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Miltary Families Applaud New Veterans Bill


Family members of veterans who have taken their own lives joined U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal in Hartford on Friday to celebrate the passage of the Clay Hunt SAV Act, which is aimed at preventing suicide among American veterans.

“My hope is that we will fulfill what we owe to our nation’s veterans, that will keep faith to them that we will provide better health care,” said Blumenthal, who sponsored the measure.

The bill passed the U.S. Senate 99-0 earlier this week. The only senator absent was Mark Kirk from Illinois, who was delayed due to weather.

If President Barack Obama signs the measure, as expected, $22 million in new funds will pay for increased efforts to prevent suicide among veterans.

The funding will be used to boost recruitment efforts for recent psychology graduates to work with veterans by paying for their student loans. The funds will also be used to evaluate existing programs for preventing suicide and to create new programs and peer groups for veterans when they return home.

Joanna Eldridge was a guest of Blumenthal at the State of the Union address last month. Eldridge’s husband, Justin, was an engineer in the Marines and served an eight-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. He committed suicide in 2013.

“There is just a lot of sadness for all of us but there’s a lot of hope, too,” Eldridge said, of the passage of the Clay Hunt Act, adding that she wished more resources had been available to her husband.

“I know had this been in place, there would have been a better possibility for my husband to have survived. But since that didn’t happen, I’m just hoping that his life now will not be in vain and this will be a way for him to leave his mark,” she said.

The president is expected to sign the bill into law later this year.

Black History Month Event Honors Six in Waterbury


To honor six African-American "trailblazers" in her congressional district during Black History Month, State Rep. Elizabeth Esty, of Cheshire, organized an afternoon of song and dance and speeches in Waterbury.

"African-American history is our nation's history," she told the audience, "and if we forget that, we forget that at our peril."

Esty recognized state Treasurer Denise Nappier, Waterbury police Chief Vernon Riddick, the late ESPN personality, Stuart Scott; and three figures from New Britain.

One of them, 93-year-old Alton Brooks, is the grandson of a slave.

"I have just wanted to love my neighbor as myself," said the veteran, of the 1963 March on Washington, "and I want to do unto others as they would do unto me."

Brooks invoked a theme of the afternoon, saying he stood on the shoulders of giants.

"And I'm glad that my shoulders are big, for somebody to stand on," said another honoree, Emma Pierce, a former union organizer. "I stood on my mother's. Now somebody is going to be able to stand on mine."

The principal of New Britain High School, David Chandler, told the crowd he tries to spread good around.

"That will be just like planting some of my brain in some of these brains I'm working with," he said. "Hopefully we can grow it and make it into the type of school, community, and country that we all aspire to have."

Local "Hotspots" Help Kick Winter Blues


Some Connecticut hotspots are not only popular, they also offer welcome relief from some of the coldest temperatures of the season.

Over at West Hartford Yoga, a room is set near 90 degrees for customers just coming out of the cold.

“It is a mini getaway,” said Francesca Mancinone, of New Britain. “Sometimes I say to myself, 'I need yoga today,' not necessarily for my mind but to warm up.”

Sweating for any reason other than shoveling is a trade many will take after countless attempts at keeping walkways and driveways clear.

The heated pool at Healthtrax in Newington is becoming increasingly popular.

“The pool right now is set to 86, the Jacuzzi is 103 degrees, so we have a lot of people getting in the water and warming up,” said Healthtrax manager Jason Otash.

Brian Conneely, of Wethersfield, is one of them. He said getting into the water is almost like “getting into summer.”

“This is like taking a short trip to Florida without having to get on a plane or travel,” said Conneely.

Restaurants like Lena’s in Hartford are serving up warm dishes to help patrons kick the winter woes.

“Nothing is better than a nice homemade soup,” said customer Zoraida Ricciardi.

Everyone knows there's no substitute for summer, but for now these places might be as close as it gets.

Oil Deliveries Rise as Temperatures Fall


Home heating oil deliveries are on the rise as we fall into some of the season's coldest temperatures.

Employees of Newington-based Barney Barker Oil Company were busy filling orders Friday just hours after temperatures at Bradley International Airport reached record lows.

“We have been super busy, basically running two shifts one during the day, one at night,” said Damion Dellaventure, or Barney Barker.

