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Plane Stolen From Calif. Airport


Investigators are looking for a pilot who is accused of stealing a private plane from his employer in Northern California.

Palo Alto police say they are trying to figure out where 24-year-old William McAdams was heading – and why – when he took off in the middle of the night last week from the Palo Alto Airport, where he worked as a flight instructor.

Palo Alto Police Sgt. Brian Philips says McAdams stole a Cessna leased by his employer, Advantage Aviation, and departed from the Palo Alto Airport in the middle of the night on May 8.

Radar last picked up the plane offshore near the Mexican border. According to authorities, radar indicated McAdams was heading southwest.

“We’re looking at a lot of electronic information we’re able to get from his cell phones, radar, data, anything that could give us an idea of what the motive might be,” Philips said.

Investigators say they don’t believe McAdams poses a risk to public safety.

To track down McAdams and the plane, police are teaming up with the Federal Aviation Administration, Coast Guard and Mexican authorities.

The plane is owned by a company based in Texas but leased by Advantage Aviation. No one with the company had comment on Friday.

Amtrak Safety System Wasn't Ready


The safety system that experts say could have prevented the devastating derailment of Amtrak Regional 188 is installed on the tracks the train was using, but an NBC10 investigation found it simply wasn't ready.

Positive Train Control, or PTC, monitors a train's location and speed using trackside ground monitors that wirelessly communicate with trains and can remotely slow or stop the locomotive if it is speeding or about to collide with another train. A federal mandate requires Amtrak, transit authorities like SEPTA, and freight rail operators to have the technology operational by the end of the year.

Following Tuesday night's deadly derailment when Amtrak 188 jumped off a curve at Frankford Junction in Port Richmond traveling 102 mph — more than twice the speed limit — Amtrak officials said PTC was turned on in some sections of the Northeast Corridor, but wasn't ready to go in that part of Philadelphia.

The crash of Amtrak 188 killed eight people and injured more than 200 others. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board said the derailment would not have happened had PTC been online.

PTC is installed at the curve, but isn’t ready for operation, the NBC10 Investigators have learned.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said Amtrak officials explained the system was installed, but blamed the Federal Communications Commission for delaying its activation.

"We know the system was not turned on. The question is why was it not turned on. Today, I don’t know that answer," the congressman said.

Since the PTC system communicates wirelessly, the FCC must approve the frequencies over which the data is transmitted. Amtrak also spent years negotiating the purchase of the spectrum with private companies. Something the rail operator says held up the process.

In early March, Amtrak applied to use the frequencies on rails running between New York City and Washington, D.C. and from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, documents obtained by the NBC10 Investigators showed.

Despite being blamed for a delay, an FCC official said the agency approved the application within two days of it being finalized.

“At this moment, I’ll certainly take the FCC at their word that they did what they said they did," Dent said.

Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz told NBC10 Friday afternoon the PTC system has been undergoing testing all along the Northeast Corridor — including through Philadelphia.

“We are very, very close to full implementation,” Schulz said. “It’s not flipping a switch.”

Photo Credit: AP

Salem Residents Fight Group Home After Break-In Attempts


Salem residents are pushing back against a group home on Witch Meadow Road after a police say a man walked out and tried to break into neighbors' houses earlier this month.

Nicholas Brenner, 21, was arrested after he managed to leave the group home at 296 Witch Meadow Road and tried to violently break into four houses in the area, according to police. Investigators report he was unsupervised at the time and hadn't taken medications he needed.

Key Human Services owns and operates the group home under the state Department of Developmental Services.

"It's kind of nerve-wracking that I'm hearing these people keep getting out and these managers don't know about it," said neighbor Jennifer Labrie.

Labrie said her family even had a run-in with one of the residents when a man tried to enter their home. She says a call to DDS accomplished nothing and now she's afraid to let her kids outside.

"It's kind of scary. I want them to be able to play outside and not have to worry about people lurking in the woods," said Labrie.

The town first selectman hosed a public meeting Thursday night. Residents voiced their concerns to town leaders, DDS and Key Human Services. They went looking for resolution but say none was reached.

"We got no answers. I was really disappointed they didn't come in with a plan of action of what was going to happen next," said Labrie. "Our first selectman suggested shutting it down for six months. I don't think that's too much to ask for."

The problem is what would happen to the group home's residents. If the home closes, they'll be displaced.

Residents say they support the idea of having a group home in the area and that the problem is with management. They say residents of the group home are not being properly cared for, and if nothing changes, the situation could just get worse.

