<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego News]]> Copyright 2014 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 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 03:07:15 -0700 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 03:07:15 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres Win Another One At Home]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:12:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/455684350.jpg

The beginning of A Tale Of Two Cities is not exact, but the idea is a pretty good way to think about the Padres right now.

At Petco Park, they have been borderline unbeatable (the best of times). On the road, however, they couldn't even win an argument (the worst of times).

Behind home runs from Alexi Amarista and Will Venable, a balanced offensive attack that saw all eight starting position players get at least one hit, and a fantastic return to the mound by lefty Robbie Erlin (6.0 innings, five hits, one run), the Padres beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 to win three of the four games in the series.

That means, since the All-Star Break, the Padres have gone 7-0-1 in series played at Petco Park. Here's the problem. In series played away from the East Village (and there have been 11 of them) the Padres are 2-8-1.

Now, I'm not sure what causes that kind of split personality, but if the Padres can figure out a way to convince themselves they're in San Diego when they're really in another city, they might end up winning 120 games next year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher's Shooting Death Was Self-Defense: Suspect's Father]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:59:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/julie+harper+0918.JPG

The woman on trial for her husband’s murder said she shot him out of self-defense, her father testified Thursday.

John Cihak reluctantly took the stand in the trial of his daughter Julie Harper, 41, accused of first-degree murder in the death of her husband, beloved Carlsbad High School teacher Jason Harper. He was shot to death inside the couple’s Carlsbad home on Aug. 7, 2012, just days after his wife asked him for a divorce.

Prosecutors made it clear in court that Cihak was not willing to testify against his daughter, but the District Attorney’s Office sent him a subpoena to require it.

Cihak told the jury his daughter unexpectedly showed up alone at his Normal Heights real estate office on Aug. 7, 2012.

She walked in and told him “Jason was dead,” he said.

Cihak asked her to repeat it.

“‘Jason is dead,’” recounted Cihak, “and I’m… I sort of went into shock. I started saying something like, ‘What, when, how. Just got into a lot of trauma in my mind.”

But when the prosecutor asked him what Harper’s answers were, he said he did not recall.

The only thing he said he could remember of their conversation was, “she said something, uh, ‘I shot Jason to defend myself.’”

Cihak told the court his first reaction was shock, and his second thought was to seek out a defense attorney.

The deputy district attorney asked it if occurred to him to call 911, and he said he did not think of that. Nor did he ask about the gun Harper used or about why she needed to defend herself, Cihak testified.

Under prosecution questioning, he did say he did not see anything on Harper that would indicate she had been in a physical struggle.

Cihak and Harper set up a meeting with defense attorney Paul Pfingst, who advised them not to talk with police about the case, the suspect’s father said.

That night, the two picked up Harper’s three children and took them to Cihak’s Scripps Ranch home. Again, Cihak told the court he and Harper did not discuss what happened between her and Jason before they went to sleep.

At 5:30 the next morning, they were awoken by Carlsbad Police officers ringing the doorbell, but Cihak said they did not answer because of Pfingst’s advice.

Harper turned herself over to police later that day at her father’s home while Cihak took his grandchildren to Rady Children’s Hospital for a police-mandated evaluation.

That same day – Aug. 8, 2012 – police searched Cihak’s house and seized his computer, his personal guns and some money.

What they missed, proseuctors pointed out, was a bag that Cihak said he had kept in his car because he thought it belonged to one of his grandchildren.

Instead, the bag held a gun, the family’s passports, $39,000 in cash, jewelry and prescription pill bottles holding at least 300 pills, which Cihak did not discover until days later, he said.

"Did you wonder to yourself why there is a bag with a gun, passports, jewelry and $39,000 cash?” the deputy DA asked Cihak.

"It looked like a lot of stuff that she would accumulate when she was leaving her house,” said Cihak. He claimed the family was planning to go on an Alaskan cruise before Jason was found dead.

Julie instructed her attorney to use the cash to pay for her bail, which is why Cihak finally looked inside, he testified.

After Pfingst and a coworker arranged a meeting to hand over the money, they watched Cihak place the bag in his attic, he said.

The prosecution asked Cihak if he believed he was hiding items of evidence from the police, to which he responded, “No.”

Police executed another search warrant days later and seized the bag as evidence.

Harper's jury trial continues Friday. If convicted, she faces up to 50 years to life in prison.

<![CDATA[SDUSD to Return Armored Vehicle to Feds]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:05:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MRAP_before.jpg

After announcing big plans to convert a military armored vehicle into a rescue tool, the San Diego Unified School District has decided to return it to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Superintendent Cindy Marten cited community concern as she announced the return of their mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle Thursday.

“Some members of our community are not comfortable with the district having this vehicle,” said Marten. “If any part of our community is not comfortable with it, we cannot be comfortable with it.”

The federal government granted the MRAP to the SDUSD Police Department under its Excess Property Program (1033 Program), which allocates surplus military equipment to state and local law enforcement.

SDUSD officials planned to use the vehicle in active shooter situations on campuses to break down barriers and evacuate students. They also wanted to equip it with thousands of dollars’ worth of medical supplies in case of an emergency where several hundred wounded need treatment.

But unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown, has sparked national criticism over the militarization of local police departments.

Rueben Littlejohn, SDUSD police chief, said they need to be sensitive to that perception.

“The value that this defensive tool would bring cannot exceed the value of retaining the public’s trust, confidence and perceptions of how we will protect our students,” he said.

Even School Board Trustee Scott Barnett spoke out against the acquisition, calling it misguided.

Instead of using the MRAP, the department will work with other San Diego-area law enforcement and the community to respond to emergencies, Littlejohn said.

District authorities say the process for returning the vehicle is underway, and the 1033 program coordinator has told them to hold on to the MRAP until they can find another place to send it.

Photo Credit: SDUSD]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Target Out-of-Town Pet Owners]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:17:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*132/9875f886d15d4fa9a2144a1157875977.jpg

A Northern California couple is behind bars for taking advantage of pet owners.

An employee of PetSmart in San Mateo took information from customers who were boarding their pets, such as their address and length of time they'd be gone. Then, the thieves ransacked their homes, stealing everything from jewelry to a car, according to the San Mateo Sheriff’s Department.

“Especially when you're boarding your pet with somebody, you're putting a tremendous amount of trust in them," said Point Loma resident and dog owner Courtney Yates when she heard about the crime.

"I'm actually going to think twice whether or not I'm going to board them at a facility versus a family member with whom I don't have to second guess my choice," Yates said.

In an email, PetSmart's corporate communications manager Erin Gray said, "Pet parents have been incredibly supportive of PetSmart and understand that one bad apple does not change our deep commitment to them and their pets. In our 26-year history, we aren't aware of anything like this ever happening before and believe it was an isolated incident."

Both the San Diego Police Department and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department have senior volunteers who will do vacation checks on your home when you’re away. To sign up, just call your local law enforcement agency.

There are other precautions you can take to protect your home. Jan Caldwell with the sheriff’s department recommends not posting travel details on social media and only giving details of your trip to someone you trust. Caldwell suggests asking neighbors you truly trust to keep an eye on your home.

Also, light timers are a good idea because it gives the appearance of someone home. You can set the timers to turn the lights on at a certain time and on what days.

Lastly, Caldwell suggests placing a hold on your mail and all deliveries, such as water and newspaper, so it won't be obvious to thieves when you're away.

<![CDATA[Ex-Car Dealer Admits to Taking $719K From Drug Dealer]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:31:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mussari.jpg

The former owner of a luxury car dealership in San Diego now admits he took more than $700,000 in cash from a customer who prosecutors say was a multi-state drug trafficker and failed to report those cash transactions to the federal government, as required by law.

John Mussari Jr. has been the subject of several NBC 7 Investigates stories.

In April, Mussari admitted to defrauding Mussari Motors clients of more than $200,000.

Some of those angry customers said they paid Mussari for high-end vehicles, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches, but never got the pink-slips that proved they owned the car.

In April, Mussari pleaded guilty to eight felonies. He recently finished a brief term in county jail and is now on probation and enrolled in a work-furlough program. Mussari’s lawyer told NBC 7 Investigates that his client has repaid approximately $150,000 to his victims and promises to pay another $70,000 in restitution.

But if Mussari can’t pay back that money by December, his victims may have to wait years for their cash.

That’s because on Thursday, Mussari pleaded guilty to evading the federal cash transaction law.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Walker Hobson said Mussari failed to report $719,000 in cash from a convicted drug dealer in a series of illegal transactions during the fall and winter of 2008.

“The drug trafficker in this case purchased two Lamborghinis, a Porsche and a Ferrari during the 4-month period,” Walker-Hobson told NBC 7 Investigates. “The drug trafficker also gave John Mussari substantial cash for an investment scheme.”

Court documents reveal that federal agents first detained Mussari when he tried to leave the drug dealer’s home in Fallbrook. Agents found $205,000 in cash inside the Lamborghini he was driving that night.

That evidence was among the information provided to a grand jury, which issued a four-count federal indictment against him last November.

