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Man Tries to Steal Air Conditoner, Pipes From Former Restaurant: PD


A man was arrested after trying to steal air conditioning units and metal piping from a former restaurant space in West Haven on Tuesday.

Christopher Olsen, 46, of East Haven, was charged with trespassing, sixth-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief and third-degree criminal trespass after police received several complaints close to 8 a.m. about a man trying to remove materials from the roof of the former Captains Galley restaurant, police said.

Police held Olsen in custody on a $5,000 surety bond.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police Department

Waterbury Residents Use Garbage Cans, Chairs to Save Parking Spaces


Waterbury residents are taking special measures to make sure that they can hold onto the parking spots they’ve shoveled out this winter and using items to hold the spaces.

The streets of the city are lines with garbage cans, chairs, cones and other devices to reserve spots.

Residents said all the work they’ve put into digging out cars has forced them to take desperate measures.

“It took me like two and a half hours to shovel it,” Alcides Perez, of Waterbury, said. “No one else is doing it, state’s not doing it. Nobody.”

Officials from the mayor’s office said they are aware of the reserve system and don’t plan to issue citations as long as no threat to safety or road visibility.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Tractor-Trailer, Truck Collide on I-95 South in Waterford


Interstate 95 southbound has reopened in Waterford after a tractor-trailer collided with a box truck late Tuesday morning, according to state police.

The highway was shut down at exit 81 while emergency crews responded to the scene. Traffic was detoured to the Merritt Parkway northbound and back onto I-95 at exit 80.

No injuries were reported and a wrecker was called to the scene.

Photo Credit: @jbananas13/Twitter

Netanyahu: Iran, ISIS in a "Game of Thrones"


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during an address to Congress that Iran and ISIS are competing for "the crown of militant Islam," in what he called a "deadly game of thrones."

Engineer in Los Angeles Train-Truck Collision Dies


A train engineer who was hospitalized after a Southern California commuter train derailed when it slammed into a truck on the tracks has died in the hospital, police said Tuesday.

The death of train engineer Glenn William Steele, 62, marks the first fatality in the Feb. 24 crash in which a Metrolink train struck a Ford F-450 truck, towing a trailer, on the Ventura County Line tracks and derailed, injuring 28.

"We are deeply saddened by the news," Oxnard Police Cmdr. Marty Meyer said in a statement. "And, we are concerned for those still recovering from this collision and their families."

The Metrolink train bound for Los Angeles struck the heavy duty pickup truck and trailer as it straddled the tracks. Three of the train's five cars toppled over.

Metrolink said in a statement that Steele, who was an employee of Amtrak, worked in the rail industry for over 40 years and was the longest tenured engineer among Metrolink operators.

"The entire Metrolink family is deeply saddened by the loss of this dedicated and hardworking railroader," said Sam Joumblat, Metrolink's interim CEO. "Everyone associated with Metrolink extends our most heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and co-workers. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all."

The driver who abandoned the pickup truck before it was hit by the train, 54-year-old Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, will not face charges in the crash at this time, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's office.

His attorney said Sanchez-Ramirez accidentally drove onto the tracks and made the situation worse by continuing forward in an attempt to gather enough momentum to get the wide pickup over the rails. He also used his high-beam headlights in an effort to warn the oncoming Metrolink train.

Sanchez-Ramirez could not back up because his truck was towing a trailer, attorney Ron Bamieh said. When his efforts to move the truck failed, he ran for help, Bamieh said.

But federal investigators who arrived in Oxnard last week said the truck was not stuck on the tracks in the sense that it had bottomed out at the crossing. Investigators have not ruled out that the truck was somehow stranded and will attempt to determine why it traveled 80 feet down the tracks and remained there with its parking brake engaged.

A commuter train's onboard camera captured the fiery crash and might help investigators with effort to piece together the events that led to the derailment.

The video, taken from the outward-facing camera on the front car of the Metrolink train, was sent back to the Washington home of the National Transportation Safety Board for analysis, board member Robert Sumwalt said.

