<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 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 Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:00:35 -0700 Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:00:35 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Boston Police Officer, Suspect Shot]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 20:34:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/BPD+Shooting+032715.jpg

A Boston Police officer is in critical condition after a shootout that followed a traffic stop in the city's Roxbury neighborhood Friday evening, police said.

The suspect was killed in the shooting on Humboldt Avenue after police returned fire. Police say two other suspects are in custody "on unrelated matters."

Officer John T. Moynihan, a 34-year-old who has been with the department since 2008, was transported to Boston Medical Center.

"One of the occupants of the pulled over motor vehicle came out, he turned, he fired, he shot one of our officers under the right eye," Boston Police Commissioner William Evans told reporters Friday.

The commissioner said Moynihan is a decorated military veteran and active in the department's Youth Violence Task Force.

MBTA officer Dic Donohue, who was injured in the manhunt after Boston Marathon bombings, confirms to necn that Moynihan helped rescue him back in 2013.

"The doctors are working hard on him," said Evans, who added that Moynihan is fighting for his life. "All our prayers are going out for him. I just ask for everyone's support in helping him pull through.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the officer injured tonight, his family and friends and the entire Boston Police Department during this difficult time," said Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement. "These acts of violence have no place in our neighborhoods. Our community is stronger than ever, and tonight, we are thankful for all of those who put their lives on the line every day to protect our city."

A woman who was apparently caught in the crossfire suffered a flesh wound.

"She's fine," said Evans, who went to visit her. "She's in good spirits, thank God."

Evans added that three officers were taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital for stress.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1 (800) 494-TIPS.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.



Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Gas Line Eyed in Explosion: Sources]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:35:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/The_Last_View.jpg

Authorities are investigating whether the gas line in a basement below a sushi restaurant was rigged in a possible gas-theft scheme, causing the leak that may have set off Thursday's fiery explosion in the East Village. Two dozen people were injured and two still are missing after the blast that leveled three buildings.

"There is a possibility here that the gas line was inappropriately accessed internally by people in the building," but officials need to get access to the wreckage to explore it further, Mayor de Blasio said during a press conference Friday. He wouldn't say more about why officials believe that's a possibility.

Sources familiar with the investigation tell NBC 4 New York that in August inspectors found the gas line in the basement rigged with a rubber hose to circumvent the Con Edison gas meter. Safety violations were registered and an immediate shut down was ordered until the problem was corrected, the sources said.

No one was charged with any wrongdoing at that time and the case was treated as a safety violation by inspectors, the sources said.  Investigators now want to know if a similar gas-theft scheme was being employed again. The investigation is in its beginning stages and nothing has been ruled out, the sources said. 

The contractors working on the Sushi Park restaurant did not have permits for gas work, the mayor said Friday.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office has joined the NYPD, fire marshals and building inspectors in the probe into the cause of the explosion that sparked a fire that could smolder for days in the rubble of three buildings that once occupied Second Avenue and E. 7th Street.

Firefighters were still working to put out hot spots Friday, Chopper 4 video over the scene shows, and rescue workers with K9 units were on the scene searching for the two missing people. Con Ed has shut off gas to 187 residential customers and 32 commercial customers in the area as the FDNY continues its recovery work. 

Inspectors with Con Ed had been to the East Village building to check on ongoing work to upgrade gas service. The utility said the work didn't pass inspection, so gas wasn't introduced to the line, and inspectors gave instructions and left at around 2:45 p.m. Con Ed said inspectors didn't smell any gas.

But at around 3 p.m., the sushi restaurant owner smelled gas and called the landlord, who then called a general contractor, Boyce said. No one called 911 or Con Ed, however, de Blasio said.

The contractor, Dilber Kukic, and the owner's son went into the basement and opened a door, and then the explosion happened, burning their faces, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.

"The whole area was shaking," said Moishe Perl, who works next door. "We couldn't imagine what was going on." 

The building had an existing gas line intended to serve the sushi restaurant; the work underway was to put in a bigger line to serve the entire building, Con Ed President Craig Ivey said. As for whether the apartments were getting gas from the existing line, "That's a great question," he said.