Thursday’s plea deal means Mussari will not be prosecuted on three of those counts, including conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions with property derived from unlawful activity.

He instead pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiring to evade currency reporting laws.

In an exclusive interview after Thursday’s hearing, Mussari’s attorney told NBC 7 his client did not -- and will not -- admit that he knew the customer was a drug dealer.

Attorney Anthony Colombo also said his client is “committed to turning his life around and making amends for the mistakes that he made back in 2008 through 2010, during the financial crisis, that led to the decisions he made to try to save his business.”

Mussari faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced on Dec. 5.

Prosecutor Walker-Hobson told NBC 7 Investigates she will recommend a 30-month prison term, but the sentencing judge could overrule that recommendation and send Mussari to prison for a longer term.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[SDPD Losing Ground in Battle to Retain Officers]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:07:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sdpd+generic.JPG

The San Diego Police Department is losing ground, not gaining it, when it comes to having enough sworn officers to keep San Diego safe, falling 846 officers short of staffing goals, according to a report presented at a city council committee meeting Thursday.

This is not a new issue. The shortage of sworn officers in San Diego was described as a crisis in 2006. The latest report shows things could be getting worse – not better.

Sworn officers are retiring, taking experience with them. Others are leaving for higher paying jobs in other agencies.

"We've had to reduce investigative units such as vice, auto theft, gangs, narcotics and domestic violence,” said Jeff Jordan, Vice President of the San Diego Police Officers Association.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said during the last fiscal year, 160 officers were hired, but 162 left. That's a net loss of two officers.

The department, she said, is 846 officers below the budgeted staffing despite efforts to recruit and restore holiday pay, uniform and equipment allowance.

Officials have also increased overtime pay.

"Right now all you're doing is treating the symptoms. You haven't gotten to the cause, and the cause is compensation," said Jordan.

San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey said: "We've only got so much money."

However, he agreed the problem is a top priority, along with infrastructure and other city needs.

The chief understands, but if the trend continues, she worries about the crime rate.

"Yes, we're holding, but if we continue to lose the amount of officers we do every single year with the experience, my concern is not only is it going to go up, but it will continue to be unsafe as we go down this road,” said Zimmerman.

The report was done by the Office of the Independent Budget Analyst and presented to the council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

<![CDATA[Mission Valley Golf Course to be Replaced With Condos]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:43:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Riverwalk_pic_1200x675_331033155884.jpg

The Riverwalk Golf Club in Mission Valley will be replaced with condominiums as early as 2018, according to early plans submitted to the city.

The golf course falls on private land and the developer, Related California, plans to turn the 200-acre parcel into an urban village with most of the construction focusing on residential use.

The Mission Valley Planning Group has yet to take an official stance on the project, but voted unanimously to move the process along, showing cautious optimism in the project’s early stages.

The project excites some city leaders because it would include space along the San Diego River for a trail. This falls in line with the larger vision of a continuous river front trail stretching from the mountains to the coast.

While city insiders say the Riverwalk Golf Club has never been part of the long term vision for Mission Valley, local residents who heard about the project are concerned about traffic impacts.

“It’s definitely upsetting just because of the traffic flow already. It just creates a lot more traffic and being a golfer myself, and like that course, it’s kind of hard for me to support,” said Nick Herbrig.

Mission Valley is also prone to flooding during heavy rains.

“I wouldn’t live there because of the flooding” said Cathy Roys. “I’ve seen it all my life. It will always flood and it’s crazy. It’s very disruptive. I just think less is more.”

The project could take as many as 20 years to complete and could include a portion of the golf course.

The San Diego City Planning Department estimates it would take at least two years for the environmental impact reports and public forums to be completed before construction begins.

<![CDATA[Women Held at Gunpoint Forced to Get Cash From ATMs: Cops]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:05:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/20140907+Police+Lights.jpg

San Diego Police arrested a suspect Thursday who they say forced two women to drive him to ATMs and pull money from their accounts at gunpoint.

The victims told police a man walked up to them as they were getting in to their vehicle on 7700 Draper Avenue in La Jolla on May 4 just after midnight.

Threatening them with a gun, the suspect forced them into their car and ordered them to drive to nearby ATMs, according to SDPD Lt. Chris McGrath.

Both women were told to withdraw a significant amount of money from their account. They complied.

The man then ordered them to drop him off at a specific location, where he took the money and ran off. McGrath did not say where the man was dropped off or how much money he stole.

After months of investigation, police identified 24-year-old Keith Russell Lucket as the suspect in this case.

Lucket was arrested Thursday at a Moreno Valley home and booked into jail on two counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery with a gun.

If you have any information about this case, call the San Diego Police robbery unit at 619-531-2299.

<![CDATA[Man Dead in Apparent Homicide in El Cajon: Police]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:47:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ElCajonhomicide.JPG

Police are investigating an apparent homicide at an El Cajon apartment complex.

Just before 1:30 p.m. Thursday, a woman called 911 to say her boyfriend needed help at an apartment complex in the 1400 block of Broadway.

El Cajon Police officers found a 38-year-old El Cajon man not breathing inside a unit. Paramedics were unable to save him, pronouncing him dead at the scene.

Before his death, the man called his girlfriend to say he had been in a physical fight and asked her for help, according to ECPD Lt. Frank Lahaye.

The case is being investigated as a homicide, but there is no suspect information at this point.

The victim's cause of death still needs to be determined as well.

If you have any information about this incident, call the El Cajon Police Department at 619-579-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

<![CDATA[Man Gets 14 Years for Hatchet Attack]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:22:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Travis-Kelley-SENTENCED.jpg

A San Diego man who beat a 75-year-old owner of a small jewelry store with a hatchet after his credit card was declined will spend the next 14 years in state prison, a judge ruled Thursday.

Travis Kelley, 25, was sentenced to more than a decade behind bars for the violent attack that occurred at Hamlin’s Jewelry in El Cajon on Jan. 22, 2014. He pleaded guilty last month to attempted murder, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury.

According to police, Kelley entered the business on a ruse to purchase jewelry. When his credit card -- which was stolen -- was declined, he became enraged and attacked the owner of the shop, Carl Hamlin, striking him multiple times on the head with a hatchet.

After the blows, Hamlin fell behind the counter. He pulled out a small caliber handgun and pointed it at the suspect in self-defense. At that point, police said the pair began fighting again as Kelley tried to grab the victim’s gun.

Police said Kelley was able to wrestle the gun away from Hamlin. The suspect then fled from the store on foot, with the victim’s gun, before officers could arrive.

Kelley then got into a getaway car driven by an accomplice, Ali Armeen Toombs, 21.

Hamlin suffered multiple head injuries and was hospitalized for several days but survived the attack.

Kelley was arrested a few days later in Ocean Beach. Toombs was also taken into custody and pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary. He was sentenced to one year in jail with credit for time served.

Prosecutor Gordon Paul Davis said the motivation for the brutal burglary was drugs, as both Kelley and Toombs were looking for a way to fuel a heroin habit.

He said Kelley went in and out of the jewelry store several times, striking Hamlin time after time, and making sure he had succeeded in hurting him.

"We charged him with a violent felony for each and every one of those assaults," said Davis.

The prosecutor called Hamlin "tough" and said the jewelry store owner is a man of integrity, adding, "He's a good guy."

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[‘Operation Heatwave’ Yields 34 Arrests]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:37:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Operation-Heatwave-0918.jpg

A two-day U.S. Marshals Service operation spanning San Diego’s East County resulted in the arrests of 34 fugitives wanted on felony warrants, officials confirmed.

“Operation Heatwave” – a collaborative effort with U.S. Marshals as well as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies – wrapped up Thursday. Over the course of the sweep, officials made several significant arrests, including felons with violent criminal background and gang ties.

One of the people taken into custody was El Cajon resident Catalina Andrews, the mother of Don Andrea Torrillo, the inmate who escaped from San Diego Central Jail earlier this month under a different name and was later captured at an El Cajon motel.


Andrews allegedly assisted Torrillo while he was on the run and was charged with harboring a fugitive from justice, officials said.

Brenton Haligowski, a documented member of a local skinhead and white supremacist group, was also arrested at a trailer park in Lakeside during the operation. He was hiding in a bathroom with numerous syringes in his pockets at the time of his arrest, officials said, and appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

Joshua Gessl was also arrested at his home across the street from Lindo Park Elementary School in Lakeside for child cruelty. He’s currently being held at San Diego Central Jail on $210,000 bail.

Beside the 34 arrests, officials said they also cleared 48 warrants and seized narcotics during Operation Heatwave. Numerous leads were also generated that will help in future fugitive investigations.

Some of the agencies that participated in the sweep included the El Cajon Police Department, the La Mesa Police Department, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among many, many others.

As one U.S. Marshals Service official noted, coordination was critical in the large-scale operation.

“Making sure all of the different agencies are together and show up at the same time [is important] and that we do our homework before we come out here to these addresses,” he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[California's Richest Man Stepping Down as Oracle CEO]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:34:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/larry-ellison.jpg

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a Silicon Valley icon, is stepping down, effective immediately, the Redwood Shores company announced on Thursday.

