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3 Injured in Apartment Fire Near Trinity College


Residents of a Brownell Avenue apartment building across from Trinity College are displaced after a first-floor bedroom caught fire.

Everyone is out of the building, but three have non-life-threatening injuries. The Hartford Fire Department got the call at about 6:25 a.m. and it took crews 15 minutes to put out the fire.

Most of the damage was contained to that first-floor unit, but there was a lot of smoke, so it's unclear when residents will be allowed back in the building, according to Hartford Deputy Chief Clifton Cooper. It's unclear how many people are displaced, but there are at least 30 units in the building, he said.

Most residents were out of the building when firefighters arrived, but a few needed assistance. Two people suffered from smoke inhalation and one had a leg injury, Cooper said.

The fire has been extinguished.

The road is closed in the area while crews are on scene.

No further information was immediately available.

The Hartford fire marshal is at the scene investigating the fire.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo

Naugatuck Man Reported Missing


Naugatuck police have issued a Silver Alert for a man who never returned home from his new job on Monday and needs medication.

The last time Bryant Ellison, 38, was seen was around 9 a.m. on Monday when he left his home at FreeLove Manor on Quinn Street to go to work, according to police.

He has mental health issues and needs medications, according to police.

Ellison was last seen wearing a gray and black baggy sweater, blue jeans and a black jacket.

He is 5-feet-6, skinny, at around 150 pounds, and balding on top.

Anyone with information about Ellison is urged to call Naugatuck Police at (203) 729-5221.

Photo Credit: Silver Alert

Boat, Trailer Stolen in South Windsor


Police are investigating the theft of a boat and trailer from C.I. Boat in South Windsor.

An employee of a business on John Fitch Boulevard called police at 9 p.m. on Sunday to report that a boat and trailer had just been stolen out of the lot.

The boat was a 1996 Seadoo 15-foot open top boat with a white and yellow hull.

It was on a gray metal boat trailer with “Kayak” written on it.

Anyone with information should call South Windsor Police Officer Poehnert at 860-644-2551.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Baltimore Flight Among Bradley Airport Cancellations


A few flights are canceled at Bradley International Airport Tuesday morning.

One of the flights canceled was a 5:35 a.m. Southwest Airlines flight to Baltimore.

The reason for the cancellations is unknown at this time.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Crews Rescue Residents Trapped in Fire


Multiple residents were hanging out of windows at a Main Street home in Branford trying to escape flames when firefighters arrived to put out the blaze on Tuesday morning.

Eight people were home in the three-family house when the two-alarm fire broke out at 674 Main Street at 3:45 a.m., including four people on the first floor who got out after their smoke detector went off.

However, fire blocked all exits, preventing the others from escaping on their own, and firefighters had to use a ladder to rescue three trapped residents. They also had to wake up a man in the second-floor apartment who didn't hear his smoke detector go off. They helped him out of the building.

"Knocking on the door, came out here and the house on fire," John Ulrich, of Branford, said.

The call originally came in as a kitchen fire, but firefighters found heavy flames and smoke on the second floor and toward the back of the three-family home when they arrived. 

"It was very significant fire on both the exterior fire escape and the third floor stairwell were both blocked off by fire," Branford Acting Fire Chief Shaun Heffernan said. "The only option was for them to come out that front window"

The fire spread to all levels of the house, growing fast. One of the residents trapped on the top floor shared her story.

"I felt trapped and all I kept thinking was, 'Oh my God, I have to get kids out," Christine Nerkowski, of Branford, said. "I have to wake them up, get them out. We didn’t know how we were going to do that. I just knew that we had to go out the window."

Resident Elizabeth Nerkowski described the fear as they tried to get out.

"That was pretty scary and then I heard my mom say ‘we can’t get out, we’re trapped," Nerkowski, of Branford, said.

Main Street is closed due to the fire. It took 30 minutes to get the fire under control.

East Haven and Guilford firefighters also responded for mutual aid.

The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: Brad Young

I-84 Closed in Middlebury Due to Vehicle Fire


Interstate 84 westbound is closed in Middlebury due to a motor vehicle fire Tuesday afternoon.

