<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Sat, 30 May 2015 03:27:36 -0700 Sat, 30 May 2015 03:27:36 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres Have A Grand Old Time At Petco Park]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 23:04:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/GettyImages-475207340.jpg

One of the many amazing things about baseball is; a bad night can become a great night in the blink of an eye.

Friday night at Petco Park the Pirates thought they were on their way to an 8th straight win. Then a couple of Padres had great games with one swing of the bat, and the Friars had themselves a walk-off, 6-2 win.

In the 7th inning the Padres were down 2-0. With runners at first and second with nobody out Abraham Almonte was sent up to sacrifice the runners over. But, after taking a pair of balls manager Bud Black took off the bunt and gave Almonte the green light.

Abraham lined the next pitch in to the left-centerfield gap for a game-tying, 2-run double. The game stayed tied until the bottom of the 9th inning, when the Padres almost gave up the most golden of opportunities.

A walk and an error put runners at second and third with nobody out. Cory Spangenberg was intentionally walked to load the bases, giving the Padres three shots at scoring the winning run.

Alexi Amarista pinch-hit and grounded a ball to second baseman Neil Walker, who threw home to get one out but Pittsburgh catcher Francisco Cervelli inexplicably held on to the ball instead of completing the double play.

It came back to haunt the Pirates. Yangervis Solarte also grounded out, which would have been the final out of the inning. Instead it kept the bases loaded for Derek Norris. The Padres catcher had struck out in his previous four at-bats. But that fifth one was glorious.

Norris ripped a 1-0 pitch from Rob Scahill over the centerfield wall for a walk-off grand slam.

“This guy’s got a lot of grit and a lot of heart,” said manager Bud Black. “He rose up at the most critical time.”

The second slam of Norris’ career gave the Padres the 6-2 win. Same teams tomorrow night at Petco Park; Padres starter Tyson Ross takes the mound against Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Housing Manager: I Made Mistakes at Facility]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 22:15:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hotel_sanford_1200x675_449730627896.jpg

The former Hotel Sandford manager who is being investigated on possible charges of embezzlement told NBC 7 Investigates Friday he is cooperating with detectives.

Michael Shew was hired by Royal Property Management (RPM) to manage the affordable housing complex from October 2014 until April of this year when he resigned.

In an email to NBC 7 Investigates, Shew said:

"I have spoken with the San Diego Police department and I am working/cooperating with them and their investigation. I made a few serious mistakes in judgement and I am trying to do anything that I can to help correct those mistakes."

NBC 7 Investigates reported last week that RPM lost the Hotel Sandford property management contract this month after the San Diego Housing Commission and SDPD were alerted to possible cases of embezzlement at the complex. RPM was awarded the property management contract last October by the San Diego Housing Commission.

In 2010, the San Diego Housing Commission bought the former hotel and converted the building into housing units for seniors.

The owners of RPM said they hired Michael Shew to run the day-to-day operations of the housing complex when they were awarded the property management contract last year.

Last month, the owners of RPM said they were first alerted that rent checks, made payable to the Hotel Sandford, were not being cashed into the hotel’s accounts.

When RPM brought this to the attention of Shew, the owners said, he submitted his resignation the next day, citing personal health issues.

San Diego Police say the investigation is ongoing.

At this time, no charges have been filed against Michael Shew or RPM’s owners.

<![CDATA[Cut Proposed to Married Military Housing Benefit]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 21:53:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Navy+generic.JPG

When two people serving in the military say “I do,” Congress could soon say “we don't” to paying both service members military housing benefits.

Currently, each spouse serving in the military gets a basic allowance for housing (BAH) to help them cover the cost of living off-base.

But under the Senate Armed Services Committee’s defense authorization bill, only the higher-ranking member in dual-service marriage would draw the housing benefit with a “dependents rate.” The other member would be ineligible.

“There can be a lot of controversy around this, whether that person is considered to be double dipping or not. Both of these service members joined the service under their own contracts; they have their own benefits and their own entitlements. Just because they are married, should they receive less benefits than a single person?” asked Tony Teravainen, CEO of Support the Enlisted Project. The organization helps struggling military families with basic needs and other financial help when they can't pay their bills living on a military salary.

The change is aimed cutting the near $500 billion defense budget, which has had a more than 30 percent increase in personnel spending over the last 14 years.

But this cut may not be so cut and dry. Teravainen said there are 85,000 junior enlisted, lower pay grades in the Navy in San Diego County. “Sixty percent of them are considered low income and 30 percent rely on food assistance regularly to feed their families, so anytime you make any adjustments to military pay, it's a very sensitive issue,” he said.

Members of the military who talked with NBC 7 Friday said this is complicated by a number of other issues. For instance, sometimes married military couples don't live in the same city because the military can't always station couples at the same location.

“I think they should not take that benefit away from them even if they are married. It is expensive to live, period. So if they are going to serve their country, they should get it,” said Penny Sloan.

After moving from the Armed Services Committee, the change has to pass the Senate and the House.

<![CDATA[Jet Fuel Driver Pleads Not Guilty to DUI]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 19:07:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jet+fuel+pic-PIC_0.jpg

The man accused of driving a San Diego International Airport jet fuel tanker while intoxicated has pleaded not guilty to charges against him.

James Stewart, 56, was appointed counsel and arraigned Friday on a DUI charge after his arrest on April 16. According to Harbor Police, Stewart had a blood alcohol content of 0.24, three times the legal limit to drive, when he arrived to work that day.

In court Friday, Stewart swore he did not own a vehicle and would not drive. He was also ordered to attend five Alcoholic Anonymous classes before his next court date scheduled for June 12, according to a spokesman for the city attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the DUI charge.

“He was there to fuel an aircraft, and that’s when he had gotten out of the vehicle, and he was walking around, and that’s when the ground service workers thought there was something wrong with him,” Harbor Police Lt. John Forsythe said.

Officers noted Stewart had bloodshot, watery eyes, smelled of alcohol, slurred his speech and staggered, according to an arrest record. The report details how employees alerted police to come to the tarmac near the Delta airline gate after Stewart got out of the fuel truck and was seen swaying and staggering.

He was taken into custody shortly after.

A Harbor Police official said the danger of operating the highly-flammable jet fuel tankers while intoxicated is obvious.

Stewart’s jury trial is scheduled for July 2.

NBC 7 Investigates is working for you. If you have more information about this or other story tips, contact us: (619) 578-0393, NBC7Investigates@nbcuni.com. To receive the latest NBC 7 Investigates stories subscribe to our newsletter.

<![CDATA[Man Arrested After Woman's Body Found at Motel]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 22:18:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mark+everitt.jpg

Deputies arrested a man on suspicion of murder after a woman was found dead in a Santee motel earlier this week.

Mark Michael Everitt, 52, was taken into custody in La Mesa Friday at about 3:30 p.m., according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. He will be booked into jail for murder in the death of Julie Ann Marie Ulm.

Ulm's body was found in the Rodeway Inn on Mission Gorge Road at noon on Monday. A citizen had flagged down a deputy to say a person was down in a room.

The medical examiner has not released Ulm's cause of death, and sheriff's officials have not detailed what led them to accuse Everitt in her killing.

Ulm would often stay at the Rodeway Inn when she needed time alone, Sheila Kelly Paradise -- who knew the victim for 36 years -- told NBC 7 on Friday.

Before her murder, Ulm had stayed at the motel for three days, the friend said. On the fourth, she called Paradise to ask if she could stay with her. Paradise declined, explaining she had just suffered a bad fall and couldn't host her.

That was the last Paradise heard from Ulm.

“Then I saw on TV… 55-year-old woman murdered at Rodeway Inn," said Paradise, "and I went, ‘Oh my God, that’s Julie.’ And it just clicked."

She could not imagine why anyone would want to kill Ulm, describing the victim as someone who would give you the shirt off her back.

Paradise and Ulm lived in the same El Cajon apartment complex for years.

“She was the most outgoing, funny, giving person you ever hoped to meet," said Paradise. "She could find humor in the darndest places. She had what I called black humor.”

For a time, Ulm's daughter lived with her in El Cajon, but she had since moved out. Alice Ulm, a family member in New York, told NBC 7 that Ulm's daughter and the rest of the family had been keeping their distance from her because of recent "lifestyle choices."

Ulm's in-laws were actors James Whitmore -- known for his turn in "Shawshank Redemption" -- and Audra Lindley of "Three's Company" fame, according to Paradise.

After her husband's death, Ulm started cleaning homes and businesses under Paradise's suggestion -- an endeavor she continued for 15 years.

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<![CDATA[Dem, GOP Leaders Assess Sup. Roberts’ Political Viability]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 20:46:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/supervisor+dave+roberts.JPG

NBC 7's Gene Cubbison offers this analysis on the turmoil in San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts' office.

San Diego County's Republican Party is getting a big jump on next year's election cycle -- attracted by blood in the political water surrounding 3rd District County Supervisor Dave Roberts.

Until a few weeks ago, Roberts looked unbeatable – with no opposition from either party in sight.

Then his office staff imploded.

Bitter accusations surfaced.

Now, district attorney’s investigators are on Roberts’ case.

Civil lawyers on the clock.

And ultimately, county taxpayers may be on the hook to cover six-figure severance claims filed by his former chief of staff and scheduler.

Since 1995, the County Board of Supervisors had been all-Republican until Roberts was elected in 2012 took office in early 2013.

But given widespread media coverage of his legal troubles, there are growing doubts about the popular, energetic first-termer winning a second term on the board.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” said Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Part of San Diego County. “It’s just a matter of if he leaves office before the election.”

Roberts flatly denies every allegation of misconduct and improprieties lodged by those former staffers, and told NBC 7 in an interview Thursday that he’s confident of withstanding any recall or re-election challenges.

In a Friday recording session for this weekend's edition of NBC 7’s “Politically Speaking with Gene Cubbison" program, San Diego County Democratic Party chairwoman Francine Busby vehemently defended Roberts.

