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Newtown Hires Trauma Expert to Help Community Cope


Newtown has hired a trauma expert and mental health adviser to determine what help town residents need more than three months after 20 children and six educators were fatally shot at an elementary school.

Jill Barron says she has been working with the town soon after the Dec. 14 killings. Her work includes treating New York firefighters after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

She is working with Newtown Health Director Donna Culbert to strengthen the town's mental health support system and assess what the community needs.

First Selectwoman Pat Llodra says the need for a mental health consultant with expertise in trauma is critically important. She says every member of the community and beyond was affected by the killings.

Associated Press/NBC Connecticut

Police Investigate Shooting Homicide in Hartford


A 22-year-old Hartford man was found shot to death on Sunday night in the Barbour Street neighborhood of Hartford.

This is the third shooting in the neighborhood in a week.

The victim's name has not been released, but police said he was found lying in the rear lot of 91 Barbour Street at 9:20 p.m. and suffered a single gunshot to the head.

The shooting was just a block away from the scene of a double homicide on March 25.

Police do not know if the two shootings are connected.

This is the fourth homicide victim of 2013 in Hartford.


Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia

Hundreds of Teens Mob Pedestrians in Chicago


More than two dozen teens were arrested Saturday night after dozens of mob groups began attacking pedestrians on the Magnificent Mile, an upscale area in Chicago.

Police said 28 teens were arrested after reports of disturbances near Michigan and Chicago Avenues, and no serious injuries were reported.

The teens were charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and battery and later released, according to Police News Affairs. Eleven other teens were charged with misdemeanor charges after they allegedly attacked a group of women on the CTA Red Line, police said.


“You have over three to four hundred teenagers with mob action, jumping on individuals that are downtown,” said community activist Andrew Holmes. “Multiple people have been arrested and I caution those parents that get this call about your child being arrested--maybe you need to check your child.”

Officers began breaking up the attacks by ushering teens to the Red Line. Chaos continued underground but many attackers reportedly left the area.

“I just saw a cluster run down to the Red Line,” said Red Line passenger Amanda Dobson. “I didn't know what was going on. I just kind of stepped back and let the police do what they needed to do.”

Police continued to patrol the area on bikes, horses and on foot as smaller groups wandered around the Loop.

It is not clear if the attacks are related to a similar mobbing of Ford City Mall last month.

Residents were concerned that this could be the first in a long line of attacks after warm weather brought on a string of similar instances last year

"It's been happening a lot around here," said Eric Baldinger, who works along the Mag Mile. "Just keep your wallet close and your purse closer."

Others said the attacks were disappointing and feared for the future of the city.

"I think it’s very childish," said resident Angelica Wilson. "That’s what wrong with the generation today because there’s always petty fights going on down here and everybody getting hurt. We don’t need more problems."



I-95 South Westbrook Reopens


Interstate 95 Southbound was closed in Westbrook for hours between exits 65 and 64 because a box truck carrying cheese overturned, but the road has since reopened.

The driver of the truck was conscious and alert, state police said.

There is some residual traffic, but it is moving smoothly.

To get around the crash scene, take Route 153 South to Route 1.

A crash on I-95 South in Milford between exits 38 and 32 has since cleared.


ATV Rider Attacks Pedestrian in Willimantic


An ATV operator attacked a pedestrian in Willimantic Saturday evening, police said.

Four people were illegally riding ATVs in a residential neighborhood around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. One drove onto the lawn of a Southridge Drive home, tearing up the grass. The group drove off when a neighbor attempted to intervene.

When the neighbor went outside to observe the damage, the ATV operator turned around and sped past, knocking the victim to the ground. The victim was later transported to the hospital for treatment.

The suspect was wearing a helmet and driving a black-and-orange quad-style ATV.

Police are investigating. Anyone with information should call the WIllimantic Police Department at 860-465-3135.

Man Dies in Dirt Bike Accident


A Plainfield man watched his 20-year-old son die after crashing his dirt bike Sunday afternoon, police said.

The victim, Alantte "Tay" D. Jusino of 300 Putnam Road in Wauregan, was riding his 1991 Suzuki RM 250R dirt bike on South Chestnut Street around 2 p.m. when he lost control and hit a parked car.

Jusino's father, Jamal Grannum, 39, was driving next to him in an ATV when the accident occurred, according to police.

