<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:36:01 -0700 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:36:01 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Marine Wife Had Affair: Court Docs]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:35:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Erin-Corwin-Jon-Corwin-Mari.jpg

The missing 19-year-old pregnant Marine wife may have been having an affair with a married neighbor who was also a Marine, newly published court documents show, as detectives said Tuesday they are "looking for a crime scene" in the search."

Erin Corwin had a possible secret relationship with 24-year-old then-Marine Cpl. Christopher Lee, both Lee's neighbor and Corwin's friend told investigators, according to a court documents obtained by The Desert Sun.

Detectives investigating her disappearance said in a statement Tuesday they have received information of possible places to search for evidence of foul play, but emphasized there is still "not enough evidence to rule out that Erin Corwin could be voluntarily missing."

"We are looking for a crime scene," San Bernardino County Sheriff's Capt. Leland Boldt said in the statement.

Deputies on Tuesday would not address the information in the affidavit for a search warrant, which state that officials believed the Corwins' neighbors, Lee and his wife Nicole, had evidence about the disappearance.

Corwin, who is three months pregnant and was last seen leaving her Twentynine Palms home June 28, told her husband she was headed to Joshua Tree National Park to look for hiking trails, authorities said.

Her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, reported her missing the next day. Erin Corwin’s car was found in Twentynine Palms two days after she disappeared.

Erin Corwin’s friend in Tennessee told deputies the woman was having an affair with Lee, who might be the father of her unborn child, according to the documents, and Lee was afraid his wife would find out.

The friend also provided text messages showing that Lee was planning to take Erin Corwin hunting on the day she disappeared. They were going to spend a "special day" together to celebrate her pregnancy at an undisclosed location, the documents said.

Lee initially denied an affair with Erin Corwin but later admitted the two were "close" and had kissed, according to the documents. He denied having a sexual relationship with Erin Corwin and told deputies the day she disappeared that he went hunting in Joshua Tree National Park alone.

Deputies believed Erin Corwin "could have been harmed by an unknown firearm," the documents stated. Her cellphone was turned off after she allegedly left with Lee so officials were unable to track her using GPS, but a witness saw them leaving together in his car, deputies said.

The document also describes information about the behavior of Christopher and Nicole Lee that led detectives to believe "they were concealing evidence."

The tire tracks on Christopher Lee’s Jeep were similar to tire tracks found near Erin Corwin’s car, the documents said.

When questioned by detectives, the owner of a Yucca Valley home where the Lees were storing belongings before moving said Nicole Lee told her that Christopher Lee was worried that he did not have an alibi for the day of Erin Corwin’s disappearance.

The owner told deputies that Nicole Lee said detectives did not have a case against them without a body, and that she berated her husband for "not being able to keep his lies straight," the documents stated.

Detectives "believed they were concealing evidence and discussing further plans of action to likely conceal or destroy evidence," according to the documents.

Deputies served the search warrant at the Yucca Valley home and arrested Christopher Lee on July 4 for possessing a destructive device, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The felony arrest was not related to the search for Erin Corwin, officials said. Lee was released two days later after posting bail.

Lee was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on July 7 and has moved back to his home state of Alaska, NBC affiliate KMIR reported.

Erin Corwin is described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds and three months pregnant, officials said. She has light brown hair and blue eyes.

Any information regarding the whereabouts of Erin Corwin can be shared through the Specialized Investigation Division 909-387-3589 or dispatch at 909-387-8313. Those who wish to remain anonymous can contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or go to www.wetip.com.

Photo Credit: Locate Erin Facebook page]]>
<![CDATA[Beretta Leaves MD After New Gun Law]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:10:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/0909-maryland-flag-generic.jpg

Gun maker Beretta U.S.A. will move all of its manufacturing out of Maryland to a new factory in Tennessee, the company announced Monday, after protesting Maryland's strict gun law passed last year.

The company met with employees Tuesday to tell them that 160 manufacturing and related jobs would move. Beretta's headquarters, including about 95 administrative and executive jobs, will stay in Accokeek, Maryland.

Previously, the company had said it would use the new Tennessee plant only for making new products. That plant will be an expansion for the company and may eventually employ 300 people, said Jeff Reh, Beretta's general counsel.

"We are fairly upset about even having to consider a move," Reh said. "Our preference would have been to stay and grow in Maryland for decades to come.

"But we have to be prudent about our future, and we have more chance to expand and grow in a state that is more positive to the second amendment," Reh said.

Beretta was active in lobbying against Maryland's Firearm Safety Act of 2013, considered one of the nation's most restrictive gun laws. It bans 45 types of assault weapons and prohibits buying ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds. Gun buyers must be fingerprinted and licensed before buying a handgun.

Gun buyers and gun shops sued to stop the law from taking effect, but a federal court refused to block the law, and it went into effect in October.

Gun-control groups have said the law is partly responsible for statistics showing gun deaths in Maryland fell 24 percent in the first five months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.

Beretta said the legislative battle over the bill was a wake-up call for the company. One version of the law would have outlawed gun manufacturing in Beretta's home state; that version passed the state Senate and was supported by the governor, and was stopped in the state House, after Beretta lobbied hard against it.

"The obvious conclusion is that political developments can have an economic effect," Reh said. "It's really not fair for a legislature to just blithely pass restrictions without expecting some kind of reaction."

Jeff Cooper, the company's general manager, said in a statement: "The possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the state."

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley issued a statement, saying his administration was "disappointed with this decision" and pointing out other job growth in the state -- the administration says Maryland has created more than 24,100 total jobs since last June.

Prince George's County spokeman Scott Peterson echoed that disappointment, adding, "if there were any issues that the county could have addressed to keep Beretta here, you can be sure that we would have addressed them immediately."

<![CDATA[Multimillionaire Durst Urinates on Candy in Houston CVS: Police]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:30:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2715242.jpg

A New York City real estate heir acquitted of his neighbor's murder a decade ago is back in trouble, this time for a bizarre outburst in which police say he urinated on a rack of candy at a Texas drug store.

Police say multimillionaire Robert Durst unzipped his pants in a Houston CVS, exposed himself and then urinated on a cash register and candy before walking away from the store just after noon Sunday, Houston NBC affiliate KPRC reported.
He had left the scene by the time police arrived, but on surveillance video he did not appear to have been agitated or argumentative before the incident, police said.
A store manager said he recognized the man as a regular customer who was at the store to pick up a prescription, police said. 
Durst is now being charged with criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor. He has not been taken into custody.
His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Durst has been making national headlines for decades, for his admitted role in a grisly killing.
He was acquitted in 2004 in Galveston of the murder of an elderly neighbor after the man's dismembered body parts were found in Galveston Bay.
Durst had been arrested in 2001, jumped bond, was found in Pennsylvania trying to steal a sandwich and a Band-Aid from a grocery store and eventually faced trial in the murder. He claimed he had shot Morris Black in self-defense during a struggle over a gun, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Although Durst was acquitted of murder, he was sentenced to and served time in prison for evidence-tampering and bond-jumping in connection with the case.
He later served more time in jail for violating the terms of his parole, in part for returning to the boarding house where he had shot Black.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sleeping Man Dumped Into Recycling Truck]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:43:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dumpstergeneric1.jpg

A man who fell asleep in a dumpster woke up in the back of a garbage truck.

San Francisco firefighters had to rescue the man who became stuck inside a Recology cardboard recycling truck early Tuesday morning.

The truck driver said he was doing his normal routine at about 6:30 a.m. – lifting trash into his truck – when he heard yelling from the back of the truck. He drove straight to the nearby fire station at 16th and Irving streets to get the man out.

Veteran firefighters who helped free the man are calling the bizarre rescue “a first.”

The man was partially crushed by the truck’s hydraulic system, which is used to compact the cardboard to make more room. He suffered shoulder injuries but is expected to be OK.

Recology spokesman Robert Reed said 20-year veteran driver Mike Jones immediately shut the hydraulic system off when he realized what was happening.

“He heard this gentleman pounding in the back of the truck,” Reed said. “He actually talked to the gentleman from the cab of the truck and said ‘I’m going to drive you to the fire station.’”

The man was awake enough to mumble responses back to the firefighters and paramedics as they wheeled him to a waiting ambulance.

Authorities said it appears the older man was sleeping in the dumpster when it was picked up and tossed into the back of the Recology truck.

The driver’s quick actions earned Jones a nice title from Battalion Chief Smith.

“If he hadn’t heard him, he would have been trapped in that all day long and may have died,” Smith said. “So he is a hero. He saved his life.”

Had the man remained in the truck, he would have ended across town at Recology’s Recycle Central at Pier 96, dumped onto a tipping floor larger than basketball court with recyclables piled up 20 feet high.

Jones went through a debriefing with the company safety team and then went back to finish his route.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dumped in Garbage Truck]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:38:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/07-22-2014-recycling-rescue-2.jpg

A man who fell asleep in a dumpster woke up in the back of a garbage truck.

San Francisco firefighters had to rescue the man who became stuck inside a Recology cardboard recycling truck early Tuesday morning.

