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Man With BB Gun Near Obama Motorcade Route Arrested: Cops


Bloomfield police took a man into custody on Monday afternoon when he was found with a BB gun  near the route President Barack Obama's motorcade was taking, according to police. 

Police said on Monday that a man was standing near the intersection of Charter Avenue and Cottage Grove Road while President Obama's motorcade passed and that officers noticed him him pacing back and forth before pulling out what appeared to be rifle.

On Tuesday, police said Joseph Stravinskas, 27, was shooting at cans behind a house about half an hour before the presidential motorcade came by.

President Obama was in Connecticut on Monday afternoon to meet with families who lost loved ones during the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

Then, he delivered an address at the University of Hartford, calling on Congress to bring new gun control proposals to a vote.  

Police from several departments were securing the motorcade route and a Simsbury detective heard a noise from the back of a home at Central Avenue and Cottage Grove Road at 5:50 p.m., a few miles away from the university, and went to see if someone was hiding in the woods, police said. 

The detective found Stravinskas with what appeared to be a rifle, aiming at cans propped as targets and ordered him to drop the weapon, police said.

When Stravinskas turned, he dropped his aim, ultimately complied with police orders and was taken into custody. 

Police seized the gun and determined it was a pellet rifle, police said.

Stravinskas told police he was homeless, had been staying at the 7 Central Avenue for a few days and his actions had nothing to do with the presidential motorcade. Secret Service also spoke with Stravinskas and officials determined that his actions had nothing to do with the presidential motorcade.

The presidential motorcade came by at 6:20 p.m., without any incidents.

Stravinskas was charged with breach of peace in the second degree, threatening in the second degree and interfering with an officer. 

He was held on a $15,000 bond and is due in court on Tuesday.

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Cookie Monster Accused of Pushing Boy, 2, in Times Sq


Police arrested a man dressed as Cookie Monster in Times Square for allegedly pushing a 2-year-old Stamford boy after becoming angry the child's mother didn't give him a tip, the mother said. 

The mother, a Bollywood star, according to the New York Daily News, told police the costumed Sesame Street character became aggressive after she snapped a photo of him with her son, although she told NBC 4 New York they were approached first by the man in the costume. 
"We were walking in his direction, but we did not approach him. We did not speak to him," said Parmita Kurada. "He just came and he just picked up Samay and said, 'Come, come, come. Come take a picture with us.'" 
She said the man in the Cookie Monster suit demanded $2 and started pushing her boy. When she told him her husband needed to get cash, he began to verbally assault the woman, according to Kurada, cursing at her and calling her son offensive names.
"I cannot even repeat what he was saying," said Kurada. "I've never had anyone say that to me. And worse was he was cursing at my kids." 
The man in the suit then allegedly pushed the boy's stroller so hard he tumbled out onto the ground. The boy was not injured.

The man in the suit, 33-year-old Osvaldo Quiroz-Lopez, was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, law enforcement sources said.

He was arraigned on Monday and his lawyer denied the charges, saying there was no evidence of injury to the boy.
Quiroz-Lopez's work partner, who dresses in an Elmo costume, did not give his name but said at the arraignment that Quiroz-Lopez "didn't do this."
Kurada said her young son can no longer bear to see or play with Cookie Monster. When asked why he didn't like the big blue friendly monster as portrayed on Sesame Street, the boy told NBC 4 New York, "Because Cookie Monster gave me a boo boo." 

Photo Credit: Karuda Family for NBCNewYork

Worker's Arm Severed in Gruesome Accident


An employee suffered a gruesome arm injury at a Hamden company Tuesday morning.

Hamden police responded to Modern Materials at 2891 State Street around 11:15 a.m. for a report of a worker with an amputated arm.

Arriving officers found a 20-year-old employee whose arm had nearly been severed above the elbow, according to police.

The man was working in an area of the plant where top soil is screened, when his arm became caught in a conveyor belt, police said. A co-worker shut down the conveyor and another cut the belt, freeing the victim.

