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Suspect in MA Teen Stabbing Caught in CT


A man suspected of stabbing a 17-year-old boy at a restaurant in Chelsea, Massachusetts last month has been captured in Connecticut.

Massachusetts State Police said Juan Santana-Ruiz, 40, is accused of stabbing the teen nearly to death at Plaza Mexico.

Police responded to the restaurant shortly before 9 p.m. on March 22 to investigate the stabbing and spoke with witnessed who said “Carrera,” a man known to frequent the establishment, had gotten into a fight with a 17-year-old boy and was removed from the establishment, but he forced his way back inside, police said.

As the teen and his family members were going out the back door, Santana-Ruiz approached, stabbed the victim in the abdomen and ran back through the restaurant and out the front door, prosecutors said.

A witness drove the teen to Massachusetts General Hospital in Chelsea, then an ambulance brought him to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he went through emergency surgery, police said.

The police investigation included reviewing surveillance footage from inside and outside the restaurant, which showed a man fleeing up Forsyth Street with an object in his hand. Then, it showed him return, get into a gray Honda Odyssey and drive away, police said. Investigators also found a knife with what appeared to be dried blood on it behind a building at Forsyth Street and Washington Avenue.

The investigation also included social media.

Chelsea detectives obtained a Facebook friend request from a witness, which led police to Santana-Ruiz and a Registry of Motor Vehicles photograph that match the image from surveillance footage, according to state police.

Armed with a warrant for his arrest, police went to Santana-Ruiz’s Everett, Massachusetts home to arrest him, but he was not there.

On April 3, Massachusetts and Connecticut state police took Santana-Ruiz into custody somewhere in Connecticut. It’s not clear where he was found.

During a hearing in Hartford Superior Court last week, he waived extradition proceedings and Chelsea Police returned him to Massachusetts on Friday.

He was arraigned on Monday and Assistant District Attorney Vincent DeMore asked that Santana-Ruiz be held in lieu of $250,000 bail, but bond was set at $200,000 bail.

Santana-Ruiz has been charged with armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery. He is due in court on May 14.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Flames Rip Through Home of Former Firefighter


A former firefighter couldn't believe it when the address that came over on his pager Tuesday morning turned out to be his own home.

Michael Beakey left work and headed to 49 Devotion Road, his home of 30 years, and arrived to find fire trucks lined up outside his driveway.

"It just didn't hit me. It didn't register somehow," he said.

Despite firefighters' best efforts, the home was destroyed.

"Totally lost. We lost everything," said his wife, Ruth Beakey.

Fire officials said flames spread quickly through the house, which was built in the 1850s. Nine fire departments battled the blaze.

"In an old house like this, it kind of gets into small spaces," explained Scotland Asst. Fire Chief Kevin Ring Jr. "It took us two-and-a-half to three hours to get the fire out."

Michael Beakey, a 25-year department veteran, said he felt helpless watching his house burn down.

"I wanted to grab some equipment and a hose and get in there and do it myself," he said.

The tables have turned and the husband and wife now living with the reality they've seen so many others experience over the years.

"It's devastating," said Ruth Beakey. "What pieces do you have to pick up? Where do you go? All that meant to us was in that house."

Fire officials said the worst of the damage was concentrated in back of the home, where the kitchen and sun room were located. They're still investigating to determine the cause.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Bulletin/ NorwichBulletin.com
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1 or 3 Embattled Hartford Registrars Resigns


One of Hartford's three registrars has submitted her resignation after a myriad of problems during last fall's general election, according to a statement from the Hartford City Council.

"Urania Petit has withdrawn her lawsuit and submitted her resignation as part of a negotiated settlement with the City, subject to City Council approval," Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

Petit said in a statement Tuesday evening that her resignation will take effect May 22. She called the city's efforts to remove her and the other two registrars "a politically motivated attack" and said "the decision is vindicating."

"However, the experience of being harassed and hounded by the City Council was personally hurtful and demoralizing, and also disrespectful to the voters of Hartford," she said. "The problems faced by Hartford voters because of errors by Hartford Registrars in the last election have caused me great pain, but as I have always known, they did not come from my office."

Petit's resignation came hours before a Superior Court judge ruled that the city council cannot remove the three registrars from office.

In issuing her ruling, the judge pointed out that the General Assembly once gave the Hartford City Council authority to remove elected officials, but that the city gave up that right during charter revisions in 2002.

"We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that all residents of Hartford are able to vote and that those votes are counted," Wooden said. "We disagree with the judge's decision and are evaluating our options."

