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Woman Rower Going for Pacific 1st


Sonya Baumstein is about to attempt something no other woman has ever done: She is going to try and cross the Pacific Ocean – non-stop, from Japan to San Francisco – in a row boat.

NBC Bay Area’s Mark Matthews spoke with Baumstein on Monday via Skype. She's on Japan’s east coast, about to embark on her voyage, which she hopes will end with her rowing under the Golden Gate Bridge.

"I’m afraid of losing my boat because I spent three years creating this thing,” Baumstein said when asked what she fears most about the challenge. Her boat is a 23-foot floating data collector that every 30 minutes will beam back ocean temperatures, salinity, current and weather information to scientists studying the affects of global warming.

Baumstein, from Port Townsend, Washington, is only 30, but she’s got some expeditions already logged. She rowed across the Atlantic. She kayaked from Seattle to Juneau.

“I’ve also paddle boarded the Bering Strait prior to doing this,” she said.

The highlight reel Baumstein put together for the Pacific crossing shows off some of those earlier trips. But this one is four-to-six months long, spent alone on a boat with with only seven feet of deck space, crossing the world’s biggest ocean.

“It all depends on how you want to use the moments that you have in your life,” Baumstein said, “and this is the moment in my life right now.”

Baumstein said she intends to spend her free time at sea collecting data on global warming. 

All of the information will be beamed to a satellite and tracked by scientists at Earth & Space Research (ESR), a Seattle-based, nonprofit institute specializing in oceanographic research.

“And that’s all that I’m doing," Baumstein said. "I’m a community member that is helping to get data back.” She said she hopes to “contribute to the body of knowledge” so “we can help solve these major problems that we have on earth right now.”

There have been two solo crossings of the Pacific in a rowboat, according to Ocean Rowing Society records, but no woman has ever done it.

To follow Baumstein’s progress, and see the data she’s collecting, go to expeditionpacific.com.

Teen Relearning to Talk, Walk


A Maryland teenager shot in the head by a friend in January over a video game argument is relearning how to walk, talk and understand his mother.

Doctors had to remove half of Turan Caudle’s skull after the shooting. The 17-year-old can only respond to questions with one-word answers.

“He was in ICU,” his mother Sherita Caudle said. “The doctors said he wouldn't make it through that night. If he did make it, he wouldn't be able to walk and talk.”

Delano Dunmore, 16, shot Turan and another friend inside Dunmore's house in Clinton, Maryland, over an argument about a video game, investigators said. He allegedly turned the gun on himself, as well. He and the other teen also survived.

“I never could imagine that could happen with them just playing a video game,” Turan’s mother said.

All three of the teens were on the Frederick Douglass High School football team and the won the Division II state championships a few weeks before the shooting.

Delano was facing attempted murder charges as an adult, but Sherita Caudle said the charge has been downgraded to assault. He's awaiting trial.

Sherita Caudle drives her son from Upper Marlboro to a rehabilitation center in Baltimore every day. A GoFundMe page has been created to help with the medical expenses.

Photo Credit: Shomari Stone, NBCWashington

Heat, Humidity Building


Noticeably warmer and more humid air has moved into southern New England, and that will set the stage for some thunderstorms Wednesday.

The most widespread showers and thunderstorms this week will occur Wednesday. The potential for severe weather is low, though the atmosphere will be primed with moisture. Any storm will produce torrential rain. Most of the shower and thunderstorm activity will be confined to the western half of the state, between noon and 8 p.m.

A cold front comes through Thursday, likely early enough to preclude any significant weather. A spot shower is possible midday; otherwise a mix of sun and clouds is anticipated.

Friday looks splendid, with mostly sunny skies! Not only will there be a break from the shower and thunderstorm threat, but the humidity will be gone for the day. Temperatures will be in the low 80s inland, upper 70s at the water.

At this point, the weekend looks split. A strong cold front will come through Sunday. That means increasing clouds, breezy and warm conditions on Saturday with temperatures in the middle 80s. A pop up shower can’t be ruled out, but the vast majority of the rain and possibly thunder will occur Sunday.

