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SD Officer Wounded in Shooting


A San Diego police officer shot in the torso following a high speed pursuit Sunday morning is expected to survive, according to the San Diego Police Department.

The officer, a five-year veteran of the force, is "talking, smiling, and in very good spirits" in the hospital, SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said at a press conference. She said the officer sustained at least one gunshot wound. 

"She appreciates everybody's concern about her well being," Zimmerman added. 

The incident started as a high speed pursuit, when a grey late model Jeep heading southbound on State Route 163 did not yield to lights and sirens while driving approximately 90 miles per hour, Lt. Mike Hastings said. 

Officers lost sight of the suspect's car on State Route 163 at the Mesa College Exit. When additional officers assisted, officials found the suspect's car near the 7700 block of Mesa College Drive. 

The license plate linked the car to one that had been used in several shootings throughout the City of San Diego over the last several weeks, Hastings said. 

The incident turned into a foot pursuit when officers saw a man walking a short distance from where they found the car and officers approached him. The man being chased showed a gun and began firing at officers near Highway 163 at Health Center Drive, Hastings said. 

The officer, who hasn't been identified, was shot in her upper body. Initial reports said the officer was shot in the neck. Officers at the scene rendered medical aid to her, Hastings said, and took her body to a nearby hospital. She is in stable condition. 

Two other SDPD officers "fired several rounds" at the suspect, Hastings said, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have not released his name but say he may be related to a series of shootings at buildings. His identity is known, however, Hastings said. 

Hastings said there may be police body camera video of the incident, though it was unclear whether that video would come from the officer that was wounded or another officer at the scene. The wounded officer was field training officer and had a trainee with her at the time of the incident. 

The name of the officer and suspect will be released when family have been notified. 

The surrounding area will be closed for at least six hours as officials investigate.

Neighbors in the area reported hearing gunshots outside their houses and could see the officer on the ground.

Dozens of emergency responders were on scene, including fire, paramedic and police officials, in addition to a helicopter circling overhead. SWAT is there as a preliminary and precautionary measure, police said.

The north entrance of Sharp Memorial Hospital is currently closed due to police activity near Health Center Drive. The Frost Street entrance remains open. Both Sharp Memorial Hospital and Sharp Mary Birch Hospital were on lockdown as a precaution in the morning. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Check back for more on this breaking news story. 

Service at Site of Train Wreck


A "service of reflection" was held Sunday to honor the victims of Tuesday’s deadly Amtrak train derailment.

The event began at 5 p.m. ET at Frankford Avenue and Wheatsheaf Lane, the same location where a New York-bound Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia Tuesday night, killing eight people and injuring over 200.

Mayor Michael Nutter, Governor Tom Wolf, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Amtrak President & CEO Joseph Boardman, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (DE), Congressman Bob Brady (PA) and Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, the CEO of American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania, also attended.

A midshipman from the U.S. Naval Academy, an Associated Press staffer, a Wells Fargo senior vice president, the CEO of a tech company, a dean at Medgar Evers College, a Maryland father of two, an employee at Cushman & Wakefield and an Italian national were the eight people killed in the derailment. You can read more about the victims HERE.

During the ceremony, attendees honored the victims by ringing bells while saying their names and releasing doves. Foxx had a message for the families of the victims.

"I can't imagine the grief and shock that Tuesday brought to your doorsteps," he said. "And I know there's nothing any of us can say to bring you comfort. But we will nevertheless spend the rest of our careers attempting to honor the memory of your loved ones. We will honor them by making sure this never happens again."

The first responders who came to the scene after the accident were also honored during Sunday's ceremony.

Two Drivers Injured in Bristol Head-On Crash


Two male drivers were injured in a serious two-car crash on Wolcott Road in Bristol on Saturday night.

A car heading southbound on Wolcott Road veered over the center line and hit a car head on that was coming from the other direction near Indian Trail at about 7:37 p.m. on Saturday, police said based on a preliminary investigation.

When police arrived at the crash site they discovered both drivers were seriously injured. Bristol firefighters extricated one of the drivers from one of the cars and the person was transported to Waterbury Hospital to be treated for head injuries, police said. The other driver had chest and leg injuries and was taken to Hartford Hospital.

Police are not identifying either man at this time until their families are notified.

No one else was in either car. Both cars were heavily damaged and were towed.