The truck driver said he was doing his normal routine at about 6:30 a.m. – lifting trash into his truck – when he heard yelling from the back of the truck. He drove straight to the nearby fire station at 16th and Irving streets to get the man out.

Veteran firefighters who helped free the man are calling the bizarre rescue “a first.”

The man was partially crushed by the truck’s hydraulic system, which is used to compact the cardboard to make more room. He suffered shoulder injuries but is expected to be OK.

Recology spokesman Robert Reed said 20-year veteran driver Mike Jones immediately shut the hydraulic system off when he realized what was happening.

“He heard this gentleman pounding in the back of the truck,” Reed said. “He actually talked to the gentleman from the cab of the truck and said ‘I’m going to drive you to the fire station.’”

The man was awake enough to mumble responses back to the firefighters and paramedics as they wheeled him to a waiting ambulance.

Authorities said it appears the older man was sleeping in the dumpster when it was picked up and tossed into the back of the Recology truck.

The driver’s quick actions earned Jones a nice title from Battalion Chief Smith.

“If he hadn’t heard him, he would have been trapped in that all day long and may have died,” Smith said. “So he is a hero. He saved his life.”

Had the man remained in the truck, he would have ended across town at Recology’s Recycle Central at Pier 96, dumped onto a tipping floor larger than basketball court with recyclables piled up 20 feet high.

Jones went through a debriefing with the company safety team and then went back to finish his route.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know About the Immigration Crisis]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 08:02:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/450883216.jpg

The news that thousands of unaccompanied children are crossing the U.S. border is just making headlines, but the surge has been happening for months, even years. President Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion to tackle the issue, which has become a flashpoint in the debate over immigration.

The number of children has overwhelmed the U.S. immigration system, which faces a backlog of hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants, according to The Associated Press.

President Barack Obama says that violent crime is driving migrants north, while Republicans blame Obama’s policies, saying they have given migrants an incentive to come.

Here’s what you should know about the crisis.

How Many Kids Are Trying to Cross the Border Alone

Since October, more than 57,000 children have been caught traversing the U.S.-Mexico border without an adult. That’s more than double the number in 2012 and triple the number in 2011, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Border Patrol was already noticing an increase in children coming up from Central America in the fall of 2011. Most of the apprehended children are between 14 and 18-years-old, according to the Women's Refugee Commission.

Three-fourths of the kids caught since October have traveled over 1,000 miles — by car, train, raft and foot — from the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The rest are from neighboring Mexico, according to Border Patrol data.

Making the trek is uncertain and dangerous. Smugglers, or coyotes, charge up to $10,000 for each child, according to The Associated Press. These smugglers may take the children’s money and run, or worse, assault or traffic them. The journey is also physically challenging, with dense forests, dry deserts and rugged mountains along the way. One stretch of land in Texas is referred to as the "killing fields."

Migrant children aren't just traveling to the U.S. All of Central America is seeing an increase. Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize jointly documented a 712 percent increase in the number of people seeking asylum from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, according to the Washington Office on Latin America.

Why They Left Central America

The mass migration is chiefly caused by three things: gang-related violence, poverty and rumors that migrant children will be welcomed to the U.S. if they make it to the border.

Violence. A good portion of the drug trade is now in Central America and plenty of gangs capitalize on this. Incompetent police forces do little to stop them. Children are actively recruited as "foot soldiers" for cartels. These gangs give children an ultimatum: work in the drug trade or face death. Honduras’ homicide rate was 90 killed per 100,000 people in 2012. That’s the worst in the world and six times the global average. Guatemala and El Salvador aren't far behind.

Gangs run rampant in these countries, and many children find themselves in the crossfire. It is not uncommon for children to arrive at hospitals riddled with bullets. Fifty-eight percent of children migrating north are motivated by violent conditions in their home country, according to a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Trust in the police is low in the children's countries of origin. In many places, gangs and police are intertwined. "You never know who is who," several migrant children told the Immigration Policy Center.

Poverty. Nearly two-thirds of the Honduran population lives below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. One in three infants is malnourished, and most kids in rural areas will only get four years of schooling on average. Guatemala's poverty rate is 26 percent. In El Salvador 17 percent of the population is living on less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank.

Rumors. The recent surge may have its roots in rumors that a change in U.S. immigration policy means any child who crosses the border can stay. This is a false belief, according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Children who arrived after 2007 are not eligible for deferred deportations or a path to citizenship. A Border Patrol report that was leaked in June says families' misconception that they will obtain "permisos" when they arrive in the U.S. is driving most migration, according to Vox.com. They believe "permisos" means work permit, but it's actually a notice to appear in immigration court.

• Family. Over a third of Central American children who traveled to the U.S. alone were looking to reunite with one or both parents. It is common for relatives to send children north to reunite with family members, who also have questionable legal status, according to a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

What Caused the Crisis

In addition to the violence and poverty in Central America, some have said the U.S. government is at the root of the influx, particularly policies put forth by the last two presidents.

Obama's order. Republicans have blamed the Obama administration for the rumors, saying that poor policy and communication has led migrants to believe they can stay, according to the Los Angeles Times. They say the president has been weak at enforcing border policy and that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was authored by the Obama administration in 2012 and gives some undocumented migrants temporary legal status, has given Central American families a false hope.

Bush's law. A bipartisan law that President George W. Bush signed in 2008, known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, seeks to combat sex trafficking by granting protections to children traveling alone from countries that are not Mexico or Canada. Under the law, unaccompanied children can’t be hastily sent back and are instead allowed an immigration hearing and must be handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services. The Obama administration said the law is partly to blame for the crisis, according to The New York Times. The White House and Republicans are both looking for ways to adjust the law's requirements to make it easier for children to be returned to their home countries.

Where the Migrants Arrive and What Happens When They Get Here

The crisis is happening all along the United States’ Southwest border. The greatest number of migrants are entering through southern Texas, where there has been a 178 percent change in the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border from 2013 to 2014, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Border patrol agents in Texas are overwhelmed and facilities are brimming with migrant children.

The city of Murrieta, California, made national headlines after protesters blocked buses carrying undocumented children and families to immigration processing facilities in Southern California. Overcrowded facilities in Texas looked to ease the burden by sending some migrants there. About 140 migrants ended up in San Diego.

More recently demonstrators on both sides were out in Oracle, Arizona, waiting for unaccompanied children they thought were about to be transferred to a camp there. The children never arrived though anti-immigration protestors briefly halted a bus carrying other children from a YMCA, according to The Associated Press. The Sycamore Canyon Academy in Oracle told NBC News that it had been asked by the federal government to provide shelter temporarily for a small number of children.

When migrant children are apprehended by Customs and Border Protection they are held in a detention center — usually a sterile place that resembles a warehouse. They will remain there until they are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement's Division of Children Services (ORR/DCS). These facilities range from group homes to juvenile detention centers that are locked and surrounded by barbed wire.

Children stay at ORR/DCS facilities for an average of 55 days while authorities attempt to locate a parent or guardian. If none can be found, the child remains in DCS custody for the entirety of her immigration case. Ultimately, she will either end up with her parents or foster parents in the U.S. or be sent back to the country she came from.

What's Being Done About the Influx of People

More cash. The White House is asking Congress for more than $3.7 billion to address the wave of migration. Most of that cash would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection would also get a share. Almost $300 million would go towards efforts to “repatriate and reintegrate migrants to Central America.” The request must pass both houses of Congress, though, and it's not clear how, or whether, the GOP-led House will vote.

More shelters. Immigration officials are scrambling to find more shelter space for new arrivals. Dallas County in Texas agreed to shelter 2,000 children if the federal government foots the bill. Hospitals and schools no longer in use are among the buildings that could possibly house the children.

Foster care. Organizations and families in parts of Texas and the Southwest are taking up kids, particularly those who have no family in the U.S. or no safe places to return to in their home countries.

Programs in Central America. The Obama administration has earmarked $300 million for programs in Central America to boost the quality of life of people and address the underlying root causes that are driving migration. It hopes to do this by improving economic and security conditions and helping migrants reintegrate into their communities instead of returning north.

Ad campaigns. U.S. officials are trying to counter the flow of migrants with a Spanish-language ad campaign that looks to frighten them from coming in the first place. The ads warn that smugglers are criminals who could subject migrants to violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking or forced labor.

Border security. Some in Congress, especially Republicans, have said the focus should be on strengthening border security. Texas Gov. Rick Perry told a congressional committee that unaccompanied kids should be deported immediately to show the U.S. is serious about enforcement. Advocates for migrants have criticized the Obama administration, saying that future funding should go to ensuring migrant children with legitimate claims of asylum see their day in court, not border security.

What's Next

As protests continue and politicians try to figure out the best way to tackle the crisis, migrant children keep pouring in. The Obama administration expects the number of migrant children arriving in the U.S. to rise to 90,000 by September 2014. While visiting Texas, President Obama urged Congress to approve the $3.7 billion he asked for to help deal with the surge.

A first group of about 40 undocumented immigrants, including children, were returned to Honduras from New Mexico, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The group had been staying at a temporary detention center. Homeland Security officials told NBC News that the flight was just the start of deportations. "We expect additional migrants will be returned to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in the coming days and weeks," one official said.