Early indications for the start of next week show high pressure building down from Canada, meaning much cooler conditions.

Stay with the NBC Connecticut First Alert weather team for the very latest forecast on air, online and on the app.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford City Council to Vote on Police Body Cameras Grant


Hartford's City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on a grant that would fund outfitting the capital city's police force with body cameras.

The topic is particularly significant in light of rioting in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri in response to police use of force.

The question in Hartford is how to pay for the large expense, which could cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 dollars per camera.

Supporters say the price tag is worth it and will increase accountability of law enforcement, but opponents say it will also add a layer of fear to doing one's job.

But ultimately, it might not be up to cities and towns to decide. State lawmakers are currently discussing a bill that would supply body cameras to three communities as part of a pilot study, but it's unknown which communities could be chosen should that come to pass.

Eight communities in Connecticut also have police body cameras, including East Haven and Hamden.

South Windsor police will be accepting a donation of body cameras from the Hartford-Evergreen Lodge of Freemasons at the Masonic Lodge at 1559 Main Street in South Windsor at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The lodge is supplying 12 initial body cameras and a docking station to recharge and collect the data from the cameras for cloud storage, police said. The police department will budget for ongoing maintenance and data storage costs after that, according to police.

Hartford could be one step closer to being on that list after Tuesday night's meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Tried to Run Down Ex, Yard Sale Customers: Police


Police arrested a 30-year-old Middletown woman who is accused of trying to run down her ex-boyfriend and nearly hitting people gathered at a Memorial Day yard sale.

Police responded to Farm Hill Road just after 2 p.m. on Monday and met with the victim who said his ex-girlfriend, Meghan Partello, 30, had gone over the center line of the street and tried to run him off the road, police said.

The victim told police he had to brake and swerve hard to avoid the crash, which happened close to a yard sale where several people were gathered.

He added that Partello screamed obscenities at him, said she was going to “get” him and that she was going to kill everyone at the yard sale, then sped off, police said.

Just a few minutes before the incident, the victim had received a call from his mother, who said Partello had assaulted her and damaged her property.

Partello was taken into custody, held in lieu of $50,000 bond and charged with third-degree criminal mischief, attempt to commit third-degree criminal mischief, two counts of second-degree breach of peace, second-degree threatening, reckless driving and failure to drive right.

She is due in court on Tuesday.

Man Tried to Join ISIS: Prosecutor


A Houston-area man has been charged with planning to travel to Syria to wage jihad on behalf of ISIS, NBC News' Pete Williams has learned.

Asher Abid Khan, 20, of Spring, was arrested Tuesday morning, Williams reported.

Prosecutors said and a friend devised a plan to travel to Turkey and then on into Syria. Court documents said he asked a "foreign terrorist fighter facilitator" in Turkey, "I wana join ISIS can you help?" and told someone else, "I wana die as a Shaheed [martyr]."

Prosecutors said his friend did make it from Texas to Syria with the help of Khan and the facilitator in Turkey.

Court documents said Khan, who was living in Australia, got as far as Turkey. But his family told him, falsely, that his mother's health was deteriorating, deceiving him into returning to Texas.

The FBI got onto the two after seeing Facebook postings by the friend, referred to in court documents only as SRG.

Earlier this month, a U.S. Magistrate ordered a Mesquite man who is accused of lying to the FBI about his allegiance to a terrorist group held without bond until his trial.

The judge decided Bilal Abood, 37, was a flight risk after an FBI agent testified that Abood was effectively a recruiter for the Islamic State because he sent graphic videos of beheadings and other atrocities to potential sympathizers.

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Officials Seek Photos, Videos of Orange Fire


The fire marshal in Orange  is asking for any photos or videos of a house fire on Saturday morning in the hopes that it will help with the investigation. 

Police responded to a fire at 400 Derby Milford Road at 11:15 a.m. and fire marshal Tim Smith is asking anyone with photos or videos to call him at 203-891-4709.  

