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Police Respond to Crash on Route 7 in Kent

LifeStar to Transport Injured Skateboarder


LifeStar is responding to Lyme after a 16-year-old boy was reported injured in a skateboarding accident.

The teen was airlifted to Hartford Hospital to be treated for a head injury sustained in a skateboarding accidetn on Blood Street in Lyme. The call came in just before 2:45 p.m.

His condition is unknown.

No further information was immediately available.

Branford Firefighters Extricate Seriously Injured Person From Car


Firefighters extricated a person from a car Saturday morning on Hosely Avenue in Branford.

A person was seriously injured in the crash.

Branford firefighters used the jaws of life to get the person out of the car.

An ambulance transported the injured party to Yale-New Haven Hospital and the person is in serious condition.

Photo Credit: Branford Professional Firefighters Local 2533

Person Trapped in Car in Water


A person was still inside a car when it went off the road and into the water, according to New Haven firefighters.

Crews are responding to the area of Fournier and Crescent streets to extricate the person from the car, which is stuck in about four feet of water. 

No further information was immediately available on how the car got there or the identity of the person trapped.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Connecticut Man Faces DUI Charges in Rhode Island Crash


Police say a Connecticut man is facing charges after his car crashed, injuring two passengers.

Westerly police tell WPRI-TV the crash happened at about 8:40 p.m. Friday on Route 78 near the Connecticut state line.

The driver, 32 year-old Leonidas Kontogouris of Montville, Connecticut, wasn't hurt. Police said he faces charges including driving while intoxicated resulting in bodily injury, driving on a suspended or revoked license, refusal to submit to a chemical test, carrying a pistol without a permit and carrying a weapon while intoxicated.

Witnesses said the car was speeding when it went out of control and overturned. Police said a 22-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man were ejected. They were flown to Rhode Island Hospital. Police said Saturday they didn't have information on their conditions.

It's not known if Kontogouris has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Overnight Rain Expected, Scattered Thunderstorms Possible Sunday


Coastal storms in New England will carry rain through Connecticut Saturday night into Sunday.

The rain will get heavy at times, peaking between 9 p.m. Saturday and 3 a.m. Sunday. Flooding will be possible in areas prone to flooding. Throughout Saturday night, rain will be widespread with scattered showers and thunderstorms Sunday.

A dip in the jet stream will drop temperatures and bring damp conditions in the eastern part of the country as the West experiences extreme heat.

The Travelers Championship has delayed tee times on Sunday in Cromwell, starting at 11:30 a.m. now due to the rain expected. Temperatures will be in the middle 70s with little humidity.

The stormy weather should clear out of the state by late Sunday.

Dry weather returns early next week on Monday and Tuesday with temperatures in the 80s.

Aproaching the 4th of July holiday, it's not looking like Connecticut will see humidity or high heat in the 80s or 90s.

Come visit First Alert 1 and members of the NBC Connecticut team in the Travelers Championship Fan Zone through Sunday!

Lake Fire 40 Percent Contained


After destroying more than 30,000 acres and burning for 11 days, the Lake Fire was at 40 percent containment Saturday morning, prompting officials to reopen Highway 38.

Fifty-two crews committed to the 30,526 acre fire, that caused damage worth an estimated $21.9 million. The cause of the fire, that started June 17, is under investigation with four injuries reported.

Although the highway was reopened, speed limits were reduced in several areas and access to connecting roadways on the south side of the roadway were limited.

Firefighters worked day and night over the past week to try and get the fire under control. 

Crews left about 3,000 feet of hoses and fire-resistant gear on the northeast portion of the blaze for other firefighters installing a direct line near the perimeter, from the Rainbow area north to Onyx pea, San Bernardino National Forest officials said.

The supplies helped them work safely through the night and improve containment efforts.

Crews continued to build direct and indirect lines to the northeast and east portions of the fire that were uncontained.

Up to 120 firefighters camping near the blaze would be flown out of the area Saturday evening as thunderstorms approached the area. 

Fire officials didn't anticipate significant growth to the fire Saturday, but said smoke would be visible east of the Three Sisters Peaks and south of the wilderness, officia

Photo Credit: NBC News

Boy Loses Fingers to Firework



A boy lost three of his fingers after a firework blew up in his hand in southern California, a Moreno Valley fire department said.

Firefighters found the 13-year-old had suffered a significant injury when they arrived following the explosion on the 24000 block of Webster Avenue at around 5:39 p.m. Thursday, a Riverside County Fire Department spokesman said.

He was taken to a local hospital for treatment to injured hand and is in a moderate condition, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. 

It is illegal to have fireworks in most of Riverside County, including Moreno Valley, while ones that only explode such as firecrackers are illegal everywhere in California.

