<![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 Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:06:27 -0700 Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:06:27 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Ebola Patient Dr. Kent Brantly to Leave Hospital Today]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 06:51:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Brantly+doctor.jpg

The Fort Worth doctor who became infected with the Ebola virus while serving as a missionary in Africa will be released from an Atlanta hospital later today, the hospital announced early Thursday.

Dr. Kent Brantly is scheduled to make a brief statement to reporters Thursday morning before leaving to spend time with his family at an undisclosed location, the hospital said.

The president of Samaritan's Purse, the charity Brantly was volunteering with when he contracted Ebola, said the organization was celebrating Brantly's "recovery from Ebola and release from the hospital"

His release is an extraordinary development in a human drama that has all the makings for a Hollywood movie.

Brantly was helping treat Ebola victims in Liberia when he somehow contracted the often-fatal virus last month. Doctors later described his condition as "grave."

Near death, Brantly was given an experimental medicine that had never before been tested on humans. He then showed a remarkable and almost sudden improvement, doctors said.

On Aug. 2, Brantly was airlifted inside an airtight plastic pod to Georgia military base and then by ground ambulance to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Dressed in a full protective suit, he surprised everyone by walking upright without a stretcher or wheelchair from the ambulance into the hospital where he has since remained in isolation, able to see his wife through a glass wall.

Earlier this month, Brantly released a statement, saying he was recovering "in every way" and hoped to leave the hospital soon.

"There are still a few hurdles to clear before I can be discharged, but I hold on to the hope of a sweet reunion with my wife, children and family in the near future," he said.

Brantly graduated from Abilene Christian University and worked as a resident at John Peter Smith Hospital and attended Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth before he, his wife, young son and daughter left for Liberia in October.

Fellow missionary Nancy Writebol, who also became ill with Ebola while working in Liberia, is still being treated at Emory Hospital. No timetable has been given for her release.

Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, the charity Brantly was volunteering with, released this statement Thursday:

"Today I join all of our Samaritan's Purse team around the world in giving thanks to God as we celebrate Dr. Kent Brantly's recovery from Ebola and release from the hospital. Over the past few weeks I have marveled at Dr. Brantly's courageous spirit as he has fought this horrible virus with the help of the highly competent and caring staff at Emory University Hospital. His faithfulness to God and compassion for the people of Africa have been an example to us all.
"I know that Dr. Brantly and his wonderful family would ask that you please remember and pray for those in Africa battling, treating and suffering from Ebola. Those who have given up the comforts of home to serve the suffering and the less fortunate are in many ways just beginning this battle.
"We have more than 350 staff in Liberia, and others will soon be joining them, so please pray for those who have served with Dr. Brantly-along with the other doctors, aid workers and organizations that are at this very moment desperately trying to stop Ebola from taking any more lives."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA["Jackass" Star Releases Video of SeaWorld Sign Prank]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:29:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sea-World-Sign-Steveo.jpg

A well-known reality television trickster is claiming responsibility for a prank that included changing the words on a SeaWorld exit sign along a San Diego freeway.

Back in late May, “Jackass” star Steve-O took it upon himself to scale a highway sign on southbound Interstate 5 and express his strong dislike for SeaWorld.

Using tape, white letters and some “Jackass” determination, he plastered the word “SUCKS” over the highway sign, which includes the SeaWorld Drive exit information. In the end, the sign read “SeaWorld SUCKS.”

Steve-O released a video of the prank on his YouTube channel Wednesday. As of 6 p.m., the clip had been viewed nearly 200,000 times.

The clips starts with Steve-O stating, "I'm putting my foot down for Shamu."

According to the video, Steve-O says it took him five attempts over a span of two days to pull the prank. He can be seen falling several times as he tries to get himself to the top of the sign. He’s accompanied by a group of friends, but seems to accomplish the final task on his own -- with the help of a ladder.

“If doing that was wrong, I don’t want to be right. Screw you, SeaWorld!” he says to the camera after completing his mission.

“SeaWorld sucks terribly,” he adds, asking fans to share the video on social media using the hashtag #SeaWorldSucks.

Steve-O’s stunt came just days after People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) unveiled an anti-SeaWorld sign that caused controversy at the San Diego International Airport.

Steve-O is a known animal rights activist who has posed for PETA public service campaigns in the past. Still, there was never any evidence to link PETA to the roadside prank.

It is unknown, at this time, if Steve-O will face any charges for the stunt. NBC 7 has reached out to both the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans for comment on the matter.

Chief Steve Saville of the Caltrans District 11 Public Information Office had this to say Wednesday night:

“We consider defacing public property at a cost to state taxpayers an unlawful act and a dangerous distraction for motorists. We will refer all information to the California Highway Patrol.”

The CHP has not yet addressed the incident.

NBC 7 also reached out to SeaWorld, but the a spokesperson for the park said SeaWorld would not be releasing a statement.

Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[OC May Keep New Pools Empty]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 13:19:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/swimming+pool+-+orange+county.PNG

Some Orange County pool owners may not be able to fill their pools if a strict water-saving ordinance goes into effect in response to California's drought concerns.

Officials estimate it takes 20,000 gallons of water to reach the top of most swimming pools. The ban would prevent new pools from being filled, refilled or even topped off if they drop a foot of water.

"The major concern is that we don’t know if we’re in the third year of a drought, or we’re in the third year of a 10-year drought,” Santa Margarita Water District official Daniel Ferons said. “And so we do have to really plan ahead what is efficient use of water.”

The ban on water for new pools applies to the city of Rancho Santa Margarita and other cities served by that water district. The new ordinance is considered one of the strictest in the state.

Pool builder Cecil Fraser builds about 100 pools a year. In some ways, pools are no more of a water guzzler than a backyard sprinkler, he said, adding that if pools are covered most of the surface evaporation is eliminated.

"I'm saying that the water loss is half what it was with grass and that half, we can solve that problem…by covering," Fraser said.

The district has 56,000 water connections in Orange County, including community pools. District officials said that about four feet of water disappears annually from both pools and lawns.

Some pool builders are concerned that the cost on conservation could run into the millions if jobs are lost and supplies aren’t needed.

"I think it’s responsible for us to look at all these issues and figure out a smart solution," John Shippy of Geoscape Landscape said.

Pool builders and homeowners who hope to change the ordinance are expected to be in attendance at a district meeting Friday morning.

<![CDATA["We Believe We Can Police Ourselves": Armed Group Kicks Off Dallas Patrols]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:29:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/self+defense.jpg

A new group calling itself the Huey P. Newton Gun Club launched armed self-defense patrols Wednesday with one stated purpose: to protect Dallas neighbors from police.

Group leader Charles Goodson said recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri over the killing of an unarmed black teen named Michael Brown by a white police officer is only part of the reason for the new Dallas patrols. The group is named after Huey P. Newton, a founder of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s who was killed by a rival militant in 1989.

"We don't think that what happened to Michael Brown in St. Louis is an isolated incident. We have so many Michael Browns here in the city of Dallas," Goodson said.

Another leader, Huby Freeman, said the group wants to educate neighbors about the right to bear arms and the need for it.

"We believe we can police ourselves and bring security to our community, ridding our community of black-on-black crime, violence, police terror, et cetera, et cetera," Freeman said.

Freeman and more than two dozen other people, many carrying rifles, marched Wednesday afternoon along Martin Luther King Boulevard and Malcolm X Boulevard, streets named for civil rights leaders.

Huey P. Newton was a founder of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and was killed by a rival militant in 1989.

David Harrison, whose mentally disabled brother was killed by Dallas Police two months ago, attended the march in support. Harrison said an autopsy showed his brother was shot six times, twice in the back.

"When you have to plant your loved ones, it's rough. And it's forever," Harrison said.

At one point, the march went to Elaine's Restaurant on Martin Luther King Boulevard, where demonstrators piled rifles on tables as they ordered cold drinks and food.

A Dallas police lieutenant and deputy chief were eating lunch in the restaurant at the time. They politely spoke to the demonstrators as they paid their bills.

Owner Elaine Campbell said police officers look out for her and she is not worried about them.

"No, I'm here over 25 years and I'm not afraid of them," she said.