Ellison will be replaced by Mark Hurd and Safra Catz. Oracle's Board of Directors announced in a statement it had elected Ellison to the position of Executive Chairman of Oracle's board and appointed him the company's Chief Technology Officer.

"Larry has made it very clear that he wants to keep working full time and focus his energy on product engineering, technology development and strategy," Dr. Michael Boskin, the current director of Oracle's board, said in the statement.

"Safra and Mark are exceptional executives who have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to lead, manage and grow the company. The directors are thrilled that the best senior executive team in the industry will continue to move the company forward into a bright future," Boskin said.

Before being promoted, Catz and Hurd were Oracle's co-presidents. Ellison founded Oracle Corp. in 1977. In 2014, Forbes listed him as the third-wealthiest man in America and the fifth-wealthiest person in world, with a net worth of $51.3 billion.

"The three of us have been working well together for the last several years, and we plan to continue working together for the foreseeable future. Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine," Ellison said in the statement.

Tech industry experts said Thursday that Ellison stepping aside, even a little bit, could have serious implications for Silicon Valley.

“There’s an old joke in Silicon Valley -- What’s the difference between God and Larry Ellison? God doesn’t think he’s Larry Ellison," said Rich Jaroslovsky, chief journalist for SmartNews.

Jaroslovsky then quipped: "But God doesn't retire."

That joke has even become the title of a book, where reporter Mike Wilson described Ellison as the tech world’s Warren Beatty: “racing yachts, buying jets, and romancing beautiful women.”

Ellison, the wealthiest man in California, according to Forbes, is among the “last generation of swashbucklers,” and his departure from Oracle is sure to have “repercussions,” Jaroslovsky said.

Jaroslovsky did not know why he was stepping down, but he did say the 70-year-old Ellison’s intentions might be “admirable.”

“Perhaps he’s one of those founders who wants to exit gracefully,” Jaroslovsky said. “Bill Gates did it. But the list of those greats who leave by their own choice is a list that’s not very long.” 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

<![CDATA[Proposed Bill Would Rename Base Post Office]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:39:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Camp-Pendleton-Generic.jpg

The Mainside post office at Camp Pendleton could soon be renamed after Medal of Honor recipients if a newly-introduced bill is passed.

Earlier this week, 49th District California Congressman Darrell Issa introduced H.R. 5468, a bill to rename the Mainside post office located at 1103 USPS Building at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base to the “Camp Pendleton Medal of Honor Post Office.”

The bill proposes to name the post office to specifically recognize those of the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy Corpsman with strong ties to Camp Pendleton who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest award for valor and heroism.

Issa released the following statement in support of the bill:

“The stories of valor by Medal of Honor recipients are inspiring and worthy of remembrance by every citizen in our country. This naming will serve as an enduring reminder for all that visit of the heroism of their fellow servicemen and servicewomen. To all of the Marines and Navy Corpsman with ties to Camp Pendleton we are grateful for your bravery and service.”

The bill has the bipartisan support of 50 members of Congress.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Border Patrol to Test Body Cameras]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:58:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDPD-Body-Cams.jpg U.S. Border Patrol officials will soon begin testing out body cameras in an effort to increase transparency and accountability in the agency. NBC 7’s Nicole Gomez reports on the change on Sept. 18, 2014.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Enterovirus Reported in San Diego]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:39:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/flu_generic.jpg

A rare virus that has sickened dozens of children across the country has been reported in San Diego, health officials confirmed Thursday.

Three children from San Diego County and one child visiting from Ventura were hospitalized for a respiratory illness, which turned out to be Enterovirus D68, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA.)

The children, who ranged in age from 2 to 13, were treated earlier this month at Rady Children's Hospital and have since been released, health officials said.

These are the first Enterovirus D68 cases reported in California. More cases are expected in the coming weeks.

Symptoms of enterovirus are similar to the common cold, including fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body aches. In severe cases, children could be wheezing and have difficulty breathing. This is when parents should take their children to the emergency room.

Otherwise, health officials said parents have no reason to panic.

“This is for all intents and purposes the common cold,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County Public Health Officer. “The majority of people who get this -- children, infants, teens, even adults -- will not have any severe symptoms, will not need to be seen by their doctor.”

Rady Children's Hospital has seen a 20 percent increase in emergency room visits from kids with respiratory issues, according to Dr. John Bradley, Director of Infectious Diseases. However, Bradley said there is an influx of enterovirus cases every late summer and early fall. There are more than 100 types of enterovirus.

“This particular enterovirus (EV-D68), which causes respiratory track symptoms, is not one that we usually see. So why are we seeing this this year? We don’t know,” he said.

“This virus has probably been here for a month or two already,” he added.

Health officials said kids with asthma are most at-risk for complications from Enterovirus D68. Three of the four California children who contracted the virus suffered from asthma.

To put parents' minds at ease, Bradley said Enterovirus D68 is not life-threatening. Also, the cases in San Diego were not as severe as cases reported in other states.

“In the Midwest, there were kids who couldn’t breathe, who needed to go on breathing machines, ventilators,” he said. “None of our cases in San Diego have even made it to a ventilator. They’ve all been managed successfully with a little extra oxygen and bronchodialation.”

How To Avoid Transmission of Enterovirus:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/California Department of Health)

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Killed Son During 2nd Drowning Attempt: Prosecutor]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:44:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/veronica+rivas.jpg

The Oceanside, California, woman charged with her son’s drowning made the decision to kill him twice, according to the prosecution.

Veronica Rivas, 28, faced a judge for the first time on Wednesday. Rivas pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder and assault on a child under 5 causing death.

Rivas’ son, 21-month-old Elijah, was found dead Sept. 10 at her condo on Woodpark Way. Investigators say during questioning, Rivas confessed to drowning her son.

Rivas shook her head as the prosecutor shared details of that confession.

Rivas told police that she decided earlier in the day that she was going to kill her son, according to prosecutor Claudia Grasso.

“She said, ‘I thought of the tub because it would just be the easiest,’” Grasso said.

Grasso said that Rivas filled the tub and called her son into the bathroom.

“She herself says that she put him in the water face down and held him there,” Grasso said.

According to the prosecutor, when Rivas thought the boy was dead, she took him out of the tub. However, he came to and started crying, coughing and vomiting.

“She made the decision to put him back in the tub,” Grasso said.

The boy’s grandmother came home, discovered Elijah unconscious and called 911. The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene.

Rivas was also found unconscious and was rushed to the hospital. Police say she was treated for a medical emergency but could not say if it was an attempted suicide, as neighbors had speculated. The prosecutor said she had taken Tylenol and alcohol.

Police say Rivas was suffering from depression over a custody battle with her son’s father. The boy’s father was in court Wednesday but did not comment.

Judge William Gentry set Rivas’ bail at $3 million. The prosecution had asked for only $2 million.

A readiness conference is scheduled for Sept. 25, and a preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 30.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

<![CDATA[Dad Who Left Injured Son: I Was in Shock]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:19:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Fabiani-Exclusive-Interview.jpg

The San Diego man who released his son from his seatbelt seconds after a traffic collision, causing him fatal injuries, said he was in a state of shock when he walked away from the scene.

On the night of June 2, 2013, Angelo Fabiani’s son was hanging out of the window of the family’s Nissan Titan teetering on the edge of a retaining wall.

The truck had veered off Interstate 5 and crashed on its side along the highway embankment near Old Town.

Fabiani made the decision to cut his 4-year-old son’s seatbelt with a tool from the back of the truck. As a result, little Valentino fell 10 feet onto the concrete below.

“When he hit the ground it was nothing like I ever heard before,” Fabiani said. He recalled hearing women shrieking at the same time. “That’s not a sound like I’ve ever heard.”

“I just knew there was no coming back from this,” he said.

Fabiani walked away from the wreckage because, he said he just couldn’t bring himself to see his son like that. He described walking 19 miles to Imperial Beach and sitting alone near the water at a place where he would often play with his son.

On Wednesday, Fabiani and his attorney Allen Bloom spoke to NBC 7 in an exclusive interview about the crash and the trial that’s about to start in a few weeks.

Fabiani faces two to three years in prison if he's convicted of the charges of child endangerment and walking away from an injury crash.

Fabiani said he and Valentino spent the day at Mission Beach building sandcastles and playing in the water.

That perfect day soon turned into a nightmare when Fabiani lost control of his truck near the I-5 and I-8 interchange.

“I blacked out or was knocked out. The next thing I remember I was outside my truck standing below the retaining wall looking up,” Fabiani recalled.

He recalls seeing his son’s head and arm sticking out of the truck window.

“I just saw a lot of blood coming out. Immediately, I just had to get to my son,” he said.

“I knew the amount of blood that was coming out of the window wasn’t going to be just a scrape from the park. I knew that was really bad. So I had to get to him was all I was thinking,” he said.

He tried to climb the wall but when he couldn’t reach him, he climbed over a fence and crawled into the back of the truck.

Fabiani says he broke a window and tried to unbuckle Valentino's seatbelt to get him out.