Friends said Justino hoped to turn left and go home when he lost control of the bike. The bike was an early birthday gift from his uncle, according to Justino's cousin.

Both Jusino and Grannum were wearing helmets, police said, but neither vehicle was legal to be on the road.

Jusino was transported to the William W. Backus Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Emergency responders had initially called Life Star, but cancelled the request.

Police are still investigating. Anyone with information or who witnessed the accident should contact Plainfield police at 860-564-0804 or call the anonymous tip line at 860-564-0179.

Trevor Phillips, a friend of Justino, holds a basketball tournament in Plainfield each year and hopes the proceeds of this year's tournament can go to Tay's memory.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Texas Law Enforcement Officials on Alert after Slaying of DA, Wife


After one of his assistant prosecutors was gunned down in January, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland carried a gun everywhere, even when walking the dog.

He was extra careful when answering the door at his home outside of Forney, about 20 miles east of Dallas. And a neighbor said a sheriff's deputy was stationed outside the home for about a month after the killing.

On Saturday, McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found shot to death in their house. Authorities haven't said much about their investigation, including whether they have any leads or a theory about why the couple was killed. But law enforcement throughout Texas is on high alert, and steps are being taken to better protect other DAs and their staffs.

"It's unnerving and it's unnerving to the law enforcement community," said Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes. "It's unnerving to the community at large and that's why we're striving to assure the community that we are still providing public safety. And we'll continue to do that. We're meeting all of our obligations plus the investigative responsibilities."

Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon said his staff has been cautioned, but he declined to discuss the specific security measures that have been taken. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins declined to comment on the issue, citing safety concerns.

Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson said he accepted the Houston sheriff's offer of 24-hour security for him and his family after learning about the slayings, mostly over concerns for his family's safety. Anderson said he also would take precautions at his office, the largest one in Texas, which has more than 270 prosecutors.

"I think district attorneys across Texas are still in a state of shock," Anderson said Sunday.

Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said little at a brief news conference Sunday about the McLelland investigation, and he deflected questions about possible suspects. He said security would be stepped up at the courthouse in Kaufman, but he declined to say what other steps might be taken to protect the other prosecutors in McLelland's office. The DA's Office will remain closed Monday.

Sources told NBCDFW that the couple was killed with an assault weapon.

The FBI and the Texas Rangers joined the investigation into the McLellands' deaths.

There will be heavy security at the Kaufman County courthouse on Monday. And while members of the District Attorney's staff will be there, the office will be closed to the public.

Questions After Other Killings

The couple's slayings came less than two weeks after Colorado's prison chief was shot to death at his front door, apparently by an ex-convict, and a couple of months after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was killed in a parking lot a block from his courthouse office. No arrests have been made in Hasse's slaying Jan. 31.

Byrnes would not give details Sunday of how the killings unfolded and said there was nothing to indicate for certain whether the DA's slaying was connected to Hasse's.

El Paso County, Colo., sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Joe Roybal said investigators had found no evidence so far connecting the Texas killings to the Colorado case, but added: "We're examining all possibilities."

Colorado's corrections director, Tom Clements, was killed March 19 when he answered the doorbell at his home outside Colorado Springs. Evan Spencer Ebel, a white supremacist and former Colorado inmate suspected of shooting Clements, died in a shootout with Texas deputies two days later about 100 miles from Kaufman.

McLelland himself, in an Associated Press interview shortly after the Colorado slaying, raised the possibility that Hasse was gunned down by a white supremacist gang.

McLelland, elected DA in 2010, said his office had prosecuted several cases against racist gangs, who have a strong presence around Kaufman County, a mostly rural area dotted with subdivisions, with a population of about 104,000.

"We put some real dents in the Aryan Brotherhood around here in the past year," he said.

In recent years, the DA's office also prosecuted a case in which a justice of the peace was found guilty of theft and burglary and another case in which a man was convicted of killing his former girlfriend and her 10-year-old daughter.

McLelland, 63, is the 13th prosecutor killed in the U.S. since the National Association of District Attorneys began keeping count in the 1960s.

McLelland said he carried a gun everywhere around town, a bedroom community for the Dallas area. He figured assassins were more likely to try to attack him outside. He said he had warned all his employees to be constantly on the alert.

"The people in my line of work are going to have to get better at it," he said of dealing with the danger, "because they're going to need it more in the future."