Editor's Note: Police identified the engineer as Glen Steele. The LA County Coroner's Office and DMV said the correct spelling is Glenn Steele.

Photo Credit: California DMV

Man Hospitalized After Payloader Entrapment Rescue


A Rhode Island man is in the hospital after he was trapped under payloader while changing a tire for work in Plainfield Tuesday morning.

Plainville police, American Legion Ambulance and Moosup Fire Department responded to a call about a work place accident at 450 Snake Meadow Road in the Moosup village section of town at about 10;15 a.m. on Tuesday.

Sullivan Tire employee Brian Dilullo, 43, of Cranston, Rhode Island, was changing a tire on a payloader when the wooden blocks and portable hydraulic lift elevating it failed, causing the vehicle to fall on him and pin him underneath, according to police. 

Dilullo's coworker, Raymond Magnuski, 38, of Rhode Island, came to his rescue and pulled him out, police said.

An ambulance transported Dilullo to Rhode Island Hospital to be treated for serious injuries. There is no word on his condition.

Plainfield police are investigating the accident.

Man Scratches Pregnant Girlfriend in New Britain: Police


Police arrested a man wanted on domestic dispute charges tied to a reported attack on his pregnant girlfriend in New Britain.

Taushawn Smith, 38, was arrested at 11:04 a.m. on Monday on a warrant due to an "active physical dispute with his pregnant girlfriend," according to New Britain police. His pregnant girlfriend had visible scratches on her neck, chest and face, police said.

Police charged him with assault of a pregnant person and disorderly conduct.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police Department

Victim Shoots Armed Robber in Milford: Cops


A man accused of robbing a group of people at gunpoint in Milford and shooting one of the victims in the neck is hospitalized after one of the victims shot back, according to police.

The incident happened around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday in the parking garage at 1 New Haven Avenue.

Police said a group of people who had left Eli’s Tavern, at 21 Daniel Street, were walking into the parking garage when two men approached them and demanded their personal belongings.

One of the robbers pointed a handgun at the group and fired a shot in the neck of one of the victims, police said.

In self-defense, another victim grabbed his own licensed firearm and returned fire, striking one of the robbers, police said. The second person ran off.

Police said they recovered two firearms at the crime scene and the wounded suspect, identified as Rumone Richard, 23, of Bridgeport, and the victim were transported to a local hospital.

The victim was treated and later released. Richard is in serious condition and has been charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, four counts of criminal attempt to commit robbery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a stolen firearm, unlawful discharge of a firearm and first-degree assault.

He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Police are continuing to investigate and ask anyone with information about the case to call the Milford Police Department Detective Division at (203) 877-1465, email tbassett@ci.milford.ct.us
or submit a tip online.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Wesleyan Student Pleads Not Guilty in Molly OD Case


The founder of the Wesleyan University chapter of a student drug reform group has pleaded not guilty to charged filed in connection with MDMA, or Molly, overdoses that sent 11 classmates to the hospital.

Andrew Olson, 20, of Atascadero, California, appeared in court on Tuesday and entered the not guilty plea.

The founder and co-president of the Wesleyan chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Olson, is due back in court on April 21.

Eleven Wesleyan students were hospitalized after taking the drug known as Molly at a party at a house known as “the Eclectic” on High Street, and police began investigating.

Last week, police arrested four students, including Olson, who was charged with two counts of possession of hallucinogen and sale of hallucinogen on one warrant and possession of less than half-an-ounce of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia on the second.

Olson has been suspended from the university, officials from Wesleyan said on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police
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Officer Justified in Drawing Gun on Yale Student: Investigation


After a Yale College student complained about a campus police officer drawing his service weapon on him during the search for a burglar, Yale police conducted an internal investigation and determined that the officer's actions complied with department policy. However, the investigation did reveal some deficiencies in the policy.

On Jan. 24, a Yale police officer detained Tahj Blow, of the class of 2016, while investigating a burglary and "unholstered his weapon," according to a news release posted on Yale's website on Tuesday.  After the incident, Blow complained that the officer was unjustified in drawing his gun.