Officials said videos and photos could be helpful to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

The homeowners and family dogs made it out of the home safely, neighbors told News 12.

Community to Hold Vigil for Pastor Shot


The community will gather Tuesday night for a vigil in honor of a pastor shot outside the First Church of the Nazarene in Hartford on Sunday while putting flags out for Memorial Day services.

Rev. Dr. Augustus Sealy, 54, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts was one of two people shot in two separate shootings just over 10 minutes apart.

Police responded to the first shooting at 932 Capitol Ave. near Newton Street around 6:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving multiple 911 calls. When they arrived, they discovered a male victim shot multiple on the road outside the First Church of the Nazarene. The man, Sealy, had two gunshot wounds to the right leg and one to the left shoulder.

According to church official Rev. Elton Adams, Sealy was outside the church placing flags from different countries in the yard as part of an annual tradition for the church's Memorial Day celebration when he was shot multiple times in the arms and legs. A special service had been planned for Sunday in honor of Sealy's fifth anniversary at the church.

NBC Connecticut spoke to Sealy’s wife Sharon, who said he was in a lot of pain, but expected to recover.

"He hasn’t lost any hope," she said. "You know, this is something that happened that was really terrible and shouldn’t have happened and we’ve already prayed for that person who actually committed the crime."

Sealy was transported to St. Francis Hospital where he underwent surgery and is listed in critical condition. He is expected to survive, Adams told NBC Connecticut. For now, the family is focused on Sealy’s recovery, which is expected to take at least six weeks.

"In spite of adversities, you know we look to God for strength and that’s what my family is doing right now," Sharon Sealy said.

Members of the church learned about the shooting involving their pastor when they arrived for Sunday services.

"There’s so many mixed emotions right now. It’s hard," Myrna Springer, a secretary at the church, said. "People’s spirits are low. We just don’t know.”

She said that the pastor is a "very caring" and "comfortable person" who is "easy to get along with."

A vigil has been planned for Sealy at the scene of the shooting, First Church of the Nazarene, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Brown.

The Major Crimes Division is investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/First Church of the Nazarene

FBI Director Visits New Haven


FBI director James B. Comey is in New Haven on Tuesday to meet with employees of the FBI's New Haven division.

He is also scheduled to hold a press event at 3 p.m. FBI New Haven Special Agent in Charge Patricia M. Ferrick and Connecticut law enforcement officials are also expected to attend.

Photo Credit: AP

Girl Hurt in Bounce House Incident


A young girl who was injured after the bounce house she was in was sent flying by a waterspout at Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida, was released from the hospital Tuesday.

"I thought I was gonna die," Shamoya Ferguson said.

Ferguson spent the night at Broward Health Medical Center under observation after the Memorial Day incident that left the 6-year-old and two other children injured.

"I'm stressed, I'm really stressed, I never expected something like this, I was so shocked," mother Tameka Liscombe said at the hospital Tuesday. "When I went home last night I can't sleep, all night, I wake up with nightmares."

The frightening incident, which was caught on video, showed the bounce house spinning as it lifted off the ground and dropped the children onto the sand below.

"I was in the bounce house, then I fell," Ferguson said, adding it felt like she was in "a tornado.'

Shadaja Bryant, 5, was left with a broken arm after the violent ride. Shamoya's 11-year-old step-brother, AJ, was also injured.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman issued a statement Tuesday calling the incident a "freak act of nature" that was unpredictable.

"The change in weather was sudden and severe. An intense water spout came ashore rapidly and without warning bringing forceful winds that meteorologists have estimated were between 65 and 85 miles per hour," Feldman said. "Its powerful unpredictable path knocked down street lights and destroyed a cement basketball support structure."

Feldman said the city has put the bounce house vendor, All Star Events, on notice of their responsibility as they investigate the incident.

"It's just an accident, things happen, the greatest thing is that she's here," father Omar Ferguson said.

Photo Credit: Ari Odzer/NBC6.com

Suspect in Avon TD Bank Armed Robbery Appears in Court


A man suspected of robbing the TD Bank in Avon at gunpoint last Sunday was in court on Tuesday and officials believe he might be tied to another bank robbery that happened in town days later.