The number of attacks on prosecutors, judges and senior law enforcement officers in the U.S. has spiked in the past three years, according to Glenn McGovern, an investigator with the Santa Clara County, Calif., district attorney's office who tracks such cases.

For about a month after Hasse's slaying, sheriff's deputies were parked in the district attorney's driveway, said Sam Rosander, a McLelland neighbor.

Remembering the McLellands

On Sunday, Easter Celebrations ended with prayers of desperation in Kaufman County.

"This was his office, this was his place of employment," said Donald Kile, whose River Life Church of Kemp held a prayer vigil outside the courthouse Sunday night. "This is the place that we're supposed to come and we're supposed to say 'okay, Lord, we're putting it in your hands'."

McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, 65, were the parents of two daughters and three sons. One son is a police officer in Dallas. The couple had moved into the home a few years ago, Forney Mayor Darren Rozell said.

"Real friendly, became part of our community quickly," Rozell said. "They were a really pleasant, happy couple."

The evening after the bodies of the Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were discovered in their home in Forney, family and friends shared fond memories of the couple.

Tonya Ratcliff, the Kaufman County Tax Assessor and McLelland family friend of nearly a decade, said there is an enormous sense of loss in the area.

“They lose a very strong agent for justice and they lose a woman who wouldn’t step on a bug,” Ratcliff said.

“Cynthia and Mike were a lot of fun,” she added.

“They were funny people, they were witty. They had lots of stories.”

Ratcliff said the McLellands were welcoming and hospitable, opening their home for a massive party every December.

She said both were very involved in county political clubs, adding Mike McLelland was also a member of the Lions Club and Cynthia McLelland, a psychiatric nurse at the Terrell State Hospital, spent much of her time with the Kaufman Quilt Guild.

She added that after Mike McLelland’s election to district attorney, he began “making a difference” for the county.

“His office handled a lot of cases that came out on the guilty side. We were winning cases with him as our district attorney.”

However, what Ratcliff said was most apparent about the McLellands was their devotion to each other.

“They were deeply, deeply in love and so attached to each other,” she said.

“Not just in front of each other, but apart from each other. You would never hear one of them say an ugly word about the other one.”

“They were just a wonderful couple and it was a pleasure to be around them – and I will miss them.”

Multiple NBC 5 reporters and editors, as well as Nomaan Merchant and Nicholas Riccardi, contributed to this collaborative report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5

Easter Bunny Pulled Over for Driving Motorcycle without Helmet


A motocyclist in full Easter bunny costume was pulled over Saturday on a Southern California freeway in a traffic stop that was caught on the California Highway Patrol officer's camera.

The bunny -- driving a red motorcycle with a sidecar -- was pulled over on the westbound 8 Freeway. Instead of a helmet as required by law, the man was wearing a bunny costume head -- as required by the charity event to which he was traveling.

The CHP officer radioed: "I'm stopping the Easter Bunny.''

The bunny received a warning after the officer explained the safety issues of not wearing a helmet, according to the CHP.


Photo Credit: California Highway Patrol Photo

Priest Accused of Meth Dealing Due in Court This Week


A Connecticut Roman Catholic priest accused of taking selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of methamphetamine plans to plead guilty to one charge against him.

Msg. Kevin Wallin, the 61-year-old former pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport, is accused of receiving shipments of crystal meth from a California distributor and selling it to an undercover officer six times between September 2012 and January 2013.

He resigned in 2011 citing health and personal issues and was suspended from public ministry last May by the Diocese of Bridgeport.

According to court documents, Wallin had a crystal meth addiction and sold the drug out of his Waterbury apartment as well as the parking lot of Land of Oz in North Haven, an adult specialty store and smoke shop, that he bought in the fall.

He pleaded not guilty in December. According to a court filing, Wallin is expected to plead guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to sell methamphetamines.

He is scheduled to appear in federal court in Hartford on Tuesday.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Charged in Fight Outside Shelton Bar


Shelton police have arrested a suspect in a fight outside a local bar that sent a Derby man to the hospital early on Easter morning.

When police responded to a fight outside Cuppy’s Cafe, at 366 Coram Ave., in Shelton at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, police found a 52-year-old Derby man on the ground and he was going in and out of consciousness, police said.

EMS personnel began treating the man, who sustained injuries to his face and head, and brought him to the hospital. He was listed in serious condition, but has since been released, according to police.

