutes for the die-in demonstration. They also thanked the demonstration organizers for giving them advanced notice. The intersection was later reopened to traffic.

"First and foremost we gotta protect life," said Philadelphia Police First Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. "So we're out here to do that and make sure people get home safely. The fans and the demonstrators." 

No arrests were made during the demonstration, according to police.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com
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Raw: Downtown LA Fire


About 200 firefighters battled a major fire at a large apartment building under construction in downtown Los Angeles early Monday morning.

Madison Cancer Survivor Named Kindest Kid


Two years have passed since 7-year-old Sierra, of Madison, Connecticut, was diagnosed with kidney cancer and she has been sharing her story to make things easier for other children going through similar battles.

Sierra’s volunteer work, along with her efforts to raise thousands of dollars for charity, put her in the running for Sprout Network’s “Kindest Kid Contest” and she won the contest.

As she appeared on the Today Show this morning, where the winner was announced, she said the best advice she can give people to be kind is just to help others.

When Sierra recently met with Jenna Bush Hager for a segment that aired on the Today Show, she talked about how she went from learning she had cancer when she was 5 years old to giving advice to help others.

“We went to the doctor’s and they felt around my stomach and said that I had kidney cancer because my kidney was actually the size of a grapefruit,” Sierra told Jenna Bush Hager for a segment that aired on the Today Show this morning.

After going through treatment, Sierra is healthy and now she is focusing on helping other children who are battling cancer.

She and her older sister started the Childhood Cancer Kids program and have raised $10,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation.

She also visits sick children in the hospital, delivering gift bags and offering advice. She tells them that stress balls, breathing exercises, blowing bubbles and yoga can help children fighting to get well.

“Kids want to be near her,” Katie Stein, of Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, said. “She will talk to them a lot about what she went through and, I think, for kids, hearing that from another kid is really impactful.”

Sierra’s parents said their daughter’s work has helped her as well and transformed her from being a cancer victim to a champion.

The winner was announced this morning.

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Firefighters Respond to Basement Fire in West Hartford


Firefighters responded to a basement fire on Prospect Avenue in West Hartford on Monday morning.

Residents of the house, at 837 Prospect Ave., were home when the fire started and were able to get out OK, officials said.

The basement is being ventilated.

No additional information was available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Killed in Crash Near Foxwoods Employee Lot


A 31-year-old woman is dead after a crash early Sunday morning outside Foxwoods Casino.

Police said Cheryl Venezia, of Whitman, Massachusetts, was trying to make an improper turn on Route 2 near a Foxwoods employee parking around 3:40 a.m. when a Ford Escalade driving behind her hit the front driver's side of Venezia's car.

According to police, Venezia was driving a Toyota Corolla traveling westbound on Route 2, made an improper turn and crossed into the eastbound lane. The Toyota was then struck in the front driver’s side by a Cadillac Escalade driving eastbound.

Venezia was killed in the crash. The occupants of the Escalade were transported to W.W. Backus Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Anyone who witnessed this crash is asked to contact Trooper Forbes #1391 at State Police Troop E in Montville at 860 848 6500.

Massive Fire Shuts Down LA Freeways


A massive fire at a construction site in downtown Los Angeles closed down portions of the 110 and 101 freeways early Monday, and plumes of smoke could be seen for miles.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz said more than 250 firefighters battled the blaze in the 900 block of Fremont Avenue (map). Crews stood on the 110 Freeway to douse the flames, which also caused significant damage to two other buildings.

Reported at 1:20 a.m., the major emergency fire, with over 16 fire companies responding, was about 98 percent contained by about 8 a.m., fire officials said.

The Southbound 101 and 110 freeways were reopened just before 5 a.m. Northbound lanes of the 110 were expected to remain closed through the morning rush hour.

"This is a historic fire, what we as firefighters would call 'a career fire,'" Ortiz told NBC News. "It's huge. I really can't remember a building fire this big and I have been with the department for 13 years."

Deputy Chief Joe Castro concurred.

"It’s been a long time since we’ve had an under-construction fire this significant," he said.

Castro said a building at 221 Figueroa Street that houses government offices was badly damaged, and the building would remain off-limits Monday.

"Basically all of the windows from the second to the 15th floor were broken out due to the radiant heat," he said. "We had fire in several of the units that was held in check by both the sprinklers and the firefighters we deployed into that unit to stop the extension."

The fire burned wood framing at the planned seven-story apartment complex, and Castro said the fire originated in that building.

The heavy smoke prompted the California Highway Patrol to issue a SigAlert shutting down the transition from the northbound Harbor (110) Freeway to the northbound Hollywood (101) Freeway and the southbound Hollywood Freeway at Alvarado Street and Union Avenue.