Patryk Kornas, 40, has been arrested on robbery and drug charges.

A man. disguised with a bandana, sunglasses and a brown baseball hat, entered the 255 West Main Street bank along Route 44 at about 1:20 p.m. last Sunday, approached the teller with a black handgun and said "I don't want to hurt anyone. Just give all the money, large bills," before taking off in a black SUV with more than $2,500 in cash, according to court documents.

When police reviewed surveillance video from a Sam's Gulf Station on West Main Street in Avon, they saw the suspected getaway vehicle, which had a large circular emblem on the front grill. Investigators said the descriptions of the man and the car near the scene matched other cases. 

Police suspect Kornas as the bank robber and expect additional charges to be filed.

Police believe he might also be connected to a second bank robbery that happened in town this weekend, but no charges have been filed yet in that case.

The robbery was reported at Northwest Community Bank at 101 Simsbury Road (Route 10) on Saturday and police said a man with a black handgun and robbed the bank. It's not confirmed whether the two robberies are connected.

Police obtained a search and seizure warrant for an apartment in New Britain based on information received in a collaborative investigation involving Avon, Newington and Wallingford police as well as local FBI authorities. Avon, North Central Municipal Emergency Services Team  and New Britain Emergency Services Team officials and New Britain police searched the address and arrested Kornas on a possession of narcotics charge.

According to court documents, a teen contacted Wallingford police on May 18 about a suspicious incident in town and said she initially thought she saw a black bear in the woods near First Niagra Bank on Main Street in Wallingford, but realized it was a person in dark clothing and blue latex gloves. Police searched the area, but did not find anyone.

Court records also say a Wallingford narcotics detective recognized the man in surveillance photos from the Avon robbery as Kornas. 

The description was also similar to deescriptions from a robbery at Dutch Point Federal Credit Union on Willard Avenue in Newington, police said,

Kornas has been charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and third-degree larceny in the TD Bank robbery.

He was being held on a $500,000 surety bond and appeared in court on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Avon Police Department

Off-Duty Cop Charged in Shooting


An off-duty police officer and his mother have been charged with murder in connection with a deadly double shooting in the parking lot of a McDonald's in Waldorf, Maryland, that authorities say stemmed from a custody dispute involving the officer's children. The victims were the children's mother and her new husband.

Richard Conway, 26, a Prince George's County police officer, was arrested at his mother's home Monday night. He has been charged with murder of 25-year-old Robert Michael Mange and the shooting of Mange's 24-year-old wife, Prince George's County Police Chief Mark Magaw said in a statement Tuesday.

Conway is the second person charged in the case. Last week, authorities charged his mother, 51-year-old Caroline Conway, with the murder of Mange, and the attempted murder of Mange's wife. The wife had a prior relationship with Richard Conway.

The Charles County Sheriff's Office says that although it was Caroline Conway who fired the weapon, her son participated in the crime before and after the shootings. Investigators say the motive appears to be an ongoing child custody dispute between Richard Conway and the female victim. 

On the evening of May 20, the victims drove from Virginia to the McDonald's in the 11000 block of Mall Circle to pick up the wife's two young children. The children had been staying with Caroline Conway, who is the grandmother of one of the children.

Caroline Conway allegedly got into the couple's car and shot Mange, according to the Charles County Sheriff's Office. Her son took her there but stayed in the car with his children, News4's Chris Gordon reported.

"Miss Conway produced a handgun and shot the male victim, Mr. Mange," Charles County Sheriff's Office Capt. Stephen Slavas said. "The female victim tried to flee the vehicle. As a result, Miss Conway, the shooter, shot the female victim in the back."

Both victims were taken to an area hospital, where Mange died. The woman is expected to survive, authorities said.

After the shooting, investigators found ammunition consistent with a .40 caliber handgun, the same weapon issued to Prince George's County Police officers.

The gun used in the shooting has not been recovered. Detectives are looking into the possibility that Conway's service weapon was used in the crime.