Police have arrested Michael O’Connell, 21, of Shelton, who police said was at the scene when officers responded.

O’Connell was charged with assault in the second degree and breach of peace in the second degree.

He was held on a $50,000 bond and will appear at Derby Court on Monday.


Google, Twitter Get In On the April Fool's Day Fun


The end of YouTube, smell-enabled Google search, Twitter paywall, bacon mouthwash. If these ideas sound like jokes, that's because they are.

Monday is April Fool's Day and cheeky marketers and companies have peppered the web with fake campaigns, products and services leading up to and on April 1 to dupe the masses on this fun-filled day. Twitter, Procter & Gamble and Metro News have all jumped in on the action and Google is leading the pack with nine ruses to get people laughing.

American Eagle Outfitters got an early start when they launched the Skinny Skinny Jeans, a new line of denim wear that shoppers can spray paint on their bodies.

Google Nose Beta - Ever wondered what a ghost smells like? How about the smell of success? Google's latest product is touted as Smell-O-Vision for the web and its intention is to fill a gap missing the web search experience: the ability to convey the scent of an object or idea with the click of a button.  "In the fast paced world that we live in, we don't always have time to stop and smell the roses," said Google's Product Manager Jon Wooly in a YouTube video announcement. "Now with Google Nose, the roses are just a click away."

Google also announced the launch of "Treasure Mode" on Google Maps to allow users to search for clues on the whereabouts of William “Captain” Kidd's treasure. There is also Gmail Blue, Google+ Photo Emoticons, Google SCHMICK (Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit) and a new Levity Algorithm app that allows workers to spruce up their work days with "algorithmically determined suggestions from the database." This means "employee reviews" on Google Calendar can turn into "Peanut butter jelly time." An email entitled "HR Memo" can be changed to "The New Hotness" and a boring PowerPoint presentation is made better with flames and sound effects just by clicking the app's levity button.

Good bye YouTube - YouTube made a video to announce that the time had come to shut down the website, and enlisted some of the site's most famous Internet celebrities to determine the best video ever created. Antoine Dodson, who warned local residents to "Hide your kids, hide your wife," world traveler Matt Harding of "Where the Hell is Matt?" and David Devore Jr. the loopy kid who recovered from dental surgery in the backseat of his dad car, are up for the grand prize. "My dad put a lot of money into this dental surgery that I didn't even need just so we can win this contest," Devore said in the video.

I'd Like to Buy a Vowel - Twitter announced the launch of their new basic service "Twttr," which limits users to tweets with consonants only. But for $5 a month, Twitter will enable the use of vowels. "We’re doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we’ll encourage a more efficient and 'dense' form of communication," wrote Kevin Weil, the microblogging site's Director of Product Revenue. Click here to let Twitter to help you convert tweets into the new format.

A Prank Wrapped in an Enigma, Wrapped In a Prank - The U.K.'s Metro News did its own round up of all the April Fool's joke from other news sites. "Pope Francis shuns traditional Popemobile for austere alternative" reads one headline from The Guardian. Another, from the BBC, said "Nasa's Curiosity rover quits Twitter after abuse from trolls." But try searching for these fake stories on those news sites and readers will quickly discover the wrinkle: This round-up is fake. None of the pranks actually appeared on any of those news sites. “Too lazy and unimaginative to make up their own April Fools’ jokes, this year Metro simply decided to fake ten entirely fictional pranks other people didn’t do instead," Metro News wrote at the bottom of the round-up.

Bacon For Your Breath - Procter and Gamble has jumped in the April Fool's fray with the introduction of their new Bacon Scope mouthwash. The product "just tastes like bacon while you swish, but leaves your breath smelling minty fresh five times longer than brushing alone," according to their website. The mouthwash has been dismissed as a prank, but the company has been playing it straight and insisting that the product is real.

Holmes to Hear If Prosecutors Will Seek Death Penalty


After a week of legal twists and turns, James Holmes will find out Monday if he could face execution if convicted in the Colorado theater attack that killed 12 people.

Behind-the-scenes maneuvering erupted into a public quarrel between prosecutors and the defense over Holmes' public offer to plead guilty, but the two sides could still come to an agreement that would spare Holmes's life in exchange for spending the rest of his life in prison.

For full U.S. news coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

"Even if they give notice on Monday that they are seeking the death penalty, they can come off that and enter into a plea bargain any time," said attorney Dan Recht, a past president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.

