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Special Session Underway With Tax and Budget on Tap


Lawmakers convened Monday for a special session to hammer out final details on the budget as well as several other proposals that died in the final moments of the regular session.

The key priorities for the scheduled two-day session are finalizing changes to business taxes, hospital reimbursements and trimming spending.

State Sen. Martin Looney said the Democrats who control the General Assembly listened to business owners and hospitals by rolling back proposed business taxes and delaying one of them for a year.

On hospital spending, lawmakers put more money into the budget after fears of layoffs and service cuts were heavily proliferated by hospitals and their association.

"The extra money for hospitals will also lead to an additional federal match, which is important for hospitals that are operating under unfairly tight margins," Looney said.

Republicans argue that the budget is on a path of disaster following this fiscal year because of projected deficits following the two-year budget cycle.

"This is a very reactive budget from a bad budget that they passed. They tried to do away with some of the bad taxes but now they’ve left us in a bigger hole. This is extremely poor planning. This is a very bad budget. It’s the second-highest tax increase in Connecticut’s history," State Sen. Len Fasano said.

Looney argues that the projections are premature because the revenues have been so volatile in recent years.

Lawmakers will be back in Hartford Tuesday.

New Haven: Greatest Small City in America


There’s a hashtag that’s making its way through New Haven, hoping residents notice all the city has to offer.

#GSCIA stands for "Greatest Small City in America." You may have seen it scrolling through your social media news feeds. While the hashtag isn’t trending yet, it’s reached more than 76,000 users.

Users who search the hashtag can see images and videos portraying music festivals, architecture, shopping and food served up at local restaurants.

"We’ll use that in order to promote our product and tell others who are thinking about coming to New Haven to search that hashtag and see what’s going on," said Chris Candito, co-owner of Temple Grill.

The hashtag was started by Business New Haven and was adopted by city residents.

"There's just always something going on in New Haven and that’s how the hashtag started. Just a way to promote all these things and tie it together," said Lindsey Burke, promotions director for Town Green New Haven.

Camp Builds Relationship Between Officers, Kids


The New Haven Police Department’s summer camp kicked off Monday morning with nearly 300 children attending.

The New Haven Police Activities League, or PAL, camp is free for children ages 8 to 13. It's held at Wilbur Cross High School and lasts five weeks.

Campers play team sports including football, baseball, basketball, swimming and track. They also participate in arts and crafts, music, language arts and mathematics.

The camp counselors are the people you imagine fighting crime: New Haven police officers.

“It’s fun; it’s exciting. I already like it a lot,” said 10-year-old camper Tyler Saxton.

Camp leaders say this year's turnout is their largest ever. The camp is an opportunity for children to not only stay mentally and physically active, but to see officers in a different light.

“Usually, officers are fighting bad guys and stuff, and it’s pretty cool for them to just be at this school and helping us,” said Ty-Mare Lester, who is 10 years old and back for a second year of camp.

“I think that they are role models because they help us. When someone is being disrespectful, they tell them,” added first-time camper Shynelle Pittman.

Officers hope building an officer-camper relationship will help guide children toward a brighter future.

“When the officers and our youth counselors are forming their friendships with the campers, they’re also helping them make better choices and giving them different options… to think twice before they do something wrong,” explained Sgt. Elisa Tuozzoli

The PAL camp takes place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Police substations across the city’s 10 policing districts will serve as bus stops for families who need transportation.

If you’re interested in sending your child to PAL, there is a waiting list.

You can download the camp application here and download the medical application here.

Be Careful Buying a Pet Online: Officials


The Connecticut Better Business Bureau is warning soon-to-be pet owners of the risks buying their furry friends online.

Residents have lost hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars buying so-called purebred puppies from fraudulent websites and dishonest breeders, according to the BBB. Many of these dogs can come from “puppy mills,” where conditions are often inhumane.

“We love our pets, we get excited about them and our emotions often play into these scams,” said BBB Executive Communications Director Howard Schwartz. “Con artists know this and they try to lure clients with various offers, such as a pedigree pup for half of the common market price.”

