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Shark Bites Man Off Florida Coast


A man was hospitalized after he was bitten by a shark off the coast of Jupiter Friday, officials said.

The man was about three miles from the coast when he was bitten in the upper torso area, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue officials told WPTV.

The man was able to make it back to his boat after the shark bit him, where he was raced to the Jupiter inlet. The man said he believed he was attacked by a bull shark, which is considered the most dangerous shark in the world.

He was in stable condition at St. Mary's Medical Center and was expected to be okay.

The victim told first responders he was spearfishing for cobia when he was bitten.

Photo Credit: WPTV

Huge School of Sharks Seen Off Fla.


Photos of a massive school of sharks spotted just south of the Sebastian Inlet in Indian River County Thursday have Facebook users speculating about just what type of sharks they are.

John Massung of Indian River by Air tells NBC 6 South Florida that it's typical to see sharks in the water in north central Florida, but not quite like this.

"It looked like they had traveling in mind. They were heading north," he says.

Massung says the powerful camera he normally uses is in the shop, but even with his backup lens, he was able to catch incredible views of the sharks from his powered parachute.

"It was something to see," he says. "I did fly on for about a mile, and it didn't end!"

Massung says another person was flying to the east of him and the sharks were out that way as well. He was even able to spot a manatee and her baby calf swimming among the sharks.

"They weren't bothering anything. They were just swimming," he says.

Since sharks don't come with name tags, Massung posted the photos to the group's Facebook page asking for input as to what type of sharks they are.

Since then, the post has been shared more than 1500 times with users speculating that they're anything from spinner sharks to black tips to bull sharks. 

HOT OFF THE PRESS: John spotted these sharks this morning just south of the Sebastian Inlet. Unfortunately sharks don't...

Posted by Indian River by Air on Thursday, April 2, 2015

 While he doesn't proclaim to be an expert on marine life, Massung, who is originally from Pittsburgh, says he routinely sees sharks coming in through the inlet and into the Sebastian River this time of year as they prepare to give birth.

He says the group of sharks were still in the area Friday, but conditions were not as clear for photographs.

This isn't the first time a post to the Indian River by Air Facebook page has picked up steam. Last August, Massung snapped an incredible photograph of a group of rays coming into the ocean. The group was so large they couldn't all fit in the frame, so he zoomed into a cross section to see the rays layered on top of each other.

"It was an amazing picture, and we had 110,000 hits in just a couple of days," he says.

For more photos and videos, visit Indian River by Air.

Photo Credit: Indian River by Air

Small Earthquakes Shake LA Area


Tremors could be felt around north Los Angeles Saturday morning when a string of small earthquakes hit the area, the largest a magnitude 3.1-earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The temblors struck northwest of Granada Hills within the space of 10 minutes, according to the agency's preliminary earthquake reports. The 3.1-magnitude earthquake, reported at 7:54 a.m., could be felt as far away as Carson.

The LA Fire Department found no significant damage or injuries in a 470-square mile survey following the earthquake.

Two smaller earthquakes preceded the largest temblor: a 2.1-magnitude shaker at 7:46 a.m. and a 2.8-magnitude earthquake (initially reported as a 2.7-magnitude) at 7:52 a.m., both in the same area, according to the USGS.

The earthquakes were reported between Granada Hills and Santa Clarita, the USGS said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department will go into "earthquake mode" to survey the area, spokesman Erik Scott said, but no damage was initially reported.

As a precaution, LAFD trucks were rolled out of station houses, where garage doors can jam or stall if a major quake occurs. Seismologists routinely give a 10 percent chance of a major shaker following what turns out to be a foreshock.

“You can't predict, but you can prepare," Scott said as a reminder to residents in a post on the LAFD Facebook page.

More than 400 people sent responses to the agency's "Did You Feel It" map for the 3.1-magnitude shaker.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story. City News Service contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: USGS

Surveillance Photo Helps Police Catch Bank Robbery Suspect


East Hartford police arrested a man Saturday who is suspected of robbing a First Niagara Bank in East Hartford more than a week ago.

