<![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 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:50:23 -0700 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:50:23 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Water Main Break Floods San Marcos Home]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:40:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/water+main+break+via+bbanagonz+on+instagram.JPG

A water main break in San Marcos has flooded at least one home, San Diego County Sheriff's officials say.

The water line broke in the 400 block of Henson Heights Drive at about 2:20 p.m.

Refresh this page for details on this breaking news story.

Photo Credit: @bbanagonz/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Minimum Wage Increase Headed to Ballot]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:28:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/minimum-wage-cash.jpg

The San Diego City Council voted unanimously Monday to send its minimum wage referendum to the ballot in June 2016.

The council was forced to decide between sending the decision to the voters or repealing it altogether after opponents gathered enough signatures to place the issue on the ballot.

Had the petition not garnered enough support, the minimum wage hike and earned sick leave measure would have gone into effect in January.

Check back here for updates on this breaking news story.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Murrieta Mayor Resigns After Arrest on Suspicion of DUI]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:05:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/204*120/10-17-2014-murrieta-mayor-book.jpg

Alan Long announced Monday that he will step down as mayor of Murrieta just days after his arrest on suspicion of DUI in a crash that injured four high school students.

Long made the announcement during a Monday afternoon news conference at which he expressed "concern" for the four teens injured in Thursday night's crash at Jefferson and Lily avenues in Murrieta in southwestern Riverside County. Long, 44, was booked on suspicion of DUI causing bodily injury, according to Riverside County jail records.

"I am well aware that being involved in such a high profile accident in my position as mayor and as a member of the City Council will be a distraction," Long said in a statement at the news conference.

The resignation is effective immediately, but Long said he plans to remain a candidate in the Nov. 4 election.

Long was arrested Thursday night after officers determined that a "full-size" truck had rear-ended a passenger vehicle carrying four Murrieta Valley High School students, ages 14 to 17. The students' injuries were described as "moderate to major," according to a police department statement.

"Officers contacted the driver of the truck who was the sole occupant of his vehicle," police said in a statement. "The driver had signs and symptoms consistent with alcohol impairment. The driver participated in some standardized field sobriety tests, and officers determined that the driver was in fact impaired."

Long's blood alcohol content was .07, just below the legal limit of .08, but investigators were also waiting for blood test results, police said.

The girls had just attended a pep rally ahead of Friday night's football game. Three of the four victims were released from a hospital Friday, but details regarding the fourth victim's condition were not immediately available.

An attorney for Long, who is running for re-election on Nov. 4, said he helped the victims at the scene, talked to their parents and cooperated with police.

Long, also serves as a battalion chief for Anaheim Fire and Rescue, was booked into jail on $50,000 bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

A court date was scheduled for Dec. 11.

Long was in the national spotlight earlier this year when a busload of undocumented immigrants, bound for the Murrieta Border Patrol Station for processing, was blocked by protesters.

Long criticized the federal government's handling of the immigrant transfer, part of a plan to alleviate what the Obama administration as a humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied minors in federal custody along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Photo Credit: Murrieta Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Bottlenose Dolphin Born at SeaWorld]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:18:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mom+and+calf1020.jpg

A bottlenose dolphin calf has been born at SeaWorld, the 80th such birth of a dolphin at the San Diego park.

After a 12-month gestation period, the calf was born at 3:32 p.m. Saturday at the park’s Dolphin Stadium, weighing about 30 pounds.

Park workers said the calf’s gender will be determined in the coming weeks.

“We’re guessing it’s a girl,” said Wendy Ramirez, assistant curator of animal training at the park.

The mama, Sadie, and calf appear to be in good health and the baby has spent the past couple days nursing and swimming with its mother.

This is the second calf for Sadie, a 13-year-old bottlenose dolphin. Her first calf, Kailani Koa, was born in 2009.

Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphin calf can do so by checking out a short “baby presentation” of the calf at Dolphin Stadium. The shows runs regularly and will be in lieu of the usual “Blue Horizons” show.

The baby has yet to be named, and park officials want to open up the naming process to the public. Trainers are voting on finalist names and then will post options on SeaWorld’s Facebook page, where you can vote.

<![CDATA[Families Celebrate End of First Deployment]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:52:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MeyerHomecoming2.jpg

It was not just an emotional homecoming when USS Wayne E. Meyer arrived in San Diego Monday. For many newly married couples, it was the end of a first deployment.

Chalee Winslett and Yanda Edwards were waiting for their respective wives.

Edwards said it’s been a difficult deployment for her, the first since she married her wife Christine in May. Her voice quivered when she talked about how proud she was of her spouse.

Winslett, who is also in the Navy, said the seven-month deployment was a little rough.

“We’re new to this,” the newlywed said of the separation. She said the couple was looking forward to setting up their first home together in San Diego.

Near the fence, Ursula Bongiovanni was anxiously awaiting her daughter. It was the first tour for the first family member to enlist in the U.S. Navy.

“She made the decision a long time ago to serve in the military. I can’t tell you how proud we are of her. I’m just glad to have her back,” she said.

Amanda and Kyle Lore shared a kiss on the dock after Kyle disembarked from the ship.

“It’s been way too long, way too long,” Amanda said. The couple was able to stay connected through Facebook and via WiFi when it was available.

“It’s not the same obviously,” Kyle said as he hugged his wife.

There was another big hug waiting for the ship’s Senior Sailor of the Year, Shanelle Stribling.

She ran off the ship and threw her arms around her daughter.

What was the little girl’s response to seeing her mom back in San Diego? “Happy!” she said.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Pedestrian Struck, Killed by Train in Encinitas]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:44:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/train-tracks-generic.jpg

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a fatal train accident in Encinitas.

A train struck and killed a pedestrian around 11:25 a.m. Monday on Leucadia Boulevard at North Coast Highway.

Traffic is currently shut down in the area, and some train schedules are delayed, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

It is unclear why the pedestrian was on the tracks. Officials have not released the victim’s identity.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Charges in DeMaio Sexual Harassment Allegations]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:54:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DeMaio-Carl-1017_2.jpg

There will be no charges filed in the allegations of sexual harassment involving a San Diego congressional candidate, officials announced Monday.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and Chief of Police announced the decision not to file charges in the allegations of harassment made by a former staffer against Republican Carl DeMaio who is running for the 52nd District seat against Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters.

Former DeMaio staffer, Todd Bosnich, said he was subjected to unwelcome touching and repeated sexual harassment while working on the congressional campaign for the former San Diego city councilman and 2012 mayoral candidate.

On Oct. 10, Bosnich released polygraph results that supported his claims that DeMaio sexually harassed him.

DeMaio called Bosnich "clearly troubled" and said the former campaign worker "manufactured a story" to cover for a plagiarism incident earlier in the year.

On Monday, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced it has completed its review the and sexual harassment claims against the candidate. The DA’s office said there is not enough evidence to press charges.

At the same time, both offices said there would be no charges in the DeMaio campaign headquarters break-in. DeMaio had alleged that Bosnich was responsible for the break-in.

“The San Diego Police Department’s investigations of these matters have been very thorough, objective and professional. SDPD committed significant resources to the investigations and no stone was left unturned,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said in part in a statement Monday.

SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said, "Both the alleged burglary to Carl DeMaio’s campaign office and the allegations of sexual misconduct against Carl DeMaio were taken seriously and investigated thoroughly by the San Diego Police Department."

Also Monday, several sources told NBC 7 that FBI agents were questioning potential witnesses in connection with anonymous emails sent to Bosnich.

A source close to the investigation told NBC7 Investigates the emails threatened Bosnich's political career and put pressure on him to accept the $50,000, saying "you better keep your mouth shut and take the deal."