According to the BBB, many of these deceptive sellers steal photographs and information from other websites and trick the buyer into purchasing a pet that doesn't actually exist. The animals may be priced significantly below market value, but costs add up when pet lovers are asked to pay extra fees.

Sometimes, sellers will ask for wire transfers and will make off with the buyer’s money. Other times, they may steal animals from unsuspecting pet owners and try to resell them over the Internet, the BBB warns.

Officials are urging prospective pet owners to buy animals locally, visit the breeding facility when possible and pick up a new pup in person instead of having it delivered.

Double check to be sure the asking price makes sense, research the reputation of the breeder or seller and make sure to obtain the animal’s medical records and/or a pedigree.

The BBB’s final tip: consider adopting a rescue pet from a local shelter instead.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

New London Firefighters Respond to Motorcycle Crash


Firefighters in New London are spotting to motorcycle crash at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Fair Harbour Place, according to the firefighters' union.

The union tweeted Monday evening that a motorcycle collided with a car. There has been no word on injuries.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske

Man Made Bomb Threats: Officials


A 64-year-old Manhattan man has been arrested, accused of calling in nearly a dozen bomb threats targeting Kennedy Airport travelers and police officers over the course of 16 days in June, authorities say. 

The Morningside Heights man made 11 calls to 911 from June 9 through June 24 to say he was planting chemical bombs and explosives containing nails at JFK. 

In one call placed just after 7 a.m. on June 18, the suspect allegedly told 911 he had three chemical bombs in a BMW and would drive to JFK, saying: "I am going to kill a lot of people at the airport today. It's a pleasure to kill."

He called again at about 8 a.m. to allegedly say: "Muslims are on their way to place a bomb at JFK today." 

Then on June 21, the suspect call 911 and said it was his mission to kill police officers, prosecutors said.

On June 24, he allegedly told 911: "I have a naked police officer in the basement. I am going to kill a lot of officers tonight. I have three bombs I want to place at JFK Airport." 

The suspect was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Saturday on 11 counts of first-degree falsely reporting an incident and making a terroristic threat. He's being held on $750,000 bail and is expected to return to court July 10. 

Port Authority Chief Security Officer Thomas Belfiore said "extensive police resources" were spent investigating the phony threats. 

If convicted, the man faces up t0 7 years in prison. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Woman Struck by Truck in Middletown


A 54-year-old woman is in critical condition after a truck ran her over on Route 17 in Middletown on Monday morning.

Police said a box truck was backing up, struck the woman in the area of 714 South Main Street and dragged her.

Authorities have not identified the woman, but said she lives in the area and they believe she was trying to cross the street when the truck hit her. No sidewalks line the street where the woman was injured.

She suffered head trauma and serious injuries to her lower extremities and she was unconscious when LifeStar transported her to Hartford Hospital.

Police closed the road to investigate.

They have not charged the driver and are looking for witnesses.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is urged to call the Middletown Police Department Traffic Unit 860-638-4060.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Seek Durham Convenience Store Robber


State police are searching for the man who robbed a convenience store on Main Street in Durham early Monday morning.

Police in the robbery happened around 1:45 a.m. at the Fast Mart convenience store attached to a Valero gas station at 384 Main Street/Route 17 in Durham.

The perpetrator stands about 5 feet 8 inches tall and has a lean build, beard and mustache, according to police. He was wearing a blue T-shirt, green pants, sneakers and a dark-colored baseball cap with a red brim at the time of the robber. Police said he wore one red glove and one white glove.

Anyone with information is asked to call State Police Troop F at 860-399-2100. Callers will remain anonymous.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Father and Son Charged in Vernon Armed Bank Robbery


Vernon police have arrested a son accused of robbing a bank on Friday and his father, who’s accused of driving the getaway car.

Police received a report of an armed robbery at the People’s United Bank inside the Stop and Shop Supermarket at 50 Windsorville Road at 5:37 p.m. on Friday.

The caller said a man entered the bank with a handgun, demanded money, ran off with the cash and got into a car waiting in front of the store.

A witness was able to provide police with the license plate number of the getaway vehicle, which police said was registered to Charles Wright, 69, of Vernon.

When police went to his Elm Street address, Jeffrey Wright, 45, of Rockville came out of the apartment and immediately shut the door after seeing police, according to a news release.