A vehicle caught fire, so the highway has been shutdown between exits 17 and 16 so that a fire truck can pass through to put out the flames and the vehicle can be cleared.

The highway is expected to reopen in the next 15 minutes or so.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews Battle Brush Fires Around State


Firefighters battled brush fires in Torrington, Hamden and Westport on Tuesday afternoon.

The fire in Torrington broke out in the area of 2202 Norfolk Road, and officials said hilly terrain made firefighting efforts difficult. Firefighters from Torrington, Drakeville and Torringford all responded and the scene was clear as of 3 p.m. There were no reports of injuries or property damage.

Fire officials in Hamden said a small brush fire broke out next to the city's Amtrak station. A fire engine responded and quickly snuffed it out.

A third brush fire occurred near Ferry Lane East and Manitou Road in Westport. The fire department said an area of about 10 feet by 20 feet burned in a wooded area on the side of the road. The fire has been extinguished and the cause is under investigation.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Division of Forestry has listed the fire danger for today as moderate.

Photo Credit: Westport Fire Department

More Human Remains Found Behind Shopping Center


Police have uncovered more human remains behind a shopping center at 593 Hartford Road in New Britain, near where the remains of three missing women were discovered in 2007.

It's not yet clear whether the remains found Tuesday belong to Diane Cusack, Mary Jane Menard or Joyvaline "Joy" Martinez, who disappeared in 2003. Their deaths have been ruled homicides an police are still trying to figure out who killed them and why.

"It's unknown at this time if they're identified from the previous identified three victims," said New Britain police spokesman Cpt. Thomas Steck.

Police noted that they have only recovered partial remains of the three murdered women. The remains found in Tuesday's search have been turned over to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for further examination and identification.

Authorities have returned to the area every year looking for clues. The search is ongoing and will continue for several more days.

"We've been out here since the 21st of April conducting a more extensive search with the use of specialized equipment and canines," Steck said.

The Greater New Britain Serial Killer Task Force continues to investigate the deaths of the three women.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Superheroes Visit CCMC Patients on National Superhero Day


Spiderman, suspended in the air, waved to onlooking children through the window.

But instead of a scene from a comic book or blockbuster film, that was just one sight at Connecticut Children's Medical Center on National Super Hero Day.

From Spiderman to Superman, it was a day of superheroes for the patients at the children's hospital in Hartford.

The medical center was decorated with life-size LEGO superhero models and children participated in mini LEGO activities, as well as a superhero-themed obstacle course. The Batmobile also made an appearance, along with a music video about the making of a superhero.

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp's Central New England Hospital Outreach Program hosted cape decorating and button making and gave out superhero goodie bags. Dave & Buster's in Manchester teamed up with the Monaco Ford Batmobile to put together a Superhero obstacle course.

The superheroes were meant to honor how the children are their own superheroes as they battle various health issues.

The superhero-costumed guests greeted the children, their families and staff. This marks the second year the hospital has held the event.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Calif. Father, Son Stuck in Nepal


A San Diego father and son are stuck in Nepal after the region’s deadly earthquake and are working to raise money to help their tour guides whose villages and homes were destroyed in the devastating disaster.

Andi Neugarten told NBC 7 that her son, Jesse Neugarten, and his father, Larry Neugarten, are stranded in Lukla in northeastern Nepal. She said Jesse’s girlfriend, Ellie Huizenga and her father, who are from Atlanta, are also there.

Andi said Jesse and Larry left for their trip on April 20. They were hiking to base camp when the 7.8-magnitude quake struck the region. Luckily, they were unharmed as their tour guides rushed them to safety.

However, Andi said their tour guides lost everything in the earthquake – including some of family members and homes. Jesse and Larry created this fundraising page to collect donations for their guides.

Larry posted this message to his Facebook page following the earthquake:

"Hi everyone, thank you so much for your concerns. Yesterday we managed to climb to what we think is the safest place to be. We are in Lukla at about 11,000 ft. Many casualties being flown off the mountain to here. All flights out of Lukla have been medical only and limited. We are fine for now and are sleeping in a tent behind the airfield."