In an interview with CNN, Bosnich claims that after he confronted DeMaio regarding inappropriate behavior in the workplace he was offered a position with the San Diego County Republican Party, instructed to sign a non-disclosure agreement and offered a payment of $50,000.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[SDSU Student With Meningitis Off Life Support]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:09:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDSU-Sara-Stelzer-1017.jpg

A San Diego State University student who contracted meningococcal meningitis has been taken off life support, university officials said Monday.

Her family had given SDSU officials permission to release a statement Friday morning saying they have told their daughter farewell. However, Sara Stelzer's body was kept on life support while the hospital looked for recipients of some of her vital organs.

School officials said 18-year-old Stelzer was taken off life support on Saturday.

Stelzer, who was studying pre-communications as a freshman, was hospitalized last Tuesday after starting to experience flu-like symptoms two days prior. She was then diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis.

Attention has turned to preventing another meningitis-related tragedy. Over the weekend, the university’s student health services saw nearly 1,000 students for evaluation, providing antibiotics to some.

Some of these students had possible symptoms, but all turned out to be OK, school officials said.

<![CDATA[FBI Investigating DeMaio Accusations ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:14:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

Anonymous emails, sent to the former staffer who accused Republican congressional candidate Carl DeMaio of sexual harassment, are the subject of FBI agent interviews with potential witnesses, sources have confirmed to NBC7 Investigates.

DeMaio is locked in a nasty, raging battle against first-term incumbent Rep. Scott Peters for the 52nd Congressional District.

In a CNN interview, the former DeMaio staffer, Todd Bosnich, said he was subjected to unwelcome touching and repeated sexual harassment while working on the congressional campaign for the former San Diego city councilman and 2012 mayoral candidate.

DeMaio says those claims are "outrageous lies."

In a June interview with KFMB’s Mike Slater, Bosnich also said both he and his mother had received threatening and harassing anonymous emails

On Friday, Bosnich's attorney declined to release any emails.

But several sources close to the investigation told NBC7 that FBI agents and a lawyer from the U.S. Attorney's office asked questions focused on the accusation the Bosniches had received harassing emails, and an alleged hack of his Gmail account.

The investigators also inquired about Bosnich’s claim that he was offered $50,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

A source close to the investigation told NBC7 Investigates the emails threatened Bosnich's political career and put pressure on him to accept the $50,000, saying "you better keep your mouth shut and take the deal."

FBI spokesman Darrell Foxworth said his agency does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

DeMaio says Bosnich is "clearly troubled" and has "manufactured a story" to cover for a plagiarism incident. DeMaio addressed Bosnich's sexual harassment allegations Oct. 8 prior to the airing of the CNN report. DeMaio said that Bosnich had been involved in vandalism at a campaign headquarters just six days before the June primary. DeMaio said Bosnich fabricated the sexual allegations in order to divert attention away from what he says what his attack on the campaign office.

“It’s unfortunate, you know, that an individual who is the prime suspect to the break-in in our campaign office would manufacture such an outrageous lie — but again, all the evidence that was collected by the police department clearly indicated this individual was the prime suspect. And it’s unfortunate, but we will continue to allow the district attorney to proceed with her case, and weighing the case, to prosecute for the break-in of our office,” DeMaio said. 

Police have not named any suspects in the break-in case. 

The DeMaio campaign office in Miramar was  broken into on May 28. Computer screens were smashed, cords and cables were cut, gas cards were stolen and water was poured over laptops, printers and copiers.

DeMaio also announced on NBC 7’s Sunday show “Politically Speaking” that a book containing campaign strategy documents was stolen during the May 28 break-in, and that the Peters campaign somehow received the book after the break-in.

Peters said he turned the material over to police within 24 hours of receiving it. His campaign added that nothing was contained in the stolen material that wasn’t already broadcast on social media.

On Oct. 8, DeMaio told reporters that San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman assured him he was cleared in the sexual allegations investigation. Zimmerman would not confirm this to NBC7.

"Reports of any criminal activity received by the San Diego Police Department are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly," SDPD Lt. Kevin Mayer said. "Once an investigation is complete, it is turned over to the District Attorney's office for review at which point we do not provide further comment about the names of potential victims, witnesses or alleged suspects."

<![CDATA[Scenes From Chargers Loss to Chiefs]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:40:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+chiefs+nfl+1.jpg The Chargers lost to Chiefs, 23-20, on Sunday to snap a five-game winning streak. Here are photos from the game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nurses to Demand New Ebola Regulations in California]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:37:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ebola+health+care+worker+training.jpg

Nurses from San Diego to San Francisco want changes implemented in the way that medical staffers handle patients suspected of having the Ebola virus.

One San Diego-area nurse told NBC 7 we need to be extra cautious and changes need to be seen at all hospitals even if someone is just suspected of having the Ebola virus. NBC 7’s Vanessa Herrera reports.

Michael Jackson, Vice President of National Nurses United, said representatives from his organization and the California Nurses Association will meet Tuesday with Governor Jerry Brown.

The nurses will ask him to set an optimal standard in how medical professionals treat those who may have, and who have the Ebola virus.

"Often times California has the highest level of standards in the country. And we want to maintain that, we want to be on the forefront," Jackson said.

The Centers for Disease Control has revised their guidelines. Now no skin may be exposed on a medical professional while treating an infected patient.

Jackson agreed with the new rule, but said the actions need to be taken immediately for everyone's safety.

"They should be isolated immediately, minimal contact should be made with you," he said.

He added that the guidelines of no skin showing when treating Ebola patients, needs to be implemented at more than just the five hospitals that treat the virus.

<![CDATA[Chipotle Opens First Military Base Restaurant]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:50:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chipotle+Logo.jpg

Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened its first military base restaurant at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. Company officials said the restaurant will serve an on-base population of more than 8,000 active military members and their families.

Officials said Chipotle has signed on to the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a national coalition of 150 companies committed to hiring military veterans.

The new location serves burritos, tacos and other Mexican-style items, using organic and locally sourced meats, dairy products and produce where possible. Sources supplying Chipotle’s local restaurants include singer Jason Mraz’s avocado farm in Fallbrook and bell pepper supplier Peter Rabbit Farms in Coachella, officials said.

The fast-casual Chipotle operates more than 1,700 restaurants, including 31 in San Diego County, according to its website.

The Business Journal is the premier business publication in San Diego. Every day online and each Monday in print, the Business Journal reports on how local business operate and why businesses leaders make the decisions they do. Every story is a dose of insight into how to run a better, more efficient, more profitable business.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Walk in San Diego's Making Strides 2014]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 08:25:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/B0Uhj-YIAAAPv7r.jpg+large.jpg

Thousands of San Diegans walked to help raise almost $700,000 in the fight against breast cancer, according to Making Strides officials.

Sunday’s walk in Balboa Park involving at least 6,054 participants and 611 teams, the charity reports on its website.

In all, $679,204.02 was raised according to the event's website.

“This is such an important event because it bring people together who are celebrating survivors and also grieving people they’ve lost,” said Kay Coleman with the American Cancer Society.

It’s the seventh year for the event that helps raise money for patient services, public education, patient advocacy, and research.

NBC 7 took part with a team of walkers and a booth to help support the cause.

Photo Credit: Becky Stickney/NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Nick Canepa: Chargers Get a 4F]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:26:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Nick-Canepa-1020.jpg It's Monday morning, time for Nick Canepa's report card for the San Diego Chargers. He gives Jim Laslavic a preview on Sportswrap.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Car Crashes Into Family Fellowship Church in Oceanside]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:39:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/oceanside-car-into-church.jpg

A driver took off on foot after his car plowed into the side of an Oceanside church Monday.