Campbell also welcomed the extra business from the armed demonstrators.

"I just happen to go with the flow and don't let them bother me," she said.

Watching the march go by on Malcolm X Boulevard, tire store owner George Rogers said he was not ready to join.

"If you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have to worry about the police," he said. "As long as you're abiding by the law, I think you're alright."

Huey P. Newton Gun Club organizers hope neighbors will take up arms and join future patrols.

"We think we can lead by example, so hopefully they will see that they have the ability to do this and they will exercise this pertaining to the issues that we're dealing with in this city," Goodson said.

In response to a request to Dallas police for comment about the Huey P. Newton Gun Club patrols, Chief David Brown issued a statement saying "the Dallas Police Department supports the constitutional rights of all."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dramatic Photos: Michael Brown Police Shooting Unrest]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:29:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP748818036139.jpg After 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police Aug. 9, multiple days of rioting and protests have erupted in Ferguson, Missouri. The FBI has opened an investigation into the shooting.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Manhattan Hair Stylist Gives Homeless Free Cuts]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:36:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Haircut-Generic.jpg

A stylist at a high-end West Village salon is taking his skills to New York City’s streets every weekend, offering free haircuts to the city’s homeless.

Mark Bustos spends his days off from Three Squares Studio roaming the city with his scissors and battery-powered clippers and giving out haircuts, reports TODAY.com. He said he’s been doing it since 2012, but recently started posting photos of the cuts to Instagram to inspire others to do good as well.

“There is so much negativity in this world today,” Bustos told TODAY.com. “And I just simply wanted to bring some positive energy and hope into this world.”

Bustos, who has been cutting hair since he was 14, told TODAY.com that he started giving out free cuts during a trip to his family’s native country, the Philippines. While there, he said he rented a chair at the same barber shop where his grandfather once worked and styled underprivileged children’s hair.

He decided to continue helping people in need after coming back, and made a habit of giving out free cuts every Sunday.

He said he finds potential clients by walking around the city’s neighborhoods, but he usually has better luck asking his clients at Three Squares Studio if they’ve seen any homeless people that they think could use a clip.

“(Asking clients) helps save me time,” he told TODAY.com. “Sometimes I can walk around for hours looking for a haircut recipient on the streets.”

Bustos said he hopes the haircuts will help boost recipients' confidence.

“I do believe people with a proper, professional haircut receive more respect than those who do not have a proper haircut,” he said. “Having a proper haircut also gives the recipient much more confidence.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2 Dead, 2 Hurt During Violent Night in Philly]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:12:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/South-Philly-Fatal-Shooting.jpg

Four shootings took place within the span of an hour and a half in Philadelphia overnight leaving two people -- including a teenage boy -- dead and two others hurt.

Two of the shootings occurred in South Philly, a third occurred in Grays Ferry while the fourth happened in the Germantown neighborhood.

In South Philadelphia, a 16-year-old boy died after being shot twice in the chest while on the 1500 block of South 21st Street just after 10 p.m

A private auto rushed the teen to Methodist Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

"Based on witness information we know that our shooter was a male wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and camouflage-type shorts," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small. "He was last seen running south on 21st Street -- the 1500 block -- towards Tasker Street."

Small said real-time crime cameras in the area could help identify the gunman.

During the second South Philly shooting, a man was struck by an unidentified gunman on the 1800 block of Snyder Avenue. The victim was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

In the Grays Ferry section of the city, a man who appeared to be in his late 20s to early 30s was found unconscious with a gunshot wound to the head inside the driver's seat of a Jeep on the 2500 block of Manton Street at 11:18 p.m. The man was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where doctors pronounced him dead.

Finally, a woman was struck by an unidentified gunman on the 100 block of West Abbottsford Avenue in the Germantown section of the city. She was hospitalized in stable condition.

No arrests have been made in any of the shootings and police have not identified any of the victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Philadelphia Police.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Giant Palestinian Flag Unfurled From Manhattan Bridge]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 04:38:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/palestine-Flag-Manhattan-Bridge.jpg

Police say they're investigating after activists unfurled a giant Palestinian flag from the Manhattan Bridge for a short time Wednesday afternoon during a march in support for those in Gaza.

The massive Palestinian flag, which was embroidered with the phrase "Gaza in our hearts" and the words "Boycott," "Divest," and "Sanction," was hung near the bridge's Manhattan side.

It wasn't up long before authorities took it down.

The march continued into Lower Manhattan.

No arrests have been made, but police say they're looking for the demonstrators who put the flag up.

It's the second time unusual flags have flown from New York City bridges. Last month, someone swapped out the U.S. flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge's two towers with bleached-white American Flags.

A pair of German artists took credit for the switch, but the NYPD says it hasn't made any arrests in the case. 

Photo Credit: @jeffrae]]>
<![CDATA[More Charges in Videotaped Beating of Autistic Teen]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:49:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/handcuffs12.jpg

An 18-year-old man police say beat up a 16-year-old boy with autism in a brutal attack captured on video will not be charged with a hate crime but does face tougher new charges, according to WPTV in West Palm Beach.

Andrew Wheeler, 18, is accused of choking the teen unconscious at a house party earlier this month, beating him until he regained consciousness, threatening him with a knife and dragging him by his hair.

Wheeler now faces a new charge of aggravated child abuse, in addition to the child abuse charge he already faced, the Okeechobee County State Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Evadean Dailey, the woman police say hosted the party, has also been rearrested on three more child abuse charges, after having earlier been arrested on charges concerning the party.

She now faces charges of aggravated child abuse, child abuse and child neglect, in addition to the earlier charges of hosting an open house party and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

It's unknown if either have an attorney.

Police said the victim was at the party on August 8 when he was told to go outside to fight someone. When he refused, Wheeler was called over and began to beat him, the victim told police.

The victim told police Wheeler followed him outside, choked him until he lost consciousness and kept hitting him until he woke up. Wheeler then held a small knife to the victim's throat and ordered him to leave, the report said.

Video of the beating posted to Facebook that and shows a person police have identified as Wheeler punching and kneeing the victim, then dragging him across the floor by his hair. The victim, crying throughout the video, holds up his arms to cover his head.

Police found the victim after midnight lying in the street on Southwest 6th Street. He said he had been battered and forced to walk to that location. Police said he appeared intoxicated, was complaining of chest pains and had vomited on the street.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with a concussion, a sprained neck and bruises on his face and scalp, the police report said.

Wheeler, meanwhile, told police he had received a call from someone at the party saying there was a drunk person in her house who wouldn't leave. Wheeler said he went inside the house to help the teen before stepping outside to take a phone call. Wheeler said that when he went back inside, the teen was punching and pushing someone else.

Wheeler told police that when he tried to take the teen outside, the teen tried to hit Wheeler but missed. Wheeler told police that he lost his temper and struck back at the teen.

Wheeler’s bond was set at $100,000, while Dailey’s bond is $200,000. Prosecutors said more arrests are pending in the case.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Sheriff's Deputy Accused of Distributing Child Porn]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:12:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/handcuffs12.jpg

A former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of distributing child pornography on the Internet, authorities said.

Lorne Reed, 32, was taken into custody at his Santa Fe Springs home after detectives served a search warrant there in connection with an investigation that began in April, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Reed, who was at home with his two children, was arrested without incident, the LAPD said. The children were taken into protective custody by Department of Children and Family Services.

No further details into the investigation were released.

Reed was booked on suspicion of distributing child pornography and held on 20,000 bail. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Parents Want Apology After Selfie Connects Son With Burglary]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:02:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Santa+Clarita+Valley+Selfie.jpg

Upset parents want an apology from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department after they said a selfie making the rounds on social media and news reports connected their innocent son with a home burglary investigation.

Larry and Irene Beltran showed up to the Santa Clarita Valley station Wednesday with their son, Larry Beltran Jr., to speak with deputies about the apparently stolen cellphone, but were told to return Thursday because the detective on the case had already gone home.

"We are here trying to do the right thing," the father said. "I'm just upset that everybody is calling me saying 'Your son is on the news, your son did this.' Here I am at the station and they're telling me they don't know anything about it."

"I would like an apology for my son," Irene Beltran said.