Residents say the first selectman told them he wants to have another public meeting discussing the situation in the near future.

Neither DDS, Key Human Services, nor the first selectman had returned requests for comment at the time of publication.

Teacher Posted Ad Seeking Students


A Bronx high school history teacher faces attempted rape and other charges after he allegedly arranged to meet up with a girl he thought was 14 years old for sex in New York, prosecutors said.

Dreamyard Preparatory High School teacher Jonathan Blum, 27, was arrested Thursday after he allegedly tried to meet up with the girl he had been communicating with online; the "girl" was an undercover officer.

Prosecutors say Blum, also a basketball coach in Queens, allegedly posted an ad on Craiglist looking for a young teen, student or other young girl who would be "interested in messing around with a licensed real teacher."

An NYPD vice detective acting in an undercover capacity responded to the ad, pretending to be a 14-year-old girl from Queens. Soon thereafter, Blum allegedly initiated an email and text message exchange with the person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl; he sent multiple sexually explicit messages over the last month before setting up a meeting, according to court documents.

Blum was reassigned from the school, where he has been teaching since April 2011, authorities said. He has no disciplinary history with the Department of Education.

The DOE said Blum would not be in contact with any students pending the resolution of the case.

"While this alleged behavior is not school-related, it is incredibly disturbing," DOE spokeswoman Devora Kaye said in a statement.

Prosecutors say Blum used the email address JESS_DELIA@yahoo.com and ask that anyone who may have communicated with that address contact authorities.

Blum was being held pending an arraignment Friday. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted of the charges and would be required to register as a sex offender. Attorney information wasn't available.

"This case underscores the crucial importance of Internet surveillance initiative by law enforcement to protect children from sexual predators and should serve as a warning to parents to closely monitor their children’s Internet access and activities," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. "Despite numerous publicized arrests for exactly this type of alleged behavior, sexual predators continue to be relentless in searching the Internet for victims. Do not let your child become one of them." 

"Flash Fights" Results in Injuries


It’s a social media trend that many people say is escalating in violence: "flash fights," in which young people stage real fights for the sake of posting on social media sites.

NBC Bay Area’s Robert Handa spoke exclusively with one East Bay family in Califronia trying to cope with not only the physical and emotional damage inflicted on their child, but also the frustration of feeling they have no recourse to resolve it. In a “flash fight” video posted recently to social media, children can be heard talking about a fight that is about to happen. Then a 14-year-old boy is sucker punched. He fights back in the video. But his mother, Celia, said the sneak punch damaged her son’s left eye.

Celia said school officials at first called her son a willing participant. Ironically, it was only after the video was posted that she says the school took action.

“He doesn’t want to go back. That’s his main concern,” Celia said. “He doesn’t want to go back because he doesn’t feel safe.”

Celia says the school did get the post removed, but that the damage is done.

“Whoever had access to this video before it was removed from social media sites still could go ahead and circulate it,” she said.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez says “flash fights” concern many groups, including the mayor’s gang task force and the public health department, which has just launched a program to reach out to parents and children through social media.

“This is beyond cyber-bullying,” Chavez said. “This is an exploitation and it’s cyber-violence.”

Celia said she hopes children behind flash fights will listen.

“Why do you glorify this?" she said. "What do you get out of going and staging it and putting it out there just for the hell of gaining some popularity? It’s not worth it."

Celia said her family received an apology from the school, which we are not identifying to protect her son’s identity. Celia said she is grateful to the school for apologizing, but she still isn’t sure how the situation will be resolved since her son is still trying to recover physically and emotionally.

Ill. Officer Maces Two Cuffed Teenagers in Police Video


A police officer sprayed mace at two young men while they were handcuffed at a police station holding cell in Alton, Illinois, according to security camera footage leaked to the public, NBC's affiliate KSDK reported.

Alton Police Chief James Simmons said the encounter, which involved 16- and 17-year-old men, happened late January, but only came to his attention in March.

In the video, the officer stands in the doorway of the holding cell while the two teens sit against the wall, their hands cuffed behind their backs. The officer sprays one teen — who visibly cringes after being hit — and then sprays the other.

James Gray, the head of the Alton chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), told KSDK: "I was astounded to see what was happening to the two kids in the police holding cell." Gray said a copy of the video was mailed to him anonymously.

The chief admitted the investigation was not handled properly and moved too slowly.

"Obviously new procedures have to be put in place as far as the timing of when the reports are finalized and brought to my attention," Simmons said in a press conference Friday.

