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2 Charged in Willimantic Knifepoint Robbery


Authorities have arrested two people in connection with a knifepoint robbery outside a community college in Willimantic late Tuesday afternoon.

Police said Daniel Passe, 25, approached a man in front of the Quinebaug Valley Community College on Main Street in Willimantic and robbed him at knifepoint around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Officers and detectives chased him through the area, prompting a brief lockdown at the nearby Path Academy charter school. Route 32/Main Street was also closed while police responded to the incident.

Passe struggled with officers but was taken into custody on Main Street with the help of a police K-9. Willimantic police also arrested a 24-year-old woman identified as Jacqueline Gent. Her role in the robbery is unclear.

Both Passe and Gent are homeless, according to police. They were each charged with first-degree robbery, breach of peace and sixth-degree larceny.

Passe was additionally charged with first-degree assault and interfering with an officer.

The robbery victim was taken to Windham Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. He has since been released, according to police.

Passe was held on $250,000 bond, while Gent's bond was set at $150,000. Both remain in police custody.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Earns Dubious Tax Distincton


Connecticut is one of only two states in the entire country that ranks in the top 10 in two key tax categories: real estate and vehicles, according to WalletHub.

The average real estate or home property tax bill in Connecticut is more than $3,000, while the average car tax bill is more than $600.

Both are dependent on local mill rates in the city or town in which the tax is being assessed.

Rhode Island also ranks in the top 10 in both categories.

State Sen. Rob Kane, a Republican from Watertown, says such high taxes means the state probably has more state services than it should.

"I think we have four basic functions that government has to perform: public health, public safety, infrastructure and education," Kane said. "Everything else, if you can find it in the yellow pages, I don’t think the state needs to do it."

Lawmakers are considering a potential cut to the car tax for some cities and towns, but the change could lead to hikes elsewhere.

State Sen. Martin Looney, the Senate's top Democrat, has said on numerous occasions that a flat statewide car tax makes sense because a car shouldn't have a different value just because it's in Greenwich or Hartford.

"It really is unfair to have such a radical disparity in our car tax rate. We need to have more uniform taxation on motor vehicle property," Looney told NBC Connecticut last week.

Kane says Connecticut needs to show the country and potential employers that it's good at many things that aren't taxing its residents in myriad ways.

"It’s a good thing we’re ranked No. 1 in basketball, because in everything else, we’re down at the bottom of the list," he said.

Blue Bell Expands Recall


Blue Bell Creameries is expanding its recall to include banana pudding-flavored ice cream made at the company's Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, facility after the product tested positive for listeria monocytogenes on Tuesday.

The company asked retailers on Monday to remove all products produced at the Oklahoma facility between Feb. 12 and March 27.

Blue Bell products made at the Oklahoma facility can be identified by checking for the letters “O,” “P,” “Q,” “R,” “S,” and “T” following the “code date” printed on the bottom of the product package, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blue Bell is also recalling seven other products made at the Oklahoma plant, including individually-wrapped Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Almond Bars, Vanilla Stick Slices and No Sugar Added Mooo Bars.

On Friday, the company said it was temporarily closing the Oklahoma facility, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigates.

Back in March, the illnesses prompted the Brenham, Texas-based creamery to issue the first recall in its 108-year history. The company and health officials said a 3-ounce cup of ice cream contaminated with listeriosis was traced to the plant in Oklahoma.

Listeriosis, also known as listeria, is a life-threatening infection caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes, according to the CDC. The disease primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

In addition to the Broken Arrow plant, the company has two plants in Brenham and one in Sylacauga, Alabama. Those plants will continue to operate and supply products to retail stores.

The recalled ice cream had been shipped to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

For more information, contact Blue Bell at 979-836-7977, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.