Detectives identified Beltran Jr. and his girlfriend as "people of interest" in a news release containing the image. Detectives hoped that the photo would help lead them to the burglars who ransacked a Newhall home on July 30. Detectives said the selfie was discovered after the victim logged on to her online cloud account and realized some photos were uploaded of people she did not know.

"It's embarrassing," Larry Beltran Jr. said. "I had no idea it would be all over the news or anything. That was just between me and my girlfriend."

His aunt, who also showed up to the station to help clear him from any wrongdoing, told deputies that she bought two phones for $80 from a man at a swap meet and gave one to her nephew.

"I thought I got a good deal but I didn't know I put my nephew in a bad situation," said the aunt, Angie Cabrera.

Deputies told the family to return Thursday morning to speak with the detective.

"I come in and they gave me the runaround," Beltran Jr. said.

Sheriff's officials declined to comment to NBC4 on whether he was still considered a person of interest.

Christina Cocca contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: LASD Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station]]>
<![CDATA[2 Charged in School Shooting Plot]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:59:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/editsouthpashighschools.jpg

Two South Pasadena boys have been charged with making criminal threats for threatening to kill another teen who knew of their alleged plot to shoot students and staff at their high school, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The boys, aged 16 and 17, are each charged with one count of making criminal threats. They both made appearances this afternoon in Pasadena Juvenile Court and denied the charge, which is the equivalent of a not-guilty plea in adult court, according to City News Service.

The father of the 17-year-old boy spoke with NBC4 outside of the courtroom, but asked that his name not be used. He said he has not been able to speak with his son and he does want to hear the boy's side of the story.

"We were greatly saddened and disappointed by the allegations. We would like to apologize to the community of South Pasadena. We would like to thank the person who stepped forward, who had the courage, to advise the authorities," he said.

"And thank South Pasadena Police Department for their professionalism and their kindness to us during this difficult issue."

The step-father of the 16-year-old boy also spoke to reporters before he was whisked away by a defense attorney.

"My wife and I would like to apologize to the whole community, every student, every parent, every faculty. We do not condone this kind of behavior," he said.

Prosecutors say the teens began making detailed arrangements to kill three staff members at South Pasadena High School and gun down as many students as possible.

The pair told another student about the mass shooting plan and they threatened to kill him, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The plan was thwarted after the boys were arrested following a police investigation into the alleged plot.

The boys were arrested Monday after a search of their homes. South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller said the threat the two posed was credible.

"It was very viable, what they were plotting," Miller said. "They were making a huge plan of a school massacre."

Searches of the boys' computers turned up evidence they were looking at weapons, bomb-making supplies and bulletproof vests, Miller said.

The investigation into the thrwarted plot is ongoing and the boys may face additional charges.

The boys' attorneys were not available for immediate comment.

Photo Credit: Sean Browning/NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Officer Who Beat Woman Disciplined]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 06:16:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chp-officer-hitting-woman-10-freeway-video-youtube.jpg

The California Highway Patrol officer seen in a widely distributed video punching a woman on the side of a Southern California freeway last month was relieved of duty and sent home with pay while prosecutors weigh possible criminal charges, officials said Wednesday.

Officials have stripped CHP Officer Daniel Andrew of his badge and gun, effective immediately, CHP officials said.

He has been moved from desk duty to paid time off while prosecutors review his case, said CHP Sgt. Melissa Hammond, a department spokeswoman.

CHP officials forwarded the results of a criminal investigation to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office outlining what they said were "potentially serious charges for the officer."

Civil rights activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson believes the decision to relieve Andrew from duty was a partial victory.

"The officer should be fired. And the officer should be prosecuted. One without the other is not justice," Hutchinson said.

Andrew repeatedly punched Marlene Pinnock on July 1 on the Santa Monica (10) Freeway on-ramp in Los Angeles. She was hospitalized for several weeks. She was treated for head injuries and continues to have slurred speech, according to her attorney, Caree Harper.

Pinnock's attorney, Caree Harper, said Wednesday it was about time.

"Finally," she said. "This is something that could have occurred the first week of July. There was a felonious battery that occurred with videotaped evidence. There's not much investigation that needs to be done to show that someone was rendered defenseless and this officer went beyond attempting to detain her."

In an interview after the attack, Pinnock, 51, said she feared for her life.

"He was trying to kill me," she said. "He was trying to beat me to death. He wouldn’t stop."

Pinnock filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last month. She believes Andrew should face charges.

"It does bother me cause if it had been me, I would have been charged. I would have gone to jail had it been the other way around," Pinnock said.

An investigation was launched by the CHP and the District Attorney’s Office to prepare a "thorough assessment" of what occurred that evening.

An NBC4 I-Team investigation revealed details on how the confrontation went down. According to CHP service logs, the first call to 911 came in around 7:11 p.m. According to the logs, Pinnock was on the freeway for at least 29 minutes.

"Everyone asks 'why was she on the freeway?' Why the hell did he kick her ass? Someone ask him 'why did you kick Marlene Pinnock's ass,'" Harper said.

The District Attorney’s Office will review the investigation and decide on the filing of criminal charges against Andrew, the CHP said.

District Attorney's spokeswoman Jane Robison confirmed the office received the case, but declined further comment.

Separately, the CHP will also complete an ongoing internal administrative investigation into incident.

"The CHP understands the public’s interest in this case, and it is our desire to be as transparent as possible while adhering to the laws and due process that govern any investigation," Hammond said in a statement. "We value the public’s trust and appreciate the community’s patience as we complete this important process."

Patrick Healy and Beverly White contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Aide's Elder Abuse Caught on Camera]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:36:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/health+care+aide+abuse.jpg

Disturbing video captured by surveillance cameras shows a home health care aide abusing a 78-year-old Queens stroke victim, slapping his trembling arm and jerking his head by his nose while trying to force-feed him.

The family of Bentsion Murakhovsky, a 115-pound man paralyzed on his left side who has trouble speaking and swallowing food, installed the surveillance cameras after Murakhovsky told them a home health aide provided by Personal-Touch Home Care treated him improperly.

That home health aide was replaced by a second one sent by Personal-Touch Home Care after Murakhovsky's wife and granddaughter complained about the alleged abuse; the surveillance system was installed prior to the start of the new home health aide's employment in the home to ensure no future lapses in care would occur.

Video captured on surveillance cameras April 8 show the new home health aide abusing Murakhovsky. In one clip, the aide grabs his wrist, slams it into his side and grabs Murakhovsky's nose while pushing a napkin into his face in an effort to force-feed him.

A second clip provided by Murakhovsky's attorney shows the aide twice grab his nose while feeding him and using it to jerk his head back and forth as the patient nervously taps his fingers on his leg.

In another clip captured the same day, Murakhovsky lifts a blanket from his lap to wipe his face and the attendant grabs it, flings it away from the man and slaps his right arm. The 78-year-old is seen trembling as the aide gestures as if yelling at him. The videos have no audio.


The family only checked the surveillance archive after Murakhovsky's wife returned home one day in April to find her husband's face bruised, the family's attorney, Philip Monier III, said. Monier said Murakhovsky's wife said he was unusually withdrawn that day and appeared depressed and frightened. She called her granddaughter; the two of them checked the surveillance cameras and discovered the abuse.

The Murakhovskys called the NYPD. Charges against the home health aide are pending, and the family is suing the New York City branch of Personal-Touch Home Care, which has more than 50 locations in 11 states.

"Mr. Murakhovsky was a prisoner of his own body, defenseless to stop the healthcare worker looming in front of him," Monier said. "You see a fearful, elderly man being terrorized by a home healthcare aide."

"No one should be treated like that," Monier added. "This company is supposed to be sending trained and qualified workers to help elderly disabled people like Mr. Murakhovsky, and they are getting paid a lot of money for sending unqualified workers."

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Kings County Supreme Court, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Murakhovsky's granddaughter Gabriel Murakhovsky said he's a proud Russian immigrant who helped raise her and is now virtually helpless.

"My grandfather was a very strong man and it's bad enough he got sick and he's humiliated now that he can't change or he can't do certain things," she said. "For a person to destroy him like that physically and emotionally, I think that is very reckless." 

