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Segarra Unveils Lean Hartford Budget


Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has unveiled a budget that includes $530 million in total spending, but like in many in cities and towns, also proposed about $12 million in total spending reductions aimed at dealing with a $48 million shortfall.

The city's charter obligated the mayor to deliver the budget to the town clerk by today.

"What we’re going to do is basically we’re going to have some departmental cuts in order to trim down the level of spending," Segarra, a Democrat, said of his proposed spending plan.

Roughly $12 million in cuts are directly connected to departments like information technology, youth summer employment and health and human services.

Segarra said he worked to provide a budget that did not include layoffs for public safety employees or a tax hike for residents.

"We’re not going to lay off police. We’re not going to lay off firefighters. We’re not going to lay off DPW workers which I think those levels are low enough as they are at this point," he said.

On the decision not to raise property taxes, Segarra said the city is close to tapped out when it comes to its mill rate and that an increase would be untenable.

“We also don’t want to burden our taxpayers with an increase in the mill rate. The mill rate is already at 74.29. We cannot raise that," Segarra said.

The state is also trimming spending by restructuring some of its debt service and debt payments, and by creating a health benefit trust fund for school administrators.

Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed cutting Hartford's sum of municipal aid by about $5 million.

Segarra said he's bracing for any additional cuts that may come from Democrats in the General Assembly, who are expected to unveil their budget by the end of the week.

LAPD Officer Charged


A Los Angeles police officer pleaded not guilty on Monday in connection with an alleged beating and kicking of a man in South Los Angeles in October 2014.

Officer Richard Garcia, 34, was charged with one count of assault under the color of authority in connection with the arrest of Clinton Alford Jr., the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Alford Jr., who filed suit against the LAPD in federal court in November, said he was riding his bike home when the LAPD officer tried to stop him at 55th Street and Avalon Boulevard. He said he feared for his life as he was being beaten.

"I was just praying to God that they wouldn't kill me. I felt that I was going to die," Alford Jr. said Monday.

Alford Jr. ran away and alleges he was then chased down by officers, who used a Taser on him before punching and kicking him. The kicks were so violent that he blacked out and lost a filling. He alleges he did not resist.

"I remember being yanked off my bike and I remember being held down on the ground and multiple kicks to the head until I blacked out," Alford Jr. said, "And I remember being tased in my back until I flop like a dead fish."

Officers approached the victim during an investigation of a robbery. Alford Jr's attorney has called for a video of the incident to be released unedited, however an LAPD spokesman said there are no plans for the video to be made public.

Bail for Garcia is recommended at $35,000. If convicted as charged, he faces up to three years county jail.

The prosecutor said Garcia has been placed on administrative leave.

At the time of the incident, Garcia was assigned to the LAPD’s Newton Community Police Station, Parole Compliance Unit.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

NBCNews' Andrew Blankstein and Michael Larkin contributed to this report.

Search Underway for Man Suspected of Slashing Throat of Estranged Wife


Milford police are looking for a man who they say slashed his estranged wife’s throat, then stabbed the elderly man she had been hired to care for.

Police responded to a home on Washington Street just after 7:30 p.m. on Sunday to investigate what was reported as a domestic dispute and stabbing.

They found a woman with a bad cut on her neck. She is the live-in caretaker for an elderly Milford man, who police said suffered a head injury and a cut to his neck during the attack.

Paramedics brought both victims to area hospitals, and both are listed in stable condition, according to police.

Amado Rodriguez, 48, is believed to have stabbed both victims. Police said he went into the house without permission, went into the woman’s bedroom and cut her throat with a knife while she was sleeping.

Then he attacked the elderly male, who has vision impairment, stole the man’s car and fled, police said.

Now, police are searching for Rodriguez, who is on the loose. He has ties to New Britain, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Rodriguez is 5-foot-11, weighs 280 pounds and has a clean-shaven face and head. He is believed to be driving a gray 2011 Hyundai Tucson with Connecticut plates 826YTB.

He is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

If you have information on his whereabouts, call Milford Det. Jeffrey Cortes at 203-877-1465 or email him at jcortes@ci.milford.ct.us.