"We'll have to find out, through the investigation, what's going on there," he said.

Con Edison later added in a statement: "As we do in all cases when a customer is upgrading to a new gas service, we conducted careful inspections at 121 2nd Avenue. Our records show the work of the building's plumber failed two inspections, including the inspection our personnel conducted yesterday afternoon. At no time was use of the new service line authorized by Con Edison. That service was locked to ensure that it would not be used. The ground-floor restaurant was being served by its current, smaller gas service line."

Calls to the building owner were unanswered. The owner's son reached by phone in his hospital room declined to comment. The listed contractor did not return messages. A subcontractor hired to handle gas lines did not return calls for comment. 

City records show the contractor, Dilber Kukic, got a permit last June for plumbing, flooring, removing partition walls and other work at the building.

Kukic had tried to help people escape the explosion and had been helpful to authorities, Boyce said.

The contractor -- who's facing unrelated charges of bribing an undercover investigator posing as a housing inspector -- was injured in the blast declined through his lawyer to comment on the circumstances surrounding the explosion.

Kukic is a relatively minor player in a 50-person bribery case that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. and other authorities unveiled last month. They said city inspectors, landlords and contractors formed a network of graft that exchanged $450,000 in payoffs to get safety violations dismissed, procure phony eviction orders and get fast, favorable and sometimes nonexistent inspections.

Kukic is accused of paying $600 in cash to try to get housing violations dismissed at two upper Manhattan properties he owned. He has pleaded not guilty. 

Twenty-two people were injured in the blast, four critically, city officials said Friday. Among the injured were six firefighters. Patients with non-life threatening injuries were continuing to be treated and released from local hospitals.

Meanwhile, businesses and residents who occupied the three buildings that were destroyed are trying to pick up the pieces. Dozens of people and businesses were displaced at least temporarily by the blast. Eleven buildings were evacuated following the explosion, though NYPD officers allowed some residents to return briefly to their apartments Friday to grab a few items. 

Chelsea Blampied, who lived in one of the leveled buildings, said she'd stopped home to get a work file from her third-floor apartment when she heard and felt the blast. 

"I thought a plane crashed into my building. Glass was blown everywhere, and it was just so surreal," she said. 

"I just heard a really loud boom," recounted neighbor Justine Miller. "I could feel it in my chest." 

Neighbor Troy Hinson was walking to the sushi restaurant when it "literally blew up in front of my face," and said "it really felt like my internal organs were reverberating. It just feels like everything was shaking, including my teeth."

"You just don't know what hit you, it just feels like a sonic boom, there's no real other way to describe it," he said. 

Blampied left behind all her belongings and ran through smoke and debris down the stairs to safety as her building began to crumble. She's now staying with friends and is grateful she made it out alive. 

"It's so overwhelming. Everyone lost everything," she said. 

Gregory Dohdanowycz was in his top-floor apartment in the building next to where the blast happened. 

"I look out the window, and I see two buildings south of me, there's smoke rising from the windows and their roof windows," he said.

He only had time to grab his dog before running outside, and was overwhelmed by the horrific sights and sounds when he got outside. 

Neighbor Miller said: "There was blood on the ground. There were people laying up against buildings and other people trying to help them."

Actress Drea de Matteo is among the residents who lost her home and belongings in the explosion. She took to Instagram Thursday to share two dramatic photos of firefighters battling smoke and flames. "A hole where my NYC home of the last 22 years once stood," she wrote in one caption. "RIP 123 2nd Avenue." The photos appeared to be taken from a rooftop across the street.

Naya Jones, who spent the night at the YMCA after being told to leave her building near the blast site, went to the Tompkins Square Library Friday, where the Red Cross and other relief groups were offering financial assistance, food, vouchers and advocacy help. 

The Red Cross said it has helped more than 80 people since the blast and gave housing assistance to 30. The Standard Hotel is giving anyone displaced by the blaze three free nights of lodging. Sprint has also donated 25 cellphones. 

The ASPCA is also providing pet supplies for owners in the affected area.

"It's a small community," said Bohdanowycz. "I think everyone is trying to help out when something bad happens." 