Along with the banana pudding pints, Blue Bell said the recall now includes the following products made at its Oklahoma plant:

Ice Cream Pints: UPC # 0 71899-05101 5 / Code Date:

Ice Cream Banana Pudding pint / 021217S

Ice Cream Butter Crunch pint  /  021917S

Ice Cream Mint Chocolate Chip pint / 022017S

Ice Cream Cookies 'n Cream pint / 030317S, 030617S

Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla pint / 030417S

Ice Cream Dutch Chocolate pint / 032317S

Ice Cream Moo-llennium Crunch pint  / 032417S, 032517S

Sherbet Pint: UPC # 0 71899-19990 8

Rainbow Sherbet pint / 021717S, 021817S, 022317S, 030217S

Sherbet Quarts: UPC # 0 71899-18992 3

Orange Sherbet quart / 032617S

Mixed Berry Sherbet quart / 032717S

3 ounce Tab Lid Cup: Product # 136

*institutional/ food service cup only

Rainbow Sherbet / 022417S, 022617S, 022717S 

Gold Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-03720 0

Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla half gallon / 030917T, 031017T, 031117T, 031217T, 031617T, 031717T, 031817T

Brown Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-83548 6

Ice Cream Pistachio Almond half gallon / 031317T 

Light Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-73501 4

Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla Light half gallon  / 031917T

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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Man Sought For Questioning in South Windsor Double Stabbing


South Windsor Police are investigating a stabbing that left two people injured.

Police were called to the Irving Gas Station on John Fitch Blvd. at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday. There they found a 19-year old man who had been stabbed multiple times, according to police. A short time later police found a 21-year-old woman lying in the road at the intersection on John Fitch Blvd. and I-291. Investigators say she had also been stabbed multiple times.

Both victims were rushed to Hartford Hospital. Their ID's and conditions have not been released.

Investigators believe the pair were stabbed at 108 Speilman Rd. and ran to get help.

Police want to question 20-year-old Williman Brewster, who lives at 108 Speilman Rd., and is known to the victims.

East Hartford Police and the Connecticut State Police Major Crimes are assisting South Windsor Police with this active investigation.

Please check back for updates.

New Home for Pup After Successful Surgery


A new happy chapter is beginning for Mookie, a dog found roaming in southeastern Connecticut last month.

After several surgeries to have a tumor removed, she is healthy and going to a new home.

Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control took Mookie in last month when they found her roaming, then launched a fundraising campaign and appealed to donors to help.

Thanks to many generous people and several surgeries, the tumor is gone and animal control began accepting applications for a new home for Mookie.

With applicant screening underway, animal control received some good news last week. The tumor was benign and unlikely to come back.

Today, there is more good news for Mookie. She has left the pound and is heading to her forever home.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

Boy, 4, Finds 100 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Bones


Dinosaur bones estimated to be 100 million years old recently discovered in Mansfield by a 4-year-old boy are now on their way to Southern Methodist University in Dallas for further study.

The dinosaur bones were first discovered in September next to a Mansfield retail center that was under construction.

Since the discovery, experts have been digging and excavating near the Sprouts grocery store on Matlock Road and Debbie Lane.

When all of that earth and dirt was dug up to make way for the shopping center, a Dallas zookeeper who lives nearby thought he'd be able to find fish fossils.

The whole area was covered in water millions of years ago, said the Dallas Zoo.

Zookeeper Tim Brys thought his son Wiley, 4, would enjoy going on a fossil hunt.

"We commonly go collect fossils as something we can do together to be outside. Wiley enjoys coming with me on my trips," Brys explained.

"We were finding some fish vertebrae in the hillside, and then Wiley walked a little ways ahead of me and came back with a piece of bone. And I paused and was like, 'OK, where did you find this?'"

Wiley didn't know it at the time, but what he discovered was a 100-million year old dinosaur bone, according to experts at SMU's Digital Earth Sciences Laboratory.

Talk about beginner's luck.

"It's probably a once in a lifetime opportunity," Brys said with a smile. "And he was four."