Photo Credit: Milford Police

16-Year-Old Baseball Star Shot and Killed in New Haven: Family


The New Haven community is mourning the death of a 16-year-old high school junior and standout baseball player who was shot and killed over the weekend in front of his home.

Jericho Scott was leaning into a Volkswagen hatchback early Sunday outside his house on Exchange Street near Blatchley Avenue when someone who was driving or running by opened fire into the car, according to his family.

"I heard the gunshots and I ran to the window, and I heard everybody screaming his name, and so we ran down there," explained his mother, Nicole Scott.

She called 911 as the teen's father performed CPR. Doctors were unable to save him.

Scott, a talented baseball player and junior at Wilbur Cross High School, died at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Police said Justin Compress, 20, and Tyrese Little, 19, were also shot but survived.

Authorities believe the teens were specifically targeted.

Scott's mother showed off his trophies Monday and said she still can't believe he's gone.

"I haven't slept yet. I tried but I couldn't. I keep thinking I'm going to wake up from a bad dream, but it's not happening," Nicole Scott said. "You get to the point that you cry so much that nothing comes out anymore."

She said her son started making headlines on the baseball field when he was 9 years old, throwing pitches so fast that other Little League teams refused to play against him.

Now he's making headlines again, but for reasons far too tragic.

"No parent deserves to bury their child, no parent," said his father, Leroy Scott. "You shouldn't have to bury your child."

Police have not made any arrests in connection with the case. Jericho Scott's parents said they want justice to be served.

"I just want the person responsible to pay. They'll never suffer the way I'm suffering, but I want them to pay," Nicole Scott said.

Wilbur Cross High School brought in grief counselors on Monday to provide support to students affected by their classmate's death.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with this child's family, his friends and with the entire school district community," New Haven Supt. Garth Harries said in a statement. "While the complex circumstances surrounding the loss of this child leave us deeply saddened and perplexed, we stand resolved to find ways to bring an end to these acts of violence among our city youth, and engage all students on positive paths for their future."

New Haven police have been interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence in an effort to track down the perpetrator.

Anyone with information is asked to call New Haven detectives at 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: Family Photo

Adults Arrested After Underage Drinking Parties in Southington


Southington police arrested 39 teenagers and two adults in connection with underage drinking in two separate roundups over the last month.

On March 28, the night of the high school junior prom, police said they found 10 teenagers, including one as young as 15, in a motel room in the Econolodge, along with bottles, cans and evidence of drinking games.

They were charged with possession, but Gregory Sioch, 39, the man police said provided the motel room, was due in court on Monday on a misdemeanor charge of permitting a minor to possess alcohol.

Less than two weeks after the first incident, on April 9, Stephen Soto, 46, was also arrested after police responded to his house for a loud party and found 29 teenagers, along with evidence of drinking games, bottles and cans.

The teens were between 16 and 18 years old, according to police.

Soto, who was present at the time of the party, claimed he was not aware alcohol was being consumed, according to a post on the police department's Facebook page.

The allegations are no surprise to a Southington High graduate and her mother.

"All the kids are aware of it," said Alexa Mosley, who is now a freshman at Quinnipiac University, "but I think the adults are just really naive."

"We're ready for anything these days. Nothing surprises me anymore. Kids know everything about everything," her mother, Julie Mosley, said.

The public schools have conducted a campaign to discourage underage drinking and one Meriden man thinks that makes sense.

"Definitely has a lot to do with school," said Jamie Sanders. "A lot of it's peer pressure. A lot of it's just trying to be cool. How to crack down on it? Just raise the education."

In addition to trouble with the law, the students involved face penalties at school, including suspension from extracurricular activities.

Photo Credit: Southington Police

Funding for Hartford Stadium Could Come From State


Hartford officials want cash collected by the state to go back into the city in order to pay off the bonds used to build its new Minor League Baseball stadium.

Such a move would require action in the General Assembly, because the state collects a 10 percent admission fee from most venues, which usually comes from ticket sales.

The stadium is slated to cost about $56 million.