Dellaventure knows that in his business, winter always means work, but this year he believes temperatures in the teens are causing homes to burn through supplies at a faster rate. He also says customers are taking advantage of a price cut.

“This winter has been kind of a break for everyone compared to the last couple years with how much oil was,” Dellaventure said.

If you're expecting a visit, make sure to shovel driveways or pathways prior to delivery so workers can access your home. Dellaventure says the less snow they have to walk through, the quicker they can get to other customers.

Oil companies also ask that you keep an eye on your tank. It's always easier to fulfill needs when consumers call ahead.

Simple steps, Dellaventure says, can save you a big headache. A bust pipe is the last thing you want to deal with as the temperatures continue to drop.

Gas Leak Prompts Evacuation of Norwalk Apartments


The Waypointe Apartments on West Avenue in Norwalk has been evacuated due to a gas leak, according to police.

Police said crews from Yankee Gas were called to the property Friday evening and are working to determine the source of the leak.

It's not clear how many apartments have been affected. Police and fire officials are going door-to-door through the facility at 515 West Avenue to make sure all residents are out of the building, according to police.

Authorities are asking residents to avoid the area.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

Teen Suffers Medical Event, Crashes and Dies in Derby: Police


Police are trying to figure out what happened to a 19-year-old Ansonia resident who apparently suffered a medical emergency while driving on Route 34 in Derby, crashed his car and died Friday night, authorities said.

According to police, the teen, who has not been publicly identified, crashed on Route 34 eastbound near Mount Saint Peters Cemetery in Derby around 5:45 p.m. Friday.

The car suffered only minor damage and first responders could find no signs of trauma to the teen's body. He appears to have suffered a medical event of some sort prior to the collision, but police said the specifics of what happened are still to be determined.

Route 34 eastbound was closed for about two hours while authorities responded to the scene and investigated the crash.

The office of the chief medical examiner is conducting an autopsy.

Serial Robber Targets Banks in Capitol Region


A serial bank robber is striking around the central part of the state, and authorities are searching for a way to stop him.

Investigators with the Connecticut Intelligence Center said a masked man with a baseball cap and a thick European accent is behind robberies in Rocky Hill, Cromwell, Plainville, Southington, Bristol, Wallingford, Durham – and now possibly Middletown.

The suspect targets banks located near highway entrance ramps. Authorities said the robberies have all occurred toward the end of the business day.

Surveillance footage and witness descriptions have painted similar pictures of the suspect. Investigators said he typically wears a long black winter coat over a sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over a dark-brimmed baseball cap. He's usually clad in jeans, dark-colored shoes and a black face mask that exposes only his eyes.

The robber brandishes a blacksemi-automatic pistol and appears apologetic. He targets only money in cash register drawers rather than bank vaults, according to the CTIC.

Authorities described the suspect as a thin man in his 20s or 30s who appears to be of eastern European descent. Evidence has helped investigators put together a potential DNA profile, but police said they haven't found a match.

He may be driving a silver or gray 2001-2005 Volkswagen Passat GLS with a sunroof, bearing stolen license plates reading 914YJZ.  Police said dye packs may have exploded in the vehicle.

Authorities emphasized that the registered owner of the plates, who lives in Farmington, is not implicated in any way.

Anyone with information on the suspect or vehicle is urged to call the Connecticut Intelligence Center at 860-250-5593 or email ctic.cr@ct.gov. Tips will be shared among investigating police departments.

Photo Credit: Cromwell Police Department

50-Year-Old Measles PSA Re-Released


The Illinois State Medical Society on Thursday posted to YouTube a public service announcement that was created 50 years ago to urge parents to vaccinate their children for measles.

The video "Measles Message from the ISMS Vault is Spot On Today" was uploaded the same day that several children were confirmed to have contracted the virus at a suburban day care facility.

Just 10 cases of measles have been reported in Illinois over the last five years, IDPH Director Nirav Shah said recently. As of Thursday, diagnoses for two children were confirmed and three other cases were likely, based on symptoms. Another 10 children at the facility were at risk of contracting measles.

Those cases come on top of an adult case that was confirmed last week.