Alton Mayor Brant Walker told reporters that Simmons has been criticized for changes he made within the department, including cutting staff, which is why he thinks this video was released to the public.

The Illinois State Police are independently investigating the incident. Authorities did not say why the teenagers had been taken into custody, according to KSDK.

Simmons said the officer in the video has been "outstanding" since he joined the force 18 years ago.

"Obviously he made a huge mistake, an error in judgement, and because of that his actions will be looked at and possible discipline will be handed down," the chief said.

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Man Crushed by Garbage Truck


A 55-year-old Long Island, New York, man was killed when his garbage truck started rolling as he stepped out of it to pick up trash containers, authorities said.

Homicide investigators initially responded to the scene on Northern Boulevard in Rosyln after they got a report about an unidentified dead man on the street around 6 a.m. Their investigation determined Rudolph Skakel's death was not criminal, but the result of a tragic accident.

Police say Skakel, who worked for Basin Haulage, had stepped out of his 2011 Mack garbage truck to pick up trash when the vehicle started rolling down the street, unoccupied. The Uniondale man ran after the truck, jumping onto a side step on the passenger side in an effort to gain control of it.

The vehicle sideswiped a utility pole and Skakel was crushed to death, police said.

The truck was examined at the scene and released to the company that owns it. The owner of the Maspeth-based Basin Haulage said the company had no comment on Skakel's death at this time. 

Hartford Police Investigating Deadly Shooting


Hartford police are investigating an early morning shooting on Mary Shepard Place that left one person dead.

Police responded to the area of 602 Mary Shepard Place just before 3 a.m.

They found a 28-year-old male in the parking lot suffering from a single gunshot wound to the head.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives from the Major Crimes Division are on scene investigating. 

Notre Dame Student Dies in Fall


A 21-year-old graduating senior at the University of Notre Dame died Saturday after falling from the roof of the school's athletic center.

The student, identified as William Meckling, was among a small group of students who managed to get on the roof of the Joyce Center early Saturday morning, according to a statement from the university. At about 3:45 a.m., just after the falling incident, two students approached a Notre Dame Security Police lieutenant who was on patrol near the arena and said they needed assistance.

When the security officer arrived, he found Meckling unresponsive on the ground near Gate 7, according to the university. Emergency medical personnel responded, but CPR and other life-saving measures were not successful.

Meckling was transported to Saint Joseph's Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death remains under investigation.

An initial investigation by the school concluded that the rooftop was wet after recent rain.

Meckling was set to graduate Sunday, university officials said. He was a mechanical engineering major from Centennial, Colo., and a member of the Notre Dame fencing team.

"On the strip, Billy was a talented fencer and a determined worker on a very competitive sabre squad -- evidenecd by his earned monograms during the 2012 and 2014 season," head fencing coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said. "More importantly, he was a great friend to all members of our program. A true Notre Dame man, his kindness and warmth impacted each and every one of us -- and makes his loss all the more difficult."

The university's counseling center and campus ministry are offering support for members of the Notre Dame community.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends after this terrible tragedy," Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the president of the university, said in a statement. "It is a profound sadness for all of us, on this graduation weekend, to lose someone so young and brimming with promise."

Photo Credit: University of Notre Dame

No Closure: Bombing Survivor Reacts


Boston Marathon bombing survivor, Heather Abbott, said Saturday “it’s very sad” that bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gave up opportunities he had as a college student and chose the path of violence.

Abbott, who lost part of her leg in the attacks and testified at Tsarnaev’s trial, was on her way home from giving a commencement speech at Southern Connecticut State University when the jury’s decision to sentence Tsarnaev to death came down Friday afternoon.

"I couldn't help but think that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in the same position as those students I met that day, and had such a bright future ahead of him," Abbott told NBC’s “Today” show Saturday. "I think it's very sad that he chose this path and gave up all those opportunities, and of course I'm reminded of the deaths that he caused and those opportunities that others had to give up without a choice."

Abbot said though she is happy "the verdict is finally in and it's closer to being over, she doesn't think "there's really a sense of closure here." Abbott said many survivors of the bombings reached out to offer each other support after the verdict was read.

She said she looked for closure a few months ago when testifying at the trial. 

"When I reflect back now, closure happened when I decided to move on with my life and I don't think I'll get much more beyond that," Abbott explained.

One of the ways Abbott has moved on is by helping other victims who have lost limbs through the Heather Abbott Foundation.

"It has been tremendous for my healing  just to make some sense of what happened and try to do something good with it has helped me heal."