Meanwhile Las Vegas became the latest city to announce that its police department would no longer honor requests from federal officials to detain undocumented immigrants without a court order or arrest warrant. It joins Philadelphia, Chicago, Newark, N.J., and nearly all major urban centers in California.

Officials at the United Nations want many of the people fleeing Central America to be treated as refugees displaced by armed conflict. This designation would increase pressure on the U.S. and Mexico to accept tens of thousands of people currently ineligible for asylum, according to The Associated Press.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fruit Sold at Trader Joe's, Costco Recalled]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:02:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/07-21-2014-peaches-recall.jpg

If you love stone fruits, there's a new recall you should know about.

Wawona Packing Company, based in California's Central Valley, is recalling white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, and plum varieties.

The whole fruits were all packed between June 1 and July 12, and shipped to Trader Joe’s and Costco stores.

The concern is the fruit could be contaminated with listeria. The bacteria can cause dangerous, flu-like symptoms. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially susceptible.

More information – including a list of the specific products recalled – is available on the FDA website.

Photo Credit: FDA]]>
<![CDATA[Man Describes Finding Chicago Girl Shot at Sleepover by Stray Bullet]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:17:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Shamiya_Adams_solo.jpg

The man who found an 11-year-old girl after she was fatally shot by a stray bullet in Chicago Friday night is speaking out about the "devastating" violence that left a community reeling.

Shamiya Adams was with friends at a sleepover when the bullet come came through the bedroom window of a home in the 3900 block of West Gladys Avenue in the Garfield Park neighborhood.

Aaron Hill was the adult host at the party, and says his four daughters, aged 11 to 17, were also in the room when the shooting occurred. Hill went into the room when he heard the commotion.

"I ran out of the room crying. When you go in the room and see something like that, it's devastating," Hill said.

Hill said the girls still haven't been able to talk about the incident, and are staying with relatives.

"It's been hard, it's been hard. They ain't been back in the house since it happened," Hill said.

Area churches and community groups have come together to show support, donating $8,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest.

"This crime was so vicious and of great magnitude that it needs to be encouraged that whoever knows, because somebody somewhere knows something," the Rev. George Daniels said.

The family is hoping a police camera on the corner of the street will yield surveillance video that captures the shooter on tape.

"It's crazy that I stop them from being outside, put them in the house, and they ain't even safe in the house anymore," neighbor Tamika Collins said.

<![CDATA[Explosion Levels TX Home]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:52:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Willis+House+Explosion+072214.jpg

Three adults have suffered severe burns in a Central Texas house explosion that leveled the home.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said the fiery blast happened before dawn Tuesday at a home near Willis. That's about 40 miles north of Houston.

Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams said it could be weeks before investigators determine a cause for the explosion that was felt several miles away.

Williams said two men and a woman suffered severe burns and were transported to a hospital. Their names and further details on their conditions weren't immediately released.

Williams said investigators are trying to determine if any nearby homes in the unincorporated area were damaged.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dad: Son Stopped Me From Killing Alleged Abuser]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:42:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/071814+raymond+frolander.jpg

A Florida father who made national headlines when he beat a man unconscious after finding him sexually abusing his 11-year-old son says he did what he had to do and would have killed the man if his son hadn't stopped him.

"My immediate feeling was to kill him, so he will never hurt anyone again," the father told NBC affiliate WESH.

The father, whose identity wasn't revealed to protect the victim, said he doesn't regret his reaction after he says he caught 18-year-old Raymond Frolander with his son last week.

Frolander was left bloodied and bruised, but the father said it could have been worse.

"My son saved Raymond. Raymond was motionless on our floor. I went to the kitchen to grab a butcher knife and my son stopped me. My son came in front of me and saved his attacker's life," he said.

Frolander remains behind bars without bond on a sexual battery charge. The father wasn't charged.

The father said he treated Frolander like his own son but claims the man left town after a sexual assault attempt three years ago that the victim never told anyone about. But Frolander recently returned, the father said.

He also said he thinks his son forgave Frolander, otherwise the beating would have been fatal.

"I think he must have because, he saved his life," the father said. ""It's going to be a long time before I can ever forgive that, if I can."

<![CDATA["Slender Man" Stabbing Victim Receives Military Purple Heart]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:37:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/wis-stabbing-purple-heart.jpg

The parents of a young Wisconsin girl stabbed 19 times, allegedly by classmates, say someone has anonymously sent the girl a very special gift: a card and an actual military purple heart.

The card simply read: "The only heart I could find -- be strong."

Though the stabbing victim has been receiving purple hearts made from paper, this is the first military medal that's arrived. 

"Our family continues to be so moved by the prayers, well wishes, packages, financial support and purple hearts from around the world," the family said in a statement. "Our little girl has received thousands of (paper) purple hearts from numerous countries and from every state in the United States."

Upon hearing of the gift, Wisconsin Secretary of Veterans Affairs John Scocos said he wasn't at all surprised by the gesture.

"Those who receive this military recognition do so because they have been wounded or killed in an action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces. American service men and women are also moms and dads, uncles and aunts brothers and sisters. It does not surprise me that a decorated veteran unselfishly gave this amazingly brave and courageous little girl something from his or her heart."

Through Monday, a "Hearts for Healing" fund created in the girl's honor had received more than $50,000 in donations.

Prosecutors say the 12-year-old victim was stabbed by acquaintances who tried to kill her in hopes of becoming agents of "Slender Man," a fictional character notorious for stalking and terrorizing children. The accused told investigators they believed Slender Man had a mansion in a Wisconsin forest and they planned to go live with him after the slaying.

Though the pair are being tried as adults, NBC News is not publicly identifying them or showing their faces. Doctors earlier this month said one of the girls was mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Wisconsin law requires attempted homicide cases to start in adult court if a suspect is at least 10, but the girls' attorneys have said they hope to see the charges moved to juvenile court, where more services might be available.

<![CDATA[$2 Auction Purchase Puts Lost Photos Back in Family's Hands]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:23:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/family-photo-cropped.jpg

The mystery family depicted in old photographs purchased at a New Jersey auction house has been identified.

Dr. Geralyn M. Ponzio-Replogle, who works in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Newton Medical Center in Newton, N.J., says the pictures are of her family. This discovery was a welcome surprise for Ponzio-Replogle, because most of her family’s old photographs were destroyed when her parents' house burned down in 1990.

"My mother was very fond of pictures, she had hundreds of boxes of them," Ponzio-Replogle says. "Nothing was saved in the fire."

Ponzio-Replogle was mentioned and depicted in a birth announcement included with the shoebox purchased at the auction house. Matt and Geri, also mentioned in the announcement, are her parents. Matt is a retired physician, while Geri is a former nurse and bakery owner.

Many of the photographs, birth announcements, newspaper clippings, and other items were addressed to her grandparents Carl and Mildred Ponzio of Nenshanic, N.J. Her grandfather was an autobody mechanic who passed away in 1979. Her grandmother is still alive today.

Linda Rose Ponzio, a member of Mercer County Community College of Trenton’s first graduating class according to one of the newspaper clippings, was Ponzio-Replogle’s aunt. She was later known as Linda Hazzard and died due to damage to her heart from an infection as a child.

Many of the photos depict Ponzio-Replogle's cousin, Kya Hazzard, who for a time tamed lions in Nevada for the indoor circuses and shows, including the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.

Ponzio-Replogle is uncertain how the shoebox made its way to the auction house. She guesses that the collection was in a piece of furniture of her grandmother's that was sold when Mildred moved to Whiting, New Jersey. If not, Ponzio-Replogle says the photos could have been a part of the estates of “Aunt Linda” or her “Uncle Carl Jr.”, who died from heart problems that began during the Vietnam War.

"This is a little bit of our history," Ponzio-Replogle says. "The photos of our lives that were lost in that fire are slowly coming back to us. The universe has brought pieces of our past to us in strange ways."

The woman who purchased the shoebox, Amanda Corigliano, is happy that she could reunite the photographs with their family.

“I’m really happy that she [Ponzio-Replogle] was found,” Corigliano says. “If it had happened to me, if the photos had been of my family, I’d have wanted them back.”

Ponzio-Replogle thanked Corigliano for making such a big difference for the Ponzio family.

"We're all more connected than we think," Ponzio-Replogle says. "By paying those $2, you put these photos back together with their family."


Photo Credit: Amanda Corigliano]]>
<![CDATA[4-Year-Old Found Wandering Outside Home, Mom Arrested]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:17:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mommug.jpg

A Connecticut mother accused of leaving her 4-year-old daughter home alone overnight has been arrested after the girl was found crying outside. Police said the girl told them it was not the first time she had been left by herself at her Hartford home.

Hartford police said the girl’s mother, Ronisha Woodard, left the 4-year-old home alone on Friday night.

On Saturday morning, neighbor Gwendolyn Rowse noticed the girl standing outside her home and crying for help.

“My heart went out to that baby. …. I was watching it,” Rowser said. “We were afraid at first something happened to the mother."

Rose Johnson said she was on her porch when a neighbor brought the little girl over, asked if anyone knew her, then called authorities.