Then he opened the door and started walking away from the officer, but the officer approached him and began to ask questions.

Jeffrey Wright then ran and led police on a foot chase through Rockville, until he ducked into a local pharmacy.

Inside, he confronted the store employees and demanded car keys, then punched an employee when no one turned over the keys, police said.

When he ran again, officers apprehended him.

Police said Jeffrey Wright had a significant amount of money on him, which was consistent with the amount stolen from the bank, police said.

A search of Jeffrey’s apartment revealed a loaded .380 handgun, along with clothing consistent with that worn by the robber, police said.

Officers also arrested Jeffrey’s father, Charles Wright, who is accused of driving the car from the scene of the robbery.

Jeffrey Wright was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of third-degree larceny, two counts of second-degree threatening, criminal use of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm, interfering with police and third-degree assault.

He was held over the weekend on a $500,000 bond, appeared in Rockville Court on Monday and remains in custody on $250,000.

Charles Wright was charged with first-degree criminal liability robbery.

He posted a $5,000 bond and appeared in Rockville Superior Court on Monday.

They are both due back in court on July 10. 


Photo Credit: Vernon Police

Man Charged in Deadly Basketball Shooting Faces Judge


A Windsor man facing charges in connection with a deadly shooting at a basketball tournament in Hartford over the weekend phase to judge in court Monday.

Roosevelt Holmes, 23, faces charges of criminal possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge, and attempted first-degree assault.

Police said he is one of three men wounded by gunfire at the "All Xity Shootout," or "Heat on the Street" tournament, at Hartford's Rawson Elementary School on Saturday. A fourth shooting victim died at the hospital.

Holmes, who was shot in the leg, hobbled into the courtroom on crutches Monday.

He is being held on $2 million bond. Holmes' attorney, Gerald Klein, said his client claims self-defense.

Holmes, who was watching the tournament Saturday, told police someone had just stolen his Cartier sunglasses and shot him while he was running away. He then returned fire, according to documents released in court Monday.

Three other men were shot and treated at the hospital. James Headen, 41, of Hartford, later died. Police described Headen as an innocent bystander and said he was shot in the head.

Another shooting victim, who asked not to be identified, called himself lucky in an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut on Monday.

“When you think about it, if you get shot in the hand, you can get shot anywhere. So, yeah, I’m lucky, very lucky,” he said.

The victim said he heard the gunshots and originally thought he had been hurt falling down as chaos erupted at the tournament.

“I didn’t know I even got shot. I just, I just thought I maybe broke my arm or something,” the victim said.

Police were back the school Monday searching for evidence.

They said it’s still unclear how many people opened fire and who is actually responsible for pulling the trigger at what was supposed to be a fun community event.

Former Trooper to Serve Time for Sex Assault of Elderly Woman


The former Connecticut state trooper convicted of sexually assaulting an 81-year-old woman will serve two years in prison, according to the court clerk's office.

Jeffrey LaPorto was arrested last year after the woman’s son reported the incident to police. The victim said she and LaPorto met at a hotel bar Windsor Locks and drank for hours before going up to her hotel room in June 2014, according to police.

LaPorto pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree sexual assault and was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison suspended after he serves two. He will then serve 10 years of probation, the court clerk said.

LaPorto served as a Connecticut State Police trooper for several years prior to his suspension in 2008 and termination in 2010, according to internal documents obtained by NBC Connecticut. He was also the subject of four internal affairs investigations.

Photo Credit: Windsor Locks Police Department

23 Charged in Massive Willimantic Drug Roundup


Police in Willimantic have arrested 23 people as part of a months-long drug roundup.

“Operation Thread City Roundup” is one of the largest groups of arrests Willimantic is seen in years. Police said it started with a tip from the public.

Charges against the 23 arrestees include possession of drugs and possession with intent to sell.

Police said investigators found a large amount of cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine and K2, along with more than $5200 cash. They also confiscated three vehicles as part of the investigation.

One of the people arrested, Jaime Padilla, is accused of shooting a 16-year-old near Main Street in Willimanic last August.