The bombs placed by Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan at the marathon finish line in 2013 killed three people and injured more than 260 others. A MIT police officer was killed in a shootout with the bombers days later. Tamerlan was also killed.

Photo Credit: Today Show
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Camera Captures Girl Dragged by School Bus


A young Louisville, Kentucky, girl was dragged by the school bus after her backpack became stuck in the door while she was getting off the bus.

The incident was caught on home surveillance video and shows the girl being dragged along the ground, hanging from the door of the bus. 

Louisville Metro police told NBC affiliate WAVE, the bus dragged the child about 100 feet, until a driver of a red Chevy Camaro followed the bus with its horn blaring and got the bus driver to stop. 

Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said the child suffered road rash and was taken to a hospital, WAVE reported. She's expected to recover from her injuries.

Jefferson County Public Schools administrators have launched an investigation. Police are also investigating. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Car Crashes into New Haven Home


A homeowner in New Haven is shaken after a vehicle slammed into her home late Saturday afternoon.

Jean Jenkins, who lives at 7 Webster St. in New Haven, says she was sitting at home when she heard a loud thump and her whole house shook.

“I had no idea what it was. I was scared to death,” she said. “I was sitting on my sofa and it shook the whole house.”

Jenkins says when she came outside she discovered a car had struck a mail truck then plowed into the corner of her home. Police and EMS responded to the scene. Jenkins says the male driver was taken away by ambulance.

Jenkins was not injured and the damage to the home was not major.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.



Photo Credit: AJ Walker/NBCConnecticut.com

Priest Fired Over Pro-LGBT Post


A priest says he was fired as director of Seton Hall University's campus ministry because of a pro-LGBT Facebook post.

Rev. Warren Hall took to Twitter Friday saying: "I've been fired from SHU for posting a pic on FB supporting LGBT 'NO H8.' I'm sorry it was met with this response. I'll miss my work here."

A petition started by students demanding Hall's reinstatement has since received over 600 signatures.

"Father Hall is a well-loved member of the Seton Hall community, and much of the student body is shocked and saddened by this decision," said student Ethan Kraft.

Personnel decisions about priests on campus are controlled by the Archdiocese of Newark.

The university doesn't comment on personnel matters, said Laurie Pine, director of media relations.

"The Archbishop of Newark appoints the director of campus ministry, who serves at his discretion," she said.

Great-Grandmother Shot on Porch


An 81-year-old great-grandmother and her grandson were shot in the South Side Auburn Gresham, Chicago, neighborhood Friday evening as they gathered to mourn the death of another family member.

The woman, identified by family as Iola Burress, and her grandson, 34-year-old Sylvester Burress, were gathered on a porch following the wake for Iola Burress's deceased daughter when a white SUV pulled up and people inside began firing shots, the family said. The incident happened at about 5 p.m. in the 7800 block of South Carpenter.

Iola Burress was struck four times in the wrist, lower belly and arm, her great-grandson told NBC Chicago. Sylvester Burress, who was in town from Michigan for the funeral, was struck near his buttocks.

Both were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and were in stable condition by Saturday morning, police said.

"I'm burying my sister, and then I got to look at my mother and my son who have been shot," Mary Burress, the daughter and mother of the victims, said. "Stop taking innocent lives. This is ridiculous. Enough is enough."

While the family attended the funeral for Iola Burress's youngest daughter on Saturday, Burress waited to find out if she needed surgery at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to her great-grandson. The family split their time between the funeral and the hospital, they said.

No one is in custody, police said.

Man Robbed of $13k Casino Winnings


A man was robbed at gunpoint of $13,000 in casino winnings early Saturday morning in Philadelphia, police said.

The 43-year-old man told police he played blackjack at the Sugar House Casino on North Delaware Avenue between 11 p.m. Friday and 4:30 a.m. Saturday. He then cashed out after he was up approximately $13,000.

The man then took a taxi to a home on South Mildred Street. As soon as he arrived and walked towards the home, an armed man dressed in all black with a mask covering the lower half of his face approached him, police said. The gunman pressed a semi-automatic handgun to the left side of the victim's head and told him to get on the ground, according to investigators.

The gunman went through the victim's pockets and stole a wallet, an iPhone 5c and the $13,000 in cash, police said. The suspect then allegedly made the victim place a flower pot over his head and fled southbound on South Mildred in a small dark-colored SUV.

The victim accessed the GPS on his iPhone and called police. Investigators determined his phone was on the 100 block of East Allen Street. When they arrived they spotted a blue 2005 Nissan Murano that fit the description of the suspect's vehicle. As one of the officers approached the vehicle, the suspect, a 23-year-old man, fled from the driver's side, police said.