Wolcott Road remained closed for about five hours as police investigated.

Police ask any crash witnesses to call the Bristol Police Department at 860-584-3030.

I-91 Reopened After Fiery Crash in Wallingford


A car caught fire in a two-vehicle crash on I-91 south in Wallingford Sunday morning.

The crash briefly closed highway lanes between exits 12 and 13, but cars were able to get by on the shoulder and it has since reopened.

No one was injured.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Car, House Fire Displaces 11


Eleven people are displaced after a car fire spread to a Hamden home Saturday morning and firefighters evacuated the residents from the home.

Firefighters responded to a car fire at 67 George Street in Hamden at about 3:12 a.m. on Saturday, also receiving several 911 calls that the house was on fire. When they arrived the car was up in flames and had spread to the vinyl siding on the two-family house and "electrical service" at the home, fire officials said.

Firefighters evacuated the families from the house and put the fire out in a few minutes, according to fire officials.

United Illuminating cut the power in the area and the home has been deemed uninhabitable until it is upgraded with new electrical installments because its electrical service was compromised in the blaze, posing a safety risk, officials said.

The 11 people displaced are staying with friends and family in the mean time.

No one was injured.

The Hamden fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

Photo Credit: Hamden Fire Department

Police ID 2 Men Killed in Shooting Homicides


Hartford police have identified the victims in two separate Hartford homicides that happened within 24 hours of each other Saturday and officers continue looking for at least two suspects in the capital city's eighth and ninth homicides of the year.

Michael Clahar, also known as Slope, 28, of Hartford, has been identified as the victim in an early Saturday morning shooting near a Mary Shepard Place housing complex and police identified Rashad Collier, 27, of West Hartford as the man killed in a second shooting Saturday night in the area of George and South streets.

Police responded to George and South streets Saturday night at about 8:30 p.m. and found Collier on the sidewalk suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead on scene.

Police initially had some trouble identifying Collier's gender, originally stating Saturday night that the victim was a woman, but provided a correction on Sunday identifying him as a 27-year-old male.

No weapons have been recovered at this time. Major Crimes detectives were on scene for several hours and police interviewed several witnesses.

Earlier on Saturday at about 3 a.m., Clahar, 28, was found suffering from a single gunshot wound to the head in the area of 602 Mary Shepard Place in the housing complex parking lot. Clahar was also declared dead on scene. Police said there is no indication that the incidents are related.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley said there is no immediate danger to the public. Neither shooting was a random act and both victims were targeted, police said.

“Both locations, we rarely have anything happen here, let alone something like this," Foley said.

No suspects have been identified yet and no arrests have been made. 

The day of two homicides in Hartford has frightened neighbors.

"Too much. Too much," said Thomas Castro Jr., who lives near the corner where the second shooting happened. "...In a couple years they kill one over there, one next down there, one across from the store and one last night. This is not fair."

One woman on George Street near the second homicide site has even considered moving.

"A bullet doesn't have anybody's name, you know, they could just be shooting randomly and catch any innocent bystander," Madeline Garay said.

Some are worried how summer will bode in terms of crime in the capital city as temperatures rise and people spend more time outside.

"You can't sit right here on the front porch, or be worried that something's gonna happen or somebody's gonna drive by," Garay said.

Ernest Prather, who lives near the first shooting at Mary Shepard Place and spoke to NBC Connecticut near the site of the second shooting near George and South streets, said "it's only going to get worse" come summer.

"What can you do? What can I do? What can we as a people do?" Prather said. "We all got to get together and do whatever we can to put a stop to it."

After the two fatal shootings, Hartford is almost halfway to its total of 19 homicides in 2014.

Police said they plan to release more information on Sunday. The investigations are ongoing.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Person Injured in Fall at Rocky Neck State Park


A person was injured after falling at Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are investigating with the assistance of Connecticut state police.

No further information was immediately available.

VP Biden Speaks at Yale Class Day


The vice president of the United States is in New Haven on Sunday spoke at Yale College's Class Day as part of commencement weekend for the class of 2015.

Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is at the college's old campus to address the students on Sunday afternoon. The event was livestreamed on Yale's YouTube channel.

Biden started off joking about a comment overheard from a student at Yale and posted on a student website about dreaming he was the vice president and doing a "disco funk" dance with the president to restart the government.