As the tangled and bloody case returns to court, survivors and families of the victims are uncertain about what happens next.

If the case goes to trial, "all of us victims would be dragged along potentially for years," said Pierce O'Farrill, who was shot three times.

"It could be 10 or 15 years before he's executed. I would be in my 40s and I'm planning to have a family, and the thought of having to look back and reliving everything at that point in my life, it would be difficult," he said.

Holmes is accused of a meticulously planning and brutally executing a plan to attack a Colorado movie theater at midnight during a showing of the latest Batman movie, killing 12 people and injuring 70.

Defense lawyers revealed in a court filing last week that Holmes would plead guilty if prosecutors allowed him to live out his days in prison with no chance of parole instead of having him put to death.

That prompted an angry response from prosecutors, who called it an attempt to gin up public support for a plea deal.

Prosecutors also said the defense has repeatedly refused to give them the information they need to evaluate the plea agreement.

Prosecutors want to know how persuasive an insanity case Holmes could make before they agree to give up the death penalty, said Mimi Wesson, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School.

"To the prosecution, it's clear what they're giving up, but less clear what the defendant is giving up, because it's hard to know how strong his claim of insanity might be," she said.

If prosecutors do accept a deal, they will want to ensure that it's air-tight, said Karen Steinhauser, a former prosecutor who is now an adjunct professor at the University of Denver law school.

Holmes would give up his right to appeal by pleading guilty, she said. And although he could ask to change the plea if new evidence surfaces or if he claimed his lawyers were ineffective, "it's very, very hard to withdraw it," she said.

District Judge William Sylvester would want assurances from defense lawyers that Holmes is mentally competent to plead guilty and accept a life sentence with no parole, Steinhauser said.

The judge could order a mental competency evaluation before accepting a guilty plea, but Steinhauser said that's unlikely unless Holmes showed some sign of incompetence.

She said Sylvester would probably accept the word of Holmes' lawyers.

If Holmes is sentenced to prison, the state Department of Corrections would determine what kind of mental health care he gets, said Alison Morgan, a department spokeswoman.

A third of the state's inmates have moderate to severe mental illness, and the prison system has an extensive mental health division with a 250-bed facility for the acutely mental ill, she said.

Inmates can be sent to the state mental hospital in Pueblo — where people found not guilty by reason of insanity are committed — but the stay is temporary, and they are returned to the prison system after treatment, she said.


Photo Credit: AP

Undercover Operation Ends in Arrests in Honda Tire Thefts Case


After hours of surveillance, using night vision and new encrypted radio communications equipment, Branford Police have arrested two men suspected of stealing tires early on Saturday morning, and hope the arrests end a spree of thefts from a Honda dealerships in Branford, as well as throughout the Connecticut and the tri-state area.

Over the month of March, Branford police investigated three thefts or attempted thefts of tires and rims from Brandfon Honda, at 515 West Main Street, and said police departments in Wallingford, Milford and Watertown have all investigated similar thefts from Honda dealerships.

As investigators analyzed the crimes, they determined that all the thefts were occurring on Friday and Saturday nights, or during the early morning hours, and that an older model tan Nissan Altima was involved in the Watertown thefts, police said.

Late Friday evening, Branford Police, armed with night vision and new encrypted radio communications equipment, set up surveillance at Brandfon Honda.

Around 3 a.m. on Saturday, police saw a tan Nissan enter Jefferson Road and park by the side of the Brandfon dealership and watched as two men entered the property and removed tires and rims from a new Honda parked on the dealer’s lot, police said.

Moments later, police apprehended and arrested Damian Liberda, 31, and Athanasios Hasiotis, 29, both of Berlin.

Liberda was charged with third-degree criminal attempt to commit larceny, Conspiracy to third-degree commit larceny and third-degree criminal trespass.

Police said Liberda has an extensive criminal history of similar crimes and has two pending cases from Danbury and Canton. He is being held on a $15,000 bond and will be arraigned in New Haven court on Monday morning.
The New Times reports that Liberda was also arrested in March, accused of trying to steal thousands of dollars worth of wheels and tires from a car dealership in Danbury.  http://www.newstimes.com/policereports/article/Two-charged-with-attempted-parts-theft-4368249.php

Hasiotis was charged with third-degree criminal attempt to commit larceny and third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny. He was released on a $1,500 bond.