A surveillance photo police released to media outlets and posted online helped identify Martin Silvestro, 31, of South Windsor, as a suspect in the March 25 robbery at the First Niagara Bank at 1065 Main St., police said.

No one was injured in the robbery, police previously said.

After obtaining an arrest warrant on Wednesday, police arrested him at his home without incident.

Photo Credit: East Hartford Police Department

Suspects Arrested Linked to 2 Robberies: State Police


Police arrested two people suspected of robberies at a Thompson Xtra-Mart and ATM machine outside a Woodstock Citizens National Bank that happened a few weeks ago.

Ryan Genest, 28, and Corinna Poissant, 28, who live together in Woodstock, are both facing charges in connection to the robberies that occurred days apart on Route 171.

On March 19, a man demanded that a clerk at the Xtra-Mart at 9 Woodstock Ave. (Rt. 171) in Thompson empty the cash register, police said. The store employee complied and the robber took off with the cash and three packs of Marlboro cigarettes, police said. The man fled to a getaway car on Senexet Road, according to police. State police responded at 1:51 a.m. that morning.

Days later, state police responded to an active robbery at Citizens National Bank at 148 Woodstock Ave. (Rt. 171) in Woodstock on March 21 at 10:08 p.m. A man grabbed a bank customer and threatened to hurt him with a box cutter, forcing him to withdraw money from his account, police said. He ran from the scene after stealing the cash from the victim, according to police.

State police detectives in the Eastern District Major Crime Squad linked the two robberies together in their investigation and arrested Genest and Poissant in connection to both.

Genest was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of sixth-degree larceny. State police charged Poissant with two-counts of conspiracy to commit robbery.

They are both scheduled to appear in court on April 6. Their bond was set at $50,000 each.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

4 Cars Damaged in Auto Shop Fire


Four vehicles were ravaged in a fire at a New Haven auto parts business early Saturday morning.

Crews responded to Chuck and Eddie's Used Auto Parts at 190 Middletown Ave. in New Haven at about 6 a.m. Saturday morning to put out the fire.

The fire department didn't report any injuries, but said that four cars were badly damaged in the blaze.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Driver Dies After New Fairfield Crash


A 54-year-old female driver died and another driver was seriously injured in a two-car crash on Route 37 in New Fairfield last weekend.

Jody A. Stracci, 54, of Bronx, New York, was driving in the southbound direction on Route 37 in her 2012 Honda CIV on Saturday, March 28 when an oncoming driver in a 2000 Mercedes S430 struck her vehicle, state police said. The crash happened at about 3:30 p.m. near Pine Hill Road.

Robert Francis Martini Jr., 41, of New Fairfield, veered off the right shoulder of the northbound side in the Mercedes and hit a rock, according to state police. The impact propelled the car back onto the roadway and across the double yellow line into Stracci's Honda, state police said.

New Fairfield EMS transported both drivers to Danbury Hospital, where Stracci died of her injuries. Martini was treated for serious injuries, but his condition is unknown.

No details have been released on the cause of the crash and it's unclear whether any charges will be filed.

State police closed the road as they investigated. Firefighters and an ambulance also responded.

The crash remains under investigation and state police ask anyone with information to call state police at 203-312-5701.

Photo Credit: Ryan Ptakowski

Gov. Malloy Lifts Indiana Travel Ban


Connecticut's governor has lifted the Indiana travel ban in response to a recent amendment to the religious freedom recognition act that protect individuals against discrimination.

Last week, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed an order to ban state-funded and sponsored travel from Connecticut to Indiana in protest of the law's potential discrimination against the gay community and criticized Indiana's governor about the law in the national spotlight. But Malloy announced Saturday that he is canceling the travel ban because the amendment "provides protections to LGBTQ individuals," according to a news release from the governor's office.