“She was thirsty and hungry. That's what she said,” Johnson said.

When officers arrived, the child told them she was left alone, and that this wasn’t the first time Woodard had done this, police said.

Detectives reached Woodward by phone and she claimed she was in New Haven and planned to come back to Hartford, police said.

Woodard was arrested, charged with risk of injury to a child and first-degree reckless endangerment, and posted bond.

Woodard returned home with a state worker on Monday night and did not answer any of NBC Connecticut’s questions.

Woodard’s child is in DCF custody.

Hartford police said the child was checked out at the hospital and she’s in good condition.

Woodard is due in court on August 13.

<![CDATA[Men Locked in Cellar 6 Years: Cops]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:17:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/0721-jenkins.jpg

Maryland parents John and Janice Land are accused of locking their 22-year-old sons with autism inside a basement room of their Rockville home for six years.

According to documents obtained by NBC Washington, Montgomery County police uncovered a room in the basement locked by a deadbolt when they were executing a drug-related warrant at the Lands' home on Crawford Drive last Thursday.

Inside, officers found twin brothers Darnell and Derrick Land living in a urine-smelling "bedroom" with no furniture, little light and a single comforter on the floor. 

Police said Janice and John Land told them their sons are nonverbal and require constant attention. 

According to a probable cause document, John said one of his sons had previously caused some water damage to the home, and to prevent it from happening again, he admitted to installing a deadbolt and padlock on the outside of the bedroom with the "sole intention" of locking his sons in the basement room.

John told officers he would lock his sons inside the room around 10 p.m. and would come back just before 5 a.m. to "let them out." According to the document, John said his wife, along with others, had also locked the twins in the room in the past.

Documents said when investigators asked John how he and his wife would communicate with their sons if something went wrong or they needed something, John said his sons would "eventually make enough noise that he would hear them and go see what was wrong."

He said there was no furniture in his sons' bedroom because they had soiled it the week before police arrived, and they had the furniture removed.

According to the documents, Janice Land told officers she had no knowledge of her sons being locked in the room for six years despite being one of their primary caretakers and sharing a home with them.

“If someone locked them in the room, I didn’t know about it," she told investigators. 

A neighbor, Sharon Drennan, told NBC Washington she heard about the twins being locked in the basement three years ago.

"I reported it to the authorities, and nothing's ever been done. [Those] children stayed in there three years longer? That's sad. I can't believe it's come to this," Drennan said. 

Officers said there was a small window in the room, but not large enough to allow the two to escape had there been an emergency. According to the document, John told police he was aware of this problem.

"We want to express to families, if you need us, if you are at  your wit's end as a care giver, you can reach out to us, and call 911," Montgomery County police officer Laurie Reyes said. 

John and Janice Land are facing two counts each of false imprisonment and two counts each of vulnerable adult abuse of a family member.

They have two other sons -- one of whom was arrested the same day as his parents for robbery and assault in the second degree of a disabled child at a playground.

<![CDATA[Woman Flees Topless After Being Caught Shoplifting]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:54:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Macys+Sign+112613.jpg

A suspected shoplifter fled topless after being busted at Southern California mall. But police were easily able to identify her – she left her driver's license behind.

The 44-year-old woman, whose name was not released, was caught at Arcadia’s Santa Anita Mall on Sunday night. Police say she had just walked out of Macy's after stuffing merchandise inside her purse.

Police say the woman was hitting a security guard who tried to stop her and lost her top and bra during the struggle. She then took off running to her car, leaving behind her purse with her ID inside.

The thief drove off in a white Mercedes-Benz, police said, but a witness was able to record a license plate.

Police said they were holding off from releasing surveillance video as they conducted their investigation.

The woman remains at large.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged in Two Long Island Cold-Case Stranglings: Police]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:46:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cold-case-arrest.jpg

A 48-year-old married father of two has been charged in the strangling deaths of two women whose naked bodies were found in the woods on Long Island more than 20 years ago, and police believe he may be responsible for another slaying around the same time, prosecutors say.

John Bittrolff was arrested at his home in Manorville early Monday on two counts of second-degree murder after detectives linked his DNA to the decades-old crime scenes, Suffolk County police say.

The carpenter is charged in the deaths of 31-year-old Rita Tangredi and 20-year-old Colleen McNamee, who were found nude in Suffolk County woods in the early 1990s. Both women had been beaten and strangled, police say.

Tangredi, who had no known address when she died, was discovered in the woods near Esplanade Drive in East Patchogue on Nov. 2, 1993. McNamee was from Holbrook and was found in the woods near William Floyd Parkway in Shirley on Jan. 30, 1994.

Police say that detectives originally assigned to the cases collected DNA evidence that connected the killings, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that investigators linked the samples to a suspect. Prosecutors say Bittrolff's brother, who had been convicted of criminal attempt for violating orders of protection, submitted his own DNA in 2013 in compliance with a state law, and investigators were able to determine that DNA recovered from the crime scenes belonged to a relative of his. 

They traced it to Bittrolff and took him into custody.

Police called Monday’s arrest significant and said that Bittrolff could be connected to other deaths on Long Island dating back to the 1990s, including the murder of Sandra Castilla, who was found in the community of North Sea in Southampton in December 1993. Authorities say the manner of death and body position in the Castilla case were similar to the Tangredi and McNamee cases.

Bittrolff has not been charged in the Castilla case. 

Bittrolff was held without bail after his arraignment Tuesday morning. No one answered the door of his home when NBC 4 New York knocked on the door and his attorney left court without commenting.

A neighbor said he was shocked by the charges and that he considered Bittrolff a friend. 

Law enforcement sources tell NBC 4 New York there is no link between the McNamee and Tangredi murders and the discovery of 10 sets of human remains found off Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach between December 2010 and April 2011.

One source said there are "significant dissimilarities" between the killings.

Police are asking anyone with information about Bittrolff’s activities in the early 1990s to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Newsday/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested for Allegedly Killing 11-Year-Old Girl]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:45:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/martha+guzman+viewing.jpg

Miami Police have arrested a 42-year-old man on a charge of first-degree murder for the death of 11-year-old Marta Guzman last month.

Police announced the arrest of Miguel Ruiz Lobo Monday afternoon at a press conference. Miami Police described Lobo as a “violent child murderer.”

Guzman was found in a pool of blood in her mother’s apartment on June 22. Her neck had been slashed and she was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition, but all efforts to save her failed and she was pronounced dead.

Miami Police said an autopsy was performed on her body and the manner of death was classified as homicide. According to Miami Police, Ruiz allegedly slashed Guzman's wrist so deep that the hands almost came off, which was too deep for a suicide victim.

“I want the maximum, I want the maximum," Jorge Guzman, Marta’s father, said after the arrest Monday.

According to the arrest affidavit, a neighbor’s surveillance camera showed a person entering the apartment where Guzman was found and staying for roughly 32 minutes. Police said no one else entered the apartment until the victim’s mother returned and found the body roughly 2.5 hours later.

Miami Police said Ruiz (below) had fresh scratches on his arms and face. Police then were able to use DNA to link the fingernail scrapings on Guzman’s hands to Lobo’s body.

Police said the motive for the crime may have been a bad breakup between Ruiz and Guzman's mother.

Near the doorstep of the home where Marta was murdered, there were still teddy bears and candles that were placed there to give some comfort for friends and family who are doing what they can to hold on.

“It’s not easy. I cry every night, every day, anytime,” said Jorge Guzman.

Ruiz, a Honduran whose occupation was listed by police as “labor,” invoked his right to an attorney, according to Miami Police when he was brought in for questioning Monday. He appeared in court Tuesday where he was denied bond.

It’s unknown if Lobo has an attorney at this time.

He faces charges of first-degree murder and burglary of an occupied dwelling.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA["Bolder Than Most" Rapist to Spend Year at Mental Hospital]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 00:42:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Alvin-Quarles-File-Photo-12.jpg

The sexually violent predator nicknamed the “Bolder than Most” rapist has made a surprise decision to spend at least a year at a mental hospital, forgoing his release for the time being.

Alvin Quarles, 51, was slated for parole late last year after serving 25 years of a 50 year-sentence for four counts of rape, as well as charges of burglary and robbery.

However, when they heard about his early release, his victims and the District Attorney’s office filed a petition to have him civilly committed to a state mental facility.

Quarles’ trial over the issue was set to begin Tuesday, but last week, the convict decided to admit to the allegation that he is a sexually violent predator.

Two of his victims told NBC 7 Monday they are happy he will not be set free, but they’re still frustrated that his release was an option at all.

"No community, no community should have to live with this -- knowing that someone has a history of doing this is there with the opportunity to do this again,” said victim Mary Taylor.

Deputy DA Wendy Patrick said this case is unique because the women who were victims of Quarles’ in the 80s are still willing to have an active role in the case.

“It's true that these cases are battles of the experts because of the person's state of mind, but it was great to see two women brave enough to come forward and be involved,” said Patrick.