He also posted a note a his pgae about their efforts to help their tour guide:

"Our guides who both lost their homes, their entire villages and beloved family members whilst keeping us safe from the horror will still not leave our sides until we are safely off the mountain. We have started a fund to try and get their homes re built and bring them some form of shelter and safety. Each house would cost around $5,000."

As of Tuesday morning, Andi said they were "desperately working on flights" to get Jesse and Larry out of the disaster-stricken region.

“Desperation is setting in. Families at home [are] all worried,” she said. “My priority right now is getting them out.”

She was eventually able to book flights for both Jesse and Larry and said they would be returning home Thursday.

Andi said her son is a graduate of Torrey Pines High School. He is graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio next month.

Other locals linked to the Nepal quake include Carlsbad couple Matt Schiavon and Dawn Lightfoot. They were reported missing after the earthquake but have since been found safe and are expected back in Kathmandu within the next few days.

Four San Diegan hikers are also trapped in a Nepalese village in the aftermath of the quake, living among those grappling to escape the country's devastation as aid runs low.

Meanwhile, San Diego-based organization Restore International has put out an open call for volunteers to join their upcoming trip to Nepal next week when the group plans to travel to the region to help an orphanage and others impacted by the earthquake.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Man Doing Sidewalk Work Stole Cash, Jewelry: Cops


Police have arrested a Middletown man accused of stealing money and jewelry from a client in Farmington.

Police said Tomasz Obrebski, 29, of Middletown, was hired to work on the sidewalk for a resident on Terrie Road, used the client’s bathroom and stole the money and jewelry.

The homeowner called police after noticing the money was missing and police said they Obrebski was found with the cash and jewelry in his possession.

He was charged with fifth-degree larceny and released on $5,000 bond.

Photo Credit: NBC

Minor Injuries in School Bus Crash on I-91 in Middletown


About half a dozen fourth-grade students from Greenwich suffered bumps and bruises Tuesday afternoon when their school bus collided with another car on Interstate 91 southbound in Middletown, according to state police.

State police spokesman Sgt. Shane Hassett said 37 fourth-graders were returning from a field trip with six adult chaperones when the bus got "tangled up" with another car on the highway between exits 20 and 21.

According to Hassett, about six students are complaining of bumps and bruises. Hassett described their injuries as "very minor" and said he doesn't believe any adults were hurt. None of the students was taken to the hospital.

Traffic was backed up between exits 20 and 22S in the wake of the crash, which closed one lane of travel, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford's North End Gets Promise Zone Designation


Hartford's North End is getting a big boost from its new designation as a federal Promise Zone.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the designation Tuesday morning during a news conference in one of the targeted neighborhoods.

As a Promise Zone, the city will get preferential treatment for any grants it applies for that would benefit the North End.

It will also get staffing to help maximize the program's benefits.

"Use the might of the president's Promise Zone program and the power and the might of federal resources that are available to bring those resources into this community to create job growth, better economics, better housing and a safer community," said Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy pushed for the designation.

"Every federal grant that we apply for going to the north end is going to get preference. It means that we're going to get a half a dozen, if not more, staff people coming into here to help us lift up kids and families. It's a real boost to this neighborhood," said Murphy.

In all, 120 communities applied for the designation. Hartford's North End was one of eight communities selected around the country.

Plans Moving Forward for New Walk Bridge in Norwalk


The bridge that carries four railroad tracks over the Norwalk River is one that officials say is crucial to the economy of the Northeast corridor, because when it doesn't work, rail traffic is at a standstill.

The prime example is when the Walk Bridge was stuck open in June 2014.

“The bridge opened up and they couldn't get it closed, shut down everything. Thousands and thousands of people on both sides were stranded and couldn't get to where they were supposed to go,” said John Hartwell, vice chair of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council.

Since then, the state has made repairs to the bridge. It's a temporary fix before the bridge is replaced.

“Now we're in a position where investments have been made to make that bridge operate in an automatic fashion, the way it's supposed to, while we're advancing the design for a complete replacement bridge,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Redeker.

State officials said the plans are on schedule, and they're in the process of selecting a contractor to do the work.

They said the new design will be more reliable and will move the bridge in an up-and-down manner instead of the way it swings now. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016, with the work completed in 2020.