Personal-Touch Home Care, which draws staff from a pool of about 12,000 paraprofessionals and 3,000 nurses, according to his website, did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment. No one in the media relations department picked up the phone.  

-- Rob Schmitt contributed to this report. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed in Boat Explosion at NY Marina]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:19:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/port-washington-boat-explosion.jpg

A 75-year-old man was killed Wednesday when a boat exploded in a Long Island marina, Nassau police said.

The owner of a boat docked in the Manhasset Bay Marina in Port Washington was killed when the boat exploded while being refueled, police said. Another man on the boat escaped by jumping in the water. 

The workers helping refuel the boat escaped without injury. The burning boat then drifted to a nearby dock and damaged other boats before being towed away by a third worker from a separate dock, police said.

The worker who towed the boat away had some burns to his arms and face.

Some nearby boats had minor damage and scorching from the explosion. One boater said part of a cooler flew into his vessel after the blast.

The victim has not been identified by Nassau County police.

The cause of the explosion is not known, police said.

Authorities say they haven't yet determined if a crime was committed in the explosion, but Nassau County homicide and arson detectives are investigating. 

Photo Credit: Kent R. Martin via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[School Sorry for Making Special Ed Kids Sort Trash]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:49:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Trash-Bins-Hansen.jpg

Parents of special education students in a Southern California city say they were outraged to learn their children had been sorting trash as a school activity.

The Press-Enterprise reported Wednesday that Jurupa Unified Superintendent Elliot Duchon apologized to humiliated students and suspended the activity.

The apology came at a heated school board meeting Monday night. Parents sounded off over the program at Patriot High School that had special education students sort through campus trash bins for recyclables.

Duchon says the program aims to teach special education students general life skills like budgeting and purchasing groceries.

Parent Carmen Wells complained after learning her autistic son was digging through trash on his first day as a high school freshman.

Photo Credit: Bob Hansen]]>
<![CDATA[Surveillance Video Shows Clown Crook Robbing Gas Station]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:56:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/clown+robbery+suspect.JPG

Newly released surveillance video shows a not-so-funny suspect in a frightening clown mask holding a San Diego gas station clerk at gunpoint in one of three, possibly related robberies

The video comes from the USA Gas Station on Morena Boulevard in Bay Park, which was robbed on Aug. 6.

In the footage, a man in a clown mask, rainbow wig, black pants and black hooded sweatshirt is seen walking through the door with handgun held at his waist. He waves it at the clerk, who is standing by the store's drink display, and tells him to get behind the counter.

The worker complies and opens the cash register.

"Put it all in the plastic bag. Hurry up," the suspect is heard saying on the video.

"I don't want to blow a hole in you, man. Hurry it up," he continues.

After the clerk fills the white plastic bag, the suspect grabs it and walks out. Before he leaves, the calm cashier utters, "Have a good night, man." 

Detectives are trying to determine if this clown is responsible for two similar incidents, or if it is the work of a copy cat.

The most recent robbery happened around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at the 7-Eleven at 4080 Convoy St. in Kearny Mesa.

A man in his 20s or 30s wearing a clown mask and carrying a large frame revolver approached the clerk and demanded cash, according to San Diego police. The cashier handed over an undisclosed amount of money, and the suspect bolted out the door.

The crime wasn’t reported until 8:30 a.m. because the clerk didn’t know protocol, police said.

On Aug. 13, a thief struck 7-Eleven at 6615 Linda Vista Rd. In that case, the suspect was wearing a clown mask and rainbow-colored wig, had a thin build and was armed with a gun.

The USA Gas Station decided to release its surveillance footage to help the SDPD get an arrest.

<![CDATA[Best Friends Cheetah and Dog Scamper Around Safari Park]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:57:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cheetah+dog.jpg

The claws are coming out, but what’s a little rough-housing between two really adorable friends?

Cheetah cub Ruuxa and his dog pal Raina, now over three months old, are getting the chance to explore new areas of the San Diego Safari Park.

The unlikely best friends were paired up by zookeepers after Ruuxa was rejected by his mother. Cheetahs are typically born in litters, but when a single cub is born, the mother often abandons it.

So to help the tiny cub navigate the outside world, the zoo introduced him to Raina, a Rhodesian ridgeback puppy.

The duo are training to be part of the Safari Park’s “animal ambassador” program, which has enlisted four furry pairs.

Developing a special kinship as they are raised together, the dog helps the cheetah stay calm in new and public settings. Zookeepers hope to train Ruuxa to become one of the animals on display at the Park’s Cheetah Run experience.

But his training is much cuter than, say, a Rocky fighting montage. The zoo released video this week of Ruuxa and Raina’s work together, which included a lot of playful tackling, nipping and nuzzling.

<![CDATA[NH Reacts to James Foley's Death ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 04:28:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/James+Foley-722.JPG

As U.S. intelligence officials work to authenticate the ISIS video that purports to show the execution of American journalist James Foley, word is spreading around the tight-knit community of Rochester, New Hampshire, that Foley called home.

"It’s not something you want to hear or believe but it’s true," Lauren Ellis, who went to school with Foley's siblings, said.

Foley had been missing since Nov. 22, 2012, when he was abducted outside an Internet café in Syria while working as a freelance journalist for Boston-based GlobalPost. It was the second time Foley had been taken hostage, after he was released in 2011 after about six weeks in captivity in Libya.

His family had not heard from him directly this time and did not know who took him or why, but family friends tell NECN his mother had recently traveled to Denmark to meet with others who had been taken hostage and let go. They say she was told then that he was alive and doing well.

The family is too distraught to talk about the video released Tuesday, as a yellow ribbon remains tied to the tree outside their home.

However, his mother, Diane Foley, released a message on the Facebook page Free James Foley:

We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.

We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.
We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.

Rochester residents say this news is sickening.

"It’s really an unreal feeling, just hearing the news tonight, my mom and I were both very sad. Like I said, a tough pill to swallow," Ellis said.

Joyce Jacques worked with Foley’s father at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover. She says she cannot imagine what he and his family are going through.

"Our thoughts and our prayers are with you, anything we can do, say, we’re right here," Jacques said.

Foley's employer, GlobalPost, released a statement saying it appreciates the messages of support and is asking for prayers for Foley and his family.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan was appalled by the news though; she did speak very highly of Foley.

"A talented and fearless photojournalist, James Foley brought us images that connected us to events across the globe, illuminating stories of both heartache and hope and helping us better understand the world we all share," Hassan said.

New Hampshire's U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte each offered up heartfelt condolences to the Foley family.

"His murder was a cowardly act of terrorism and underscores the threat that ISIS poses to the freedoms we hold dear," added U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on the tragic loss.

Get More at NBC News

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Aunt Arrested After Toddler Killed in SF Crosswalk]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:17:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Myanamemorial.JPG

A woman who was caring for her 2-year-old twin niece and nephew has been charged with felony child endangerment after the little girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver in a San Francisco crosswalk. Police say the aunt crossed against the signal, leaving the girl unattended in the middle of the street.

San Francisco police on Tuesday arrested 25-year-old Lorysha Gage after her niece, identified by family as Mi'Yana Gregory, was killed on Mission Street between 4th and 5th streets about 10:30 p.m. Friday. The three had just seen "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" at the AMC Metreon, family members said. In addition to the child endangerment charge, jail records show Gage was also booked on a felony enhancement of corporal injury on a child resulting in death. She is in custody on $250,000 bail.

Gage will make her first court appearance on Thursday, a district attorney's spokesperson said Wednesday.  She is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the San Francisco Hall of Justice, according to San Francisco DA's office spokesperson Alex Bastian.

Officer Albie Esparza said that Gage left her niece in the middle of the crosswalk while she went back to get the brother, Michael. That's when "My My," described by relative De'Anthony Daymone Jones as a "bubbly" girl, was killed in the crosswalk.

Attempts to reach Gage and find out if she had an attorney were not immediately successful Wednesday morning. Police did not provide a booking photo of Gage, citing "pending ID matters."

"It's been hard on all of us," said Jones, who has set up a site to help pay for funeral expenses. Mi'Yana and her twin were very close. "They always rolled together," he said.