Quarles will be able to ask for release after one year in the state mental hospital. His victims and the DA’s office said they will continue to fight to keep him in custody

<![CDATA[Marine Who Knew Missing Military Wife Arrested]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:36:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Erin-Corwin-Marine-wife-070.jpg

A recently discharged Marine who volunteered at a horse ranch with the missing pregnant wife of another California-based Marine has been arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device, authorities said Monday.

But they wouldn't say whether the cases of Christopher Brandon Lee, 24, and Erin Corwin, 20, are connected.

Lee, then a Marine corporal, was arrested July 4 after a search warrant was served at a home in Yucca Valley and then released on bail two days later, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

A day after that, he was honorably discharged after six years in the Marine Corps, the Desert Sun reported.

The arrest came about a week after the last time Erin Corwin was seen leaving her home apparently bound for Joshua Tree National Park while three months pregnant. Corwin disappeared under suspicious circumstances, authorities said. Two days later, her car was found outside the gate of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, where her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, is stationed. Both are from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Corwin and Lee both volunteered at the White Rock Horse Rescue Ranch in Yucca Valley, the Desert Sun reported.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said Lee was arrested as a result of a search warrant in an ongoing investigation, but would not give more details, nor say any more about the destructive device Lee is suspected of possessing.

It was not immediately clear whether Lee had hired an attorney, and current contact information in his name could not be found.

He was in the Marines for seven years, last serving as a rifleman in the Individual Ready Reserve.

A number of people have been interviewed in Corwin's missing-persons case, Miller said, but no specific person of interest or suspect has been named.

Several law enforcement agencies and hundreds of volunteers searched a broad swath of desert for Corwin, but there have been no reported sightings. The search was significantly scaled back last week, but it continues, officials said.

Photo Credit: Locate Erin Facebook page]]>
<![CDATA[Sexual Predator Drags Woman Walking Out of NJ Starbucks: DA]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:53:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/west+new+york+rape+attempt.JPG

Police in West New York, New Jersey, are searching for a man who allegedly tried to rape a woman after she left a coffee shop on the Hudson River waterfront last week, authorities say. 

The suspect grabbed the woman as she was leaving a Starbucks on Riverwalk Place at about 10 p.m. July 15, the Hudson County prosecutor's office said. He dragged her into nearby bushes and began to assault her but ran off when he heard voices nearby. 

Hospital workers checked the woman for signs of sexual battery, and prosecutors are looking to see if they can match any DNA picked up from the victim's clothing. 

Neighbors say the development in the area is safe and well-lit, but the path across the street is usually deserted after sunset.

Women said they would take extra precautions after hearing news of the attack.

"I'm a little more reluctant to come down here at night to grocery shop," said resident Jin Kim. 

Hina Ali of Union City said while the path and the stairs where the alleged attack took place are normally her quickest route home, she planned to take a detour for the time being. 

"I would walk all the way -- a mile -- and take a safe route," she said.

<![CDATA[CA Man Pleads Not Guilty to Terror]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:13:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/195*120/ISIS+plea+court+4.JPG

A Southern California man accused of trying to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, with a fake passport so he could allegedly join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, rebels pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges.

Adam Dandach, 20, of Orange, remained in custody without bail and is expected in federal court in Santa Ana on Aug. 25.

Dandach was arrested by FBI agents assigned to the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force on July 3. He sought to leave on a flight out of John Wayne Airport in Irvine.

According to federal court documents, he told investigators that "he was traveling to Syria for the purpose of pledging his allegiance to ISIS, a known terrorist organization, that he would assist ISIS with anything that ISIS asked him to do, and that he believed the killings of U.S. soldiers are justified killings."

ISIS is the al-Qaida splinter group leading Sunni militants in Iraq.

Dandach had applied for an expedited replacement passport in June, explaining in the application that he had accidentally thrown the original in the trash while cleaning.

Authorities said his mother actually hid the original passport in a closet to stop him from flying to the Middle East in December.

Dandach's attorney, Cuauhtemoc Ortega of the Federal Public Defender's Office, as well as Dandach's family members declined comment to NBC4 after Monday's hearing.

Jason Kandel contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Man Sues Pizza Place He Tried to Rob]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:02:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Nigel-Sykes-Mugshot.jpg

A man is suing the same Delaware pizza place that he tried to rob several years ago.

Nigel Sykes, 23, filed a lawsuit against Seasons Pizza as well as the police officers who arrested him four years ago, claiming he was assaulted and injured at the time. It is the latest in a string of unsuccessful complaints Sykes has filed since his 2010 arrest and subsequent guilty plea.

"It's a mockery," said Andy Papanicolas, the Director of Operations at Seasons. "It's a joke for it to even make it to the courts. It's pretty pathetic."

On Nov. 30, 2010, Sykes entered the Seasons Pizza restaurant on the 600 block of Maryland Avenue in Wilmington, police said. Sykes was armed with a gun and demanded money but was detained by several employees inside, according to police. During the struggle, the gun was discharged though no one was struck. He was eventually arrested by responding police officers.

According to Delaware Online, Sykes was linked to at least eight other robberies at the time of his arrest.

While serving time in February of the following year, Sykes filed a lawsuit, without an attorney, against both Seasons Pizza and the Delaware State Police. In the complaint, Sykes claimed he was forced by an unidentified person to rob Seasons Pizza.  Sykes stated he was knocked unconscious at least twice by employees at the restaurant and then shot several times with tasers by responding police officers.

Sykes claimed he was escorted to a police vehicle and then punched in the stomach and head and then slammed against the trunk. In the complaint, Sykes sought compensatory damages of $100,000 from the Delaware State Police as well as $100,000 from Seasons Pizza, accusing them of “violating his civil rights.”

The court dismissed Sykes’ complaint on May 9, 2011. An amended complaint was also dismissed after the court determined that he did not follow the proper processes.

In July of 2011, Sykes pleaded guilty to charges against him in relation to the attempted robbery at Seasons as well as a previous robbery. He was sentenced in April of 2012 to 15 years for robbery and attempted robbery.

In July of 2013, Sykes once again sued Seasons Pizza and the Delaware State Police, making the same allegations. His complaint was once again dismissed without prejudice.

On Feb. 5, 2014, Sykes filed an amended complaint that was more detailed than the initial one and was also against the Newport Police Department and three officers rather than the Delaware State Police, in addition to Seasons Pizza.

In the amended complaint, Sykes admitted that he entered the business and displayed a revolver handgun.

“The defendant handed me $140,” Sykes wrote.

Sykes then claimed he was grabbed by one of the employees as he tried to leave the store.

“After a short struggle, the defendants successfully obtained the handgun from me,” he wrote. “That is when the assault began.”

In the complaint, Sykes claimed the employees punched and kicked him and poured hot soup over his body.

“I was unarmed and defenseless and had to suffer a brutal beating by all the employees of Seasons Pizza,” Sykes wrote.

Sykes claimed he was eventually knocked unconscious and then assaulted by three responding Newport Police officers.

“They handcuffed me behind my back,” Sykes wrote. “I was aroused from my state of unconsciousness only to realize that I was handcuffed and being tasered. I was tasered a total of three consecutive times while handcuffed.”

In the lawsuit, Sykes claimed one of the officers called him a racial slur and that he was denied medical treatment despite paramedics being at the scene. Sykes claims he continues to suffer the effects of the beating, including bruises, headaches, contusions and burns.

Sykes sued the Newport Police Department for $100,000, three Newport Police Officers for a total of $60,000, Seasons Pizza for $100,000 and six employees of Seasons Pizza for a total of $120,000.

On April 17, the court dismissed the claims made against the Newport Police Department as well as one of the officers. However, the court also allowed Sykes to proceed on the assault claims against Seasons Pizza and its employees as well as the excessive force claims against the two other Newport officers.

On July 16, attorneys for the two officers filed a motion to dismiss Sykes’ complaint.

Executives at Seasons Pizza's corporate office say that everything that happened to Sykes was caused by his decision to rob the store. Newport Police Chief Michael Capriglione told NBC10 the lawsuit was a frivolous waste of taxpayer time and money.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Calif Teens Can Taste Wine in Class]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:40:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/edtAP101118011796.jpg

With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Jerry Brown made it legal for some California college students under the age of 21 to taste alcohol in class.

While that sounds like many students’ dream come true, the law, AB 1989, applies only under very specific circumstances.

First, the students have to be enrolled in an accredited winemaking or beer-brewing course. Second, the taste can only be a taste, so students can’t actually swallow the drink.

The latter provision earned the bill the moniker the "sip-and-spit" bill as it moved through the legislature.

With the governor’s signature, California joins 12 other states, including New York and Oregon, to legalize underage alcohol tasting for educational purposes.

The University of California, Davis, which is renowned for its viniculture and brewery program, was a major supporter of the legislation.

Andrew Waterhouse, a professor in department of viticulture and enology at UC Davis, said the bill allows his students to taste wine while its getting made, a critical skill for those learning how to craft fine wines.

"It’s an experience they can’t really get any other way," said Waterhouse, who testified in support of the bill. "And it’s much better if they do it in an educational setting where they can ask a lot of questions."

Tara Pattison, 19, who studies brewing science at UC Davis, said she is happy that the law is finally on the books. 