“Today I am today lifting to ban on state funded travel to Indiana, because I believe the change enacted by the Indiana legislature sufficiently clarifies, in our interpretation, that the law cannot be used to invite discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a written statement.

UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie announced last week that he wouldn't be attending a coaching convention or the Final Four in Indiana due to the ban and to protest the law. It's unclear if his plans will change now that the ban has been lifted.

Malloy distinguished Connecticut from Indiana, touting our state as a leader in acceptance of all citizens, and said Indiana's amendment of its law is progress.

“Unlike Connecticut – which has been a national leader in LGBTQ protections – this is the first time that Indiana has codified any protections for individuals based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity. While the law even in its amended version remains divisive, I believe it is a step in the right direction," Malloy said. “In 2015, we cannot, and should not, tolerate laws that open the door to discrimination against citizens. We need to actively stand up to them – and that’s what we did this week. We are gratified that several other states, businesses, trade organizations, and so many stood with us, and we are pleased that numerous states besides Indiana have sought or are seeking changes in their laws with the specific aim of preventing discrimination."

After what happened in Indiana, Malloy said that Connecticut stands against discrimination in and out of state.

“We will continue to monitor other states that enact reforms similar to the original Indiana RFRA, because discrimination in any form is unacceptable," Malloy said. "We cannot watch states pass laws that seek to turn back the clock either on Connecticut residents, or our fellow Americans. We have an obligation do to what’s right, and to protect against discrimination whenever and wherever we see it.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Rt. 184 Closed in Groton After Brush Fire, Downed Wires


Gold Star Highway (Route 184) is closed in Groton after winds knocked down wires, causing a brush fire nearby, police said.

The road was closed around 2:30 p.m. between Cow Hill Road and Route 27 due to "a utility" and wires fell across the road. The incident caused a small brush fire.

As of 10 p.m. the road was still shut down. No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Tree Falls on Car in Simsbury


A driver survived after a tree fell on a car in Simsbury Saturday afternoon during a day of high winds.

Simsbury firefighters responded to Canton Road to deal with a tree that fell across the roadway near Roswell Drive and on top of a car.

Neighbors told NBC Connecticut the driver didn't appear to be seriously hurt.

The incident was just one of the problems caused by the wind Saturday.

"“It was very windy conditions. We were actually outside watching the trees and then we just heard the bang," Tammy Osden, of Simsbury, said. “....It almost sounded like something like a gunshot went off. It was very loud.”

Neighbors heard the tree fall and hit a passing car on Canton Road.

“The car was smashed in. The kid was already out of it in the ambulance," Judd Girard, of Simsbury, said. "“The tree actually hit the front end and I guess he was driving and it rolled over it. I guess it sprung on the power lines.”

While neighbors said the driver had cuts, they say it was lucky he was not more seriously hurt.
This was not the only place in the state crews had to race to respond to damage after wind gusts of up to 45 miles an hour.

Firefighters advised motorists to be cautious in that area throughout the day.

In Manchester, a viewer snapped a picture of his backyard where a tree came down on his shed.

And in Southington, another big tree was no match for the high winds. It came down on a house and cars.

“There’s going to obviously be some cracking and some rotten decay in some mature trees and at some point they just cannot stay up with these winds that we have today," Richard Ferreira, owner of Passion for Trees, said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

West Rocks Road Closed in Norwalk


West Rock Road is closed between Bayne Street and Route 7 due to a fallen tree and snapped utility pole.

The road has been closed for at least an hour and it's unclear when it will reopen.

Drivers can take Bayne Street to Grumman Avenue to Kensett Avenue to get to Route 7.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

Man Dies After Falling From Moving Truck During Likely Drug Dispute: Cops


A man, 35, died Saturday after grabbing onto a fleeing pickup truck in Waterbury and falling to the pavement during an argument with two men that police believe was drug related, according to police.