Once he released the boy and the child fell, Fabiani said he reached for his son.

“All I could see was my hand just inches from his foot. I knew right then every dream I had for my son… places that we wanted to take him, you know all the plans we thought we were going to have for him, you know they were gone.”

Valentino was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, where he died a week later from a head injury.

CHP investigators arrested Fabiani in Imperial Beach two days after the crash.

According to CHP officials, he took off running immediately following the crash, but then returned to the scene to unbuckle the child from the vehicle. Alcohol didn't play a part in the accident, officials said.

Bloom said Fabiani was in a state shock and wasn't in his right mind.

“The brain simply shuts down. As the psychologist told me, like a computer, it’s frozen,” Bloom said.

Bloom said the DA is basing the endangerment charged on the fact that Fabiani didn’t wait for the ambulance.

Also, Bloom claims, it was an injury from striking a palm tree during the crash, not from the fall to the concrete that likely caused Valentino's death.

Fabiani said he doesn't feel he's to blame for trying to save his son. Intead, he said he feels guilt because his son was in his care when he was fatally injured. 

The case goes to trial at the end of September.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Operation Shattered Dreams Busts Hash Oil Labs ]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:21:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hash+oil+lab+san+diego.JPG

Multiple hash oil laboratories across the county were raided this week after a year-long undercover operation by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Nine people were arrested Tuesday during Operation Shattered Dreams, when DEA agents served search warrants to a number of locations in San Diego, Spring Valley, Chula Vista and El Cajon.

Inside some of the spots, investigators discovered active, illegal butane hash oil laboratories

Agents seized a large amount of hash oil, $25,000 in cash, an assault rifle, marijuana and hash oil packaged for sale.

Nicknamed “dabs,” “earwax” and “shatter” on the street, hash oil is made from marijuana using flammable butane to extract concentrated levels of THC – the active, mind-altering ingredient in cannabis.

Hash oil has THC levels of between 75 to 85 percent, compared to marijuana’s 23 to 35 percent, the DEA says, and a gram of the oil sells for $40 to $80.

However, using butane makes the production dangerous. Without proper ventilation, butane can explode if something sparks.

The DEA says hash oil labs are to blame for roughly 20 explosions and fires in San Diego County since Oct. 2013.

In many of the incidents, people have been injured and residents displaced.

“The number of explosions and fires that we have had in San Diego County just this year make Hash Oil cases a priority,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman in a release. “The people who are using dangerous chemicals to extract Hash Oil do so without concern for anything other than making a profit”

San Diego Hazmat teams will now work to clear the busted hash oil labs of dangerous chemicals and equipment.

The nine people arrested face a slew of charges, including manufacturing a controlled substance, cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of concentrated cannabis, child endangerment and possession of an illegal assault rifle.

Photo Credit: DEA]]>
<![CDATA[Where You Can Use Bitcoin to Buy Beer]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:21:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bitcoin-Business-Sign.jpg

In San Diego, it's now possible to use bitcoin to buy beer.

Inside Downtown Johnny Brown's is one of the first BTMs or Bitcoin Transaction Machines in San Diego. Users can convert paper currency to bitcoin and then use the online currency to buy some of the beer on tap at the eatery on the Civic Concourse near City Hall.

“A person who knows how to use bitcoin can drop them anywhere in the world,” Steven Michaels, CEO of BitcoinMerchant.com said as he demonstrated the BTM.

Patrons touch the screen to begin, enter a QR code and enter a U.S. dollar bill into the machine. The BTM then converts the currency into bitcoin, sending it to the user’s virtual “wallet” on their mobile phone.

The virtual currency can then be transferred to the bar for a pint or used with any of the other businesses now accepting bitcoin.

The restaurant displays a "Bitcoin Accepted Here" sticker on the front door and a logo on its home page.

Just this week, the United Way announced bitcoin would be accepted as donations.

“These are all great companies that are embracing bitcoin because they see it as a way to generate new revenue and take advantage of this new and exciting technology,” Michaels said.

Having the ATM isn’t necessary for a business to accept bitcoin. There is information on how to setup a virtual wallet available to merchants that Michaels says takes just minutes to complete.

There either are or will be machines like this in six locations including Nikki & Company Fine Jewelers in the Gaslamp Quarter, Spiritos Italian Diner in Carlsbad, Rossi’s Pizza in San Marcos and Surf Brothers Teriyaki in La Jolla, Escondido, Encinitas and Carlsbad.

It's important to note the machine does not convert bitcoin into paper currency.

BitcoinMerchant.com receives a nickel fee for each transaction.


Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[You Know It's Fall in San Diego...]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:32:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bates-Nut-Farm-Pumpkins.jpg

Pumpkin patches, apple picking, football and ice rinks can only mean one thing: it's fall in San Diego. As the season turns, enjoy these fun fall activities that remind us, once again, that we truly do live in America's Finest City.

Julian Apple Picking
Craving some fresh fruit in the fall? Once the leaves start to turn, San Diegans often head east to Julian for apple picking season, which typically runs from Sept. 1 through October. Apples and Art Orchards, for instance, will host apple picking by appointment only for larger groups. Visitors will get to pick McIntosh, Jonathon, Golden and Red Delicious Apples early in the fall season, plus Granny Smith, Fuji, Lady Apples and heirloom varieties a little later. For a full list of orchards in Julian, click here.

Bates Nut Farm
Nothing says fall in San Diego like a visit to the Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center. The picturesque North County family farm opens its doors to visitors year after year, offering a beautiful setting for picnics, leisurely strolls and, of course, delicious snacks including nuts, candies, dried fruits, chocolates and homemade fudge. This fall, the farm will open its famous pumpkin patch from Sept. 24 through Oct. 31 featuring family-friendly activities and pumpkin picking. On weekends, the Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch includes live entertainment from noon to 3 p.m., plus fresh BBQ, kettle corn, food trucks and other fall fun. Both admission and parking are free.

Chargers Football

Really, what is fall without football? Decked out in blue and gold, San Diegans can cheer on the Chargers all season at Qualcomm Stadium. Check out the Bolts website for the schedule of home games at the Q. Also, don’t forget the tailgate party before the game.

The Haunted Trail at Balboa Park
As the spooky Halloween season approaches, The Haunted Trail at Balboa Park is a sure-fire way to have a frightening fall. Open from Sept. 26 through Nov. 1, this mile-long trail is a stroll through the park you’ll never forget. Those who dare enter through a twisted grove of pines and gnarled oaks. After that, all bets are off as scary surprises wait at every corner. This year, The Haunted Trail will also host an additional maze dubbed “The eXperiment,” described as “3,500-square-feet of freak-infested terror.” Tickets range from $19 to $35 per person, depending on whether you want to combine the trail and “eXperiment” maze.

The Haunted Hotel
Looking for spine-tingling thrills? Head to The Haunted Hotel in the Gaslamp for a good scare – if you dare. Patrons make their way through a creepy hotel, trying to escape from all kinds of ghouls. This spooky fall attraction runs from Sept. 26 through Nov. 1 and general admission costs $18 per person.

Viejas Ice Rink
Sure, we live in sunny San Diego but ice rinks do exist here, too. Take the family to the ice rink at the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine (right next to the casino and resort) – the largest outdoor ice rink in Southern California. The skating season kicks off Oct. 31 with a special Halloween Trick-or-Treat event from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and wraps up on Jan. 4, 2015. Each year, approximately 33,000 people skate here. It’s $12 to skate for kids 12 and under and $14 for adults and teens.

Ice Skating at Horton Square
Each year, the square just outside the NBC 7 studios and Horton Plaza Mall in downtown San Diego transforms into an ice rink. The skating season usually begins in November and runs through the first week of January. Tickets cost $14 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under and include rental ice skates. Season passes can typically be purchased for around $35.

Wine Tasting in Temecula
Temecula in north San Diego County is known for its wine country and in the fall, many wineries host special harvest events in addition to their daily tastings. Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards, for example, will host a “Sip, Savor & Stomp” harvest celebration on Oct. 3 and Oct. 24 that includes a hayride along vineyards, wine tasting, grape stomping, a farm fresh buffet dinner and live music. Lorimar Vineyards and Winery will kick off the fall season with a grape stomp and harvest festival too, set for Sept. 20 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Surfin’ Santa at Seaport Village
n true Southern California fashion – sporting board shorts and flip-flops – Surfin’ Santa is slated to make his annual arrival at Seaport Village on Nov. 29. He’ll arrive in style, via a special water craft, and enjoy the San Diego sunshine while visiting with locals from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. He’ll also pose for pictures with his surfboard, of course.

Photo Credit: Bill Paulson]]>
<![CDATA[Foodie’s Paradise: SD Restaurant Week]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:05:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDRW-Bice-Rabbit-Raviolli.jpg

Foodies, this one is for you: San Diego’s top-notch dining scene will be showcased once again later this month as San Diego Restaurant Week (SDRW) returns.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, SDRW will run from Sept. 21 through Sept. 26. Over the course of those six delicious days, foodies can dine at more than 215 participating restaurants across 12 regions throughout San Diego County, including Downtown San Diego, La Jolla, North County Coastal and Inland and Coronado, just to name a few communities.