While he quipped he has never done a "disco funk" dance in his post as vice president and that he was happy about someone thinking of himself as vice president, he shared some words of wisdom about what it takes to be happy and successful.

"Those who are the most successful and the happiest,"  no matter what they're doing for a living, have found a "sweet spot" between career and life balance, according to Biden. He also said the happiest people he knows have figured out that a "good life at its core is about being personal" and "being engaged."

Biden, the 47th vice president of the U.S., is the oldest of four siblings and was born on Nov. 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, according to the news release from Yale.

His family moved to Claymont, Delaware in 1953 and he graduated from the University of Delaware. Biden is also an alumnus of Syracuse Law School and was on the New Castle County Council, the release said.

Biden's speech also took a somber turn as he said to be prepared for life to take unexpected turns in a moment's time.

When Biden was 29, he was one of the youngest people in history elected to the U.S. Senate, according to the news release. Six weeks after he was elected, his wife at the time, Neilia, and their daughter, Naomi, 1, died in a car accident while they were Christmas shopping that also critically injured their two young sons. He was sworn in as a senator from the hospital at his sons' bedside and took the train to the nation's capital daily throughout his 36 years as a Delaware senator as he focused on his surviving sons.

He only initially expected to stay "a little while" in D.C., but his career in Washington lasted much longer and he still returned home daily so he could kiss his kids goodnight and see them in the morning.

"I realized I didn't miss a thing. Ambition is really important. You need it and I certainly have never lacked it,"  Biden said. "But ambition without perspective can be a killer."

He cautioned the graduates against rationalizing about their life decisions and said that "the truth is all of you will go through something like this and you'll wrestle with these choices" and that it is possible to strike a balance between ambition and happiness to achieve fulfillment.

He remarried in 1988, wedding longtime educator Jill Jacobs, who took his last name and now teaches at a community college in the Washington D.C. area. He has three children -- Hunter, an attorney, Ashley, a social worker, and Beau, Delaware's attorney general and a captain in the 261st Signal Brigade of the Delaware National Guard who recently came home from serving in Iraq, according to the release. Biden also has five grandkids named Naomi, Finnegan, Roberta "Maisy" Mabel, Natalie and Robert Hunter.

While serving as chairman and a ranking member of the Senate's Judiciary Committee over the course of 17 years, he worked on the 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act, the release said. From 1997 on as a senator, he served as a chairman and member of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, tackling foreign policy and helping craft legislation regarding terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, Europe after the Cold War, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

As vice president, he helped implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to boost the economy and has focused on making college education more affordable and growing the nation's manufactoring industry, the news release said. He uses his foreign policy experience to advise President Barack Obama on international matters. He has helped get Senate approval for the "START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, and traveled to Iraq eight times between his election and December 2011 in the process of ending the war there, according to the news release.

Biden also has supported the Obama administration's strides to "reestablish leadership in the Asia Pacific" by going to China, Japan and Mongolia and meeting with China's vice president in 2012,  the news release said. Israel's security is another issue of importance to him and he helped rally support in Europe for the U.S. missile defense approach, worked with Latin American leaders in efforts to halt drug trafficking and international crime and made efforts to forge relationships with African leaders, according to the news release.

Biden has been to over two dozen countries. That includes Germany, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Spain, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Finland, Russia, Moldova, Italy, China, Mongolia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago, according to the news release.

Biden is scheduled to speak at Yale's Class Day on Sunday, May 17 at 2 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Rt. 81 North Closed Due to Serious Killingworth Crash


Route 81 in Killingworth is closed on the northbound side after LifeStar responded to a serious crash involving an SUV and a motorcycle.

The accident happened near the intersection of Routes 81 and 148 at about 4:26 p.m. and there were serious injuries.

Two Life Star helicopters were initially called.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

3 Arrested After Attacking Man, 20, and Stealing Dirt Bike: PD


A 20-year-old man was hospitalized after his dirt bike broke down in Rockwell Park in Bristol just after midnight on Sunday and he was attacked and robbed by three males who are now facing charges.

Trevon Clay, 22, of New Britain, and two boys under 18 are facing charges in connection to the incident.

Bristol police responded to the area of Jacobs and Muzzy streets in Bristol at about 12:52 a.m. to investigate a robbery complaint.