Oceanside Police officer arrested the man just up the road from the Family Fellowship Church on El Camino Real near Douglas Drive, north of State Route 76.

Officers say the driver drove his black sedan off the road, up onto a sidewalk over grass and into the side of the church around 1 a.m.

The car missed the main part of the church and didn't make it inside but the impact of the crash knocked down a pillar outside the building.

After the crash, the driver took off running on foot. Oceanside Police officers said they found the man near the crash scene. He is in police custody.

<![CDATA[Oceanside Police Kill Dog, Arrest Dog Owner]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:41:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Oceanside-police-dog-shot.jpg

An Oceanside Police officer shot and killed a dog Monday and the dog's owner was arrested.

Residents at a home on Morse Street near Alvarado called police at 2:30 a.m. when they found a strange man sitting in front of their home with his dog.

When officers responded and exited their vehicle, they say the dog tried to charge at them. They asked the man to control his dog and put it on a leash, but the man told them the animal was just protecting him, according to a news release from the Oceanside Police Department.

Once again, the dog started to charge at them and an officer tried to use a taser on the dog but missed.

Officers then told the man to come toward them in the street in an effort to avoid being bitten by the dog, but the man did not.

When the dog charged a third time, one officer shot the dog, killing the animal. Officials told NBC 7 the officer feared for his safety.

The dog’s owner, Armando Castillo, 26, a known gang member, was arrested on suspicion of obstructing a police officer and being under the influence of a controlled substance. He was taken to the Vista Detention Facility.

<![CDATA[Police Investigate Suspicious Death in Bay Ho]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:49:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bay-Ho-suspicious-death.jpg

A man with severe blunt force trauma was found dead Sunday in the backyard of a Bay Ho home.

Officers were called to a house in the 4700 block of Monongahela Street around 10 a.m.

A 41-year-old man had suffered trauma to his torso and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Neighbor Aubrey Howard spoke with investigators and was told why the death was suspicious.

"Blood which is an indication of blunt force trauma," Howard said. "Cause they hadn't really moved the body out at that stage but there was blood, lot of blood that's all they said."

Police did release the victim’s name, the nature of his injuries or how he died to the media.

“At this juncture, it is unknown if the male’s death was accidental,” police said in a news release Sunday evening.

Detectives spent hours searching the home and several cars park in front of it.

They impounded at least one car.

An autopsy has been scheduled. Homicide detectives are investigating.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[New Law Cracks Down on Farmers Market Fraud]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:35:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/tlmd_alimentos_saludables_17.jpg

A new California law cracks down on fraud at the farmers market.

After NBC Los Angeles’ investigative unit caught farmers buying produce wholesale and passing it off as their own, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that would hire more inspectors to catch fake farmers.

“We can notice by the way the products stand out, if it all looks exactly the same,” explained J.R. Organics Farmer Joe Rodriguez Jr.

NBC 4 found vendors also made false claims their produce was pesticide-free when in reality, the fruits tested with high levels of pesticide.

The new law requires vendors to pay $2 to the state each time they participate at farmers markets, nearly quadruple the old rate of $.60. The money will go toward hiring more inspectors at farmers markets.

“A little more enforcement will be good because then it puts all the farmers on the right track and on the right base with everybody else,” Rodriguez said.

“I think it’s completely fair to hold farmers accountable,” said customer Scarlet Garcia.

However, not everyone agrees with added government regulation.

“San Diego County already does an excellent job of making sure San Diego farmers grow everything they say the grow,” said Hillcrest Farmers Market co-founder Mark Larson. “They do inspect farms regularly, and the farmers also police themselves. If they know of anybody that’s selling what they don’t grow, they report it.”

Other farmers worry about the increased fee and passing the cost onto consumers.

“That can be over $250 a year of additional cost, so it’s just going to drive up the cost of farmers market produce for customers, and it’s an additional regulatory burden on the farmers,” Larson said.

The new law goes into effect Jan. 1.

Photo Credit: ShutterStock]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Fall in Final Seconds to Rival Chiefs]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:46:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+1019.jpg

All during their five-game win streak, the Chargers were able to control the clock and the game.

On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs were able to beat them at their own game, holding the ball for more than 38 minutes in a 23-20 win over the Bolts at Qualcomm Stadium.

It's the Chargers' first loss since Week 1, dropping them to 5-2.

The Chiefs (3-3) drove down the field on their final possession to win the game on a field goal with just 21 seconds left.

Cairo Santos made the decisive 48-yard kick, his third of the game.

Philip Rivers completed 17-of-31 passes for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but was unable to engineer a game-winning drive in the final seconds.

Tight end Antonio Gates caught three passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. That leaves him 29 receiving yards shy of the all-time Chargers record.

He will try to break it on Thursday when the Bolts travel to Denver to face the Broncos in what will likely be a battle for first place in the AFC West.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Walk in 2014 Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:24:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/B0UcVJuCEAA9b7x.jpg+large.jpg Images of the 2014 Making Strides Breast Cancer walk.

Photo Credit: Becky Stickney/NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Exclusive: Inside Look at SDPD Helicopter]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:10:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WeekendAMABLE_1200x675_344931395712.jpg NBC 7's Catherine Garcia shares never-before-seen video taken from the San Diego Police Department's ABLE helicopter with its new high-definition camera. ]]> <![CDATA[52nd District Candidates Campaign Amid Controversy]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 13:55:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/demaio_peters_pic_1200x675_344379971996.jpg The California’s 52nd District Congressional seat is one of the most contentious races in the country. Congressman Scott Peters and challenger Carl DeMaio are locked in a tight race that's been rocked by scandal this week. NBC 7’s Liberty Zabala reports. ]]> <![CDATA[Hit and Run Victim Remains in ICU With Brain Injury]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 08:52:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/katie+connor+hit+and+run+victim.jpg

A tearful father is asking for the public's help to find the driver who hit his 23-year-old daughter and then kept going.

Katie Conner was struck by a hit-and-run driver around 1:20 a.m. on Oct. 12 in Ocean Beach. She was riding her red bicycle home from work on West Point Loma Boulevard going toward Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

Katie suffered a serious traumatic brain injury and remains in the Intensive Care Unit at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, her father Michael Conner told NBC 7. Part of her skull had to be removed because of brain swelling.

"We weren't really prepared for what we saw when we walked in there. I mean, I knew she was in an intensive care unit, and I knew she wasn't going to be sitting up in bed waiting for dad. But I wasn't prepared for what I saw when I walked in there. She looked horrific," he said.

Now, Michael Conner is on a mission to find the person who hit his daughter. He said it’s not about revenge.

"What happened was wrong,” Michael said. “It needs to be corrected, and I'm not the guy to do that.”

San Diego police are looking for a white pickup truck with a camper shell with yellow or brown on it. Michael is urging the public to come forward.

“I can't say it enough. If you know something, call the police and tell them. Even if you don't think it's really that important. I don't know, the smallest little detail could help the police in this matter," he said.

Katie moved to San Diego from the East Coast in July. Her father said she had just purchased a new bike and was planning to ride in an AIDS fundraiser from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a few months.

"She was a very athletic girl. She was very excited to get into cycling,” he said.

Pizza Port, the restaurant where Katie works, is planning a fundraiser for her. It will take place from 11 a.m. to close on Saturday, Nov. 1. Twenty percent of sales will go to Katie. Pizza Port is asking other businesses to donate gift certificates or other items that could be auctioned.

Photo Credit: Connor family ]]>
<![CDATA[Who To Watch For: Chiefs vs. Chargers]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 00:25:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/164*120/456757970.jpg

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is good.

Thank you, Captain Obvious!