At a press conference Wednesday, SDRW chair Joe O’Donnell of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse talked about the importance of Restaurant Week for America’s Finest City.

“I’m extremely proud to highlight the terrific restaurant and culinary scene we have in San Diego,” he said. “San Diego Restaurant Week is truly a community event.”

To kick off the event, organizers held a mini cook-off at Catalina Offshore featuring chefs from 100 Wines Kitchen, Bleu Boheme, Fish Public, Terra American Bistro, Vessel Restaurant and The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge.

Each chef was accompanied by San Diego Councilmember filling in as their sous chef, including Mark Kersey, Lorie Zapf, Scott Sherman and Chris Cate.

Former San Diego Mayor and current CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Jerry Sanders also joined in on the cook-off.

“I’m hoping to learn a new profession,” Sanders joked as he garnished a local tuna sashimi dish with crisp watermelon radish and granny smith apples.

San Diego's annual culinary event happens twice a year and features discounted prix-fixe menus at each restaurant, meaning foodies can try different dishes at special prices that range between $10 to $20 for a two-course lunch or $25 to $45 for a three-course dinner.

No passes are required to attend SDRW, just pick the local restaurant where you’d like to eat and go there – easy as pie.

This year, participating restaurants include The Patio on Goldfinch in Mission Hills. That location will offer a $15 “Locals Who Lunch” menu that includes any sandwich, a choice of a French market vegan salad or watermelon salad, plus a mini dessert.

Downtown San Diego’s BiCE Ristorante in the Gaslamp Quarter will offer a $45 three-course dinner that includes ahi tuna served with zucchini, creamy shallot sauce and quail egg, followed by braised rabbit ravioli with kale and Mediterranean olives and creamy leek and thyme sauce. For dessert, the menu will offer dark chocolate crostata with apricot and spicy mango tequila sauce. You might want to make reservations at this restaurant ahead of time.

Other downtown businesses taking part in SDRW include the new Mexican eatery, Don Chido, renowned chef Brian Malarkey’s Searsucker, the elegant Grant Grill, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Puesto at The Headquarters, Mint Downtown Thai and Yard House, among many others.

In the La Jolla area, Beaumont’s Eatery in Bird Rock will offer a three-course, $35, prix-fixe dinner menu that boasts dishes such as pan-seared day boat scallops, grilled local yellow tail and a baked local apple cobbler with salted caramel ice cream.

The seaside community’s Brockton Villa will offer prix-fixe options for both lunch and dinner. Some of the SDRW dishes on the menu include the eatery’s “Epic Chowder,” which includes sea clams, blue crab, bacon, Yukon potatoes and saffron cream, the ginger chili-glazed Atlantic salmon and the whiskey and grana padano crusted filet.

In the North County Inland area, AVANT at Rancho Bernardo Inn will dish out tasty offerings like calamari bites, “Mary’s Chicken” with fresh garden squash grown on site and pistachio macarons.

Ocean Beach newcomer, OB Warehouse, will make its SDRW debut. The new Cohn Restaurant Group eatery plans to offer a $35, three-course dinner that includes a kale salad, a Moroccan-spiced flat iron and coconut tapioca.

In Little Italy, the newly-revamped Indigo Grill will showcase comforting Latin-inspired dishes like roasted poblano bisque, handmade pappardelle pasta and fresh churros with Mexican chocolate on the $25 prix-fixe dinner menu.

For the full list of participating restaurants by cuisine, price and neighborhood, visit the SDRW website.

By the way, last year’s San Diego Restaurant Week was such a hit that organizers extended the event by a full week. Here’s to hoping that happens again. Cheers!

Photo Credit: Tim King ]]>
<![CDATA[Arson Suspect Sought in City Heights]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:02:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/city-heights-arson-suspect.jpg NBC 7's Matt Rascon reports on a series of fires considered arson in one area of City Heights. ]]> <![CDATA[Mapping Out Advance Warning of Catastrophic Wildfires]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:21:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/santa-ana-wildfire-map.jpg

A new mapping tool may help predict when Santa Ana winds will create conditions for a catastrophic fire in Southern California.

It's no secret to San Diego residents that the hot, dry Santa Ana winds that usually arrive in the fall months have the potential to turn small brush fires into raging infernos.

We just need to look to the damage left in the wake of the Cedar Fire in 2003 and the 2007 Witch Creek fire for proof of how Santa Ana winds can increase fire danger.

Now there's a new online tool that could potentially help fire agencies gauge the likelihood of a catastrophic fire.

It's called the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index, a classification system that analyzes the fire threat potential of the powerful Santa Ana winds.

The index, unveiled Wednesday, shows whether a fire may grow rapidly to uncontrollably as a result of weather conditions like gusty winds. It can also alert first responders and the public in time to take appropriate action.

Roger Pierce, the director of the National Weather Service in San Diego, said he believes this new tool help the public be better prepared for wildfires.

In fact, a beta version of the tool correctly predicted at least three of the nine fires that burned in one day in San Diego County in May.

The map will stretch from Santa Barbara to San Diego and include a six-day forecast.

When winds are gusting, the maps will be updated with yellow for marginal fire risk, orange for moderate, red for high and purple for extreme.

Clicking on an area will yield a full forecast, as well as advisories about how to prepare for a possible conflagration. Users also can find the locations of fires already burning and live readings from weather stations.

The classification system is based on 30 years of historical Southern California weather data.

It has four levels, ranging from "Marginal" to "Extreme" and will include tips for homeowners like charging cell phones, keeping a full gas tank, studying evacuation routes and making contingency plans for pets.

"I asked my team to come up with something similar to the categories to rate hurricanes," says Dave Geier, Vice President of Electric Transmission and System Engineering at San Diego Gas & Electric.

The development of the index was a collaboration among San Diego Gas & Electric, UCLA, and the U.S. Forest Service, which was already working on a categorization system for fires and the Santa Ana winds.

The threat index includes four levels -- marginal suggests fires may grow rapidly. An "Extreme" rating means fires could burn very intensely.

For more information, visit: santaanawildfirethreat.com.

<![CDATA[Cabo Running Out of Food, in Need of Help]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:26:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MexicoTropicalWeather.jpg

Survivors of Hurricane Odile described the Mexican resort city of Cabo San Lucas as lawless and desperate; a place where basic supplies are needed and thousands of Americans are trapped.

Even first responders, tasked with helping Cabo San Lucas recover from the disastrous Hurricane Odile, have run out of food themselves and are in desperate need of help, a spokesperson told NBC 7.

Robert Allen, a Canadian firefighter working for the Cabo Fire Department, came to San Diego on Wednesday for two reasons: to get his family out and to get help for his city.

“The guys are having trouble keeping their own families fed and watered right now, so it’s challenging,” said Allen, who serves on the department’s public relations team.

Hitting land Sunday and Monday, the Category 3 storm left a wide path of chaos across the Baja California Peninsula.

Odile tore through the Mexican resort state of Baja California Sur late Sunday and Monday.

The Los Cabos airport was closed to commercial travel and basic supplies were limited or running low. Survivors like Allen captured video of rampant looting.

“Costco, Sam’s Club, all those stores looted, and there’s been some local Mexican box stores as well,” said Allen. “And then there's gangs roaming the streets and things like that too, helping themselves to people’s personal effects and stuff like that.”

Suburbs once filled with homes were flattened into a field. The main electrical towers were downed, and power poles littered the streets.

City officials don’t expect the electricity to be turned on again for another three weeks, Allen said.

He and his coworkers have been focused on clearing the roads so emergency vehicle can access different parts of Cabo.

But they don’t have the equipment of other stations to help pry people out of tight spots, and as their food runs low, so does their energy.

Allen plans to contact consulates in the U.S. to see if other countries can offer aid.

If that doesn’t work, Allen – the only Cabo firefighter outside the city right now – will spread the word on his own, asking everyone for assistance. He has launched a GoFundMe.com page to collect donations.

“It originally started as a starving kids program, and now it’s turned into a starving firefighter program just to take care of the guys so they can go help other people,” said Allen.

Newlyweds Craig Newell and his wife Jill said the hurricane was awful in itself but it was the aftermath that was truly frightening.

There was no phone service, no cellular service, no Wi-Fi, nothing.

“All to be gone and to have nothing whatsoever except for our wits, what’s in our backpacks and what’s in our pockets,” Craig said.

A San Diego firefighter, Craig knew they couldn't wait for rescue but had to rescue themselves.

So when they had the chance to jump on an airplane to an unknown destination without their luggage, they took it. They ended up near La Paz and were able to get back to the U.S. Wednesday night.

Those tourists stranded in Cabo are getting very desperate, even hostile, they said. The evacuation is unorganized.

“It’s everybody for themselves,” Jill said.

Both wanted to know why the U.S. government has not gotten involved in the evacuation efforts.

“Thousands of our citizens are trapped down there in horrible conditions that need rescue,” Craig said.

