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Plane Crash Victim NASA Scientist


The pilot who died when his small plane crashed in Los Angeles Saturday was a NASA and Jet Propulsion Labs researcher who assisted in the Mars Curiosity Rover expedition.

Alberto Behar's plane nosedived soon after taking off from Van Nuys Airport, crashing into a street in the Lake Balboa neighborhood at around 1:15 p.m. and killing him instantly, authorities said.

A JPL spokeswoman confirmed that Behar, a who worked at the Pasadena-based lab for 23 years, died in the crash. He was a scientist on two Mars research missions, including the Curiosity rover collecting data about conditions on the Red Planet.

"His career was dedicated to better understanding Earth and the other planets," said JPL Science Division manager Michael Watkins in a statement. "On behalf of everyone at JPL, I wish to extend our condolences to his family and friends."

The Scottsdale, Ariz., resident, who was also an Arizona State University professor of robotics, spent years at NASA and JPL reseaching how robots and scientific equipment work in harsh locales like Greenland and in harsh environments, like volcanoes and underwater, according to his university biography.

Behar designed a camera that captured on camera a tiny shrimp-like creature swimming deep beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, a profoundly unexpected find so far from the open ocean, according to NASA press release from 2010.

The discovery prompted scientists to wonder "if life-forms as complex as these can survive deep within sub-glacial waters could they survive in other unusual and unfriendly environments in space?" the release said.

“From his submarines that peeked under Antarctica to his boats that raced Greenland's rivers, Alberto's work enabled measurements of things we'd never known," NASA scientist Thomas Wagner said in a statement.

"His creativity knew few bounds. He is, and will forever be, sorely missed.”

Behar's plane, a single-engine, fixed-wing Lancair 320, was listed in an FAA record as amateur-built and experimental. Lancair planes are pre-fabricated kits assembled by the people who buy them, according to the company's website.

Photo Credit: Courtesy NASA

Accused Officer Found Dead in Texas


Dallas police Sr. Cpl. David Wayne Kattner, accused last month of sexually assaulting a prostitute, was found dead Friday morning in his Little Elm home, Dallas police say.

Ron Pinkston, president of the Dallas Police Association, confirmed Kattner's death.  Investigators with the Little Elm Police Department said Kattner, 47, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A statement from the Dallas Police Department released Friday morning offered condolences to Kettner's family but did not specify his cause of death.

Kattner and his attorney were to meet with Internal Affairs Friday morning on allegations that he forced a prostitute to perform a sexual act on him on three occasions, at least once while in uniform. The woman also alleged Kattner showed her outstanding warrants for her arrest and told the woman that he knew where her daughter lived.

Kattner, a 26-year veteran of the department and a northeast patrol division officer, had been placed on administrative leave while the allegations were investigated.

The Little Elm police department is leading the investigation into Kattner's death.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Boy Dies After Falling Into Pond


Despite the quick-thinking efforts of police officers, a 7-year-old boy who fell into a frigid pond in Maryland on Friday evening passed away.

Prince George's County Police say a woman flagged down police in the 1500 block of Southview Drive about 5:30 p.m., saying her son had fallen into a pond. 

An off-duty Prince George's County police officer nearby heard the call and also offered help. Officer Dale Sollars, Officer First Class Brendan Taylor and Officer Melvin Fulton helped pull Zae’ Quan Antonio White, of southeast D.C. from the pond and performed CPR until an ambulance arrived.

"I saw him bringing that baby up the hill in his arms," neighbor Frank Foster said.

The boy was taken to a hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead just before 11 p.m.

The officers also were taken to a hospital as a precaution. 

Prince George's County Police think the boy was playing when he walked onto the frozen pond and fell in when the ice gave way. They say the boy's mother was alerted to the situation by another son.

4 Shot Dead in San Francisco: PD


Four men fatally shot in San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood Friday night were inside a stolen car, police said Saturday.

When police arrived at the 200 block of Page Street around 10 p.m. on a report of multiple shooting victims, they found four victims shot to death in a car, Lt. Tony Chaplin of SFPD's homicide detail told reporters. Chaplin said all four were adult males pronounced dead at the scene. No suspects are in custody yet.

SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza said the victims were in a stolen car that was double parked on the street. Police are working to verify the make and model of a car that was seen speeding away from the shooting and if it is related to the homicide, Esparza said.

Neighbors in the area said they heard rapid gunfire, almost like firecrackers, and what sounded like a car crash. Some bullets went through nearby homes, one even lodged into someone's refrigerator.

Police told NBC Bay Area the area has a history of gang violence.

"We don't know that's what happened here just yet," Chaplin said. "Our gang taskforce unit is on scene and they will be looking into that aspect."

Chaplin said SFPD's ShotSpotter gunshot detection system had been activated with numerous shots being fired. He estimated at least 10 shots were fired Friday night.

Police say a semi-automatic weapon was used.

Police cordoned off several blocks with yellow crime tape and were canvassing the neighborhood for witnesses Friday night. Yellow evidence markers were spotted near the scene of the shooting.

Investigators are talking to witnesses for information and hoping to look at video footage from the scene. Anyone with information on the homicide is asked to call SFPD at (415) 575-444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with SFPD at the start of the message.

Information from Bay City News was included in this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

FDNY Stop Rescue Drill to Save Man


A man who cracked through the ice and fell into a frigid lake at Central Park Saturday had the good fortune of doing so while firefighters were conducting ice-rescue drills nearby.

Firefighters engaged in the drill noticed the man walking in the middle of the frozen lake at about 1 p.m. and shouted warnings at him, an FDNY spokesman said. The man, who wasn't identified, failed to heed the warning and moments later plunged into the icy water.

Firefighters were already wearing their ice-rescue gear and were able to get to the man within two to three minutes, the FDNY said. Rescuers were unsure of the temperature of the lake water, but said it was about 20 degrees outdoors.

The man was incoherent and intoxicated, rescuers said. He was combative in the ambulance and had to be sedated as he was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital, they said.

The rescue occurred near West Drive in the vicinity of 76th Street. 

2 Die in Camel Attack in Texas


Law enforcement in northwest Texas confirm that an aggressive bull camel trampled a man and woman to death on Saturday.

The Wichita County Sheriff David Duke told NBC affiliate KFDX-TV that it happened at the Camel Kisses Farm just after 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The department said 72-year-old Peggy McNair and 53-year-old Mark Mere died. McNair owned the farm.

Sheriff Duke said Mere got into a pen with the male and two females because their water trough had frozen over.

Duke said the male camel was in rut (or ready for breeding). He became aggressive and charged Mere. Mere and McNair tried to get out of the pen and closed the gate but the camel trampled and killed both people.

Eventually, game wardens put down the male camel with permission of McNair's family.

Photo Credit: NBC

Dog Rescued From Storm Drain


A Siberian husky found herself in precarious situation this week.

On Thursday, Animal Services received a call that a dog was stuck in a storm drain at Woodrow Avenue and Viewcrest Drive in Encanto, according to county officials.

The pup, 1-year-old Bella, retreated further into the storm drain as animal control officers approached, forcing them to devise a new plan. Officers blocked the pipe, walked Bella through the drain to a grate and removed the grate. A Good Samaritan then lifted her to safety, according to officials.

Officials said Bella was microchipped and has been reunited with her owner. It’s still unclear how she ended up in the drain in the first place.

Photo Credit: County News Center
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Golden Globes: Stars to Brave Rain


Hollywood's biggest stars will brave the rain for the 72nd Annual Golden Globes Awards on Sunday.

But the wet weather won’t deter some from attending Hollywood’s hottest soiree: the after-party on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton.

Among the guests at the NBCUniversal, Focus Features and E! Entertainment Golden Globes after-party will be the award show’s hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Every year, the challenge for special events director Hollace Davids is to make the celebratory event unique.

“We’ve really tried to be fresh and use new technology,” Davids said.

This year's design is based on NBC's iconic symbol: the peacock. The walls will be a magnification of a peacock feather and peacock colors are spread throughout. There will be blue, gold and fuscia theatrical-style elliptical lighting- and a sprinkle of old Hollywood.

