<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usSat, 22 Oct 2016 16:58:01 -0700Sat, 22 Oct 2016 16:58:01 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Driver Veers Off Road, Fatally Striking Man on I-8 Shoulder]]> Sat, 22 Oct 2016 16:38:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chp-generic-night.jpg

A driver headed westbound on Interstate 8, veered off the road and fatally struck another man on the right shoulder Saturday, according to California Highway Patrol (CHP).

The 24-year-old man was driving a 2006 Cadillac CTS at about 6:10 a.m., when he left the freeway and hurtled down an embankment, plummeting into a 60-year-old man, said a CHP officer.

It was not clear why the driver lost control of his vehicle, according to CHP. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two people helped the driver out of his car after the collision, and were able to flag down a passing San Diego Police Officer on West Point Loma Boulevard, said a CHP officer.

The driver was then taken to the UCSD Medical Center to receive treatment for his injuries.

An investigation into the incident is currently underway. According to CHP, alcohol or drugs do not appear to have been involved with the crash.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[3-Alarm Apartment Fire Breaks Out in Temecula Heights Area]]> Sat, 22 Oct 2016 15:44:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Apartment+Fire+Point+Loma+Villas+10.22.16.jpg

A three-alarm apartment fire broke out in the Temecula Heights neighborhood Saturday afternoon with flames rising up from the third level, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue (SDFD).

It was reported at about 1:40 p.m. on 4444 West Point Loma Boulevard, after the fire was seen billowing ashen smoke from the third level of an apartment, said an SDFD official.

Within 10 minutes, San Diego police were headed to the area to safely redirect traffic around the hazardous zone, according to SDFD. 

Check back for updates on this breaking news story.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Fundraiser Helps Families of Coronado Bridge Crash Victims]]> Sat, 22 Oct 2016 15:08:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10-16-16-Chicano-Park-Coronado-Bay-Bridge-Crash-Memorial-Grows.jpg

A Chicano Park Remembrance Fundraiser is raising money Saturday for the funeral expenses of four victims killed when a pickup plunged off the Coronado Bridge.

The event was set from 10:30 a.m. to midnight at the Mesheeka art gallery/ice cream shop on 2113 Logan Avenue #4 in San Diego, according to the organizers' Facebook event.

At 10 a.m. the fundraiser starts with an Ice Cream Social along with a raffle giving out prizes including clothing, tattoos, hats, gift cards and painting. According to the event post, all the money raised will support the funeral costs for Cruz Elias Contreras, age 52, AnnaMarie Contreras, age 50, Andre Christopher Banks, age 49, and Francine Denise Jimenez, age 46.

Various artists and bands will perform beginning at 5 p.m., playing reggae, cumbia, hip hop and more, with a $5 entrance fee at the door, said the event post.

In a GoFundMe page for the Contreras Family Fund, $24,898 donations were made towards a $30,000 goal to support the funeral expenses of Cruz and AnnaMarie Contreras.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
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<![CDATA[Group Brawl Ends With 2 Men Stabbed in Core Columbia Area]]> Sat, 22 Oct 2016 09:08:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-450148534.jpg

Two men were stabbed when a heated group argument turned into a violent brawl in the Core-Columbia neighborhood early morning Sunday, according to San Diego Police Officer Robert Heims.

Larry Simpson, age 57, is suspected of pulling out a knife or a box cutter and slashing one victim across the forehead three times, said Heims. Then he sliced a second victim on his right arm. 

After the attack, the suspect tried to flee but was caught soon after, said Heims. Police were able to apprehend him in an apartment complex on 9th Avenue and F Street at about 2:40 a.m.

Both of the men who were stabbed were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, said Heims. An investigation is underway from the San Diego Police Central Division Detectives.

If anyone has information related to the incident, they can call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pumphrey Sets More Records, Aztecs Win Again]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 23:13:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Donnel+Pumphrey+vs+SJSU.jpeg

If Donnel Pumphrey was three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier he would be the Heisman Trophy frontrunner and a 1st round NFL Draft pick. He is still going to play in the National Football League, just like the man who used to have all the records Pumphrey keeps on breaking.

The 5-foot-9, 180 pound Aztecs running back ran for a pair of touchdowns in Friday night's 42-3 win over San Jose State at Qualcomm Stadium. Those scoring runs broke San Diego State's career rushing touchdown and total touchdown records, both of which were held by Marshall Faulk.

But every bit as impressive as Pumphrey's performance is what the Aztecs defense has been doing. SDSU's defenders have not allowed a touchdown in three Mountain West Conference games this season. San Diego State held the Spartans to just 209 total yards of offense.

The win keeps the Aztecs perfect in MWC play and moves them to 6-1 on the year, already making them bowl eligible. San Diego State has another Friday night game next week when they travel to Utah State.

<![CDATA[President Obama to Visit San Diego on Sunday]]> Sat, 22 Oct 2016 16:52:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ObamaPic2-PIC_0.jpg

President Barack Obama will be in San Diego this weekend for what may be his last visit as Commander-in-Chief.

Air Force One will touch down at MCAS Miramar around 7 p.m. on Sunday. 

The President will be attending the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event Sunday night. The event will be held at the San Diego County Democratic Party building on 8340 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.

The following morning, President Obama will be deliver remarks at the Hillary Victory Fund reception, a private fundraiser at a residence in La Jolla. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will be attending the event.

With just months left in his term, this visit will likely be the last time President Obama comes to San Diego while in office. Last October, the President visited San Diego to  meet with local leaders and members of the military. 

President Obama will leave San Diego from MCAS Miramar at approximately 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon. 

Traffic in Kearny Mesa, Miramar and La Jolla will likely be impacted during the passing of the President's motorcade in the areas. 

Photo Credit: NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Vista Home Invasion Robbery Suspect Arrested]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:58:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vista+home+invasion+robbery.JPG

The suspect arrested in a home invasion robbery in Vista is also connected to similar crimes across San Diego County, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO).

Joe Colin Crowder Jr., 50, forced his way into a home on the 2400 block of Links Way around 5:15 a.m. on Oct. 16, SDSO said. The homeowners confronted Crowder in the kitchen area of the home after hearing someone rummaging through the house. While the homeowners called 911, Crowder took the keys of the couple’s car and drove off.

A purse, wallet and some electronic items were also stolen, SDSO said.

Crowder was arrested on Monday by the Escondido Police for similar crimes in Carlsbad, Escondido and Valley Center. But at the time, his connection to the Vista robbery was unknown.

The Sheriff’s Department released a video of the incident on Friday morning and offered up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

That’s when detectives with Escondido police recognized Crowder as the suspect in the video.

Crowder is currently being held at $500,000 bail in the Vista Detention Facility. He will be court on Oct. 28.

<![CDATA[Man Possibly Stabbed in Chula Vista During Road Rage Fight]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:38:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic21.jpg

A man was possibly stabbed during a road rage fight in Chula Vista on Friday night, the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) said.

The initial call came in as a road incident at approximately 7:36 p.m. at Hilltop Drive and L Street. CVPD says the drivers stopped and got into a fistfight with each other.

Both parties then left the scene.

After getting home with his girlfriend, the victim found puncture wounds in his stomach and realized he had been stabbed during the altercation, police said.

The victim refused an ambulance but was later taken to UCSD Hospital.

It's unknown the extent of his injuries of what kind of object he was stabbed with.

The suspect is described as a dark-complexioned man about 6-feet 2-inches, wearing a black shirt.

No other information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing news story. 

<![CDATA[18 Bags of Cocaine, Meth Seized in San Clemente Pursuit: BP]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:14:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San+Clemente+Border+Patrol+Drugs.jpg

Eighteen bags of cocaine and methamphetamine, totaling $437,400, were seized at a vehicle stop on northbound Interstate 5 on Thursday, according to the San Clemente Border Patrol.

When Border Patrol agents tried to stop the suspect at about 6:15 p.m. near the Cristianitos Road exit, the driver refused to pull over and took off. While agents pursued the vehicle, the suspects tossed multiple packages out of their Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Several bundles broke apart on the freeway, bursting with white powder, said Border Patrol agents. As the driver exited the freeway onto the Pacific Coast Highway, they were intercepted by agents.