I mean, he's a tremendous running back, just 53 yards shy of passing Priest Holmes and  becoming Kansas City's all-time leading rusher. But, you could argue that he's every bit as dangerous when he catches the ball out of the backfield.

In 84 career games, he has 16 touchdown catches. Now, let's put that in perspective.

In his entire soon-to-be Hall of Fame career, a span of 170 games, LaDainian Tomlinson (one of the greatest pass-catching running backs of all time) caught 17 touchdown passes.

Over the first 84 games of his Hall of Fame career, Marshall Faulk (THE greatest pass-catching running back of all time) caught 11 touchdown passes.

Jamaal Charles is on a pace to not only be good, but to be among the best to ever play the game, which is why he poses such a threat to the Chargers' 5-game winning streak on Sunday.

Of the 10 touchdown passes the Bolts have allowed in 2014, four have come from running backs. The Bolts are among the best teams in the league in guarding wide receivers, so the guys on the outside are doing just fine.

But, they're one of the worst teams in the NFL at covering running backs, so the guys on the inside need some work. And that brings us to this week's players to watch for:

Donald Butler, ILB

Butler has been one of the top offenders when it comes to running back assignments (just cue up the tape from the Seahawks game and you'll see what I mean), which is interesting because he's shown glimpses of being very good in coverage. Butler has picked off a pass in 2011, 2012 and 2013, plus one against the Broncos in the Divisional Playoffs. But, this year, he's been losing backs with alarming consistency. While Defensive Coordinator John Pagano will also use safety Eric Weddle to keep an eye on Charles, Butler will likely be the first option. If he can't stay close to the Chiefs' All-Pro back, this game will turn in to a shootout like last year's 41-38 slugfest at Arrowhead Stadium.

King Dunlap, LT

If it does get to a point where the team with the ball last wins, and the Chargers are having to pass 35 times, Philip Rivers will be in great peril. Kansas City linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are pass rush specialists who can wreck a game in a hurry. Both of them were hurt in the first game of 2013, and neither dressed for the season finale. Dunlap has played at a Pro Bowl level this season, and he'll have to maintain that to give Rivers a chance to get the ball off (and avoid having to drink all his meals for a month). Hali and Houston will rotate from side to side on occasion, but for the most part Dunlap will be tangling with Hali, who has 76.5 sacks in his career. If Dunlap can delay him long enough to give Philip Rivers three or four seconds to throw (and right tackle D.J. Fluker can do the same with Houston on the other side), the Chargers have a monster advantage, and here's why.

Keenan Allen, WR

Statistically speaking, Marcus Cooper is the worst cover cornerback in the NFL right now, and Keenan Allen is probably not the right guy to fix that against. I'll go back to that game in K.C. last year, where Allen caught nine passes for 124 yards, the majority of them on crossing routes where he lost Cooper either at the line of scrimmage (in press coverage) or in the middle of the field (in zone). While Cooper did show improvement in the season finale, the second-year CB seems to have regressed a bit. Allen leads the Chargers in catches, but has yet to get in the end zone, and while he is supportive of his team-mates scoring lots of touchdowns, the frustration has got to be mounting. Against the Jets, Philip Rivers made a few interesting throws late in the game that sure looked like he was trying to get Keenan a TD. This might be his best chance yet to do it.

Derek's Prediction

I am scared to death of this game. The Chargers offensive line has been beat up, and against the Chiefs front seven (linemen Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey are also having solid seasons), getting Rivers enough time to find an open man will be difficult. However, if they do, Philip will have no trouble dissecting the Chiefs secondary, especially with safety Eric Berry not playing.

On defense, the Bolts will benefit from getting Shareece Wright and Reggie Walker back, but if Brandon Flowers (groin) and/or Jason Verrett (shoulder) can't play, they'll be in deep trouble trying to handle not only Charles and fellow running back Knile Davis, but tight ends Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano.

When you have this many variables, I like to look at two final factors: location, and quarterback. The game is at home. The Chargers have Philip Rivers. In a game between two teams that do not turn the ball over very much, expect a clean, close match where the Bolts hold the trump card.

Make it seven straight wins for San Diego over Kansas City at Qualcomm Stadium.

Final score: Chargers 27, Chiefs 24

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Olympian, Coach Steve Scott Battling Prostate Cancer]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 17:49:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/steve+scott+getty.jpg

The Carlsbad man who held the U.S. record for fastest mile for more than two decades is suffering from prostate cancer, according to Scripps Health. 

Steve Scott, 58, made the announcement Saturday at the Cougar Challenge cross country meet at Cal State University San Marcos.

The three-time Olympian is currently head coach of the cross country team and track and field team at CSUSM.

Between 1982 and 2007, Scott held the record for fastest mile among American men at 3 minutes 47 seconds.

About one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Haunt for a Cure Supports Breast Cancer Research]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 16:54:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/haunt+for+a+cure.jpg

Your family may go all out with Halloween decorations, but probably nothing like Caleb Serban-Lawler’s.

Every Halloween for the past six years, the Sabre Springs family has transformed its backyard into a land of horrors that rivals any commercial haunted house.

“We spend almost all the month of October working on it,” said Caleb, 14.

Last year, Caleb decided to take the annual Halloween tradition to the next level.

“My (tumbling) coach’s mom just passed from breast cancer just as I was trying to decide what theme we were going to go for this year with the haunted house,” Caleb said.

That’s how Haunt for a Cure was born.

In 2013, some 500 people visited Caleb’s haunted backyard and donated $3,400 for breast cancer research.

This year’s haunted house will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31 and Saturday, Nov. 1 at 13479 Cool Lake Way in Sabre Springs. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

<![CDATA[Dogs Rescued From Encinitas Fire ]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:39:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dog+encinitas+house+fire.jpg

An Encinitas family and its two small dogs are safe after a fire early Saturday morning.

A fire sparked inside the garage of a home at Verdi Avenue and Summit Avenue around 1:45 a.m.

Flames destroyed the garage and appeared to spread to the balcony. No one was injured, according to the Encinitas Fire Department.

Video showed two little dogs were rescued from the home.

There is no word on what caused the fire or an estimate of how much damage was done.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Man Sentenced for Attempted Human Trafficking]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 11:08:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/siliconvalleytour14.jpg

A San Diego man was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison in a case of human trafficking on Facebook after he tried to offer up the sexual services of a person he thought was a girl but who turned out to be an undercover police officer, prosecutors said.

Melvin Winslow, 31, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to one felony count of attempted human trafficking of a minor, according to a press release from the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

His sentence was suspended pending completion of five years probation, officials said in the release.

In April, Winslow befriended who he believed was a 17-year-old girl on Facebook, officials said.

He then attempted to recruit her to work for him as a prostitute, and told her he would tattoo her with his "team logo."

Anaheim police and California Highway Patrol officers arrested Winslow in San Diego County in April.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Girl, 14, Hit by Vehicle in Escondido]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 22:45:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Escondido-Police-0723.jpg

A teenage pedestrian was airlifted to the hospital after she was hit by a vehicle in Escondido Friday night.

The 14-year-old girl was struck while walking along La Terraza Boulevard, south of West Valley Parkway at about 9:30 p.m. Escondido Police say the driver stayed at the scene.

A helicopter took the victim to the nearest hospital.

There is no word on her condition.

Check back here for details on this breaking news story.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Free Pumpkins Offered at Pop-Up Patch]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:58:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/451601919.jpg

A pop-up pumpkin patch helps parents get a jump on Halloween.

On Sunday, San Diego County Parks and Recreation will scatter hundreds of pumpkins along the southwest lawn of the Waterfront Park off Pacific Highway downtown.

Kids will “pick” their favorite (which will inevitably be the largest) and roll it over to a decoration station, complete with stickers and foam cutouts.