The following people have been arrested:

Susan Davis, 40, sale of heroin
Joshua Wilcox, 22, sale of narcotics
Nelson Rodrigues, 23, sale of cocaine
Isabel Marcano, 36, sale of heroin
Osvaldo Lopez, 18, sale of narcotics
Ashley Easton, 25, sale of narcotics
Nicholas Quinones, 31, sale of narcotics
Christopher Van Putten, 28, sale of cocaine
Jaime Padilla, 19, sale of heroin
Alexander Deleon, 22, sale of cocaine
Pedro Rivera-Santiago, 25, sale of heroin
Thomas Gasper, 39, sale of narcotics
Robert Macha, 49, sale of narcotics
Charles Ward, 31, sale of narcotics
Ruben Colón, 23, sale of narcotics
Alex Rodriguez, 34, sale of cocaine
Ricardo Rivera, 39, sale of narcotics
Julio Rivera, 58, sale of heroin
Esteban Perez, 44, sale of heroin
Alexis Rodriguez, 25, sale of heroin
Carlos Hernandez, 37, sale of heroin
Charles Mills, 35, sale of narcotics
Julio Valdespino, 35, possession of narcotics

All 23 appeared in court Monday.

Photo Credit: Willimantic Police Department

13 Metro-North Workers Indicted in Cheating Scandal


More than a dozen current and former MTA staffers were indicted Monday in connection with a sweeping 2014 scandal at the Metro-North Railroad that involved cheating on exams, authorities say.

The nine conductors and four engineers were all charged with impairing the integrity of a government licensing examination, a felony, for allegedly emailing photos of several different versions of Metro-North safety tests to other candidates, prosecutors said.

The candidates must pass the exams in order to become licensed locomotive engineers or train conductors with the railroad. The tests are designed to evaluate candidates’ knowledge of braking controls, emergency procedures, train traffic signals, speed limits, and the physical characteristics of various Metro-North lines and stations, among other things.

Engineers are also required to pass several tests as part of a triennial re-certification process.

In one of the cheating instances, a suspect allegedly accessed the conductor exam and recorded a portion of it with his cellphone while an instructor was out of the room, then emailed the recorded test to several of his classmates, according to the indictment. In another case, an engineer candidate allegedly emailed photos of complete answer sheets to an engineer who had not yet completed the required three-year re-certification process tests, authorities said.

Ultimately, prosecutors say eight different tests administered at Grand Central Terminal were wrongfully obtained and distributed between November 2011 and May 2014. They have all since been replaced.

One Metro-North engineer who asked not to be identified for fear of employment retaliation told the I-Team last year that when he was a recent trainee, he witnessed a testing session where instructors left the room for 30 to 40 minutes while students filled in answers, opening the door for potential cheating, he said.

"This was during an exam," he said. "You have 10 or 12 students in a room and everybody is just saying, ‘Hey what did you get for A?’ ‘What did you get for 2?’ Nobody is monitoring."

"Anyone can cheat," he added.

In a statement, the MTA said none of the 13 staffers charged Monday had been in passenger service since the agency was notified they would be arrested. No part of the alleged cheating hurt the safety of the railroad, the statement said.

"Safety is Metro-North Railroad’s highest priority, and the railroad is committed to rooting out any activities that fall short of the highest standards," the statement said.

The MTA said that when it first learned of the allegations a year ago, it brought in the MTA Police Department and the MTA Inspector General to investigate. While the agencies were probing the allegations, the MTA disbanded one class of conductor trainees and extended the training of other conductor and locomotive engineer trainees, the transit agency said. Metro-North also began overhauling its testing protocols.

"While these allegations are extremely disturbing, Metro-North is confident that the railroad is safe for its customers and employees, and that every engineer and conductor is competent and qualified to do their jobs," the statement from the MTA said.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Robber Stomps Man's Face


Two men were caught on surveillance video brutally beating and robbing a man on an elevator in a public housing complex in the Bronx.

The 42-year-old man was in an elevator in the Morrisania Houses at about 8 p.m. on June 22 when the two men attacked him, police said.

Surveillance video shows the men confront the victim inside the elevator, then pull him to the ground as he tries to walk out. The victims lies half inside the elevator as the men pummel him and rummage through his pockets. At one point, one of the suspects stomps on the victim’s head several times.