Supporters compared the approach to providing millions in tax breaks to companies looking to relocate to Connecticut. In this case they said it involved a company, or a baseball team, looking to stay in Connecticut.

"There’s a lot of precedent for the state of Connecticut, investing millions of dollars, taxpayers dollars, in initiatives to prevent a business of which this is, moving from Connecticut, a town in the state of Connecticut, out of state," said State Sen. John Fonfara, a Hartford Democrat who chairs the Finance and Bonding Committee, which considered the idea Monday.

Critics of the proposal say the state could set a dangerous precedent by carving out such an exception for the Hartford Yard Goats when they play next season. The New Britain Rock Cats announced last year they would leave their New Britain home, where they've played since 1983.

"We’ve never done it like this," said top Senate Republican Len Fasano. "We’d be opening up this issue for other folks to come in and say, 'Hey, you collect this money for us and give it back to us in a whole.'"

Fasano worries that other cities and towns may look to the state to collect taxes and then send them back down to the municipal level.

Mayor Pedro Segarra spoke in support of the idea, saying that the $400,000 in projected tax revenues for Hartford pale in comparison to what the project brings the neighborhood.

"We will be sending additional revenue to the state by way of payroll taxes, by way of sales taxes, by way of parking on the parking lots that will be utilized by folks who come into the city," Segarra said.

The stadium is part of a more than $300 million mixed use development. That stadium is scheduled to be open for the 2016 baseball season next April.

UConn Baseball Team Signs 5-Year-Old Leukemia Patient


Grayson Hand has seen a few curve balls in his five years, and the UConn Huskies have seen some curve balls too.

So the young leukemia patient from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, makes a good match for the college baseball team. To formalize it, UConn coach Jim Penders gave Grayson a letter of intent Monday, “signing” him to play at UConn.

“We hope to have a very long relationship and fruitful one with Grayson as a part of our team forever, because we know that the best teammates are teammates forever,” said Penders.

He also gave Grayson a UConn shirt and hat, and the baseball team showered Grayson and his family with support. Grayson’s father said it’s something the family really needs, because – in his words – they all suffer from cancer.

"His is in his body, ours is emotional and on our shoulders,” explained Grayson’s dad, Nathan Hand. “But it is, again, as a team that we kind of work through this.”

Grayson was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia a year and a half ago. A couple UConn baseball players found the boy through Team Impact, an organization that matches college teams with children suffering from chronic illness.

Pot Smokers Flock to SF for 4/20


One of the biggest celebrations for marijuana supporters kicked off at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Monday.

Every year on April 20, weed enthusiasts, with joints and bongs in-hand, flock to San Francisco to celebrate the 4/20 “holiday,” whose numerical nickname stems from the Bay Area.

According to Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim, five San Rafael High School students created the term in 1971 while on the hunt for marijuana plants in Point Reyes. They planned to meet after school at 4:20 to begin their search, and used the phrase “4:20” as a reminder when passing each other in the halls. From there, it grew into a code word and an unofficial April holiday.

Now, the unpermitted, unsanctioned 4/20 event garners plenty of police presence, as well as the attention of park rangers. Police Sgt. Ron Meyer of the Park Station told SFist that he expects between 5,000 and 15,000 people this year since it falls on a weekday.

Even if law enforcement and a case of the Mondays hasn’t detered attendees, the lack of parking might. This year, much of the parking around Golden Gate Park has been roped off, forcing those who drove into the city to park in nearby neighborhoods, or squeeze onto Muni buses that run alongside the park.

San Francisco resident Erin Skoblick lives across the street from Golden Gate Park, and says she’s noticed an increase in traffic and number of park visitors.

“I work across the park, and coming down 9th Avenue was especially congested with cars and nearly everyone smoking,” Skoblick said. “The crowds are mostly contained to the park, except for the buses which are noticeably more crowded.”

Regardless, the participants seemed to be having a good time well before the lunch hour.

“Everybody’s out here to be friends. I think that’s what it’s always been about,” said Corey Baxter, who traveled all the way from Stockton for the celebration. “That’s how I made the majority of my friends, through this recreational thing.”