Wild ATV Ride Ends With Vandalism and Assault


Willimantic police are looking for the driver of an all-terrain-vehicle who damaged at least one property and assaulted a concerned neighbor over the weekend.

The vandalism happened on South Ridge Drive, where someone on an ATV rode over Dawn Ducot's lawn and tore parts of it up. No one was home at the time and most of the damage has since been repaired.

"It's quiet up here. We have no problems. This is the first thing that's happened since I've been here, seven years, so it's pretty scary," said Ducot.

While the others in his group sped off, the driver rode by the home again and assaulted a neighbor who tried to point out the damage, police said.

"He went up the street, I guess 25 miles an hour, came down and cold-cocked him as he was walking across the street," said Ducot.

There's other damage on the street that residents fear might be the work of the same person.

A basketball hoop is toppled over. It has tire marks on it, and on the ground next to it.

There are also damaged stop signs in the neighborhood.

Residents who live on the street said ATVs have long been a problem there.

"They've been coming up here quite a bit and speeding constantly and you back out of the driveway and you really have to be really careful because they are very, very fast," said Mildred Sullivan.

"They're going by the house, back and forth, and it's just a disturbance to everyone up here," said Robert Sullivan.

The driver in the case was wearing a helmet and was riding a black and orange quad-style ATV, according to police.

If you have any information about the incident, call Willimantic police.


I-84 Widening in Waterbury to Begin


The final phase of widening Interstate 84 in Waterbury will begin in the middle of next year and the project is expected to take five years.

The road will widen from two to three lanes between exits 23 at Hamilton Avenue and Exit 25A at Austin Road to alleviate the congestion and make the roadway safer.

"There are several S curves on 84. They will be straightened out. There will be new extra ramps and off ramps, so we will make it safer," Joe Geary, chief of staff to the mayor, said.

Construction work was supposed to start years ago, but officials from the state Department of Transportation said the final phase of the project was put on hold because of a lack of funding.

The Federal Highway Administration has agreed to pay about 80 percent of the $400 million-to $500 million project. The state will pay the rest of the project, which should take about five years to complete.

Drivers aren’t looking forward to the road blocks that will come with the construction, but said they think the outcome will be worth it.

“Five years. I mean, if they can process their work faster than that. a lot of people can benefit from that,” Elaine Kilgore, a resident of Waterbury, said.

The Department of Transportation is getting permits ready for the project and officials plan to hold a public information meeting at Crosby High School this summer to keep residents and drivers up to speed on the construction.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Newtown Families: Don't Grandfather High-Capacity Magazines


Families of victims killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting are making an emotional plea that any new state gun control law does not include a clause that grandfathers existing large-capacity magazines, as state lawmakers get ready to learn more about legislative leaders' gun control deal.

Twenty children and six educators were killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012.

In the letter the family members delivered to Connecticut lawmakers on Monday, they wrote that the Sandy Hook shooter carried 10 magazines, which each held 30 bullets, and left many smaller magazines at home.

"Miraculously, in the time that it took him to reload in one of the classrooms, 11 children were able to escape and are alive today," the family members wrote in their letter to lawmakers. "We are left to wonder, what if the Sandy Hook shooter had been forced to reload not 6 times but 15 times. Would more children, would our children, be alive today?"

The letter was delivered on the day that lawmakers are set to learn more about bipartisan legislation that legislative leadership has reached agreement on.

During a news conference on Monday morning, Nicole Hockley, mother of slain first-grader Dylan Hockley, spoke and asked for no grandfather clause.

Those who lost family members said they believe that large-capacity magazines are the most dangerous feature of an assault weapon and fear that people would be able to buy high-capacity magazines in other states and bring them into Connecticut, claiming to have owned them before new laws took effect.

"Additionally, the 'grandfathered' possession of large capacity magazines is not in the public interest and exposes our communities to an unacceptable risk of additional mass shootings," the letter states.

Gov. Dannel Malloy released a statement in response to the letter.

"I have been clear for weeks that a ban on the possession and sale of high capacity magazines is an important part of our effort to prevent gun violence – simply banning their sale moving forward would not be an effective solution," Malloy wrote.

"This morning, we heard from victims’ families on that very point. They’ve asked for an up or down vote on that provision and, whether it’s in the larger bill or as an amendment, the families, and every resident of our state, deserve a vote. We know this is an issue that has bipartisan support, including from Senate Minority Leader John McKinney. We cannot lose sight of our ultimate goal – improving public safety for all of our residents, including our children."