The men got away with $70 in cash and a cell phone, police said. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for swelling to his face and jaw, and an eye injury.

Police say one of the suspects walks with a cane. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

Man Charged in Shelton Car Break-Ins


Police have arrested a Bridgeport man suspected in several car break-ins in Shelton.

Shelton police arrested Jimmie Bennett, 48, of Bridgeport, on Tuesday morning after investigating several car break-ins along the Bridgeport Avenue corridor.

The burglaries happened at area hotels and the owners of the cars would find that someone broke into the vehicles and stole items, police said.

Police arrested Bennett four outstanding arrest warrants and he has been charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree larceny and sixth-degree larceny on each warrant.

He was released on a $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Derby Superior Court on July 13.

Police said other arrests are pending in surrounding towns.

Photo Credit: Shelton Police

Woman With Amnesia Relies on Faith, Social Media


A woman with a thick Australian accent rescued from the streets of Carlsbad, California, and battling cancer has caught the attention of police and FBI agents after doctors confirmed she suffers from a rare case of amnesia.

With the help of social media and a small group of supporters, the woman, known only as Sam, is on a search to find her identity — and possibly a person she may have been in love with.

“I just feel like there’s a thick fog over my mind, my memory, over my brain that I can’t see through,” Sam said. “I can’t remember anything. How I got here? I didn’t have anything on me, no jewelry, no purse, nothing.”

According to Carlsbad police, the case began February 1 when emergency responders found the woman barely conscious near the corner of Tamarack Avenue and Adams Street in the small beach resort community north of San Diego. The woman couldn’t tell emergency responders her name or any personal details. Doctors think the woman's amnesia was brought on by the antibodies of a malignant tumor. Sam has Stage 3 ovarian cancer.

Without a name, social security number, or a bank account, her battle with cancer has been further complicated. Doctors guess she is roughly 50 years old. Despite her situation, she relies on her faith.

“I didn’t feel alone. It felt like someone was holding me and I realized that it was God,” said Sam, who chose her name based on the biblical book of Samuel.

For several months she has had vivid and recurring dreams. Doctors believe such dreams may offer amnesia patients valuable information to help retrace memories.

“I started dreaming of Australia. That was my first recollection of anything. I was in a lap pool. I’d have these incessant dreams. I’ve probably had six or seven dreams initially of lap swimming," she said.

Sam uses words like “bloke” for man and “loo” for bathroom, said she feels a connection with the Australian city of Perth. She also remembers swimming, sailing, and scuba diving. She has said she recalls Hawaii, and describes the feeling of having been there “many, many times.”

She can’t, however, remember the names of any people in her life, but has dreams of a man she thinks she was in love with.

“I wonder about his name. I can’t ever get the name in my dream cause I really want to know, but I know there was someone," Sam said.

The FBI has taken her finger prints and used facial recognition software in an effort to locate her family. A page has also been created for her on the international police information sharing website Interpol. Her case has also gained traction on social media. A Facebook page created by hospital friends has helped gain the attention of the Australian Consulate.

Australian news outlets have picked up the story and tips from down under have begun to pour in.

“I’m hoping that someone sees me, or this (referring to the NBC story), or something on the Internet and my family immediately says ‘there she is!, there she is!’”.

Photo Credit: Facebook photo

Man Charged in Liquor Store Burglary


Police responded to a break-in at an Ellington liquor store on Monday night and arrested a suspect in recent burglaries there.

State troopers and Ellington police have stayed closed to Mark’s Country Wine & Liquor on Main Street because of several burglaries there, and they responded again at 10 p.m. on Monday when an alarm went off indicating that the front door was broken.

A witness told police a man tried to get into the store and fled in a green sedan. The witness was also able to provide the license plate number, so police traced it to the registered owner.

When they found Kevin Burke, of Ellington, they determined he was involved in the recent burglaries and found evidence of such, police said.

Troopers took him into custody and charged him with first-degree burglary, possession of burglar’s tools, second-degree criminal mischief and sixth-degree larceny.

Bond was set at $150,000 and he is due in Rockville Superior Court on Tuesday.