Meanwhile, outside of the park, the tide is starting to turn on the public perception of marijuana. In a CNN interview that aired Sunday night, President Obama said he supports a Senate bill dubbed “Carers Act,” which encourages respecting state legal medical marijuana programs.

The bill also recommends research into what kind of medical benefits marijuana may bring, stating the attorney general must allow FDA-approved research. If passed, the bill would also reclassify marijuana from a schedule one drug – alongside heroin and LSD – to schedule two, leading to a lower incarceration rate for non-violent drug possession.

Marijuana supporters say the president is on the right track

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Geno Auriemma to Face CCMC Patients in Putt-Off


UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma is challenging patients at Connecticut Children's Medical Center to a “putt-off” this Wednesday to promote his annual charity golf tournament.

According to a statement released by the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the event comes ahead of this year’s 12th annual “Fore the Kids” charity golf tournament in June. The tournament will benefit the hospital’s Orthopedics Technology Fund.

The putting challenge will take place in the One World Cafe on the first floor of the hospital at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Patients will compete against Auriemma to see who can sink a putt in the fewest strokes.

For more information about this event, visit www.connecticutchildrensfoundation.org/geno.

Boy, 15, Dies in NJ Shooting


Police have made an arrest in the death of a 15-year-old basketball star who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in New Jersey.

Gregory Oliver, 20, has been charged in the death of Armoni Sexton, an 8th grader at Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology, who died Sunday morning after being shot on Rosa Parks Boulevard in Paterson at around 8:30 p.m. the night before, according to police.

Three others, two males and a female between 15 and 20 years old, were injured in the shooting and are expected to survive.

Oliver is also charged with two counts of attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Hundreds of students released balloons Monday in memory of 15-year-old Armoni Sexton days after the basketball star was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in New Jersey. A candlelight memorial also stands by the spot where the shooting occurred.

School officials said Sexton, who already stood at an impressive 6 feet 7 inches, was not only a star player, but a role model to other students.

“I will remember him as a kid who really, really tried both on and off the court and who served as an example to everyone else at Paterson Charter School,” said Dean of Students James Bacote.

Sexton was among the top basketball players in his age group in the country. Just 10 days ago, his team the NJ Playas won a National Championship in Virginia, and the team has another national tournament this week.

“It’s rough, really rough,” said coach Kiela Brevard. “He wouldn’t want us to sit around, he would want us to play this weekend.”

Brevard, who said he started coaching Sexton when he was 12 years old, had a dream to go to college and one day buy his mother a home.

“He was a good child, always tried to do right,” said his great-grandmother Marie Jacobs.

His coach says he will always be a part of the team.

“He will be with us at every tournament we go, every practice we are at. He’s with us when we go to sleep, when we wake up. He’s here with us right now,” Brevard said.

Anyone with additional information on the shooting is asked to call Paterson Police at 973-321-1120 or to send a text via PatersonPD.com.

Shots Fired at NYC Bus: Officials


A man was injured after shots were fired at an MTA bus Monday afternoon, according to the FDNY.

Authorities say an unknown suspect fired at the bus from the street at about 5:15 p.m. near Madison Avenue and East 105th Street in East Harlem.

The FDNY says a 21-year-old man who was on the street was shot in the foot and was treated on the scene.

Two bullets struck the bus, shattering the right side windows, according to the MTA.

No bus passengers were injured, but Barbara Hines, who was sitting on the other side of that glass, said it was a close call.

"I would either have been dead, paralyzed or incapacitated for life," Hines said.

Investigators were focusing their search for evidence inside the parking lot of the nearby Carver Houses, but they have not yet made any arrests.

Litchfield Man Charged in Canton Sexual Assault


Police have arrested a 23-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting an underage victim in Canton.

Aaron M. Napolitano, of Litchfield, was arrested Monday morning and charged with second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Police said his arrest stems from a tip they received last month.

Authorities have not released any information on the case but said they're continuing to investigate.