The charging document against Officer Conway says his mother told a witness she shot the mother of Conway's children with his service weapon and that he sent text messages to Mange's wife as if nothing had happened though he knew she was shot.

Richard Conway has been with the Prince George's County Police Department for three years. He has been suspended without pay, Magaw said.

Water Main Break Reported in Middletown


Police are asking drivers to avoid the intersection of Old Mill Road and Belvedere Terrace in Middletown while they respond to a water main break in the area.

It's not clear how many residents have been affected. Middletown police said crews from the city water are arriving at the scene to check the break and begin making repairs.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Man Linked to Shooting Arrested on Drug, Weapon Charges


A 20-year-old man who police believe may have been involved in a drive-by shooting attempt in Hartford last week has been arrested on drug and weapon charges.

Elijah Lopez, 20, of Southington, was arrested the evening of Friday, May 22 after police pulled over his car in the area of 254 Laurel Street.

Police said the car's license plate was linked to an attempted shooting near 168 Hillside Avenue early Thursday morning. No injuries were reported and police said it's not clear who the intended victim may have been.

Detectives also searched an apartment at 330 Laurel Street as part of the investigation. They found a Ruger Red Hawk .44-caliber revolver with six live rounds, along with additional ammunition, more than 300 bags of heroin and drug packaging materials, according to police.

Lopez was charged with criminal possession of a firearm, carrying a firearm with an obliterated serial number, possession of narcotics, possession with intentn to sell, possession within a school zone and operating a drug factory.

Police also took custody of Lopez's car, a green 2001 Infinity I30 four-door sedan with tinted windows.

The shooting investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Police Probe Messages From School Visitor to Young Student


Police are investigating the report that a college student observing an elementary school class in New Britain sent inappropriate text messages to at least one student.

According to parents who said their children were victimized, the person in question used the Kik messenger app to contact at least three 10-year-old boys after school hours. She allegedly told one boy she loved him and talked about alcohol with another.

"One of the text messages was, 'Please erase all messages... or I will get in trouble. Don't tell your parents because what I'm doing is wrong. Baby, I love you,'" said Martha Ruiz, the mother of a 10-year-old boy, who said she found the messages on her son's iPod.

Ruiz and another parent, Anestos Moffat, said the adult contacted their children late at night, when they were supposed to be sleeping.

"She was talking about getting drunk. She was swearing on the app," said Moffat.

A spokesperson for the school district said the allegations came to light a couple weeks ago. The person at the center of the investigation, a student at Central Connecticut State University, was escorted from Vance Village Elementary School on May 13.

The student was part of a program that allows CCSU education students to observe classes in New Britain. District spokesman Paul Salina said all college students undergo background checks and talk with the school principal about acceptable conduct. They are also constantly supervised.

Salina said the student is prohibited from returning to any New Britain schools and "willingly surrendered" his or her cellphone after being escorted from the property. The student is not facing any criminal charges and is cooperating with investigators.

Despite parents' claims, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart and police Chief James Wardwell said there's no indication the messages were sexual in nature.

"There is no allegation at this time of lewdness or 'sexual abuse,'" Wardwell said in an email to NBC Connecticut on Tuesday.

According to Stewart, the student told police conversations centered around ways to help a child who was being bullied.

Route 66 Reopens in Marlborough After Crash


Route 66 has reopened in Marlborough following a crash that closed the road for several hours Tuesday evening and into the night.

State police said multiple cars collided in the area where Route 66 meets Route 2 just prior to 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Route 66 was closed near the intersection of Route 2 until about 9 p.m., according to the Department of Transportation.

There has been no word on injuries. No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ex-LAPD Cop Arrested in Killing


A former Los Angeles Police Department officer charged in the shooting death of a man in California has been arrested in Mexico, according to the Chihuahua state attorney general's office.

Henry Solis, 27, was wanted in connection with the March 13 shooting death of 23-year-old Salome Rodriguez Jr., in Pomona. Solis' father, Victor, was arrested in late March for allegedly lying to the FBI after helping his son flee to Mexico.