Police said they will be applying for arrest warrants for the previous burglaries at Mark’s Country Wine & Liquor.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Swimming Areas at Chatfield Hollow, Wharton Brook Closed


 The swimming areas at Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth and Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford are closed because of the water quality.

Staff from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection collects water samples at state park beaches and the public health lab tests them for water quality.

Resampling is being scheduled.

All other state park beaches are open.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Attacking Humans Not Part of Sharks' Migration Habits: Study


The sight of tiger sharks off the coast of South Florida can cause panic, but discoveries in a five-year research study into migration patterns show they travel 5,000 miles in sophisticated, predictable patterns every year and have highly evolved traits which are not designed for attacking humans.

"Sharks are there doing their own business, they're keeping the oceans healthy, they're not there to eat people," says Nova Southeastern University Professor Mahmood Shivji.

The researchers at Nova Southeastern University Guy Harvey Research Institute have been catching and tagging tiger sharks with satellite transmitters since 2010, and now they've just published their discoveries.

"We have tiger sharks that travel over 5,000 miles, making round trip loops, every year, going back to the same place in the winter, spending winters there in the Bahamas or the eastern Caribbean and spending the summers way out there in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean," said Shivji, senior researcher on the project.

The sharks build up an incredible amount of mileage, swimming from north of Bermuda near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, south to the Bahamas, Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos, and other nearby islands. No one knows how they navigate back to the same places in such a predictable pattern.

"We think they're using the earth's magnetic field as a means of orientation, there are no road signs out there, they don't have a GPS, how does that work?" said Shivji, laughing in amazement at the tiger shark's abilities.

The NSU scientists are also studying mako sharks, and finding they have similar migration patterns. All sharks, Shivji says, are crucial elements to a healthy ocean.

"They're very important to the marine ecosystem, they play the same role as wolves in Yellowstone or lions on the Serengeti in Africa," Shivji explained.

The satellite transmitters are electrical engineering marvels, but they usually don't last more than a year or two at the most. Also, they have to be above water and the satellite has to be in the correct position at the moment the shark's dorsal fin comes up in order for data to be transmitted. That's why getting three year's worth of data to track sharks is such a treasure trove of information. Turns out tiger sharks have a lot in common with tourists.

"It's a pattern, it's like snowbirds leaving New York and coming down to Florida every year for the winter, then going back to New York the next season, it's just like that," said Dr. Shivji.

There's also an immediate, practical application to the migration information, because now the sharks can be protected from overfishing.

"We know where they are, we know when they go, sharks have been overfished badly all over the place, we can now implement protection and management measures where they spend a lot of time," explains Dr. Shivji.

A handful of shark attacks on humans gets tons of attention every year, but with the world's shark population being decimated by commercial fishing, it's sharks who need protection from humans. The research being done at NSU may help sharks survive.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com

Walmart Apologizes for Making ISIS Flag Cake


A Louisiana man said he got Walmart to bake him a cake featuring the flag of the Islamic State after the store refused to make him a cake decorated with the Confederate battle flag and the caption, “Heritage not hate.”  

Activist Chuck Netzhammer posted a YouTube video in which he said he had a Walmart in Slidell, Louisiana, make the ISIS cake to show the store's hypocrisy in banning Confederate flag-themed products but not, apparently, ISIS-themed ones.

“Hi, Walmart, you’ve got some explaining to do,” he said in the video. “I went to buy a printed cake from y’all the other day with this image on it and y’all wouldn’t do it. I’ve got proof. Went back yesterday and managed to get an ISIS battle flag printed. ISIS happens to be somebody we’re fighting against right now who are killing our men and boys overseas and are beheading Christians.”

Walmart spokesman John Forrest Ales said in a statement to NBC Owned Stations on Tuesday: "Our talented bakery associates take pride in what they create for our customers. It's unfortunate that one customer sought to take advantage of an associate who did not know the flag or its meaning. This cake should not have been made and we apologize for the mistake." 

Walmart joined other companies, including Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Sears and Target, in removing Confederate flag-themed items from their sites and stores. The business decision came in the wake of the July 17 mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Photographs of alleged shooter Dylann Roof emerged online showing him posing with the Confederate battle flag

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