There so far is no link between the child and adult cases, and there is no link to the multi-state outbreak associated with Disneyland, which as of Thursday had grown to 87 patients. 

Photo Credit: Illinois State Medical Society
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Powerball Jackpot Soars to $380M


Saturday’s Powerball jackpot has surged to a staggering estimated mark of $380 million.

Demand for tickets spiked after no one scooped the $316 million on offer during Wednesday night’s draw. Unfortunately for players, the odds of winning the top prize are 1 in 175,223,510, the game's official website states.

The forthcoming draw will be the 20th since the last time a ticket with all six numbers was sold. 

The last time a player won was on November 29, 2014, when a single ticket purchased in the state of Washington won a $90 million jackpot.

The game costs $2 per ticket, and is played 43 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

The jackpot starts off at $40 million, and rolls over every time there is no winner.

The record payout stands at a gargantuan $590 million, and was won by a ticket sold in Florida in May 2013.

The biggest Powerball winner from California so far won $425.3 million in February 2014, which is the game’s fourth highest jackpot to date.

It comes after no tickets sold with all six numbers in Friday's multi-state Mega Millions lottery, which had an estimated jackpot of $49 million. The numbers drawn were 5, 6, 17, 33, 68 and the Mega number was 13.

Tree Limb Impales Car in Calif.


Liz Bustamantez says she was driving her kids to school Friday morning when a large redwood was knocked down by strong winds and one of its limbs impaled her Dodge Caliber.

The Ben Lomond resident snapped a photo after the tree limb rammed itself through the passenger-side windshield, piercing all the way through the back seat.

The toppled tree not only caused an area-wide power outage, but came within inches of crushing the family and impaling Bustamantez’s daughter Vanessa, who was sitting in the passenger seat.

"Vanessa said she felt something go through her hair,” Bustamantez said, “and now that I'm looking at it, How lucky was that? This could easily have gone right through her head.”

Hartford Police Investigating Shooting


A man is in the hospital after being shot several times just before midnight Friday night in Hartford.

Police received 911 calls reporting multiple gun shots in the area of 303 Mary Shepard Place. Shot spotter in that area also registered seven gun shots.

Police located the victim, being identified as Jones, at 10 Pavilion St. Jones was transported to St. Francis Hospital where he is listed in guarded but stable condition

Jones sustained multiple gunshot wounds which resulted in a broken pelvis, broken right arm and one projectile lodged in his nose.

The Major Crimes Divisions is investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Women Killed in New Haven Homicide


 A women was killed in a shooting early Saturday morning in New Haven.

Officers responded to 66 Second St. at 1:36 a.m. after receiving 911 calls reporting multiple gunshots.
Officers located a female victim on scene suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso. The victim, in her 40's, was pronounced dead at the scene. She has yet to be identified.
Police are investigating the possibility of this shooting being connected to a vehicle pursuit by officers from the scene to West Haven.
A car identified by witnesses seen leaving the crime scene was similar to the one involved in the pursuit.
New Haven police lost sight of the vehicle during the pursuit but later located it on Gretta St in West Haven after it crashed.
The male operator of that vehicle was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital where is listed in serious condition.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to speak with Detectives. They can be reached at 203-946-6304. 

Friend Speaks on ISIS Hostage


The 26-year-old Arizona woman ISIS has been holding hostage in Syria devotes her life to making others' better — a passion she's sustained since childhood, a longtime friend told NBC 7 on Friday, as a portrait of the humanitarian aid worker began to emerge.

ISIS militants claimed Friday that Kayla Jean Mueller had been killed in a Jordanian airstrike — a claim that the U.S. has not confirmed, and that many experts cast doubt upon. Mueller is believed to be the last American hostage held by the terrorist group, after three others were executed.

Mueller has always focused her energy on things outside herself, Katlyn Sulltrop, a friend since elementary school, told NBC 7 on Friday, describing her friend's compassion and also her zany side.

She remembered taking a songwriting workshop with Mueller in high school. While others wrote about classic teen angst, Mueller's songs centered on her work at an elder care facility. "It was kind of like a very powerful song, about just the way she felt about the people she was caring for at this home, and the connection she had with some of the other people," Sulltrop said. "It was really, really awesome."