Details were sketchy and sources said that law enforcement was continuing to investigate in the Juarez area where Solis was arrested. Others were being looked at in connection with helping Solis avoid the law.

The FBI would only say that there were "significant developments" in a fugitive case and additional developments would be announced.

Solis was off-duty at the time of the shooting. A vehicle wanted in connection with the crime was found in a Pomona alley, several blocks from where Rodriguez Jr. was gunned down after what authorities described as a fistfight.

Solis’ father was arrested in Lancaster, California, and charged with making a false statement to law enforcement. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Solis was fired from the LAPD after he was initially charged with murder.

Tena Ezzeddine contributed to this report.

New London Convenience Store Robbed at Gunpoint


Police are searching for the young men who robbed a New London convenience store at gunpoint on Tuesday evening.

According to police, two men in their late teens or early 20s entered the Honey Bee Plus Convenience Store at 393 Colman Street just before 5 p.m. and demanded money. One of the men pulled out a handgun.

They got away with an unknown amount of cash and were last seen heading southbound on Colman Street, according to police.

One of the men was wearing a gold hooded sweatshirt, while the second had a beard and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with white writing.

Police are investigating and are asking anyone with information to give them a call at 860-447-5269.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Child, 4, and Teen, 17, Accidentally Shot


Shooters firing at an individual in New London accidentally shot and injured a 4-year-old child and a 17-year-old late on the evening of Memorial Day, police said.

New London police received several 911 calls at 9:52 p.m. on Monday reporting a shooting near 40 Crystal Ave.

When they arrived, police found a teen with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound in his upper arm and a 4-year-old child with a "minor graze wound possibly from a bullet," police said.

The victims were accidentally struck when shooters were firing at another person, police said.

Witnesses said they saw two shooters, however no suspects have been identified.

The shooting incident remains under investigation and police searched the courtyard on Tuesday morning.

New London police ask anyone with information to contact the department's detective division at 860-447-1481. Calls will be kept confidential.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Wesleyan Football Player Arrested After Suicide Attempt: Cops


A Wesleyan University football player slammed his car head-on into another vehicle, injuring two people, during a suicide attempt in Middletown early Sunday morning, according to police.

An officer who spotted Ibraheem Khadar, 23, of Lowell, Massachusetts, speeding on William Street around 12:45 a.m. yelled to him, but Khadar passed the patrol car and hit a sedan, head-on, police said.

Officers ran over to Khadar’s car, as well as the sedan, where they found two people with injuries.
Khadar was alone in his car and initially refused officer’s orders to show his hands, police said. But then, he threw the door opened, got out of the car, walked toward the officer and yelled to authorities to shoot him, police said.

Police told Khadar to get on the ground, but he continued to walk toward officers and yell, so an officer shot him with a stun gun, police said.

Khadar proceeded to run up William Street, across High Street and through a Wesleyan University field, where he started to slow down and fell to the ground.

As police handcuffed Khadar, he continued to yell at police and asked them to shoot him and Tase him again, police said.

Police officers then carried Khadar to a cruiser, but he kicked, twisted and hit officers, injuring one of them, police said.

As the police station, Khadar was calmer, apologized to officers and said he was upset about an argument with his girlfriend and wanted to die, according to the arraignment report.

He went on to tell officers that he sped up his car, aiming for a person who was stopped and police vehicles, then changed his mind, unbuckled his seatbelt and hit the sedan and an unoccupied cruiser, according to police.

Khaddar was charged with reckless driving, operating an influence under the influence of drugs or alcohol, evading responsibility, second-degree reckless endangerment, assault on police personnel, four counts of interfering with police, second-degree breach of peace, second-degree assault, two counts of third-degree assault and two counts of reckless endangerment.

He was held on a $75,000 surety bond and is due in court on May 26.

Police also charged a resident with interfering with a police officer when she approached. He said "you tased him," and asked Khadar if he was OK and needed help, then refused to back away from the scene, police said.  

Photo Credit: Middlettown Police
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