In a poll released last month, Quinnipiac University's polling institute found that 70 percent of people support a statewide ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, while 27 percent opposed it.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Arrest Made in L.A. Girl's Kidnapping, Search Expands


One person has been arrested in the case of a kidnapped 10-year-old Los Angeles girl who turned up barefoot and wounded in a neighborhood near her own last week.

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed the arrest Monday afternoon. The subject under arrest is not the man police identified as the primary suspect, Tobias Dustin Summers. NBC 4 Southern California is attempting to obtain details regarding the arrest of the man police identified as 29-year-old Daniel Martinez, of the city's West Hills neighborhood.

Detectives gathered information during the weekend that led to Martinez's arrest, said LAPD Commander Andrew Smith.

Bond was set at $1 million. Police declined to discuss how the two men knew each other.

The search for Summers (pictured, below) has expanded to the San Diego area, Smith said at a mid-day news conference. Smith said that Summers "may have shaved his head to alter his appearance."

"The information on him being in San Diego is very new," said Smith, adding that detectives are still working to verify the lead.

The case involves a 10-year-old girl who was kidnapped from her home in Los Angeles' Northridge neighborhood on March 27 between 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. She was taken to several locations in the San Fernando Valley before being dropped off in the Woodland Hills neighborhood.

The victim told police that two men took her from her bedroom.

She walked about a mile to a Starbucks where a passerby recognized her from media reports and alerted police. She was found barefoot and with bruises and cuts on her face at 3 p.m. the same day she went missing, police said.

Police announced last week that Summers, who has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2002 including arrests for assault and battery and kidnapping, was the primary suspect in the case. Summers was released from prison in July 2012 under California’s AB 109, an initiative aimed at easing prison overcrowding and was on "post-supervised release," according to police.

Probation officials believe the 30-year-old is a transient known to frequent the North Hollywood and Devonshire areas. Summers is about 6 feet tall, 160 pounds, with blue eyes and cropped blond hair. He is not a registered sex offender, and authorities said there is no indication at this time that the victim or her family knows the suspect.


New Fire Chief in New London


With "serious cuts" on the way in city government spending, New London's mayor swore in a new fire chief, Henry Kydd, the acting fire chief since October.

"It's a relief to have the job, to be not secondguessed about whether I was gonna get it or not," said Kydd, a New London firefighter since 1978. "The mayor was confident in me."

Mayor Daryl Finizio called Kydd "almost overqualified" after swearing him

New London's money from the state government stands to be less than it was last year, when Finizio threatened to layoff police and firefighters. 

He said this year, balancing the budget will "require serious cuts, throughout the city, along with tax increases."

Finizio said he's been working with department heads, including Kydd. and with members of the city council "to ensure that this difficult process is as constructive as it can be."

Photo Credit: New London Mayor's Office

New London Budget Cuts Impact Fire and Police Departments


New London's mayor is proposing some tough cuts in his 2013 budget--both the police and fire departments are on the list.

"That does bother me to some degree," said Al Skidmore, who lives in downtown New London. He's concerned that the resources of the city's bravest and finest will be depleted.

He says the more cops he sees on the streets the better. "The officer on patrol has relationships with people on the street and the camera can't do that."

Cameras and better lighting are two things New London Mayor Daryl Finizio is suggesting will help in light of his plan to cut $1.4 million from the police department's budget--one he says is the largest in the city.

"It is impossible to significantly reduce overall city spending without a substantial reduction in police department funding," said Finizio.

In addition to the police department, the mayor wants to cut $500,000 from the fire and public works department as well as reducing funding to the public library and parks department. He outlined this in Monday night's 2013 state of the city address.

"I must emphasize when discussing these cuts that this is not cut and abandon, this is cut and replace," Finizio added.

"It affect us overall? It always does with supplies, equipment, how we manage, how we train," said Rocco Basilica, the fire department's union president.

The mayor's proposals come as this fire department averted a blow last year--as 25 jobs were saved. Basilica says their contract now says they can't lose men but they could lose a truck, equipment or even a fire house.

"At any given time we could have an emergency that could cost the city millions," said Basilica.

Though the mayor says the budget is on track to be balanced this year, Skidmore understands the tough decisions but says the city isn't a business

"It's an organization that's supposed to be for the people and help the people out and there's a cost to that," said Skidmore.

