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Firefighters Battle Fire in Southbury


Firefighters are battling a fire at 261 Bagley Road in Southbury, according to the Southbury Volunteer Fire Department.

Officials from the Oxford Fire Department said they sent a tanker, a rescue and an engine for mutual aid.

No additional information was immediately available.

Girl Cold, Unconscious After Mom Left to Smoke Pot


A 4-year-old girl was found outside in 3-degree weather, unconscious and turning blue, after her mother left her and two other young children alone early Friday morning to smoke marijuana, police in Connecticut said.

Police started investigating when Rebecca Reyes, 23, of New London, called 911 at 3:38 a.m. to report her 4-year-old daughter was missing, police said.

At first, officers searched the house, but the child was not there, so they started knocking on neighbor's doors.

When police arrived at one of the apartments at 163 Huntington Street, police found the child hunched between a storm door and the door, unconscious, turning blue. She was wearing only a yellow T-shirt, jeans boots, police said.

The officer rushed the girl to an ambulance, which brought her to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.

The little girl's body temperature had dropped to 90 degrees, her fingers were red and swollen and she had what hospital staff called "frost nips" on her arms, back and legs, police said.

Reyes provided police with a written statement detailing what happened before the child disappeared and the police report notes she had lied about going to a store.

She said she put her 4-year-old daughter and her two other children, a 5-year-old girl, and a 2-year-old boy, in bed at 12:30 a.m. and left the apartment around 2:30 a.m. to "smoke some weed," then drove to Willetts Avenue to pick up someone else to smoke more marijuana, the police report says.

She returned home an hour later, went to check on her children, saw her 4-year-old was not in bed then searched for her until she called police.

The police report says Reyes never expressed any concern for her daughter  

Reyes has been charged with three counts risk of injury to a minor, first-degree reckless endangerment and false statement. She will remain in prison unless she pays $250,000 bond and is due back in court on March 13.

Reyes' father took custody of the other two children and the children's grandmother went to the hospital and took custody of the 4-year-old girl, police said. 

Photo Credit: New London Police

Traffic Impacted as Crews Investigate Shelton Gas Leak


Southbound traffic on Howe Avenue in Shelton is being detoured between White and Bridge streets while the fire department investigates a gas leak.

No additional information was immediately available.

Metro-North Conductor Attacked in Fare Dispute


A Metro-North conductor was assaulted during a dispute about a fare on a train heading from New York to New Haven on Friday morning, according to Metro-North officials.

The altercation happened at 11:15 a.m on the 10:04 a.m. train from Grand Central to New Haven, and the assailant got off the train in Westport, but is in custody.

According to Metro-North, the conductor suffered a hand injury and the suspect will be charged with assault.

The train was supposed to arrive in New Haven at 12:10 p.m., but it was taken out of service and passengers were transferred to the 10:34 a.m. train from Grand Central, which led to a 40-minute delay.

Evening rush hour is not expected to be affectedt.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Mom Left Son in Freezing Car: Police


A 3-year-old boy was taken to the hospital Thursday after his mother left him in a freezing cold car in Connecticut for around a half an hour, according to police.

Police brought the boy into their car to warm him up after discovering him inside a blue Honda Odyssey outside the Shop & Stop at 485 Broad Street in Meridian Thursday afternoon.

The video footage police obtained showed the Honda enter the store parking lot at 3:42 p.m. Soon after that, the child’s mother, Blanca Villagomez, 34, was seen entering the store with her 5-year-old daughter, police said. Police arrived and removed the boy at about 4:15.

At 4:40 p.m., when police brought Villagomez back to her vehicle, the temperature was 20 degrees.

Both the 5-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy were transported to Midstate Medical Center for evaluation.

Villagomez was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, risk of injury to a minor, leaving a child under 12 unsupervised and operation of a motor vehicle without a license. The Department of Children and Families was also contacted about the case.