Blow is the son of New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who blasted Yale police in a Jan. 26 opinion piece headlined "Library Visit, Then Held at Gunpoint: At Yale, the Police Detained My Son."

He wrote that column after his son called him, frightened, and said campus police held him at gunpoint while he was on the way back from the library.

According to Charles Blow, his son was told to "get on the ground" as an officer pointed a gun at him.

"This is the scenario I have always dreaded: my son at the wrong end of a gun barrel, face down on the concrete," Charles Blow wrote. "I had always dreaded the moment that we would share stories about encounters with the police in which our lives hung in the balance, intergenerational stories of joining the inglorious 'club.'"

Tahj Blow wrote in a statment to police that he heard an officer say, "Hey, turn around!" and then "raised his gun at me, and told me to get on the ground."

"At this point, I stopped looking directly at the officer, and looked down towards the pavement," Blow said.

But Yale police concluded in the internal investigation that the officer in question "drew his firearm in the 'low ready' position, with his finger off the trigger at all times, and put his weapon back in its holster in a matter of seconds," according to the news release. "Low ready" position means that an officer points a gun "in the direction of, but not directly at" a suspect, according to the Yale police internal investigation report.

"The officer did not violate any Yale Police regulations regarding patrol procedures or the use of force, the report stated," according to the release.

Reports to police indicated an intruder "walking in and out of rooms in Trumbull College, one of Yale University's 12 undergraduate colleges, according to the release. There had also been a "recent rash" of burglaries on that campus and police were looking into whether the reported active one was related., police said in the internal investigation.

The investigation included reviewing students' 911 calls, including one that said the man spotted "was clearly not a college student."

In the calls, students described the intruder as an "extraordinarily tall black male" who was wearing a "black coat, red and white" beanie hat and shoes with "orange details," the release stated.

According to police, Blow matched that description and the first responding officer stopped him as a result.

"The officer called out to the student to stop, ordered him to lie down, ascertained that he was a Yale student, and relayed that information by radio to the Yale Police dispatcher," the release said.

The officer was 20 feet away from Blow, the shift commander instructed the officer to stay with Blow until police were certain he wasn't involved and the "event" lasted six minutes, according to police.

The incident ended when the officer heard another officer relay over police radio that he arrested a suspect in the burglary 200 feet from Cross Campus, according to police. The officer then told him the incident remained under investigation and that Blow could leave, but he'd contact him later.

The officer told investigators that Blow was "compliant, non-confrontational, and frightened."

Audio of the call revealed that the officer said "I have him right here" soon after receiving a description of the burglary suspect.

Video footage shows the officer facing the student as he walks away from him and then the officer draws his gun, points it toward the ground in the student's direction, police said in the report. The student then lies on the ground as the officer approaches him using the "low ready" technique, extending his hand as he gets closer, the video shows, according to the report. The officer reholstered his gun soon after, the video shows.

The detainment happened during a time of intense scrutiny of police nationwide and sensitivity about potential racial profiling following police calls that resulted in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Yale police were in touch with Blow to clarify why they stopped him and to interview him, according to the release.

"The investigation did identify three policy and training deficiencies of the Yale Police Department: the definitions of 'low ready' positioning of a firearm and 'pointing a firearm,' and the policy regarding the activation of a body video camera," according to the letter.

Charles Blow wrote in his New York Times column that the Yale College dean and Yale police chief apologized to him and informed him that the incident would be investigated, however he wrote that "the scars cannot be unmade."

"My son will always carry the memory of the day he left his college library and an officer trained a gun on him," Blow wrote in his New York Times column.

Yale College administrators and Yale Police Chief Ronald Higgins wrote in a letter to the community on March 3 that an independent review panel will consult with Yale to address concerns raised after the incident.