Border Patrol agents detained two men, age 27 and 21, both inside the vehicle. Multiple lanes of the I-5 were shut down as the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and a local response team worked to remove the potentially hazardous drugs splayed across the freeway.

Thirteen of the bundles held 34.45 pounds of cocaine, and five bundles contained six pounds of crystal methamphetamine, said Border Patrol agents.

All 18 bundles of narcotics recovered from the freeway were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to the San Clemente Border Patrol.

Photo Credit: San Clemente Border Patrol]]>
<![CDATA[Task Force Tackles Otay Mountain]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:44:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/otay+mountain+task+force.JPG

The San Diego sector of the United States Border Patrol says it has a message for smugglers in Otay Mountain.

“You’re no longer going to be making a profit by putting the lives of migrants and agents in danger.”

Officials say migrants often meet up with smugglers on a Mexican toll road near Tecate. They’re told by the smugglers, the U.S. is just on the other side of an unintimidating hillside, but really what awaits them is more than a day’s worth of San Diego’s most deadly terrain.

Sharp drop-offs, jagged rocks and extreme heat are just a few of the elements migrants face.

“If someone falls behind in this terrain, you will lose sight of your own people within 10 yards,” said U.S. Border Patrol Agent Matthew Dreyer.

He is the commander of the newly launched “Task Force Otay,” an enforcement effort on Otay Mountain to target cross-border criminal smuggling organizations.

“Our goal is to prosecute foot guides and alien smugglers in this terrain,” Dreyer said. “It’s a concentrated effort to put those folks in jail and keep them from smuggling human beings through dangerous mountains."

After patrolling this mountain for more than 20 years, Commander Dreyer says he’s fed-up with foot guides profiting by putting human lives – both agents and migrants, in extreme danger.

It’s hard to believe that beneath the exquisite scenery, agents encounter some of the darkest sides of human nature.

Dreyer says often the smugglers set-up their customers to be robbed, raped and attacked for money. Then, the smugglers continue dragging the same migrants up the dangerous mountain, for payment, or leave them behind to die.

“If an alien crossing breaks an ankle or is too slow to keep up, they’ll leave them behind in this remote area, and that’s the dangerous part,” Dreyer said. “That’s who we’re after is those foot guides and alien smugglers that are smuggling people over this mountain.”

Some days, he said, there’s not much difference between an apprehension or a rescue, depending on how dehydrated and hurt the migrants are.

Border Patrol says the task force will continue until the smuggling on Otay Mountain stops.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Love Avocados? Well, They're Running Out]]> Sat, 22 Oct 2016 12:19:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Avocados+06151.jpg

If you love avocados, you might want to head to your nearest grocery store and grab some before they run out—and this time, the wait might be longer than a few days.

NBC 7 confirmed with the San Diego County Farm Bureau on Friday that there is a massive shortage of avocados in the county and nationwide caused by labor strikes in Mexico.

Growers and pickers in Mexico are having what officials called a “slow down,” or strikes, to affect the price of avocados in the U.S. Workers reported being unhappy with the prices they have been receiving for the fruits. Due to this, shipments coming into the U.S. have decreased, leading to a massive shortage that has been affecting restaurants and stores in the county and the everyday buyer.

Officials told NBC 7 about 40 million pounds of avocados are usually transported from Mexico to the U.S a week. However, two weeks ago, less than half of that amount, about 13 million pounds of the fruit were shipped over across our border. 

The strikes are also causing prices to increase.

Juan Carlos Recamier, the head chef and owner of Ceviche House in North Park told NBC 7 the drought has already had an impact on avocado prices, but now it's worse with each case of the fruit costing his business more than $100.

"We have guacamole on our menu and right now it says it’s not available," Recamier said. "It not only impacts mom and pop shops but the industry across the board."

The director of operations at Puesto said they have been paying more than $100 per box of avocados as well. They used to pay $66.

"Guacamole is part of the life blood of this restaurant," Lucien Conner said. "There is not going to be a day in Puesto without guacamole."

Conner said they have been sending employees out to nearby stores and markets to buy any avocados they can find.

NBC 7 also reached out to Henry Avocado Corporation, a year-round local Hass Avocado grower and distributor, and was informed by a supervisor workers were heading home early because they didn't have fruit to move.

As of Friday, several people in the San Diego restaurant industry and an official with the Farm Bureau reported avocado prices dropping. They said that could be an indicator the strike issue is resolving. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Volunteers Help Victims Heal After Chicano Park Crash]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:34:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/11PY_PKG_CHICANO_PARK_V_KNSD17RL_1200x675_787264067834.jpg

Local crisis intervention volunteers are helping people grieve, including the witness to a crash in Chicano Park that killed four people last week.

While law enforcement investigates the scene of the deadly crash, crisis intervention volunteers with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) have been called in to help witnesses and those who were injured.

"They're definitely called out under the worst circumstances. They're never called out when things are going well," said Lt. Scott Wahl with SDPD.

The volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer their help in incidents like this one.

On Oct. 15, Richard Sepolio, 24, drove his pick-up truck off the Coronado bridge into a crowd gathered at Chicano Park. The crash injured several and killed four people—married couple Cruz Elias and AnnaMarie Contreras, Andre Christopher Banks and his girlfriend Francine Denise Jimenez.

Sepolio had been driving under the influence of alcohol during the crash.

Community and family members have been gathering at the park since the incident to mourn and remember the victims of the crash.

"Anything from suicides, to homicides, to SIDS deaths or young children who have died. They deal with the most traumatic and stressful situations you could imagine," Lt. Wahl said, speaking of the volunteers.

Family of the victims killed in the crash say they are thankful for the volunteers and their dedication to helping others.

"They were here all day and they were helping people, talking people through it. It's one part of a whole ecosystem that seems to be very apparent here in San Diego where when a crisis occurs, there's a lot of people here to help," said Jacob Contreras, nephew of victims Cruz and AnnaMarie Contreras.

The volunteers receive 40 hours of crisis training.

Over the last three months, they've helped nearly 850 people in our community. If you’re interested in learning more about the program or would like to volunteer, click here.

<![CDATA[Chargers Could Lose Another Weapon in Atlanta]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:25:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/Travis+Benjamin+in+Oakland.JPG

The Chargers injury report for Sunday’s game against the Falcons in Atlanta is not long, but it could have a major impact on the outcome.

Linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu (ankle), safety Jahleel Addae (collarbone) and cornerback Brandon Flowers have all been ruled out. The only recent addition there is Attaochu so this it’s not a big adjustment for the Bolts to make.

However, wide receiver Travis Benjamin has a knee injury and is questionable to play, and that could have big-time ramifications.

If Benjamin can’t go the Chargers will be down to three wideouts: Dontrelle Inman, Tyrell Williams and Griff Whalen. They all have one interesting thing in common:

All of them went undrafted out of college.

If Benjamin can’t go and the Bolts decide to add another wideout to the 53-man roster they can bring up Dom Williams from the practice squad. Williams went undrafted out of Washington State this year.

So it’s possible the Chargers could go in to a game against the highest scoring offense in the NFL, a game where you would have to think they need to score lots of points to win, without a single wide receiver on the field that was taken in the NFL Draft.

And with Philip Rivers running the offense they could still put 30 points on the board.

<![CDATA[11-Year Old Child Hit by Car in El Cerrito]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:34:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

An 11-year old child was hit by a car in the El Cerrito neighborhood of San Diego on Friday evening.

According to the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), the incident happened at approximately 4:45 p.m. on the 5900 block of University Avenue. 

The child was bleeding from the mouth but SDPD says the injuries are considered to be minor.

The driver of the vehicle involved is cooperating.

No other information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Smoke From Car Fire Visible on I-15 in Mira Mesa]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:48:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10-21-16+Mira+Mesa+Car+Fire.jpg

Officers were responding to reports of a car fire in Mira Mesa Friday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Black smoke could be visible on the Interstate 15 near the Mira Mesa Boulevard offramp. The fire was reported at around 4:07 p.m.

According to CHP, the vehicle may be in the Mira Mesa Park and Ride. 

No other information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

<![CDATA[Officer Attempting to Stop a Theft Kidnapped in Ocean Beach]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 23:11:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ocean+beach1.JPG

A Federal Law Enforcement Officer attempting to stop a suspect from stealing a bicycle from his backyard was kidnapped in Ocean Beach on Friday morning, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) confirmed.