While police have now arrested the aunt, officers have not yet found the driver, whose car hit the girl and kept going. Surveillance video showed a white, mid-90s, four-door sedan, believed to be either a Camry, Honda or Lexus, with a dark mismatched front bumper and dark rims in the area at the time. The driver did not stop, and police are looking for that person.

A day after the accident, relative Devin Reagans said the driver should have stopped.

"It shouldn't have taken my sister's life," she said.

On Wednesday, a memorial marked the site across from the parking garage at Westfield San Francisco Centre where "My My" was killed, complete with signs and stuffed animals including a pink teddy bear and a Hello Kitty doll.

Her family has also set up a GoFundMe site to help pay for expenses.

NBC Bay Area's Stephanie Chuang and Christie Smith and Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Chuang]]>
<![CDATA[Court Docs Detail Boy's Torture]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:41:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/gabriel1.jpg

The fatal beating Gabriel Fernandez took on May 22, 2013, in a Palmdale apartment is just part of what could be described as a living nightmare for the little boy, that according to grand jury transcripts which led to murder charges against his mother, Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre.

Gabriel's older brother, Ezequiel, says on a daily basis Gabriel was gagged with a sock and bandana and stuffed into a small cabinet locked from the outside with handcuffs.

He says that is where Gabriel would sleep despite two beds in their room and when the boy went to the bathroom inside the box he was forced to clean it up.

If Ezequiel helped:

"I got hit."

"By who?"

"By my mom," he testified.

The story of Gabriel Fernandez's torture and killing shed light on how child abuse cases are handled in Los Angeles County. It has led to changes across several county departments, the creation of a new office to monitor these cases, and charges of murder against his alleged killers. His death led to rallies and a Facebook page in his honor.

Testimony details beatings with bats, a club which knocked out Gabriel's teeth, BB gun and pepper spray shot in Gabriel's face, and whippings with the metal part of a belt at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend over eight months.

Pearl took custody of Gabriel, who has been living with his maternal grandparents.

Of the three children in the house, only Gabriel received this type of abuse, according to the testimony.

"We had cats and we had a litter box and whenever he would get punished, my mom would tell him to go eat poop," the testimony read.

Making his gums bleed, the brother adds he saw the boyfriend, who worked as a security guard, grab Gabriel in a chokehold and knock him into a wall, feet off the ground.

"He would gasp for air," the brother testified.

The last beating began when Gabriel did not want to pick up his toys and Pearl and Tony, as they called the boyfriend, allegedly began punching and kicking Gabriel, even while the boy lay on the floor unconscious.

"It just went quiet, and my mom came out like scared and told me to, to make up a story because she was going to call paramedics, and she told me to say that me and Gabriel were playing in her room and he hit his head on the cabinet, that it hit the cabinet," the brother said according to testimony.

NBC4 requested a comment from public defenders for both defendants, but did not receive a response.

<![CDATA["Affluenza" Teen's Father Arrested for Impersonating an Officer]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:57:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/frederick-couch-inset.jpg

The father of a North Texas teen whose defense blamed “affluenza” for his deadly DUI wreck has been arrested and accused of identifying himself as a police officer.

Frederick Anthony Couch was arrested Tuesday for falsely identifying himself as a police officer and for misrepresentation of property, North Richland Hills police said.

Officers were called to a disturbance on the 4400 block of Mackey Drive just after 1 a.m. July 28, police said Tuesday. 

There, resident Keith Capo said Couch had a gun and had shown up with Capo's neighbor, who he said threatened him following a disagreement days before.

Capo's wife then called police.

"The officer I was speaking to was all gung-ho. He said, 'What do you want to happen?' I said, 'I want to press charges,'" Capo said.

Investigating officers spoke with Couch, who they said presented a badge and an identification card and identified himself as a reserve officer for the small Lake Worth community of Lakeside.

According to police, as officers were wrapping up their investigation at the scene, Couch reiterated that he was a reserve police officer and said he had his "police stuff" in his car.

"Couch reached into his vehicle and took out his wallet, displaying what appeared to be a police badge and identification card, suggesting he was a police officer," police said in a news release Tuesday.

The officers at the scene looked into Couch's status as a reserve officer and learned that he was not an officer with the City of Lakeside and has never been licensed as a police officer in the state of Texas.

Capo said if Couch broke the law this time, he should pay the consequences, like anyone else.

"I just hope he understands that you can't sit there and say and do whatever you want, just because you got more money than anybody else. I mean, that's not right," Capo said.

Following his arrest Tuesday, Couch was taken to the city's detention facility for processing with bond set at $2,500.

Couch's son, Ethan, was intoxicated and behind the wheel of a pickup truck when he crashed and killed four people while injuring several others in June 2013.

The "affluenza" defense, which garnered national attention, maintained that the teen suffered from a condition where he had no sense of responsibility due to a lack of parenting.

Couch was subsequently sentenced to 10 years probation on four counts of intoxication manslaughter and ordered to be admitted to a rehabilitation facility at his parents' expense.

Since the verdict, the Couch family has settled several lawsuits worth millions of dollars with the families of the victims.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Patient May Have Ebola Virus]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:48:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola.jpg

Health officials said Wednesday a patient who was being tested for Ebola in Sacramento is at low risk for the virus.

Speaking to the media during a conference call, state and federal officials said they will not divulge which West African country the patient traveled to or from in order to protect the individual's privacy.

Officials will not be releasing the patient's identity, gender or whether the patient is an adult or minor. Health officials are also contacting those who may have come in contact with the Sacramento patient.

"It is unlikely that Ebola presents a significant risk to Californians," said Dr. Gil Chavez, deputy director for the Center for Infectious Diseases and State Epidemiologist at the California Department of Public Health. Chavez said that the CDPH has not received any reports of high-risk patients being treated in California hospitals.

He said that the results of the testing of the Sacarmento patient would be available in three days.

Health officials announced Tuesday that the patient who was admitted to a South Sacramento hospital may have neem exposed to the Ebola virus. The Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center is working with the Sacramento County Division of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test blood samples from the patient.

"In order to protect our patients, staff and physicians, even though infection with the virus is unconfirmed, we are taking the actions recommended by the CDC as a precaution, just as we do for other patients with a suspected infectious disease," Dr. Stephen Parodi, director of hospital operations for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said in a statement. "This includes isolation of the patient in a specially equipped negative pressure room and the use of personal protective equipment by trained staff, coordinated with infectious disease specialists. This enables the medical center to provide care in a setting that safeguards other patients and medical teams."

The Ebola virus got worldwide attention earlier this month when two United States aid workers were infected in Liberia. The aid workers were move to an Atlanta hospital for treatment in a specially equipped plane. Both patients are recovering, officials said.

The Ebola outbreak started in December of last year in West Africa. Since the outbreak, some 2,200 people have been diagnosed with the virus and nearly half o those people died.

Even though the Ebola virus can be deadly, doctors said, survival rates are improving because people are getting checked if they feel they have come in contact with the virus.

Chavez told reporters that any hospital in California should be able to treat Ebola patients. The Sacramento case is the first case in Caifornia linked to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Chavez said.

"We knew it was a matter of time before we had a case in California," he said.

For more information about Ebola, please visit the CDPH home page's "Other Hot Topics" and the CDC's page on information and updates.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd and Riya Bhattacharjee contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Star Little League Team Taney Dragons Got Their Start]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:56:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP35427040879.jpg

Twenty years ago, the league behind the Taney Dragons started with three parents, a coach and a permit to play on a Philadelphia field.

Now, the youth baseball team is the subject of national media frenzy thanks to its remarkable Little League World Series run and star pitcher Mo'ne Davis' 70 mph fastball.

“The kind of attention we’ve had has absolutely been mind-boggling," co-founder Ellen Siegel said.

Siegel is one of the five original founders of the Taney Youth Baseball Organization, which was formed back in 1994 by a group of locals who wanted to create a different kind of team for the city's children.

“We wanted to be inclusive and allow girls to play,” Siegel said. “We also wanted players who weren’t as skilled to be allowed to play with the very skilled players. We wanted to be instructional which was our biggest point. Game, scores and winning weren’t as important as teaching all the kids proper mechanics, good sportsmanship, teamwork, camaraderie and knowing the game.”