Creepy crawly animals will be on hand for a close-up look, courtesy of park rangers, and an inflatable obstacle course will give your little monsters a nice challenge.

On the center stage, an 11-year-old will sign her heart out at noon, followed by a magician with some mysterious fun.

You may want to bring some towels in case the kiddos take a dip in the fountain, which of course they will because… water.

When the tummies start rumbling, parents can turn to food trucks and a frozen yogurt booth for relief.

The ghoulish good time will run from at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF]]>
<![CDATA[App Uses Facial Recognition to Return Lost Dogs]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:48:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/finding+rover+app.jpg

A smartphone app that aims to reunite owners with lost dogs goes a few steps beyond missing posters.

The Finding Rover app uses facial recognition to help the pup find its way home.

San Diegan Ryan Quinlivan hopes it helps him find his dog Coco. She has been missing for more than a week, and he has been doing everything he can to track her down.

“The dog I’ve had my entire adult life, so she means the world to me, and I would give anything to get her back," Quinlivan said. 

In addition to stapling hundreds of posters around town and posting ads on Craigslist, he downloaded Finding Rover.

Here’s how it works: A pet parent can download the free tool, take a picture of their dog and upload it to the app, adding his or her ZIP code. If that pooch runs off, the owner can check the interactive map that shows where dogs have been found and when.

Someone who spots a lost dog can snap a picture and add it to Finding Rover, and the app will run it through the facial recognition system. If the photo matches up with that of a missing pet, the app will send a notification to the finder with information on how to get a hold of the owner. Users will also get a mobile alert every time a dog is lost or found within 10 miles.

For those who may want to plan some doggy dates, Finding Rover also acts as a social network to connect and share dog news.

San Diego is one of the app's biggest markets. In fact, the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services was the first animal sheltering organization to partner with Finding Rover.

According to Animal Services Deputy Director Daniel DeSousa, every dog that comes into the county's shelters is photographed and uploaded into the app. In July, Animal Services reunited its first pet with its owner with the tool's help.

Right now, the app is available only on iOS phones in the iTunes store, but developers hope to release an Android app this year.

More than 10 million pets go missing every year, according to the Humane Society.

If you believe you have found Coco, you can contact Quinlivan at 619-721-4008 or 719-757-9829. He is offering a $5,000 reward.

“It’s nothing in comparison to what I feel about the dog,” he said.

Photo Credit: Finding Rover
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Protecting Yourself Against Meningitis]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:24:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/new+measles+photo.jpg After an SDSU student died from meningococcal disease this week, NBC 7's Liberty Zabala explains on Oct. 17, 2014, how people who may have been exposed can protect themselves from various types of meningitis.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How to Save on Halloween Candy]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:15:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/halloween+candy2.JPG Americans spend nearly $8 billion on Halloween every year. So how can you have a good time and still save? NBC 7's Consumer Bob explains on Oct. 17, 2014. ]]> <![CDATA[Police Search for Missing San Diego Woman]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:58:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/elizabeth+sullivan.JPG

San Diego Police are searching for a local woman who has been missing since Monday.

Elizabeth Michelle Sullivan, 31, was last seen at her home near Liberty Station on Oct. 13, and a text message the same day was the last contact anyone had from her.

Her phone has since been turned off.

Police say her vehicle was found at home, so it's unclear what kind of transporation she was using Monday, if any. 

Sullivan is described as an African American woman who stands 5-foot-3 and weighs 130 pounds. She has dark hair and dark eyes.

Police do not know what she was wearing when she went missing.

If you know anything about Sullivan's whereabouts, you are asked to call the SDPD Missing Persons Section at 619-531-2277 or Det. James Hunter at 619-531-2327.

Photo Credit: SDPD]]>
<![CDATA[DeMaio's Campaign Manager Red Flags Black, Young People]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:08:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DemaiocampaignemailsUSETHIS.jpg

Republican challenger for the 52nd Congressional District Carl DeMaio has pledged to take on his own Republican Party to be more inclusive and accepting of diversity.

But Friday, a national conservative political action committee called for the resignation of DeMaio’s campaign manager for his comment about black people.

An internal campaign email obtained by NBC 7 to DeMaio’s staff from Campaign Manager Tommy Knepper offers tools for spotting a “tracker” – a person attending campaign events to catch a candidate saying or doing something that could be used against him.

Some red flags, Knepper wrote: being young and being black.

“We were hugely disappointed and frankly disgusted with the campaign manager there in California 52nd District and the comments he made about black people,” said Ali Akbar, a senior adviser to the board of the Black Conservative Fund, which said Knepper should resign.

In the email thread, DeMaio immediately responds by saying “drop black from the criteria.”

On Friday, NBC7 received an apology statement from Knepper.

“I apologize for my inappropriate and offensive comments, which do not reflect me or my values or the values of this campaign,” he said. “We value the support from all San Diegans in this election.”

Not enough, says Akbar.

"We want to see him step down. We want to see him terminated immediately. We don’t want to see him finish out this last stretch of the campaign,” Akbar said, adding that he was relieved that the attitude did not trickle up to the candidate.

“We were pleased to see that the candidate (DeMaio) in principle spurned him (Knepper) inside of that email, but it’s really wholly unnecessary to ‘red flag’ black attendees, and for that matter youth attendees, to GOP events,” Akbar said. “We need to be a party of inclusion.”

During a taping of NBC 7's "Politically Speaking" segment with candidates DeMaio and incumbent Scott Peters, DeMaio had little to say in response to questions about the email.

When asked by NBC7’s political expert Gene Cubbison what was up with the profiling of oppo trackers as young African Americans, DeMaio said:

“This is the dysfunction of politics. This doesn’t get anyone a job and that’s what San Diegans have told me they want me to focus on,” DeMaio said. “This doesn’t fix our financial crisis in our nation.”

Akbar says if Knepper isn’t off the payroll by Monday, his organization is going to be asking with his pocket book.

You can watch the entire “Politically Speaking” episode on Sunday at 9 a.m. right after “Meet the Press.”

<![CDATA[Temecula Boy's Recovery From Electric Shock a 'Miracle']]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 11:58:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Elijah+Belden+1017.jpg

Asked whether his 9-year-old son surviving a “freak” electrical shock at his birthday party was a miracle, Tony Belden didn’t waver.

“Absolutely,” the Temecula father told a group of reporters on Friday afternoon.

“There were people all over the world messaging us that they’re praying for us,” he said. “Every time I looked at the numbers grow on his Facebook page, I thought, ‘That’s one more person praying for my kid.”

Belden spoke to reporters at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego about his son’s recovery after being electrically shocked at his own birthday party in what’s been described as a “freak accident.”

Belden's family celebrated his birthday a few weeks early with family friends and his baseball team when the fourth grader was shocked near the swimming pool at their Temecula home.

Belden was snapping a picture with a friend when the accident happened. He apparently touched a metal patio cover support that had stringing lights and had somehow become electrified.

Elijah Belden, who turned 10 on Monday, was in a medically induced coma for days before waking on Tuesday.

Now, his father said his recovery is swift and impressive. When he first woke, Elijah was asked if he knew his name.

“With a hoarse voice, he was able to say his name,” his father said.

From there, the boy has started rehabilitation programs and on Friday, he was able to walk outside for the first time. His speech was evaluated and seems great, his father said. Doctors are focusing on strengthening his lungs.

On Saturday, family members are hoping Elijah can get on a treadmill to trying running again and next week, the family hopes to head home.

“We’re looking forward to getting him moving again," Belden said. "Getting him on the baseball field. Back to the normal kid he is.”