“When we're done, the carpet will be recycled, the lighting is all LED. We really try at NBCUniversal to be ‘green,’” Davids said.

The wild card is the rain, which can ruin the best party plans. That's why NBC has installed sub-flooring and a tent overhead, so all the stars will keep their pumps and patent leather out of the puddles.

“They can rock it no matter what. I mean, their stylists know what to do. Obviously they didn't hire us," said Jazzy Hardman, who was in the 90210 with her husband on their honeymoon.

Expecting sunny weather, the newlyweds from Utah inadvertently wore sandals on a rare rainy day in LA.

"The weatherman Fritz Coleman and team on Channel 4 has been predicting that there's a 60 percent chance of rain sometime during this weekend, so we have to be prepared,” Davids said.

Five floors below will be the InStyle and Warner Bros. party. George Clooney, Emily Blunt and Benedict Cumberbatch will be among the guests.

They will walk into a space inspired by the forests of the Australian Blue Mountains. The centerpiece will be a handmade mirror chandelier. What guests won’t see is what's underneath.

“We're standing on top of a fountain right now, so they have to have to drain a fountain then create a floor then cover it and then that's where the party happens,” said Sharon Clott Kanter, InStyle magazine senior editor.

NBC4’s coverage of the Golden Globes begins a 3 p.m. Sunday with the red carpet arrivals.

The Golden Globes begin at 5 p.m.

And if you miss any of the awards the first time, a special rebroadcast of the Golden Globes will air at 8 p.m.

Photo Credit: Bryan Williams
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Tenants Displaced After Stove Fire


Tenants have been displaced after a stove caught fire at a New Haven apartment Saturday afternoon.

Food was cooking on a stove left unattended when the flames broke out at about 12:30 p.m. at 80 Rosette Street.

The fire was under control by 1 p.m.

The building has three apartments and there was minor damage to the one on the top floor. People in the other two apartments have been allowed back in and the tenants of the top floor unit will likely be permitted to return on Sunday.

Five were initially displaced.

The American Red Cross is providing assistance to the residents displaced.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Wintry Mix Could Hamper Monday Morning Commute


A winter weather advisory has been issued across the state for Monday morning and a wintry mix could affect the morning commute.

Snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain are in the forecast, according to NBC Connecticut First Alert Chief Meteorologist Brad Field. That could cause slippery road conditions as you drive into work on Monday morning.

The winter weather advisory will start at 3 a.m. Monday and last until about 4 p.m.

The Interstate 95 corridor near the coast could see some snow and rain. A snowy mix could affect road conditions along I-84.

Northwestern Connecticut and hilly parts of the state could see some wet snow, with snow accumulations possibly reaching 1 to 3 inches.

Temperatures will likely be in the 30s on Sunday and Monday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Overnight Fire Destroys Glastonbury Home


A fire ravaged a Glastonbury home overnight and was still smoldering Sunday morning just before 6 a.m.

Flames broke out on the first floor close to 12:30 a.m. on Sunday and quickly spread.

"First arriving officers had fire showing in the back of the house," Glastonbury Fire Chief Michael Thurz said. "Fully involved. The fire quickly spread to the rest of the house. All the occupants got out of the house. As you can see the house is a total loss."

The residents made it out of the home unscathed, but their house was destroyed. Everyone in the home has been accounted for and is safe.

There are no hydrants in the area, so the Glastonbury Fire Department had to call for mutual aid.

The fire is the second blaze Glastonbury firefighters have had to fight within 24 hours. A truck fire in a garage spread to a home, displacing three on Saturday afternoon.

The cold weather and ice created additional challenges in fighting both fires and made battling the overnight fire particularly difficult.

"We did have a couple falls on the ice," Glastonbury Fire Chief Michael Thurz said. "Nothing serious, nothing life threatening, they were treated and released on scene. one of our pumps did freeze. So, yeah, the cold can definitely hamper our operations."