Napolitano's bond was set at $500,000. He's due in court Tuesday.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Waterbury Approves New Funding for Municipal Stadium Project


The Waterbury Board of Aldermen voted Monday night to approve funding for the Municipal Stadium, breathing new life into the ballpark that has sat vacant during a stalled project to rebuild the facility.

Mayor Neil O'Leary has lobbied hard for new funding alongside Waterbury State Rep. Jeff Berger. In a commentary piece published by the Waterbury Republican-American, O'Leary called on city residents to urge aldermen to take action.

It worked. The board voted Monday night to approve an additional $800,000 in funding to jump start reconstruction, according to the mayor, who touted the stadium's economic appeal.

Terry Corcoran, spokesperson for the mayor's office, said the $800,000 will be pooled with $1.7 million left over from unfinished work.

"Approval will enable us to install the aluminum-deck seating for 1,800 persons within the granite facade at the main field, and construct a ticket booth and small office beneath the deck. In addition, new dugouts will be built, and the backstop and scoreboard replaced," O'Leary wrote in the Republican-American.

O'Leary said the new funding will also allow the city to construct a standalone building containing bathrooms and locker rooms, redesign the south parking lot and build new sidewalks and fencing. A full breakdown of the proposal is available online.

Corcoran said that although there is no timeline for construction, O'Leary wants to get started as soon as possible. The project has already been put out to bid and the city has selected a contractor.

The goal is to capitalize on the stadium's Major League-sized baseball field. Officials aim to build a facility that can host regional and collegiate baseball tournaments and "things that might bring people to the city for a night or two," according to Corcoran.

"Waterbury deserves a first-class sports complex," O'Leary wrote.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Emotional Marathon Finish for Bombing Survivor


For runners, Marathon Monday is always a big day But for Rebekah Gregory DiMartino, this year's race may have been the biggest.

"This is the day....I take my life back," she wrote on her Facebook page, Rebekah Gregory DiMartino's New day New Hope.

The runner survived the Boston Marathon bombings two years ago. A year and a half later, after much treatment that failed to save the limb, her left leg was amputated in November.

Wearing a Rebekah Strong shirt Monday, the Texas native ran the last few miles of the Boston Marathon. At the finish line, where the bombs went off just over two years ago, she dropped down and embraced the ground.

With a photo of that emotional moment, she posted a Bible verse on the Facebook page later in the day - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

Dock & Dine Construction Delayed


Old Saybrook's iconic shoreline eatery will be closed again this summer.

Dock & Dine, which rebuilt after Hurricane Irene and was destroyed again by Superstorm Sandy, was razed last January as plans to rebuild got underway.

The popular eatery had hoped to reopen in time for the summer, but it turns out that won't be the case.

"We've run into delays with the raising of the building and due to those delays, we won’t be open in time for this season, but promise to let everyone know as soon as we have more information to share," the restaurant posted on it Facebook page Monday.

The new restaurant will be raised 15 feet above sea level in an effort to protect against future storms.

Cromwell Residents Voice Concerns Over Group Home


A plan to open a group home for men with mental illnesses in a residential neighborhood has angered people in Cromwell.

Residents voiced their concerns at a meeting with Gilead Community Services, the owner of the group home, on Monday night. Gilead defended the home, its safety and its location on Reiman Drive.

The home will help treat up to six men with mental illnesses.

While neighbors support the home’s mission, they say the location is less than ideal. The area is home to a number of families and is close to several schools, including the high school.

“There are better places in town for something like this,” said Rob Latulippe, who lives with his wife and three young children next door to the group home. “We’re going to have to keep a watchful eye on the surroundings now.”

Gilead says safety is a top concern and the house will be staffed around the clock. The men are not violent felons or convicted sex offenders, and Gilead officials said the location is a good fit for the program.

“We feel confident this program will provide wonderful services and a beautiful environment for folks to live in. So, we feel confident and we understand the community doesn’t and it’s going to be our job over the next months, years to change that,” said Gilead Community Services CEO Dan Osborne.

Gilead says it plans to start operations in the home in about a month.

Town officials said its hands are tied because Gilead has followed all the rules to open the home.