“It won't be easy. It will be a lot of pain and frustration as the bridge comes down and another one put in place, but it's something we have to do for the future,” said Hartwell.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Hospitalized After New Haven Shooting


A man was hospitalized after a bullet grazed his forehead late Tuesday morning in New Haven.

Police found Shawn Little Jr., 25, with a "superficial graze wound to his forehead" when they responded to a reported shooting in the center courtyard at the Farnham Court Public Housing Complex at 11:13 a.m. Tuesday.

He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for a non-life-threatening injury and detectives met with him at the hospital.

Police located the crime scene in the courtyard, but have not yet found any witnesses. Investigators are hoping video surveillance will have some answers.

No suspects have been identified and no arrests have been made at this time.

Little was listed in stable condition.

State police ask anyone with information to call detectives at 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Dozens of Kids Hospitalized After School Bus Crash


Dozens of Meriden elementary school students and six adults were involved in a school bus crash in Glastonbury and all of the children were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

The bus was taking John Barry Elementary School students from Meriden to a field trip in Glastonbury when a truck coming off a ramp hit the bus on Main Street, at Route 17, officials said.

The students were taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center and arrived in good condition.

Connecticut Children's Medical Center said they received 36 children, but state police said 33 children were on the bus. Six of them complaint of pain and were transported, while a Glastonbury bus brought in to assist for safety purposes transported the others.

All injuries were minor and many of them involved neck pain, authorities said. Most of the children on the bus were under 12 and were also evaluated at the scene.

The bus company was initially told there were no injuries.

State police responded because of where the crash happened and are investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

City Leaders, Activists Address Violence in Baltimore


City leaders and community activists in Connecticut are keeping a close watch on the tension unfolding in Baltimore.

Riots, looting and violence erupted Monday after the funeral for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody earlier this month after suffering an unexplained spinal injury.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he reached out to Baltimore's mayor to offer prayers and support in this difficult time.

"I think when you get to cities like Baltimore, and Hartford in many respects is no different, that you have large groups of especially young men and women of color who feel disenfranchised and feel like hope and opportunity is not there," said Segarra.

After similar unrest unfolded last year in Ferguson, Missouri, Hartford city leaders teamed up with police, faith-based groups, and community activists to call for peace and to build trust with residents through community outreach.

It's a strategy they continue to focus on now.

"Fear is not what's important. Threats are not what's important. What's important is that we move forward with our community and build trust together," said Deputy Chief Brian Foley of the Hartford Police Department.

Segarra said he has a plan in place should such unrest ever break out here, but it's one he hopes never to use.

"The best plan is to take all actions that can be taken to prevent things from occurring. That is the best plan and that is why we need to continue to have the dialogue and have these conversations within our community so that we don't have to go there," said Segarra.

Several community activists are also addressing about the violence in Baltimore.

"Of course we don't condone violence but we have to understand the level of frustration and anger there," said Rev. Henry Brown, a community activist in Hartford.

Brown said he's hopeful such violence would not erupt in Connecticut.

"I think we can be able to come to the table together and try to resolve issues if they happen. We are praying that we never have to face that situation here," said Brown.

Others said they're not surprised by the outcry in Baltimore.

"I just think what you're seeing happen in Baltimore is just this level of frustration that people have and I don't condone it but I'm not surprised by it," said Hartford community activist Steve Harris.

Scot Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP, also addressed the violence, urging police to treat citizens with kidness.

"It's extremely important that police departments have more concern, more compassion about the people they serve. They must protect and serve. If they don't protect and serve then we find ourselves in situations like this," said Esdaile.

He also said we need to incite change across the country.

"I think the ultimate goal is to deal with racism in America. Right now no one really wants to talk about it. Everyone's striving to be politically correct," he said.

Teen Charged With Murder


An 18-year-old Discovery Bay, Northern California, man was charged Tuesday with murder after a 9-year-old boy was stabbed to death Sunday at his home. Prosecutors claimed in court that William "Billy" Shultz used a knife to fatally stab his friend's little brother as the third grader slept.