Witnesses saw the dispute between the victim and men in a white Chevy Colorado pickup truck at about 1:30 p.m. near the intersection of Grove an Bishop streets, police said. The man held onto the truck as it took off during a scuffle with the passenger of the truck, police said. He was injured in the head when he fell off the truck on Linden Street, according to police.

Waterbury Acting Deputy Chief Christopher Corbett said that the dispute was likely drug-related.

An ambulance transported him to Saint Mary's Hospital in Waterbury, but he died a half hour after arriving, police said.

His name has not been released at this time.

Police ask anyone with information to call 2-3-574-6941 or the CrimeStoppers confidential tip line at 203-755-1234. A cash reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Justice for Victims of Revenge Porn


For the first time Friday, victims of a man who ran a “revenge porn” website shared their stories, describing how the cyber-exploitation changed their lives.

After an all-day sentencing hearing in a San Diego courtroom where victims shared their experiences, Kevin Bollaert was sentenced to 18 years in prison for identity theft and extortion after posting more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos of women to his so-called “revenge porn” website.

A group of Bollaert’s victims were flown to San Diego from across the country to be involved in the prosecution and ultimately, his sentencing.

Bollaert was convicted of running a website that allowed the anonymous posting of nude photos of women plus their private information without their permission. Bollaert also ran another website where the victims could pay him hundreds of dollars to take down the embarrassing content posted on the first site.

Nicole Coco, of Pennsylvania, was one of the victims who testified in court.

“Justice has been served and I’m very thankful for this,” said Coco.

For Coco, the ordeal began when she checked her Facebook page one morning and saw vulgar messages from strangers. She said she went to her local police department twice, but not much was done.

“I got the photos removed once. The second time they were like, ‘We’ll try and try again.’ They thought it was my fault, and it was a lot of victim shaming,” said Coco.

Coco said that when a California Department of Justice official reached out to her in regards to criminal charges against Bollaert, that was the first time she was told and felt the situation wasn’t her fault.

“It was amazing because I blamed myself for a long time before that,” she said.

Coco said, before becoming aware of the prosecution of Bollaert, she was so traumatized by the experience she tried to commit suicide.

Megan Borash, of Denver, is another victim of Bollaert and his websites.

“When that guilty verdict came in, you know what? I took a stand. [I knew] what I did was not wrong. I am not ashamed of what I did,” she said.

When asked what the sentencing means to hear, Borash said, “It means a lot. Huge weight off my shoulder. I’m out here talking to you, gave you my information. Ask me yesterday, you wouldn’t have gotten it. It’s time for me to take my life back and start living.”

NBC 7 spoke to criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Tony Solare who explained what’s commonly known as “revenge porn” cases can be difficult to prosecute.

“It’s hard to prove someone did the act if they did it through a computer. Unless you can prove someone did it with that IP address they can say I didn’t do this. I can sit here and think of a million ways people can commit this crime without getting caught,” he said.

Solare and other legal experts tell NBC 7 Bollaert’s crimes were particularly blatant. Most others are not. Also, Bollaert’s website involved extorting money from victims, which took his case to another level.

Solare explained resources to investigate and prosecute these kinds of crimes is an area of concern as well.

“As far as the volume of [cyber-exploitation crimes] I’m sure [investigators] are woefully understaffed as far as what’s out there,” he said.

He added there are things you should do if you think you’re a victim of cyber exploitation.

“If you have a situation like that, you want to sit down and write a detailed account of what occurred, who did it, why you think they did it, what information you can have to specifically tie the bad act to the person you think did it and how you found out about it. Because the more information someone has, the more law enforcement has, the more they have to look into it. The other thing to do is to not delay in reporting something like this because any delay in reporting of any crime creates any problem for prosecution,” advised Solare.

Bollaert is expected to serve at least half of his prison sentenced. He was also ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Bristol Police Investigate Shots Fired


Bristol police are investigating a report of shots fired on Pine Street Saturday afternoon.