A zero tolerance policy is in place for the use, sale, purchase, transport or storage of fireworks in Riverside County. Anyone caught will have their fireworks confiscated and face a fine of up to $500.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Inmate Agrees to Plea Guilty to Avoid Death Sentence


An inmate at a federal prison in central California has agreed to plead guilty to killing a correctional officer seven years ago to avoid a possible death sentence, federal prosecutors said.

Jose Cabrera Sablan, 47, agreed on Friday to plead guilty to murder in a negotiated agreement that will put him in prison for the rest of his life, U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner in Sacramento said in a statement.

Sablan is currently serving life with a chance of parole. The plea deal "would eliminate the possibility of release," Wagner said.

He also said that prosecutors had to consider the likelihood of obtaining the death penalty and fighting appeals in a case that has already gone through 7 years of litigation.

News of the agreement was first reported by KFSN-TV in Fresno.

The agreement was condemned by the union that represents 33,000 federal prison workers, including correctional officers. "It feels like there's no justice," said Eric Young, national president of the Council of Prison Locals.

The death penalty is a deterrent for inmates who might attack federal correctional officers, who don't carry guns in prisons, Young said.

He noted that it has been seven years since Officer Jose Rivera was killed on June 20, 2008.

"It's unfortunate that we're actually on the anniversary and ... his killers haven't gotten the ultimate punishment," Young said. "What message does that send to our inmate population? We want to know that there's an ultimate consequence when someone takes the life of our correctional staff."

Wagner's statement said his office and the Department of Justice are committed to prosecuting those who endanger the health and safety of correction officers.

Sablan was serving a life sentence for murder at the U.S. penitentiary in Atwater when he was accused of fatally stabbing Rivera, 22, a U.S. Navy veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq and had been on the job for 10 months when he was attacked.

According to court documents, Rivera was returning inmates to their cells for a headcount when Sablan pulled an ice pick-like shank and a shaft the diameter of a large screw driver from his pocket and stabbed Rivera in the chest.

Another inmate, James Guerrero, held down Rivera while he was being stabbed. Guerrero took a plea deal last year and was sentenced to a second life term.

Rivera's mother said she was outraged and saddened by prosecutors' decision not to pursue the death penalty for her son's killer.

"My son gave his entire life to his country. He believed in the justice system and it failed him," Terry Rivera said from her Merced home.

"I know it would be hard to get the death penalty, but we could have fought for it harder," she added.

Sablan is expected to enter his plea July 17 in a Los Angeles courtroom.

Willimantic Police Seek Hit and Run Driver

Woman, Dog Killed in Fire on Oakland Terrace in Hartford


A middle-aged woman died in a fire that broke out in an Oakland Terrace three-family home in Hartford late Saturday morning.

Neighbors told firefighters people were inside when the home at 62-64 Oakland Terrace went up in flames. The fire started on the second floor at about 11:37 a.m. and spread extensively to the third floor, according to Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertes. Hartford firefighters arrived on scene a couple minutes later.

A woman living on the third floor died in the fire, as well as the second-floor family's dog, Huertes said. An ambulance transported a man on the second floor to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford and he's listed in stable condition. He was then airlifted to Bridgeport in critical condition.A firefighter was also hurt.

“It’s a sad day here in Hartford today," Capt. Helene Lynch, of the Hartford Fire Department, said.

A second person on the third floor and another person living on the second floor got out of the building safely, as well as two people residing on the first floor and their pet, according to Huertes.

The name of the woman killed has not been released, but neighbors who said they knew her were stunned by her death.

“It’s really hurting me. So, I guess I broke down," Lula Prude, of Hartford, said. “She was a very friendly lady..... She went to church every Sunday.”

The Hartford fire department's investigative unit is trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Hartford Police Department's major crimes detectives are also investigating the fatality, according to Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

At Least 4 Shot at Hartford Elementary School


A person is in critical condition after being shot in the head during an unofficial basketball tournament outside a Hartford elementary school in a shooting that injured four adults.

Hartford police received multiple 911 calls at about 4:30 p.m. about multiple shots fired and several victims at 260 Holcomb Street, where the Sarah J. Rawson Elementary School is located. The shooting happened on the school's outdoor basketball court.

One of four people shot was hit in the head and is in critical condition at St. Francis Hospital. The other three victims have non-life-threatening wounds. Some victims were taken to the hospital in private vehicles and others were transported in ambulances.

Police are reviewing a lot of evidence and are working to obtain video surveillance from the school

Hartford major crimes detectives and a shooting task force are on scene. The crime scene division is on its way.

Police were unaware that the basketball tournament was taking place and said that typically the department likes to be made aware of events that size.

No one is under arrest at this time.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra expressed outrage at the incident.

"I am not going to allow our children, our community to be threatened in this way," he said. 

Police ask anyone with information to call Hartford police, particularly if anyone has cellphone or camera video footage taken at the time of the shooting.