Experts believe the bones belong to a group of dinosaurs called the Nodosaur — about 15-feet long with hard, scaly plates on their back. Nodosaur's were herbivores, and lived in the late Jurassic to early Cretaceous periods.

Wiley was a bit camera-shy and didn't want to talk on camera, but like a true paleontologist he had no problem showing NBC 5 how to properly dig for dinosaurs.

At SMU's Digital Earth Sciences Laboratory the cement-and-plaster casing currently protecting the bones will be carefully broken apart over the next few weeks. Then, the bones can be analyzed and studied by expert paleontologists.

"It was awesome, it was really exciting," Brys said. "It's a really rare dinosaur, it's possible it could even be a new species."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

3 Arrested After Cops Seize Drugs From Car of Swerving Driver


A driver was under the influence of crack cocaine when police pulled him over in Plainfield, leading to the arrest of him and two others, police said.

Jewett City driver Jason Andrews, 31, and his passengers, Cassandra Kunkel, 35, of Jewett City, and Ashley Miller, 22, of Norwich, are facing drug charges after a motor vehicle stop early Tuesday evening. Police received a complaint at 5:39 p.m. that a motorist in a black Chevy Impala with Texas plates was driving erratically near Norwich Road and Green Avenue, police said. Police found the car and stopped it in the Advanced Auto Parts parking lot in Plainfield.

Police said that the driver, Andrews was behaving like he was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, so they ordered him to get out of the car. As he did so, police saw him discard a container on the ground that turned out to have a white rock-like substance inside. When questioned about it, he admitted to police that it was crack cocaine and that he was under the influence of the drug, police said.

Officers also spotted a syringe in his back seat, so they told all of the occupants to get out of the car. Plainfield and state police and a Putnam K-9 unit searched the vehicle and found several items of drug paraphernalia, crack cocaine, cocaine in powder form and heroin in the car. Police seized the drugs and a substantial amount of cash from the vehicle.

Police charged Andrews with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, operating a motor vehicle under suspension, failure to use a turn signal, possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia. Miller was charged with two counts of possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia and Kunkel was also charged with possession of narcotics.

Miller and Kunkel are due in court on April 20 and police did not release information on the court date for Andrews.

A fourth person in the vehicle was not charged.

Grandfather's Joy at Fire Rescue


A man saved from a burning office building in Los Angeles' Westlake neighborhood said he is overjoyed he will still be able to spend time with his grandkids.

Dickie Molina and his wife were stuck on the fifth floor of the high rise on West Olympic Boulevard, and had taken refuge next to a window as they tried to get the attention of the people below. Eventually a Los Angeles Fire Department ladder truck was deployed, and the couple made the long descent to safety on the street below.

Tearfully recalling his rescue, Molina said, "(The firefighter) said it is not your time. I still get to see my grandchildren."

The couple had found themselves trapped as the inferno raged through the building, and quick-thinking Molina decided they would be better off staying near fresh air than trying to find their way out inside.

"I knew that usually the fire doesn’t get you, the asphyxiation, the inhalation will kill you, so I said go back in, open up the window," Molina said.

He tried to get the attention of people below by waving, shouting and throwing anything that came to hand.

Nelson Linares was leaving a nearby gym when he saw Molina.

"I just spotted him throwing stuff out of there. I don't know if it was newspaper, paper, trying to get someone's attention," Linares said.

Within minutes a truck was sent to save him, and he was heading down five stories on a ladder.

The fire in the 1500 block of West Olympic Boulevard was reported at 7:45 p.m. The cause of the fire is  unclear.

Several other people managed to escape the flames by evacuating.

Anti-Gay Cake Controversy


An Arizona evangelist who has sparked a whirlwind of controversy with his phone call to an Orlando-area bakery says he's being wrongly portrayed as "anti-gay."

Cut the Cake bakery, in Longwood, tells NBC affiliate WESH it has lost business and faced harassment since last week when evangelist Joshua Feuerstein posted a video of the bakery owner refusing to make a cake that said, "We do not support gay marriage."