Problems plagued at least 10 city precincts in November, prompting extended voting hours at two polling places.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, along with Wooden submitted two resolutions to the city council, one of which proposed a “committee of inquiry” to investigate the polling problems.

The investigation revealed serious issues with reported voting irregularities across the city, including more votes cast in Hartford for the governor’s race than voters reported.

After receiving the report, the city council filed a second resolution seeking to remove the trio – Democrat Olga Vazquez, Republican Sheila Hall and Urania Petit, of the Working Families Party.

"We were confident that we were right on the law, and we were very confident that we would prevail, because the law was on our side," said Corey Brinson, attorney for Sheila Hall.

Vazquez filed a complaint against Hartford and the Court of Common Council last month, arguing that it's illegal for the city to remove elected officials.

"Today, the court ruled that when people walk into a voting booth, their vote counts and it can't be arbitrarily removed by the power of a city council," said attorney Richard Padykula, who is representing Vazquez.

The city of Hartford has the option to appeal the judge's ruling but it's not clear if city leaders plan to do so.

"The decision is disappointing but I will continue to work with City Council to explore all options that protect Hartford's voters," Segarra said in a statement.

In Connecticut municipalities, registrars of voters are nominated on behalf of each political party. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill believes this is part of the reason there have been problems in several recent elections.

Last month, Merrill went to the State Capitol to ask legislators to promote a bill calling for professionalizing all 169 registrars’ offices across the state.

Flags to Fly at Half-Staff to Honor Abraham Lincoln


Gov. Dannel Malloy has ordered all U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff Wednesday in honor of president Abraham Lincoln, who was shot and killed 150 years ago this week.

The mandate comes after a proclamation issued by President Barack Obama.

Flags should remain at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, the anniversary of Lincoln's death and national Day of Remembrance for President Abraham Lincoln.

The president was shot at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. the night of April 14. He died at 7:22 a.m. on April 15.

Photo Credit: AP/Alex Hessler and Sun Classics Pictures, Inc.

One Boston Day: A New Tradition


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has declared Wednesday, April 15, 2015, the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, "One Boston Day." He's asking people to come together as a community and give back to the city in any way they can.

Residents, citizens and organizations are being asked to share what they're doing to give back on Twitter using the hashtag #OneBostonDay. Above is a sampling of what people are saying.

Are you going to be out in the community on One Boston Day? Take a picture and send it to shareit@necn.com and we'll include it in our online photo gallery and may even use it on air!

[CLICK HERE for more information.]

Photo Credit: City of Boston
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Hamden Extends Ban on New Off-Campus Student Housing


The Hamden Planning & Zoning Commission passed two measures Tuesday designed to help the city deal with the growing number of Quinnipiac University students living off campus.

The commission decided to extend a temporary ban on new student housing permits for another six months. The original moratorium called for a one-year ban.

The commission also voted to require colleges and universities to file five-year master plans for student housing.

A number of local landlords attended the meeting and argued against the extension.

One landlord, Margaret Kramer, said she has a home ready to rent to students but has been unable to get a permit because of the moratorium.

"What have we done in the last year that we need another six months to complete? What is the six months going to do other than prevent people that own properties to rent them?" said Kramer.

Town officials said housing permits have increased 350 percent over the past decade, with off-campus space now allocated for 900 Quinnipiac University students.

Town leaders said the students can sometimes be bad neighbors when it comes to noise problems, property maintenance and the overall quality of life.

"There were lots of late-night parties and we would wake up the next day and find broken glass beer bottles, and there was noise and more garbage on the lawn, so we complained to the landlord," said Hamden resident Alexis Thorne.

The commission said it needs to keep the permit stop for another six months to continue updating its zoning regulations.

Some residents agreed with the decision.

"You definitely need more time to go through this. It’s a very hot issue and I know this is only an extension," said resident Cindy Civitello.

At least one student showed up at the meeting saying he felt students had been left out of the process and were being stereotyped.

"I’ve seen students behaving inappropriately. I do not believe the actions of a handful of students reflect on the entire campus," said Quinnipiac junior Mark Boulas.

Landlords said this permit fight isn’t over and are considering legal action.

Boater Missing Off the Coast of Westport


First responders are searching for a boater who went missing off the coast of Westport on Tuesday night and may be near the island of Cockenoe, according to Fairfield police.

Fairfield police spokesman Lt. James Perez said the man's cellphone is pinging from the area of the island. The Coast Guard is sending out a helicopter to search for him.