"He is one of the most successful, hard-working supervisors that we have had in years -- he has brought a fresh breath to the county board," Busby declared. "And he's pointing out the fact that he had two staff members that were disgruntled -- they made that very clear publicly. They're looking for compensation for that."

Krvaric offered this rebuttal: "If we are following the legal process, Bob Filner would still be mayor today. This man has no credibility, whether he makes it to the end of his term. There's no doubt he will not end up being able to run for re-election, at least not with any credibility. We will have several candidates, and that'll be a race."

The early talk of an electoral challenge to Roberts revolves around a state assemblyman, a North County mayor and a San Diego city councilman.

Busby downplays the severity of Roberts’ political peril.

"This is not the first time a supervisor has run into headwaters, and every one of them has survived -- from Bill Horn's issues and Pam Slater-Price's,” Busby noted. “ Some of the other ones have come into pay fines, they've had penalties, they've had problems. Dave Roberts has to prove that he is doing his job, that he has his office in order. And I think he will do that."

It's probably too early – and bad form -- for Democrats to think out loud about Roberts' viability for re-election.

But behind closed doors, off-line?

It may get too late to hold onto District 3 if they're not already making contingency plans.

NBC 7's Politically Speaking airs at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

<![CDATA[Petco Park to Host Basketball Game]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 16:03:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Petco-Park-Generic-Garske.jpg

It’s usually all about baseball at Petco Park but this winter, the downtown stadium will try its hand at hosting a basketball game on an outdoor court to be built on the ballpark’s infield.

On Friday, it was announced that Petco Park will play host to the first college basketball game in the venue’s history on Dec. 5, 2015, at 2 p.m. as the men's San Diego State University Aztecs take on the University of San Diego Toreros.

Now, if you’re having a hard time visualizing a basketball game at the ballpark, here’s the game plan on the set-up:

Reps say the local college teams will compete on a special outdoor basketball court that will be situated length-wise between third base and home plate. Bleacher seating will be laid out on the field erected around the open sides of the court.

The seats will accommodate nearly 3,300 spectators, supplementing the existing options in the Petco Park seating areas.

Capacity for the winter basketball event is set at nearly 20,000, reps said.

“Petco Park has been a versatile facility that has taken on different shapes and sizes in recent years, from a tennis court to a Supercross course,” said Padres President and CEO Mike Dee in a press release issued Friday. “We look forward to hosting basketball activities and welcoming two local schools to play outdoors in the middle of downtown San Diego. We’d like to thank the leadership at both San Diego State and USD for working closely with us to make the vision for this game a reality.”

Both college teams said they’re looking forward to playing at the unique venue.

Tickets for the game will go on sale in June exclusively to Padres Members, Toreros Season Ticket Holders, SDSU men’s basketball 2015-16 full season ticket holders, Aztec Club members and Aztec football full season ticket holders.

Tickets for the general public will go on sale later this summer, ranging in price from $20 to $350. In the fall, $10 student tickets will be available for purchase.

A seating map for the game can be seen here. For more details on the sporting event, visit this website.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Navy Special Ops Officer Killed in Alleged Road Rage Crash]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 23:12:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ducati+motorcycle+alleged+road+rage.JPG

A woman was under arrest Friday, accused of murder for striking and running over a motorcyclist on a busy San Diego highway at rush hour.

Imperial Beach resident Darla Renee Jackson, 26, was driving a black Nissan Altima northbound on Interstate 5 near E Street in Chula Vista at around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers say Jackson and a man on a red Ducati motorcycle got into some type of disagreement.

After the two drivers transitioned from I-5 to eastbound State Route 54 and passed National City Boulevard, Jackson hit the Ducati from behind and ran over the rider, CHP officers say.

The motorcyclist — identified by friends as 39-year-old Zachary Buob — died about an hour later at a hospital. A Santee resident, Buob was an active duty chief petty officer in the Navy's special operations.

Jackson was arrested and now faces one count of murder in what officers are calling a road rage incident. She was booked into Las Colinas Detention and Re-entry Facility and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

The crash caused a Sig Alert for more than two-and-a-half along SR-54 in the middle of a very busy evening commute. Investigators are in the process of tracking down drivers who may have witnessed the act of road rage from start to finish.

Anyone who may have seen anything involving these two vehicles should contact the CHP investigator at (619) 220-5492.

Describing the victim, friend Kathryn Cramer said Buob served in the military for more than 20 years and completed many tours overseas.

"He was so strong but his heart was so sweet," she said in an email. "He was truly one of the 'good guys' and my heart is broken. My prayers are with his Mom and Dad and family. He loved them so much."

Another good friend, Tim James, told NBC 7 Buob worked as an elite special boat operator, but motorcycles and trucks were his passion — only overshadowed by his love for family and friends.

"Zach was energetic, intelligent and a superb leader. He would light up any room he entered with his friendliness and wittiness...a heart of gold," said James in an email.

CHP Officer Jake Sanchez warned drivers Friday to not let road rage ever escalate to such a deadly point. He warned drivers not to pick fights with others on the roadway because you don't know what that person may be going through or if that person could be capable of something like this.

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<![CDATA[Housing Prices Rise 4.8 Percent: Index]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 12:17:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/HouseForSale_Stock.jpg

San Diego home prices rose 4.8 percent in the year since March 2014, according to a national index measuring housing prices, barely less than the 5 percent increase seen across the country’s 20 largest cities and nudging out the 4.7 percent growth reported for February.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index said on Tuesday the largest gains were in San Francisco and Denver, which each had about 10 percent growth. The jump was San Francisco’s first double-digit increase since July. Denver saw similar growth in last month’s Case-Shiller report. Cleveland and Washington, D.C., tied for last place with 1 percent growth.

The pace of price hikes has slowed nationwide in the last year, with the national index growing 4.1 percent since last March compared to a 10 percent leap between August 2013 and February 2014, the report said.

David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, shot down talk of another housing bubble. He argued that since housing prices are rising faster than per capita income and wages, the pool of future home buyers is shrinking and moderations in home prices are likely.

“Home prices have enjoyed year-over-year growth for 35 consecutive months,” Blitzer said. “Given the long stretch of strong reports, it is no surprise that people are asking if we’re in a new house price bubble. The only way you can be sure of a bubble is looking back after it’s over.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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<![CDATA[Officials ID Man Killed in Alpine]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 12:06:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/deputy+involved+shooting+alpine.JPG

The man shot and killed by a San Diego County Sheriff's deputy in Alpine has been identified. 

Simon D. Hubble, 33, of Alpine died Wednesday after an incident involving Deputy Aaron Miller.

Miller, a six-year veteran of the department, was called to Emmanuel Way to help search for what had been reported as a mentally ill, violent man.

The suspect left the area but officials say Miller met up with him on the road sometime later.

Lt. John Maryon said it's not clear what happened, but officials say Miller deployed his Taser and then shot at Hubble, striking him.

Deputies and paramedics tried to perform CPR, but Hubble died a short time later, officials said.

A screwdriver was found by his body, according to Maryon.

The incident is under investigation.

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<![CDATA[Thieves Nab $7K in Parts From School's New AC System]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 21:31:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Johnson-Elem-Robbery.JPG

An elementary school in San Diego’s Emerald Hills community was recently targeted by thieves who stole approximately $7,000 worth of parts from an air-conditioning system that had recently been installed on campus.

According to the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), the suspects stole approximately 500-feet of copper piping from an air-conditioning system at Johnson Elementary School on Kelton Road.

In order to get to the AC units and steal the parts, the thieves had to climb onto the roof of a building on campus. The loss is valued between $5,000 and $7,000, officials said.

School district detectives are handling the investigation, which includes looking into whether surveillance cameras captured any images of the suspects.

An NBC 7 viewer said the AC system was recently installed after years of waiting for funding and because of the theft of the parts, it’s no longer working.

Johnson Elementary School is a year-round school, which means students are there from September through mid-July -- during some very hot summer months.

Principal Dr. Tracey Jenkins-Martin said the school has been working for the past seven years to get the AC system installed on campus.

Now, without it, she said learning will prove much more difficult for students.

“It’s really hot in those rooms – it can get upwards of 90-degrees in some classrooms. It really makes learning difficult when it’s hot inside the rooms,” said Jenkins-Martin.

The principal said the excessive heat leads to more nosebleeds, headaches and trips to the school nurse for students.

She said it's awful that someone would steal the piping and ruin their AC system with summer just around the corner.

“Shame on you for doing this to our school, to our students and to our community,” she said.
“It’s really heart-wrenching. It’s very disappointing that someone would take this opportunity that we’ve had for our students and steal from them.”

“They are actually taking away opportunities of learning for them because when it gets hot it really decreases their learning opportunities because of the heat in the classrooms,” Jenkins-Martin added.

Parent volunteer Delores Reed said she's also shocked and disappointed that someone would steal from the school like this, especially after so many years of hard work to get the AC system to students.

“We were so excited about getting air-conditioning. And, now for this to happen, the kids are going to be miserable again this summer," said Reed. "It’s taken years and years and years to get air-conditioning at this school and for somebody to take it from the children…”

“It’s very frustrating. I really don’t understand how people can just take away from children and have them suffer so much. The kids are going to be very hot – suffering in the dead heat of summer. It’s going to be very terrible for the kids," she added.

Anyone with information on this theft should contact the San Diego Police Department or the school district.

Reed said the suspect or suspects should remember this: ”Please, you really took from our children, and they really need the air-conditioning."

Photo Credit: Artie Ojeda]]>
<![CDATA[Padres: May Hasn't Been Kind to Ian Kennedy]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 11:47:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ian-Kennedy-475030764.jpg

May hasn't been kind to Ian Kennedy.

The San Diego Padres right-hander lost his fourth straight start Thursday night, surrendering three home runs in the first three innings of an 11-5 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"We've had a good run of starts here and this was a severe bump in the road for our rotation," manager Bud Black said. "Nobody feels worse than Ian about this one. He just got some pitches elevated and they didn't miss them from the first inning on."