The victim told police that he was riding his dirt bike in the park when it had mechanical problems so he had to walk it home to Gridley Street. On the way home, three males, including two people under 18, approached him. One of the juveniles punched him in the face as the other two people stole his dirt bike and helmet, the victim told police.

The group of three who attacked him fled the scene on foot in the western direction. Police found them near Tulip and Barnes streets and apprehended one of them. The other two were caught just beyond Barnes Street.

Clay was charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, third-degree larceny and third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny. He is being held on a $10,000 bond until his court appearance Monday at Bristol Superior Court. The two juveniles are facing similar charges and were referred to juvenile court. They were released to their parents.

The victim was transported to Bristol Hospital to be treated for a nose contusion and then released.

Police recovered the dirt bike and helmet and returned them to the victim.

Robbery Suspect Attacked, Spat at Bristol Police: PD


Police arrested a 30-year-old man suspected of trying to rob three people in Rockwell Park in Bristol Saturday night before spitting at and attacking two police officers, police said.

Evon Griffith, 30, fought with police when they found him running near Muzzy field in Bristol and was taken into custody.

Police responded to Rockwell Park at about 8:59 p.m. Saturday after receiving a report about a robbery and met with three male victims in their 20s, police said. They men told police that another male tried to rob them and threatened to attack them if they wouldn't give him money. The heavy-set man fled the park when he discovered they had no money, the victims told police.

Police located Griffith, who matched the description of the attempted robber, at Muzzy field. He assaulted two police officers, fighting with them and spitting at them as they tried to apprehend him, police said.

Officers took him into custody and charged him with third-degree robbery, two counts of assaulting an officer, second-degree breach of peace, second-degree threatening and refusal to be fingerprinted.

He was held in custody on a $150,000 surety bond pending his Bristol Superior Court appearance on Monday.

Man Kills Wife, Jumps Out Window


Authorities are investigating after they say a man fatally stabbed his wife before jumping out of a ninth-story window in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

According to officials, 45-year-old Christine Giordano made it down to the lobby of the Colonial Point apartment building on Audubon Road. When responders arrived, she was found alive with multiple stab wounds.

She later died from her injuries.

Her husband, Daniel Burns, died after jumping from a window on the ninth floor of the 12-story building.

"I looked out my window, cause I face the other side of the building, and I saw the body. It was under a white tarp," said tenant Jack Riggio. "I saw the blood stain in the lobby."

Investigators say Burns had been living in the building with a relative. According to authorities, he and Giordano were in the process of separating, but that they had come together to try and reconcile.

Several residents told necn they have been worried about security at the building, though that may not have prevented this tragedy.

"We used to have a security guard on here every day. Then they dropped it down to weekends, and then the weekends were nonexistent," said tenant Norma Powell. "So if anything happens on the weekend, there's no way you can get hold of anybody to help you."

"This is certainly an act of domestic violence," said Wakefield Police Chief Rick Smith. "As proactive as we try to be to prevent and educate about domestic violence, these things do happen. Unfortunately, they do happen."

Photo Credit: necn

Northeast Train Service Resumes


Amtrak says rail service between New York and Philadelphia will be up and running Monday, a day earlier than previously announced.

Service resumption will begin with departures at 5:53 a.m. from Philadelphia and at 5:30 a.m. from New York City. All Amtrak Acela Express, Northeast Regional and other services will be operating officials said.

Travel along this section of the corridor has been suspended Since the May 12 crash.

"Our infrastructure repairs have been made with the utmost care and emphasis on infrastructure integrity including complete compliance with Federal Railroad Administration directives," said Amtrak President & CEO Joe Boardman. "Amtrak staff and crew have been working around the clock to repair the infrastructure necessary to restore service for all the passengers who travel along the Northeast Corridor."

Tracks and other equipment needed to be repaired after last week's train derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight people and left more than 200 injured.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Boy, 16, Dies in Homemade Go-Kart Crash


A 16-year-old boy was killed in a rollover crash in his homemade go-kart in Montville, Connecticut, on Sunday afternoon.

Christopher M. Smith, 16, of Norwich, was driving his go-kart in the southbound direction near 17 Caroline Drive when he lost control and flipped over in the vehicle multiple times.

He died of his injuries and was pronounced dead on scene.

Montville EMS crews and Mohegan Tribal paramedics also responded.