"You are learning about the process in theory, but when it comes to actually doing it, it’s not as simple as the books make it look," Pattison said. "If you cannot test the final products you will never know what mistakes you have made or, in a perfect world, didn’t make."

<![CDATA[Wawa to Close Its 1st Location]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:38:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/generic+wawa.jpg

It is the end of an era for the iconic convenience store chain. Media, Pennsylvania-based Wawa is closing its very first location after 50 years in business.

"Store #1," located at MacDade Boulevard and Swarthmore Avenue in Folsom, Delaware County, will shut its doors in spring 2016. Around the same time, the company plans to open a new state-of-the-art location about a half-mile away.

"It is emotional yet exciting for all of us," said Lori Bruce, Wawa spokeswoman.

The newly constructed store will open at MacDade Boulevard and Kedron Avenue in the spring of next year, Bruce said.  Current employees will not be affected by the change, she added.

"With the same Wawa associates and customer connections traveling to this new store," Bruce said, "for us this will still be store number 1."

As many as 60 people will work at the new store, double the number of workers staffing the older locations.

Wawa -- a Native American word for the Canada goose once found in the Delaware Valley -- is symbolized by the store's logo of the bird in flight.

In the Philadelphia area, the chain has achieved cult status and draws in hordes of people hungry for their "Classic Hoagies."

The well-known and well-liked convenience store got its start in 1964 as an outlet for dairy products. Today Wawa has more than 645 locations in six different states, including New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida, according to its website.

<![CDATA[Heist Suspect Charged With Murder]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:34:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/07-21-2014-jaime-ramos.jpg

The only surviving suspect in last week's bank robbery, police chase and deadly shootout in Stockton that left three dead, including one hostage, was charged Monday with three counts of murder.

Jaime Ramos, 19, was also charged with 22 counts of attempted murder of police officers involved in the pursuit, as well as additional counts for the dozen homes struck by bullets. He faces a total of 35 felony charges.

Joaquin County Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Freitas said police continued their investigation over the weekend while his office drafted the charges stemming from Wednesday's bank robbery and hour-long running gun battle.

The charges, including kidnapping, robbery and being a gang member, could make Ramos eligible for the death sentence if convicted.

Ramos appeared before a packed courtroom Monday, which included the son of 41-year-old Stockton mother Misty Holt-Singh, who police say Ramos used as a human shield during a gun battle. The confrontation left police cars riddled with bullet holes and an entire community reeling.

Authorities are still trying to determine who fired the bullet that killed Holt-Singh. An autopsy may be able to answer that.

The other two suspects who were killed have been identified by the coroner's office as Gilbert Renteria Jr., 30, and Alex Gregory Martinez, 27.

Investigators say Martinez robbed the same bank back in January.

Police continue their search for the driver who took the robbers to the bank.

The robbery suspects were known gang affiliates with deep criminal pasts and no qualms with taking human life amid their "reckless and chaotic" crimes, police said.

Holt-Singh left her 12-year-old daughter Mia in the car when she ran into the Bank of the West building for what she thought would only be a minute or so.

After that, all hell broke loose, resulting in the kind of crime Stockton police say they haven't witnessed in recent history.

Holt-Singh's family said Friday they are launching their own investigation into the incident.

At times in tears, the family thanked friends, family, community members and even strangers from all across the country for the outpour of love and support they have received.

“What happened to Misty is a nightmare,” Holt-Singh’s husband Paul Singh said. “It’s something I would never want to happen to anybody.”

The family urged law enforcement agencies to be transparent with sharing information -- including dispatch logs and video -- about the incident, including protocols followed during the deadly police chase and gunfight.


KCRA-TV and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KCRA]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Wedding Venue Owner Who Stiffed Couples Gets Prison]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:51:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jason+stevens+arrest+rebar.jpg

The owner of a popular Brooklyn restaurant that closed abruptly and left dozens of couples without a wedding venue was sentenced Monday to up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud and grand larceny.

Jason Stevens, the owner of reBar, pleaded guilty to the charges last month. As part of a plea deal, he was sentenced to three and a third to 10 years in prison.

"I have nothing left to give but an apology. From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry," Stevens said in court. 

He's also been ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution, to be split among the nearly 100 couples who were shut out of the weddings they'd paid for at reBar when the venue closed without warning in May. 

His lawyer, Allan Bahn, has said the 41-year-old Stevens is "taking responsibility."

In addition to stiffing couples out of their wedding money, prosecutors say he stole about $200,000 in sales tax collected between 2009 and 2012 and failed to collect more than $1 million in taxes on the business the same period. 

Newlywed Camille Hlavka, of Astoria, was in the Brooklyn courtroom as Stevens was sentenced. She says she lost $18,000 to him and ended up shelling out about that much for her July 12 wedding. She says she and her husband will probably never recover the money Stevens owes under the state-imposed restitution settlement, but believes justice was at least partially served by his sentencing. 

Another jilted couple, Jennifer Cabrera and Kitoh Grey, said they could only afford a small wedding in Central Park after losing their $13,000 deposit to Stevens, but are looking forward. They said seeing him being led away in handcuffs at least brought some sort of closure. 

"We got married, we had a perfect day," said Grey. "We're moving on with our lives and whatever he wants to do with his life, it doesn't affect us anymore." 

<![CDATA[Attention, Passengers: Please Stand at Your Seats]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:52:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/arilineseat.jpg

Frequent fliers may have new seating arrangements to look forward to — that is, if elevated, cramped bicycle-style seats are what they had in mind.

Airplane maker Airbus has invented a new minimalist seating device designed to pack more passengers onto flights, while preserving comfort, and has applied for a patent for it.

The proposed new seat, which Airbus says will help "reduce bulk" of traditional seating, has a retractable "motorcyle-type saddle" for optimal leg room, along with adjustable back rest, according to the patent application.

One airplane seating expert, Dr. Fairuz Romli, says standing areas and space-reducing seats on airplanes are not completely far-fetched.

“The standing cabin concept has been proposed where the passengers are transported in a cabin of an aircraft in an upright position, similar to standing on buses and trains,” Romli wrote in a report on vertical passenger airplane seats at the Universiti Putra Malaysia.
But flight attendant and author Heather Poole, who chronicled her experiences aloft in "Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet," feels these seats are only asking for trouble. 
"Looks like there are quite a few passengers seated in a row, which means a lot more middle seats, which equates to more battles for the armrest," she wrote in an email. "All I know is miserable passengers equate to bad flights. I wouldn't want to work it."
Poole doesn't think passengers will go for such space-reducing options. Comfort is still a priority for them, and someone would have to be pretty "desperate" to put up with such a seat, she said.
"I can't imagine being on a plane and sitting on a seat made for a bicycle without wearing a pair of those padded shorts — that I don't own — for more than 20 to 30 minutes," she wrote.
Pauline Frommer, editorial director for Frommer’s travel guides, can see consumers opting for cheaper flights but can’t see standing sections becoming a reality anytime soon.
“For short flights, it could drop the prices drastically. It would be more green, more fuel-efficient, so why not?" she said.
But she expressed doubts that such seats would pass muster with safety regulators. It could take upward of seven years for such an idea to be implemented, she suggested.
Airbus for its part said its seating device is not necessarily a priority, pointing out that it patents several hundred concepts and designs a year. “Not all of these ideas, new designs and technologies become final products. We do this to guard our team’s research efforts,” spokeswoman Marie Caujolle said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Native Killed in Gaza]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:28:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/steinberg3.jpg

Hundreds of mourners gathered at a candlelight vigil Sunday night for a Los Angeles native who was killed while fighting as an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Defense Forces said Max Steinberg, 24, was one of 13 soldiers in the Golani Brigade that was killed in battle earlier Sunday. The brigade was engaged with Hamas fighters in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. One other American who volunteered to fight for Israel, 21-year-old Nissim Sean Carmeli, of South Padre Island, Texas, was also killed in Shejaiya. Carmeli moved to Israel four years ago.

Steinberg was a Woodland Hills native who graduated from El Camino High School and attended Pierce College. News of his death was reported by the Jewish Journal, a Los Angeles newspaper, on its website. 

"I really haven't wrapped my head around this. I can't believe it, I just can't believe it," said his mother, Evie Steinberg at the vigil.

Steinberg's friends and members of the Jewish community huddled together in a West Hills Park to pay their respects.

"He put all of his attention, his focus, his dedication to being the best soldier that he possibly could be," said Steinberg's father, Stuart.

"He was our family's inspiration, our family's spirit and he is worthy of you being here today," he added.

The father said Steinberg visited Israel for the first time in 2012 and decided he wanted to live there. He volunteered to join the Israeli army about a year later. He was a sniper.

The IDF did not immediately report how Steinberg was killed. But it said seven of the brigade's soldiers were killed at 1 a.m. Israeli time, when their armored personnel carrier drove over a bomb.

Three brigade members were killed in a firefight with Hamas, and three others were killed in when the Gaza City building they were in caught fire.

IDF claims that 140 rockets were fired into Israel from the densely-populated Shejaiya district, and that 10 tunnels leading to Israel have been discovered there, the Jewish Journal reported from Los Angeles.