Jung Ho Kang hit a three-run homer, and Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco also went deep off Kennedy.

Kennedy (2-5) was chased by Andrew McCutchen's RBI double with two outs in the fourth. He lost his fourth straight start, allowing seven hits and seven runs, striking out five and walking two. Kennedy has allowed seven homers and 20 earned runs in his last four starts.

"It's been a roller-coaster for Ian this year," Black said. "We're trying to work through that. We're trying to get the consistency from Ian, and Ian's trying to do everything he can to string together some good starts."

"It's really frustrating," Kennedy said. "Fastball command was all over the place. They hit a couple of breaking balls for homers. It's really, really frustrating, really inconsistent, not what I like to do. As a pitcher, you try to go out there and be as consistent as possible. This has been a real test so far, the first month or so that I've pitched."

A.J. Burnett (5-1), who no-hit the Padres in 2001 while with the Marlins, won his fifth straight start. McCutchen, Neil Walker and Francisco Cervelli each had three of the Pirates' 15 hits.

The Pirates' first six runs scored on homers, including no-doubters by Kang and Polanco. Kang's shot with two outs in the first, his third, went an estimated 430 feet into the second deck in left field. Polanco led off the second with a 414-foot homer to center, his second.

Marte hit a two-run shot in the third, his 10th. McCutchen was aboard on a leadoff single.

Burnett allowed five runs, four earned, on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out six and walked two.

Josh Harrison and McCutchen hit RBI doubles in the four-run sixth and two runs scored on shortstop Alexi Amarista's throwing error.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vet Dies After Drop at SoCal Fair]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 14:48:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/5-29-15+Navy+Death+San+Bernardino+Fair+FreeDrop+USA.JPG

A Navy veteran died several hours after a mishap on a platform dive attraction making its debut at a Southern California fair Thursday night, authorities said.

Sabrina Gordon, 31, of Hesperia fell from the FreeDrop USA ride at the San Bernardino County Fair Thursday night at 8:14 p.m., and was airlifted to a hospital, deputies said. Less than five hours later, at 12:20 a.m. Friday, Gordon died.

Her heartbroken family remembered her as a wonderful person whose death could have been prevented.

“She was a very funny little girl… Always independent, doing her own thing,” Lyle Bell said, Gordon’s father.

She followed her father’s footsteps and joined the Navy right out of high school.

“Like I did and my dad… His father, two older brothers, one younger… we all served,” he said.

It appeared Gordon hit the air cushion and bounced onto the asphalt ground, subsequently injuring her head, according to her father.

"This was stupid, this was something for professional stunt people," Bell said.

Three platforms let participants jump 20, 28 or 36 feet onto the inflated pillow that stands 13-feet tall, according to a news release from the fair. FreeDrop USA was making its debut in California at the fair, according to the release.

A video posted to the San Bernardino County Fair's Facebook page showed the attraction in action, and its caption described the ride as "no bungee cords, no wires, no harnesses, just pure free fall."

"The ride was immediately closed and will remain so indefinitely," San Bernardino County Fair CEO/General Manager Geoff Hinds said in a statement. "The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is conducting a thorough investigation."

Gordon reportedly dove off the 28-foot platform, according to the fair’s news release.

She was working at the fair for a vendor when friends egged her into making the jump.

"There were no safety nets ... this accident could have been completely avoided," her husband said, Clifford Gordon. He was not there when she fell but said that when they saw the attraction days before, they both agreed it was too dangerous.

The company that makes FreeDrop defended its safety record in a statement, saying more than 50,000 people have made safe jumps on the ride across the country.

Fair Board of Directors President Paul Russ said in a statement: "This is a heart wrenching tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family."

Photo Credit: Courtesy: Family]]>
<![CDATA[Standoff Suspect ID'd, Shot Neighbor 19 Times]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 19:13:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CV-SWAT-Marjerus-Reynolds.jpg

Police released the name of the man Friday accused of shooting his neighbor 19 times before sparking a 10-hour-long standoff with law enforcement at an apartment complex in Chula Vista, south of downtown San Diego.

According to the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD), Michael Majerus, 42, shot and killed neighbor Nicholas Reynolds, 43, at the Mission Gardens apartment complex located at 160 E Street on Thursday morning. Witnesses told police the men had a long-standing dispute over neighborhood issues.

Police said Majerus shot Reynolds 19 times with an AR-15 rifle as Reynolds was getting into his car at the apartment complex.

After the deadly rounds were fired, Majerus barricaded himself inside his apartment along with his wife, Laura, and two young children, still armed with the AR-15.

Dozens of police officers and SWAT officials surrounded the apartment complex and crisis negotiators were called in as a lengthy standoff with Majerus ensued.

A number of other agencies were called in for backup, including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the San Diego Police Department and National City Police Department.

Officials shut down major roads in the area and evacuated dozens of residents from the apartment complex as the standoff unfolded.

MTS assisted in transporting evacuees to the nearby Norman Park Senior Center where the residents remained for hours. The American Red Cross provided food to the evacuees and police officers throughout the very long day.

After hours of on-again off-again negotiations with the suspect and sending a direct message to Majerus via news cameras, the suspect released his wife and the children from the apartment at around 3:35 p.m. They were unharmed.

Majerus remained holed up inside the apartment.

About an hour later, three shots rang out. CVPD Lt. Fritz Reber said the first came from a police test canon shot. The second was inside the apartment and did not come from officers. The third was a flash bang grenade that shattered a window so the SWAT team could send in two robots and check on the suspect.

One robot spotted a man down in an upstairs room, and a SWAT team soon followed to confirm. They found Majerus dead inside from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Police said two other handguns were found inside the apartment.

Investigators believe there was no verbal argument before Majerus shot his neighbor. According to the CVPD, officers had been called on two prior occasions to the apartment complex regarding the ongoing dispute between the neighbors.

However, in both instances, police determined there was no crime and no police report was filed. Police confirmed Majerus had no significant criminal history.

The deadly shooting remains under investigation. No other residents or law enforcement were injured in the standoff.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego's Bike to Work Day]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 08:45:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bicycle+generic.jpg The morning commute was different Friday morning for San Diegans who participated in Bike to Work Day. The program included pit stops for cyclists where they could fuel up during their ride to work. NBC 7's Nicole Gomez reports.]]> <![CDATA[School Meeting Shines Focus on Sex Offenders]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 15:00:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Feaster-Elem-Meeting.JPG

More than 100 parents, school leaders and police officers met at a school in Chula Vista Friday to discuss their concerns regarding more than a dozen sex offenders who live in the area – some right next to a school.

A community meeting was held at Feaster Elementary School on Flower Street. The Chula Vista Police Department and school officials presented information to parents about the 13 sex offenders in the area.

Officials said having that many sex offenders in the vicinity is not unique to the school, but they wanted to have a discussion with parents to make sure they’re aware of the situation and ensure parents are taking the necessary steps to keep their children safe going to and from school and while playing outside with friends.

Many of the sex offenders in the area live within walking distance of the campus, including one sex offender who lives right next door to the school.

Parents at the meeting, including Yolanda Holt, walked away with a lot of tips on how to discuss the matter with their children.

“It’s up to the parents. It really is up to the parents,” said Holt, who is now working with fellow parents and law enforcement to start a neighborhood watch program near the school.

“We need to take the situation into our own hands and let these people know that they’re not going to mess with our children,” Holt added.

Parents were particularly concerned about the sex offender who lives on the other side of the fence of a school playground where kids play every day.

“He’s in a trailer park right next to the playground and he has full view and access to all these kids out there – and that’s what really upsets me,” said Valerie Downey, a Feaster Charter School grandparent. “He’s too close. He’s way too close to the school.”

Downey asked the school to block off the fence so the playground would be out of sight from the sex offender’s home.

Downey, along with others at the meeting, urged parents to write to their senators to support the changing of a law so sex offenders have to live a certain distance away from schools.

“I don’t know where they need to put them, but it’s not right next door to a school. That’s just what’s so frustrating to me,” she added.

A this handout was given parents by officials, which included tips on how to talk with children about safety.

The tips included, in part:

  • Inform children that it is wrong for adults to engage children in sexual activity
  • Listen to your children. Pay attention if they tell you that they do not want to be with someone or go somewhere. This may be an indication of more than a personality conflict or lack of interest in the activity or event.
  • Make an effort to know the people with whom your child is spending time.
  • Knowledge is power. This is especially true for protecting children from sexual assault. Teach your children about their bodies, give them the correct language to use when describing their private parts. Emphasize that those parts are private.

Photo Credit: Matt Rascon]]>
<![CDATA[Plaza de Panama Ruling Reversed by Appeals Court]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 08:07:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/balboa+park+generic.JPG

The City of San Diego has the green light to give Balboa Park's Plaza De Panama a facelift.

A state appellate court has reversed a Superior Court ruling which delayed the project for more than two years.

The new ruling clears the city's plan to improve parking and traffic in the park and add pedestrian-friendly plazas and gardens.

The city-approved plan was challenged by the Save Our Heritage Organisation who argued it violates the city's preservation laws.

The controversial project included the construction of a bypass road off the Cabrillo Bridge and an 800-space underground paid parking lot in the large public park in the heart of San Diego.

In February 2013, Judge Timothy Taylor ruled the City of San Diego and The Plaza de Panama Committee (RPI) violated municipal code.

The historic heart of Balboa Park began as a pedestrian promenade for the Panama-California Exposition nearly a century ago.

<![CDATA[Local Man Accused of Having Sex With Temecula Teen]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 08:57:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/handcuffs5.jpg

A San Diego man was arrested Wednesday, accused of having a sexual relationship with a Temecula teenager.

Lance Dhuyvetter, 28, was in custody accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl. Temecula Police Officers took Dhuyvetter into custody with the help of San Diego Police. He faces “numerous charges” including stalking, officials said.