Police say they responded to 155 Pine Street around 3:34 p.m. and found a vehicle damaged by gunfire. No injuries were reported to police.

Police are currently investigating and ask anyone who might have information to contact them at 860 584 3011.

Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills Woman, 20


Twenty-year-old Koral Reef's life was just beginning. She said yes to the dress and married her high school sweetheart. But Reef never got the chance to enjoy her happily ever after when she developed a rare, brain-eating amoeba that took her life.

Reef’s mother, Cybil Meister, believes a family trip to Lake Havasu in Arizona was the catalyst for the infection that killed her daughter.

“She started with the headaches, the stiff neck, the sensitivity to light and heat was bad,” Meister told NBC 7.

Around Thanksgiving of 2013, Reef's family noticed something was wrong. By January, things went downhill. In June 2014, she went to the emergency room.

Doctors were never truly able to pinpoint a cause behind Reef’s health issues.

“They said, ‘Oh, she’s having withdrawal from her birth control; It’s a migraine.’ They gave her medicine and sent her home and then she progressively got worse,” recalled her mother.

In September 2014, Reef started losing her vision.

"She went to Temecula Valley and they did an MRI. They showed us the MRI and the amoeba, which they didn't know was an amoeba, but there was a mass covering the entire right side of her brain and partial of her left,” explained Meister.

In October 2014, Reef died.

Doctors say she had a rare but extremely deadly amoeba called Balamuthia. Meister believes her daughter contracted the parasite on that trip to Lake Havasu.

“Balamuthia's mortality rate is very, very high. Only 13 percent of patients survive without any type of treatment,” explained Dr. Navaz Karanjia.

Dr. Karanjia is the Director of Neurocritical Care and the Neuro-ICU at UC San Diego's Health System.

She said Balamuthia is inhaled and the parasite has been found in soil and dust. The symptoms of the infection are general – such as headache, fatigue, and a stiff neck – which make it hard to diagnose.

"Usually the initial tests come back negative for the usual bacteria and viruses so medical providers need to know if those test come back negative a parasitic infection could be present,” said Dr. Karanjia.

Reef’s mother is now devoted to raising awareness about the deadly, brain-eating amoeba in her daughter’s name. She has started #TeamKoralReef through Amoeba Awareness.

She's hoping to keep others from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one.

"We're reaching out to people trying to raise awareness because I don't think people understand how serious it can be. It's deadly,” she added.

Dr. Karanjia said a drug has been approved for treatment of another parasite, leishmaniasis, and that drug is being tried for amoebas as well. She said it has shown some promise in treating amoebas like the one that caused Reef's untimely death.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Fisherman Falls Through Ice Into Bungee Lake


A fisherman was taken to the hospital with severe hypothermia after falling through ice into a Woodstock lake late Saturday morning, according to fire officials.

Bungay Fire Brigade Chief Roy Chandler says a man ice fishing on Bungee Lake fell through the ice into the cold water sometime Saturday morning. He was able to pull himself back onto the ice, but became stranded as other pieces broke off around him. Firefighters responded around 11:25 a.m. and found the man 400 to 500 feet out toward the center of the lake.

Firefighters donned cold water immersion suits and broke through the ice until they were close enough to put the victim on a cold water rescue sled. It took firefighters between 30 and 40 minutes to get the victim out safely. It was not clear how long he was on the ice before that. He was transported by Woodstock EMS to Day Kimball Hospital where he is being treated for hypothermia, according to firefighters.

According to Chandler, The ice was only about 2-3 inches thick due to warming temperatures this past week, which is too thin to hold the weight of an average man. Firefighters stress that the ice is no longer safe to walk on.


Photo Credit: Jody Heidelberger

11K Pounds of Cocaine Seized at Sea


Officials seized more than 11,000 pounds of narcotics during an international joint operation in March, the largest maritime cocaine seizure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean since 2009.