The two participated in a performance arts group together, and the last time they saw each other was at a friend's wedding. "I have all these pictures of like, Kayla with her tongue out, like kind of just crazy," said Sulltrop. "And I just remember it was a really good time, and she definitely is a very caring, a very generous, a very wonderful person."

Mueller grew up in Prescott, Arizona, where she attended she attended Tri City College Prep and devoted her time to writing letters and calling her Congress members to support the Save Darfur Coalition, according to her local paper. She continued to join in protests and support humanitarian causes while studying international affairs at Northern Arizona University.

Mueller's drive to serve led her to work with humanitarian aid organizations in India, Israel and Palestine after her 2009 graduation, according to a statement from her family's representative. In 2011, she returned to Arizona to work at an HIV/AIDS clinic and a women's shelter before moving to France to be an au pair.

While there, Mueller expressed solidarity with the Syrian people in a YouTube video, NBC News reported. Though her goal was to work in Africa, the family representative says, she soon decided to help Syrian refugees at the Turkey-Syria border in December 2012.

Mueller signed on with the "Support to Life" humanitarian aid group and the Danish Refugee Council, but on Aug. 4, 2013, she was taken captive in Aleppo, Syria, as she was leaving a Doctors Without Borders hospital.

In May of last year, ISIS contacted Mueller's family, confirmed she was being held hostage and demanded $6.6 million in ransom for her freedom, according to NBC News. In July, Army Delta Force commandos unsuccessfully tried to rescue her and other hostages in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, U.S. officials told NBC News.

Until Friday, when ISIS claimed Mueller was dead, her family had wanted her identity kept private, for fear that it would put her at risk. Friday night, her parents broke their silence and said in a statement addressed to her captors that they hoped for her safe release.

"This news leaves us concerned, yet, we are still hopeful that Kayla is alive," they said. "You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and well-being remains your responsibility."

Sulltrop told NBC 7 she had been shocked at the news of her friend's capture in Syria, because Mueller is "not the kind of person something like this should happen to."

"She really just wanted to help people, and that's kind of what her whole life is about," Sulltrop said. "She's like a really compassionate, amazing human being, and I really hope that wherever she is, she's OK."

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the family

Yale Student Hospitalized With "Probable" Bacterial Meningitis


An undergraduate student at Yale University has been hospitalized for treatment of "probable bacterial meningitis," according to an advisory posted to the Yale Health website.

"The sudent's condition is being closely monitored and our primary concern is that the student makes a swift recovery," the message says.

According to the statement, the student, who has not been identified, is receiving treatment at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

University officials are working with state and local health departments to identify the people who had close contact with the hospitalized student and offer them preventative care.

Meningitis is not airborne and is only transmitted through "close, extended contact," according to Yale Health.

To help prevent the spread of bacterial meningitis, avoid sharing anything that comes into contact with your mouth, such as water bottles, towels, drinking glasses, eating utensils, toothbrushes and smoking materials.

More information is available by calling the meningitis hotline at 866-924-9253 or visiting the Centers for Disease Control website.

More Snow Moving In


A slow-moving storm system moving into the state late Saturday morning could drop up to 6 inches of snow across interior Connecticut, with larger totals to the north and less accumulation along the shoreline.

First Alert Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan said snow could start up late morning or early afternoon Saturday, bringing a coating to an inch of accumulation to the state.

After a brief lull, snow will begin to fall again Saturday into Sunday and taper off around daybreak. It's most likely to stick in northern Connecticut, which could receive an additional 1-3 inches, while the rest of the state will see just a coating to an inch.

A period of heavier snow is likely on Monday when the main part of the storm system arrives, according to Chief First Alert Meteorologist Brad Field.

Snow will fall steadily north of Hartford, bringing another 3-6 inches to the area, while a mixture of sleet or freezing rain will create icing south of the capital region.

Altogether, we could see 6-10 inches in northern Connecticut, 3-6 inches in the central part of the state and 1-3 inches along the shoreline.

Send your snow photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Vigil for Firebomb Victims


Hundreds poured into the streets of Manhattan Beach, California, on Friday night to support a family whose home was firebombed and who fear they were targeted in a possible hate crime.

Ronald Clinton believes his "gut feeling" that whoever threw a burning tire through the front door of his home in the 700 block of 11th Street around 2:15 a.m. Thursday targeted his family in a hate crime.