The relationship has been ongoing since 2014, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Dhuyvetter was held on $250,000 bail.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Family of Man Killed by Cop Files $20M Claim Against City]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 20:43:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/midway+district+shooting.png

The family of a man shot to death by a San Diego Police officer who did not record the incident on his body camera has filed a $20 million claim against the city and the officer, claiming he used excessive and unreasonable deadly force.

The claim centers on the death of Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, 42, outside a Midway District adult bookstore early in the morning on April 30. 

Nehad, a native of Afghanistan, struggled with PTSD and mental illness after he was drafted into the Afghan army as a teenager to fight the Mujahedeen forces during the country’s civil war, his parents said in the claim, which also detailed how he spent two months in captivity.

The SDPD said officers were called to the Highlight Bookstore on Hancock Street for a report of a man threatening people with a knife. Officer Neal Browder, a 27-year veteran of the SDPD, encountered Nehad in an alley beside the store. The claim alleges Browder did not activate his siren, turn on his police lights or use his megaphone when he confronted Nehad, who is also known as Rawshannehad or Rawshan.

Police say the officer gave Nehad verbal commands, but when he didn’t follow them and kept coming toward Browder, he was shot. However, the claim says Nehad was still 20 feet away and did nothing wrong.

“A police officer can use deadly force only if he is confronted with deadly force or if somebody’s life is in danger,” the document reads. “Nobody’s life was in danger here. Fridoon did not challenge Browder with deadly force. Fridoon did not challenge Browder at all.”

Browder is accused of purposefully not turning on his body camera, and Nehad’s family believes the SDPD tried to help him hide what really happened. Though multiple security cameras recorded the fatal encounter, the agency has not released the video to the public.

"They are covering up what happened, circling the wagons, or so it would appear, and refusing to be up front, refusing to turn the lights on, refusing to disclose it," said the family's attorney Skip Martin.

After the fatal shooting, investigators told media they did not find any knife on Nehad’s body, though they did find a “shiny object” on him. Nehad’s parents said that statement falsely suggested he had a knife and threatened the officer.

After the incident, the SDPD changed its policy on body cameras, requiring officers to turn them on when they are called to a crime in progress, not just when they interact with a suspect. The claim says the agency has a “practice of officer misconduct and deceit, and this case is part and parcel of it.”

The shooting ended Nehad’s long struggle with PTSD and mental illness, his parents said in the claim. While in the Afghan army, Nehad was captured by a Mujahedeen group and spent nearly two months in captivity, being tortured, according to the claim. He was released when his mother met face-to-face with his captors.

To prevent further injury to their son, his parents said they sent him to Germany for the next 14 years, where he lived away from his family. After the parents fled Afghanistan in favor of the U.S., Nehad joined them there in 2003.

Here in the U.S., he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disease. “Fridoon battled against his illnesses for years. He was intelligent, learning new languages (German and French) and taking classes on computer programming, linguistics and literature,” the claim reads.

But Nehad suffered manic episodes, becoming aggressive and getting him in trouble with the law. He pleaded guilty to battery in 2005, was sentenced for burglary in 2008 and was charged with petty theft in 2014.

“Fridoon was loved. His family spent years and countless hours helping him cope with his PTSD and mental illness,” the claim said.

However, during one episode, he threatened his mother and sister and said he would light the house on fire so they could all burn. Investigating police recommended the family get a restraining order to help get Nehad into a shelter in Oceanside, according to the document. His mother filed for the restraining order two days before his death.

NBC 7 has reached out to the SDPD officials for their response to this claim, but they have not yet responded. While addressing fallout from the shooting, SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said the homicide unit is conducting a thorough investigation, which will be sent to the San Diego County District Attorney's office for review. On Friday, the DA's office said they have not yet received the SDPD's findings.

<![CDATA[County Supervisor: "I Feel Betrayed" ]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 13:49:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dave+roberts+interview+with+NBC+7.JPG

Why would former employees make false allegations they knew were not true? That’s the question San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts wants answered.

In an interview with NBC 7 Investigates Thursday, he said he feels betrayed by the staffers who have turned against him, filing claims that allege he misused public funds, practiced favoritism and was abusive to personnel in his district office.

Roberts said he had no clue why they would turn against him like they have. It would be a reoccurring theme throughout the interview: Roberts saying he was distraught that his former Chief of Staff Glynnis Vaughan and his former appointment scheduler Diane Porter misled him, lied and kept him in the dark about staff problems.

He accused the women of appearing to support his efforts for the district but then turning on him. “The truth will come out,” Roberts promised.

Vaughan was the primary problem, he said. The supervisor, who now admits his hiring of Vaughan was a mistake, faulted Vaughan for her lack of leadership and inability to keep him posted about problems in the district office.

“I first learned of all of this from Diane Porter,” he told NBC 7. Porter quit on April 14 and is now suing the county for $250,000 in a complaint alleging a hostile work environment, among other things.

It was Porter who told Roberts that staff members were upset over what they perceived as the supervisor playing favorites, specifically with staff member Harold Meza, whom some viewed as the “teacher’s pet.”

“Why didn’t Glynnis Vaughan come and tell me there was something she was not happy with?” asked Roberts. “She told the CAO (County Administrative Office), she told the county counsel, she told the head of Health and Human Services.”

In her claim, Vaughan said she did go to the supervisor and laid out the problems of favoritism and other issues she was seeing in the office. But she said Roberts ignored her suggestions and concerns.

Roberts defended Meza, his community representative. He has done an excellent job, said Roberts, and has a great future with the county.

“To say he is having an inappropriate relationship, that’s wrong, when you make charges like that against somebody,” he said, explaining that they have a good working relationship “I am very comfortable as a gay man and Mr. Meza is very comfortable as a straight man.”

He added that he is truly offended by the allegations made by Porter and Vaughan.

“[Meza]has done a declaration under oath under the penalty of perjury that he is telling the truth,” said Roberts. “When these two other claimants do the same, then we are going to have something to talk about because it will be a lie.” It’s his contention that the two claims filed were signed by their attorneys and therefore the women have made no accusations under oath.

Attorney Chris Morris, representing Porter, and attorney Lynne Lasry, representing Vaughan, said their clients signed their claims against the county of San Diego under oath. They stand by their claims as previously reported.

Months before Thursday’s interview, Roberts had told NBC 7 Investigates that Vaughan had taken a couple sick days off and would return the following week. However, she never returned and instead filed a claim against the office for $425,000, accusing the supervisor of misusing public funds, among other allegations.

Roberts had also told NBC 7 Investigates in the same, on-the-record conversation how happy his staff was. This contradicted what we had found: that eight of his 11 staffers had left since the first of the year. Roberts had said we had our information wrong.

In Thursday’s interview, the supervisor back-tracked on his earlier statement, explaining, “I didn’t know the information you had.” He alleges he was kept in the dark about problems with the staff.

He went to say the two women were providing NBC 7 Investigates with information about problems in the office that he was unaware of. “That’s one of the main mysteries in all of this, you had information I did not have,” said Roberts.

Another alleged problem swirling around the supervisor’s office was the printing, at taxpayers’ expense, of baseball cards with Roberts’ picture on the front of them. When asked if this was an issue of using public funds to advance his political career, Roberts said no, it’s been done before to keep the public informed on topics.

According to the supervisor, Vaughan really liked the idea. He said he decided to stop the project when he reviewed the cards and thought, “This looks terrible.” He said the cards were taken from the office to Porter’s garage without his permission, which contradicts her claim. In it, Porter said Roberts called her and told her to “make the cards disappear.”

She provided NBC 7 Investigates a copy of an April 3 email that she sent to county counsel advising them that the cards were in her garage. Roberts said he knows that “you can’t take government property” and the cards will now be returned to the county.

The claim filed by Lasry on behalf of Vaughan alleges the supervisor had been involved in an unapproved contract with an Arizona consultant, a person who was versed in “one of my top priorities, public safety issues” said Roberts.

The bill for the consultant’s services was $28,900. Roberts said he thought Vaughan was “going to look into it but that obviously never happened,” adding that it was acceptable practice for supervisors to hire outside consultants.

Following the supervisor’s interview, NBC 7 Investigates talked to Diane Porter regarding the allegations made by Roberts.

“What proof does he have?” she asked. “I have pages and pages of texts and emails.” She said some of the more recent allegations against both her and Vaughan made by the supervisor and his supporters were inaccurate.

As to her accusing Meza and the supervisor of having an inappropriate relationship, she said that during a road trip to the Colorado River, “I never questioned why they ended up in a room together. I just made notes that they did. It may raise the eyebrows of other people.” However, Porter said there was a text message sent to her during that trip that she found inappropriate.

Vaughan's attorney Lasry sent NBC 7 Investigates the following statement about Roberts' interview: 

"Ms. Vaughan has 18+ years of experience working in public service. She is a well-regarded professional in San Diego, and served accordingly as Chief of Staff for Supervisor Dave Roberts.
Although Supervisor Dave Roberts has apparently decided to revert to stereotypical arguments that women cannot work together, including his mischaracterization of Ms. Porter and Ms. Vaughan’s professional relationship, the fact is Supervisor Dave Roberts created, and continues to create, his own problems. Ms. Vaughan and Ms. Porter had a good, friendly working relationship.

"Supervisor Dave Roberts’ claim that he was unaware of concerns held by members of his staff during Ms. Vaughan’s tenure, or that he wasn’t told of these concerns directly by Ms. Vaughan (and others), is not accurate."

NBC 7 Investigates is working for you. If you have more information about this or other story tips, contact us: (619) 578-0393, NBC7Investigates@nbcuni.com. To receive the latest NBC 7 Investigates stories subscribe to our newsletter.