Feuerstein talked to WESH 2 News via Skype on Tuesday and said he opposes same-sex marriage, but he has no hatred for the LGBT community.

He said his goal was to show that those on both sides of the issue should have the freedom to refuse service when it conflicts with their beliefs.

"We wanted to see if a pro-LGBT bakery would bake a cake for something that it was opposed to, what they believed in, and you know what, I actually believe that Cut the Cake has every right as an American to refuse to print that on a cake. But now, of course, the news story all across the nation is that I'm a bigot and a homophobe," he said.

As for the impact of Feuerstein's phone call on the baker, he said he quickly removed the posting when he learned that the owners were being harassed.

The bakery owner said she may pursue criminal charges against Feuerstein for recording the phone call without her consent.

It is illegal in the state of Florida to record a phone conversation without the knowledge of both parties. It is not known if Feuerstein taped his conversation with the bakery without informing them.

A GoFundMe account for the bakery has brought in over $14,000 to cover its losses.

Photo Credit: WESH

Police Continue Search for Man Possibly Connected to 4 Robberies


Groton town police have released a new surveillance photo of a suspected armed robber as they continue to search for him after a Groton convenience store was robbed at gunpoint on Thursday night.

Police said they responded to Henny Penny Convenience Store, at 294 Route 12, at 8:18 p.m. on April 2 to investigate an armed robbery that had just happened and learned that the robber showed a handgun, demanded money and ran north on Route 12, police said.

The latest surveillance photo Groton police released Wednesday shows a security camera picture of the suspect in a store that looks like a Dunkin' Donuts before the Groton robbery took place April 2, police said. They discovered it while looking for him. They believe he is connected to three other robberies and one attempted one in Southeastern Connecticut.

Groton Town Police, as well as K9 teams from Stonington, East Lyme and Connecticut State Police, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began searching for the man, but were not able to find him.

The robber appeared to be in his early 20s. He is heavyset, between 5-feet-5 and 5-feet-8, has facial hair, a distinguishing gap between his teeth and appeared to have black marks under his eyes, police said.

He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt-like jacket, gray pants, black shoes, sunglasses and a pair of distinct yellow work gloves with black edging.

Police are asking for help to find the man. If you recognize him, call the Groton Town Police Department at 860-441-6712.

Police believe the man in the surveillance photo may be connected to other robberies in Southeastern Connecticut, including in Stonington, Waterford and a Monday night robbery at a Henny Penny at 1673 Route 12 in the Gales Ferry section of Ledyard. He also may be tied to an attempted robbery in New London. Detectives from area departments and state police are working together as they investigate the robberies.

Photo Credit: Groton Police Department

Police Arrest Man After Seizing $40K in Drugs in Raid


Police arrested a 36-year-old New Haven man suspected of operating a drug factory in his home and selling drugs near a school. 

Leroi Tony Joyner is facing multiple drug-related charges, as well as risk of injury to a child, after police seized $40,000-worth of drugs from his house in New Haven.

Detectives from the department's Criminal Intelligence Unit have been investigating Joyner and suspected drug trafficking out of his home, police said.

Police raided his single-family house at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 2. Joyner, who is a convicted felon, was home at the time and tried to stash drugs under his car parked in the driveway when he saw police arrive, police said.

After police detained him, he admitted to trying to hide the drugs and police found a bundle of crack cocaine under his car, police said. Officers seized the drugs and $1,511 he had on him before searching his home, discovering multiple people inside including a person hiding in a closet.

Police detained the people in Joyner's home. Authorities seized multiple items found inside, including a loaded Berretta .22 caliber handgun, a bag of .22 caliber ammunition, a box of .40 caliber ammunition, nine large bags filled with 360 grams of cocaine, 14 bags of 90 grams-worth of crack cocaine, $7,841, packaging materials, digital scales, multiple cell phones and a bag of marijuana. The drugs police seized had a street value amounting to about $40,000.