<![CDATA[DeMaio Campaign Book Falls Into Hands of Peters' Staff]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:40:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

A new bombshell dropped Friday in the race for California’s 52nd Congressional District when both candidates confirmed a Carl DeMaio campaign strategy book, allegedly stolen during an office break-in, found its way into the hands of incumbent Scott Peters’ staff.

It is the latest revelation in an already ugly race peppered with attack ads and sexual harassment allegations.

The two had a chilly meeting Friday morning at a taping of NBC 7’s Politically Speaking, as DeMaio walked right by Peters’ hand outstretched for a handshake.

During the session, DeMaio discussed the burglary and vandalism at his campaign headquarters on May 28. Cords and cables were cut, water was poured over laptops and printers, computer screens were smashed in and one important item was taken: DeMaio’s campaign playbook.

The candidate confronted Peters about the book on “Politically Speaking.”

“And Mr. Peters, I just want to ask a very simple question. Did your campaign come into possession of our strategy book, all of our direct mail pieces in the last five months?” asked DeMaio.

Peters responded with: “In early June, information was forwarded to our campaign which we immediately turned over to the police.”

DeMaio pressed the issue, asking Peters why he did not let his opponent’s campaign know that he had seen DeMaio’s playbook all along.

“I’ve obviously never seen it,” said Peters. “We turned it directly over to the police within 24 hours of getting it because what was contained in it was potentially part of a criminal investigation.”

He added his campaign manager “looked at it enough to know what it was.”

On Friday evening, Peters' Communication Director Alex Roth sent out the following statement about the revelation:

"To clarify, we do not know what a campaign playbook is; nor has our campaign ever received anything that could be characterized as 'a campaign playbook' as Mr. DeMaio called it. To reiterate, our campaign staff received information in early June that we immediately transmitted in its entirety to the police.This is nothing more than an attempt by Mr. DeMaio to divert attention away from the Filner-esque sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him.”

During the show's taping, Peters said he felt as if he had been cast as the perpetrator of the break-in, which was portrayed with Watergate-like overtones when it first happened.

DeMaio told his opponent he does not believe Peters had anything to do with the burglary.

Instead, he blames former aide Todd Bosnich.

Bosnich has publicly accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him while he worked for the former San Diego City Councilman, releasing the results of a polygraph test that he says support his claims.

Called the allegations “outrageous lies,” DeMaio said Bosnich is trying to get revenge for being fired as a suspect in the break-in.

However, the candidate said he will not take a polygraph exam to rebut Bosnich’s allegations.

CNN reports Bosnich's lawyers sent the news outlet the results to a second polygraph test Friday in which Bosnich was asked if he broke into the campaign headquarters last May. The test shows Bosnich's "no" answers were "truthful and found "no deception."

Bosnich confirmed the story to NBC 7 via text message.

DeMaio's spokesman David McCulloch defended the candidate, saying in a statement, "Both Carl DeMaio and Tommy Knepper — named in a series of vile smear attacks — have taken lie detector tests that have shown these smears are baseless. Meanwhile, Mr. Peters admitted on NBC7/39 this morning that his campaign received stolen property from our campaign — begging the question: who provided this sensitive campaign material?"  

McCulloch later clarified that statement that the lie detector test taken by DeMaio was one in August 2013 after a former colleague accused DeMaio of lewd acts in San Diego's City Hall.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[How Ebola Claims Can Lead to Criminal Charges]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:45:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ebola-Isolation-Bus.jpg Call it "Ebola anxiety" or "Ebola hysteria." Just in the past few days, there have been incidents across the county that have prompted immediate response. And what about those hoaxes? At what point does it call for criminal charges? NBC 7's Artie Ojeda reports.]]> <![CDATA[La Jolla Jeweler Faces 27 Felonies]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 06:58:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Winchell-Jewelry-1017.jpg

A La Jolla jeweler is accused of stealing the jewelry customers asked him to resell on their behalf.

Karl Winchell, 78, faces 27 felony counts ranging from grand theft to financial elder abuse and fraud.

He used to own Winchell’s Jewelry on Wall Street in La Jolla. The shop is now shuttered. According to Winchell’s criminal attorney, the store closed because rent jumped from $1300 a month to $6,000.

According to a criminal complaint, it appears there are 12 alleged victims. Some of them are elderly.
Winchell is accused of stealing money and personal property in excess of $950 from each.

Some of the alleged victims also sued Winchell to get their property, according to court documents.

Through his civil attorney in some of those lawsuits, Winchell told NBC 7 he did not want to comment on the allegations.

Bryan Garrie said Winchell paid everyone back with interest.

“Everytime he’s been sued he’s taken care of it,” Garrie said.

One client told NBC 7 that Winchell did a great job with her jewelry whether it be fixing it or designing it.
She said she received one piece back from him when he was unable to sell it on her behalf.

We also heard from an alleged victim who said he was pleased to see the story being covered and is hopeful more potential victims may come forward.

If convicted, Winchell could face 12 years, four months in prison.

<![CDATA[Man Robs Little Italy Furniture Store With Knife]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:37:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Police+Tape+Police+Generic+Trenton.jpg

A man armed with a knife robbed a furniture store in Little Italy Friday morning, police said.

The robbery happened just before noon at the BoConcept San Diego furniture store, 1550 Front St., when the man and a woman entered the store. San Diego police said the man pointed a knife at an employee and demanded money.

The man and woman fled with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.

The man is described as in his 20s, having a heavy build, a military-type haircut and wearing a tie-dye T-shirt and blue jeans.

The woman is described as also in her 20s, standing 5 feet 6 inches, having a thin build, with blonde shoulder-length hair. She was last seen wearing a red-and-white flower dress.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Victim's Family Needs Help Finding Hit-and-Run Driver]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:44:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/katie+connor+hit+and+run+victim.jpg

The family of a woman seriously injured in an Ocean Beach hit-and-run crash is pleading for the public’s help finding the driver responsible.

The collision happened as Katie Connor, 23, rode her red bicycle on West Point Loma Boulevard toward Sunset Cliffs Boulevard at about 1:20 a.m. Sunday.

San Diego Police say a white pickup truck with a camper shell struck her and immediately took off.

Connor was rushed to the UCSD Hillcrest hospital for a major head injury.

Her uncle Michael McGinty said her part of her skull had to be removed because her brain is swollen. On Friday, Connor, a Pizza Port employee, underwent surgery.

Connor’s family released a picture of her Friday, hoping someone will recognize the bike, the victim or the vehicle involved and call police.

Photo Credit: Connor family ]]>
<![CDATA[Woman to Stand Trial in Wife's Fatal Stabbing]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:14:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Tiffany-Nowden-Vale-San-Car.jpg

Four months after the naked body of a San Carlos woman was found in her apartment, the victim's wife was ordered to stand trial on murder charges.

Tiffany Nowden, 39, will stand trial for the death of her wife, Russina Vale.

Vale, 38, was found dead on June 5 inside an apartment unit at the Villa De Flores complex in the 7700 block of Mission Gorge Road.

Vale was found naked and dead in her bed on the day of her murder, prosecutors said. She had suffered two stab wounds, one to the stomach and the other to the upper right arm and chest, which proved fatal.

Nowden’s aunt Zanetta Moloi of San Bernardino testified Thursday at a pre-trial hearing that she was asked to pick up the defendant in San Diego because she was in trouble. She said Nowden looked stressed when she picked her up in San Diego.

Moloi said her niece called an attorney but decided not to meet with him. After showering, Nowden left her aunt’s home without saying where she was going.

Moloi said she didn’t learn about what had happened to Vale until several days later.

Nearly 20 days after Vale's body was found, San Diego Police arrested Nowden at a home on Market Street in Sherman Heights.

Before her death Vale had informed friends and family that she was planning to seek a divorce from Nowden, prosecutors said.