Hamden firefighters treated the man and rushed him to Yale-New Haven Hospital. Police have not released the victim's name pending notification of his family. His condition was not available Tuesday evening.

Modern Materials provides sand, fill and asphalt millings, according to the company's website.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Hamden police are investigating the accident.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Trooper Wounded in Shootout Released From Hospital


The state police trooper shot while trying to apprehend two robbery suspects on Monday has been identified as Det. Scott Wisner, a 21-year veteran of the Department.

The incident began when Old Saybrook police responded to an armed robbery at the Days Inn at 1430 Boston Post Road around 3 p.m. on Monday.  The suspects fled the scene and led officers on a chase.  State police troopers joined the pursuit. The suspects drove up Route 153 and were involved in a collision with a trooper's vehicle on the Westbrook town line with Essex, according to police.

The suspects then exchanged gunfire with Det. Wisner and Sgt. Keith Graham, police said. Wisner suffered gunshot wounds to the shoulder and was taken by another trooper to the Shoreline Medical Clinic in Westbrook for treatment for severe, but non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

Det. Wisner was released from the hospital on Tuesday and is recovering at home.

The two suspects were also transported to the clinic. One suspect died at the clinic. The Office of the Chief State's Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine how the suspect died, police said.

The second suspect was transported by LifeStar helicopter to Hartford Hospital for treatment of severe injuries.

Neither suspect has been identified.

State police investigators returned to the scene on Route 153 in Westbrook on Tuesday to collect evidence.

Sgt. Graham was assigned to administrative duties pending the investigation into the shooting, which is standard procedure after a police-involved shooting.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Body Found Behind Stratford McDonald's


Police are investigating the discovery of a body behind a McDonald's in Stratford on Tuesday.
"I heard something about body and disturbing so I came back down," said Courtney Christensen, who lives just down the street from this McDonald's.
She couldn't believe a crime scene was unfolding in front of her.
"It's scary. I walk down here every day with my dog and I'd never think that."
Stratford Police say  just before 1 p.m. Tuesday they were called to check out a body found in the woods on West Avenue near Barnum Avenue. Investigators say an unidentified man was found dead in the wooded area behind the dumpster.
"I expect bad things to happen but not to this extent," said Steve Keiser of Bridgeport. "Not where kids and people come every day to eat."
Police have not identified the man and have not determined the time or cause of death, or if foul play was involved, according to Lt. Frank Eannotti of the Stratford Police Department.
Once the Medical Examiner confirms the identity of the body, police will determine a cause of death.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Seymour Armed Bank Robbery Caught on Camera


Seymour police are investigating after a man walked into  Webster Bank this afternoon and demanded money from a teller.
Around 3 p.m.,  police received several 911 calls reporting a robbery in progress at 15 New Haven Rd. 
According to police, the suspect robbed a bank customer who was sitting inside of his car in the parking lot of the bank. The suspect smashed the window of the vehicle and robbed the patron at gunpoint.
The suspect then ran inside the bank, displayed a black handgun, climbed over the counter and filled a small black backpack with money.
He exited the building and drove away in a green Ford Taurus. The amount of money that the suspect stole is still undetermined.
The Ford Taurus was later found in Beacon Falls. Police believe the suspect  switched vehicles and drove away in a red Toyota Prius with an accomplice.
Police describe the suspect as a black male, approximately 5’6” with a stocky build. He was wearing black shoes, blue style sweatpants with camouflage pants underneath.  The suspect also wore a navy blue, hooded, zippered style sweat jacket with white sleeves and a mask, possible a stocking, to conceal his identity. 
The robbery remains under investigation. Anyone with any information or who may have observed anything suspicious is asked to contact the Seymour Police Department at 203-881-7601. There is reward money available for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the suspect.

Robin Kelly Easily Wins Congressional Race for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Former Seat


Robin Kelly will head to Washington, D.C. this week to become the next congresswoman from Illinois.