The death toll has climbed to 501 Palestinians and 20 Israelis in 14 days of fighting, NBC News reported

"We mourn the loss of Valley native Max Steinberg who was killed Sunday by Hamas terrorists while serving in the IDF," tweeted Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks).

Steinberg is survived by his parents and two younger siblings, a brother and sister. His family planned on traveling to Israel on Monday to bury him.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Chokehold Cop Stripped of Badge]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:55:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/daily-news-choke-video.jpg

Four EMS workers who responded to the arrest of a man who later died in police custody were placed on modified duty a day after an eight-year veteran of the NYPD was stripped of his badge and gun for allegedly using a chokehold while handcuffing the man.

The EMS workers, who have not been identified, included two EMTs and two paramedics. The workers are not city employees but work for Richmond University Medical Center, according to the FDNY.

On Saturday, NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was placed on modified assignment pending further investigation into the arrest of 43-year-old Eric Garner, which was captured on a cellphone video that showed the 43-year-old saying "I can't breathe, I can't breathe" as he was brought to the ground by an officer using a chokehold, a tactic prohibited by NYPD policy.

In the video, EMS workers are not shown giving CPR when arriving at the scene.

Officials said another officer involved in the arrest, a four-year veteran of the force who has not been identified, had been put on administrative duty but didn't have to surrender his gun or shield.

The Staten Island District Attorney's Office is investigating the death of Garner, who was being arrested for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on Victory Boulevard and Bay Street in Tompkinsville Thursday afternoon, according to police.

While he was being handcuffed, he went into cardiac arrest, police said. He was taken to Richmond University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

On Sunday, the medical examiner's officer said autopsy results are still pending.

"At this time, no determination has been made by the Medical Examiner's office as to the cause and manner of death of Eric Garner," the office said in a statement. 

Earlier in the weekend, the Rev. Al Sharpton rallied with supporters and Garner's family. The man's death has sparked community outrage.

"The issue is not whether one was selling cigarettes. The issue was how an unarmed man was subjected to a chokehold, and the result is he is no longer with us," Sharpton said after leading the crowd in chants of "no justice, no peace."

  • Teen Arrested After Mother Found Hurt Near Dead Brother  

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said in a statement that the NYPD's decision regarding Pantaleo was politically motivated.

"The department’s modification of this police officer under these circumstances is a completely unwarranted, knee-jerk reaction for political reasons and nothing more," Lynch said. "It is a decision by the department that effectively pre-judges this case and denies the officer the very benefit of a doubt that has long been part of the social contract that allows police officers to face the risks of this difficult and complex job."

Mayor de Blasio has said he was "very troubled" by the video.

"It is too early to jump to any conclusions about this case -- we must wait for all the facts and details of the incident to emerge," de Blasio said following Garner's death.

On Sunday, while on vacation in Italy, de Blasio received a briefing from administration officials about the ongoing investigation and the administration's community efforts, his office said.

Court records show that within the past two years, three men sued Pantaleo in federal court over allegedly unlawful, racially motivated arrests. Pantaleo did not return a telephone message. 

Photo Credit: Daily News]]>
<![CDATA[At Least 40 Shot in Weekend Chicago Violence]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 00:24:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/violence+7-19.jpg

Editor's Note: NBC Chicago includes shootings that took place between 6 p.m. Friday and 12 a.m. Monday in the weekend violence report.

Violence continued to strike the Chicago area this weekend with at least 18 people shot in a little more than 12 hours overnight, bringing the number of people shot since Friday to 40.

Four people, including an 11-year-old girl at a sleepover with friends, have been killed, police said.

Sunday’s first homicide took place just after 2:30 a.m. when a gunman opened fire in a bar on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

The shooting took place in the 4400 block of South Kedzie in the city’s Brighton Park neighborhood, police said.

A 24-year-old man was shot in the chest and pronounced dead at the scene and a man in his 30s was shot in the torso and taken in stable condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, according to authorities.

Five people were shot, one of them fatally, in a drive-by shooting near a block party Saturday night.

Police said a 21-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman were getting into a cab around 6 p.m. in the 900 block of North Mayfield Avenue when they “heard shots and felt pain,” police said.

The 43-year-old woman was shot in the leg and suffered a graze wound to the head and was taken to West Suburban Medical Center and the 53-year-old cab driver was shot in the abdomen and both thighs and was transported to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Both were listed in stable condition.

The 21-year-old man suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body and head and was transported in critical condition to West Suburban Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.

Police said the shots fired along North Mayfield Avenue also injured two men in the 900 block of North Massasoit Avenue.

The two men, who were playing basketball at the time, said they thought they heard firecrackers but quickly realized they were shot.

A 26-year-old man was shot in the foot and thigh and a 33-year-old man was shot in the foot. Both were taken in stable condition to West Suburban Medical Center.

In another fatal shooting Saturday, a 30-year-old man was found shot to death in a car in the South Austin neighborhood.

The man was discovered unresponsive in the driver’s seat of a car parked in an alley in the 0-100 block of North Laramie Avenue just after 3 a.m. Saturday, police said.

The man suffered gunshot wounds to the back, shoulder and neck and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

An 11-year-old girl was fatally shot when a stray bullet pierced a bedroom window on the city’s West Side.

Family members said the young girl was at a sleepover and was preparing to make s’mores with her friends when she was shot.

She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and was listed in critical condition.

She was later pronounced dead at the hospital, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office confirmed the girl had died.

At least 11 others were wounded in shootings Saturday night and Sunday morning.

  • Just before 5 p.m., two people, including a 14-year-old girl, were shot in the 2700 block of South Millard Avenue. Police said the two were at a backyard party when they heard shots and felt pain. A 20-year-old man was shot in the right foot and taken in good condition to Mount Sinai Hospital. A 14-year-old girl was shot in the hip and taken in serious condition to Mount Sinai Hospital.
  • Around 9:30 p.m., a 17-year-old boy was shot while riding his bike in the 900 block of West 83rd Street. The teen was dropped off at St. Bernard Hospital with a gunshot wound to the left thigh. He was listed in stable condition.
  • A 26-year-old man was shot in the shoulder around 10:15 p.m. in the 1600 block of North Kedzie Avenue, police said. The man transported himself to Swedish Covenant Hospital where he was listed in stable condition. Details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.
  • Around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, a 50-year-old woman was shot in the 4400 block of South Prairie Avenue. The woman told police she heard shots and felt pain. She was treated and released at the scene, officials said.
  • About five minutes later, a 20-year-old man was shot while sitting in a car in the 3600 block of South California Avenue. Police said the man was sitting in the back seat of a car when two men yelled gang slogans and fired shots. He was taken to Holy Cross Hospital with a wound to the shoulder and was listed in stable condition.
  • Two people were shot while getting gas at a gas station in the Portage Park neighborhood near Addison and Laramie avenues just after 3 a.m. Sunday. The two were pumping gas at a gas station when a man approached and opened fire, striking both of them, police said. A 24-year-old man was shot in the thigh and a 31-year-old woman was shot in the left hand. The two drove themselves to West Suburban Medical Center in stable condition.
  • Around the same time, a 25-year-old man was shot while standing in the 5600 block of West Division Street. The man was on the sidewalk when he “heard shots and felt pain,” police said. He was taken to Loretto Hospital with wounds to the right buttocks and left shoulder.
  • Just after 5:30 a.m., an 18-year-old man was shot in the left shoulder in the 2500 block of North Sawyer Avenue. He was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition. Details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.
  • At about the same time a 19-year-old man suffered a graze wound to the shoulder in the 3200 block of West Wrightwood Avenue. The teen was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition.
  • Around 5:45 a.m., a 23-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the back in a possible drive-by shooting in the 8500 block of South Burnham Avenue. The woman refused medical treatment at the scene, Estrada said.

More than 20 others were shot since 6 p.m. Friday.

<![CDATA[Restaurant Burglar Arrested]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:21:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/el-pollo-loco-burglary-costa-mesa-burglar.jpg

A Southern California criminal’s craving to go back for seconds got him in hot water with authorities last week.

Daniel Lee Warn, 28, of was arrested by police Wednesday in a Costa Mesa El Pollo Loco restaurant after allegedly breaking into the location earlier in the day wearing the same outfit, officials said.

Police said a burglary was reported at an El Pollo Loco in the 1900 block of Harbor Blvd. Wednesday. No losses were reported from the incident.

Security footage showed a man dressed in a "distinctive" hat and green shirt entering the location through a drive-thru window and going through the registers looking for cash, officials said in a press release.

Later in the day, police received a call from employees of the chicken joint reporting a man—matching the description of the suspect—waiting in line to order food.

Police entered and arrested Warn. Authorities said he was still wearing the same clothing and hat as in the security video.

Costa Mesa Police said Warn is also connected to a string of recent commercial burglaries in the area which included break-ins at a local liquor store, DVD shop and chiropractic business.

Additional investigation is continuing to determine if Warn may be responsible for other recent commercial burglary incidents, police said.

Officials said Warn was sentenced to prison earlier this year, but was out as part of a post-release community supervision program.