The incident began at approximately 7:10 a.m. Friday at the officer's home near Narragansett Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

The officer witnessed the suspect from the second floor of his home take a bike from his backyard and place it in the back of a Chevy pick-up truck. The officer then grabbed his badge and confronted the suspect outside his home.

SDPD says there were two suspects inside the truck, identified as Adan Bustos and Arisdelsi Sanches, both 23-years old. Bustos had been the one to steal the bicycle while Sanches waited in the truck. 

When the officer approached Bustos and Sanches and identified himself, they drove off. That's when the officer jumped into the bed of the truck.

SDPD said the suspects drove onto the freeway and exited in the downtown area of San Diego, driving more than seven miles before stopping. The officer was able to call police using his cell phone.

Bustos then crashed the truck into a large concrete planter box located near 4th Avenue and K Street in downtown. Police say the officer was able to get out of the truck at this time.

NBC 7 spoke with some San Diegans who said if the officer did that for his own bike, they wonder what he will do to help a citizen in need. 

"Pretty crazy and brave of that officer to do that because he'll do that for himself or someone else, if that is his or someone else's bike," Dominic Trip said.

 Others said they are more cautious of how they put away their own bicycles.

"Makes me want to make sure my bike is locked up, whether it's here with a lock or in my garage," said Sherry Herbert.

Police say Sanches also got out when the truck stopped and ran away. She was later arrested near 500 K Street. 

Bustos drove away, stopped at 6th Avenue and K Street where the truck rolled backward and crashed into a parked vehicle. He then took off on foot and got into a taxi near 6th Avenue and L Street, according to police. 

Officers stopped the taxi at 600 Harbor Drive and arrested Bustos. 

Police say the Chevy pick-up Bustos and Sanches had been driving was a stolen vehicle. Both suspects were booked into jail on several felony charges.

It's unknown if the officer was injured. 

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[President Obama to Visit San Diego]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:16:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_16292583580638.jpg

President Barack Obama will visit San Diego Sunday and Monday in what is likely the last stop here of his presidency.

Obama will fly in to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Sunday evening and will speak at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event.

Then, on Monday, the president will speak at a Hillary Victory Fund reception before leaving the area.

Both events are believed to be private from the public.

The president was last in San Diego in October 2015 for a vacation to play golf at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man, 70, Shot in Linda Vista Neighborhood]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:45:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

A 70-year-old man was shot in the arm by a suspect fleeing a home invasion robbery in Linda Vista, police said.

The shooting was reported at about 9:30 a.m. Friday in the 2200 block of Crandall Drive.

The victim was rushed to the hospital with injuries that don't appear to be life threatening.

A suspect was detained, though his name has not been released.

Police said situation started when another man was robbed inside his home and tried to escape when the suspect followed him outside.

The suspect fired a second round at the man when the 70-year-old, who happened to be walking in the area, was shot in the arm, police said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Students Ingest Pills Thought to Be Jelly Beans: SDUSD]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:29:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Classroom-School-GettyImages-470622795.jpg

Seven elementary school students became sick Friday after ingesting pills they mistook for jelly beans, according to a San Diego Unified School District spokesperson.

The group of third grade students at Washington Elementary School on State Street in Little Italy started feeling sick before 10 a.m.

One child found the pills and handed them out to other kids thinking they were jelly beans, said district spokesperson Jennifer Rodriguez.

Instead, they were green tea supplementary pills the mother had left in the backpack after using it for a recent trip, the district said.

The children were checked by the school nurse and sent back to class. None was taken to a hospital or medical center, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the incident appears to have been accidental.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images RM]]>
<![CDATA[Coronado-Based Sailor Dies in Iraq: DOD]]> Sat, 22 Oct 2016 16:43:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jason+Finan+1021.jpg

A sailor with the U.S. Navy based in Coronado, California, was the American service member killed in Iraq Thursday, Defense Department officials confirmed Friday.

Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan, 34, died Thursday from injuries suffered by an "improvised explosive device," or roadside bomb, officials said.

Finan was from Anaheim, California, and was serving in Iraq with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 in an advisory capacity, according to the Pentagon. 

"The entire Navy Expeditionary Combat Command family offers our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and loved ones of the Sailor we lost," said Rear Adm. Brian Brakke, commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command/NECC Pacific, in a news release.

Finan was the first U.S. service member to die in combat since the launch of a massive operation to retake the Islamic State-held city of Mosul earlier this week.

More than 100 U.S. special operations forces are embedded with Iraqi units, and hundreds more are playing a supporting role in staging bases.

As of early this month, there were 4,565 U.S. troops in Iraq, according to the Pentagon. That doesn't include another 1,500 troops considered there "on temporary duty," whose number changes daily, according to the U.S. officials.

Three other service members have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led coalition began launching airstrikes against IS in August 2014.

<![CDATA[GALLERY: SoundDiego LIVE Rocks Blonde]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:38:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/SoundDiego+LIVE+Blonde+10.20.16+%2892%29.jpg SoundDiego LIVE rock & roll'd all night long at Blonde on Oct. 20 with Creature and the Woods, AJ Froman, the Bulbs, host Robin Roth and Belching Beaver!

Photo Credit: Vito Di Stefano]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect in Homeless Killings Series Mentally Incompetent]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:31:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/8-2-16-Jon+Guerrero+Court.JPG

A man implicated in a high-profile series of attacks on homeless men around San Diego over the summer is not mentally competent to stand trial, a San Diego County judge decided on Friday.

During the hearing on Friday morning, the judge determined that Jon David Guerrero, 39, was not mentally capable to assist in his own defense. Criminal proceedings have been suspended.

The San Diego man faces three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of arson.

On Friday, as he sat in court to learn his fate, he was shaking and making strange noises.

A doctor testified that Guerrero was not competent and said he should be transferred from jail to a mental hospital to receive treatment.

The defendant will be transferred, prosecutors said, once there's an opening at the state hospital.

Guerrero is accused in five attacks that began July 3, and authorities believe he acted alone.

The dramatic homicide investigation first surfaced when police found the badly burned body of 53-year-old Angelo de Nardo near train tracks in Bay Ho. Investigators say they believe the homeless man died before he was set on fire.

Police released surveillance video of a man seen in a convenience store buying gasoline and a gas can minutes before De Nardo's body was discovered. The man wore a distinctive green Mao-style hat, like the one Guerrero was wearing at his arrest.

On July 4, two homeless men were discovered attacked within an hour of each other in Bay Ho and Ocean Beach in the early hours of morning around 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.

They both suffered severe trauma to the upper body. 61-year-old Manuel Mason remains in critical condition. 41-year-old Shawn Longley died from the vicious assault.

On July 6, 23-year-old Derek Vahidy was found attacked and lit on fire in Pantoja Park near State and G Streets. He later died in the hospital.

Guerrero was arrested on July 15 after a fifth man was attacked at 18th and C streets.

Prosecutors have said Guerrero used railroad spikes to impale the victims as they slept.

It's unclear when criminal proceedings for Guerrero will resume. He can stay at the state hospital for up to three years.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Local Business Owner's Trailer Stolen, Theft Caught on Video]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07:59:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10-20-16+trailer+theft.JPG

A local man says his small business is taking a financial hit because of a recent theft.

Mike Bruno's covered work trailer was stolen around 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 11 and the entire theft was caught on surveillance cameras. Bruno uses the trailer to haul customers' carpet and furniture for his restoration company All American Carpet and Tile in Bay Ho.

Surveillance video appears to show two suspects exit a Jeep, walk over to the trailer and hook it up to their vehicle before driving away.

“It’s not nice! Nobody wants their stuff taken,” Bruno told NBC 7. "Especially when you work so hard to get that stuff and someone works for 7 minutes and takes it.”

Bruno said the night it was stolen, there was a rug, an equipment ramp and a washer and dryer he had just bought inside the trailer. The theft is costing the small business owner around $3,000.

“You’ve got to clean a lot of carpets to make $3,000,” Bruno said. "It’s not chump change, I’m a small business man. We have enough to pay for, not to have somebody take it away from us.”

While police investigate the crime, Bruno told NBC 7 that he and his employees are also doing some detective work—attempting to decipher the license plate on what appears to be a silver Jeep Liberty.