With 76 percent of precincts reporting as of 8:30 p.m. local time, Kelly had earned 74 percent of the vote, trumping ballots cast for her closest challenger, Republican Paul McKinley, for the chance to represent the state's Second Congressional District.

The 56-year-old congresswoman-elect, who replaces convicted former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., said she'll head to Congress with a priority list.

"Legislatively, gun safety and gun control, of course. Immigration reform. I'm stepping into all of it, it seems, like at the right time," she said earlier in the day.

Kelly will have big shoes to fill: Jackson was a 17-year incumbent who served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and brought home nearly $1 billion to the district. He also had strong relationships with mayors, activists and voters across the district that includes city neighborhoods, suburbs and some rural areas.

Jackson resigned in November. He pleaded guilty in February in federal court to lavishly misspending $750,000 in campaign funds.

Kelly received big name endorsements, including from President Barack Obama, and received a huge boost from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's super PAC, which supported her gun control stance.

Also, the district is solidly Democratic and has been for about six decades. McKinley is an ex-con-turned-community activist who barely won his primary.

Early estimates showed low voter turnout in parts of the district, especially the city. Tuesday's special election coincided with municipal contests in other parts of the state; Chicago held its municipal contests in 2011.

Only 8 percent of city voters showed up at the polls, according to early estimates, with an expected turnout of roughly 12 percent by day's end. In the suburbs, the number was higher.

Independents Elizabeth Pahlke, Marcus Lewis and Curtis Bay, as well as Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones, were also on Tuesday's ballot.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Paul Nichols, NBC Chicago

Calif. Lawmakers Move to Curb Celeb "Swatting"


A bill that would increase penalties in "swatting" cases — placing false emergency calls in an effort to prompt a police response, often to a celebrity home — passed a California Senate committee Tuesday as the Los Angeles City Council also considered the issue following a series of high-profile cases.

Bill Text: Senate Bill 333

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz introduced a motion Tuesday, asking the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would require offenders to pay restitution for "swatting" cases. The motion asks the attorney to report back in 30 days.

The cases usually involve celebrity homes, such as Friday's false reports involving the homes of entertainers Selena Gomez and Justin Timberlake.

"These 'swatting' incidents pose a threat to public safety, not only because they tie up much needed LAPD resources, but also because officers responding to these fake incidents have been injured," Koretz's motion stated. "Sources inside the LAPD feel it's only a matter of time before an officer gets killed as a result of a 'swatting' incident."

In Sacramento Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Public Safety approved SB333. The bill proposes penalties — including jail time — for anyone convicted of placing the false report.

The bill advanced to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it will be subject to a fiscal review within a month.

"We've been told by law enforcement agencies that each swatting incident costs between several thousand dollars to, potentially, $10,000 or more," said Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance).

Police responded to Gomez's home in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday after a caller reported that someone had been killed at the residence. About two hours earlier, police responded to Timberlake's Hollywood Hills home after a false "shots fired" call.

On Thursday, police received several false reports of a shooting and armed robbery at Rihanna's home in the city's Pacific Palisades area. Police descended on Sean "Diddy" Combs' Toluca Lake home on Wednesday after receiving a phony call that there was a shooting in the area.

"They must be brought to justice," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore. "And, they must go to jail, which is by we're working with the state legislature to make this a felony."

Lieu's bill calls for a minimum of four months in jail for anyone convicted of filing the false report. The offender also would be liable for police costs related to the response.

SB333 would make the crime a felony if someone is injured during the response. In such cases, the offender could face up to three years in jail.

The current penalty for a false 911 report — a misdemeanor — is up to one year in jail.

The term "swatting" is derived from the acronym for the Special Weapons and Tactics unit. Members are highly trained in military-style weapons and tactics used during barricade-hostage situations and other high-risk operations.

Past "swatting" calls have prompted significant responses, but that was not the case last week.