"This panel is reviewing the Yale Police Department’s investigation process to ensure that it meets the highest standards," Yale officials wrote. "We have also asked the panel to offer any recommendations it deems appropriate for the Yale Police to consider regarding relevant policies, procedures, and training; and to suggest actions that might be taken to continue to advance the goal of community policing and constructive interactions between police and students. We trust the panel will complete its work expeditiously, and, as with the internal report, we will share the panel’s findings when they are available."

College officials and Higgins said they acknowledge Blow "endured a deeply troubling experience" when he was detained.

"Our student deserves our support as we complete this process of review," Yale officials said in the letter. "We also must continue to recognize that this incident intersected – in ways that were both public and very painful – with current national conversations on race, prejudice, policing, and the use of force. As we said in our earlier message, these are important and difficult issues, and there are real challenges here that we, as members of the Yale community and as citizens, must face. We will be creating opportunities in the near future to discuss these challenges as a community and hope that you will participate."

Snow Shovels Still in Demand With March Underway


Although hardware stores are usually gearing up for spring this time of year, with more snow in the forecast, winter supplies are still in demand.

Rice Hardware in Windsor should be getting ready to bring in products for landscaping and gardening, everything from rakes to fertilizer, according to Dennis Rice. But this March, like this winter, is turning out to be anything but basic, meaning tomorrow's order will look a little different.

“Everyone is still calling up for calcium and snow rakes,” said Rice. “We’ve been out for a month but with everyone calling my brother is trying to get a spring order in tomorrow that’s going to be a combination of both.”

Ahead of the state’s next snowstorm Tuesday, those calls kept coming. While Rice’s winter section is limited, Richard Gurski said he was able to find a specific snow shovel the chain retailers were cleared out of.

“I went to Home Depot and a whole bunch of Lowes and different stores and could not find this type of shovel,” Gurski said.

Rice said right now the store is in between seasons, so when it comes to winter orders, management is doing its best to find a balance.

“We are not going to go overboard because we need all that room for the fertilizer,” said Rice.

His hope is if they stock for spring, it might just get here, meaning his days of staring at his fishing gear are one step closer to days where he can use them.

“Couple more weeks and we are going to see 50-60 degree weather,” he said.

Photo Credit: AP

Rock Cats Name Options Unveiled Wednesday


The former New Britain Rock Cats will be packing up and heading to Hartford, and the team will reveal its top 10 name choices at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Hartford will be hosting the newly-named professional baseball team for the first time in 60 years. The new label for the team will be launched in April of 2016.

Fans were given the chance to submit their name ideas as part of an online contest. Tomorrow, the team will reveal the top 10 catchiest names chosen by a selection committee.

Local children will be at the podium where they will announce a finalist name and explain why it should be the winner. Starting Wednesday, you can vote on your top three choices online. Voting ends March 11.

Mohegan Sun to Reveal Plans for Second Tower


Mohegan Sun Casino is already one of the largest entertainment, gaming, dining and resort destinations in the country and plans to expand further with a second hotel tower in Uncasville.

The interior and exterior design of the new tower will be unveiled at a press conference at 11 a.m. Thursday in the upper lobby of the casino's Winter Lobby. Officials will release renderings and also provide information about job creation and construction timelines.

Gov. Dannel Malloy will attend the event, alongside Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell Etess and Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin "Red Eagle" Brown.

Man Found Hiding in JetBlue Cockpit


A flight passenger was found hiding inside the cockpit of a JetBlue airplane that landed in New York from the Dominican Republic early Tuesday after everyone else had exited the plane, authorities say.

The JetBlue ground crew found the 26-year-old New Jersey man hiding in the cockpit after the flight landed just before 2 a.m., according to the Port Authority. He was sitting by the window in the cockpit. 

The man was a customer who failed to get off the plane after it landed at about 1:30 a.m., according to JetBlue. 

While he was being taken off the plane, the man opened an alarm door but he never made it through or got away from the airline workers escorting him off, authorities said. 

The man, who lives in Atlantic City, allegedly told the crew that a group of people was looking to "jump" him. 

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital for observation, then arrested and charged with trespassing. 