The incident does not appear to be targeted, police said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Photos: New York Cabin Where Prison Escapees Took Shelter


A pair of convicts, David Sweat and Richard Matt, escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility together early June 6. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called them "dangerous, dangerous men." Mitch Johnson said one of his best friends checked on his hunting cabin in Malone Friday afternoon and called police after noticing the scent of grape flavored gin as soon as he stepped into his cabin and spotting the bottle that had gone untouched for years resting on a kitchen table. Matt was fatally shot when discovered by police officers in the woods while Sweat is still on the run.

Photo Credit: NBC News

Dad's Fare Arrest Being Probed


A father whose arrest was caught on video and went viral online after he supposedly didn't pay a subway fare for his young daughter was actually taken into custody for not paying his fare in Philadelphia, SEPTA police said. But now the altercation between him and police is under scrutiny.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Police Chief Thomas Nestel said Ellis Smith skipped out on the $2.25 payment while entering the westbound tracks of SEPTA's Market-Frankford El at the Margaret-Orthodox station Thursday afternoon. A cashier notified police which dispatched an officer to investigate.

A video of the incident was posted to Facebook by the mother of another passenger claiming the 20-year-old father was being harassed for not paying the toddler's fare. Children under 4 ride for free.

The video showed a number of police grabbing Smith as he clutched his daughter, in her pink dress and with braids in her hair, near a subway platform wall. Outrage swiftly ensued as people demanded answers about the arrest.

The officer, a 16-year veteran whose name hasn't been released, spent more than five minutes asking Smith to provide ID and step off the train, surveillance video showed and Nestel said at a briefing Friday. At one point, the officer tried to physically pull the man from his seat, grabbed him by the neck and threw him into the train's wall while holding the girl, video showed.

"We don’t teach people to grab persons by the throat," Nestel said of the interaction.

Eventually, Smith was partially handcuffed and removed from the train. He apparently tried to swing at officers as they attempted to remove the girl from his arms, Nestel said. Another rider was handed the child and the man arrested.

"It was frustrating to watch," said Ahmad Najam, who recorded the video that went viral. He moved from the back of the train after hearing passengers complain about the scuffle.

"The guy was saying cite me right here. I’ve got things to do," Najam recalled. He said the father and officer were cursing back and forth at each other during the exchange. Some passengers offered to pay the fare for Smith to stop the argument, he said.

"That’s not acceptable. I think excessive force was used for a $2.25 fare," he said.

SEPTA police have led an aggressive campaign to crack down on fare evaders — issuing 5,100 citations last year. Nestel frequently tweets surveillance photos of evaders being issued citations. He credits the push with a 30 percent drop in violent crime on the transit system.

But Friday, Nestel said it appears top brass have been sending the rank-and-file too strong a message on the issue.

Asked why the he didn't walk away from the father seeing potential harm to the child, the officer told a supervisor he feared disciplinary action had he let Smith go.

"That’s a failure on my part," Nestel said.

A highly-visible and frank police leader, Nestel has made many changes since taking over the 270 officer force in 2012 including arresting panhandlers, piloting body cameras and starting a campaign asking parents not to teach their kids to be scared of police.

"I never want a child's safety jeopardized ... While a successful campaign to reduce crime worked for us, but it didn't work yesterday afternoon for a little child over a fare evasion," the chief said.

A handful of protesters lined up outside SEPTA headquarters along Market Street following the news conference. They demanded disciplinary action for the officers.

"It was no reason to put that child, that black baby, that precious black baby, in jeopardy at all, for a damn citation," Asa Khalif said. He called for the officer to be pulled from duty.

An internal affairs investigation is underway, as is standard procedure, Nestel said.

The child was returned to her mother as Smith was cited for the fare evasion as well as disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Once the dust settled, the officer and father did shake hands and the man said he acted inappropriately, according to Nestel.

Attempts to reach Smith have been unsuccessful and it's unclear if he's retained an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBC10

Family Marches for Dad Shot by LAPD


Family members and friends marched Saturday night in support of a man who remains in a medically induced coma after being shot by Los Angeles Police Department officers in Los Feliz.

Relatives of Walter DeLeon handed out gray towels similar to the one they say the 48-year-old father often carried on his walks through the neighborhood.

Police say DeLeon's hands were covered with a cloth during a confrontation June 19, leading officers to believe he was pointing a gun at them. After the shooting, police learned that the DeLeon was unarmed.

The march Saturday night ended at Griffith Park, where they prayed for DeLeon, who remains in critical condition.

"Justice not just for us, but for whoever goes through this. It's not justifiable to what they've done to a family member," said DeLeon's niece, Zulema Pivarel.

The family disputes the LAPD's claim that DeLeon may have been trying to provoke officers to shoot him. LAPD officials said DeLeon approached officers in a squad car in an aggressive manner. When DeLeon allegedly refused to comply with their orders, officers shot him four times, officials said.