“I’ve tried taking the graphics on photo shop,"said employee Tiffany Sorber. “We just really want to find these guys. It’s not right when something so mean happens to someone so nice. It’s not okay. It’s sad the world we live in."

<![CDATA[Family Files Claim in Fatal El Cajon Police Shooting]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 06:44:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/09-28-16-Alfred+Olango.JPG

The sister of a man shot and killed last month in a confrontation with El Cajon Police officers claimed Thursday the agency was negligent in training and supervising an officer who handled the call with a “cowboy attitude."

Alfred Olango, a 38-year-old Ugandan refugee who came to the U.S. over 20 years ago, was shot by police on September 27.

His sister, Lucy Olango, filed a claim for damages with the City of El Cajon alleging the officer who fired the fatal shots handled her 911 call for help with “a cowboy attitude and demeanor.”

Lucy Olango called police that day because her brother was “not acting like himself,” police said. ECPD officials said Olango was reported to be “acting erratically,” walking in and out of traffic.

Video of the shooting shows Officer Richard Gonsalves approaching Olango in the parking lot of a strip mall and then firing several rounds just moments later.

The claim alleges that Gonsalves “provoked Alfred into taking foreseeable defensive measures which Officer Gonsalves then used as false justification to kill him.”

El Cajon police said Olango refused multiple instructions to remove his hand from in his pocket before he pulled out an object and held it in front of him “like he would be firing a gun.”  The object was later determined to be a vaping smoking device with an all-silver cylinder measuring approximately 1 inch in diameter and 3 inches long.

Lucy Olango’s claim alleges that the officer did not wait for the city’s Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) to arrive and did not use nonlethal ways of controlling the situation.

"Officer Gonsalves acted negligently in both his pre-shooting tactical conduct and decisions, e.g., to escalate to deadly force very quickly and without warning, not to wait for P.E.R.T., not to use non-lethal alternatives, and to instead confront and provoke Alfred, as well as his decision to shoot an unarmed man," the claim states.

ECPD’s PERT was working another police call at the time.

“Officer Gonsalves drew his firearm and aggressively confronted, chased, and cornered Alfred,” the claim alleges adding that the department did not adequately train or supervise the officer.

The family also alleges the officer had demonstrated unfitness prior to the day of the shooting including issues with substance abuse, acts of violence and emotional problems.

As NBC 7 has reported, Gonsalves was accused of sexually harassing another ECPD officer by sending inappropriate texts and photos in 2013. 

The officer is a 21-year veteran of the department. He was on administrative leave which is routine after an officer-involved shooting.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Steal Bike From OB School For Special-Needs Kids]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:07:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/OB+Surrey+Bike.jpg

An Ocean Beach school for special needs children was burglarized for the second time in less than a year, leaving school administrators appalled over what was taken this time.

The Pioneer Day School for intellectually disabled students has security cameras, chain link and wood fences, even an alarm system. But that did not stop thieves from breaking in and stealing a six-seater Surrey Bike on Wednesday.

The bike is about the size of a small car.

It would cost around $6,000 to replace the bicycle but the value to the students at the school is far greater. The bicycle wasn't just a mode of transportation from one place to another, but transformation for the disabled students who looked forward to riding it, according to Program Director Cynthia Fajardo.

She said the bicycle was used for “physical fitness, group activity participation, motivation and access to the community" by the school.

Fajardo said she is dumbfounded over the theft.

“Unless you are pretty heartless, you kind of have to think it's a very difficult thing to fathom. Who would take a bike from a program for students with special needs who use it every day?,"  Fajarda questioned.

In February, thieves stole thousands of dollars in iPads, which were used by the students as a way to communicate.

“Some of our students use the iPads as a communication device, so temporarily that was not available to them,” Fajarda said.

Now, everything is under lock and key and inside the areas with security alarms. Classrooms are doubling up as a storage place for bikes overnight.

“It is very heartbreaking, I think for all of us here who are doing our absolute best to help our students succeed,” Fajarda said.

Fajarda said insurance and donations from the community were used to replace the stolen iPads.

But this time, the school is hoping whoever took the Surrey Bike will do the right thing and return it. And if someone sees it, they will contact authorities.

<![CDATA[Man With 3rd Eye Tattoo Sought in Attempted Kidnapping]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:51:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10-20-16+IB+Attempted+Abduction.jpg

Law enforcement officials are searching for a man with a third eye tattooed on his forehead in an attempted kidnapping reported Wednesday in Imperial Beach.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO), the incident occurred on 13th Street and Fern Avenue between 5 and 5:45 p.m. A pickup truck pulled up next to the 11-year old, who had been riding a scooter, and a man sitting in the passenger seat got out and attempted to grab the child.

The child was able to escape to a relative who lived nearby.  

SDSO released a sketch of the suspect on Thursday. He is described to be have salt and pepper hair and a mustache, about 5-feet 11-inches tall and weighing around 180 pounds. He also has a number of tattoos, including an eyeball on his forehead and a skull on his neck. 

Patti Wringel lives in the area and said the tattoos are so unique, someone would recognize the suspect.

She said she will be paying more attention to her surroundings in an effort to protect her grandchildren.

“I think we’ve become too lax and we think we’re safe again and we stop being as vigilant as we used to be,” she said. “We just need to remember it can happen anywhere to anybody.”

The suspect was riding in Royal Blue, lifted, Ford F250 pickup. SDSO says the truck appeared to be a newer model, probably 2015 or 2016. At this time, the identity of the pickup truck driver is unkown. 

The child was not hurt, SDSO said.

Anyone who has information or recognizes the suspect can call SDSO at (858)974-5200.

Photo Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[UCSD Graduate Leads Technical Team for 'Pokémon Go']]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 21:52:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/Ed+Wu.jpg

A graduate from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) leads the technical team for the popular game Pokémon Go developed by the company Niantic.

Pokémon Go became a phenomenon with millions of smartphone users when it was released in July. Players search and capture creatures using Pokeballs in various locations around them—a  mix of adventure and fantasy in one game.

Ed Wu, an alumnus of UC San Diego, is the senior project manager at Niantic.

He gave a talk at the university on Oct. 13 as part of an event for the Center for Networked Systems, according to an article published on the school’s website Thursday. 

Wu graduated from UCSD in 2004, earning his bachelor’s degree from the Jacob’s School of Engineering.

He later went to Stanford University to earn a master’s in international policy studies and a Ph.D in physics. He has worked at RAND Corporation and Google before joining the Niantic team.

Niantic had been owned by Google before it branched off into its own company in 2015.

Photo Credit: University of California, San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Who Tried to Shoot Barber Pleads Guilty]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 20:00:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Adrian-Blanche-Swain-gif.gif

A woman who is accused of attempting to shoot a barber earlier this year because she did not like her haircut pleaded guilty on Thursday, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.

Adrian Blanche Swain, 30, pleaded guilty to assault with a semiautomatic firearm.

According to barber Manny Montero, he had given Swain a haircut on Feb. 10 at the 619 Barber Shop on the 3900 block of 30th Street in North Park. He told NBC 7 that Swain left happy with the haircut and even gave him a $20 tip. But an hour later, she returned to the barber shop sporting a different haircut.

Police said Swain yelled at Montero saying that he had messed up her hair and then pulled out a gun. She attempted to shoot three times but the gun malfunctioned.

That’s when Montero and other employees tackled Swain to the ground and held her there until authorities arrived.

According to San Diego Police Detective Andrew Tafoya, the gun was fully loaded with 10 rounds but there were no rounds in the chamber. They also found an open gun case with ammunition in Swain’s vehicle.

Tafoya said he had been told by Swain she was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Swain could face up to 13 years in prison, if convicted. Her sentencing is scheduled for December 12.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 ]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Blood Bank Urging Community to Donate Platelets]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:58:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cord-blood-030811.jpg

The San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB) has issued a “critical appeal” for platelet donations.

High demand and recent regulation changes regarding donor eligibility have resulted in a significantly low stock of platelets for SDBB, and other blood banks across the country.

The local bank is the primary supplier of blood to the majority of hospitals in San Diego County, providing platelets for use in trauma wards and surgical centers. Transplant, chemotherapy and radiation patients often need platelets to survive.

According to the SDBB, platelets only have a five-day shelf life, which makes donations during shortages that much more significant. Donors with A+, B+ or AB are the best candidates for platelet donation.