Warn is currently being detained in the Orange County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

It’s not immediately clear if Warn has an attorney.

<![CDATA[Dramatic Photos: Malaysia Jet Crashes in Ukraine]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:01:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cms+copy2.jpg A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet carrying 298 people crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday, and the Ukrainian president said he could not rule out that it had been shot down.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Hit Man With Stun Gun]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 07:28:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/219*120/stun_gun.jpg

A 41-year-old man died after he was hit by an electronic stun gun when police tried to break up a fight on Chicago's southwest side.

Police responded to a fight in the 4200 block of South Richmond Avenue in the city's Brighton Park neighborhood just after 2 a.m., according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.

Officers said they saw a "highly combative" man, later identified as Francisco Rocha, engaged in a physical altercation with a group of other men.

When they attempted to break up the fight, Rocha resisted arrest and fought the officers, Estrada said.

Officers used a stun gun on Rocha and later called for emergency medical services. Rocha was taken to Saint Anthony Hospital where he was pronounced dead, officials said.

An official from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said an autopsy performed Sunday was inconclusive. The incident was placed under review by the Independent Police Review Authority.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Reserve Cop Resigns Over Video]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:12:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/santa-paula-Laura-Weintraub.jpg

A Southern California police volunteer officer who posted a video online about running over bicyclists has resigned.

Laura Weintraub submitted a letter of resignation to the police chief on Sunday, the Santa Paula Police Department said in a news release. The chief confirmed it in a post on the department's Facebook page.

"The purpose of this post is to advise the community that I have accepted the resignation of Volunteer Reserve Officer Laura Weintraub. Her resignation is effective today. I believe that Ms. Weintraub did the right thing for everyone involved and wish her nothing but the best for her and her family," said the post with Chief Steven McLean's name at the end.

Weintraub had been placed on paid administrative leave and stripped of her police credentials as an internal investigation was underway into the YouTube video in which she says, "I hate bicyclists, every single one of them."

"The Chief of Police as well as the Santa Paula Police Department did not condone this video and are extremely embarrassed by it. This video did not and does not express the views of the Santa Paula Police Department nor the Chief of Police," the release said.

In the video, she also asks a man driving her how much she'd have to pay for him to run over a cyclist.
His response: "How much do you have in your wallet right now?"

In the last frame of the video, a photo showing a vehicle crashing into a group of bicyclists is shown with text that reads "Like you've never thought about it..."

A second reserve officer was also placed on administrative leave for posting a response to comments on the department's Facebook page, the police chief said.

Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Rally Over Gaza Offensive]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 20:34:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/gaza+rally+chicago.jpg

Protesters staged a "die-in" and thousands rallied in Chicago Sunday to demand an end to the rising conflict in Gaza.

"Since the offensive began, almost 400 Palestinian people have been killed and many more wounded," said Hatem Abudayyeh with the U.S. Palestine Community Network.

Hundreds gathered around the scattered bodies of protesters, who laid on the ground intending to represent the bodies of those killed in the fighting.

After the die-in, protesters, who came to Chicago in busloads, marched to the Israeli consulate.

Members of the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine said the rally was held to show solidarity with Palestinians and demand an end to the bloodshed.

"Almost 400 homes have been destroyed, thousands displaced," said Abudayyeh. "This is not a war against Palestine, it is a war on Palestine."

Deputy Israeli Consul General Alex Goldman-Shayman said Israel had to start its defensive operation to protect its citizens from Hamas rockets.

"Thirteen days ago we had something to do to stop the firing on our citizens," he said.

Pope Francis on Sunday called for dialogue to resolve conflicts like the one in the Middle East.

Thirteen Israeli troops were killed overnight Sunday in Gaza, according to the Israeli Army. An armored troop carrier was hit by a shoulder-launched anti-tank missile in the neighborhood of Shejaia, leaving seven Israeli soldiers dead, and another six were killed in fighting that followed, an Israeli security source told NBC News.

Fifty-two Israelis were injured in the missile launch and fighting, and eleven of the injuries were serious. Israeli shelling on Sunday left more than 100 dead, including women and children.

"I really hope there can be peace," said Abudayyeh.

<![CDATA[Immigration Crisis: Who's Organizing Border Protests]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 07:03:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/protests3.jpg

The leaders of some of the groups coordinating rallies against undocumented immigrants this weekend are Tea Party backers with histories of colorful, and sometimes controversial, tactics protesting the Obama administration.

Critics of the recent surge in children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, and of plans to house them, are protesting nationwide Friday and Saturday, on highway overpasses, in state capitals and at Mexican consulates.

Three groups — the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, Overpasses for America and Make Them Listen — are coordinating the demonstrations, protesting what they call President Barack Obama’s refusal to enforce immigration law.

William Gheen, the president of Americans for Legal Immigration, describes himself as a veteran campaign consultant who has fought illegal immigration for a decade. He says he previously worked for North Carolina's state government as a legislative assistant and on the Senate sergeant-at-arms staff.

More recently, Gheen and his group have attracted attention, and their share of criticism, over the years for their colorful activist tactics and public remarks.

Gheen once organized a campaign urging supporters to send used underwear to Obama and to House Speaker John Boehner, in mocking response to a call by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for new underwear for detained immigrants. He has also said his group decided to call Obama "Dictator Barack Obama."

But critics say that Gheen overstates his group’s influence and that Americans for Legal Immigration is essentially a one-man show.

He has come under fire for the distribution of the donations made to his group. According to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks money in politics, the group has spent $1,904 against Republicans, including South Carolina's Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, in primaries for the 2014 midterm elections and has spent no money campaigning for Republicans or Democrats — at the same time Gheen was taking a $69,379 salary.

Gheen has also been criticized for saying at a rally that Graham was gay and for urging him to come out, ostensibly so his sexual orientation would not be used against him. Graham has long denied suggestions that he is gay.

Now, amid the undocumented immigration protests Gheen's group is helping to organize, much of the group's criticism is aimed at Obama, whom Gheen blames for the surge in immigration by thousands of undocumented children from central America.

"We’re hoping to raise awareness about the Obama-inspired illegal immigrant surge at our southern border," Gheen said of the rallies.

He accused Obama of trying to transfer the immigrants to shelters around the country as a means of lessening the chances they might be deported, and he said the undocumented children's age should not affect how they are treated.

“The law applies to everyone, and the law needs to be enforced,” Gheen said. “These children and adults with them should not be housed and transported at taxpayer expense to the interior of the country and dispersed.”

Organizing the protests alongside Americans for Legal Immigration is Overpasses for America, a Tea Party-affiliated group that encourages demonstrators to protest on highway overpasses to capture drivers' attention.

The group's founder, James Neighbors, said that undocumented immigrants should be quarantined because they might have communicable diseases like tuberculosis or hepatitis C, a charge critics say is unfounded.

“People are fired up all over the country about this,” Neighbors said. “They’re tired of seeing America invaded.”

Neighbors is no stranger to protests on overpasses. He previously organized the group Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment, which encouraged Obama’s critics to take their protest signs to overpasses. He was inspired to form that group, he explained, by the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

Last year, some of that group’s leadership resigned after accusing him of using money donated to the group for personal use — accusations Neighbors says are lies.

Neighbors said he borrowed money that had been donated specifically for his use while he was in the midst of a workman’s compensation dispute. A former Oklahoma corrections officer, he was injured while protecting a coworker during a fight between inmates, he said.

To critics like Henry Fernandez, a senior fellow at the progressive think tank the Center for American Progress, Neighbors' affiliation, based in Washington D.C., with impeachment efforts show how fringe his anti-immigration effort is.

Fernandez said he didn't expect the immigration protests to draw many people in most places.

One of the organizations, Overpasses For America, pushes "this broad range of conspiracy theories, where the government is trying to take the country away and rights away from real Americans, whatever that might be," he said.

And all three are small groups on the fringe, he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[FAA Investigates Balloon Crash]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 19:20:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/air+balloon.jpg

The Federal Aviation Administration was on the scene in Clinton Sunday, looking into why a hot air balloon made a crash landing.

The FAA told NECN that the balloon was trying to land in the residential area when it struck power lines and caught fire.

"It was going pretty low, and I thought it was going to land just over the hill," said Erick Peterson, who witnessed the crash.

The balloon ultimately crashed into the power lines at the corner of Brook and Greeley Streets, creating two explosions in a dramatic scene Saturday night.

"You could see the operator was trying to pump up the propane, but it just didn't go up," said Dennis MacDonald, who was at home with his girlfriend.

The balloon was coming right for MacDonald's house.

"She says, 'Look at the balloon,' so I look at the balloon, and it was low, and she says, 'It's not going to clear those wires,'" said MacDonald.

And it didn't. Five people were injured, three were taken to nearby hospitals with burn injuries.

All of them have since been released.

MacDonald ran outside to help those on board.

"First, I wanted to get them out of the basket," he said. "Then, I brought out some ice and towels to apply on the burns."

The FAA is now looking into what happened and why the Colt Balloon, owned by Derald E. Young of Dixfield, Maine, crash-landed.

Photo Credit: Clinton Item]]>