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Four Teens Arrested in Armed Home Invasion


One person was hospitalized after he was pistol whipped during an armed home invasion on Friday and police have arrested four teenagers suspected of the crime.

Christian Cruz, 19, of Waterford, two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old are facing home invasion and burglary charges.

Officers responded to Crystal Lake Road  on Friday and found four victims, one of whom needed medical care for "injuries consistent with being pistol whipped," police said in a news release. The man was taken to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London for treatment and he has since been released.

The home invasion wasn't random, according to police, who said the victims "were specifically targeted."

Investigators recovered two guns from the scene used during the home invasion.

Police identified four teenagers as suspects in the investigation and Waterford police helped Groton police locate them and take them into custody.

Officers charged Cruz with home invasion, conspiracy to commit home invasion, first-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and criminal attempt to commit first-degree robbery. He was held in custody on a $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New London Superior Court on Monday, March 9.

Two 17-year-old suspects and a 16-year-old are facing identical charges. One of the 17-year-olds and the 16-year-old are also facing a charge of criminal use of a firearm. That 17-year-old was also charged with second-degree assault.

Police took the three juveniles to a juvenile detention center pending their court date.

The home invasion remains under investigation.

Meriden Avenue in Southington Reopens After Crash


Meriden Avenue has reopened in Southington after shutting down briefly due to a crash.

The road was briefly closed at South End Road and traffic was detoured as emergency crews responded.

Information was not immediately available on whether there were any injuries.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Crash on I-84 in Waterbury


Two cars were involved in a crash on Interstate 84 west in Waterbury, causing delays between exits 23 and 19 just after 1 p.m. Saturday.

There were non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the crash, state police said.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Gamers Help Slain Officer's Kids


Members of California’s gaming community are showing their support for a Philadelphia Police officer who was shot and killed while buying a video game for his son.

Officer Robert Wilson III died Thursday after being gunned down during an attempted robbery at a North Philadelphia GameStop store. He was 30-years-old.

The 8-year veteran assigned to the 22nd District was in the store doing a security check and was in the process of buying a game for his 8-year-old son when the gunmen entered.

Police called Wilson a hero who drew away fire from store employees and continued to shoot at both suspects, even after being hit. Two brothers, 30-year-old Carlton Hipps and 26-year-old Ramone Williams, have been charged with the officer's murder.

Touched by Wilson’s story, Paul Punla, a blogger, video game dealer and collector from San Diego, California created a fundraiser for the officer’s two sons, calling on California’s gaming community to help.

“Nowadays gamers are labeled as lonesome and selfish individuals and I want to change that assumption,” Punla told NBC10. “The ultimate goal is to simply help a family in need.”

Punla also said his own personal relationship with law enforcement inspired him to create the fund.

“I am close friends with a lot of armed forces personnel and my brother has been serving in the USAF for almost 20 years now,” Punla said.

Punla went into detail regarding how the donations will be dispersed.

“As soon as someone donates, they see my business account so right there they can already see who it’s going to,” he said. “I am planning to giveaway as "reward levels" different video game memorabilia/games/promotional items to those who contribute certain amounts. From Skylanders to PS4 games, to books and posters. I have so my things collected over the years I figured why not give them away and raise money at the same time?”

You can visit Punla’s fundraiser page and make your own donations HERE.

Another trust fund was also set up for Wilson’s 8-year-old and 1-year-old son Friday. The fund is being managed by the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. Donations can be made in person at the following branches:

  • 901 Arch Street
  • 7604 City Avenue
  • 8500 Henry Avenue
  • Leo Mall, Byberry and Bustleton Avenue
  • 7500 Castor Avenue
  • 3300 Grant Avenue

Checks can be mailed and made payable to:
The Robert Wilson III Family Memorial Trust Fund
Police and Fire Federal Credit Union
901 Arch Street
Philadelphia PA, 19107

State Rep. Charged With DUI Says He's Ready to Get Back to Work


A state representative from Enfield arrested on drunken driving charges has been removed from leadership roles in the General Assembly, but he said in a statement released Friday that he's ready to get back to work.