According to the Connecticut Post, the man's wife reported him missing when he failed to return home from a boating trip Tuesday night.

Perez said he believes the man was also reported missing once last year.

WATCH: Burglary Caught on Cat Cam


A thief broke into a Hell's Kitchen apartment through a window Monday afternoon, and the resident's cat cam caught the burglary on tape.

The video shows the thief climbing up scaffolding to get to the window — which was closed but had a broken lock — and stealing an iPad and laptop. Police say he also took jewelry and a digital camera.

In an interview with NBC 4 New York Tuesday, the victim said she'd installed the home camera to watch her cats while she was at work. 

"People thought I was crazy to spend $200 on a camera, plus another $100 a year to record the video so I could watch my cats," she said. "But it really unexpectedly came in handy." 

The video shows the burglar climb in through the window and acknowledge one of the cats, which watches him warily from its perch on a pillow.

He then rummages through the victim's desk, touching her laptop, picking up cords and stuffing items in his pockets as he looks around the room. The robber, in a black hat and jean jacket, pops in and out of the view of the camera as the cat watches him from a rug — first alone, then with the company of another feline.

The robber stuffs his stolen items in a black bag and eventually leaves through the front door after shutting the window he climbed through.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she was terrified watching the video at work. Soon after, she received a notification that an app on her iPad had been disabled. 

"I knew someone had to have my iPad, because I keep it in my apartment," she said. "I had to watch it a couple of times and be like, this guy is in my apartment and looking at my stuff."

The woman said the camera system has proved invaluable: "If I didn't have this, there's no way I would know when it happened, how he came in, what was touched, what was compromised."

She has filed a police report and turned over the video to police. Anyone who recognizes the man in the video is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

Driver Files Lawsuit in Wake of Wethersfield School Bus Crash


A New Britain resident hurt when a school bus rear ended him in a distracted driving crash in Wethersfield is suing the First Student bus company.

Tom Lazuk was driving on Prospect Street in Wethersfield on April 2 when a bus heading to the Glastonbury-East Hartford Elementary Magnet School struck the back of his Jeep, according to police and his attorney.

Lazuk, the bus driver and seven children were taken to the hospital. The driver, who has not been publicly identified, was cited for distracted driving and traveling too fast in conditions.

"It is our belief that the driver of the bus was using a mobile phone at the time of the collision. We will investigate this issue and have asked First Student to preserve all video evidence inside the bus and all mobile phone records of the driver," Lazuk's attorney, Peter Bowman, said in a statement.

Police said at the time of the crash that no one was seriously hurt, but Bowman said his client suffered "facial lacerations, broken teeth and orthopedic injuries" that require continued treatment.

"He is currently under the treatment of several medical providers to determine the severity of the injuries," Bowman said in a statement.

First Student said the driver has been removed from service, which is standard procedure.

"The safety and security of students is our top priority, so we're certainly thankful there appear to be no serious injuries," First Student said in a statement following the crash. "We are assisting police with their investigation and will conduct our own internal review."

A spokesperson for First Student said Tuesday the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Photo Credit: Matt Martinelli – Aetna Ambulance Service

Health Insurance Company Strikes Deal With Hospitals


Insurance company UnitedHealthcare has reached a contract agreement with Hartford HealthCare to keep all hospitals and facilities in-network for Connecticut patients.

It comes after months of deliberation and disagreement.

Had the two failed to strike a deal by midnight, Hartford Hospital and the Hospital of Central Connecticut would have become out-of-network for United customers, meaning hospital bills would skyrocket.

"The agreement, reached this evening, means all Hartford HealthCare hospitals and facilities are in-network with Untied, and there will be no interruption of coverage for patients with UnitedHealthcare plans, including Oxford-branded plans," Hartford HealthCare spokesperson Tina Varona said in a statement Tuesday night.

Hartford HealthCare Executive Vice President Jeffrey Flaks said the group is "pleased to have been able to work collaboratively with UnitedHealthcare to arrive at this truly patient-centered agreement."

"Hartford HealthCare is a leading provider of health care services in Connecticut through its broad network of hospitals, ancillary facilities and physicians, and this new relationship lays the foundation for future collaboration on health issues that matter to our plan participants," UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Farrell, said in a statement. "We are pleased that individuals and families in Connecticut will continue to have local access to critical health services."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

CCSU Student Dies Suddenly


Community members are mourning the loss of a Central Connecticut State University student who died suddenly.