Bond was set at $5,000. She is due in court today.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police

Attempt to Thaw Pipes Sparks Fairfield House Fire


Firefighters were called to Cornell Road in Fairfield after a house caught fire while the homeowner was attempting to defrost frozen pipes Friday morning, according to the Fairfield Fire Department.

Fire officials said the resident called 911 right away when flames broke out around 10 a.m. in the basement of 333 Cornell Road.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke and fire emanating from the basement and first floor. They had the fire under control within 45 minutes and said the immediate emergency call minimized damage to the home.

The fire department is directing residents to the American Red Cross website for guidance as to how to prevent pipes from freezing. Rather than attempting to thaw frozen pipes on your own, contact a licensed plumber.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske

Brothers, Accomplice Charged in Shelton Armed Robberies


Police have arrested a second person in connection with the armed robbery of a Cumberland Farms in Shelton that led to the injury of an officer late last year and have linked the case to a second, similar robbery in town.

Valentine Rodriguez, 32, of Bridgeport, was arrested Christmas Eve after police caught him leaving the store at 819 River Road. He led police into the woods nearby and an officer pursuing him was hurt during the chase.

Last week, police arrested a suspected accomplice, Samantha Cruz-Palarino, 25, of Oxford, who's accused of driving Rodriguez's getaway car.

She was charged with first-degree robbery, sixth-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit the above.

Cruz-Palarino was also served an arrest warrant linked to the Dec. 16 armed robbery of Cleto's Liquor Store on Howe Avenue.

She was arrested Feb. 11 and charged with first-degree robbery, third-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit both of the above.

Her collective bond was set at $300,000 and she'll answer to charges in both cases in court March 3.

Jonathan Rodriguez, 30, of Bridgeport, was arrested Feb. 20 in connection with the liquor store robbery and is facing the same charges as Cruz-Palarino. His bond was set at $75,000 and he's due in court Feb. 23.

Police said Valentine and Jonathan Rodriguez are brothers. They expect to make additional arrests in the liquor store robbery.

Photo Credit: Shelton Police Department

Rollover Crash Closes Lane of Route 8 in Derby


The right late of Route 8 North in Derby is closed near exit 8 after a car rolled over, according to state police.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Funeral Arrangements Made for Good Samaritan Who Died in Fall


A funeral service will be held next week for  a 34-year-old Wallingford, Connecticut woman who fell to her death while trying to help two victims of a hit-and-run on Interstate 91 in New Haven early Thursday morning.

A funeral for Lauren Mohr will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at the North Haven Funeral Home, 36 Washington Ave., North Haven. Visiting hours will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Mohr had just finished her shift at Barcelona in New Haven and was driving on I-91 North near exit 7 around 12:30 a.m. when she witnessed a hit-and-run, so she pulled over, called 911 and was waiting with the victims for help to arrive, according to family members.

During the wait for assistance, Mohr jumped to get out of the way because she thought a car was coming, fell over a concrete wall and off the bridge, landing about 40 feet below, state police said. The Wallingford woman was pronounced dead at Yale-New Haven Hospital. 

She was a graduate of Sheehan High School in Wallingford and recently received her associate's degree in social work from Middlesex Community College. In the fall, Lauren had planned to continue studying social work at Southern Connecticut State University.

Prior to working at Quinnipiac, Lauren served in the Air Force for four years and trained as a medical technician, according to Quinnipiac University.

Lauren was the daughter of Lawrence Mohr and the step-daughter of Quinnipiac University vice president of admissions Joan Mohr.

She also worked as a temporary aide in the undergraduate admissions office at Quinnipiac.

Lauren is survived by her sister, Arwen, brother-in-law Nate, 4-year-old nephew Cole and 1-and-a-half-year-old niece Eowyn, of Martinez, California, her mother, Diana, in Martland, and her beloved cat, Bucky.

Her family has contacted the New England organ donor bureau to donate her organs. In lieu of flowers, Lauren's family is asking for donations to made to the charity of your choice.