"When it happens to one of us, it happens to us all," Clinton said at the vigil before the crowd erupted in cheers.

Clinton and his wife made it clear they don't blame the community for what happened, but they admitted they thought about leaving Manhattan Beach. That changed after the overwhelming support they now know they have.

"I have to admit, initially, we considered it, but you know, this community is just too amazing for us to let one individual force us to leave," Clinton said.

At a Friday press conference, Clinton reiterated his belief that the firebomb was aimed at his family.

"Just our home. No other home on the block. Just our home," he said.

The fire is not the first time the home has been targeted, he said.

Drug paraphernalia was placed at the home's front door a few months ago and at other times trash and other large items have been dumped at the house, Clinton said.

"The fact that we are the only African-American family in this area, the fact that our house specifically, it came to our front door," Clinton said Thursday night. "I'm very angry and I'm a little afraid for my family."

Clinton's wife Malissia agreed with his assessment during a press conference Friday.

"Until I have proof to the contrary, we were targeted because of the color of our skin," she said. "They brought it to our front door, destroyed our house. We have to move out. That's not OK."

Both said they could not think of anyone in their personal or professional lives who would target them. She is a prominent attorney. He is a pharmacist.

"There is nothing that we can come up with to suggest anybody we know in our personal lives," Ronald Clinton said.

Investigators have not yet classified the firebombing as a hate crime, which is defined as a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation."

The cause of the fire was determined to be suspicious, authorities said. Investigators have found no witnesses nor security video, said Manhattan Beach Fire Chief Robert Espinosa. Most neighbors said they awoke when they heard the commotion.

"The community has galvanized to show support for the residents of this disturbing incident," read a statement from the Manhattan Beach Police Department. 

Neighbors are determined to find who is behind the crime. A crowdfunding effort has been launched on the website Fundly, asking for donations to a reward fund for information leading to an arrest in connection with the case.

The police statement also said investigators have not yet determined the motivation of the fire, but that "all possible motives, including this being a hate crime are being investigated."

Ronald Clinton was able to get his three children and the family pets to safety after they were alerted to the fire by a loud boom and discovering the front entryway was engulfed in flames.

Malissia Clinton was out of town at the time of the fire.

The family is now staying at a nearby motel.

Anyone with information is asked to call Fire Investigator Mike Murrey at 310-345-0467. Anonymous tips can be provided by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

Hetty Chang contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Sean Browning

Bodies of Mother, Daughter Found


A community is in shock after the bodies of a mother and daughter were found hanging Friday in the basement of their Brockton, Massachusetts, home.

Overcome with emotion, family and friends of 32-year-old Ariana Rosa-Soares and her 9-year-old daughter, Marley Soares, tried to comfort one another as police worked to determine what happened.

"Monday was the last time that I talked to her, and she seemed fine," said Ariana's close friend Claudia Gomes.

Gomes says Ariana had been having trouble recently with her ex-husband, Marley’s father, whom she divorced last year.

"They would get into arguments, and she would call me while she’s crying," said Gomes. "She has mentioned that she was going to kill herself, but this was a while ago, and I told her that that's not something to do because she has two kids."

The mother and daughter were found hanging in the basement of their Morgan Street home, police say. Rosa-Soares' other child, an 11-year-old daughter, had been dropped off at a friend's home.

Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz would only say this is a homicide investigation and he doesn’t believe the public is in any danger, but he did say there was a note left behind.

"There's some information that was written, and we're going to figure out who wrote it and see where we go from there," said Cruz.

"I guess she had mental problems," said Ariana's father, Jose Rosa, who added that his daughter was a certified nursing assistant with the elderly.

He said he saw her abusing her children in the past and said he begged for someone to help.

"At my house, like two years ago, she did, she grabbed my granddaughter and pushed her downstairs like a crazy," Rosa said. "I tried to help, and I called for help, they don't help me."

It was not immediately clear if the family had any history with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

Photo Credit: NECN/Alysha Palumbo

Outdoor Sleepover Teaches Students Compassion for Homeless


It's cold to be outside for just a little while with the biting wind chills we've had for weeks, but imagine if you didn't have a warm home to bunker down in during the cold weather.