Police charged Joyner with possession of narcotics near a school, sale of illegal drugs, possession of a controlled substance near a school, operating a drug factory, criminal possession of a firearm, risk of injury to a child and many other drug-related and drug paraphernalia charges.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Vice President Biden to Speak at Yale Class Day


The vice president of the United States has been selected as the Class Day speaker for Yale College's class of 2015 commencement weekend, college officials announced Wednesday.

Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. will visit the college's old campus in New Haven to address the students in May. The focus of his speech is unknown at this time.

Biden, the 47th vice president of the U.S., is the oldest of four siblings and was born on Nov. 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, according to the news release from Yale.

His family moved to Claymont, Delaware in 1953 and he graduated from the University of Delaware. Biden is also an alumnus of Syracuse Law School and was on the New Castle County Council, the release said.

When Biden was 29, he was one of the youngest people in history elected to the U.S. Senate, according to the news release.. Weeks after he was elected, his wife at the time, Neilia, and their daughter, Naomi, 1, died in a car accident that also critically injured their two young sons, the release said. He was sworn in as a senator from the hospital at his sons' bedside and took the train to the nation's capital daily throughout his 36 years as a Delaware senator.

He remarried in 1988, wedding longtime educator Jill Jacobs, who took his last name and now teaches at a community college in the Washington D.C. area. He has three children -- Hunter, an attorney, Ashley, a social worker, and Beau, Delaware's attorney general and a captain in the 261st Signal Brigade of the Delaware National Guard who recently came home from serving in Iraq, according to the release. Biden also has five grandkids named Naomi, Finnegan, Roberta "Maisy" Mabel, Natalie and Robert Hunter.

While serving as chairman and a ranking member of the Senate's Juciary Committee over the course of 17 years, he worked on the 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act, the release said. From 1997 on as a senator, he served as a chairman and member of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, tackling foreign policy and helping craft legislation regarding terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, Europe after the Cold War, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

As vice president, he helped implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to boost the economy and has focused on making college education more affordable and growing the nation's manufactoring industry, the news release said. He uses his foreign policy experience to advise President Barack Obama on international matters. He has helped get Senate approval for the "START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, and traveled to Iraq eight times between his election and December 2011 in the process of ending the war there, according to the news release.

Biden also has supported the Obama administration's strides to "reestablish leadership in the Asia Pacific" by going to China, Japan and Mongolia and meeting with China's vice president in 2012,  the news release said. Israel's security is another issue of importance to him and he helped rally support in Europe for the U.S. missile defense approach, worked with Latin American leaders in efforts to halt drug trafficking and international crime and made efforts to forge relationships with African leaders, according to the news release.

Biden has been to over two dozen countries. That includes Germany, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Spain, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Finland, Russia, Moldova, Italy, China, Mongolia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago, according to the news release.

Biden is scheduled to speak at Yale's Class Day on Sunday, May 17 at 2 p.m.

ISU Mourns 7 People Killed in Plane Crash After NCAA Title Game


The loss of seven people in a small plane crash leaves a "large void in our community and our Red Bird family," Illinois State University Athletics Director Larry Lyons said Wednesday.

"Bloomington-Normal is a small town, and in many respects everybody is touched by this tragedy, and they will all be missed," he said of the victims, one day after their plane went down while returning from the NCAA National Championship game in Indianapolis.

Two staff members of the school's athletics department were killed in the Tuesday morning crash, including Deputy Director of Athletics for external operations Aaron Leetch and Associate Head Coach of the Redbirds men's basketball team Torrey Ward.

Also killed when the Cessna 414 when down on an approach to the Central Illinois Regional Airport near Bloomington were 42-year-old Scott Bittner, who owns Bittner's Meat Co - Eureka Locker, 64-year-old Terry Stralow, co-owner of the popular bar Pub II in Normal, 45-year-old Woodrow Jason Jones of Bloomington, 40-year-old Andrew Butler of Normal, and 51-year-old Thomas Hileman, who was the pilot of the plane.