<![CDATA[Gas Leak Forces Evacuations in Scripps Ranch]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 09:53:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/scripps+ranch+gas+leak.JPG

Crews worked to fix a gas meter in Scripps Ranch after authorities say a driver ran into it Thursday, causing a gas leak and a dangerous situation for people in the area.

Many businesses and restaurants were evacuated just after 8 p.m. after a damaged, large diameter line started releasing gas at the Scripps Ranch Business Park at 9925 Carroll Canyon Road, which near Interstate 15. Investigators believe someone backed into the gas meter and took off.

About 50 people were told to leave the complex as the gas leak until the meter was shut off around 2 a.m.

A firefighter told an NBC 7 crew to move back "because if this thing blows, half this property is going with it." 

"We have an explosion risk," said Capt. Daran Osborne with San Diego Fire-Rescue. "We don't want to get to close to it. We want to make sure there's no source of ignition, so we're not letting any cars in. We are trying to keep everybody at least 100 feet away." Police aided in traffic control.

Firefighters say it took so long to stop the gas because SDG&E crews were busy with another call of a similar magnitude. Thankfully, there was no wind blowing the gas in a concentrated direction, so it dissipated into the air.

However, construction crews must dig deep under asphalt to even reach the broken line, officials said.

Then they will search for the hit-and-run driver. An employee of one of the businesses said they have security cameras pointing right at the gas meter, so police will go through the footage Friday to try to get a vehicle description.

<![CDATA[Beachgoers Discover Body Near Ocean Beach Pier]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 20:18:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ob+pier+closed1.jpg

A group of beachgoers discovered a body Thursday afternoon near the Ocean Beach pier, fire officials said.

After the group called 911, firefighters and lifeguards found the body 100 yards west of the pier, floating in the water.

They have retrieved the body, which is believed to be that of a woman, and said it was heavily decomposed. Officials say it had been in the water for at least a day, if not more.

The medical examiner's office will determine a cause of death.

Check back here for details on this breaking news story.

Photo Credit: Paul Krueger/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Paramedics, EMTs Picket for Higher Wages]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 20:59:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/paramedics+protest+0528.JPG

Several dozen paramedics and EMTs hit the picket line Thursday, arguing for higher wages. They say they earn less money than fast food workers.

With chants like “Highly trained, lowest paid” during their informational picket, the group protested their employer Rural Metro, a company that provides medical services for the city of San Diego.

This week, the vocal paramedics and their union overwhelmingly rejected a new contract offer from Rural Metro, which called for a 17.6 percent wage increase over four years.

That is not enough, the group said, because they make salaries starting around $13 an hour for long, hard work. EMTs make $10 an hour when they start.

“Just to make ends meet, we have to work extra hours,” said paramedic Philomena Zangar. “There's not possible way to keep up in San Diego with the cost of living with what we're paid.”

The spokesman for Rural Metro, Michael Simonsen, said the majority of the company’s workforce does not support this protesting group or its union.

“Remember, it’s not just the wage. It's also the health benefits; it's also the vacation time, sick leave and everything else that comes with it,” Simonsen said.

Union representatives say they do, in fact, have majority support and any talk otherwise is meant to distract from the real issue.

No matter what, it’s all about paying fair wages, said union President Jennifer Restle.

“We want people to know that Rural Metro should be fair and pay us a livable wage,” she said. “Most of us, 340 of 420 employees make less than $15 saving lives.”

On Monday, the San Diego City Council is set to vote on renewing its contract with Rural Metro. The picketers would like to see that vote delayed for 60 days, until the company can come to an agreement with its staff.

<![CDATA[Bill to Improve Security Industry OK'd by State Assembly]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 15:56:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/security-Guards-Iteam-piece.jpg

A bill to clean up California’s security industry was unanimously approved by the California State Assembly Thursday, moving it, once again, one step closer to becoming law.

Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) introduced the bill, AB 1042, after seeing an NBC 7 Investigates story exposing the local underground industry of untrained, unlicensed security officers.

The story came after two local deaths involving bouncers – one where the bouncer was arrested and charged for involuntary manslaughter and the other where the death was ruled a homicide. The San Diego Police Department forwarded that investigation to the San Diego County District Attorney’s office for review.

Click here to see the complete investigation.

If adopted, the bill would further professionalize the security guard industry and protect public safety.

“If a guard or bouncer wears a uniform or performs a security role, they should have to meet minimum professional standards and pass background checks,” Cooper said in a press release about the bill. “AB 1042 will ensure individuals providing security services are properly licensed, trained and certified,” he added.

NBC 7 Investigates original story, exposed two issues in the security industry:

  1. If a security officer/guard isn’t wearing a uniform, he or she does not have to be licensed in the state of California.
  2. Many of security guards are getting state-issued security guard registration cards (also known as guard cards) and getting jobs but may be completing only a fraction of the curriculum.

AB 1042 updates the definition of a Proprietary Private Security Officer and adds examples of security officer duties to ensure individuals employed by a business such as a bar or restaurant and who provide security services are not unlicensed.

According to the release, the bill would ensure individuals providing security services are subject to a background check and receive appropriate training. The bill adds example of security officer duties to ensure individuals employed by a business, such as a bar or restaurant and who provide security services, are not unlicensed.”

The bill is supported by the California Association of Licensed Security Agencies, Guards and Associates and will next be heard in the State Senate.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Man Throws Gun From Window in Police Chase]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 15:17:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Freeway-Pursuit-truck-0528.jpeg

A man who allegedly shot at a woman in San Diego’s Chollas View community threw his gun out the window of his truck as he led police on a chase along a freeway Thursday, officials said.

San Diego Police Department Lt. Kevin Mayer said suspect Jose Gonzalez, 60, threw his gun out of his driver’s side window as he was pursued by police along eastbound State Route 94 near Massachusetts Avenue.

Mayer said Gonzalez was being chased because he failed to stop for officers who tried to pull him over at College Avenue and Federal Boulevard.

Police wanted to speak with him because at around 9:20 a.m., Gonzalez had allegedly fired a gun at his ex-girlfriend’s daughter in the 800 block of Dassco Street near 49th Street in Chollas View.

Mayer said the woman was following Gonzalez in her car when he shot at her from his truck. The woman was not injured.

Gonzalez took off and the woman reported the incident to police who were then on the lookout for the suspect’s white truck. Officers spotted the truck a short time later, but Gonzalez failed to yield, giving way to the pursuit.

The chase came to an end around 11 a.m. on northbound State Route 125 just before Mission Gorge Road near Santee. Mayer said Gonzalez surrendered at that point without incident and was arrested.

Mayer said no one was injured in the chase and the suspect’s gun was recovered from the freeway. The suspect has a history of domestic violence involving his ex-girlfriend – the mother of the woman he shot at – the lieutenant confirmed.

Photo Credit: Mark Sackett]]>
<![CDATA[Are You Owed Money? County Has $1.3M in Unclaimed Funds]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 14:11:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/cash_generic.JPG

San Diego County has $1.3 million in unclaimed refunds and they want the public to search the database to see who is owed money, officials said Thursday.

When the county can’t locate property taxpayers or others who may have previously owned property in the County of San Diego in the past five years, they add the refund to an “unclaimed monies list.”

Sometimes the refunds have been sent to the last known mailing address on file. Other times, checks return uncashed.

This year, the County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office has 4,329 unclaimed accounts. The funds in those account total approximately $1.3 million, officials said.

To search for your name, go to www.sdtreastax.com. Use the website to find out how file a refund claim or call (619) 531-4862.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Capt. to Suspect: "We Need to Talk to You"]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 13:42:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CVPDClip_1200x675_453481027722.jpg Chula Vista Police Department Capt. Lon Turner had a direct message for the shooting and standoff suspect barricaded inside an apartment in Chula Vista on May 28, 2015. " Michael, we need to talk to you. We are calling your cell phone. So, either you or Laura need to pick up the phone. We want this to happen peacefully.” ]]> <![CDATA[Deal in Valedictorian Speech Controversy?]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 13:14:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bromars-Scripps-Ranch-Valedictorian.jpg

A compromise has been reached at Scripps Ranch High School which may open the door for a valedictorian to have some role in her commencement ceremony, according to San Diego Unified School District officials.

Scripps Ranch High School senior Toni Bronars will graduate next month with a 4.85 GPA.

She's excelled in cross country and track and will head to University of California Berkeley on a full ride academic scholarship in the fall.

However, when she auditioned to be a speaker at her upcoming graduation - per school policy - she was not one of those selected to address her class.

An online petition started by a classmate quickly picked up hundreds of signatures over the Memorial Day weekend in support of Bronars.

Principal Ann Menna met with a group Wednesday that included students who were identified as speakers from the audition process, student leaders, parents and staff.

The group decided not to change the speaker lineup out of respect to those who were selected, SDUSD spokesperson Ursula Kroemer said.

Instead, the principal offered Bronars the opportunity to recite a poem or a quote at graduation.

Kroemer said Bronars and her mother were both pleased at the offer.

Unlike many high schools, Scripps Ranch has had a policy for 18 years requiring all interested students audition for the right to be one of the commencement speakers - even the valedictorian.

Scripps Ranch HS will revisit its policy next year, Kroemer said.

<![CDATA[Sea Lion Recovers at SeaWorld After Harpoon Attack]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 19:04:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP403435300886_SeaLionHarpooned.jpg An impaled sea lion is recovering at SeaWorld after being rescued off the Southern California coast. Officials say it appears that someone stabbed the 600 pound creature with a homemade spear.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Santee Adds Street Signs at Fatal Crash Site]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 13:53:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/west-hills-crash-cross.jpg

The City of Santee installed a new street sign Thursday at the intersection where a high school student was recently killed.

West Hills High School student Ryan Willweber, 17, died on May 1 when his car was T-boned as he tried to turn left out of the campus on to Mast Boulevard.

Two new signs barring left turns have been posted at two driveways leaving campus.

Just a few feet away is a floral cross planted in the median, a reminder of the tragic collision that affected students, faculty and parents.