The decision to create a co-ed squad paved the way for the team's roster to incude 13-year-old Davis, whose series shutout and spunk have landed her national headlines and a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She's set to pitch again tonight, when the team goes up against Las Vegas.

Siegel, a clinical psychologist who serves on the league’s board of directors and helps administer the league’s registrar, website and Facebook page, still remembers the league’s humble beginnings at the Markward Recreation Center on 400 South Taney Street in Philly.

“We practiced there and we’d have scrimmage games there and it was so wonderful to have something in our neighborhood with our kids,” Siegel said. “Then we thought it would be wonderful if we started a league of our own.”

While the Markward Rec Center served as the home field, neighborhood parents and kids had a different name for it that ended up sticking.

“All the neighbors called it Taney Field because it’s on Taney Street,” Siegel said. “I don’t think anyone really knows the real name. If you ask anyone where Markward is they’ll say, ‘what?’ If you ask them where Taney is they all know. That’s where we got our name.”

The league remained a local attraction for nearly two decades until last year, when they officially joined the Little League.

“We’ve always had the same kind of rule as Little League which is you need to play on your intramural team during the season,” Siegel said. “Then after that there are tryouts for the select tournament teams. The select, more competitive team will play after our regular season is over.”

With the tremendous success of the Dragons and the national attention they’ve gained, Siegel says the league's popularity may become a problem.

“We’re already getting so many requests to join us next year and we don’t have open registration until January,” Siegel said. “We’re worried about the influx of how many people would want to play because we can’t accommodate. We already had 73 teams this year from ages 3 to 16. We don’t have places for them.”

Siegel hopes the league will receive offers for more fields for the teams to play on.

“We’re in a situation where we don’t own our own fields, like a suburban league,” Siegel said. “We use Philadelphia Parks and Recreation fields.”

Regardless of what happens with the increased interest or with Thursday’s game, Siegel is confident the spirit of the league, defined by unity rather than winning, will remain high for years to come.

“We care about each other,” Siegel said. “Taney families, even on regular teams bond together and help each other out. To me that’s the essence of what we’re all about. The sense of community.”

To donate to the league, visit the Taney Youth Baseball Association website.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Steal from Home After Fire]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:31:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/FW+Fire+082014.jpg

Just days after a deadly house fire, a Fort Worth family is suffering again. A fire on Rockdale Road killed a 9-year-old boy Thursday, and now police say the family's home was picked over by thieves.

Police arrested 76-year-old Willie Ray Young on suspicion of stealing some of the family's belongings after the fire, police said.

A neighbor told NBC 5 she saw several men loading items onto two pickup trucks in front of the damaged home early Saturday morning. She thought it was suspicious, so she wrote down the license plate numbers and called police.

That tip led investigators to Young, who was found at a house only five minutes away from the home that caught fire.

He's accused of taking a washer, dryer and a barbecue pit from the property, police said.

Neighbors said they were upset that someone would take advantage of the family's misfortunes.

"It's a sad thing to think of," said Laquacious Baskin, who lives in the neighborhood. "You think the situation's already sad, but then to come back to know that some of your belongings aren't there."

Young is being charged with theft and there could be more people arrested in connection to this case, police said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Nutella Maker Smooths Out Hazelnut Shortage Fears]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:30:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/edt453785302.jpg

There's no need to go nuts over a Nutella shortage, the makers of the chocolate and hazelnut spread confirmed.

The Ferrero Group, the company that makes Nutella, purchases its hazelnuts from Turkey, the chief producer of hazelnuts. But last spring's freeze destroyed a large portion of the hazelnut crop in Turkey, sending hazelnut prices up by 60 percent, according to NBC News, their highest levels in 10 years.

Though a number of media outlets raised concerns that a Nutella shortage or a price increase was imminent, Ferrero said the availability of Nutella won't change.

"We are tracking this issue closely and there's no foreseeable impact on the availability of Nutella," a spokesperson for Ferrero USA said in a statement to NBC on Tuesday, adding, "as always, we will maintain the high quality of the Nutella product that consumers know and love."

Ferrero has no comment on any changes to the price of Nutella as a result of the hazelnut shortage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ill. Hostage Situation Ends]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:56:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Harvey_cell_video1.jpg

A nearly 20-hour hostage/barricade situation in a Chicago suburb that began with a home burglary and two officers being shot ended Wednesday morning when about two dozen heavily-armed cops stormed the home to free four remaining hostages and arrest their captors.

Two individuals were taken into police custody when authorities took down a door and entered the home near West 147th Street and Robey Avenue in the south suburb of Harvey. The suspects -- two men -- were found on the first floor. The hostages -- 6-year-old and 11-year-old girls, as well as two adult females aged 37 and 43 -- were recovered on the second floor, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.

"There had been a lot of tension," Dart said. "Things were changing at different times it just it was the proper time to act. ... We tried everyting conceivable to get them to understand that we weren't going away and that this was going to be resolved."

"We went through the door. Our team went on the first floor, then rapidly went on the second floor where the hostages were being held. We were able to take everyone down without injury. Without shots being fired."

Dart said it was unclear if there was any relationship between the hostages and the suspects.

The release of the final hostages came hours after four other children -- all boys -- were released throughout Tuesday evening. One sick child was released at around 6:30 p.m. and another was released about 30 minutes. A 1-year-old child was released at around 7:45 p.m. A fourth child, the 1-year-old's twin, was released at around 10:30 p.m.

"They haven’t been harmed," Dart said of the hostages, "but they’re very, very traumatized."

Police initially believed that five children were being held hostage, but after speaking with an 11-year-old child that was released, they learned a sixth child was also taken. One of the adult females was a nurse, according to police.

"I was scared. I thought she was going to get killed. Once I saw she was OK, I was relived," said Zion Spears, a friend of the 11-year-old hostage.

Thomas West's aunt was the adult hostage in the home. He spoke to NBC 5 after visiting her at Ingalls Hospital.

"She said it was an ugly sight inside. She said all she did was fall in line and did what was told. That's the way she was able to come out alive," West said. "She said at one point, she didn't even care about living no more. Just wanted to get thekids out. It was all about the kids and making sure they safe."

West said his aunt helped get the children out one-by-one, but each time she made the trip out of the home to release a child to safety, she feared the gunman would shoot her.

"She's stunned. She still look like she's going through it right now. She still seems like she's a hostage right now," West said.

All eight of the hostages were checked out and released from the hospital.

A neighbor who lives across the street from the house is also happy the ordeal is over.

"It was like being held hostage also. The dog wants to go outside, can't go out. Police everywhere, laying on the ground, in the back yard," said the woman, who refused to give her name.

Harvey town spokesman Sean Howard said the entire incident began at about 12:48 p.m. Tuesday when a 911 call was placed about a burglary in progress. The first-responding officer saw the burglary under way and responded, Howard said. Gunfire was exchanged and the officer was shot in the arm.

Officer Darnell Keel, an 18-year veteran of the force, was scheduled for a Wednesday morning surgery. The second officer suffered a graze wound and was treated on the scene.

"He's a man of faith and that's where his thoughts are right now," Howard said. "He's just thanking God that it's the arm, and not something more serious."

The suspects took the hostages into the home as police began to arrive. Police officers from 22 law enforcement agencies responded to the barricade situation.

"We thank God that our officer was not injured more seriously than he was, and our major concern right now are the individuals inside the home, that's what we're focusing on right now, their safety," Harvey Police Chief Denard Eaves said.

"We're just asking for a safe recovery of all the family and that no one will be hurt in this incident," an unidentified family member of the hostages told reporters.

Hostage negotiators were put in place and talked to the captors through an open window.

Parks Middle School was locked down at the start of the situation but later cleared. Classes were cancelled Wednesday as the standoff continued. Students at nearby Thornton Township High School were excused from class if they were affected by the situation, administrators said.

Around 100 residents in the area were told not to leave their homes.

<![CDATA[Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 20:08:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/216*120/Steve+Ballmer+Clips+1.JPG

Steve Ballmer on Tuesday left Microsoft's Board of Directors, citing new commitments as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, a day after publicly stepping into his role with the team.