“Lauren was courageous and optimistic, and had faced a lot of challenges in her life, which made her a caring and wise person. Friends and family would seek her advice and she will be remembered as our hero,” Lawrence Mohr said in a statement issued by Quinnipiac.

Photo Credit: Quinnipiac University
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Snowy Barn Collapse Kills 2 Horses


Two horses have died and five others were rescued after a barn collapsed under heavy snow in Westford, Massachusetts, Friday morning, in just the latest in a spate of roof collapses across the snow-weary state.

Five of the animals were rescued from the barn at Bobby's Ranch at 6 Durkee Lane on Friday afternoon, but the two remaining horses had to be put down.

"This is an act of God - treason," said Heather Cooper. "This is horrible."

Workers at Bobby's Ranch are blaming strong winds and terrible weather for bringing down the building that housed the horses.

Efforts to extricate the animals went smoothly, according to officials at the scene. Crews were clearing snow off of the roof, which is believed to have collapsed from a combination of heavy snow and winds.

The owner of the barn told necn the barn may have collapsed around 4 or 5 a.m. Friday; the owner arrived around 6 a.m. and found it collapsed.

When workers arrived, they found the building bent and disfigured. They were able to rescue four horses. Westford firefighters saved another, but the mangled building made it hard to free the last two.

"We ended up having two horses that did not make it," said Lt. Donald Parsons. "A very valiant effort by everyone that was here on scene. They tried their best to do everything they could."

More than 100 roof collapses have been reported across Massachusetts in just the past week, officials said Thursday, as the Boston area closes in on a historic record for the snowiest winter.

The risk of roofs caving in has prompted cities to crack down on snow clearing, and even inspired Somerville to hire drones to fly above its roofs and inspect them for snow.

Among this week's roof collapses were one at a Tewksbury daycare that forced it to evacuate all 30 kids inside and another at the Sutton Square shopping center in Sutton. 

Photo Credit: necn

Break in Minaj Tour Manager Murder


An argument over a woman ultimately led to the stabbing death of rap superstar Nicki Minaj’s tour manager Wednesday, according to sources close to the investigation.

De’Von Pickett was stabbed outside the Che Bar & Grill along Stenton Ave. in Philadelphia’s West Oak Lane neighborhood early Wednesday morning following an altercation with several other men, police said.

He was with Eric Parker, 27, and a few friends outside the bar around 2:35 a.m. making sure that one of the bartenders, a woman that Parker was dating, made it to her car safely when a group of men approached the woman, according to sources.

Parker apparently asked the woman if she was OK and that’s when the fight broke out, sources said.

Someone stabbed both Pickett and Parker several times.

Pickett suffered stab wounds in the torso while Parker suffered stab wounds to his left arm and left side.

A private car rushed both men to Albert Einstein Medical Center. Pickett died from his injuries at 2:45 a.m.

Police later returned to the 6300 block of Stenton Ave where they found personal items, a cellphone and blood on the sidewalk outside the bar. A Philadelphia police crime camera and business surveillance cameras that captured at least part of the incident, said investigators.

Philadelphia police questioned and released a person of interest Friday in connection with the murder.

Despite the person's release, Police Captain James Clark says arrests in the stabbing death of Pickett are imminent.

"We believe we have identified all of the participants involved in this fight and ultimate murder," said Clark.

Sources tell NBC10 that the woman in the middle of the fight was dating Parker as well as one of the attackers.

Pickett was a tour manager and Parker, a tour employee, who were working on preparations for Minaj's "The Pinkprint Tour," which is set to begin next month in Sweden. Pickett was also the co-founder of BK Nerd & Co. and was well-known in the music industry for his work in branding and public relations.

Minaj tweeted that she knew the victims were in Philly to rehearse for her upcoming tour:

Pickett's cousin, who did not want to be identified, also confirmed with NBC10 that Pickett was in Philly to work on the tour with Philly rapper Meek Mill.

"They were all here for her," the cousin said. "I guess they were out celebrating and things went wrong."