Hinson, who's lived in the neighborhood four years, said, "I love the sense of community, and everybody comes together and helps each other out and is here for each other." 

Several long-standing businesses were also affected by the destruction. Pommes Frites, a favorite spot for fries, was destroyed by the blast, and the nearby Orpheum Theater had to cancel performances of the off-Broadway production of "Stomp."

Robert Seniuk, the chef at Stage restaurant across the street, is determined to get back to work.

"We open, we don't give up. This city is 24 hours," he said. 

Nevertheless, the frightening explosion has taken a toll on the psyche of New Yorkers everywhere.

"Yesterday was a very scary day. Now all I can do is think about the people who lost their homes and people who've been living here for decades," said neighbor Adam Mashaal. 

Hinson said he had stopped on the corner to say goodbye to his friend just before the sushi restaurant exploded.

"The fact that I was literally -- if I didn't stop and talk to my friend, I would possibly be in that building," he said. "That's kind of what's messing me up... All these crazy thoughts are going through your head after this happens, like, why me? Why am I safe, why is something again happening to me? It's just crazy. I'm having just a hard time processing it." 

Health officials say the air quality in the area has returned to normal levels and that short-term exposure to elevated particulate levels Thursday didn't pose a significant risk to the public. They say the smoke odor may linger, but isn't harmful. Still, those with respiratory or heart problems should remain extra vigilant. 

The explosion comes a week after the one-year anniversary of the East Harlem explosion that leveled two buildings and killed eight people. The blast also injured dozens of people and left many homeless for months.

Since the 2014 explosion, the FDNY has been given a much greater role in responding to reports of possible gas leaks and New Yorkers are now encouraged to call 911 about gas leaks and odors rather than 311.



Photo Credit: @The_Last_View/Twitter ]]>
<![CDATA[Plane Crash in French Alps: By the Numbers]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:18:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/germanwings-crash-467413136.jpg

A Germanwings co-pilot is believed to have deliberately crashed his plane into a mountain in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing 150 people, including a woman and her mother from northern Virginia and an American man reportedly living in Barcelona.

Germanwings flight 4U 9525 was less than an hour into its route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, alone in the cockpit, locked the pilot out of the cockpit and crashed it, officials said Thursday. He apparently wanted to “destroy the plane,” a prosecutor said.

Yvonne Selke, a government contractor, and her daughter Emily, a recent Drexel University graduate, were both killed, their family said. So was Robert Oliver Calvo, a 37-year-old American man reportedly living in Barcelona, his father said.

Here is a brief look at the crash by the numbers.

27: The age of Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot authorities say intentionally crashed the Germanwings plane after locking the pilot out of the cockpit.

630: Number of flight hours co-pilot Lubitz had logged with Germanwings before the crash.

1: Number of crew members in the cockpit when the Germanwings jet crashed.

2: Number of crew members required in the cockpit at all times on United States airlines' flights. When one pilot uses the restroom, a flight attendant takes the pilot's place in the cockpit temporarily. Many international carriers, Lufthansa's Germanwings among them, have no such protocol.

1: Number of black boxes so far recovered. Investigators have retrieved cockpit voice recordings from it that led them to believe the co-pilot had deliberately crashed the plane.

150: Number of people aboard the jet — 144 passengers and six crew members, including Lubitz. All are dead.

3: Number of Americans on board — Yvonne and Emily Selke, and Robert Oliver Calvo.

2: Number of babies included in the passenger count.

16: Number of 10th-graders from a German high school who were on the plane, along with their two teachers.

38,000: The altitude at which the plane was cruising just before it began its descent and crashed.

8: The number of minutes the plane descended steadily before crashing.

6,550: The approximate altitude of the Alpine site where the plane crashed, near the town of Digne in the French Alps.

More than 6,000: The number of hours the plane's captain had logged on the plane.

24: The age of the plane in years.

46,700: The number of flights the plane had made before its crash.

About 58,300: The number of flight hours the aircraft accumulated since it was delivered to Lufthansa in 1991.