The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and a Joint Interagency Task Force snagged the tons of cocaine from a coastal freighter in early March. The drugs were thrown off a small coastal freighter but recovered in international waters off the coast of Costa Rica.

"This is dangerous work," said Rear Adm. Joseph Servidio, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District in a statement. "I send my deepest appreciation to the men and women on the front lines who risk their lives to stop these drugs from reaching our streets and the streets of our partner nations.”

The freighter carrying the tons of narcotics was spotting throwing bales of the contraband into the ocean, according to a statement. The USS Gary, based out of San Diego approached the ship before calling in back up from over local ships and a Candian navy vessel to search the boat and retrieve the floating bags of cocaine.

When officials pulled all the bales out of the ocean, the cocaine weighed approximately 11,000 pounds.

The drug bust marks the largest in the region since 2009, when a semi-submersible craft in the Eastern Pacific was caught carrying five tons of cocaine by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis.

Officials have seized more than one million pounds of cocaine at sea in the Pacific, Atlantic and Caribbean since 2010.

Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard

Teen Dies From 6-Story Fall


A 17-year-old New York youth died Saturday of injuries he sustained nearly two days earlier when he fell off the roof of a six-story building while running from police, according to the NYPD.

Bronx teen, Hakeem Kuta, fell onto the pavement between two buildings on Valentine Avenue in Bedford Park a little after 7:30 p.m. Thursday, police said. He was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in critical condition. He died at 10:48 a.m. Saturday, police said.

Kuta and another boy, 14, had been running from police after officers confronted them and several other people while responding to a call of kids smoking marijuana in an apartment building lobby.

The two teen boys ran up a staircase and two officers followed them to the roof of the building, police said.

Police were heard shouting at Kuta to just relax.

But while on the roof, the boys tried to jump 10 feet to another rooftop and lost their footing.

One of the officers was able to grab the 14-year-old before he fell.

But Kuta wasn't able to hold on long enough to be rescued and fell six stories to the alley below.

"I just heard yelling and screaming," a resident who knows Kuta said. "I'm sad because he's just a kid. Kids sometimes do stupid things."

Detectives were at the site investigating and it appears there was no foul play.

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Calif. Driver in High-Speed Pursuit


A police pursuit that reached speeds of 140 mph on Southern California freeways ended when the driver slammed into two other cars, sending two of the vehicles careening out of control.

California Highway Patrol officers first reported pursuing the car on the northbound 57 Freeway in the Yorba Linda area after the driver allegedly refused to pull over for a traffic violation.

The driver - accompanied by one passenger - then made his way into Los Angeles County, maintaining triple-digit speeds and narrowly dodging other cars as he threaded his way through light Saturday night traffic on the 210, 134 and 405 freeways.

On the southbound 405 Freeway in the Marina del Rey area, the driver apparently attempted to slip in between a car and a pickup truck that were traveling side by side, but collided with both. The pickup truck flew into a retaining wall, the other car spun out and the pursued car slowly rolled to a stop as sparks flew from underneath it.

The driver and passenger came out of the pursued car with their hands up and were taken into custody by CHP officers.

It was not immediately clear what happened to the occupants of the other vehicles in the crash.

Two people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Culver City Fire Department officials said. It was not immediately clear which of the vehicles they were in.

Photo Credit: KNBC

Arabian Oryx Born at Zoo Miami


Visitors at Zoo Miami on Friday witnessed a rare sight: the birth of an endangered animal.

An Arabian Oryx gave birth in her exhibit as both visitors and zoo staff looked on.

The Arabian Oryx species is considered highly endangered, and was declared extinct in the wild in 1972. Zoo Miami's Ron Magill said captive breeding programs in zoos helped rebound the wild population numbers close to 1,500.

These antelope are now found in Saudi Arabia and Oman, and can go for weeks without water. According to Magill, the Arabian Oryx is believed to have started the legend of the unicorn, since it appears to have only one horn when seen in profile.

Photo Credit: Ron Magill/Zoo Miami
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