Despite these costs to the city there were a number of positives including announcing the location of the National Coast Guard Museum here in New London. Mayor Finizio says it's $100 million project that will put the city on the map

Search Warrant Sheds Light on Texas DA Murder


Information revealed in a search warrant released Monday sheds light on the investigation into the murders of the Kaufman County district attorney and his wife.

In the document, officials said a family friend initially found the bodies of Mike and Cynthia McLelland at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday. The family friend went to the residence after trying to contact the couple several times without success.

The responding Kaufman County sheriff's deputies found cartridge casings inside the house near both victims. Deputies also reported seeing multiple gunshot wounds to both the district attorney and his wife.

According to the search warrant, the last time anyone spoke to either Mike or Cynthia McLelland was Friday evening, when family members talked to the district attorney by telephone.

The documents also reveal that investigators are looking at phone records for two mobile numbers between Jan. 1 and Sunday.

Authorities have revealed no further information with regard to the investigation.

Investigators also have not said if they have found any connection to the January slaying of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse -- though County Judge Bruce Wood said Monday morning that "there has to be some connection."

Authorities questioned on Monday questioned a man who was convicted of theft and could have been upset about this case but he was released. Investigators did not call him a suspect or even a person of interest in the case.

Investigators: No indication Aryan Brotherhood involved

Several people who are familiar with the case downplayed any possible connection to white supremacist prison gang the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.

Investigators say they have found nothing to indicate the Aryan Brotherhood was involved.

The Aryan Brotherhood has been in the state's prison system since the 1980s, when it began as a white supremacist gang that protected its members and ran illegal activities, including drug distribution, according to Terry Pelz, a former Texas prison warden and expert on the gang.

The group, which has a long history of violence and retribution, is now believed to have more than 4,000 members in and out of prison who deal in a variety of criminal enterprises, including prostitution, robbery and murder.

It has a paramilitary structure with five factions around the state, Pelz said. Each faction has a general, who is part of a steering committee known as the "Wheel," which controls all criminal aspects of the gang, according to court papers.

Four top leaders of the group were indicted in October for crimes ranging from murder to drug trafficking. Two months later, authorities issued the bulletin warning that the gang might try to retaliate against law enforcement for the investigation that also led to the arrest of 30 other members.

At the time, prosecutors called the indictments "a devastating blow to the leadership" of the gang. Pelz said the indictments might have fragmented the gang's leadership.

Hasse's death on Jan. 31 came the same day as the first guilty pleas were entered in the indictment. No arrests have been made in his killing.

McLelland was part of a multi-agency task force that investigated the Aryan Brotherhood with help from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and police in Houston and Fort Worth.

Killing law enforcement representatives would be uncharacteristic of the group, Pelz said.

"They don't go around killing officials," he said. "They don't draw heat upon themselves."

But Pelz, who worked in the Texas prison system for 21 years, said the gang has a history of threatening officials and of killing its own members or rivals.

Former colleagues remember district attorney

Prior to running for district attorney in Kaufman County, Mike McLelland served as a public defender in Dallas County, working in the mental health division.

"[He] made you enjoy being around him," said Lynn Richardson, chief public defender. "[He was] very passionate about the things he did and also his family."

"He was a straight shooter, always told you what he thought," said Brad Lallor, assistant public defender.

Richardson said she remembers when McLelland told her about wanting to run for DA.

"He was passionate about wanting to do this," she said. "He thought he had a good chance. He liked the people in that area, knew them really well."

Both Richardson and Lallor said they are shaken by the death of McLelland and his wife, saying it is a wake-up call that it could happen to any of them.

Honor Flag to flown at memorial

The U.S. Honor Flag, a flag that flew over the Texas Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, and has since been present at more than 1,000 funerals, will be flown at a memorial service for the district attorney.

McLelland has the unfortunate honor of being the first man to have touched the flag and have it flown at his memorial. McLelland handled the flag earlier this year when it was flown during a service for his friend and co-worker, Hasse.

A public memorial service for the McLellands will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church of Sunnyvale in Mesquite.

The couple will be buried in Mike McLelland's hometown of Wortham. Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in Wortham.

NBC 5's Ben Russell, Scott Gordon and Ray Villeda and The Associated Press' Nomaan Merchant and Juan A. Lozano contributed to this report.

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