1953: The year an Air France plane crashed near the site of the Germanwings crash, near the town of Barcelonette, killing 49 people.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:53:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP464488239842_1_Ebola.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["Hero" School Bus Driver]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:59:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/03-27-2015-rsm-bus-fire.gif

A school bus driver helped about 35 students safely exit a burning bus Friday morning in front of an Orange County, California, school after flames spread from its engine area.

Two students were treated by firefighter-paramedics at the scene, but they did not suffer serious injuries, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

The full size school bus' engine bay caught fire in front of Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School at about 8:15 a.m. Firefighters, who initially thought it might be a wildfire due to the amount of smoke, extinguished the fire about 15 minutes later.

A thick column of black smoke could be seen from around the school campus and in the surrounding neighborhood. Explosions were heard as the bus tires burst due to the heat and fire.

Daniel Grantham had just dropped his son off at the school when he looked in his rearview mirror and saw the smoke.

"I saw (smoke) coming from the direction of the school and that was my first worry," Grantham said. "I flipped around and pulled up right in front of the school where the bus was. It was burning when I got there.

"I've got to give kudos to the bus driver. The bus driver is the real hero."

The driver, who declined an on-camera interview, was identified as a 20-year employee with First Student Bus Company, which contracts with the school district.  She did "an excellent job" of getting all the students off the bus safely, according to the OCFA.

The driver noticed smoke coming out of the engine area as she pulled up in front of the school, said Steve Concialdi, of the Orange County Fire Authority. She calmly helped the children, ages 12 to 14, off the bus before using a fire extinguisher to fight the fire.

"These are her kids -- she takes them to school every day," said Concialdi

The front of the bus sustained significant damage. A location manager for the bus company told NBC4 the buses are inspected every 45 days, but did not have information regarding information specific to the bus that burned.

"Our students were safely evacuated to the PE school area when the school bus fire was reported," Principal Rick Jameson said in a statement. "This is our normal evacuation procedure. We take school safety when it comes to the safety of students as well as staff. Three kids had some emotional suffering, mostly just panicking and hyperventilating, but nobody was injured. Those three students were released to their parents. We will continue with regular school schedule for today."
 



Photo Credit: Daniel Grantham]]>
<![CDATA[Off-Duty Firefighter in Explosion ]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:29:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mike+shepherd+east+village+fdny+hero.jpg

Off-duty FDNY firefighter Mike Shepherd didn't need to be in uniform to be a hero in the aftermath of the fiery East Village building explosion Thursday that leveled three buildings, injured about two dozen people and left two people missing. 

The Squad 41 firefighter is the man seen in widely viewed videos of the scene climbing up a fire escape to check for any possibly trapped residents inside 121 Second Ave. after the blast Thursday afternoon.

"I heard a loud explosion and I look down the block and I just started running toward the corner," he told reporters at an FDNY briefing Friday.

He helped to direct a woman down from the second-floor apartment on the fire escape.

Then "I just climbed it, started searching my way up from the second floor. Opened the window and looked in and the floor was collapsed," said Shepherd. He continued up to the third floor.

He didn't come down until he'd gotten all the way up to the top floor, and the danger to himself became all too real.

"I could feel the heat and the smoke, and I said, 'I gotta get outta here now,'" he said. "And I looked and I could see 9-truck coming and 33-engine, so I said, 'Worst case scenario, they'll have to put the bucket up and grab me."

Witness Troy Hinson recorded Shepherd climbing up the fire escape and told NBC News the crowd below was terrified as they watched. 

"You're kind of in awe at what this guy's doing but you're also kind of holding your breath and you're like, I don't want to see this guy die in front of me, but that was definitely going through my mind," he said. 

"Some people just react a certain way, and he just instinctively reacted to climb up there, and that guy is truly the hero," said Hinson. 

Shepherd said he thought of his family, his wife, son daughters and granddaughter -- but the third-generation firefighter knew he couldn't walk away without helping.

"Maybe it's just in your blood," he said. "But being a New Yorker, you're always willing to go out and help somebody, you know."
 