"During one of the recent cases, rather than sending a bunch of cars up there, we sent one individual who checked with the owner — it was nothing," said LAPD Commander Andrew Smith.

Whitmore and Smith said authorities have improved techniques to detect a call's origin.

"They use a lot of sophisticated computer work to mask where they are," Smith said. "They call from other parts of the country or parts of the state. But we have some pretty sharp folks working in our computer crimes division."

UConn Women Reign Again, Top Louisville 93-60

Connecticut forward Breanna Stewart (30) tries to hang on to the ball against Louisville guard Shoni Schimmel (23) and Louisville forward Sara Hammond (00) during first half of the national championship game of the women's Final Four of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Tuesday, April 9, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Babysitter Accused of Kicking 1 Year Old


Police have charged a Rockville man with assaulting a 1-year-old baby he was babysitting.

Mark Robert, 24, was arrested at his apartment on Oak Street on Monday. Robert resisted arrest and interfered with officers as they tried to put him into a police cruiser, according to police.

Robert is accused of assaulting the 13-month-old child of an acquaintance on Jan. 17. He was babysitting the child and became upset, kicking the baby into an entertainment center and causing serious injuries to the child, according to police.

The baby was treated at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford and was released into the custody of the Department of Children and Families after a few days.

Robert was held on $15,000 bond and appeared in court on charges of second-degree assault, cruelty to persons, risk of injury, two counts of making a false statement and resisting/interfering with police.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police

6 Potential Victims of Miss Porter’s Teacher: Warrant


Police said a former teacher and coach at the prestigious Miss Porter’s School for girls in Farmington is accused of sexually assaulting one teenage student and might have had inappropriate conversations or shared text messages with at least five others, according to the arrest warrant application.

Joseph Prem Rajkumar, 42, who lived in a residence the school owned, was arrested on a warrant in March and charged with three counts of sex assault, according to a Farmington Police press arrest log.

Rajkumar was charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of fourth degree sex assault. 

The offense dates are listed as May 2010, December 2011 and February 2012 and all three charges state that the accused is a school employee and the other person is a "student enrolled in a school in which the actor works, or a school under the jurisdiction of the local or regional board of education which employs the actor."

Police began investigating on March 6, after a school guidance counselor contacted the Department of Children and Families and reported allegations of inappropriate conversations and texts between Rajkumar and at least five of his current students, between the ages of 15 and 18. DCF then contacted police.

Police said investigators received information that Rajkumar had sexual relations with one student during the 2011 to 2012 school year, the warrant states.

He admitted to police that he communicated with students through a gmail account and the e-mails were not appropriate, according to the warrant.

One of the victims described interactions with Rajkumar started as groping, then the conversations became sexual after she turned 16. The sexual intercourse started when she was 17 in the back closet of Rajkumar's classroom, and sometimes happened several times per week, the warrant states.

The victim told police that she waited to report Rajkumar because she was afraid that the high school would take away her diploma and she would have to leave college.

Rajkumar acknowledged a sexual relationship with the teen and agreed to submit a written statement, but only after going home and confessing to his wife, the warrant states.

Miss Porter’s is an elite and internationally acclaimed boarding and day school for girls with some high-profile alumnae, including Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and Gloria Vanderbilt. 

A statement from Miss Porter's says Rajkumarwas a science teacher at the school from August 2009 through March 4, 2013.

A post on Miss Porter’s Web site from August 2009 welcoming new faculty stated that Rajkumar joined the school from Conserve School in Wisconsin, where he served as a physics/mathematics instructor for eight years. He was also a junior varsity soccer and track coach.

Rajkumar was held on $500,000 bond and appeared in court on April 9.

Police said they have not interviewed the additional potential victims.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Farmington Police

Man Arrested for Threats Near White House


A man was arrested and charged with making felony threats after an investigation into a suspicious vehicle near the White House Wednesday morning.