Nowden and Vale got into a heated argument at Nowden's place of employment, Barona Casino, shortly before the deadly stabbing. As a result of the argument, Nowden was escorted off the property, prosecutors said.

On Friday, Nowden was ordered to stand trial. If convicted, Nowden faces 56 years to life in prison.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[SDSU Student with Meningococcal Meningitis on Life Support]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 12:07:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sara+Stelzer+1017.jpg

Staff and students at San Diego State University are honoring 18-year-old freshman Sara Stelzer, who school officials say is on life support after contracting meningococcal disease.

Stelzer, who was studying pre-communications, was hospitalized on Tuesday after starting to experience flu-like symptoms two days prior. She was then diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis.

Her family gave SDSU officials permission to release a statement Friday morning saying they have told their daughter farewell. Stelzer's body will be kept on life support while the hospital looks for recipients of some of her vital organs, according to SDSU Chief Communications Officer Greg Block.

The university issued a statement, saying it was “deeply saddened by the loss” and asked for privacy while students grieve.

"After speaking with her family, we know that Sara was a vibrant young woman who loved San Diego State, her friends and the time she spent at our university," said Eric Rivera, vice president of the university's student affairs. "It is always difficult when a young life is lost, especially when that person is part of our SDSU family."

The school is offering emergency counseling to students at SDSU's counseling and psychological services, which can be reached at 619-594-5220.

Now attention has turned to preventing another meningitis-related tragedy.

More than 400 students have signed up for antibiotics after the university sent a campus-wide notification to alert students of the health threat. Specifically, between 300 and 400 people were notified, including all members of the Kappa Delta sorority and anyone who attended two specific fraternity parties on Oct. 8 and 9. All Greek events scheduled for this weekend have been canceled.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our sister. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family," said Kaitlyn Holt, president of the Beta Rho chapter of Kappa Delta, in a statement Friday.

"It's awful. Everyone's really devastated," said Elleni Anast, who attended the same fraternity party as Stelzer. "My roommate is in Kappa Delta, so (I'm) trying to help them through that time."

"It breaks my heart. Everyone's heart," echoed freshman Nicolette Pianelli. "Took flowers to Kappa Delta house the other day."

Many took to social media to express their grief.

Prior to her death, Stelzer also helped out with homecoming last Friday at her alma mater, Moorpark High School, north of Los Angeles.

She helped friends with hair and makeup, and the Ventura County Health Department has identified 10 people, who had contact with her. About six of them had "prolonged" contact with her, school officials said.

All those people have been examined by doctors, given antibiotics and were back in class on Friday.

Officials at Moorpark said Stelzer had been part of the golf team and Renaissance class at the school and "brought an amazing amount of light to MHS."

"We are extremely saddened by the loss of Sara," school superintendent Kelli Hays said in a statement. "She left a very meaningful mark on Moorpark High School and we will continue to honor her memory."

Meningococcal disease refers to any illness caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus, according to the CDC.

These illnesses can be life-threatening infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord as well as bloodstream infections.

The disease can be spread by sharing cigarettes or pipes, drinking out of the same water bottles or beverage containers or through other intimate contact like kissing.

Because it takes one to 10 days for someone exposed to the disease to see symptoms, others may have it and not know it.

Symptoms include fever, intense headache, neck stiffness and rashes.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should go directly to a hospital emergency room and explain the possible exposure, school officials said.

There is no word yet on memorial service plans.

<![CDATA[Zahau Family's Wrongful Death Lawsuit Moves Forward]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:09:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rebecca-Zahau-0315.jpg

The wrongful death lawsuit filed in the case of Rebecca Zahau, whose body was found hanging at a historic Coronado mansion, will move forward, a federal judge ordered this week.

Zahau’s family claims her death was a murder, not a suicide, perpetrated by family members of the alleged victim’s millionaire boyfriend Jonah Shacknai, who owned the famous Spreckels Mansion where Zahau’s nude body was discovered dangling from a second-story balcony on July 13, 2011.

"Nobody that's looked at this evidence has said it's anything other than murder," said Zahau family attorney Keith Greer.

After a lawsuit was dismissed three times, the family filed an amended wrongful death complaint in July 2014 against defendants Adam and Dina Shacknai — Jonah’s brother and ex-wife — and Dina’s twin sister Nina Romano, claiming they conspired to batter Zahau.

"The judge in this case made us really come forward with evidence and show exactly who did what, when they did it and how they did it," said Greer. "And we included that in this complaint."

On Wednesday, United States District Judge Thomas Whelan denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

The Zahau family refuses to accept the results of the San Diego County Sheriff’s investigation, which found Zahau committed suicide by hanging because she felt guilty over the death of Jonah’s 6-year-old son Max. The boy had died just two days before her death after falling at home under Zahau’s watch.

Instead, the $10 million lawsuit claims Adam, Dina and Nina “actively participated in the planning, implementation, execution and subsequent concealment of the scheme to murder (Zahau).”

Dina is accused of striking Zahau in the back of the head four times with a blunt object as she and Nina confronted the alleged victim about Max’s death.

"We had an independent medical examiner look at the case. He found four blows on the back of her head that the San Diego Cororner didn't find," said Greer.

He claims once Zahau was unconscious, the three defendants had to figure out what to do next.

The plaintiffs say Adam carried Zahau’s body into the house, where the trio stripped off her clothing, gagged her, and tied her up with tape.

According to the lawsuit, Adam allegedly bound Zahau with a rope and chocked her to death, later throwing her body over the edge of an adjacent balcony while “either Dina or Nina was sitting on the bed to which the rope was secured,” the court document states.

Zahau’s family accuses Dina of instructing Adam to paint the cryptic message “SHE SAVED HIM. CAN YOU SAVE HER” on the door outside.

The motive: Max's death, Greer alleges.

"Dina thinks that Rebecca was involved with her son's death, Rebecca stole her husband. That's the kind of rage that kills," said Greer.

Attempts to reach Dina on this latest development were unsuccessful.

But in court documents, the defendants flatly deny all the accusations put forward in the lawsuit.

Their attorneys say the complaint remains “devoid of facts and this lace of factual content makes the allegations made on information and believe implausible.”

The claim directly contradicts the coroner’s findings, which stated Zahau’s cause of death was suicide.

However, Judge Whelan said looking at the accusations in a light most favorable to the plaintiffs, the factual allegations are sufficient to support the conspiracy theory.

Greer believes the case will not be settled and will go to a jury trial. Depositions start next week.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Zahau Fund]]>
<![CDATA[CA Drought Might "Persist or Intensify" During Winter]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:58:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/231*120/10-16-2014-winter-outlook-map.jpg

Drought conditions are likely to "persist or intensify" during what forecasters expect to be a warm winter in California, where water scarcity led to critically low reservoir levels and calls to conserve during the state's third consecutive dry year.

The dire winter outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration comes after a summer of punishing heat and disappointing 2013 rain season that was part of California's driest year on record.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor update has all of California in some type of drought category, just as the government-issued report has shown for the last three months. More than 58 percent of the state is considered in "exceptional drought," the most severe category assigned in the weekly report.

Some regions might see slight improvement this winter, but Californians hoping for significant and widespread relief, especially in the parched Central Valley region, are unlikely to find it during the coming months. California historically sees most of its rain for the year from November through February and early spring months.

"Complete drought recovery in California this winter is highly unlikely," said Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "While we're predicting at least a 2 in 3 chance that winter precipitation will be near or above normal throughout the state, with such widespread, extreme deficits, recovery will be slow."

Record drought will likely "persist or intensify in large parts of the state," according to a NOAA outlook released Thursday. The precipitation outlook points to above-average rainfall across the southern half of the state and improved drought conditions for the northwest region, according to NOAA.