"I regret to inform you that student James Reid died on Friday, April 10," CCSU spokesman Mark Warren McLaughlin wrote in an email to students on Monday afternoon. "On behalf of the University we have extended our deepest sympathies to his family. The University has offered counseling services to his campus friends in dealing with his untimely loss."

McLaughlin said Reid's roommate found him unresponsive in his dorm room in Carroll Hall around 10:45 p.m. on Thursday.

Reid was a 20-year-old senior majoring in sociology and switching to criminology. He died days before his 21st birthday.

"Just a couple days ago, I had talked to him for a little bit, and next thing you know, there are cop cars outside and an ambulance, and we learn that he's gone," CCSU sophomore Chris Hageman said. "I was pretty shaken up by it."

Campus police are investigating, but McLaughlin said Reid's death does not appear suspicious. School officials are awaiting a report from the medical examiner's office.

"It's always shocking when you find out someone passed away in your dorm room," CCSU freshman Alfredo Porta said. "A lot of kids are talking about it."

Grief counselors were available at Barrows Hall on Tuesday, according to McLaughlin. Students can also set up an appointment to speak with a counselor at Student Wellness Services by calling 860-832-1945.

Top NY Cheesecake Maker Heads to NJ


After 60 years of baking its famed cheesecakes in New York City, Junior’s is moving its baking operation across the river and into New Jersey.

The New York Times reports the restaurant, which has been in Brooklyn since 1950 and has expanded to three other locations since then, has started baking in Burlington. The new, 103,000-square-foot facility replaces a considerably smaller one in Maspeth, Queens that has been around for the last 15 years.

By July, most of the restaurant’s cakes and confections will be made at the Burlington bakery, according to the newspaper.

Alan Rosen, grandson of Junior’s founder Harry Rosen, tells the Times the change of venue won’t affect cake quality, and says the new cakes are “actually coming out better.”

“Just trust me, O.K.?” he said in a phone interview with the newspaper. “As my grandfather is looking down on me, I tested cheesecakes made in New Jersey yesterday and they are identical to the ones we make in Brooklyn.” 

Photo Credit: AP

Police Respond to Crash in Vernon


Vernon police are responding to a crash on the Hartford Turnpike.

The accident happened near the Merline Road intersection in front of Dunkin Donuts.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police

Inmate Assault at Osborn Correctional Institution


An inmate assaulted a cellmate at the Osborn Correctional Institute Tuesday morning.

The incident was believed to be  isolated and the facility is operating as usual, Karen Martucci, acting director of external affairs at the correctional facility, said.

No further information was immediately available.

Could Keno Make a Comeback in Connecticut?


Keno was legal in Connecticut and then it wasn't. Lawmakers will begin looking at whether keno could make another comeback in Connecticut when they hold a public hearing Wednesday afternoon in Hartford.

Keno is already inside casinos in the state, but what's being debated is bringing the video lottery game back to hundreds of bars and restaurants across Connecticut where it could be played on standalone machines.

Keno was legalized in Connecticut in 2013, but then repealed in 2014.

At issue, some lawmakers say they don't think gambling is the way Connecticut should raise its revenue and balance its budget. Connecticut is facing budget gaps of close to $1.5 billion in the next two fiscal years. This all comes as lawmakers are debating whether to allow more casinos into Connecticut. It's estimated that keno could bring $27 million, along with the hundreds of millions of dollars the state lottery generates every year.

The hearing is open to the public and it's set to get underway Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the state Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Boater Found Dead Off the Coast of Westport


A Fairfield boater who went missing off the coast of Westport on Tuesday night was found dead at Cockenoe Bay.

Westport and Fairfield police found the boater's rowing skull on the Cockenoe Island beach and then discovered the body of William Supone, 61, of Fairfield, in the Cockenoe Bay mud flats while searching the area on foot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the Connecticut Post, the man's wife reported him missing when he failed to return home from a boating trip Tuesday night. Fairfield police contacted the Westport Police Department on Tuesday, April 14 at 8:50 p.m. to alert them about a missing person investigation in their town.

After searching places Supone regularly visited, police found his car at Burying Hill Beach in Westport.

Fairfield police spokesman Lt. James Perez said Tuesday night that the man's cellphone was pinging from the area of the island.

The Coast Guard sent out a helicopter to search for him, assisting Fairfield police in the missing person investigation, along with Norwalk and Westport police.

Perez said he believes the man was also reported missing once last year.