Police Seek 2 Suspects in Car Burglary Spree


Stamford police are seeking the public's help in identifying two men suspected of breaking into several vehicles.

Video surveillance captures two men forcing entry through a chain-link gate to illegally access 200 Broad Street. They broke in on Dec. 10 at about 4:40 a.m. and burglarized many cars, according to police. They stole multiple items within the vehicles, police said.

The video shows one of the suspects, wearing dark hooded sweatshirt and carrying a black backpack, smiling as he enters first. Then, the second suspect, wearing a dark hooded zip up jacket, black hat and carrying a red backpack, follows and looks over his shoulder, as seen in the video. Both suspects look like they are teenagers or in their early 20s and the surveillance shows both of their faces clearly.

Stamford police believe that these two young men are responsible for the break-ins and ask anyone who recognizes them to contact the detective unit at 203-977-4417 or leave an anonymous tip over the phone or on the police department's Facebook page. 

Police caution anyone who spots either of these suspects not to approach them and to notify police.

Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department

Vigil Held for Missing Dad


Family and friends of a missing Pennsylvania teacher came together Sunday to hold a vigil for his safe return.

A vigil for Chris Tully was held at 5 p.m. at the baseball field on Guinea Lane in Jamison, Pennsylvania.

No one has seen Tully since he jumped out of his parent's car along the City Avenue Bridge near East Falls on Tuesday morning. The 40-year-old award-winning technology teacher has been battling depression and was on the way to get help when he ran.

"We miss him, we love him and we want him to come home," C.J. Tully told NBC10 Saturday. The 12-year-old is the oldest of the missing man's three sons. "He's a really good person and he helps others a lot."

The boys said their father loves to play sports and teach them new techniques in football, baseball and soccer.

"I want him to come home so we can do more stuff together," Sean Tully, another son, said. "He plays games and teaches us stuff."

Chris Tully spent the last 12 years teaching at the Middle Bucks Institute of Technology. His work earned him an outstanding teaching award by a statewide organization.

"He's a really caring guy whose really dedicated. He's got a big heart and he's just an all-around good guy," Chris' brother-in-law, Mike Speaks, said.

Philadelphia Police said the man's credit cards and cell phone have not been used since he disappeared. He was last seen walking toward the Schuylkill Expressway. The family searched the area on Friday, but have not found any sign of him.

During Sunday night's vigil, hundreds of people prayed for Tully to come home.

"With all the flyers, all the social media and all, just hoping with the kids doing the callout, just hoping that if he's out there and he's safe hell reach out to somebody," said Tully's brother-in-law Christopher Speak.

If you have any information on Tully's whereabouts, please call Philadelphia Police.

Photo Credit: NBC10

Willimantic Store Robbed Twice in Two Weeks


A Willimantic store has been robbed at gunpoint for the second time in two weeks as police investigate a string of four other potentially connected robberies in the region.

Sam’s Food Store is the fifth robbery of late in eastern Connecticut. Police received a report about an armed robbery there at 4 p.m. on Saturday, cordoning the Main Street store off with police tape as they investigated.

“Upon on arrival, the clerk was uninjured. The clerk tells us a lone male walked into the store pointed a black handgun at him and demanded cash from the register,” Willimantic Police Cpl. Stanley Parizo, Jr. said.

Police said the male robber, who was wearing a black face mask and a yellow or orange jacket, got away with cash.

Sam's was also robbed on New Year’s Day, as was the A-1 Gas station in Willimantic.

Last  week on Saturday, there were two more armed robberies in the region, including at the 7-Eleven in Marlborough and the Mobil Mart in Franklin.

Police are investigating whether the four other robberies are connected. And now they have another robbery to investigate.

“At this point, once again we are treating this robbery separately but they are very similar,” Parizo said.

Police hope to provide surveillance pictures from Saturday’s robbery but said at this point they are not available.

Police Seek Person of Interest in Bank Robbery


Windsor police are seeking a person of interest in a bank robbery that happened Saturday.

The department released a surveillance photo of a man in a dark jacket and a black hat and police said they believe he might be "related" to the armed robbery at First Niagara Bank in Windsor on Jan. 10.