Photo Credit: NBCDFW.com]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Rushed to Man He Hit, Telling Him to Hold On: Witness]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07:07:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10-20-16-Hillcrest-Crash.JPG

A pedestrian walking along Washington Street in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood was hit by a car and taken to the hospital, California Highway Patrol officials said. 

The crash happened at approximately 7:07 p.m. Thursday on Washington Street near Northbound State Route 163, officers said. 

It is unclear what lead up to the crash, officers said. However, the driver of the car told NBC 7 he was exiting, looking to merge, and saw a man on his left hand side come out of nowhere. 

A witness told NBC 7 he saw the driver get out of the car and rush to the pedestrian, telling him to hang on and that help was on the way. 

Nurses getting off work nearby rushed to help when they spotted the incident. 

The pedestrian was rendered unconscious by the collision, officers said. The pedestrian was taken to a local hospital. 

No other information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Former IRS Agent Faces 41 Years in Prison for Tax Fraud]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:32:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/taxdayGettyImages-511757628.jpg

A former special agent with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was indicted by a federal grand jury in Sacramento Thursday on nine tax fraud charges.

Alena Aleykina, a certified public accountant and former Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation agent, is accused of claiming false filing statutes, dependents, and deductions and losses on her personal income tax returns in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Allegations in the indictment also claim that Aleykina prepared false tax returns for herself, members of her family and on behalf of trusts between 2008 and 2013. She is also accused of making false statements to representatives from the Department of the Treasury, and attempting to obstruct a federal investigation by destroying evidence on a government computer.

The former agent is also charged with fraudulently causing the IRS to issue IRS Tuition Assistance Reimbursement payments to her.

According to Aleykina’s 2009 individual income tax return (form 1040), the defendant claimed head of household, claimed three dependents, one of which was falsely claimed as her child, claimed a tuition and fees deduction of $2,000 and claimed to have paid $2,000 in qualifying educational expenses on behalf of a false dependent.

In addition to the same false claims that appeared on her 2009 return, Aleykina falsely claimed a $16,603 loss from the National Real Estate Preservation Trust on her return in 2010.

In 2011, the defendant claimed head of household and a $25,000 loss form the National Real Estate Preservation Trust, but did not claim any dependents on her individual return.

Prosecutors allege that all of the claims, and other claims made on income tax returns for estates and trusts (form 1041) in 2010 and 2011, were known to be false at the time of filing.

Aleykina is also accused of submitting false W-7 forms on behalf of family members in order to obtain IRS Individual Tax Identification Numbers.

Together, Aleykina faces six counts of filing false income tax returns, one count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the internal revenue laws, once count of theft of government money and one count of destroying records during a federal investigation.

If convicted on all charges, Aleykina could spend up to 41 years in prison; statutory maximum three years for each count of filing a false tax return and corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the internal revenue laws, 10 years in prison for theft of government money and 20 years in prison for destruction of evidence.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Appeals Court Reviews Case Involving SDPD Officer Shooting]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 21:19:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/victor+ortega.JPG

The decision whether to move forward on a federal lawsuit filed in San Diego is being decided by an appeals court in Pasadena.

The three-judge panel received the case after the city attorney’s office, appealed a ruling that there were enough inconsistencies in evidence to move forward with a trial against the San Diego Police Department and the officer involved, Jonathan McCarthy.

Originally, McCarthy was cleared by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’s office in the shooting death of Victor Ortega in June 2012. But the family of the dead man, including widow Shakina Ortega and her attorney Christina Denning, filed a lawsuit claiming a violation of the dead man’s civil rights.

The claim alleged there were numerous problems in the police investigation of the shooting incident.

In the 32-minute hearing Wednesday, the city was represented by a veteran litigator from the city attorney’s office: Don Shanahan.

“The first one grazes his stomach enters in a downward position into the abdomen” is how attorney Denning demonstrated to the court how she thinks the two bullets entered Ortega during his confrontation with McCarthy.

The officer had responded to a domestic violence call and ended up chasing Ortega to a breezeway in a nearby apartment complex in Mira Mesa. This is where the shooting took place and while witnesses heard the scuffle and yelling, no one saw what happened.

Denning alleged “there were numerous inconsistent statements” from Officer McCarthy as well as his supervisor, who investigated the shooting.

The city argued to the court that these were simple mistakes made in the course of the investigation. They should have no bearing on the court’s decision.

Denning thinks they were glaring examples of the misconduct of McCarthy and the inept handling of the investigation by the police department.

Judge Morgan Christen asked Shanahan about the location of the entry wounds because the city’s claim seemed to be inconsistent with other reported facts. “The wound paths are more difficult for you to explain. It’s a more serious inconsistency.”

The city argued it was a struggle that had Ortega on the ground then up on his feet. McCarthy tried hard to control Ortega, who wrestled to get free McCarthy’s ankle pistol and his service revolver. Shanahan said: “The question is whether Mr Ortega was coming at him”

The city argued Ortega acted aggressively to take McCarthy’s weapons from him. Denning argued Ortega was in a submissive position when the officer shot him after Ortega was overheard yelling he was going to sue him.

Under the Constitution, police officers like city officials have a degree of protection when performing their duties. It is called qualified immunity and that is what the city uses as part of its defense. It is valid as long as someone’s constitutional rights are not violated. 

At the appeals hearing, Judge Barrington Parker Jr. asked why hasn’t McCarthy’s claim for qualified immunity already been denied? “On the basis of McCarthy’s various statements” it should be, he argued. He went on to say about the officer: “He couldn’t get his story straight. He tells one person something one time” and something else at another time.

McCarthy’s own words betray him, the judge pointed out, because “this is a definitive statement of what happened, it’s not in a deposition, it’s not to an opposing council, it’s to another police officer.”

Judge Christen said the case goes “to the physical evidence of the shooting," the bullets trajectory and where both men were standing. She said to Shanahan: “I think you are right, there are inconsistences and there are material inconsistencies.”

It is now up to this appeals court to decide just how relevant the police inconsistences are. Once the court decides, it can take months for the ruling from an appeals court, then either this case is terminated or it would return to a San Diego courtroom for a new trial.

<![CDATA[Kidnapping Suspect Arrested in Carlsbad: PD]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 06:57:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Generic+Police+Tape+Generic+NJ.JPG

A Chula Vista man was arrested on Thursday for allegedly kidnapping a person and forcing him to perform sex acts at gunpoint, according to the Carlsbad Police Department.

Antoine Henderson, 44, was arrested after an officer noticed a driver of a vehicle on the southbound Interstate 5 in Carlsbad matched the suspect description given by the victim. Officers conducted a felony vehicle stop near Birmingham Drive and detained three people inside the vehicle, including Henderson. 

Police say they were notified of the incident when the victim called 911 and claimed he had been kidnapped in Escondido. Officers say the victim had escaped the hotel room from the Ramada motel on the 700 block of Macadamia Drive when Henderson left. 

Henderson allegedly held the 22-year old victim, a resident of Escondido, captive inside the hotel room and forced him to perform sex acts at gunpoint. During an investigation of the scene, officers recovered a handgun and other evidence.

Lt. Chris Boyd told NBC 7 that the suspect and victim are accquaintances.

The other people inside the vehicle with Henderson are not considered to be suspects. 

He was arrested and booked into the Vista Detention Facility, police said. He is facing multiple felony counts, including kidnapping, forced oral copulation and a no-bail felony warrant for violating parole.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Thwarted Golf Cart Robbery Sends Suspect to Hospital: PD]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 17:00:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

One of two men involved in attempting to steal a golf cart was seriously hurt when the getaway driver crashed the car he was hanging onto, San Diego Sheriff's officials (SDSO) said. 

The incident happened Thursday at approximately 11:53 p.m. when two men were seen stealing a golf cart used an as advertisement for Performance Plumbing on Greenfield Drive. 

When the suspects took off, employees got into a car and chased after them for several blocks. 

Eventually, the suspects ditched the golf cart and got into a getaway car. 

In their rush, one man got behind the wheel and a second grabbed onto the exterior of the car. 

As the driver went around a turn, he smashed into another car, injuring the second suspect. 

The driver managed to escape. The second suspect was taken to the hospital was a leg injury. 

No one has been taken into custody, and the driver is outstanding. 