Supone's body was taken to the office of the chief medical examiner for an autopsy.

The incident remains under investigation.

Beech-Nut Baby Food Recalled, May Contain Glass


Beech-Nut is voluntarily recalling thousands of jars of baby food it says could have bits of glass inside, after a customer reported a mouth injury from the food, federal regulators say.

The baby-food giant is recalling 4-ounce jars of sweet potato and chicken baby food produced in December, after a customer found a piece of glass in one jar and contacted the company.

About 1,920 pounds of the baby food are being recalled, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Wednesday. They were shipped to stores nationwide.

The recalled jars have a December 2016 expiration date, bear the establishment number "P-68A" inside the USDA mark of inspection and include product numbers 12395750815 through 12395750821.

The FSIS has not received any other reports of injury or illness from the product. Jars with different production dates as well as other varieties of Beech-Nut products are not affected by the recall. 

The company encourages customers to return the jars to the store they purchased them from for a full-refund or exchange.

"The quality and safety of our products is our number one priority. We know that our high quality expectations were not met in this situation, and we apologize to our loyal consumers,” president of Beech-Nut Jeff Boutelle said in a statement.

Customers with additional questions about the recall can call the Beech-Nut Consumer Hotline at (866) 674-444. 

Photo Credit: Beech-Nut

Reward Upped in NYC Bombing Case


The FBI and NYPD said Wednesday they've identified several persons of interest in the 2008 bombing of an armed forces recruiting station Times Square and increased a reward for information leading to an arrest to $115,000.

The two forces said that they have also identified the origin of the components used to build the bomb that was planted in the Crossroads of the World on March 6, 2008. The attack shattered the window and door of the recruiting center at Seventh Avenue and Broadway, but no one was injured.

The news comes nearly a year after authorities released video showing a suspect moments before the bombing.

Authorities say the suspect was riding a blue Ross bicycle, and came from the east. He is believed to have ridden west on 37th Street, up Sixth Avenue, west on 47th Street and then down Seventh Avenue to the station, and the video released Tuesday shows that path.

Authorities say he rode away south on Broadway after planting the bomb, and police later found a Ross 10-speed bicycle in a Dumpster on East 38th Street that they believe belonged to the bomber.

Although the suspect appears to be working alone, he or she may have had a lookout or surveillance team of as many as five other individuals in Times Square at the time of the attack. It's not clear if any of the people identified by the FBI and NYPD were part of that team.

At the bomb scene, investigators recovered a metal ammunition can filled halfway with black powder and detonated with a fuse.

The device is similar to two other unsolved bombings by a suspect on a bicycle in Manhattan -- one outside the British consulate on East 42nd Street in 2005 and another outside the Mexican consulate on East 37th Street in 2007.

The FBI and NYPD say the three attacks may be connected.

The FBI tipline is 212-384-1000. 

Man Critically Injured, Another Arrested After 3 Shootings


A man is in critical condition after one of three shootings in Bridgeport that happened Monday and another shooting victim is facing drug charges, police said. 

Lemaine Heard, 25, was shot on the left hand, leg and foot on Monday, William Kaempffer, police spokesman, said. The shooting happened in the Green Homes housing project. He was taken to Bridgeport Hospital and is listed in stable condition, he said.

No long after that, another person was shot at his home on Roosevelt Street in the eastern section of the city, police said. A robber gained entry to the home of William Sullivan, 25, when his brother answered the door and Sullivan was shot in the thighs during a fight with the man in his backyard after he came to his brother's rescue, according to police. The man ran from the scene. Sullivan's condition is unknown.

Then, at 11:30 p.m. Monday, police discovered Raheem Dicks, 24, lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to his chest and one of his arms after responding to a reported shooting, police said. They found him at the Whitney Avenue and Charles Street intersection with a rifle next to him, according to police. Three people wearing dark clothes ran from the area after the shooting happened, witnesses told police.

Police found small bags of cocaine in his clothes when he was taken to the hospital, so they charged him with possession of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of cocaine and criminal possession of a firearm.

It's unknown whether the shootings were connected.

Police continue to investigate the three shootings.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Flags Flown at Half-Staff in Honor of Lincoln


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered that all U.S. and state flags in Connecticut be flown at half-staff on Wednesday in remembrance of President Abraham Lincoln on the anniversary of his death.

He made the announcement due to President Barack Obama's proclamation in recognition of the nationwide Day of Remembrance for President Abraham Lincoln, according to Malloy's office.

The flags will fly at half-staff until sunset.

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