"The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately," Ballmer wrote in his resignation letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time."

Ballmer, who handed off the reins as CEO to Nadella in February, expressed confidence in the company’s future and said he is proud that "Microsoft has been my life's work."

"I bleed Microsoft -- have for 34 years and I always will," he wrote.

Ballmer bought the Clippers from Shelly Sterling, wife of former owner Donald Sterling, for $2 billion in May.

The deal was approved by the NBA and finalized Aug. 12 after a tumultuous court battle between the Sterlings.

Shelly Sterling said last week she is "thrilled that the Clippers now have such a wonderful new owner."

Ballmer introduced himself to thousands of Clippers fans on Monday during an energetic rally at the Staples Center that also featured several players and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Ballmer promised to keep the team in LA and to usher in an era of many victories.

"This is an amazing new day in Clippers history," Coach Doc Rivers said at the rally. "I couldn't be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization."

In a response to Ballmer's resignation letter Tuesday, Nadella thanked Ballmer for his time at the company and wished him success.

"I am sure that you will bring the same boldness, passion and impact to your new endeavors that you brought to Microsoft," Nadella wrote.

Ballmer remains a shareholder at Microsoft.

<![CDATA[Girl Calls 911 for Botched Pot Deal]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:40:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Amanda-Twomey-Jackson-Crisler.jpg

A Virginia woman called 911 to claim a pot dealer robbed her at gunpoint, but detectives later discovered a different story, say Prince William County Police.

Authorities say 19-year-old Amanda Paige Twomey called police around 5:10 p.m. Sunday and told them she was robbed after making arrangements to buy pot in Woodbridge.

Twomey claimed that when she met with 20-year-old Jackson Crisler in the 13400 block of Longwood Manor Court, he pulled out a gun and demanded her money. She said that she complied, and he left without giving her the marijuana.

However, detectives say that during the investigation that followed, they discovered that Twomey voluntarily gave Crisler money to buy marijuana from another person. They say Crisler instead kept the money without giving Twomey the pot.

After not receiving the drugs, Twomey called police to report the robbery.

Following an investigation, both Twomey and Crisler were arrested.

Twomey, of Woodbridge, is charged with filing a false police report and attempted possession of marijuana.

Crisler, also of Woodbridge, is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Both were ordered held without bond. They are due in court Oct. 28.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

<![CDATA[Compton OKs AR-15s for School Cops]]> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 04:47:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AR-15_Rifle.jpg

Some Compton residents are concerned about a policy passed by the school board last month that allows some campus police officers to purchase semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and carry them in the trunk of their patrol cars while on duty.

According to the policy proposal presented to the board, allowing officers to have the rifles could be a "more effective means to protect the students, staff, community, and police personnel in high risk and/or dangerous situations."

"These kids don’t deserve reactive measures, but protective measures," said Francisco Orozco, a recent graduate of Dominguez High School and founder of the Compton Democratic Club.

Orozco said the ability of the police to carry the high-powered weapons represents a needless escalation of force.

Supporters of the proposal say the standard police handgun is not capable of piercing soft body armor and are only accurate up to 25 feet. They say in an active shooter scenario, the standard issue weapon might not be enough to stop the threat to students and staff.

"This is our objective -- save lives, bottom line," Compton Unified Police Chief William Wu told NBC4's Media Partner KPCC.

Orozco said the examples of school shootings used by the Compton school police chief to convince the board to approve the measure were inapplicable to the district’s schools.

"The school board just ate everything up," Orozco said. "We think that the decision was made too quickly and completely without discussion."

Officers that apply to have the weapon must meet a number of criteria, including being with the department for at least three years and participating in at least 16 hours of training courses.

While individual officers are responsible for the purchase and maintenance of the rifle, which costs about $1,000, the Compton Unified School District is required to shoulder the cost of ammunition and training courses.

The Compton School Police Officers Association on Facebook defended the policy, citing the training and proficiency requirements for officers who have the rifles.

The association also pointed to other school district police forces who have passed similar measures including the Baldwin Park Unified School District Police Department, the Los Angeles Unified School Police Department and Fontana Unified School District police.

"We need to make sure we have the proper firepower as some of the suspects who may be carrying assault rifles," said Chief Jill Poe of the Baldwin Park School Police Department.

In October 2013, a child at an elementary school in Chino fired an AR-15 rifle mounted on a police motorbike, wounding three students.

NBC4's Kathy Vara contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Murder Charges in Marine Wife Death]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:43:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/N5P_PKG_MISSING_MARINE_WIFE_web_SHIN_1200x675_319343683627.jpg

Murder charges were filed Tuesday morning against the man prosecutors believe killed the 19-year-old wife of a fellow Marine and disposed of her body in a 14-story abandoned mine in a remote Southern California desert.

Christopher Brandon Lee, 23, is charged in the murder of Erin Corwin. Investigators have said they were having an affair and that Corwin may have been pregnant with Lee's baby.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos also filed a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait against Lee, an allegation that could set the stage for prosecutors to seek the death penalty. They have not yet decided whether to do so.

"The decision regarding which penalty will be sought will be made after a full review of the facts and evidence in the case," Ramos said in a statement.

Lee was arrested Sunday in Alaska, a day after police located Corwin's remains in mine shaft.

Corwin's cause of death has not been disclosed, but an arrest warrant released Tuesday said .22-caliber "fired cartridge casings and pieces of rebar" were found at the scene.

"The head stamp on the fired cartridge was consistent with head stamps on .22-caliber casings recovered from Lee's vehicle and Lee's residence," the warrant stated.

The warrant also said Lee admitted to conducting Internet searching about how to dispose of a human body.

Corwin was last seen leaving her Twentynine Palms home on June 28. She 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.

Corwin, 19, 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.

Lee lived next door to Corwin and her husband, with his wife and family. Investigators said in a search warrant that Lee and Corwin had begun having an affair in February, and that she may have been three months pregnant with his baby. Investigators believe that may have been a motive for her murder.

Volunteers spent nearly eight weeks combing 300 acres of remote desert nearby before a special team with the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner's Department found Corwin’s body in a 140-foot deep abandoned mine shaft just outside of Joshua Tree National Park, officials said Monday.

Lee appeared in court in Alaska Tuesday afternoon for an initial hearing. He did not waive his right to an extradition hearing, officials said.

It could be four to six weeks before Lee arrives in SoCal, Ramos said.

"Once again, we are faced with a terrible crime that shows absolutely no regard for the value of human life,” Ramos said. "Make no mistake that this office will fight to see that justice is carried out for our victim and her family."

<![CDATA[Little League Dragon Fever Spreads]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:43:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP35427040879.jpg NBC10's Katy Zachry talks to a few Philadelphians who have personal ties to the Taney Dragons including star pitcher Mo'ne Davis. Xfinity Live! will hold a gamewatch party tonight as the Dragons try to stay undefeated in Williamsport.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hiker Falls Just After Proposing]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:50:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/bradandjainee.jpg

An experienced hiker a friend called a "bad ass rock climber" fell to his death in Yosemite National Park, just hours after proposing to his girlfriend during an earlier climb.

Brad Parker's girlfriend, Jainee Dial, had accepted his marriage proposal Saturday after the couple reached the top of Cathedral Peak.

His father, Bill Parker, said his son told him that it was "the happiest day of his life,'' the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Tuesday.

Later in the day, the couple separated as Parker went on a solo climb of nearby Matthes Crest, a ridge of upturned rock about three miles from Cathedral Peak.

But Parker never returned to his new fiancee.

Other climbers witnessed Parker fall about 5:45 p.m., Yosemite Park Ranger Kari Cobb said. Parker, 36, had gone climbing alone and without ropes and fell on an established route, Cobb said.

Park rangers hiked in and located Parker's body. Parker's death was the second climbing death in Yosemite this year, which Cobb noted was the  typical annual average.

A resident of Sebastopol, California, Parker appeared on a cover of California Climber magazine in 2012. He also worked as a yoga instructor and was an avid surfer and mountain biker. He also enjoyed backpacking and fly fishing trips in the Sierra Nevada with his father and good friend that he considered a brother, Mat.