It's not clear how he made it onto the plane unnoticed. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Proposal Would Raise Fines for Parking in Manchester


A proposal to raise the fine for parking overtime on Main Street in Manchester from $10 to $25 is up for discussion during a chamber of commerce meeting tonight.

The driving force behind the plan is the owner of Manchester Hardware, Bob Dorin.

"I'm the instigator," he said. "Unfortunately, people who work and live here are taking up customer spaces. We're trying to make those spaces available for customers."

He said he pays $18 per month for his employees to park in lots behind the blocks of stores on the eastern side of Main Street, lots where he hopes employees and tenants will park rather than pay the $25.

"It's going to be a lot easier when we are finishing the back parking lots and finishing improving our signage and our lighting and everything that we're trying to possibly do to get them to the back," he said.

Just up the street, at the Landmark Café, Elaine Hadge has had trouble with tenants in the apartments upstairs parking in spaces for customers, but she also is worried the mere threat of a ticket will keep customers away.

"It's a tough thing to be a downtown business with parking issues," she said.

Grace Mullen, of Vernon, used the free parking on Main Street at lunch time. She said she understands the need to raise the fine but she objects to a municipal lot charging $18 per month.

“I mean you want to charge to park, you go to Hartford,” she said. “This is a nice little place. -- You don't charge to park in municipal lots.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Isla Vista Families Sue Sheriff


The families of three young men stabbed to death in last year's Isla Vista massacre are suing the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and the apartment housing company, saying they never fully investigated gunman Elliot Rodger as a threat despite a slew of red flags.

Rodger killed UC Santa Barbara students David Wang, 20, James Hong, 20, and George Chen, 19, in the apartment he shared with two of them, before he began a rampage that left three other students dead and over a dozen hurt across the seaside town of Isla Vista on May 23, 2014. All three went to high schools in either Fremont or San Jose in the Bay Area.

The victims' families are suing the the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department for negligence over the fact that deputies didn't search his apartment during an April 30, 2014, wellness check after being flagged by a health worker about a series of disturbing YouTube videos posted by Rodger.

At the time deputies showed up to the apartment, Rodger had a cache of weapons and ammunition in his room, according to the suit. After the wellness check, Rodger wrote in a manifesto that if deputies had searched his room, "that would have ended everything," the lawsuit says.

The department previously admitted last year that deputies had known about Rodger's YouTube videos but had not watched them. Deputies who responded to the check found him "shy, timid and polite" and had him call his mother to tell her he was OK before leaving him.

Deputies asked Rodger about the disturbing videos he had posted online, which Rodger said were a way for him to express himself after having trouble "fitting in socially in Isla Vista," but they did not, view the videos.

The sheriff's department said Tuesday it would not comment on the pending litigation.

The lawsuit also claims that Capri Apartments, which primarily houses UCSB and Santa Barbara Community College students, failed to warn the roommates of Rodger's dangerous tendencies, especially given that he had had earlier conflicts with several others who lived with him in the complex.

The suit says that after all the "bizarre behavior," Capri didn't investigate Rodger or do a background check before assigning Hong and Wang to live with him.

"Virtually all of the content Rodger had posted online was easily discoverable with simple Google searches of his name," the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, in August 2011, Rodger confronted his two Hispanic then-roommates, whom he "considered 'rowdy, inferior, pig-faced thugs,'" insulting them and telling them he was superior. Rodger went to the leasing manager and "explained everything that happened," and he later sign a lease for another, larger apartment, the suit says.

The next month, Rodger moved in with a new roommate, with whom he eventually developed a "hostile" relationship, according to the lawsuit.

In September 2012, Capri management heard Rodger throwing a "wild tantrum" and thrashing furniture with a "wooden practice sword," and the complex later assigned new roommates to live with him, according to the lawsuit.

During the time Rodger lived at the complex, he purchased weapons under his own name and posted threatening rants on the Internet, as well as complained to a Capri neighbor that he "was going to kill" himself and a group of students who upset him at a party, according to the lawsuit.

Capri declined to comment to NBC4.