“It’s going to happen and we have no say in the matter,” said Gary Socha, who lives next to the home.

Company Recalls Chicken Sausage Sold at Trader Joe's


A Massachusetts company is recalling nearly 30 tons of chicken sausage — including a brand sold at Trader Joe's — over concerns it could contain pieces of plastic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday.

Kayem Foods recalled the following brands of sausages, which the USDA said were shipped nationwide:

  • 12-oz. packages of Trader Joe’s brand “Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage” with the case code 9605 and use by/freeze by dates of “4 22 15,” “4 25 15,” and “4 29 15.”
  • 8-oz. packages of al fresco brand “Apple Maple Fully Cooked Breakfast Chicken Sausage” with the case code 9709 and use by/freeze by dates of “JUN 13 2015” and “JUN 20 2015.”

The company based in Chelsea, Massachusetts, recalled the sausages after two consumers complained they found small pieces of plastic in the product.

There were no reports of injuries related to eating the recalled sausage, the USDA said. The USDA categorized the recall as a Class II, meaning there is a "remote possibility of adverse health consequences" from eating it.

Photo Credit: USDA/FSIS
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Officer Grabs Onlooker's Device


Federal officials said they were investigating a cellphone video posted on YouTube that shows a law enforcement officer grabbing what appears to be a recording device from the hands of an onlooker and kicking it away as officers worked in South Gate.

The video shows the onlooker pointing what appears to be a small camera or a cellphone at multiple officers standing in front of a home. One of the officers then runs up to her and snatches it from her hands. When the device hits the ground, the officer kicks it away.

The 53-second video was taken by someone else from across the street.

The law enforcement officer is with the U.S. Marshals, South Gate Police Chief Ranyody Davis confirmed to NBC4. Davis said police officers from the South Gate Police Department were not involved in the incident, which he said took place Sunday.

The incident took place as officers from multiple agencies responded to a report of a biker gang meeting at a bar in South Gate, sources confirmed to NBC News Investigations.

The video was recorded as six arrests were being made nearby. At least one confrontation took place between an officer and an alleged member.

It was unclear whether the onlooker was affiliated with the inviduals being arrested.

The woman can be heard in the video speaking to officers. But it was also unclear if the woman had been ordered to leave the area before the situation escalated.

Officials from both the U.S. Marshals and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said they were investigating the video.

WARNING: This YouTube video contains profanity.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Flood Warning Issued for Middlesex County as Rain Continues


Hours of heavy rain around the state Monday has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning for Middlesex County along the Connecticut River.

The warning remains in effect through Tuesday morning. Minor flooding could continue overnight, along with scattered showers and a chance of thunderstorms.

Thick fog settling over parts of the state has severely reduced visibility on the roads. Dense fog advisories have also been issued for Faifield, Middlesex, New Haven and New London counties until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

We'll continue to see isolated showers Tuesday morning and into the afternoon.

Send your weather photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Missing Fairfield Native Found Dead in Rochester


Two months after a 21-year-old Fairfield native disappeared from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, authorities pulled his body from Lake Ontario.

Max Maisel was found dead Friday in Rochester. Maisel, a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, was last seen leaving an on-campus apartment complex on Feb. 22, according to police.

His car turned up the next day near Lake Ontario's Charlotte Pier. Family members said Maisel's body was recovered from the lake on Friday, April 17.

According to NBC affiliate WHEC, Maisel was a college junior studying photographic illustration and the son of ESPN writer Ivan Maisel.

The Maisel family released a statement Monday thanking the U.S. Coast Guard and Rochester Police Department for bringing closure to the case.

"We knew this day would come, and we are relieved that it has. But it is merely the postscript to our sad story. We have mourned Max from the night that the Rochester police called to tell us he was missing. There was no other plausible solution to the puzzle he left behind," his parents wrote. "Now we must get on with living with this hole in our lives."

Rochester police said a medical examiner identified the body on Monday. Officials are still trying to figure out how and why Maisel died, but police said after he disappeared that nothing suggested foul play.

Photo Credit: Rochester Police Department
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