“[Mexican authorities] are overwhelmed with the evacuation,” he said. “I don’t think they have the resources or the personnel or the training maybe to accomplish this massive evacuation.

Another American arrived on the same San Diego-bound flight as Allen: Peter Tschetter.

He said descriptions and photos shown in the media don’t do the hurricane's devastation justice.

“It was total chaos, not even fit for animals to be there,” said Tchetter.

The tourist described a suddenly dangerous city where people were roaming the streets, looking for water.

He said men, women and children grabbed everything from stores -- even things they didn't need.

Homeowners began barricading their property to protect themselves from looters.

“People were even breaking into homes of people who live there to steal their stuff, and if they didn't get out, they'd probably kill them,” said Tchetter.

Tchetter and some 26,000 foreign tourists are struggling to get out of the turmoil, but Allen will be returning in a week to help those left behind.

<![CDATA[SD Explained: Creating Defensible Space]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:10:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CaliforniaWildFires.jpg It's fire season in San Diego, and all residents are being urged to keep defensible space around their homes. However, there are rules about when and how to clear the area. NBC 7's Catherine Garcia and the Voice of San Diego's Ari Bloomkatz report on Sept. 17, 2014.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Insurance Pays Up After Storm Damage]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:57:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mission-valley-tree-down-09.jpg

Heavy winds uprooted trees, heavy winds damaged homes and cars were smashed by falling branches. All that happened in just a few hours in San Diego after surprise storms hit the area Tuesday.

But what takes minutes to destroy can takes weeks or months to repair. That's why it is important to understand your insurance policy.

In general, when a wind storm knocks a tree down onto your home, it's your homeowners insurance that will pay the damage.

If rain gets into your home because of the storm and causes more problems, again it's your homeowners insurance that steps up.

But if a tree limb lands on the car in your driveway, does your homeowners policy pay for that? It does not.

For repairs, you need to turn to your car insurance, and in many cases only comprehensive coverage will pay for the damage.

But what if your tree lands on a neighbor's house? State Farm agent Walt Waggener says it's not your problem.

"If it is your tree that falls on a neighbor's house, typically you have no liability if it is a storm that causes the problem," said Waggener.

In that case, your neighbor's homeowners insurance will be responsible.

What if your toppled tree does not land on your car or house or neighbor's house? Will your insurance pay to clean it up? Generally the answer is no.

You will be responsible to clean up the tree yourself; your homeowner's policy will not pay the cost to cut up and remove the tree.

However, if the tree lands on city-owned property, it is the city's problem because storm damage is not your responsibility.

It's important to note that a storm damage claim on your comprehensive policy for your car should not increase the insurance premiums you pay.

But that may not be the case with your homeowners policy. A storm claim could increase future premiums unless the area is declared a state or federal disaster area.

These are general rules, and home and car owners should contact their insurance company for specific details on their policy.

<![CDATA[Antonio Gates Named AFC Player of the Week]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:25:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/antonio+gates+afc+pow.jpg

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates’ impressive three-touchdown performance in Sunday’s win over the Seattle Seahawks is getting the national attention it deserves.

Gates was named the AFC’s Player of the Week after his seven-catch, 96-yard game in the upset at home.

Not surprisingly, the veteran was humble in talking about receiving the award for the first time in his illustrious career.

“Awards don’t tell the tale for what this team is about,” Gates said on Wednesday. “Anytime an individual accepts an award, you have to think about the other guys that helped put him in that place. To me, when we win something we talk about us going out together.”

He now has 90 career touchdown receptions, good for 11th all-time and second only to Tony Gonzalez among tight ends.

“It all comes down to that line protecting Philip,” Gates said, continuing to deflect the credit. “He’s constantly been believing in me over the past 11 years and that was no exception.”

Every touchdown catch on Sunday was of the highlight reel variety, but the third one stood out – not only as the game winner, but as an incredible athletic catch. His thoughts on the play:

“Don’t let 31 hit me. That big ol’ safety coming over the middle, (No. 31 Van) Chancellor,” he said with a smile. “In our terms in the locker room, he can lay the wood. So I wanted to stay away from him as much as possible and make a play on the ball. And it was Philip was being Philip. Having tremendous confidence in me and putting the ball where no other player could get it but me.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Relief in Sight: Chance of Thunderstorms, Then Cooling]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:03:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/heat+generic+sept+2014_5.jpg

It's been a hot, muggy, wild weather week in San Diego, but relief is in sight: The forecast shows temperatures cooling to normal on Thursday.

But before that happens, there's still a chance of thunderstorms.

A day after a wild weather day on Tuesday, folks in East County were on rain watch.

Doppler radar was showing rain in northeast San Diego County on Wednesday afternoon. In Ramona, storm clouds were accumulating, though no rain had fallen there yet.

Temperatures in that area were in the 90s and a flash flood watch was issued for Lake Henshaw, Palomar Mountain and Warner Springs. The advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

While no rain had yet fallen in Ramona, heat was still monopolizing much of the conversation.

When “it’s the first thing you talk about is the heat or the weather, you know it is small talk,” said Wally Matranga, owner of Alpine Garden and Gifts.

So when are things finally going to cool down in the San Diego region?

NBC 7’s Dagmar Midcap said there’s still a lot of monsoonal moisture in the region, bringing humidity and a chance of thunderstorms in East County in the evening.

The good news that will come with a sigh of relief: Temperatures are gradually cooling and will continue to cool through Wednesday evening. Expect a daytime high on Thursday much more typical for this time of year: 77 degrees.

<![CDATA[Triple Homicide Suspect to Undergo Mental Competency Exam]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:18:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carlo-Mercado-0903.jpg

Criminal proceedings have been suspended against the man accused of fatally shooting three San Diegans until he can undergo a mental competency evaluation, a judge ordered Wednesday.

Carlo Mercado, 29, was set to stand trial in the deaths of Salvatore Belvedere, 22, Gianni Belvedere, 24, and Ilona Flint, 22.

But during an arraignment Wednesday, Mercado’s public defender Gary Gibson told Judge Kathleen Lewis he doubted his client’s mental competency to go to trial.

Judge Lewis ruled that criminal proceedings would be put on hold and that Mercado be held without bail until his mental competency exam on Oct. 10.

He will be evaluated to make sure he understands the nature of the case against him. If officials deem him competent, a trial date will be set at a status hearing on Oct. 28.

If Mercado is deemed not competent, he will to go Patton State Hospital in an attempt to restore that competency.

The suspect has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first degree murder in the Belvedere and Flint deaths that remained a mystery to San Diegans for six months.

It started when Flint and Salvatore were discovered with gunshot wounds in the Mission Valley Mall parking lot outside of Macy's on Dec. 24, 2014. Flint died at the scene, while Salvatore died at the hospital just days later.

At the same time, police began a missing person search for Salvatore's brother and Flint's fiance Gianni.

On Jan. 17, 2014, Gianni's body was found dead from a gunshot wound in his car's trunk, which was parked in Riverside, about 100 miles north of San Diego.

Inside that trunk, investigators found a Febreze canister with duct tape around the trigger, they say in an effort to mask the smell of the badly decomposing body.

Detectives testified at Mercado's preliminary hearing that they were able to pull off one black hair from that duct tape, and its DNA matched Mercado's.

A firearms analyst said the gun that killed all three victims was found in Mercado's possession when he was pulled over by Border Patrol at a San Clemente checkpoint on Jan. 18.

Finally, a crime scene investigator testified Mercado had written "R.I.P." in his smartphone's calender for Dec. 24, 2013 -- the day Salvatore and Flint were shot.

Mercado was arrested on June 21.

Earlier this month, Judge Lewis determined there was enough evidence to bind the suspect over for trial.

Mercado's attorney says his client denies all involvement in these crimes.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego’s Winning Sports Bars]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:48:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sports-Bar-Getty.jpg

Whether it’s pounding a pint before kick off or sporting a lucky jersey or bolo tie, everyone has a game day tradition. In San Diego, there are plenty of winning sports bars where football fanatics can meet to cheer on the Chargers or their team of choice. Win or lose, these businesses – highly rated on Yelp – are worth a toast.

High Dive Bar and Grill (Bay Park)
Bring your face paint, jersey and hunger to High Dive and you’re sure to leave full and happy. This bar and grill features generous portions to serve any game day craving. If you’re really feeling festive, try their Kraken Burger: a 2/3-pounder loaded with onions, bacon and cheese sandwiched between two toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Unleash the Kraken on your game day tradition.

Irina’s Bar and Grill (Oceanside)
Is a traditional pint not cutting it for you on game day? Head into Irina’s for 60-ounce options on select beers. Pair that with some juicy bratwursts and house-made sauerkraut and you’ll be ready for kick off in no time. Between its NFL Game Day Specials, an extensive beer list and its delicious German and American dishes, you’ll never want game day to end at this North County spot.

Cali Comfort BBQ (Spring Valley)
If there’s one thing that goes with football and beer, it’s barbecue. Cali Comfort slow cooks all its meat for up to 14 hours and seasons it with homemade dry rub. With this much commitment to every meal, it’s no wonder this BBQ joint is considered a high-quality San Diego hotspot. By the way, Cali Comfort is sponsoring a 4th annual Spring Valley Tailgate and BBQ Festival on Oct. 26. Click here for details.