Lyons was joined at Wednesday's emotional press conference by Redbirds Head Coach Dan Muller and forward John Jones.

"These guys are just father figures to us," said Jones. "Coach Ward, me and him had a personal relationship, not only on the court but off the court. "He was such a good man. He went too early but you can't blame God why."

Illinois State University officials scheduled a memorial service for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Redbird Arena.

Todd Fox, an air safety official with the National Transportation Safety Board Chicago office, said an investigation into the weather, the air traffic control communications, the aircraft and other variables that may have contributed to the crash would be conducted. A preliminary report is expected next week. 

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Cousins Accused of ISIS Aid Plead


Two suburban Chicago cousins accused of trying to join ISIS and plotting to attack an Illinois military facility pleaded not guilty to terror charges Wednesday.

Hasan Edmonds and Jonas Edmunds, both shackled and appearing in orange jumpsuits, entered their pleas through their attorneys and answered "yes" when Judge Sheila Finnegan asked if they understood their rights. 

Hasan Edmonds, 22, and his cousin, Jonas Edmonds, 29, were indicted earlier this month on charges they tried to provide material support to ISIS. Prosecutors said Jonas Edmonds allegedly planned to attack an Illinois military facility, and they said his younger cousin planned to travel abroad to join Islamic State fighters.

Hasan Edmonds was member of Golf Company 634th Brigade Support Battalion, based in Joliet, according to the Illinois National Guard Lt. Col. Brad Leighton. He reported to the Joliet base one weekend a month.

Jonas Edmonds allegedly communicated to an undercover agent that it might be difficult for him to get travel documents. Therefore, he said he would stage attacks in the U.S., prosecutors allege.

Conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Their next court appearance was scheduled for May 6.

Mental Evaluation Ordered for Suspect in Sandy Hook Harassment


A Wallingford, Connecticut, man who is accused of placing five harassing phone calls to Sandy Hook Elementary School and accusing staff of fabricating the 2012 massacre will undergo a mental health evaluation and has been ordered not to contact the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Timothy Rogalski, 30, left "four disturbing telephone messages" on the school answering machine on Tuesday morning, according to police. The fifth time he called, he spoke to an administrative assistant.

During the calls, which were placed between 7:02 a.m. and 7:57 a.m., Rogalski referenced several of the 20 students and six educators killed in the school shooting and also claimed the Boston Marathon bombings were fake.

Police said Rogalski also left messages on the machines of two other schools in Newtown.

He was arrested at his home in Wallingford and charged with five counts of harassment and one count of disorderly conduct out of Monroe. Newtown police also issued Rogalski a misdemeanor summons charging him with harassment.

Rogalski, who lives with his father, has prior arrests for marijuana possession, driving under the influence and interfering with police, officials said.

He kept speaking in court, despite advice from his public defender, and said he knows he might have offended people but never threatened anyone and only made five calls. 

"I don't think I said anything that horrible," Rogalski said.

Rogalski is being held on $50,000 and is due back in court on April 22.

Photo Credit: Monroe Police Department

Red Cross Assisting Norwich Family Displaced by Fire


The American Red Cross is assisting three adults and two children displaced after a fire Tuesday in Norwich.

The blaze broke out at the family's home on Yantic Lane.

The Red Cross said they are providing the family of five with housing, food, clothes, toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies, other necessities and an information kit for fire victims.

Mom, 6-Year-Old Daughter Found Dead


A 29-year-old woman and her 6-year-old daughter found dead in a New Jersey home Wednesday may have been the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas generator, prosecutors and relatives say.

Octavia Campbell and her daughter Christiana were found dead in their home on Dodd Street in East Orange at about 10 a.m. Prosecutors say the mother's boyfriend discovered the two when he went to check on Campbell after she didn't answer repeated phone calls. 