The cause and extent of the fire are not yet known. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Glass and debris was falling to the ground and a water sprinkler system had been activated at the city building by the time firefighters arrived. Castro said debris could be found about 1000 feet in any direction of the fire.

A second fire erupted near 4 a.m. a few miles away at a two-story apartment complex that is under renovation. Initial reports questioned whether the two fires were linked.

"Our initial concern, obviously, was that we may have had some arsonist working some typical under-construction buildings in the area. That doesn’t appear to be the case right now," Castro said.

Arson investigators are sifting through both scenes.

Willian Avila, Oleevia Woo, Toni Guinyard, Melissa Etezadi and Kelly Goff contributed to this report.

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Critical Injuries Reported in Crash on I-91 in Middletown


One person was critically injured when a pickup rolled over on Interstate 91 North in Middletown on Monday morning.

The crash happened near exit 20 around 10 a.m., according to an alert from the state Department of Transportation. State police said a pickup rolled over and LifeStar medical transport helicopter was called.

The northbound side of the highway was closed, but has since reopened.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Plane Crashes Into Md. Home; 6 Dead


Six people, including a mother and her two children, were killed when a plane crashed into a Gaithersburg, Maryland, home on Monday morning.

The small jet crashed shortly before 10:45 a.m. Monday in the 19000 block of Drop Forge Lane, near Snouffer School Road. A witness reported seeing the plane struggling to maintain elevation and making at least two hard turns before crashing into a home on Drop Forge Lane.

All three people aboard the plane were killed, including Michael Rosenberg, the CEO of North Carolina-based biopharma corporation Health Decisions, Inc. 

The bodies of Marie Gemmell and her two young children, a 3-year-old and a 1.5-month-old, were found on the second floor of their home late Monday afternoon. 

Her visibly distraught husband was at the scene throughout the day. The couple's oldest child was not home during the crash.

"I heard a boom, and you could feel the place shake," a neighbor told News4. 

Just hours before the crash, Marie Gemmell posted on her Facebook page that she just wanted to "stay home" Monday and watch TV with her kids.

Firefighters quickly responded to the scene, but said the fire was too large and too dangerous to do a top-to-bottom search, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Steve 

The Montgomery County Airpark is about one mile from the scene, which is scattered with debris. Two other homes also were badly damaged.

According to the FAA, the Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 twin-engine jet was approaching Runway 14 when it crashed. The NTSB has dispatched Go-Team to the scene.

Snouffer School Road will remain closed at least through rush hour Tuesday morning, but Lohr said it is safe for other residents in the neighborhood to be in their homes. Local traffic will be let through by police but may go no further than Ridge Heights/Chesley Knoll.

Tracey Everett was on a nearby road when he saw the plane flying extremely low.

"You could tell he was struggling with the sticks. He was trying to pull up; he would gain a little elevation and then drop again," Everett said. "His wings were wobbling back and forth, very unsteadily."

The jet is registered to Sage Aviation out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Everett saw the pilot make a hard right and then an erratic hard left, and the plane began to barrel roll. "And that's when it appeared to have made a dive down into the neighborhood," he said.

Everett tried to follow the plane into the community. "...I doubled around, got into the block just before some of the firetrucks got here, and just realized there was nothing I could do," he said.

Piringer said the house that was struck by the plane has "...pretty heavy structural damage and fire damage as a result of this plane hitting one of the houses."

Byron Valencia, who lives in an adjacent community, heard the crash.

"We hear planes come through all the time," he said. "...I was actually in the kitchen making formula for my son, and I heard it come through, and that one was significantly louder than the other ones. And at the same time it passed over the house... I heard a thump... And then I started hearing sirens."

He said he looked out a window and saw smoke. "I could hear a small explosion go off when I first opened the window, and you could just see the black smoke rising," he said.

A neighbor said a resident of one badly damaged home was on the scene and talking to investigators.

There were also some concerns about a hazmat situation due to the possibility of spilled jet fuel leaking into a nearby creek. Firefighters were checking that area.

Stay with NBCWashington on-air and online for more on this developing story.

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More Charges Filed Against Suspect in High-End Purse Scheme


Farmington police have filed more charges against a woman accused in a scheme to use counterfeit cash to steal high-end purses.

Rosemael Danelyne Paul, 19, of Brooklyn, New York, was arrested on Dec. 5 at Hartford Superior Court on an outstanding warrant, accused of using 19 counterfeit $100 bills to buy a handbag from the Louis Vuitton store at Westfarms Mall in early November.

Earlier this month, police arrested her at Westfarms Mall as she tried to exchange two handbags bought with counterfeit money at the Louis Vuitton Store in King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania, police said.