Students at a Newington church are learning first hand what it's like to live outside to see what the area's homeless population faces in the winter. 

"It's very cold and it's like you're awake because it's too cold to go to sleep," Julia Holland, of Newington, said.

The experience started night before with a visit by two area homeless people, who shared stories of surviving the cold winter months with the students.

With just a sleeping bag and cardboard box to stay warm, middle and high school students, members of the Church of Christ Congregational in Newington are learning the cold reality faced by our homeless population.

"It's cold," Jillian McCormick, of Newington said.

The students slept in two hours shifts. Emily Donovan, of Newington, said it's hard to sleep and had been outside an hour when NBC Connecticut spoke with her. Besides being cold, she said "it's really lumpy."

While the students slept in cardboard boxes, the adults gathered around this fire. They know some homeless people don't even have that, but the experience was still a reality check for the group.

"Just to see the reality of homelessness and to see how close it is to the communities in which they live," Eric Sherlock, of Church of Christ Congregational, said.

Parishioners raised $3,000 for the cause. The money will go to a group called Family Promise.

"The organization seeks to combat homelessness and keep families together by partnering with houses of worship to house the homeless," Sherlock said.

The little time outside went a long way toward teaching the students compassion for those less fortunate.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Monday Driving Tests Canceled Ahead of Snow


The state Department of Motor Vehicles is canceling all road skills tests scheduled for Monday, Feb. 9 due to snow in the forecast.

While the DMV is normally closed Mondays, some special tests were scheduled for license applicants.

You can reschedule a test by calling 860-263-5700 if you're in the Hartford area or by calling the toll-free line at 1-800-842-8222. The DMV will contact customers directly about the cancellations.

The DMV continues to remind drivers to clear snow and ice from your cars before driving to avoid fines and for other motorists' safety.

Family: Focus Shouldn't Be "Suge"


Expressing disgust at the attention focused on rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, the family of the businessman and foster parent that Knight is accused of killing, Terry Carter, is welcoming the public to remember him at a memorial service.

It is scheduled to begin at noon Saturday in the First AME Church in the West Adams District of Los Angeles.

Carter family members who gathered Friday in one of the church's chapels described Carter as a tireless worker, creative businessman, and doting husband and parent committed to giving back to the community.

"That's just who he was. He never asked for anything in return," said Mia Bolton, 22, who grew up in the Carter household, as did some 20 foster children over the years.

Niece Aryca Sawyer, 21, said Carter raised her as one of his own children. Even after she was grown and living away, she recalled, Carter was always ready to help.

"If I ever needed anything, they said, 'Call Big Terry,'" she said.

Carter, 55, was killed in a Compton parking lot when he and another man, actor Cle Sloan, 51, were struck by Knight's pickup truck.

Authorities allege it was deliberate, and Knight has been charged with murder, attempted murder, and two counts of felony hit and run. Tuesday, Knight, 49, pleaded not guilty.

Knight's attorneys have said he is saddened by the death of Carter, whom he considered a friend.
Members of the Carter family bristled at the suggestion, and denounced media attention focusing on Knight, the one-time rap music kingpin.

"It's eating at me," said niece Jasmine Reynolds, 31. "Before we talk about the incident, we have to put "Suge" Knight — his name should not even be in the sentence, in comparison with Terry Carter."

The parallels in their two lives are perhaps as striking as the differences.

Both grew up in Compton, with a fierce determination to succeed that led both into the rap music world, where both co-founded record companies with former member of the trailblazing rap crew NWA.

After the group split apart, Andre "Dr. Dre" Young teamed with Knight to create Death Row Records. O'Shea Jackson, better known as "Ice Cube," partnered with Carter to launch Heayweight Records.

Knight cultivated a tough guy persona and twice has been convicted of felonies in assault cases.

Carter's entry into the entertainment and music worlds came as an outgrowth of his custom auto work, according to cousin Rickey Fegan. Rappers wanted Carter lowrider vehicles for music videos, he said.

Carter also was involved in real estate. Despite his varied interests and family commitments, Carter found time to mentor youth and help their careers, family members said.

First AME Pastor J. Edgar Boyd will preside at Saturday's memorial.

Photo Credit: Jane Yamamoto
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