Windsor Locks police arrested State Rep. David Alexander (D-Enfield), 33, on charges of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving after an officer witnessed him drive through a red light in the early hours of Feb. 28 and determined during a motor vehicle stop that he was intoxicated, police said.

State Rep. Brendan Sharkey, speaker of the House, has removed Alexander from his leadership roles. Alexander was vice-chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee.

Alexander released a statement that day to NBC Connecticut apologizing for his arrest and said in a second statement on Friday that "on March 9, 2015, I intended to resume my duties at the Capitol and get back to work fighting for the priorities of the residents of Enfield."

"I have been humbled this past week by the support and prayers of those who have reached out to me and my family," Alexander said. "Those thoughts are a source of strength as I begin the process of receiving help for my issues with alcohol. I take full responsibility for my actions and intend to participate in a program required by the Judicial Branch for first time DUI offenders. I sincerely apologize once again to all those who I have let down and look forward to rededicating myself to serving the public."

Sharkey said in a statement on the day of Alexander's arrest that he's "still gathering details about the incident" and had said that the incident was "serious enough to warrant Rep Alexander's removal from his leadership responsibilities as vice-chair of the Government Administration & Elections Committee."

"I trust that David understands his responsibilities to his family, his constituents, and himself, and will be taking the appropriate steps to address this matter," Sharkey previously said.

Photo Credit: Connecticut House Democrats

New London Police Investigate Fatal Shooting


New London police are looking for the person or people who shot a 31-year-old man dead in an apartment early Saturday morning.

Police have ruled it a homicide and said it's the city's first one in 14 months.

"It's kind of unusual that a city of this size and the make-up of this city doesn't have a homicide in the calendar year," New London Acting Chief of Police Peter Reichard said. "I don't see it as a set-back. It's unfortunate that this took place. We will move forward and work with the community to prevent acts like this from happening."

The incident happened at 37 Spring St. at 2:15 a.m. Police said that they received 911 emergency calls reporting about four to six shots fired and a man down.

When officers arrived on scene moments later, they found an unresponsive man in the basement apartment. The man had multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital where he died shortly afterward.

Reichard said it's likely the shooter(s) knew the victim.

"Based on the circumstances of how the event went down I believe that the victim was known to the perpetrator," Reichard said. "The perpetrator knew the victim."

A man who owns a home two doors down from where the shooting happened said he doesn't think the incident makes his neighborhood any less safe.

”Anything like this just seems like an isolated incident," neighbor Mike Parizo said. "So, I don’t think it’s anything indicative of the neighborhood or the city.”

The incident is being investigated by the New London Police Department's Detective and Patrol Divisions, the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Unit and the New London County States Attorneys Office.

Police aren't releasing the victim's name until they notify the family.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Five Displaced After Fire at Seymour Home


Five people are displaced after a fire broke out at a home in Seymour late Saturday morning.

No one was home at the time of the two-alarm fire at 16 Clifton Street, a multi-family dwelling. The fire happened at about 11:45 a.m.

The Oxford Fire Department also responded to help Seymour firefighters.

A firefighter sustained minor injuries after slipping and falling the ice.

There was significant damage to the second and third floor of the building.

The people displaced are staying with family members.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: Ryan Hunt

Police Seek Driver Who Crashed Into House


A passenger was thrown from a car that hit an SUV and crashed into a Meloy Road home in West Haven early Saturday.

Police are still looking for the driver, who they said fled the scene after crossing over the double yellow line near Claudia Drive and striking an oncoming car and then crashing into a house, police confirmed.

The passenger ejected was conscious when emergency crews got to the scene but couldn't feel or move anything below his waist, so he was transported to the hospital, police said. He's listed in serious condition.