State police are investigating the crash.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Avon Police Seek Armed Bank Robber


Police are looking for a man who robbed the TD Bank in Avon at gunpoint Sunday afternoon and have released a surveillance image of the suspect.

The man entered the 255 West Main Street bank along Route 44 at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday and displayed a black handgun. He then took off in a black SUV with an unknown amount of cash, police said.

Avon police responded to the bank, which is located in the same busy plaza as Walmart and Big Y, and the case remains under investigation. The plaza is off of Route 44, which is a highly traveled state road.

A family member of the bank teller working at the time of the armed robbery told NBC Connecticut that the teller is shaken but otherwise doing fine.

Police said the bank robber was wearing jeans, a sweatshirt with the hood over his head, a tan-rimmed baseball cap and a dark bandana concealing his face. His getaway car was described to police as an "unusual looking, top heavy black SUV" and police said it likely was last headed in the eastbound direction on Route 44.

No arrests have been made at this time and police have not identified the name of the suspected bank robber.

Police released a still image from bank surveillance video footage showing the suspect and ask anyone with information to call Det. jason Reid at 860-409-4232.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

UConn Breaks Ground on Hartford Campus


The UConn signs are already up in the old Hartford Times building as construction begins on the downtown Hartford campus on Monday.

The signs read "Making our downtown our hometown" and that motto will come to fruition in 2017 if all goes according to schedule after work on the $115 million project commences Monday.

UConn had a campus in Hartford from 1939 until 1970 before it moved to West Hartford.

The groundbreaking for the new campus comes after the project got the green light last month.

“This is a great day for UConn, but more importantly, it’s a great day for Connecticut and its capital city,” UConn President Susan Herbst said Monday. “This neighborhood campus will be a vibrant part of downtown and deeply engaged in the life of the community, bringing tremendous benefits to both the city and our students.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy,  Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, State Sen. Bob Duff, State Rep. Whitt Betts, State Sen. Beth Bye, State Rep. Angel Arce, Herbst, class of 2017 student Ashley Arthur and graduate student Mara Sanchez were among the people spoke at the event. The ceremony was held across from the old Hartford Times building, located at 38 Prospect Avenue, which the university has purchased will be the anchor of the 217,000-square-foot satellite campus.

“With the creation of this downtown campus, we are helping to create a brighter, better tomorrow for young students living in Hartford and nearby communities,” Malloy said. “Returning UConn back to downtown Hartford will bring students closer to key resources within the city, better enable the campus to fulfill its urban education mission, and add vitality to downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods."

The project includes restoring yet retaining the historic Beaux-Arts façade of the 95-year-old Times building and adding an office and two classroom buildings. There will also be a retail space on the first level.

“The iconic Times building becomes the centerpiece of UConn Hartford and the program spreads out around it, integrating into the neighborhood and community,” Laura Cruickshank, UConn’s master planner and chief architect, said. “Launching this undertaking is a truly major and exciting event in the life of UConn.”

But school officias said it's not just about what they're building. It's also about what's already in the capital city, resources students can take advantage of like the Wadsworth, the library and City Hall.

"Really having Hartford as the homebase for our campus is really going to put so much within reach for our students internships jobs and resources and also for the city of Hartford to have more feet on the street," Stephanie Reitz, UConn's spokeperson, said." We’re really excited. It’s just really a great day for all of us."

There will be a courtyard outside open to public use and the public will also be welcomed at the retail stores, according to the university.

Malloy said the new campus will be another way to devleop Connecticut's economy.

“UConn and its fellow state universities are enacting a vision to make Connecticut home to the best educated, most skilled and most productive workforces in the nation,” Malloy said. “The investments we are making now are critical to our economic development strategy, and will ensure that our state is home to workers with globally competitive skills that will attract 21st century jobs.”

The construction of the new campus will primarily be funded through the Next Generation Connecticut initiative to grow technology, science, engineering and math education at the school to prepare students for the workforce and enhance Connecticut's economy.

UConn's Graduate Business Learning Center will be integrated into campus programming. The campus will also house the Department of Public Policy and School of SocialWork and the university plans to add an engineering master's degree and expand on its public policy, urban studies and education programs, according to the university.

The university also touted how the new location in Hartford will give students closer access to internships, service projects and jobs in everything from schools and government agencies to businesses and nonprofits.