"From a city government standpoint, we are moving at light-speed," Mayor Randy Voepel told NBC 7 Thursday.

City leaders in Santee took public comment on possible changes to the section of road ranging from new striping, flashing beacons, rumble strips or traffic lights.

Officials say there will be a change to the traffic signal at Medina Drive to allow U-turns for those people wanting to go west on Mast Boulevard from the high school.

A second traffic signal will be installed before next school year at the school's western entrance, the city said.

Also, there will be changes to the striping on Mast Boulevard in both directions to create a buffer zone between cars and bikes.

Photo Credit: Mark Sackett, NBC 7
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Reports Being Followed by Stranger]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 10:36:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lindo+park+school+lakeside.JPG

A girl reported being followed by a stranger while on her way to school, San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies confirmed Thursday.

Parents received a message from Lindo Park Principal Nina Drammissi Wednesday informing them of the report.

An 11-year-old girl was walking to school when she saw a man wearing a black hoodie and blue shirt with gray sweat pants with a red stripe down the side was running toward her, according to a sheriff’s spokesperson.

The girl reported the man was never closer to her than 50 yards, officials said.

In her note, the principal suggested parents review safety procedures with students.

“The best defense is to run to another adult while making lots of noise,” Drammissi wrote.

Sheriff’s officials say that’s what the girl in this incident did. She turned away from the stranger and ran to the school to report what happened to her teacher.

Deputies searched the area but did not find anyone matching the girl’s description.

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Lock Up Bike Even in Garage: SDPD]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 10:16:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bike-theft-oceanside.jpg

Bicycle thefts are becoming so common in San Diego County, police now suggest owners lock bikes even when they’re in the garage.

Millions of bikes are stolen every year across San Diego County, according to law enforcement.

If you've ever tried owning a bike in San Diego, particularly in areas like Pacific Beach or Ocean Beach, you know how vigilant you need to be.

Now police are seeing those thefts moving to places like Rancho Penasquitos.

“I have personally been involved in operations where we have met with someone selling a bicycle on Craigslist,” said SDPD Officer Matt Tortorella. “It was several of them and we take the person into custody for possession of stolen property and we get the property back.”

A hidden camera caught a man stealing a bike right out of a garage in Oceanside.

San Diego Police used the website "Nextdoor" to alert residents in various communities about this crime of opportunity.

Officers suggested the following to help avoid such a theft:

  • Always check out the manufacturer of your bike lock online
  • Some companies may even guarantee a lock and help replace the bike if it's stolen
  • Take pictures of the bike and the serial number
  • Engrave any additions to your bike with the bike's serial number.

Torterello said it is very difficult to track down a bike when the owner doesn’t know the make and model and have pictures, including pictures of that serial number.

Photo Credit: Courtesy SDPD ]]>
<![CDATA[Cool Freebies at New PB Ice Cream Shop]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 13:51:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CREAM-Food-2.jpg

Here’s some cool news: a new gourmet ice cream shop will open its doors in Pacific Beach this Friday and is giving away free ice cream sandwiches to celebrate their beachside digs.

CREAM – a dessert franchise founded in Berkeley, Calif., and known for its indulgent, unique ice cream sandwiches – will open a shop at 1038 Garnet Ave. in PB (see photo of storefront below).

The sweet treat freebie will be available there from 3 p.m. to midnight. The shop expects to draw a large crowd and give away more than 3,000 cool confections.

This is the second CREAM location that has opened in San Diego this year.

Back in March, CREAM set up shop in the College Avenue area near San Diego State University, also marking the occasion with free ice cream sandwiches for patrons.

CREAM – which is an acronym for “Cookies Rule Everything Around Me” – was founded in 2010 and currently has 14 locations operating throughout California and Nevada. The company plans to continue expanding across the U.S. over the next few years, specializing in its signature cookie ice cream sandwich creations.

The menu at CREAM includes fresh baked cookies in 20 flavors such as red velvet, double chocolate chip and lemon heaven. Ice cream flavors – also 20 on the list – include banana walnut fudge, pistachio delight and royal caramel swirl, just to name a few. The menu also includes lots of sweet toppings, plus “The CREAM Taco,” a taco shell-shaped cone stuffed with three flavors of ice cream and two toppings of your choice.

Photo Credit: CREAM
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<![CDATA[Cyclist Killed by Car in Oceanside]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 12:16:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/oceanside-fatal-ped-0528.jpg

A bicyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle in Oceanside late Thursday.

The collision happened on State Route 76 at Frazee Road near Towne Center just before 9 p.m.

Oceanside Police closed down eastbound lanes of SR-76 while they conducted an investigation.

The cyclist was traveling the wrong way before the collision, police said. Witnesses said the cyclist veered into oncoming traffic.

One driver was able to avoid striking the cyclist but a second, a 2005 Acura MDX, could not avoid the collision. 

The cyclist was pinned beneath the vehicle, officials said.

The driver of the vehicle stopped and was not cited.

The victim was described by officials as a 54-year-old man. He was not identified.

Oceanside Police say the incident is under investigation but it appears alcohol may have been a factor.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Killed in Chula Vista]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 09:02:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CV-PED-Ax-0527.jpeg

A man walking along a street in Chula Vista Thursday night died after being struck by a car, police confirmed.

The pedestrian was walking in the 600 block of E Street around 10:15 p.m. when he was hit by a car driving westbound. Several bystanders called 911 to report the collision. When police arrived at the scene, they discovered the victim unconscious, suffering from critical injuries.

He was rushed to UCSD Medical Center where he died a short time later.

Police said witnesses reported seeing the man walking across the street northbound – not using the crosswalk – when he was hit by the car.

The driver stopped at the scene and cooperated with police. The driver was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, investigators said.

The victim’s name has not yet been released. Anyone with information on this case should contact the Chula Vista Police Department at (619) 691-5151.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Suspicious Device Reported in Coronado Alley]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 09:10:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BK_Crime_Scene1.jpg

Coronado Police received a report of a suspicious device in the alley between E and F avenues near 5th Street, approximately three blocks northwest of Orange Avenue.

Officials said a resident found a box near her car Thursday morning.

As a precautionary measure, the Sheriff's Bomb and Arson Unit was called to investigate, officials said.

By 9:05 a.m., the City of Coronado confirmed officials had inspected the package and determined it posed no threat. The area was cleared and all nearby roadways were reopened.

<![CDATA[10-Hour Standoff Ends in Chula Vista]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 09:57:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/family+released+2.JPG

A fatal shooting in Chula Vista, south of downtown San Diego, led to a nearly 10-hour SWAT standoff at an apartment complex Thursday after the shooting suspect barricaded himself inside a unit with his family while armed with a rifle.

The standoff ended when SWAT officers discovered the man had taken his own life.

The initial shooting happened around 7:40 a.m. (10:40 a.m. ET) at 160 E. Street near 2nd Avenue, near the Mission Gardens apartment complex. More than a dozen police officers plus SWAT teams were called to the scene. At least three armored SWAT vehicles also surrounded the area.

Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) Capt. Lon Turner said police received multiple calls reporting gunfire in the area. A neighbor told NBC 7 she heard gunshots and looked out the window. She said she saw the suspect, whom she called Mike, with an "automatic weapon" walk a couple of steps and start firing, hitting another man who lived nearby. 

Mike and the man had problems, stemming from an incident about a year ago, the witness said. She told NBC 7 Mike was always angry and even threatened to shoot her adult son one day.

When police arrived, they found the critically wounded victim gunned down between cars near the apartment complex. The victim, a father of two children, later died.

Capt. Turner said the shooting suspect then barricaded himself inside an apartment with his family — two children, both under 10 years old, and his wife, referred to as Laura by police. It is unknown if the children are the suspect's biological kids.

By 3:35 p.m. -- eight hours into the standoff — the woman and kids were released from the apartment unit, police said. The suspect did not exit with them. Capt. Turner said the woman and children were safe and were being evaluated by medics.

The suspect remained holed up inside the apartment, and about an hour later, three shots rang out. CVPD Lt. Fritz Reber said the first came from a police test canon shot. The second was inside the apartment and did not come from officers. The third was a flash bang grenade that shattered a window so the SWAT team could send in two robots and check on the suspect.

One robot spotted a man down in an upstairs room, and a SWAT team soon followed to confirm. They found the suspect dead inside.

"Biggest thing that I'm happy about being able to report is that the wife and kids are out of there. Fortunately, they didn't lose their life in this incident. Clearly it's a tragedy when there's any loss of life," said Capt. Turner at a 5:30 p.m. news briefing.

Capt. Turner said the scene would now switch from a tactical one to a crime scene investigation. Investigators had gotten reports from other family that there may have been additional weapons inside the home, so officers obtained a search warrant to look for them.

The captain said Mike had been talking with officials about surrendering but had backed out of doing so several times during the long standoff.

Throughout the day, the suspect had been speaking with crisis negotiators and, at one point, sounded suicidal, according to police. They asked him to surrender without hurting anyone or himself.

At a 1 p.m. news briefing, after more than an hour without being able to make phone contact with the suspect, Capt. Turner said police had a very specific message for the man.

“If he is watching on television right now: Michael, we need to talk to you. We are calling your cellphone. So, either you or Laura need to pick up the phone. We want this to happen peacefully,” said Turner, staring into news cameras.

“We understand that there are two sides to every story. Let’s not make any rash decisions as it stands right now. Just pick up the phone so that we can communicate with you,” he continued.

Capt. Turner said officials would continue to call the man's phone. Again, the captain stressed the importance of bringing the standoff to a peaceful end.

At a 2 p.m. news briefing Capt. Turner confirmed that crisis negotiation teams were back in contact with the suspect and were able to speak with him on the phone.

“We’ve been talking with Mike,” said Capt. Turner. “We’ve asked him again to surrender peacefully. We’re concerned about the safety of him and his family.”

Police said the couple have been married for one year. The suspect was not making any sort of demands, officials said.