Añejo Bar and Grill (Escondido)
If you’re looking to add a little spice to your season, stop by Añejo and enjoy some authentic Mexican food and drinks with the game. We recommend the Abujas En Salsa Molcajete, a dish of grilled short ribs covered in a unique, fire-roasted salsa. Paired with one of the nine different margarita selections on the menu, Añejo is a touchdown for your taste buds.

Endzone Pub and Grill (North Park)
Names don’t lie, and Endzone is definitely a score in the sports bar department. This bar boasts more than 50 beers and $4 pints of some of San Diego’s locally brewed favorites during Happy Hour, plus great deals on wings, nachos, ceviche and other bar food. With every seat in viewing range of a TV, you’ll never miss a play.

Cardiff Beach Bar At Tower 13 (Cardiff-by-the-Sea)
Tower 13 plays every game on Sundays, but after the fourth quarter is over the party doesn’t have to stop. Swing by for some post-game festivities, too, including Prime Rib Night, live music and trivia. Don’t forget to taste the amazing Bloody Mary in the menu, homemade-infused vodka and all.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Target Plans to Open Express Store in San Diego]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:40:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/target+express.jpg

Need to go to Target, but don’t have an hour to spare?

The big-box store has announced plans to open a mini Target in San Diego’s South Park neighborhood.

TargetExpress will be located at the corner of Fern Street and Grape Street. Gala Foods currently occupies the space but is set to close Nov. 1, a store employee confirmed to NBC 7.

TargetExpress will carry just the essentials, such as grab and go food, beauty products and household supplies. It will also include a pharmacy.

The store will be about 19,000 square feet, about 14 percent of the size of a regular Target store, according to the company.

San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria said Target hasn't submitted plans to the city, and he has requested a meeting with the company. He wants to make sure the store would fit with the character of the neighborhood.

There is currently one TargetExpress in Minneapolis, where Target is headquartered. The company plans to open three in the Bay Area and one in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The San Diego location is set to open next July.

Photo Credit: Target]]>
<![CDATA[North Park to Install Surveillance Cameras at School]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:40:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PKG_NORTH_PARK_MORE_SUS_KNSD4SBD_1200x675_328354884000.jpg

As part of an ongoing effort to make North Park safer, surveillance cameras will be added to Alba High School in the uptown neighborhood to give police a view of the area around the school.

The cameras will be installed this month by the San Diego Unified School District and police will have access to them when needed. Beyond that, there aren’t any larger plans to bring more cameras to the rest of the neighborhood, though it’s an idea being discussed.

A push for enhanced policing came in response to a string of assaults on women this summer that left many shaken. A 23-year-old man, David Angelo Drake, was arrested earlier this month in connection to many of them. However, police say another suspect is still on the loose.

We spoke with several women in North Park, some of whom liked the idea of surveillance cameras.

“Absolutely. All the way,” one woman said. “That would even make us more confident. More safe (so) you know we could walk around with fear.”

The city’s tried installing cameras in the past as a crime deterrent, when two college girls were raped in Mission Beach in 2007. Police installed the cameras near Belmont Park. They were supposed to be manned by officers 24 hours a day.

But within three years, police stopped controlling the cameras and currently they are no longer operating.

That stymied plan has some questioning whether it would be effective in North Park.

“If that didn’t make a difference, why would it make a difference here,” one woman said.

That's one thing to take into account, officials say, as they consider public safety options for North Park.

<![CDATA[Sun Hat-Clad Bandit Robs Bank]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:21:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bank-Bandit-Sun-Hat.jpg Suspects in area bank robberies - caught in the act on camera.

Photo Credit: FBI]]>
<![CDATA[Stranger Accused of Trying to Lure Girl]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:09:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Alpine-Suspect-Sketch-Car.jpg

San Diego deputies are searching for a man accused of trying to lure a 12-year-old girl into his car in Alpine, only driving away from the child after an adult asked him what he was doing.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the incident happened on Sept. 12 around 4 p.m. in the 2000 block of Arnold Way. The girl’s mother reported it to officials Monday.

The girl told deputies she was walking home from the Alpine Youth Center when a gray, four-door car pulled up next to her. The driver then allegedly gestured for her to approach the passenger side door and asked her, “Where is your mom?”

Frightened, the girl ran into a nearby apartment complex, investigators said.

Deputies said the girl’s 8-year-old brother was walking a few feet behind his sister and ran after her. The children hid in a laundry room at a nearby apartment complex where a female resident found them a short time later.

When the woman asked the kids what was happening, the girl told her a stranger had tried to lure her into his car.

Investigators said the man and his gray vehicle reappeared in the area a short time later and drove near the woman and the children. The woman approached the car and asked the man why he was trying to lure the girl.

The man then allegedly yelled expletives at the woman and drove away. No one was injured, deputies said.

The sheriff’s department released a composite sketch of the suspect Wednesday, along with details of the incident. The girl described the man as being about 40 years old with a thin build and short, brown hair. She said he may have had arm tattoos that read “mom,” “dad” and “Mary.” He wore a red San Francisco baseball cap during the encounter.

The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information should contact the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Photo Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[San Pasqual "Leadership Broke Down": Board Member]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:09:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San-Pasqual-Dilts_2.jpg

Allegations over stolen water led county officials to dissolve the San Pasqual Volunteer Fire Department with a unanimous vote Tuesday.

“The decision to use a fire apparatus to take water not just once but several times from a neighboring city for a private well is not just inexcusable, in fact it’s theft,” said San Diego County Supervisor Diane Jacob.

An investigation by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the San Diego County Fire Authority (SDCFA) uncovered a series of violations of law and of the contract with the county, officials said at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The results of the investigation have been forwarded to the District Attorney for review.

“The leadership broke down,” San Pasqual Fire board member Chuck Dilts told the board Tuesday.

Dilts took supervisors through the events that led up to an alleged theft of water from the City of Poway that he claims was an honest mistake.

When a friend approached him looking for water to fill his well, Dilts said it sounded like it could be a good way to raise money for the department.

Dilts then described how he went with the volunteers to his friend’s home and pointed to a nearby fire hydrant.

“I don’t know what the fire hydrant rules are. I’m not a fireman,” Dilts explained.

The City of Poway reportedly sent a $1,000 bill to the fire department for the water.

“We apologized to the City of Poway. We didn’t know what we were doing,” Dilts said. “It was an honest mistake by everybody involved. Nobody meant to break the law.”

With a unanimous vote, citing this investigation and the sale of a department Suburban to the former chief for $1, the supervisors voted to dissolve the department.

Effective Tuesday, the SDCFA will take over operations.

“Essentially it’s the same firefighters doing the same work under new management,” said San Diego County Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Ron Lane.

Another member of the San Pasqual board wanted to postpone any decision for 90 days until after fire season to avoid any disruption in service.

However, Cal Fire San Diego Unit Chief Tony Mecham said he’s already met with the volunteers with the department. He said the men and women have agreed to continue to serve under the new management.

County-owned equipment has already been moved into the fire station to replace the trucks owned by the now-defunct volunteer department.

“I do not anticipate any interruption in services,” Mecham said adding that fire service in the area would be closely monitored.

“Should we have any gap in coverage I am prepared to move a career-staffed engine from the Mount Woodson fire station into San Pasqual.”

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[USS Midway Among Best Museums]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:55:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/J+Sanchez+2.jpg

With its waterfront location and wealth of exhibits, San Diego’s USS Midway Museum has just been ranked among the best museums in the United States, according to TripAdvisor.

The popular travel website announced its “Travelers’ Choice” awards for museums across the U.S. and the world, as ranked and reviewed by jet-setters.

The USS Midway Museum landed the No. 7 spot in the Top 10 Travelers’ Choice Museums in the U.S.
San Diego’s iconic floating maritime museum is moored at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, with a waterfront view that’s hard to beat.

The museum – set aboard one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers – boasts 60 exhibits and also houses 29 restored aircraft.

Guests can explore the engine room, the ship’s jail and “take to the sky” aboard one of two flight simulators, among many activities designed to help visitors feel what it was really like to be one of the 225,000 Midway sailors who served the U.S.

The USS Midway Museum currently has more than 6,650 reviews on TripAdvisor, with a 4.5-star rating.

As one reviewer notes, “This ship is still grand and gives those of us who did not serve in the Navy an up close view of what life is like on a carrier.”

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission tickets cost $20 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6 to 12 and $10 for retired military with a valid ID. Children under 5 get in free. Active-duty military personnel can also visit for free, with a valid ID.

According to TripAdvisor, other top-notch museums in the U.S. that made Travelers’ Choice list this year include, in order:

  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • The Getty Center in Los Angeles
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
  • New Orleans’ National WWII Museum
  • National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum also in D.C.
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle
  • The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona
  • Newseum in Washington, D.C.

The read the full list, click here.

The rankings were based on millions of reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers. TripAdvisor said award winners were determined using an “algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for museums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period."