On May 23, 2014, Rodger emailed his family and therapist his manifesto, and uploaded a video to YouTube titled "Elliot Rodger's Retribution" that outlined his attack plan.

Rodger then stabbed to death his two roommates and their friend, then opened fire on the busy college town of Isla Vista where he killed three more students and himself.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Windsor Water Main Break Won't Be Fixed Until Afternoon


A water main break has closed Bloomfield Avenue (Route 305) between Welch Avenue and Lennox Avenue near exit 37 in Windsor and officials from MDC do not expect that it will be repaired until between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The water main break was reported around 3:45 a.m. and three residences between Mack Street and 167 Bloomfield Avenue are affected.

Drivers can detour onto Capen Street or Park Avenue.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Snow Falling Across Connecticut


Snow has begun to fall as another storm moves in, prompting winter storm watches, more than 300 closings and events cancellations, and flight cancellations and delays in and out of Bradley Airport.

The first flakes arrived after 2 p.m. and the system is sweeping east across the state. We're expecting 2 to 4 inches of accumulation before snow changes over to sleet and freezing rain just after midnight.

Snow will affect the evening commute, making for slippery driving conditions. Road conditions will deteriorate rapidly after snow begins to fall, according to NBC Connecticut Chief First Alert Meteorologist Brad Field.

A spokesperson for Bradley International Airport said a small number of flights have been canceled or delayed ahead of the storm. Passengers are encouraged to check with their airlines for information on their flight status.

The storm is expected to move out early Wednesday morning, but some school delays are possible as cities and towns continue to clean up.

Highs will hover around 30 degrees on Tuesday and 40 to 45 degrees on Wednesday. Some areas of north central Connecticut could remain about 33 or 34 degrees.

We could see some rain showers or drizzle on Wednesday, which will be a cloudy, mild day. We are keeping an eye on another, possibly more significant storm that could impact the state from Wednesday night into Thursday and bring moderate to significant accumulations of snow.

Send your snow photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

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Route 9 North Reopens in Berlin After Crash


Route 9 northbound has reopened in Berlin following a crash that shut down the highway near exit 24, according to state police.

Police described the accident as minor and said a car slid down an embankment in the snow Tuesday night.

No additional information was immediately available.

More Winter Weather Strains Crews and Funds


Another snowstorm has crews across the state working through the night.

"Tonight's going to be a critical night. Some of the crews have been in since four this morning, and I don't know that they'll get any sleep tonight," said Waterbury Department of Public WOrks Deputy Director David Simpson.

During the storm, crews are busy mixing and gathering salt and sand to place on the roads as trucks plow away the snowy mess. Their job is only half done when the storm ends, though. They continue working to remove what winter left behind.

"The crews have told me that they're very tired, but they're working. They're doing their jobs. They're responding every time. We're watching them for sleep and rest," said Simpson. "They're responding admirably every time. I can't tell you how proud I am of all the city crews working for us."

As neighborhood streets continue to narrow, even those who don't have to work through the storms say the piled-up snow and bitterly cold temperatures have taken a toll on them.

"I'm tired of the snow. I want summer already," said Waterbury resident Obie Gomez. "This is ridiculous. It's like every weekend snow, snow, snow."

As the snow turned to ice and then rain Tuesday night, the warmer weather was both good and bad news. While some of the snow will finally melt, potholes will pose a problem.

"The change in the temperature is what's going to affect the potholes, and that'll be the next challenge that we face at public works," said Simpson.

"The potholes are bad," said Gomez. "When the snow clears up, the bumps and everything you go right into a pothole. I walked into a pothole. You don't walk into potholes."

DPW will also be keeping an eye out on how fast the snow melts. If it melts too quickly it could cause flooding, so crews will need to be on top of clearing storm drains.

Waterbury has already received a transfer of funds for it contracting account and sand and salt account. Officials say they've advised the administration that the city's overtime account is at its peak.

The city says it has a contingency account and officials prepared but hope the latest transfers will take them through the rest of the season.

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