Krzyztof Wasik is being held by police. The scene of the investigation was cleared before 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The Secret Service, assisted by D.C. and National Park Police, investigated the vehicle after someone indicated there was a device inside it, reported NBC Washington reported.

The investigation, began shortly before 5 a.m and led to the closure of several District streets as a precaution, which complicated the early morning commute.


Parents Accused of Kidnapping Kids, Fleeing to Cuba, Jailed in Tampa


The Florida couple accused of kidnapping their own children and fleeing to Cuba on a boat were booked into a Tampa jail early Wednesday morning after they were handed over to U.S. authorities.

Sharyn Patricia Hakken, 34, and husband Joshua Michael Hakken, 35, are facing several charges including kidnapping, child neglect, burglary and interference with custody, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office jail records.

Both were being held without bond and it was unknown whether they have attorneys.

Authorities say Joshua Michael Hakken kidnapped his sons, 4-year-old Cole and 2-year-old Chase, from his mother-in-law's house north of Tampa. The boys' maternal grandparents had been granted permanent custody of the boys last week.

The children are safe and are expected to be returned to their maternal grandparents later Wednesday.

The boys' grandfather, Bob Hauser, thanked family and friends for their prayers and authorities for their help in finding his grandchildren.

"We are very appreciative of that, and it was very, very comforting to my wife and I to know that that was going on," Hauser said.
On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry official Johana Tablada said in a statement that Cuba had informed U.S. authorities of the country's decision to turn over the couple and their children.
The Hakkens had been spotted alongside their boat, Salty, docked at Havana's Hemingway Marina. A Cuban official said that the ministry alerted the U.S. authorities that the boat arrived in the Marina on April 7 at 3:20 p.m. during poor weather conditions.

Tablada said Cuba tipped the State Department off to the Hakkens' presence on Sunday and that from that moment "diplomatic contact has been exchanged and a professional and constant communication has been maintained."

The U.S. and Cuba share no extradition agreement and the island nation is also not a signatory of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an international treaty for governmental cooperation on such cases.

Hakken lost custody of his sons last year after a drug possession arrest in Louisiana and later tried to take the children from a foster home at gunpoint, authorities said.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Hakken entered his mother-in-law's Florida house last Wednesday, tied her up and fled with his sons. Federal, state and local authorities searched by air and sea for a boat Hakken had recently bought. The truck Hakken, his wife and the boys had been traveling in was found Thursday, abandoned in Madeira Beach, Fla.

Photo Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

Group Travels to DC for Immigration Reform


A group is traveling from New Haven to Washington, DC this morning to lobby for federal immigration reform.  

The local group is expected to join tens of thousands of people for a rally on Capitol Hill to put
pressure on President Barack Obama to sign a bill for what they call commonsense immigration reform.

Supporters of the legislation want the federal government to enact law that would include a realistic path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“We're going to have about 150,000,” Timothy Eakins, an immigration activist, said. “This has to be a humane and fair reform."

The rally in Washington begins at 3:30 p.m.

The Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance organized rallies in Danbury, New Haven and Bridgeport on Tuesday and in Stamford and Hartford on Wednesday.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bristol Man Critically Injured in Southington Crash


A Bristol man is in critical condition after a crash just before 1:30 a.m. in Southington.

Police said Michael Carlone, 30, of Bristol, lost control of his car on South End Road by Meriden Avenue at 1:28 a.m. on Wednesday, and the car flipped on its roof, went off the road and landed back on its tires.

Emergency crews treated Carlone at the scene. Then, he was transported to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, where he is in critical but stable condition.

Police ask anyone with information about the crash to call Officer Jeremy Busa at 860-621-0101 or e-mail jbusa@southingtonpolice.org.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Fire Damages Ledyard House


Two children and an adult got out of a single-family house on South Glenwood Road in Ledyard during a fire early Wednesday morning, but the residence is heavily damaged.

The fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Dies at Plainfield Town Hall Pool


A Danielson man is dead after an incident at the pool Plainfield Town Hall around 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Plainfield Police Department responded to a report of a drowning at the public pool and learned that Glenn Gavis, 38, of Danielson, had been swimming in the pool with his son and other family members and lifeguards found him unconscious and pulled him from the water, police said. 

Lifeguards performed CPR until medical crews arrived.

Glenn was transported to the Plainfield Backus Emergency Room, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said the swimming pool remained close for a few hours while Plainfield police investigated. 

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will be conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of death.


Photo Credit: NBC New York

Grandmother, Grandson Hurt in ATV Accident


A grandmother and her 4-year-old grandson were injured when the ATV they were riding slammed into a garage in Vernon Tuesday.

Police responded to Brandy Hill Road near Reservoir Road around 6:30 p.m..

According to police, the woman was on the ATV with her grandson when she accidentally hit the gas and drove the vehicle into a garage door.

The grandmother was flown by LifeStar helicopter to Hartford Hospital with lacerations. The boy was transported to Connecticut Children's Medical Center by ambulance. Both were conscious and alert at the scene, police said.

A 6-year-old was also on the ATV, but was not injured.

Police did not release the names of the victims.

No charges will be filed, since the incident occurred on private property, according to police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Name This Seal Pup


A harbor seal that survived a life-threatening infection and a flipper amputation is now known as Pup 49, but Mystic Aquarium wants your help to find a more suitable name for her.

Pup 49 is the seal's rehabilitation number, and volunteers at Mystic Aquarium, who cared for the harbor seal during her rehabilitation selected five names, all names of harbors, for public voting -- Coral, Grace, Hope, Madison and Mystic – and you can vote online through Sunday, April 21.

The seal came to Mystic Aquarium’s Seal Rescue Clinic on July 16, 2012, after New England Aquarium rescued her in Plymouth, Massachusetts 10 days earlier.

She was suffering from a respiratory ailment and swollen rear, left flipper. Despite intensive treatment for her flipper, the seal developed a life-threatening infection in her bone and ankle joint that continued to get worse.

On Nov. 26, Mystic Aquarium’s veterinary team amputated the seal’s infected flipper.

She has recovered well but NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service decided she cannot be released because she is a weaker, less agile swimmer and requires more effort to haul out of the water compared to seals with two rear flippers.

So now, Pup 49 is living at Mystic Aquarium’s Aquatic Animal Study Center, where she has a special ramp that helps her get out of the water with ease.

You can see her through at least Sunday, April 28, when she will then be moved off display for training.

Photo Credit: Mystic Aquarium/Abigail Pheiffer

Bristol Gun Maker Plans to Leave the State


PTR Industries, a Bristol company that makes semi-automatic rifles, plans to leave the state because of the state's new gun control laws and the company is calling for other gun businesses to leave with them.

The company posted a statement on its Web site, as well as its Facebook page, saying new legislation was put together hastily and restricts the ability of parents to defend their children.

The company said the bill has ambiguous definitions, as well as insufficient considerations for the trade and conflicting mandates.

“The rights of the citizens of CT have been trampled upon. The safety of its children is at best questionably improved from the day of the tragedy that triggered the events that lead us here. Finally, due to an improperly drafted bill, manufacturing of modern sporting rifles in the State of CT has been effectively outlawed. With a heavy heart but a clear mind, we have been forced to decide that our business can no longer survive in Connecticut – the former Constitution state,” the statement says.

PTR Industries, formerly known as PTR-91 Inc., says it does not have a specific location in mind to relocate to, but will be “actively considering offers from states that are friendly to the industry” and plans to identify a new site within six weeks and complete the move by the end of the year.

“We have extended the invitation to join us in the move to all of our employees, as well as all of our vendors. We are pleased to say that we currently have commitments to move from a majority of our employees, which includes ALL of our management personnel, engineering staff and skilled gunsmiths,” the statement says.

The company has between 20 and 49 employees, according to the state Department of Labor’s Web site.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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