During his career, Pickett worked with some of the biggest stars in the music industry, including Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Hip-Hop artist, Fabolous, who shared his condolences on his Instagram page.

Rihanna also posted photos of her and Pickett on her Instagram page as well.

Family and friends, including Questlove of the Roots, also shared their condolences on Twitter, using the hashtag #RIPDayDay.

Pickett's cousin told NBC10 he came all the way from New York to mourn.

"He was a great guy," he said. "He didn't deserve this. He set an example for a lot of guys in this industry and it's sad to see this happen."

The City of Philadelphia is offering a $20,000 reward for an arrest and conviction in Pickett's death.

Parker remained in fair condition late Friday.

Photo Credit: Family Photo
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Freight Train Derails in North Haven


Authorities are investigating after a freight train derailed late Friday afternoon in the area of Sackett Point Road in North Haven.

Sackett Point Road was closed briefly between State Street and Universal Drive but has since reopened. Police said railroad staff responded to the scene and moved the train from the area of the crossing.

A spokesperson for Amtrak said the derailment is not affected Amtrak passenger trains.

Police warned drivers to expect increased traffic along Sackett Point Road for several hours.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Make Arrest in Hamden Bank Robbery


Police have arrested the man accused of robbing a Hamden bank Friday afternoon.

With help from the New Haven Police Department, Salvadore Edwards, 33, of Hamden was arrested Friday evening and charged with first-degree robbery and third-degree larceny, according to Hamden police.

Edwards is accused of robbing the First Niagara Bank at 1248 Dixwell Avenue.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department

Restaurant Mirror Crashes on Diner


A large mirror toppled over at a well-known lower Manhattan restaurant Friday morning, injuring one person and startling several other diners.

The mirror fell at the Balthazar restaurant on Spring Street at about 10:15 a.m., according to the FDNY. 

Several diners tweeted photos of the scene showing the large mirror toppled over on top of a booth. 

The New York Post initially reported that pop star Taylor Swift was among the diners in the trendy eatery at the time the mirror fell, but later said that those reports proved incorrect.

It's not clear what caused the mirror, which had been hanging on a wall, to fall.

The manager of the restaurant told NBC 4 New York that the business was open for lunch.

City building inspectors are at the scene. 

-- Sheldon Dutes contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Brent Kawahara

Former School Staffer Accused of "Inappropriate Activities"


A staff member at the Frank A. Berry Elementary School in Bethel has resigned over allegations of engaging in "inappropriate activities with minor children," according to a letter from the superintendent.

Superintendent Dr. Christine Carver said in the letter Friday that the staff member was placed on paid administrative leave as soon as school officials learned of an investigation into the employee's conduct.

Carver said administrators learned of the allegations Thursday afternoon, adding that the "personal matter" is part of an ongoing investigation by the Department of Children and Families.

The staff member was forbidden from entering school property or accessing the school district computer system and has since since resigned, according to the letter.

School officials have not identified the employee by name or elaborated on the allegations, but state police said the suspected misconduct did not involve students at the Berry School.

“Clearly, any allegation of inappropriate contact with minors is disturbing and causes concerns about the safety of the children in our school community," Carver wrote in the letter. "Please be reassured that the safety of children is our foremost concern and there are many policies and procedures in place to ensure the wellbeing of all our children.”

Carver said counseling will available to Berry School students and staff on Monday, and administrators will work with families to provide affected students with additional support services if need be.

The father of a Berry School student, who asked not to be identified, called the allegations horrifying and said the school's response leaves much to be desired.

"As a parent of a student of Berry Elementary, I am angry at the way the superintendent notified parents. The letter attached in the the email we received was quite vague and sent very late in the day, leaving my wife and I with many unanswered questions," he said in a statement Friday night. "It simply created fear within the community. When we contacted the school we were simply told that at the advice of the district's legal counsel, all the information they could tell us was contained in the letter that was sent to the parents."

School officials said they have reason to believe the staff member in question may have confided in other people, both within the school and without.