West Haven building department officials responded to evaluate the damage to the house, police confirmed.

Fire Displaces Vernon Family


A fire that started in a Vernon garage on Saturday has displaced a family of four, according to the American Red Cross.

A cardboard box caught fire in a garage at the house and the flames spread.

The Red Cross is providing two adults and two children in the family with temporary housing, food and clothing and gave a stuffed animal to one of the child.

The Vernon Fire Department was still on scene at 5:34 p.m., but the fire was under control at that point.

No one was taken to the hospital, according to the fire department.

Further information wasn't immediately available, but more details will be provided as they are released.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rock Cats FanFest Gives Fans Behind-the-Scenes Look


The New Britain Rock Cats hosted Fan Fest Saturday at its New Britain stadium, giving fans a behind-the-scenes tour of the clubhouse, press box and luxury suites,  as well as auditions to sing the National Anthem for upcoming games.

Fans of the Colorado Rockies Double-A Eastern League affiliate were treated to free food, games, and a meet and greet with Rocky the mascot.

Rock Cats merchandise and season tickets were on sale throughout the day.

The event was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., free of charge for fans.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

HuskyTHON Raises Money for Connecticut Children's Medical Center


UConn's 18-hour HuskyTHON is underway, kicking off with a dance marathon that started at 5 p.m. and set to end late Sunday afternoon.

HuskyTHON was founded in 1999 as a year-long fundraiser that raises money for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. According to the HuskyTHON website, the event started off small and is now the largest student-run philanthropic initiative in the state of Connecticut.

Throughout the year different events are held to make money and raise awareness for the medical center. HuskTHON events from this past year included a ZombieTHON, ZumbaTHON, and Miracle Walk.

More information is available at www.huskython.uconn.edu.

Money Stolen from Old Saybrook Youth Center


Old Saybrook police are looking for a person who broke into the town's youth center just after midnight early Saturday morning.

The person stole "an undisclosed amount of cash" and other items, Old Saybrook Police Chief Michael Spera said.

Surveillance footage police released on its Facebook page shows a man with a beard and dark hat who they believe broke in.

Police ask anyone with information to contact Old Saybrook police at 860-395-3142.

Photo Credit: Old Saybrook Police Department

Snow, Ice Cause Problems for Winter Boaters, Fishermen


A snow-covered boat tipped over and sank partially in icy water at Cedar Island Marina in Clinton on Friday, representing one incident of snow and ice causing problems for boat owners this winter.

Water got into the discharge hose, froze and caused the hose to pop, according to Jeffrey Shapiro, who has owned the marina since 1974. When the hose thawed, water came in and flooded the boat causing it to partially sink, he said. A mechanism preventing the back flow of water normally prevents that from being a problem, according to Shapiro.The issue with the Clinton boat has been resolved.

Many boats have holes water can discharge from that normally sit just a few inches above the water line, Shapiro said. But in the winter, snow weighs boats down, causing them to sit lower on the water and pushing discharge ports partially underwater, he said.

The weather is also causing problems for fishermen at places like Lisman Landing Marina. They're iced in and for some of them the solution is to wait for it to thaw out. As a result, there's a shellfish shortage in Connecticut.

Even when the ice melts, there could still be problems. Some docks and wooden piles might have to be fixed due to the ice.

The easiest way to prevent boats on the water in winter from sinking is to clear snow off the boats so that they won't be weighed down. In the past, boaters who owned wooden vessels would plug the holes so they couldn't fill with water, he said.

The other way to protect boats in the winter is for owners to take them out of the water for the season, according to Shapiro.

Photo Credit: Sea Tow Central Connecticut

Student Leaders Veto Flag Ban


UC Irvine student leaders on Saturday vetoed a resolution that banned the American flag from being displayed in the lobby of the student government offices, according to a post on the school’s website.

The post said the “misguided legislation” passed by undergraduate members of the legislative council earlier this week was not endorsed by campus leadership or by the University of California.