The standoff prompted officials to shut down traffic in parts of the surrounding downtown Chula Vista area for the majority of the day and evacuate some residents from the apartment complex.

The CVPD confirmed the 200 block of E Street had been shut down due to the heavy police activity. Police closed additional roadways due to the standoff including Third and First avenues, and F and D streets. Only residents were allowed in the area.

Hilltop Middle School is near the complex, but Capt. Turner said no lockdown had been ordered at the campus. He advised parents to keep road closures in mind as they picked up their students from school in the afternoon..

Meanwhile, police urged residents to stay indoors and shelter-in-place, and all others to stay away from the area.

A police captain said members of the shooting victim’s family had been escorted out of the complex safely and were with police just before 11 a.m. At that point, police said they had not ordered residents of the complex to evacuate, but officers were prepared to lead evacuations if necessary.

Police said they would utilize city resources to evacuate residents to the nearby Norman Park Senior Center at 270 F St., where residents would be given food and shelter while the standoff played out. Police said one resident, a 93-year-old man, had been safely evacuated from the complex due to medical issues earlier in the day.

At 11:35 a.m., an MTS bus arrived at the complex. By 11:45 a.m., it was confirmed that residents were being evacuated. About 10 residents exited several buildings at the complex, walking toward the bus alongside officers.

Police said the apartment complex is made up of four different sectors and officials were evacuating the property in an orderly fashion, sector by sector.

By 2 p.m., Capt. Turner said their evacuation of all residents at the complex had been completed. In all, he said 56 residents had been evacuated safely from the complex, including approximately 15 children. He said no forced evacuations had been necessary, as residents cooperated with the evacuation plan.

Some evacuees went to the senior center while others were picked up by family members.

“We have made sure we know who has come in and who has come out of this location,” said Capt. Turner, adding that officials planned to work their way from the “inside out” during the evacuation process.

The captain said officials found two to three rounds fired from the suspect’s weapon at the scene that indicated the suspect was armed with a long rifle, posing a major threat to the complex, thus prompting the evacuation.

“Rifled ammunition has much more significant range than a handgun. It goes a lot further and it goes through a lot more things than a handgun,” said Capt. Turner. “[This] poses a greater threat to the public and our officers.”

Investigators said the shooting may have stemmed from a dispute that escalated between neighbors. The motive is under investigation. Investigators were seeking a search warrant and researching the suspect’s background.

Officials said they hoped to bring the standoff to a peaceful resolution without further injuries.

The shooting, standoff and very heavy law enforcement response came as a shock to residents at the apartment complex.

One resident who has lived there for 10 years told NBC 7 he heard a loud blast but thought it was related to nearby construction and didn’t think much of it.

He took one of his three children to school and when he returned, police cars had the street outside his home blocked off.

“I thought it was a gas explosion, seriously I didn’t think it was a gun,” the man said.

The resident told NBC 7 he didn’t hear screaming or fighting before the blast.

The resident said he's been talking his mother who is in the apartment with his other children. He said they are safe and staying inside.

Another resident told NBC 7 he heard at least six back-to-back gunshots erupt as he was leaving for work. Seconds later, he heard one final shot.

Another man said he was outside when shots rang out. He said he could almost feel the ricochet as the bullets erupted.

The American Red Cross is at the evacuation site providing residents and police officers with food and beverages amid the standoff. There were approximately 15 evacuees using the center as of 1:20 p.m.

One evacuee told NBC 7 something just “wasn’t right” with the suspect. She said he lives at the apartment complex.

Another evacuee — a little boy — told NBC 7 he was very scared when officers began escorting his family out of their home. He thanked officials for keeping him safe.

The name of the victim shot and killed by the suspect before the standoff has not yet been released.

<![CDATA[Co. Aims to Use Obesity Drug to Fight Seizures]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 09:14:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kids-generic.jpg

San Diego drugmaker Zogenix said Wednesday that a drug once used to fight obesity before it was taken off the market may help treat a rare disease that causes severe seizures in young children.

The company said some patients who were given low doses of the drug fenfluramine had no seizures for five years, and others went several years without experiencing one. The results come from a five-year study of 12 patients who suffer from a condition called Dravet syndrome.

Fenfluramine was the “fen” in the anti-obesity treatment known as fen-phen. Fenfluramine was sold in the U.S. for about 25 years, but in 1997 it was taken off the market because it was linked to heart valve disease. Zogenix said research has long shown that it can reduce epileptic seizures, however.

Zogenix said it plans to start late-stage testing of the drug in the second half of 2015, and it hopes to file for marketing approval in the U.S. and the European Union in late 2016.

Zogenix developed the painkiller Zohydro, but in April it sold the product to Pernix Therapeutics so it could focus on researching drugs that treat central nervous system disorders like its low-dose fenfluramine drug, or ZX008, and a once-per-month schizophrenia injection called Relday.

Shares of Zogenix Inc. rose 9 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $1.48 in afternoon trading Wednesday. The stock has fallen 29 percent over the last year

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<![CDATA[Prosecutors Build Case That Theater Gunman Was Sane]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 08:06:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/colo-holmes-parents-AP378856295434.jpg

Prosecutors are methodically building a case that James Holmes knew right from wrong when he planned and carried out the deadly Colorado theater shooting, hoping to convince jurors that he should be convicted and executed and not sent to a mental hospital.

After a month of testimony from victims and investigators, prosecutors this week shifted to Holmes' mental state. They showed jurors Holmes' notes on how long it would take police to respond to an attack on the suburban Denver movie theater, as well as his dating website profile that asked, "Will you visit me in prison?"

A state-appointed psychiatrist who examined Holmes, William Reid, is expected to testify Thursday. District Attorney George Brauchler has already told jurors that the doctor concluded Holmes was legally sane.

In the coming days, prosecutors also plan to show 22 hours of videotaped interviews that Reid conducted with Holmes. They will periodically stop the video to question Reid about the conversations.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the July 20, 2012, attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others.

Under Colorado law, the burden of proof is on Brauchler's team to convince the jury that Holmes was sane. Prosecutors on Tuesday showed jurors a notebook Holmes kept, containing scribbled maps and cramped handwriting that sketched out a chilling list of choices: mass murder or serial murder; attack a theater or an airport; use guns, bombs or biological warfare.

It details which auditoriums in the theater complex had the fewest exits and offered the least chance he would be detected. One map shows the theater complex and a nearby police station and National Guard building. "ETA response (is about) 3 mins.," Holmes wrote.

Coupled with other prosecution evidence about Holmes' behavior, the notebook is a serious blow to the defense, said Steven Pitt, a forensic psychiatrist who has worked on sanity cases but isn't involved in the Holmes trial.

The defense has said Holmes suffers from schizophrenia and the disease had so distorted his mind that he did not know right from wrong -- Colorado's standard for an insanity verdict.

But the notebook "speaks to his appreciation of wrongfulness," Pitt said. Mental illness alone is not enough to satisfy an insanity verdict in Colorado, he said.

Pitt said the notebook provides strong evidence that Holmes was mentally ill, which the defense could use to argue against the death penalty if he is convicted.

"This is a guy who is really struggling and is clearly mentally ill," Pitt said.

Defense attorney Daniel King told jurors that much of the notebook consists of Holmes' confused musings about his life. King cited Holmes' ramblings on the meaning of life and death, as well as the question, "Why?" repeated over eight pages.

In about three weeks, defense lawyers will start calling witnesses to buttress their argument that Holmes was insane.

In the notebook, Holmes tries to document his self-diagnosed mental illness, listing 13 ailments including schizophrenia and "borderline, narcissistic, anxious, avoidant and obsessive compulsive personality disorder." He took five pages to list mental illness symptoms.

"So, anyways, that's my mind," he wrote. "It's broken. I tried to fix it."

It wasn't clear when Holmes wrote the notebook, and no expert witnesses have confirmed Holmes' self-described conditions.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool]]>
<![CDATA[Main Break Leaves 30 Homes Without Water]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 08:04:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/elena6A0528_1200x675_453218883758.jpg

More than two dozen homes were left without water service Thursday morning after a water main broke in the Paradise Hills area, officials said.

According to Arian Collins, of the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, and 8-inch diameter concrete water main broke around 4:20 a.m. on Saipan Drive near Potomac Street.

Water department officials shut off water service to the area as crews worked to repair the main. Collins said the plan was to remove 15 feet of the pipe and replace it with a PVC pipe. Repairs should be wrapped up by the later afternoon, he said.

Meanwhile, approximately 30 homes were left without water service, most likely through 3 p.m. Most of those impacted homes were along the 2300 block of Saipan Drive, Collins said, and the 6300 block of Calle Pavana.

Collins said his department would provide a water wagon for customers in the meantime.

He said it is unknown, at this point, how much water was lost in the main break. The water was running for approximately an hour before it was shut off.

Officials blocked off roads in the area and a small sinkhole appeared to be forming in the aftermath of the main break.

The cause of the main break remains under investigation.

<![CDATA[Unheated Kennels Harm "Ice Puppies": Lawsuit]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 07:52:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/doggy+copy.jpg

A former veterinarian claims in a lawsuit that San Diego County's animal shelter mistreated dogs by leaving them in unheated kennels, calling the dogs "ice puppies."

Bruce Cauble filed suit against the Department of Animal Services for failing to replace a broken boiler part that would have easily fixed the problem, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Cauble's 10-page complaint alleges retaliation by the county for his whistle-blowing about shelter conditions. He is seeking unspecified damages, legal fees and other relief.

According to the complaint, Cauble and two other veterinarians were transferred to inconvenient work sites after reporting concerns about management practices.