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Kokomo the Gorilla Shows of 2-Day-Old Baby at SD Safari Park]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:35:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SD+Zoo+Gorilla+born+1.JPG

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park]]>
<![CDATA[Kokomo the Gorilla Shows off 2-Day-Old Baby at Safari Park]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:56:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/SD+Zoo+Gorilla+born+7.jpg

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a new member to show-off to guests—a baby gorilla.

On Wednesday morning, animal care staff arrived to discover that Kokomo the Gorilla had given birth to a baby girl. The now 2-day-old baby is being cared for by her mother, whom staff say is very protective and attentive.  

But the adorable little bundle of joy was shown off to park guests on Thursday by her mother Kokomo, who constantly held the baby. 

According to officials from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, even staff have not had contact with the baby yet. But both are doing well—the baby expected to have a weight of approximately 3.5 to 4.5 pounds. 

The baby has not yet been named.

She is the second baby gorilla born to mother Kokomo and father Winston at the zoo. Kokomo is a six-time mom, having given birth to twins at the Oklahoma City Zoo in 1999.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a troop of eight gorillas, including one adult male, three adult females and three baby gorillas, ranging from ages eight-years old, five and two.

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park]]>
<![CDATA[California Wildfires: Prevention, Safety Tips]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:37:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/07-24-2016-fire-sand-wildfire-clarita-1.JPG

Red flag warnings are issued in California when weather conditions increase the risk of wildfires, but there are fire prevention and home protection steps that can be taken well in advance of hot, dry and windy conditions.

Cal Fire, the state's firefighting agency, provided the following advice to help Californian's prevent a small spark from becoming a devastating wildfire. These safety tips, including how to prepare your property and family for wildfires, can save property and lives. 

Below, you'll find a printable evacuation plan and homeowner's checklist, emergency supply kit details and tips to reduce the risk of wildfires in the first place.

Before the Fire

When fires threaten homes, local fire and law enforcement agencies may order evacuations to save lives. That means residents should be prepared by following these pre-evacuation tips.

Protecting Your Home: Defensible Space

Cal Fire inspects homes in fire-prone areas for defensible space -- a barrier around the home designed to prevent fires from spreading to buildings. Defensible space is considered the area 100 feet around the home, divided into two zones.

  • Zone 1: This area extends to 30 feet from the home. It should be clear of dead plants, grass and weeds, dry leaves and pine needles. Tree branches should be 10 feet apart.
  • Zone 2: This area is 30 to 100 feet from the home. Grass should be kept to a maximum of 4 inches high. The lowest branches of trees should be trimmed to provide at least 6 feet of clearance from the ground to avoid a "fire ladder" that allows flames to spread up trees. 

When to Evacuate

When fire officials recommend evacuations, it's time to go. Remember that neighbors will be evacuating, too, so roads that firefighters use to do their jobs will likely be congested. A few things to keep in mind.

  • Authorities will outline evacuation routes after studying fire behavior, winds, terrain and the weather forecast
  • Law enforcement agencies, such as sheriff and police departments, are charged with enforcing evacuations. They also will provide updates on evacuations and shelter for evacuated residents
  • If it's too late to evacuate, fire officials suggest staying inside and calling 911. Fill sinks and tubs with water, close windows and doors, but make sure they're not locked in case rescuers need to enter the home

Wildfire Prevention

About 95 percent of California's wildfires are caused by people who fail to follow a few safety steps when using equipment outdoors, camping, burning debris and even driving a car.

Outdoor Equipment Use

Lawn mowers and other types of outdoor equipment need to be used with caution, especially during red flag conditions when a spark can quickly grow into a brush fire.

  • Mow before 10 a.m.
  • Avoid mowing when conditions are windy and dry
  • Watch for rocks and other objects than can generate sparks when struck by metal blades
  • Keep a phone nearby. If you need to call 911 to report a fire, do it right away

Vehicle Maintenance

Hundreds of brush fires start alongside California's roads each year. The cause is often sparks produced by a vehicle that land in dry brush on the roadside.

  • Don't let chains dangle from a vehicle and drag on the road. Safety pins should be used to keep chains in place
  • Check under your car to make sure no parts, such as the muffler or other parts of the exhaust system, are coming into contact with the road
  • Have a fire extinguisher in your car
  • Avoid driving onto dry grass, such as parking areas in fields and narrow shoulders on the side of the road. The brush can burn when ignited by a hot car part
  • Check your brakes. Worn pads can mean metal-to-metal contact, which can produce sparks that fly into dry brush on the side of the road


Campfires on public land require a permit from Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management.

  • Build the fire on level ground away from brush or anything else that could catch fire. You'll need at least 10 feet of diameter space
  • Make sure the fire is out using the "drown, stir and feel" method. Douse the fire with water, stir the area with a shovel and then put dirt on the site to smother coals and embers. Use the back of your hand to "feel" whether the area is still hot

Debris Burning Safety

It's best to check with the fire department before burning debris, which might require a permit.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[Common Earthquake Myths Exposed]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 15:51:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/web-vine-earthquake-091615_1200x675_526586947741.jpg

Here are seven common myths about earthquakes, exposed:

Myth 1: "Go for the doorway when an earthquake strikes."

A lasting earthquake image of California is a collapsed adobe home with the door frame as the only standing part. This image spurred the myth of doorways as the safest place to be during a quake. Modern homes are built so that doorways are no safer than any other part of the house. You are much safer under a table.

Myth 2: "Big earthquakes always happen in the early morning."

It's common for people to notice the earthquakes that fit the pattern and forget the ones that don't. Earthquakes strike at all times throughout the day. Several recent damaging earthquakes have occurred in the early morning, so people tend to believe all big earthquakes happen then.

Myth 3: "Earthquake faults can open wide enough to swallow people and buildings."

A popular literary device is a fault that opens during an earthquake to swallow up an inconvenient character. Gaping faults exist only in fiction. During an earthquake, the ground moves across a fault, not away from it. If the fault could open, there would be no friction. If there were no friction, there would be no earthquakes.

Myth 4: "California will split apart from the United States and sink into the ocean."

Those envious of sunny California and its beaches like to believe this myth. The motion of plates will not cause California to sink, as western California is moving horizontally along the San Andreas fault and up around the Transverse ranges (mountains to the northeast of the L.A. basin). (The sections of land on both sides of the San Andreas fault are converging and getting closer together.) The ocean is not a great hole into which the state can fall, but is itself land at a somewhat lower elevation with water above it.

Myth 5: "We must have good buildings, because we have good building codes."

What if buildings were built before a code was enacted? Codes may be updated, but the older buildings are what exist. This is why retrofitting older buildings is a key responsibility of the building's owner. Simply checking to make sure your building has been retrofitted, if necessary, can save lives.

Myth 6: "Everyone will panic during the big one."

The idea that people generally always panic and run around madly during and after earthquakes, creating more dangerous situations for themselves and others, is a common belief. Research shows, however, that people are prone to protect themselves and help others during and after earthquakes. Most people don't get too shaken up about being "shook up."

Myth 7: "The weather is hot and dry; you know what that means? Earthquake."

It's a common belief that earthquakes are more common in certain types of weather. Earthquakes, however, start many kilometers below the region affected by surface weather. People notice earthquakes that fit a pattern and disregard the ones that don't. Every region of the world has a story about earthquake weather, but the type of weather is basically what the weather was like, when they had their most memorable earthquake.

Myth 8: "Dogs or other animals know when an earthquake is coming."

There is no evidence to suggest that any animal behavior is in response to a future earthquake. While some animal behavior changes have been observed before earthquakes, such behavior is not consistent or guaranteed. In an earthquake, it is possible that animals can feel the very early stages before humans are aware.

Myth 9: "Earthquakes are becoming more frequent."

Due to technological advancements, scientists are able to measure smaller earthquakes that previously went unrecorded, so there is more information about quakes happening. Earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 7.0 have actually decreased in recent years after remaining fairly consistent throughout the last century.

Myth 10: "We can predict earthquakes."

There is currently no scientific way to determine when earthquakes will occur. Scientists can make statements about earthquake rates and where earthquakes are likely to occur at some future point, but they cannot calculate when and where earthquakes of certain magnitudes will strike.

Sources: The information here is available in partnership between the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles, Earthquake Country Alliance, CA Department of Conservation and US Geological Survey.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Voices for Children Volunteers Are Champions in the Eyes of Many]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 22:48:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/voices+for+children1.JPG

It’s not like Sue Bieker had ample free time.