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[3 Arrested in Grocery Store Murder]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:49:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vons+murder+suspects.jpg

Police have arrested three men in connection to a deadly shooting that happened just feet from the entrance of a local grocery store.

Escondido resident Miguel Pedroza Fuentes, 38, was killed outside Vons at 330 West Felicita on July 30, according to police. Two other men were shot but survived their injuries.

More than a month later, police have made three arrests in the case: 25-year-old Hector Ortiz, 21-year-old Omar Magadan and 20-year-old Eric Nieto, all of Escondido. They are each charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and various other offenses, according to police.

The three victims were sitting inside a car when three suspects came approached the car and starting arguing. Someone fired several shots into the car, and the suspects ran away, according to officials. Police said the victims did not return gunfire.

The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. when the shopping center was still bustling with customers.

The Escondido Police Department Robbery-Homicide and Gang Units conducted the investigation.

Photo Credit: Escondido Police Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[SD-Based Dance Troupe Shares Stage with Snoop Dogg]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:43:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/0916-2014-SnoopDogg.jpg

A dance group launched in San Diego was selected to share the stage with rap superstar Snoop Dogg during an NFL halftime performance.

The young dancers were notified of the surprise performance an hour before showtime, which not only was at the San Francisco 49ers' first regular season home opener, but also nationally televised on Sunday Night Football on NBC.

"Snoop is a big hip-hop artist so for us to be able to share the stage with this type of music and artist we look up to was pretty big," said Kim Sims-Battiste, the dance group's choreographer.

Sims-Battiste said the dancing group, Culture Shock, started 22 years ago in San Diego.

"It was a group of different dancers from different styles of dance," she said.

Those styles have now made a home in Oakland.

Sunday's halftime performance at Levi's Stadium was so big, Culture Shock reached out to the entire Bay Area dance community. Chakis Dance Studio in Suisun shared the spotlight by sending 40 dancers to participate.

About 200 Bay Area dancers were able to perform on stage next to the hip-hop icon.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Trees, Signs Down in Mission Valley]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:34:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mission-valley-tree-down-09.jpg NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports from Mission Valley where strong winds swept through, tearing down signs and knocking over trees. ]]> <![CDATA[What Were Those Sudden Storms?]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:22:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/6c89c3e469534ae7a716c93b18660d3a.jpg With people throwing around the words hurricane and tornado, we went to NBC 7's Dagmar Midcap to explain what exactly happened in San Diego on Tuesday. And could we see a repeat today?

Photo Credit: Susan Carter]]>
<![CDATA[Wild Weather Wallops San Diego]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:29:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/downed+tree+serra+mesa+Mookie+Cunningham.jpg

Cleanup begins in San Diego where sudden winds and rain tore through the county Tuesday bringing with them flooding, downed trees, power outages and winds powerful enough to overturn 10 planes at a small airport.

"It was like a tornado and a hurricane all at once," said Michael who witnessed the damage. He called the sudden microburst the most insane storm he's seen in San Diego.

The "pop-up" thunderstorms occurred Tuesday afternoon first in the Spring Valley and the Rancho San Diego area and then hours later in Mission Valley and Kearny Mesa area.

These kind of storms form and die in place but can bring significant damage.

Tree removal service workers are in Rancho San Diego trying to clear large trees that fell near the shopping center on Avocado just off State Route 94.

In Mission Valley, huge trees fell across cars and the sidewalk at Camino de la Reina and Mission Center Road.

Sudden winds knocked down several eucalyptus trees that blocked traffic along State Route 163 in the evening commute Tuesday.

At Montgomery Field, six small planes flipped over despite being chained to the ground. One plane was pushed over a fence and onto two cars. 

A 40-foot hangar was moved 50 yards in the storm.

Damage estimate was $800,000 but taking into consideration the cost of each plane involved, the total  could top $1 million.

There is currently a flash flood watch issued for the region with temperatures approximately 10 degrees cooler than yesterday in the inland valleys.

“It’s going to feel like 100 because of all that humidity,” said NBC 7’s Whitney Southwick.

There's lingering subtropical moisture and the atmosphere will become increasingly unstable with daytime heating, according to the National Weather Service.

So there is still a chance we could see another storm microburst like the ones that struck in Rancho San Diego and Kearny Mesa Tuesday. 

San Diego Gas & Electric crews are working to restore power to hundreds of customers in different sections of the county.

Nearly half an inch of rain fell in Mission Valley and Kearny Mesa with Montgomery Field reporting more than an inch of rain Tuesday evening.

Rancho San Diego recorded .52 inches of precipitation while Rainbow Camp reported .63 inches. Areas near Fallbrook and Bonsall measured close to .20 inches of rain. 

Photo Credit: Mookie Cunningham]]>
<![CDATA[Shocking Storm Damage at Montgomery Field]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:13:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/OMARIPKG11P0916_1200x675_330143299845.jpg NBC 7's Omari Fleming talks with pilots after a sudden storm flips planes at the small airport north of San Diego. ]]> <![CDATA[Planes Flipped, Person Trapped in Car at Montgomery Field]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:50:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/plane+flipped+over.JPG

Sudden, heavy rains and strong winds like "a tornado and hurricane all at once" created some major damage Montgomery Field Tuesday evening, flipping over several small planes and trapping one person inside a vehicle as waters rose.

The chaos started as winds blew over a hangar and turned over small planes at the airport around 6 p.m. 

Duane Arena's plane flipped after breaking free from its chain-linked tie.

"They come and say your plane just flew. It's upside down. I thought they were joking," Arena said.

But when he looked at the damage, he realized it was all too real, with the chains hooked to a tie down "bent straight from the wind," he said.

A witness named Michael said it was the most insane storm he's seen in San Diego.

"It was like a tornado and a hurricane all at once," he said.

One experimental plane flew off the tarmac, over an 8-foot fence and on top of two cars.

One of the vehicle belonged to Michael Evans.

"I was just really shocked, shocked for a long time," said Evans.

Six small aircraft were damaged by the winds, fire officials say.

Hazmat crews were called to the area as planes began leaking fuel all over the runway. They wanted to make sure no harmful liquid got into storm drains.

No injuries have been reported, though there's no official word on the cost of damage. Some of the aircraft cost around $300,000, so the damage could top $1 million.

Not long before the plane devastation, a person became trapped in a car surrounded by three to four feet of water. It happened around 5:50 p.m. in the 8600 block of Gibbs Drive,

After some work, San Diego Fire crews were able to free the person. It’s unclear if the victim was injured or if there were others in the vehicle.

The wild winds were part of a larger storm that killed power to thousands of customers across San Diego and sent trees crashing down onto major roads.

San Diego County valleys and coasts were under a flood advisory, which expired at 8:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service warned residents to watch out for rainfall that could cause higher water levels in creeks and streams, as well as deep pooling on highways, streets and other areas with poor drainage.

<![CDATA[WATCH: Crews Begin Cleanup After Sudden Storms]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:07:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Wind-Cleanup-Matt-Rascon.jpg NBC 7's Matt Rascon reports from Avocado Boulevard in Rancho San Diego where a number of trees toppled over in the strong winds from the microburst that occurred Tuesday, Sept. 16. ]]> <![CDATA[Best Wild Weather Video in San Diego]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:41:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/LiveWire1.jpg

So many NBC 7 viewers captured the sudden rain and wind that struck in San Diego Tuesday.

They shared the images and video with us through isee@nbcsandiego.com. Here's a look at some of the most memorable pictures and video.

Got something you'd like to share? Send it to isee@nbcsandiego.com or share it through the NBC 7 Facebook page.

<![CDATA[Cash, Bullets, Pills Found at Murder Scene]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:00:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/harper+evidence.jpg

A shotgun, dozens of rounds of ammunition and thousands of dollars in cash were found inside the home where a teacher was murdered, officers testified in court Tuesday.

They also showed graphic photos of how the body of Jason Harper was found.

Harper’s dead body was discovered under a pile of blankets and junk inside his Carlsbad home on Aug. 7, 2012.

His wife Julie Harper is on trial for his murder. Prosecutors say Julie shot her husband while their children watched cartoons downstairs. Her lawyer says the shooting was in self-defense.

Jurors listened as Carlsbad Police Officer Faye Escomiendo shared evidence found at the crime scene, including the blood-stained shirt she collected off Harper’s body. Escomiendo also found bottles of prescription drugs, including hydrocodone and Oxycotin, registered in Julie's name.

Prosecutors say Julie filed for divorce the week before Jason was killed, claiming he physically and verbally abused her. They say Julie also forged her husband's signature and pulled thousands of dollars from his account.

The victim's younger brother testified about what he calls “the worst day of my life.”

“He had found like a deceased male who matched Jason's description, and then I broke down for about 10 minutes,” Brian Harper said.

Brian also said he feared for his life until Julie was taken into custody.

“I barricaded the front door with the metal chair from the dining room, got the knife from the kitchen, brought it to the kids' room, and then I stayed awake until the morning," he said.

The Harpers' two children are expected to take the witness stand Wednesday.