County officials declined to discuss specifics of the allegations, but said it will continue to provide the best care possible for animals in its shelters.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Water Main Break Floods Paradise Hills Street]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 07:12:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/elena6A0528_1200x675_453218883758.jpg A broken water main creates a sinkhole in Paradise Hills early Thursday. Water flooded Saipan Drive from Homesite Drive to Potomac Street after 4 a.m. The intersection is located east of Interstate 805 and north of State Route 54. ]]> <![CDATA[Fingers Point at City Pipes for Water Wasting]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 22:18:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/city+leaking+pipes.JPG

Lining the curb along the 1500 block of Morena Boulevard is a steady stream of water.

Some people say it's been flowing for weeks. Michael Pallamary noticed the water while on a walk with his grandson over the weekend and said he feels "frustrated and angry" about it.

He is not alone. Anthony Thomas works in the area and told NBC7 he noticed the leak at least a month ago. Another person who declined to give their name says it has been at least a few weeks since he noticed it. 

The water is coming up from under a city street cover with the word "water" on it. Pallamary said he called the city's water leaks hot line on Saturday to file a complaint. As of Wednesday, the water is still flowing.

"I complained. I'm on record," he said. "I issued a concern, and nothing has been done, so, why hasn't anyone fixed this? I'd like to know."

According to a spokesperson for the city's water department the city has seen an increase in the number of complaints about leaking city pipes.

So far in 2015, there have been 6,256 calls compared to 4,836 at the same time last year. That is an increase of about ten calls per day. The spokesperson said they try to respond within 48 hours to every complaint.

NBC 7 asked about the leak on Morena Boulevard and a city spokesman said the only complaint on record came in on Tuesday.

Michael Pallamary said he has a record of his call on his phone from Saturday.

The water leaking along Morena Boulevard stretches at least a few hundred feet and passes right by a separate road project being done by city workers.

"There's city vehicles going back and forth here regularly," said Pallamary. "So why no one else saw it, I don't know, but it's frustrating."

This comes less than a week before the governor's mandatory water cuts are expected to go into effect. While everyone has been asked to cut back, the city has been cracking down.

The city's public works department has had workers out issuing notices to water wasters.

People like Michael Pallamary say it seems unfair.

"If they're going to start policing, start policing themselves," Pallamary said. 

<![CDATA[Images: Chula Vista Shooting on E Street]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 14:46:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/family+released+2.JPG Images: Chula Vista Shooting on E Street]]> <![CDATA[Deported Chaplain's Family Asks BP for Leniency]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 22:27:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Enrique+cervantes.JPG

A National City family handed their case over to the U.S. Border Patrol Wednesday, asking that a deported chaplain and business owner be let back into the country.

Enrique Cervantes, a father of four who has lived in the South Bay for the past couple decades, was deported by Border Patrol last month.

Now, his family is asking for prosecutorial discretion — a type of legal leniency authorized by President Barack Obama that allows the federal agency to make deportation exceptions in certain cases.

The family hand-delivered their case to Border Patrol headquarters Wednesday afternoon, hoping to grab the attention of the chief agent who decides if Cervantes can legally return to the U.S.

"We’ve done everything in our power to be the good citizens this country wants,” said Marisol Cervantes, Enrique’s wife.

Marisol is a U.S. citizen, as are her four children. But Cervantes moved across the border illegally when he was 11 years old and has not become a U.S. citizen.

Hours after he drove through a Border Patrol checkpoint on April 25, Cervantes was put on a bus to Mexico.

"That day, we just lost all the hope,” said Marisol. “We just feel like we didn't have an opportunity to prove who he was.”

Since then, they have spent their time gathering a phone book-sized case file, filled with reasons Cervantes should qualify for prosecutorial discretion. The issue is a political hot button, allowing for a gray area in deportations as long as the person isn't a threat to national security.

Opponents of the Obama administration policy say any crime, no matter how minor, should make undocumented immigrants ineligible to return.

In a statement, Border Patrol told NBC 7, "[We’re] aware of the case regarding Mr. Cervantes. Mr. Cervantes was considered for prosecutorial discretion. However, his case did not meet Department of Homeland Security guidelines."

At issue is a previous deportation. Cervantes was sent back to Mexico in 1993, when his family admits he had a drug problem leading to several misdemeanors.

But the family now asks the government for grace, hoping the past 22 years count for something.

“I just wanted a chance to prove who he was, and that's what I'm asking from the government right now. Please give him a chance,” Marisol said.

The Cervantes family photo albums show Enrique as a man who is active in his church, who councils drug addicts, and who supports his family through a small business renovating homes.

"Who paid his taxes, and I know a lot of people asked, ‘How, how did he do that?’” said his daughter Mayra. “He had a tax ID number and found a way to make sure every single thing he did reflected on the type of man he is now.”

The family will now wait for a response from Border Patrol, and their attorneys say they won't stop here. If they must, they will take the matter all the way to Washington, D.C.

<![CDATA[SD Medical Device Company Ordered to Pay $2.8 Million]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 21:05:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NUVASIVE.jpg

An appeals court upheld a multi-million dollar jury verdict last week against NuVasive, Inc., a San Diego-based medical device company that’s a world-leader in surgical devices and procedures for spine surgery.

A San Diego jury found NuVasive conspired with a local surgeon to make false statements to Brenda Kitrosser and thousands of other patients about the safety of its “NeuroVision” device in 2013. An appeals court upheld that verdict May 18.

According to court documents, Kitrosser, of Oceanside, has a history of debilitating back pain.

Her attorney said Kitrosser agreed to let Dr. William Taylor operate on her spine because Taylor told her the NeuroVision surgical device would prevent any damage to her nerves.

Taylor, a clinical professor of neurosurgery and vice-chairman of the neurosurgery department at UCSD, also sent Kitrosser pamphlets produced by NuVasive that boasted how the NeuroVision device could “ensure… nerve safety,” according to the lawsuit.

But things did not go as planned with Kitrosser’s surgery. According to evidence presented at the trial, Kitrosser’s back pain worsened after the procedure. She had more trouble walking and doing daily activities than before the surgery.

“She has chronic, unrelenting pain,” Kitrosser’s attorney, Bob Vaage, told NBC 7 Investigates. “She’s on constant pain medication, and for all intents and purposes, she’s become housebound” as a result of the problem surgery.

Kitrosser’s lawsuit against NuVasive and Dr. Taylor accused the defendants of negligence, intentional misrepresentation and other wrongdoings. The lawsuit claimed – and the jury agreed – NuVasive and Dr. Taylor misrepresented the ability of the NeuroVision device to “ensure” the safety of her nerves during the surgery.

According to the appeals court ruling, “NuVasive knew the NeuroVision device could not guarantee nerve safety” and was aware of dozens of reports that the device had failed to raise an alarm of potential nerve damage when it should have.

During the 2013 trial, jurors also learned details about Dr. Taylor’s business and financial relationship with NuVasive.

According to the appeals court decision, Taylor helped NuVasive develop and test new devices, taught other surgeons how to use those devices, spoke to the media and investors and “advised NuVasive’s sales and marketing staff.”

Evidence presented at the trial showed that in return for his work, which started in 2003, Taylor received stock and stock options in NuVasive valued at more than $400,000 in 2008. By the end of that same year, Taylor was also receiving more than $220,000 annually in payments from NuVasive.

Attorney Vaage said Taylor never told Kitrosser about his financial relationship with NuVasive. “The evidence in the case was that both Dr. Taylor and NuVasive did what they could to keep that relationship secret from the patient," the attorney said. 

Dr. Taylor and his employer, the Regents of the University of California -- a state agency -- made a $1.75 million settlement with Kitrosser before the case went to trial.

A spokesperson for the Regents had no comment on that settlement or the allegations against Taylor and the Regents, but told NBC 7 Investigates $1.5 million of the settlement was paid by an insurance policy owned by the Regents and the remaining $250,000 was paid from an insurance policy owned by NuVasive.

A spokesperson for Dr. Taylor declined to comment on the allegations made against him in the lawsuit, the jury verdict, or the appeals court’s decision.

Despite the evidence presented at trial, the jury’s verdict and the appellate court decision, in a statement released to NBC 7 Investigates, a spokesperson for NuVasive said, “there were no legal claims at trial that NuVasive’s products or equipment failed to operate as planned.” The statement also indicated the company might pursue another appeal, perhaps to the state Supreme Court. Read the full statement from NuVasive below.

During the trial NuVasive challenged all of Kitrosser’s allegations, but according to the appeals court, after hearing the evidence the jury found, “… Taylor’s statements (about the NeuroVision device) were a substantial factor in causing Kitrosser’s harm, and NuVasive agreed and intended that Taylor made such statements.”

After three weeks of deliberations in the 2013 trial, jurors ordered NuVasive to pay Kitrosser $3.1 million. The trial judge reduced that award to $2.8 million and NuVasive asked a state appeals court to reverse the verdict.

But, in a unanimous, 46-page ruling issued May 18; the San Diego-based appeals court upheld the entire verdict.

Click here to read the appeal court ruling.

“We are satisfied that the record contains substantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict on conspiracy,” Justice Joan Irion wrote in the court’s opinion. ”Both Taylor and NuVasive knew that their representations about the NeuroVision device were untrue… In sum, we have little difficulty concluding that inferences from the direct evidence support the finding that NuVasive and Taylor conspired to misrepresent the ability of NuVasive’ s NeuroVision device to ensure Kitrosser’s nerve safety…”

A spokesperson for Dr. Taylor declined to comment on the allegations made against him in the lawsuit, the jury verdict, or the appeals court’s decision.

In a statement released to NBC 7 Investigates, NuVasive indicated it might pursue another appeal, perhaps to the state Supreme Court.

The full statement from the company is below:

"The legal process continues with respect to this case. The case grew out of malpractice claims by the patient against her surgeon and we maintain that we did not conspire to misrepresent the efficacy of our products. There were no legal claims at trial that NuVasive’s products or equipment failed to operate as planned. NuVasive is dedicated to providing products and procedures that enable superior patient outcomes from spine surgery, and patient safety is our paramount concern. We are disappointed in the outcome of this case, and we respect the unique relationship between a patient and her physician.”

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