"He was the nucleus of a community of adventurous people out here," Parker's longtime friend Jerry Dodrill, 41, a photographer, told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday. He and Parker have climbed Matthes Crest – the spot where Parker asked Dial to be his wife –  on several occasions. The two also scaled a wall near the Moab desert in Utah last May. Dodrill snapped the camera from above, capturing Parker climbing in jeans and gloves. A huge smile was plastered on Parker's face.

"He was a bad ass rock climber and surfer," Dodrill added. "And he did it all with grace and dignity."

Dodrill said he and Parker were scheduled to climb on the High Sierra this weekend. Instead, Dodrill will attend one of several memorials for his friend Saturday.

He told NBC Bay Area that Parker had been dating Dial, a yoga instructor and digital media producer, for a little more than a year.

Dodrill took several pictures of Parker rock climbing, as well as a portrait of Parker and Dial on Dial's phone that she posted on her Facebook page late Monday. In the photo, a bare-chested Parker dangles his arm over Dial's shoulders, huge white smiles on both of their faces. Dodrill captured the two again last August walking arm in arm on Driftwood Beach in Jenner, California.

Friends were posting messages to Dial after her fiance's death, remembering Parker as one of the "best people" they had ever known.

Parker's father told the Press Democrat he thinks fatigue from the climb up Cathedral Peak and the run his son made to Matthes Crest may have been a factor in the fall.

"We're all so stunned," Bill Parker told the newspaper. "What happened is so unbelievable."

About 150 people attended an impromptu vigil for Parker Monday night in Sebastapol, Dodrill said. The climber's father said some family and friends planned to hike to the Cathedral Peak area Tuesday.

"It's the only closure we're able to get,'' Bill Parker told the newspaper.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Jerry Dodrill]]>
<![CDATA[Sandy Wedding Photo Mystery Solved]]> Sat, 16 Aug 2014 03:45:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sandy+photo+reunion.jpg

A New Jersey couple about to celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary has been reunited with their lost wedding photos, just one day after NBC 4 New York aired a report about a Staten Island couple who found the pictures while cleaning up after Sandy.

Dominic and Patricia Guinta found the 53 black and white wedding photos while starting the process of remodeling their garage after Sandy flooded their Seaford Street home. They reached out to NBC 4 New York in the hopes of locating the owners.

On Tuesday, Patricia Kearns' daughter called her to say she was watching NBC 4 New York's morning news show "Today in New York" and saw her parents' wedding pictures flash across the screen.

Kearns was speechless.

"I saw the pictures, and it was just amazing," she said. "I broke down crying, because we don't have most of our pictures."

NBC 4 New York delivered the photos to Kearns and her husband Paul in their Teaneck, New Jersey, home Tuesday.

"I can't believe this," she said. "I'm just overwhelmed."

The couple, who are celebrating their anniversary next month, were overwhelmed with emotion as they shared memories of their wedding with their granddaughters.

Patricia Guinta had guessed the photos were taken in Brooklyn, where she grew up. Sure enough, the wedding had taken place in the borough where Patricia Kearns also grew up.

"That's in Brooklyn, honey," she said to her granddaughter as she pointed to a photo. "That's where Nonni lived, that's where she was brought up."

As for how the photos wound up on Staten Island, the ringbearer in the photos is a nephew of Kearns -- and a neighbor of the Guintas. Derrick lives on Neptune Street, just a few blocks away from the Guintas' Seafoam Street home.

"I think they probably floated out of his house," said Patricia Kearns.

Now the pictures are back where they belong.

"I'm gonna be sitting here for the rest of the day and probably tomorrow, looking at my pictures," said Patricia Kearns.

As for the strangers who worked so hard to get the precious wedding photos back to her, Patricia Kearns said, "I just want to give them a hug and tell them how much I appreciate what they did."

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Beaten After Fatal Crash]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:45:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000007882625_1200x675_319272003525.jpg A driver who tried to help the pedestrian he struck and killed was beaten by angry witnesses. New video has emerged of the attack. NBC10's Ted Greenberg has the details.]]> <![CDATA[Chokehold Death Case to Grand Jury]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:48:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/donovan+garner.jpg

The chokehold death of 43-year-old Eric Garner will head to a grand jury, Staten Island's chief prosecutor said Tuesday.

District Attorney Daniel Donovan said in a statement that his office has reviewed the recent findings of the medical examiner, which determined Garner died of neck compression from a chokehold and labeled his death a homicide, and decided that "it is appropriate to present evidence regarding circumstances of his death to a Richmond County Grand Jury."

Donovan said the court granted his application to impanel a grand jury on Monday, and he plans to begin presenting evidence in the Garner case in September. He declined to say what criminal charges the grand jury might consider, or against whom any charges might be filed.

The case has garnered national attention and led to cries for the arrests of the officers who were trying to cuff Garner in Tompkinsville July 17 for selling untaxed cigarettes.

"I assure the public that I am committed to conducting a fair, thorough, and responsible investigation into Mr. Garner's death, and that I will go wherever the evidence takes me, without fear or favor," Donovan said in a statement.

Shortly after Garner died, one officer was stripped of his gun and badge pending an internal NYPD investigation and another was placed on desk duty. Two paramedics and two EMTs were suspended without pay after allegedly failing to provide CPR in a timely manner.

An attorney for Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who lost his badge after he was seen in amateur cellphone video allegedly putting Garner in a chokehold, said the Staten Island district attorney's office notified him of the grand jury. Lawyer Stuart London said he hadn't decided if his client would testify if called to the stand.

"I haven't made any decision," London said. "It is premature to say. It is something I weigh heavily and carefully." 

The NYPD said in a statement it would "continue to cooperate" with the district attorney's office, and the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said the union was encouraged the process was moving forward.

"We are confident that a fair and impartial grand jury that is allowed to conduct its deliberations based on facts and not emotion or political considerations will see that justice is served," Pat Lynch said in a statement.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been a vocal critic of police in the case, said he and the Garner family would continue to push for a federal investigation into Garner's death. Sharpton said he, Garner's family and their attorneys would meet with a U.S. attorney Thursday to discuss the matter.

In addition to running the National Action Network, Sharpton is a talk show host on MSNBC, which is owned by WNBC's parent company, NBCUniversal.

In an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York last week, Donovan said he had no intention of handing the case over. He said he assigned eight assistant district attorneys and 10 non-NYPD detectives to investigate the case -- the greatest amount of resources allocated to one case in his tenure. 

“In my 11 years in office, this is the biggest allocation of resources I’ve ever used in any matter,” Donovan said.

The medical examiner’s office ruled Garner’s death a homicide, saying neck compression from a chokehold killed him. Asthma, heart disease and obesity all contributed to the 43-year-old’s death, the medical examiner determined.

Donovan also said that members of the NYPD, who’ve been accused of condoning the apparent chokehold, are entitled to the truth, not opinion.

“The police department deserves to be treated fairly as well,” he said. “They deserve answers, too.” 

<![CDATA[Little League Star Mo'ne Davis on Sports Illustrated]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 09:25:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/monedavisap.jpg

Mo'ne Davis, the 13-year-old girl who's become baseball's breakout star, has become the first Little League player ever to make the national cover of Sports Illustrated.

Not that the Philadelphia eighth-grader needs any more firsts under her belt — not with her blinding 70 mph fastball, and certainly not with the Series shutout she threw last week, making her the first girl ever to throw a shutout in Little League World Series history.

Mo'ne, an honor roll student at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, has helped make her team the Taney Dragons the first Little League team from Philadelphia ever to advance to the Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

But Mo'ne's sports goals extend far beyond baseball.

"To be honest, I never thought I'd be famous for baseball," she told Sports Illustrated. "I want to play basketball, and I could also do both basketball and baseball — but I really want to play basketball."

She one day hopes to play basketball for the University of Connecticut on a full scholarship, preferably as the point guard for the Huskies. Her mother Lakeisha McLean says she's confident her daughter can do it.

"When Mo’ne says she's gonna do it, she's gonna do it," McLean said.

Mo'ne will take the mound Wednesday in Las Vegas when the Taney Dragons take on the only other undefeated team in the Series, the Mountain Ridge team from Las Vegas.

--David Chang contributed additional reporting.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: AP]]>