But any chance of significant improvement depends largely on El Nino -- the Tropical Pacific weather phenomenon that affects weather patterns. Strong El Nino patterns draw moisture into California, but a weak El Nino would probably not generate enough rainfall to affect drought levels.

Forecasters continue to assess whether El Nino conditions will develop this winter, according to NOAA. The latest estimate places the chance of El Nino at 67 percent.

The warm winter forecast follows a summer of record heat and late-season heat wave that exacerbated drought conditions and sped evapotranspiration -- the transfer of water from soil and other surfaces to the atmosphere by evaporation and by transpiration from plants.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in January, as vanishing snowpack and rainfall has led to farmers fallowing fields and mandatory water restrictions. The next month, the Legislature approved fast-tracked legislation to address the immediate effects of the three-year drought on communities while accelerating bond funding for public works projects that will better prepare agencies for future droughts.

Last month, state water officials released plans for spending almost a third of the $687 million emergency drought relief package. More than $200 million in expedited bond funding would benefit 110 projects throughout the state.

Photo Credit: NOAA]]>
<![CDATA[SD Mom High on Meth Sentenced For Toddler Drownings]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:58:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/TassieBehrenspic1016.JPG

A San Diego mom who was high of methamphetamine when her two toddlers drowned in a pool last year was sentenced on Thursday to four years in prison.

Tassie Behrens, 27, had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of felony child endangerment in connection to the May 2013 drownings of her 2-year-old son, Jason Bradford Jr., and 16-month-old daughter, Harley Bradford.

The toddlers drowned in a swimming pool at an unincorporated La Mesa home. Prosecutors described Behrens as a drug addict, who was unresponsive that day when her 2-year-old tried to wake her to say his little sister was missing.

Behrens told him to go back to sleep, prosecutors said. The boy’s clothes were later found at the edge of the pool and authorities believe he was trying to save his sister.

Once she discovered the children face down in her friend's pool, Behrens made several decisions that hampered officials.

Instead of calling 911, she and her friend drove the children to a fire station 15 minutes away.

She also lied to investigators about where the children died to cover up a marijuana growing operation inside the home, officials said.

Behrens’ attorney on Thursday said the toddler nourished and were well-cared for. He asked the judge to sentence his client to probation, also pointing out Behrens’ lack of criminal history.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren denied probation and sentenced Behrens to four years, saying she hoped it sent a message to the community about the effects of drug addiction.

"The punishment is partly for deterrence," she judge said.

With credit for the time she’s already served in jail, Behrens could be free by next August.

Behrens' mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and friends were in court for her sentencing. The only statement they wished to make was to say that Behrens will have to live the rest of her life knowing what happened to her children.

<![CDATA[Witch Creek Fire Victims Indicted]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 05:59:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Witch-Creek-Fire-Image.jpg

A San Diego County couple whose Ramona home was destroyed in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire is accused of leveraging fake money from a non-existent settlement to obtain various loans, according to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

Douglas Tumlinson, 40, and Deborah Tumlinson, 43, were arraigned on ten fraud-related charges Thursday in federal court.

Duffy says the scheme began after the Tumlinsons lost their home and joined a class-action lawsuit against San Diego Gas & Electric to recoup their losses.

A 2008 California Public Utilities Commission report found SDG&E and Cox Communications were responsible for starting the three destructive wildfires, including the Witch Creek Fire, that burned in October 2007.

While the Tumlinsons did not receive a settlement from the utility, the indictment says the couple claimed that they did to get a loan from funding company U.S. Claims, promising to use the settlement funds as collateral.

According to prosecutors, the Tumlinsons used that money to launder more than $500,000 to purchase a new Valley Center house.

They then got a $250,000 home equity loan on that house by making “material misrepresentations” on a loan application to mortgage broker Seaside Funding, Inc. in Carlsbad, the indictment alleges.

Seaside Funding says they failed to repay that loan, and the U.S. Claims later sued the couple for not making payments.

The U.S. Attorney also accuses the couple of intentionally failing to list the outstanding loan from U.S. Claims on three separate bankruptcy petitions.

Deborah has been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, bank fraud, false statement on a loan application, money laundering and two counts of bankruptcy fraud.

Douglas faces charges of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud, bank fraud, false statement on a loan application, money laundering and two counts of bankruptcy fraud.

Both will next appear in court for a motion hearing on Nov. 14.

The Witch Creek Fire, the largest of the 2007 wildfires and second largest in California history, destroyed and damaged thousands of homes and killed two people.

Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[Faulconer Defends Water Habits]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:17:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mayor-Kevin-Faulconer-030351.jpg

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is pushing back on reports he's using too much water at his home.

The Center for Investigative Reporting says Faulconer's water usage was 20 percent higher than the state average in 2013.

But the mayor's office said Wednesday that data was from the time before conservation limits were imposed by the state.

In the first six months of this year, they said Faulconer and his family reduced their water usage by more than 18 percent.

Read the CIR report on California officials and their water use here.

<![CDATA[Murrieta Mayor Accused of DUI in Crash With Cheerleaders]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 23:39:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/204*120/10-17-2014-murrieta-mayor-book.jpg

The mayor of a Riverside County community was arrested late Thursday on suspicion of DUI after a crash that injured four members of a high school cheer team, according to police.

Murrieta Mayor Alan Long, 44, was booked on suspicion of DUI causing bodily injury, according to Riverside County jail records. He was arrested Thursday night after a crash at Jefferson and Lily avenues in Murrieta in southwestern Riverside County.

Officers determined that a "full-size" truck had rear-ended a passenger vehicle carrying four Murrieta Valley High School students, ages 14 to 17. The students' injuries were described as "moderate to major," according to a police department statement.

"Officers contacted the driver of the truck who was the sole occupant of his vehicle," police said in a statement. "The driver had signs and symptoms consistent with alcohol impairment. The driver participated in some standardized field sobriety tests, and officers determined that the driver was in fact impaired."

Long's blood alcohol content was .07, just below the legal limit of .08, but investigators were also waiting for blood test results, police said.

Karen Parris, a spokeswoman for the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, said one of the four  injured female students, members of the school cheer team, remained hospitalized Friday. She is expected to make a full recovery.

The girls had just attended a pep rally ahead of Friday night's football game.

An attorney for Long, who's hoping to be re-elected in two weeks, said he helped the victims at the scene, talked to their parents and cooperated with police.

"Long is concerned for the well-being of the teenagers and while he admits he was involved in an accident, he does not believe he committed a crime," the attorney said.

He was booked into jail on $50,000 bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

Long also serves as a battalion chief for Anaheim Fire and Rescue.

A court date was scheduled for Dec. 11.

Residents had mixed reactions.

Melissa Young said the arrest would influence her vote.

"It's sad," she said. "There's other options besides drinking and driving."

Kathy Huerta said she was saddened.

"But at the same time -- 'Go Alan!'" said Huerta, who has known the mayor since he was a child.

She said it was a rare lapse in judgment.

"He is a solid, wonderful person," she said. "He runs 24/7, OK? He's tired. He is being bombarded by everybody and their brother on a normal daily basis."

Murrieta Councilman Rick Gibbs told the Riverside Press-Enterprise, "This is certainly very much out of character for Alan Long.

"I've been at a number of social events with Alan over the years, ... and I've never seen him take a drink."

Long was in the national spotlight earlier this year when a busload of undocumented immigrants, bound for the Murrieta Border Patrol Station for processing, was blocked by protesters.

Long criticized the federal government's handling of the immigrant transfer, part of a plan to alleviate what the Obama administration as a humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied minors in federal custody along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Kim Baldonado contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Murrieta Police Department]]>