"It honestly angered me and my sister and my whole family because we know him and he wouldn't do such a thing," said the man's son, William DeLeon.

Victor Flores flew to Los Angeles from Texas when he heard what happened to his best friend.

"I know they're out there to protect and to serve, but when an officer does what he did, we don't feel safe anymore, we can't approach a police officer anymore," Flores said.

The officer who shot DeLeon was identified by the LAPD as nine-year law enforcement veteran Cairo Palacios.

LAPD officials say witnesses have corroborated the officers' account that DeLeon was acting aggressively.

The shooting remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: KNBC

GOP Official Under Fire Over Flying Confederate Flag


State Sen. Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) is urging the resignation of a Republican state central committee member over comments he said he made on social media and flying the Confederate flag.

The committee member in question who Fasano named is GOP State Central Committee member Scott Veley, of the Kensington section of Berlin. The Connecticut Post reported that Veley flew the flag at his house and that he posted on Facebook, "I will not give in to this Politically Correct absurdity -- Flying the 'Stars & Bars today in protest."

This comes amid controversy over a Confederate flag flying outside South Carolina's state capitol in the wake of the murder of nine black churchgoers at a bible study.

The post is not currently on the Facebook page under his name.

“One hundred-fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the confederate flag still represents slavery, still represents the bloody war fought in defense of slavery, still represents prejudice and oppression," Fasano said. "Mr. Veley has a constitutional right to freedom of speech, and he displays the Confederate flag on private property, but that flag is a reflection of bigotry, divisiveness and hate. It is not representative of the values of the Republican Party or of Connecticut Republicans."

Fasano called Veley’s actions "a distraction from the policy initiatives of Republicans in our state and our efforts to advance legislation that moves our state forward and rejects intolerance and prejudice"

"Mr. Veley is a member of the Republican State Central Committee. This action by someone in Mr. Veley’s position is unacceptable," Fasano said. "I join with others in condemning in the strongest of terms the display of the Confederate flag. I also strongly urge Mr. Veley to resign from his position with the state party.”

Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst also posted on Twitter Saturday, "Republican State Central Committee member Scott Veley should resign based on his recent conduct. #TakeItDown.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton also weighed in, tweeting, "There are 2 other SCC members who 'Iiked' Mr. Veley's post. Along with Mr Veley they should end their membership on SCC and our party."

NBC Connecticut reached out to Veley for comment but could not immediately reach him.

Route 341 Closed in Kent

Hartford Community Remembers Victims of Violence


Dozens of people remembered victims of violence at an event in Sigourney Park in Hartford on Sunday.

It was the 11th Annual Day of Remembrance organized by Mothers United Against Violence.

This day paid special remembrance to the people killed since last June.

“It must stop and it can stop,” Giselle Jacobs, of Hartford, said.

The grim total just increased to 26.

“We figured if we can have a day of remembrance that we can get folks together and so these lives, celebrate these lives because these lives meant so much to some people,” Rev. Henry Brown, of Mothers United Against Violence, said.

Henrietta Beckman knows what the 26 families are going through.

She lost her son Randy in 2002.

Beckman shows up here every year.

“Not only do I keep the memory of my son alive but also the memory of the parents who have lost children in this city,” says Beckman.

Organizers say this was also a call to action.

They want to prevent more lives from being taken in the next year.

“It’s just important to speak out against violence because even though it keep happening you never know whose ears it may touch to stop them from committing a crime,” says Beckman.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New State Police Spokesman Transferring


The new public information officer for the state police is transferring from the role to Troop C in Tolland.

State police Sgt. Shane Hassett was named public information officer in March to replace longtime state police spokesperson Lt. J. Paul Vance. After three months on the job, Hassett is transferring back to Troop C, which is where he worked before he became state police spokesman, according to Trooper Kelly Grant, who serves as the second public information officer for state police.

Hassett told NBC Connecticut that he requested the transfer last week "due to a desire to spend more time with my family."

"The position requires someone willing to be available 24 hours of the day and after 3 months, I decided that it wasn't going to be a good fit for me at this point in my career," Hassett said.

For now, Grant said she will be the primary point of contact for state police, but that Hassett may still be in the office "until his transfer takes effect."

Plane Crashes into Mass. House


Multiple people are dead after a plane crashed into a house Sunday in Plainville, Massachusetts.

The Beechcraft BE36, which took off from Lancaster Airport in Pennsylvania, went down on Bridle Path around 5:45 p.m.

There were multiple fatalities in the crash - investigators say there were no apparent survivors on board. According to fire officials, it is believed that at least three people were killed, but the exact number is unknown.

The house caught fire after the crash. The family of four inside the home escaped safely.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirms the plane was heading for Norwood Memorial Airport.

Necn has a crew on the scene. Check back as this story develops.

Photo Credit: Mac Takach
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