Shultz's family left the courthouse without comment Tuesday after learrning he will not be arraigned in court until Wednesday. "They feel terrible, they feel horrible — their thoughts and prayers are with the family of this child," said Contra Costa County Public Defender Robin Lipetzky, who is representing Shultz.

Lipetsky said there was "no question in her mind" that mental illness is what led to this tragic event.

In an exclusive jailhouse interview with the Contra Costa Times on Monday, Shultz said he stabbed Jordon "Jordy" Almgren of Discovery Bay to "see what it was like." "I wanted to see what it was like to take a life before someone tried to take mine," Schultz said in the interview.

Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves said prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for Shultz because of his age and because he had no prior criminal record.

Shultz  was also charged with the special circumstances of lying in wait and residential burglary, Graves explaned that in addition to stabbing Almgren to death on Sunday with a knife, Shultz is charged with taking a car key from a room in the Almgren home and the circumstance of taking a victim by suprise or ambush before killing him or her.

Shultz is being held on $1 million bail.

Lipetzky said the family did all they could to get their son mental health help. The Contra Costa Sheriff's Department confirms Shultz's family called officers requesting a mental health check less than 24 hours before the stabbing.

Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputies said Shultz was briefly hospitalized on Saturday after his family requested an evaluation of his mental health status. "The deputies responded to his house and made contact with Shultz," said Contra Costa sheriff's deputy Jimmy Lee. "Based on their evaluation they said he did not meet the criteria" to be placed on an involuntary mental health hold.

According to the California Welfare and Institutions Code, a mentally unstable person can only be detained if they show signs that they are a danger to others or themselves.

Still, Shultz voluntarily agreed to be taken to the hospital and was later released by a doctor, deputies said. He went to sleep at the Almgren home on Saturday night. There were others sleeping at the home too, Graves said.

On Sunday morning, deputies say Shultz stabbed the boy about 10 a.m. at his Discovery Bay home in the 1800 block of Frost Way.

About 3 p.m. that same day, Schultz was arrested at a Kaiser hospital in Antioch after an alert nurse recognized him from social media and alerted authorities, Contra Costa County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Westermann said.

Shultz suffered two stab wounds on his wrist, according to the Contra Costa Times.

Attempts to interview Jordon's parents were unsuccessful.

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Decomposed Body Found in Calif.


A decomposed body found in a remote area of Orange County, California, Monday was preliminarily identified as that of a woman who went missing after a Valentine's Day date, Orange County Sheriff’s officials said Tuesday.

The remains of Erica Alonso, 28, of Laguna Hills, were found one mile east of a US Forest Service Station in San Juan Capistrano along Ortega Highway in the Cleveland National Forest. A team of biologists with Caltrans discovered the body and notified authorities at 10 p.m. Monday.

Coroner's officials will officially identify the remains through fingerprint or dental records and determine a cause of death, officials said. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Alonso's father Isaac is convinced she was murdered, and is hoping for justice.

"I want someone to pay for this. I want the one who did this, I want him to pay for what he did," he said.

Isaac Alonso said he came within a few hundred yards of finding his daughter's body during his own searches.

Alonso was last seen leaving her on-again-off-again boyfriend's home in Irvine on Feb. 15.

She had gone on a Valentine's Day date, then later that night befriended another couple at a nightclub, officials said. The four left the club about 1:30 a.m. to continue partying at the home of Alonso's date in Irvine, authorities said.

Alonso and her boyfriend got into an argument, and the other couple left about 3:45 a.m., Hallock said. Alonso left the home about 15 minutes later, Hallock said.

On March 25, Alonso's white 2014 Honda Civic EX was found near Cedarbrook and Redwood in the Glenwood Park neighborhood, which is about a mile from her home, Hallock said.

At the time, investigators said all statements by the boyfriend "checked out."

Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report

Man Shot in Leg Near Hartford Daycare


Police are investigating after a man was shot in the leg near a daycare center on Martin Street in Hartford late Tuesday afternoon.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley said the man was shot in back of the property at 37 Martin Street. He was alert and conscious at the scene and was taken to St. Francis Hospital for treatment. The man's injuries are not considered life threatening.

It's not clear what led up to the shooting. Neighbors said they heard a loud pop.

The Hartford Police Department Major Crimes division is investigating.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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