The San Diego employment law attorney maintained a law practice and was the mother of two children. But she knew she had a big heart for kids and that her son and daughter were now getting older.

A nexus happened when she heard about a remarkable San Diego organization fueled by volunteers which profoundly improves the outcome of the county’s 5,000 children in the foster care system called Voices for Children.

Help for these kids is desperately needed. Sue quickly learned that many foster kids, who on average enter the system at the age of 5, bounce constantly from foster home to group home sometimes more than 20 times in their dependency (and don’t live with one foster family as commonly perceived).

She saw the statistics resulting from the chaos of foster kids also being forced to change schools which results often with only half graduating from high school.

That often, siblings don’t get to live together in foster care. Or that a third may be homeless within three years after turning 18.

The terrible statistics continue for the children who typically enter foster care at age 5.

These children who suffered so much at the hands of abusive and neglectful families are further victimized by a well-intentioned foster care system that is overburdened and broken.

Sue knew she had to get involved.

“I saw how important it is for these kids to have an advocate: somebody who's not being paid to provide services to them; someone who is there simply because they care," she said.

The first foster care children Sue helped were sisters, ages nine and 11, who had been pulled out of a home in San Diego.

“They were severely neglected. They faced all kinds of difficult things in their home-life whether it was drugs or prostitution. One of them had dealt with sexual molestation," she recalled.

As a CASA, Sue became the first consistent, caring adult in the girls’ lives. She learned everything about their needs, whether it was educational, medical, emotional or related to finding a safe, permanent home for them, the ultimate goal.

Sue then went to court (the legal guardian of all foster children) and advised a judge as to what might be best for the girls.

The observations and advice of CASAs are welcomed by judges, lawyers and social workers involved who all know the CASAs are champions of these kids. But of course, the kids are the biggest beneficiaries.

“Getting a CASA from Voices for Children is very prestigious for foster children. It means someone is going to be there and advocate on their behalf in court," said Voice for Children CEO Sharon Lawrence. "It means they are going to get out of where they are living whether it’s a group home or a foster family. Somebody is going to get their brothers and sisters together with them on a regular basis and it means somebody is going to be on their side helping them."

The results of having a CASA can be amazing. There are former foster children who are now teachers, business owners, lawyers, doctors, White House advisors, counselors and there many great parents. Because of the intervention of one volunteer trained and supported by Voices for Children, these young people are succeeding and not becoming casualties of a broken system.

As for the young sisters whom Sue started helping five years ago, they are still minors and are thriving too. Sue facilitated their placement together now in a safe and permanent home. Both are happy and both have a bright future.

For Sue, the experience was so rewarding that she is a CASA volunteer for a third time.

“It’s more gratifying I’m sure for the CASA than it is for the children because you get to see these children advance and you get to see them benefit! It really makes you feel like you’re are making a difference," she said.

Lawrence says it doesn’t take much time.

“It only takes about 10-15 hours a month, we train CASAs well and every volunteer has a paid, professional staff member to help guide them through the foster care system to problem solve and to celebrate the successes together. I say to anyone who is interested ‘It’s not that hard and it can be life changing for you and for the children you serve,’" Lawrence said.

No legal background is required. Only a good heart.

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<![CDATA[Election 2016: Children Are Paying Attention, Expert Says]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 15:00:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Split-Debate3.jpg

Immigration, terrorism, religion, scandal. There are three weeks before the November 8th election. Have you spoken to your children about what is going on?

“It’s challenging,” said Annette Boelter, mother of a third grader, a junior high school student and a high school student.

Psychologist and San Diego School Board member Dr. John Lee Evans said, “We absolutely need to talk to our children,” no matter what the grade level.

“You don't need to overexpose them to things they may not know about, but that's why the first question is what do you know about what's going on. What have you heard?”

Evans said children are paying attention. They are hearing about the election, and some may be frightened.

“We might be picked up in the middle of the night, taken away from our home, our religion may not be allowed anymore in this country, things like that. They don't realize one person doesn't have all the power,” Evans said.

Parents say they have used the election for teaching moments.

“We do talk about it,” said Boelter. “We talk about how the choices you make now affect you later.”

She added, “having boys, teaching them to respect women is really important.”

This presidential more than prior races is playing out on social media and students have access to that through mobile devices.

Donald Trump dominated the Twitter conversation Thursday surrounding the third and final presidential debate.

Twitter says that the Republican nominee was the subject of nearly 60 percent of the tweets sent about the candidates.

The social media platform says the top tweeted moment was Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's discussion about treatment of women. The second most tweeted was Trump's refusal to say if he'll accept the results of the election should he lose.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man in Military Uniform Drove Erratically at Memorial: PD]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 14:59:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chicano+park+memorial+10-16.PNG

Family members mourning the loss of their loved ones at Chicano Park late Thursday night had to run out of the way as a man in a military uniform began driving erratically on the grass at the park, San Diego Police (SDPD) officers confirm to NBC 7 San Diego. 

The incident happened at approximately 10:30 p.m. Wednesday evening at Chicano Park, the site of Saturday's fatal Coronado Bridge crash. The park is located in San Diego's Barrio Logan neighborhood, just south of Downtown San Diego. 

Police say a man in a military uniform drove onto the grass at the park late at night and came close to the memorial site, where he started driving erratically. 

Family members mourning at the site said they had to rush to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. 

One of those family members then called San Diego Police to report the incident. 

At the park, tire marks are still visible from where the driver drove erratically. 

San Diego Police did not know whether they would have additional security at the site of the memorial Thursday evening. 

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Families of Chicano Park Crash Victims Remember Lives Lost]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 16:44:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10-20-16-Jacob+Contreras.JPG

The families of the victims killed when a suspected DUI driver flew 60 feet off the ledge, killing four in a crowded park below, spoke by the memorial site Thursday, remembering the lives lost. 

Jacob Contreras, the nephew of Cruz Elias Contreras, 52, AnnaMarie Contreras, 50, spoke on behalf of the victims Thursday afternoon.

He told the mourners about about Cruz and AnnaMarie. The couple, married for 35 years, were foster parents who opened their homes to many children, sometimes keeping siblings as long as it took to make sure they would not be split up.

Happy Birthday balloons flew above the memorial as Jacob spoke, as Thursday would have been AnnaMarie's birthday. 

The other two victims, Andre Christopher Banks, 49, and Francine Denise Jimenez, 46, dated for almost a year.

Francine was a mother of four and a grandmother of one. 

All four victims were attending the La Raza Ride motorcycle festival when they were killed Saturday. A pick up truck driven by 24-year-old Richard Sepolio flew over the bridge, landing onto the crowded park. 

Sepolio, an active duty service member with the U.S. Navy, stationed in Coronado, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges related to the fatal crash Wednesday, including four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Family members say they don't want the victims' accomplishments to be overshadowed by such a horrific tragedy.

"It was important to come out here and pay our respects to my aunt and uncle, the ones who passed, and also who they were as people," Jacob said. "I think a lot of that has been lost because the accident was so terrible. I want the world to know that these four people were loved."

Family members say they are so thankful for the support from the community. 

Caltrans is investigating the crash and they expect the investigation to be concluded in three to four weeks. The Caltrans investigation will determine what changes, if any, need to be made to the bridge going forward.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Measure M: Voters Consider More Affordable Housing in San Diego]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 14:01:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/affordable-housing-san-diego-102016.jpg

Measure M would increase a cap on the amount of affordable housing units in which the city of San Diego can be involved.

The proposal was placed on the ballot in July after a study by the San Diego Association of Governments reported the city of San Diego needs 38,680 affordable rental housing units for low- and very low-income residents by 2020.

Councilman Todd Gloria said the ballot measure will make room for creation of additional affordable housing.

“It won’t construct it, it won’t necessarily fund it but it allows it to actually be,” Gloria explained adding that it’s an important first step to getting housing most families can afford.

No argument against Measure M was filed in the office of the City Clerk.

“Everyone says that this is a good idea,” Gloria said adding that even employers have asked for more affordable housing so they can recruit employees to the area.

Forty-two percent of homeowners and 57 percent of renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, according to Aimee Faucett, Executive Vice President & COO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

She said affordable housing is a priority and this ballot measure allows voters to send a message.