The suspect allegedly emptied his pockets as he ran towards the Sugar House Casino. He then went inside the casino and hid in the bathroom, according to investigators. More police officers arrived at the scene, found the suspect and arrested him.

The victim later arrived at the casino and identified the suspect as the man who robbed him. Police later located another 23-year-old man who they believe was the driver of the getaway vehicle.

Investigators recovered the victim's phone, approximately $5565, a set of car keys and several Sugar House Casino chips.

Officials have not yet identified the two suspects or the specific charges against them.

Wake Held for NY Amtrak Victim


Friends and family gathered Saturday on Long Island to remember a New York native killed in this week's Amtrak disaster.

The wake for Laura Finamore, a 47-year-old real estate executive, was held on Long Island. She had lived in Manhattan and grew up in Queens.

She was returning home from a memorial service for a friend's mother when the train derailed.

Her funeral is scheduled for Monday. 

Police Investigate Rash of Vandalism in Colchester


Connecticut State Police Troop K and Colchester police are investigating after a rash of vandalism in Colchester.

Police say the vandals used rocks or other objects to smash windows of commercial buildings, municipal buildings, and vehicles.

Pat Sears was one of the victims who found her car windows smashed in Friday morning.

“I was furious because nothing like that happened to me, nothing,” she said. “It could have been anybody, just pretty stupid and unnecessary.”

Thousands of dollars in damage has been reported to police. Anyone with information should contact Colchester police at (860) 537-7270 or Troop K at (860) 465-5400.

Bull Charges Onto SoCal Freeway


An escaped bull charged onto a Southern California freeway Saturday, stalling afternoon traffic and evading capture for more than an hour before being lassoed by its owner, police say.

The California Highway Patrol began receiving calls about 2 p.m. of a bull running loose on the 15 Freeway near Victorville, a desert city about 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Responding officers tracked the bull to Dale Evans Parkway. The animal wandered another four miles before being corralled by its owner on horseback at Wild Wash Road just after 3 p.m.

"In that area, seeing this kind of thing is pretty rare," said CHP Sgt. Rudy Rodriguez. "Officers were concerned about traffic, because it [the bull] could do damage to cars and injure people, but also for the bull and its safety."

It was unclear how the bull escaped its enclosure.

Photo Credit: Shanna Sloan/KNBC

Giant Shark Appears Off Mass. Coast


A massive shark appeared off the Massachusetts coastline Friday — and the Massachusetts State Police caught it on video.

The gentle giant was a basking shark, which is normally not harmful to humans and only eats tiny fish, according to State Police.

The State Police Air Wing launched from the Plymouth Air Base at the request of the Marine Fisheries scientist after the shark sighting was reported.

Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police
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"Person of Interest" in DC Slayings


D.C. police are seeing a "person of interest" captured on surveillance video in the slaying of a family and their housekeeper in Woodley Park neighborhood on Thursday.

The person, dressed in dark clothing, can be seen on video released by D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department. Police also are seeing a car in connection with the murder: a 2008 blue Porsche 911 with D.C. license plates DK 2418. 

Earlier this week, police identified two of the people found dead in a burning home in the expensive Woodley Park neighborhood Thursday as Savvas Savopoulos, 46, and his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47.

Police believe the other bodies are the couple's son, Philip, 10, and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57.

The events that led to their deaths may have begun Wednesday, police said.

Firefighters arrived at the large home in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive NW midday Thursday to find smoke and fire coming out of the roof.

According to investigators, one of the victims was bleeding from the head and had a heavy smell of gasoline when he or she was transported to Georgetown University Hospital. There's also evidence that points to arson.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the fire is being investigated as "suspicious," and the deaths are being investigated as a homicide arson. ATF agents, evidence collectors and police investigators are working both inside and outside of the house.

Investigators are also looking for information about the 2008 blue Porsche 911. That car was seen near the house about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Police found the car — torched and unoccupied — in the parking lot of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Lanham, Maryland, about 5:15 p.m. Thursday.

They want to know more about who was driving it earlier that day. Anyone with information should call police at 202-727-9099.

Police said they will check surveillance video from cameras in the neighborhood. At least two cameras are visible outside the Savopoulos' home.

Neighbors who've been in the home said the family had an extensive and valuable art collection, which was on display a couple of years ago during the Christmas house tour put on by St. Albans school, where Phillip was a student.

There is no sign of forced entry into the home, police said. The fire took about 30 minutes to extinguish.

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