No one has been arrested at this time and Windsor police are offering a reward for anyone who provides information leading to an arrest in the robbery.

Windsor police responded to a 911 call reporting a robbery at First Niagara bank at 2133 Poquonock Ave. at about 9:18 a.m. on Saturday.

Two people brandishing handguns demanded money at gunpoint from bank employees and fled the scene in a get-away car with an unknown amount of cash. They had peeked in a window in the back of the bank to scope it out before going in, police said.

No one was injured.

Windsor and state police searched for the suspects but were unable to find them.

Police released surveillance photos of the suspects. They described the first suspect as slim, about 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds and said he was wearing a dark leather jacket, black jeans and grey hooded sweatshirt. The second suspect was about 6 feet tall with a medium build and likely weighs about 160 to 180 pounds, police said. He was wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt and light pants.

Both men had handguns and wore black masks, police said. The car they fled in was likely a small gray or bronze Mercedes sedan with tinted windows, according to police.

Police did not say how they believe the person of interest might be connected to the crime.

Police ask anyone with information on his identity or whereabouts to contact detectives at 860-519-6421 and 860-519-6422 or the main routine Windsor Police Department line at 860-688-5273. Any tips will be kept confidential, police said.

Photo Credit: Windsor Police Department

Drunken Driver Arrested After Chase That Injured 2 Cops: Police


A suspected drunken driver has been arrested after leading police on a chase from Windsor after midnight Saturday morning that ended in a crash with police cruisers in Suffield that sent two officers to the hospital.

Windsor police stopped Eddy Feliz-Ayala, 26, of New Britain, on Saturday at about 12:25 a.m. on Palisado Avenue after receiving a 911 call shortly before from a citizen about a possible drunken driver going in the northbound direction, police said.

Responding officers noticed that Feliz Ayala seemed "significantly impaired by some type of drug or alcoholic liquor," police said. After initially refusing to get out of his car for a sobriety test, Feliz-Ayala drove off in his car into Windsor Locks, according to police.

Windsor and Windsor Locks police chased him to pull him over, but he drove "erratically," passing into the oncoming lane and swerving across the road, police said.

Suffield police joined in on the chase, which ended on Route 75 (South Street) on the Suffield and Windsor line after he hit two police cruisers and nearly struck a Windsor officer who was out of his car, police said. The crash happened just after 3 a.m.

Two Windsor officers were taken to area hospitals to be treated for minor injuries.

Suffield police charged him with motor vehicle offenses in the incident and then Windsor police took him into custody.  Feliz-Ayala was later taken to the hospital to be treated for "minor" and "non-visible" injuries, police said. He's since been release from the hospital.

Windsor police charged Feliz-Ayala with driving under the influence, first-degree reckless driving, reckless endangerment, failure to stop when signaled by an officer and several other motor vehicle violations, police said. He was also charged with assault on a police officer, police said.

Feliz-Ayala was also wanted for a hit-and-run crash in Hartford, so Hartford police also responded and are applying for an arrest warrant.

Police held him on a $200,000 bond and was released on a court summons. He is due in Enfield Superior Court on Monday.

New Haven Firefighter Found Dead Near Hamden Home


New Haven firefighters are mourning the loss of one of their own.

Linda Cohens, who spent nearly 20 years in the department, died after a neighbor found her unconscious on the sidewalk near her Hamden home early Sunday morning.

Police said she had an apparent head injury and was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

She worked at Engine 16 and the flag was lowered to half-staff to honor Cohens.

Her father, a former police officer, said he encouraged his daughter to follow her dream of helping others.

“I’ve gone to parents' houses to tell them that they’ve lost a child, but until you’re on the other side of it, you have no idea. You have no idea,” Odell Cohens Sr said. “God decided to take her and I understand that. I understand that. He doesn’t make mistakes and everything is done for a reason. Do I like it? No. But, I’ve never wanted to bury one of my kids.”

Linda Cohens, 50, had worked for the New Haven Fire Department for 17 years, first as a firefighter then as a paramedic.