“The American flag is still proudly flying throughout our campus and will continue to do so,” said the post, signed off by the executive cabinet of the Associated Students - University of California.

Students voted to ban the American flag because it is a symbol of "colonialism and imperialism."

The ASUCI Legislative Council voted six to four, with two abstentions, Tuesday to pass the resolution to remove all flags in order to create a "more inclusive" environment.

The resolution, which was written by student Matthew Guevara, also said "the American flag is commonly flown in government public service locations, military related entities, at homes, in foreign lands where the US government has a presence," and its "symbolism has negative and positive aspects that are interpreted differently by individuals." 

In addition, the measure claimed that "freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible can be interpreted as hate speech."

Despite the measure passing, ASUCI President Reza Zomorrodian was against the move.

"I stand firmly against this piece of legislation," Zomorrodian said, "As chair of the Executive Cabinet, we will be having a conversation about this piece of legislation and deciding what course of action the cabinet will take collectively."

UC Irvine has yet to respond to a request for a comment on the matter.


Deputy Arrested for Sending Dead Man Photos to Girlfriend


A Pasco County Sheriff's deputy in Florida has been fired and is facing a felony charge after authorities say he texted photos of a man who committed suicide to his ex-girlfriend.

Deputy Austin Douglas was arrested Thursday on a charge of a custodian providing unauthorized photograph or video or audio recording that depicts or records the killing of a person, a third-degree felony.

Douglas was arrested Thursday and fired Friday, Pasco County Sheriff's Office officials said. He booked into jail and later released on $5,000 bond.

“(We’re) not proud that we have to arrest somebody from the sheriff’s office,” Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said during a press conference Friday afternoon. “But you realize if we’re going to hold ourselves accountable, if we want our citizens to trust us, these are the actions we have to take. I go back to discipline and accountability, if we don’t have those in our agency, we’re going to crumble."

Officials said Douglas had responded to the suicide scene in February and photographed the man's body with his cell phone. He sent multiple photos to his then-girlfriend, officials said.

Douglas had been with the sheriff's office since May 2006. His attorney information wasn't immediately known.

Photo Credit: Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Man Caught After Stealing Online Date's Car: Police


A man nicknamed "Gooch" who allegedly stole his online date's car was busted by police in New Jersey, authorities said Saturday.

Gerald "Gooch" Tietz was arrested by Waterford Township police after the stolen vehicle was spotted in Cherry Hill, investigators said.

Tietz, who uses the alias Mike Rossman and Gennaro Aladena, contacted a woman an online dating website and met her in person on Feb. 26, police said. At some point during their date, Tietz managed to get the woman's keys and took off with her car, investigators said.

The car, a red Toyota Solara with "Jsrygrl" vanity plates, was spotted by a person in Cherry Hill who alerted local police.

Tietz has possible tied to Philadelphia and the Atlantic City area, police said.

He was remanded to Camden County Jail. Information about the charges against him were unavailable and it was unclear whether he had obtained a lawyer. 

Thieves Steal $200,000 of Firefighters' Rescue Gear


Thieves have stolen $200,000 worth of rescue equipment from a closed fire station in San Bernardino California.

They broke into a secured conex box where the gear was being stored outside of the shut-down building at Mill Street and Arrowhead Avenue, San Bernardino Fire Department said Friday.

The pinched gear was "frontline technical rescue equipment", according to a tweet from the department. The station used to be used for rescue technology but closed due to budget cuts. 

Officials said the lock was tamper-proof and someone would have to know what they were doing to get it open.

It is unknown when the equipment was actually stolen. The theft was noticed today when crews were going to get the equipment to use during a training class Friday.

Comic Book Artist Goes Missing


A Massachusetts man and noted comic book artist went missing while snorkeling with his wife in the Cayman Islands during a vacation.

According to police in the Grand Cayman, Norman Lee of Weymouth was snorkeling with his wife, Jan, when he vanished Thursday morning.