Anyone with information is urged to call State Police Major Crimes Det. Flynn at 203-267-2225.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Newington Dad Accused of Bruising 4-Week-Old Daughter


A 21-year-old Newington man is facing charges after rough handling his 4-week-old daughter and causing bruises on two occasions, according to police.

Tyler Francis Maia, 21, was arrested Friday on two counts of risk of injury to a minor and two counts of third-degree assault. Police began investigating after his infant daughter arrived at the hospital with bruising, authorities said.

Investigators learned that Maia had grown frustrated with the baby and "handled her forcefully" twice over the past week, according to police.

He was held on $75,000 bond and is due in court Feb. 23.

Photo Credit: Newington Police Department

Branford Man Defrauded Investors Out of $2M: Feds


A Branford man has been barred from the securities industry after posing as the president of real estate development businesses to defraud 10 investors out of $2 million, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Juan Jose Alvarez De Lugo was arrested in September 2013 and sentenced to four years in prison last Feburary after pleading guilty.

The SEC said he presented himself as the president of successful companies specializing in real estate development and sold investments promising returns of 20 percent per year.

Instead of investing that money, he used it for his own personal gain, according to the SEC.

After spending the money, he wrote a letter to the investors saying their payements were delayed because he was working to obtain an "investor/broker license" for one of his companies, the SEC said.

As part of a settled administrative order imposed Friday, Alvarez De Lugo has been banned from the securities industry and imposed a penny stock bar.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Postal Carrier Accused of Throwing Out Mail in Uncasville


The U.S. Postal Service is investigating allegations that a mail carrier in Uncasville threw out mail instead of delivering it, according to a spokeswoman for the USPS.

It's not clear how many pieces of mail may have been affected. USPS spokesperson London Mulcahy said the investigation centers around the actions of one mail carrier on Feb. 6.

Mulcahy said the USPS was alerted to the allegations on Feb. 7 after residents receiving the report of undelivered mail.

Customers who are missing mail can make a complaint by calling 401-229-9250.

No charges have been filed.

Boy Made Snapchat Threats: Police


A North Texas 13-year-old has been arrested after police say he told friends on Snapchat "don't come to school tomorrow" and "I have something big planned," then sent one a photo of himself holding what looked like a machine gun.

The eighth-grader at Anna Middle School in Anna, a small town 11 miles north of McKinney, told police he was only joking, police say. He's accused of making a terroristic threat against his school.

Police say the boy sent messages to his friends saying "don't come to school tomorrow" and "I have something big planned," and when one of them asked if he were "for real," he replied with a picture of himself holding a gun.

Police said they later found an airsoft gun they think was the gun in the photo in the boy's home.

"The suspect advised that he was 'not crazy' and he would not 'shoot up the school,'" Anna police Lt. Jeff A. Caponera said in a news release. "He said the whole thing was meant as a joke."

Police arrested the boy at his home and took him to the Collin County Juvenile Detention Center, where he awaits a hearing. 

Classes continued as usual Friday at Anna Middle School, officials said.

Stay tuned to NBC 5 for the latest developments.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Anna Police Department
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Officials Say State Deficit Lower Than Expected


The most recent letter from the Office of Policy Management secretary to the state comptroller provides a slightly less bleak budget outlook for Connecticut.

In his monthly letter, budget secretary Benjamin Barnes wrote that the state's operating deficit is projected to be less than January's estimate of $120 million.

The reasoning for the reduction has to do with a settlement dating back to the 2008 recession that will see Connecticut take in approximately $36 million in one-time revenues. The settlement has to do with securities ratings.

The other reason for the downward deficit figure pertains to the second round of rescissions that Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered in January. He ordered the first round in November.

The governor announced his two-year budget proposal earlier this week, which included $590 million in cuts to state services in the 2016 fiscal year.

The nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis projects a deficit of more than $1 billion in each of the next two fiscal years.

Barnes said the state anticipates increased tax receipts in April, which would help toward closing the current year budget gap.

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