“Helping people, helping people. That was her thing,” her father said.

Besides work, Linda Cohens spent the rest of her time with her granddaughter and now the fire department has started raising funds to help her.

Linda Cohens' granddaughter never met her dad, who was Cohens' only son, because he died in an accident six-years ago.

“She worshiped that child because that was Brendan. That was him in the flesh,” Odell Cohens Sr. said.

Linda Cohens' fellow firefighters said everyone loved her, especially for her energy and laughter that she brought to the firehouse.

“She wasn’t fake or phony. What you saw is what you got and that she loved all people,” Odell Cohens Sr said.

Police are still investigating the death.

The New Haven firefighters union has set up a memorial fund online in her memory that will be used to fund her young granddaughter's education.

Missing Pajama-Clad Teen Found: PD


A missing teenager who left her Westchester home more than a week ago wearing only pajamas was found Sunday in Manhattan, police said.

The teenager, 16-year-old Ji Woo "Christine" Kang, was located at about 7:45 p.m. at St. Agnes Church on East 43rd Street.

She was safe and in the custody of MTA police, Greenburgh Police Chief Chris McNerney said.

A person from the church recognized Kang from one of the fliers distributed by volunteers who searched a 10-block area around Grand Central Terminal on Saturday, the chief said.

More than 200 people participated in Saturday's search, the largest coordinated effort since Kang left her Greenburgh home.

Kang was last seen by her family at about 8 p.m. on Jan. 2, when she left her home after an argument with her family, according to police. She had left the home after fights before, police say, but usually returned a short time later.

She had last been last seen on surveillance video getting off a train from Scarsdale at Grand Central. She was wearing a green flannel shirt, pajama pants and UGG boots. She wasn’t wearing a jacket.

In an email to the Greenburgh police department Sunday, Town Supervisor Paul Feiner thanked police and volunteers who searched for the teen. He added that he had been discussing search strategies with Kang's parents, the police chief and volunteers when a detective called with news that the teen had been located.

"The parents, Min Jong Kang and Hyeeun Rose Kwon, were overjoyed," Feiner wrote in the email. "Lots of hugging and tears of joy."

Greenburgh detectives assigned to the case were dispatched to Manhattan to bring the teen home, he added.

Pizza Delivery Driver Robbed: Police


New London police are investigating after a delivery driver was robbed at gunpoint Saturday night.

Police say they responded around 10:27 p.m. to 159 Hawthorne Drive after receiving a call from Empire Pizza reporting one of their delivery drivers had been robbed.

Upon arrival, the victim reported that he was placing his delivery bag into his vehicle when he heard a male voice and felt what he believed to be a gun at the back of his head. The suspect demanded money, which the victim handed over. The suspect also took the victim’s wallet, then fled the scene.

Police attempted a canine track but it was unsuccessful.

Anyone with information should contact New London police at 860 447 5269.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Ct. Store Robbed Twice in 2 Weeks


A store in Willimantic, Connecticut, has been robbed at gunpoint for the second time in two weeks as police investigate a string of four other potentially connected robberies in the region.

Sam’s Food Store is the fifth robbery of late in eastern Connecticut. Police received a report about an armed robbery there at 4 p.m. on Saturday, cordoning the Main Street store off with police tape as they investigated.

“Upon on arrival, the clerk was uninjured. The clerk tells us a lone male walked into the store pointed a black handgun at him and demanded cash from the register,” Willimantic Police Cpl. Stanley Parizo, Jr. said.

Police said the male robber, who was wearing a black face mask and a yellow or orange jacket, got away with cash.

Sam's was also robbed on New Year’s Day, as was the A-1 Gas station in Willimantic.

Last  week on Saturday, there were two more armed robberies in the region, including at the 7-Eleven in Marlborough and the Mobil Mart in Franklin.

Police are investigating whether the four other robberies are connected. And now they have another robbery to investigate.

“At this point, once again we are treating this robbery separately but they are very similar,” Parizo said.

Police hope to provide surveillance pictures from Saturday’s robbery but said at this point they are not available.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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