She has been charged with fourth-degree larceny and first-degree forgery and is due in court today.

Paul has been linked to a group in the northeast of people who purchased high-end handbags at Louis Vuitton stores, then returned them at other Louis Vuitton stores for cash, according to police.

She was held on bond.

Photo Credit: Farmington Police

Geno: Good (for Him), But Not Good Enough


There aren’t that many franchise quarterbacks out there. Not nearly enough, in fact, for each franchise. There are only about half a dozen who can carry a team to the top. The best the rest of the NFL can hope for is a competent signal-caller that can win with a good team around him and make the occasional big play when needed, as it always will be at some point.

Teddy Bridgewater showed he can do that on Sunday. Geno Smith didn’t.

No, I’m not talking about Bridgewater’s game-winning 87-yard TD pass play in overtime. Not much was asked of the rookie QB on that bubble screen that the Vikings’ Jarius Wright took to the end zone to seal the 30-24 win over the Jets, and even so, Bridgewater’s throw was a bit high.

I’m referring instead to Bridgewater getting the ball with the score knotted at 24 and just 16 ticks left on the game clock, and marching his team 40 yards down the field to put them into position to win the game on a long field goal.

They didn’t, as Minnesota’s Blair Walsh, who successfully converted a 55-yard kick earlier this season, didn’t come close from 56. But the fact that Bridgewater brought the home team that far in just 13 seconds with the game -- and their air-thin playoff hopes -- on the line suggested that he may well have what it takes.

Does Smith? We’ll likely never find out, since he’s playing on borrowed time with just three games left in the Jets’ sorry 2014 campaign, and will probably start next season glued to the bench -- either for Gang Green or some other team. Smith had one of the better performances of his two-year career at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, even after a start that gives new meaning to the word ignominious. Smith’s pick-six on the first play from scrimmage gave the Vikes a leg up in a game they needed to win to keep alive even the slightest hope of earning a playoff spot. But he went on to complete 18 of his next 28 passes, as Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg removed the cuffs they put on Smith last week (when he threw only 13 pass as Gang Green ran nearly 80 percent of the time).

But, as has been his wont, Smith left Jets fans wanting more as he was unable to get the visitors any points after they began OT with the ball. After getting bogged down not long after crossing the 50, the Jets were forced to punt. Three players later, the Vikes were victorious. Not because of any heroics by Bridgewater. Heroes, after all, are hard to come by.

But he -- and his team -- made the right plays when they had to. And that was more than enough.  

Photo Credit: AP

Police Search for Teen Who Stole Gun from Home


Police are asking for help to find a teen suspected of stealing a gun from a Watertown home and warn that he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Police said they have an arrest warrant charging Kizzy Rashad McCoy, 18, with third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny, stealing a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit.

He was last known to be living in Waterbury. If you see McCoy, do not approach him, police said.

Anyone with information on where he is should call the Watertown Police Department at 860-945-5200 or Crimestoppers at 860-945-9940.

Photo Credit: Watertown Police

Police Respond to Crash in Bloomfield


Park Avenue in Bloomfield is closed after a crash on Monday afternoon.

The crash happened in the area of 420 Park Ave. and Park Avenue is closed between Tyler Street and Crestview Drive, police said.

No information was immediately available on whether anyone was injured.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Police Respond to Crash in Old Lyme


Police are investigating a crash on Route 1 in Old Lyme.

The crash was at Route 1 and Halls Road.

The crash was expected to clear as of 1 p.m.

No additional information was available.

Fire Breaks Out at Motel on Berlin Turnpike in Berlin


Firefighters battled a fire at a motel on the Berlin Turnpike on Monday afternoon and said it appears that the fire was contained to one room.

The fire broke out at a rented room at Johnson's Motel this afternoon. No one was inside when the fire broke out. 

The Berlin Turnpike was closed because the water source is down the road, but it has since reopened.

An employee at the nearby Berlin Batting Cages said earlier that he could see two fire trucks an ambulance and a police car nearby.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Surveillance Shows Truck Battery Theft in North Haven


Police are looking for the people behind a rash of truck battery thefts in North Haven and released surveillance of one such theft.

For several months, someone has been entering private property on five different occasions and stolen batteries from commercial trucks, but on Monday morning, surveillance footage caught the theft in the parking lot of 100 McDermott Road. The photo released shows what police believe to be a late 1990s Honda CRV.

Officials said two people stole 22 batteries from the fleet of commercial trucks, loaded them into their vehicle and left.

Anyone with information about the thefts should call the North Haven Police Department at 203-239-5321.

Photo Credit: North Haven Police
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