“This is only one step closer. It’s not going to solve the problem,” Faucett said. “A vote Yes on Measure M will signal to the City Council and housing commission that it’s a mandate to make sure affordable housing units are built for our families.”

Read more about the measure here.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[2 Dogs Freed From Scorching Red Mustang in East Village]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 16:50:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dogs+in+hot+car+1020JPG.JPG

Two chihuahuas trapped inside a red Mustang in San Diego's East Village during scorching midday temperatures were freed when the owner returned, right as officers used a device to break open the car.  

San Diego Police officers first got the call around 12:12 p.m. Thursday for the trapped dogs, located on Island between 14th and 15th Street.

The reporting party initially thought the dogs were dead, but San Diego Police said the dogs are alive. 

A crowd of people waited on scene for animal control officers to arrive.

Witness Corey Carlson said he and his neighbor, who were walking their own dogs, noticed the chihuahuas inside the Mustang and called police.

Carlson said police officers showed up 40 minutes later, but said they couldn't do anything because the dogs didn't appear to be in distress.

"So they had to be on the verge of death" before doing anything," Carlson said.

He said he then planned to use a hammer to smash the car window, believing he had the legal right to do so because of a recently enacted California law.

A 911 dispatcher, however, told him that the law, which allows a bystander to break a car window to free animals in distress, doesn't take effect until January.

Soon after, officers responded again and this time used a tool to open the car. At the same time, the woman who owned the car showed up with another dog.

Those who had been waiting for her other two dogs to be freed could be seen criticizing her as she arrived.

She could be heard on video saying: "I had no idea they were in there."

The two dogs were impounded. They did not appear to suffer any heat related injuries

Animal Control officers spoke with the owner of the dogs. She was cited $50 and can have her dogs back once she pays the fine.

Carlson said he was upset at the time it took officers to remove the chihuahuas from the car. He estimates the dogs were inside the car for four-and-a-half hours.

"You may not see signs of distress, but they're cooking in there," he said. "I think they should have broke window. It's just depressing."

<![CDATA[Sailor Was Drunk, Speeding Before Fatal Bridge Crash: DA]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 17:54:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10-16-16-Richard+Anthony+Sepolio-2.jpg

The U.S. Navy Service Member accused in the fatal Coronado Bridge crash Saturday was allegedly driving drunk and speeding when his car plunged 60 feet off the Coronado Bridge ramp and onto a crowd below, killing four, according to the District Attorney's office.

Richard Anthony Sepolio, 24, an active duty service member stationed in Coronado, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges related to the fatal crash, including four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury or death, and four different great bodily injury allegations.

However, after his hospital arraignment Wednesday, Sepolio's attorney Paul Pfingst said he had yet to receive paperwork indicating his client was under the influence of alcohol to support the related charges. 

"We are confident that my client was not under the influence at the time of this tragedy," he said. "This tragedy in large part is a result of a conceitedly dangerous situation that has been in existence at that bridge since it was built."

Following the arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright detailed what lead up to the fatal crash. 

Bright said Sepolio took a ride sharing service to a restaurant with a friend earlier that Saturday, where the pair had a bottle of wine and a couple cocktails. They used a ride sharing service to take them back to a friend's home, which is where Sepolio got in his truck and headed home to Coronado, Bright said. 

At the time of the crash, Pfingst said, his client was cut off on the road and driven into the side of the bridge, where his car was forced off the ramp. He alleged the retainers on the bridge, meant to prevent accidents at merge points, were the reason the crash happened. 

"My client was cut off when he was on the roadway. He was driven into the side of the bridge and that caused the car to go over the bridge. It was not a result of alcohol. It was not a result of impairment," he said.

Investigators told the DA's office that at the time of the crash, Sepolio was speeding to pass a car and was driving approximately 80 miles per hour when he lost control of his car and spun over the right hand side of the bridge. The recommended speed at that juncture was 45 miles an hour, Bright said. 

Sepolio suffered a broken hand, broken in two places, broken ribs, fractured vertebrae and additional injuries, Pfingst said.

Pfingst said his client is a service member aspiring to be a Navy SEAL and had just qualified to begin the training program.

"He's a patriotic young man with no prior criminal record who was out and was coming back to the base," he said.

When authorities measured Sepolio's blood-alcohol content an hour after the crash in the hospital, he had a 0.08 BAC -- the legal driving limit in California, Bright said. Officials estimate at the time of the crash, his blood-alcohol was at 0.08 or 0.09, according to Bright. 

Four people were killed when the car crashed onto a crowd at Chicano Park, and seven injured. 

Sepolio is facing a maximum sentence of 23 years and eight months in prison. 

"For just the people that have died, they're looking at 2 years for each additional victim so for the 4 people that are killed that max amount of time a judge can impose is 16 years," Bright said.

That is 16 years for those killed and then an additional seven years for those injured.

He is being held on $2 million bail. 

That is 16 years for those killed and then an additional seven years for those injured.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[IED, Molotov Cocktails Found in Chula Vista Apt Fire]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:27:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chula-Vista-Apartment-Fire-101716.jpg

Detectives discovered several explosives devices and items inside a Chula Vista apartment following an investigation into a fire.

David Wasson, 32, was arrested in connection to the fire that began around 2 p.m. on Monday inside a unit at the Seawind Apartments on 4th Avenue near Naples Street.

According to the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD), detectives found Molotov cocktails, ammunition, gasoline, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and manufactured "zip" guns inside the apartment during an investigation. 

Witnesses told police they saw a man running away from the building after the fire began. Others, like resident Cindy Wallace, reported hearing multiple explosions coming from the apartment.

Cell phone video of the fire also appeared to show an explosion inside the apartment.

Wallace told NBC 7 that she was able to get out of her apartment safely with the help of two Good Samaritans. She was given oxygen by paramedics but declined to go the emergency room.

Two people suffered burns from the fire, including Wasson, police said. The fire also displaced approximately 20 residents in the apartment complex and caused about $225,000 dollars in damage.

Wasson was later arrested and taken to UCSD Hospital for treatment. Police say he initially lied to officers about his identity but they were able to identify him. Wasson also had an outstanding felony warrant.

He claimed that the fire began while he was cooking and his shirt also caught fire, according to police. He removed his shirt and threw it onto gasoline containers inside the apartment before running away.

Fire officials found what they believed to be possible explosive devices inside the apartment--prompting a response from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Bomb/Arson Unit. 

Chula Vista police confirmed on Wednesday the existence of the explosive devices. The discovery has shocked some residents who spoke with NBC 7.

“I really do want to move, that is scary,” resident Vanessa Jennings said.

“It’s shocking to see that, to hear about it. In something as small as this, as to why you have that kind of thing--ammunition I can understand to a certain degree, but IED's and stuff like that. Why is that in your apartment? Why, why?” resident Austin Schieck said.

At this time, police say Wasson is not involved with any criminal or terrorist group. The cause of the fire is "undetermined," officials said.

Wasson will be in a Chula Vista court on Friday for his arraignment. 

<![CDATA[Carlsbad Grocery Store Reopens After Suspicious Bag Found]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:26:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Suspicious+package+1020.JPG

A Vons grocery store in Carlsbad has reopened after shoppers were evacuated for more than two hours because of a suspicious bag.

Carlsbad police were called to a report of a suspicious bag just before 10 a.m. in the 6900 block of El Camino Real.

Carlsbad police said on Twitter that an employee at the Vons grocery store reported an unidentified plastic bag with heavy contents, so officers cleared the area while they examine the bag.

By 11:30 a.m., offficers said they were waiting for experts to examine the bag and were asking Vons shoppers to continue to stay patient as the grocery store was evacuated.

By 12:30 p.m., the grocery store had reopened and officers were given the all clear.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[2 Survive After Car Plunges 80 Feet into Canyon]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:37:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Genesee-Avenue-Crash-102016.jpg

Two people survived after a car crashed approximately 80 feet down an embankment in Linda Vista Thursday.

The crash was reported at 1 a.m. along Genesee Avenue near Park Mesa Way.

When emergency crews arrived they found two men and a crumbled car at the bottom of the canyon.

Both men were evaluated at the scene but not transported to a hospital.

San Diego Police and San Diego Fire-Rescue responded to the crash site.