Journalist Joe Avary with Cayman 27 tells NECN authorities have stopped their active search and that Jan has now left the island. Boaters have been advised to keep an eye out on the waters.

Lee, 47, is well known in the comic book world and works primarily as an inker. He has worked on such publications as "The Avengers" and "X-Men."

"He's worked on some of the best stuff in the country, on some of the best artists," said Mike Alexandropoulos, a friend of Lee. "Great person, fantastic friend."

Investigators in Grand Cayman say Jan made it back to the beach, but Norman did not.

Volunteer divers have been searching in strong currents near the Reef Resort hotel, but so far, they have turned up no sign.

Much of Lee's art can be seen inside comic books on sale at comic book shops everywhere.

"He's contributed quite a bit," said Jake Johnston, who works at The Hall of Comics in Southborough.

Lee's agent, Bob Shaw, tells NECN he believes this was Lee's first vacation in 10 years.

Avary says Jan has given her final statement to police and has left the island.

Photo Credit: Comic Art House

Video May Lead to Clues in Fatal Snow Shooting


Police are asking for the public's help in identifying those who may be involved in the shooting of a man while he admired his first snowfall.

Ahmed Adnan Ibrahim Al-Jumaili, 36, was shot and killed Wednesday night as he enjoyed his first snowfall, less than three weeks after he moved to Dallas from Iraq.

Witnesses saw as many as four male suspects in their late teens or early 20s enter the gate of the apartment community on foot, Dallas Police Department's Maj. Jeff Cotner said Friday. Dallas police released a security camera video they believe shows the group of four.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case. Tipsters can remain anonymous and should call 214-373-TIPS (8477). Tipsters can also contact Detective Montenegro with the Dallas Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 214-671-3624, and refer to case number 49093-2015.

Photo Credit: Dallas Police Department
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Driver in Girl's Hit-Run Death Surrenders: Police


A man suspected of being behind the wheel of a car that fatally struck a 4-year-old Southern California girl and drove off was arrested after he surrendered at a police station, officials said Saturday.

Shant Badleean, 55, of Glendale was accompanied by his family when he turned himself in at the Glendale Police Department, said Glendale police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.

Badleean was booked on a felony hit-and-run charge, police said. His bail was set at $50,000.

The news came as family and friends held a candlelight vigil for Violeta Khachaturyan. A moment of silence was held for her about 7:30 p.m. to coincide with the announcement by police.

Loved ones prayed, sang and burned incense - Armenian traditions when someone dies.

"I believe she is in heaven playing with the angels right now,” said said neighbor Mases Allhiveirdia.

Khachaturyan was struck about 4:55 p.m. Friday when she ran into the street after her mother, police said. She was hit by a sedan and sent flying into a parked vehicle while the car drove away.

The light-colored sedan was traveling west in the 1200 block of East Wilson at the time of the collision, according to a statement released by the Glendale police Saturday.

“Yesterday we didn't know what color the car was and today we hear something that no one ever thought we would in this short period of time. So of course it's definitely a satisfying feeling from the family,” said Arshak Bareghamyan, a family friend.

Neighbors left flowers, candles and stuffed animals at a makeshift memorial in Glendale in honor of the little girl.

"It's a parent’s worst nightmare, we feel for them and if there's anything that we can do to help them out, we're more than willing to," said Karla Mnatsakanyan, who did not know the family but showed up to the vigil to lend her support.

The Glendale Police Officers Association was accepting donations on behalf of the Khachaturyan family. Checks can be made out to "GPOA Cops for Kids" and should indicate that the donation is for the family. Anyone with questions about donating can call 818-246-9053.

"This tragic event weighs heavy on the hearts of all our police and fire personnel who were involved in the response and treatment of little Violeta," Chief Robert Castro said.

NBC4's Asher Klein and Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Kate Larsen (@KateNBCLA via Twitter)
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