“It’s exciting to see the new UConn campus begin to take shape. This is another example of revitalization happening downtown and I eagerly welcome UConn to the neighborhood,” Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra said.

Parking is one of the biggest obstacles in the construction of the new UConn Hartford campus. The university said it's working on deals with nearby garages, primarily the one at the Connecticut Convention Center through an agreement with the Capital Region Development Authority,  and a way for students to ride the bus for free. The parking permits for the garages would be similar in cost to the fees at the Storrs campus. UConn Hartford will also have a CT Transit bus stop on campus, accordign to the university.

But some say that won't fix downtown Hartford traffic and that traffic is worse than West Hartford, where the satellite campus is currently located.

School officials, the governor and the mayor did the traditional shoveling of the soil to signify the start of the project.

The goal is to have it ready by fall 2017 for about 2,300 students and 250 faculty members.

Prospect Street, located behind Hartford City Hall, will be closed until 1 p.m. for the ground breaking ceremony.

What We Learned From American Pharoah's Preakness Win


That was easy, wasn't it?

Two weeks after struggling but winning the Kentucky Derby, American Pharoah ignored thunder, lightning, rain and the opposition and splashed his way to a seven-length victory in the Preakness on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

And now, it's on to the Belmont Stakes on June 6 for a shot at the Triple Crown and racing immortality.

"He's just an amazing horse," trainer Bob Baffert glowed after winning his sixth Preakness. "Everyone talks about the greatness, and it's just starting to show now. To me, they have to prove it. Today, the way he did it, he just ran so fast. It was like poetry in motion."

Here are some things learned about American Pharoah from the Preakness:


Inside or outside, American Pharoah is one tough customer. Saddled with an unfavorable No. 1 post, the 3-year-old colt broke a bit slow, but was urged to the lead by jockey Victor Espinoza. In the eight-horse field, only Mr. Z gave chase but for just a little while. AP, as owner Ahmed Zayat sometimes calls him, motored along the rail and cruised home for his sixth straight win. In the Derby, he drew the No. 18 post, started from No. 16 after two horses were scratched, and won by a length despite not being on his A game. For the upcoming Belmont Stakes, at 1 1/2 miles the longest and most grueling of the three races, post position won't be an issue. By the way, the last horse to win the Preakness from the No. 1 post before Saturday was Tabasco Cat in 1994.


Rain or shine, track condition is not a problem. American Pharoah gave every indication he could deal with a torrential downpour two months ago in Arkansas. A champion as a 2-year-old, his debut this year came in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He won there, too, by 6 1/4 lengths. So once the skies opened on Saturday, there wasn't too much concern about how the sloppy track would affect his performance. "So much rain we had, and so much water, it's insane," winning jockey Victor Espinoza said. "American Pharoah was traveling super in there." How bad was it? "I saw a picture of the track with a river running on the rail, and I thought he's got to run through that?" Baffert said.


A two-week turnaround took nothing out of American Pharoah. Maybe it did, but it didn't look that way. His stride was a graceful as ever — much better than it was in the Derby — and as Baffert says, he "floats over the track wherever he goes." In the weeks leading up to the Belmont, though, Baffert knows that can change. After all, this will be the trainer's fourth attempt to give racing its first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. American Pharoah has won six of his seven lifetime starts, and looks as strong as ever. Then again, 2004 Derby winner Smarty Jones looked awesome, too, after his record 11 1/2-length win in the Preakness — but three weeks later in the Belmont, he was run down in the final yards by Birdstone. "I've seen horses that you don't see it until two weeks later (after the Preakness)," Baffert said. "That's when it starts showing up on these horses. I've been through it. About two weeks out, you'll start seeing if it's getting to them a little bit, and that's why it's so difficult (to win a Triple Crown).


So now we all know American Pharoah is fitted with ear plugs — or else his ears are stuffed with cotton — for his races, because he's sensitive to noise. Not a good thing for a horse going for a Triple Crown and performing before 100,000-plus fans. Nonetheless, the cotton worked again, and he was as attentive as he needed to be. He may have covered the 1 3-16 miles in the slow time of 1:58.46, but he finished ahead of everyone else and was not distracted. "I could tell they (the horses) didn't like it when they got pelted like that," Baffert said. "And I was worried about the cotton balls in his ears. How is he going to react? Maybe I should take them out." No need.