Authorities say that a gas generator had been hooked up in the home without proper ventilation, and the power company had cut off electricity for non-payment on Tuesday. It appears there was no working carbon monoxide detectors to warn them of the danger. 

Campbell's father told NBC 4 New York he brought the generator to the home that night so his daughter and granddaughter could have working lights and appliances.

He put it in the basement and told Campbell -- whom the family called "Aki" -- to turn it off after a little while, he said, adding that he thinks she fell asleep and left it running.

There are no signs of trauma or foul play to either of the victims, authorities say. 

Other family members wished Campbell, a single mother who was studying to become a medical assistant and working part-time with her father in his construction business, had asked for help sooner. 

"We would have helped. She didn't need to stay here with a generator," said cousin Karrema Banks. "I believe it must have been an overnight thing, and she was going to handle it herself." 

Campbell's grieving father said, "To have a child like Aki, one would be blessed. I was very lucky to have her." 

Christiana was a "bright little girl, eager to learn" who "lit up the room," her day care teacher Cassandra Davis at Each One Teach One Academy said. 

And Campbell was "always there for us, whenever we had a trip she would go," said Davis. "She was a great mom. Christiana was the world to her." 

Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. Here are some ways to protect your family from being exposed:

  • Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. You are legally required to have them in the D.C. area. They cost as little as $30 at home improvement stores. Install one on each floor of your home.
  • Check your appliances. Gas appliances like ranges, ovens or even clothes dryers can produce carbon monoxide if they're not installed or working properly, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Have your chimneys and vents inspected every year by a service technician. A block could cause carbon monoxide to back up in to your home.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Crash Closes Part of Main Street in East Windsor


Main Street is closed between Church Street and Depot Street in East Windsor while crews repair a utility pole that broke during a crash Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

Police expect that section of Main Street to be blocked off for the next three or four hours, the department posted on its Facebook page around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said no one was hurt in the crash.

Photo Credit: East Windsor Police Department

Police Release Surveillance From Deadly Clerk Shooting


Police are searching for the two people who shot and killed a Connecticut father-to-be inside a New Haven gas station on Monday night and have released surveillance video of the scene.

Sanjay Patel, 39, was shot more than five times during a robbery at the Pay Rite Food Store at the Citgo station on Forbes Avenue on Monday night.

Police said one gunman shot Patel four times, the other shot him more than once and they fled with cash and a box of cigars.

Patel was rushed from the store to the hospital, where he later died, leaving behind a wife and dreams of soon welcoming his first and only child into the world.

Patel and his wife, Bhavana "Bee" Chavada, had been trying to have a child for 10 years and she is six months pregnant.

"My heart is broken already," Chavada said.

Anyone who can identify the people in the surveillance video should call detectives at 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Man Stole Cigars from New Haven Porch: Cops


New Haven police arrested a man who they said stole a shipment of cigars off a porch in the city.

Police responded to Livingston and Willow streets at 12:43 p.m. on Tuesday after a neighbor called authorities to report seeing a man steal a package that had been delivered to a neighbor’s front porch.

He was carrying a brown umbrella and pushing a bicycle, the witness told authorities.

When Officer Matthew Meyers saw a man on Whitney Avenue matching the description, he stopped him, asked to look in his bag and found cigars inside, police said.

The man, identified as Jose Antonio Flores, 44, of New Haven, claimed he’d bought the cigars from a smoke shop a day ago, but the e-mail address on the bag the cigars were in suggested they were from a mail-order company rather than a shop, police said.

When officers went back to the Willow Street home of the woman who’d reported the theft, she said the man had taken a box, and not a resealable bag, so officers searched the area between the home and the area where the man was stopped and found a discarded cigar box with a UPS tracking label that included a return address from a company in Bay Harbor Island, Florida, police said.

Flores was arrested and charged with sixth-degree larceny.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police
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