Can American Pharoah end a 37-year Triple Crown drought that began after Affirmed became the 11th horse to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1978. Here's a sampling of opinions from three Triple Crown winning connections:

Penny Chenery (owner, Secretariat): "The question will be how quickly he recovers and doesn't lose too much weight. He seems to have a level head, though, and seems to be in command of his talents."

Steve Cauthen (jockey, Affirmed): "He looks like the real deal."

Ron Turcotte (jockey, Secretariat): "The sport needs a Triple Crown winner and he could very well be the one."


Now that American Pharoah has dusted off his rivals in the Derby and Preakness, who's left to take him on in the Belmont? Well, it sure looks like a bunch of Derby also-rans who skipped the Preakness are going to show up in a bid to play Triple Crown spoiler. Among them are a bunch trained by Todd Pletcher: Materiality (sixth in the Derby), Carpe Diem (10th) and Peter Pan Stakes winner Madefromlucky. Also probable are Frosted (fourth in the Derby), Keen Ice (seventh), Mubtaahij (eighth) and Frammento (11th). "I really don't think about the third leg yet," Baffert said. "It's going to be tough. I've always said this is the easiest of the three legs, and the next race is going to be ... everybody right now is sharpening their knives getting ready."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Matt Lauer Rides Through Connecticut for Red Nose Day


The "Today" show’s Matt Lauer spent some time in Connecticut on Monday while tackling a 225-mile bike ride for a good cause.

Lauer's journey kicked off Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston. The bike ride benefits the Red Nose Day Fund to help chance the lives of children in need.

He stopped in Mystic and New London on Monday morning, meeting with Connecticut residents who came to cheer him on with signs and red noses of their own.

Red Nose Day raises money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh.

Lauer said he pushes through the pain over many miles because he wants to make a difference.

Learn more about Red Nose Day here:

If you see Matt on his journey, share your photos with us at shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

"Hello, Twitter!" President Obama Gets His Own Account


President Barack Obama has joined the Twitterverse. 

With his second term more than halfway through, the president sent his inaugural tweet from a new @POTUS Twitter account on Monday. 

The verified account, which attracted more than 146,000 followers within 30 minutes of posting the first tweet, carries the bio "Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States."

The official @WhiteHouse account retweeted the message and posted confirmation of its own.

The tweet wasn't the first 140-character missive sent from the 44th president. The White House's existing practice was to sign tweets from the president on the @BarackObama handle with his initials, "-bo." That @BarackObama account, launched in March 2007, is run by the staff of Obama's non-profit Organizing for Action group. 

The new account followed all major Chicago sports teams except one — the Cubs. 

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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Police Find 104 Marijuana Plants While Investigating Assault


Southington police found a large indoor marijuana growing operation with more than 100 plants while investigating a report of an assault last month.

Police said they responded to Mount Vernon Road at 1:42 a.m. on April 12 to investigate after receiving a report of a man yelling in a driveway. 

When police arrived, the person who filed the complaint said he left the house because he was afraid and that Matthew Dufresne, 46, of Bristol, was acting irrational and beating another man inside the house.

Inside the house, officers saw Dufresne beating the victim in the bathroom, then Dufresne began to attack the officers, police said, so they called more officers to the scene.

Police used stun guns, pepper spray, a police baton and a Police K-9 against Dufresne, but none of them had any affect, police said.

Officers were finally able to get Dufresne to the ground, handcuff him and take him into custody. 

Dufresne and the victim were both transported to the hospital for treatment. One police officer reported an injury as a result of this incident and the Police K-9 was also checked for possible injuries.

As officers were investigating the assault, they found a sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation in the two residential homes on the property of 2164 Mount Vernon Road, according to police.

Southington Police Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit were called and responded to the scene to investigate further. Police said they seized several items, including 104 marijuana plants, in various states of growth; 6-and-a-half pounds of marijuana, ready for sale; as well as $3,165 in cash.

Police have charged Dufresne with cultivation of more than one kilogram of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell more than one kilogram, possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $125,000.

Dufresne was charged with breach of peace in the second degree, interfering with police and two counts of assault on police in connection with the alleged assault.

Christian Kelley, 37, of Bristol, was charged with cultivation of more than one kilogram of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell more than one kilogram, possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $150,000.

Photo Credit: Southington Police
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