]]>
<![CDATA[Taraji Henson Apologizes]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:59:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/197*120/03-27-15_Racial-Profiling-Henson.JPG

After Glendale, California, police released a dashcam video that appeared to contradict claims by "Empire" star Taraji Henson that her son was racially profiled during a traffic stop, the actress apologized to the department on her Instagram account.

The dashcam video released by the Glendale Police Department seemed to contradict statements from Henson that her son was racially profiled by police during the Oct. 18 stop. She also said her son had been profiled by police at USC.

"I would like to publicly apologize to the officer and the Glendale Police Department," said the statement on Henson's Instagram. "A mother's job is not easy and neither is a police officer's. Sometimes as humans we overreact without gathering all of the facts. As a mother in this case I overreacted and for that I apologize. Thank you to that officer for being kind to my son. Love, Taraji P. Henson."

Henson's publicist called the department and confirmed that they post came from her, according to Glendale police.

Henson, an Emmy and Academy-award nominated actress, said in an interview with Uptown magazine released this week that her son was racially profiled by police in two different incidents, one in Glendale and one at USC.

The 40-minute video shows Henson’s son, Marcell Johnson, driving through a lit and flashing crosswalk with a woman walking in it. The officer pulls Johnson over and explains why he was stopped.

During the initial interaction, Johnson is asked if he has ever been arrested and if there is anything illegal in the car. Johnson discloses that there is marijuana in his backpack, and tells the officer that he has a medical marijuana prescription.

"I appreciate you being honest with me about the weed. I do appreciate that because I do smell weed," the officer said.

Later during the stop, Johnson also tells the office that he has Ritalin pills that he obtained from a friend in the car. Those are never found during a search of the car.

In the end, the officer issues Johnson a citation for the marijuana, and advises him that he can go to court with his proof of prescription and will then likely only have to pay a fine.

He tells Johnson that the marijuana citation is better than a ticket for illegally running through the crosswalk because it won’t have a lasting effect on his driving record.

"I am not going to give you a citation for running that yellow because that would actually put a moving violation on your driving license, and you are going to have to go to traffic school and all that stuff, so I am helping you by not giving you a violation on it. All I am going to do is take the weed from you," he said.

Johnson was also asked to take a field sobriety test because he admitted he had smoked marijuana two hours before the traffic stop. He passed the sobriety test.

Henson told Uptown magazine that her son was slated to attend USC but that he would now be attending Howard University in Washington, D.C. because she was concerned about the profiling.

The chief of USC's Department of Public Safety said in a statement Tuesday he was racially profiled as a teenager and was “deeply disturbed” to learn that Henson's son felt profiled because of his race.

"As someone who personally experienced racial profiling as a teenager, I have a stake in learning more about this incident and doing all I can to reach a just resolution," he said.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Glendale Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[CEO Stabbed Wife, Killed Self]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:29:14 -0700 Credit: Courier-Post Online ]]> Credit: Courier-Post Online ]]> http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/John+Joyce+Sheridan+1200+x+675.jpg

A high-profile South Jersey hospital CEO stabbed his wife to death and then set fire to their bedroom in a bizarre murder-suicide, according to a report released Friday by investigators in Somerset County, New Jersey, nearly six months after their deaths.

The determination brought no closure to the couple's family, though, who called prosecutors' investigative work flawed and vowed to sue.

Firefighters found Cooper University Health System CEO John Sheridan Jr, 72, and his wife, Joyce, 69, in the burning master bedroom of their Montgomery Township, New Jersey home on Sept. 28, 2014.

The revered top executive stabbed his wife multiple times in the face and once in the chest, perforating her aorta, which ultimately caused her death, according to the investigation results released on Friday.

He then turned a knife on himself, doused the room with gasoline and set it ablaze, trapping them inside, police said.

"Somebody's tapping on the window," said a neighbor in a chilling call to 911 that morning. "Somebody's trying to get out." That person very well have been Sheridan's wife of 47 years.

Initially, it was reported that Joyce Sheridan was alive when she was found by firefighters inside the couple's bedroom, but following the six monthlong investigation, it was determined that the retired schoolteacher was dead before her husband set fire to the room.

The coroner ruled John Sheridan died of "sharp force injuries" to the neck and torso and smoke inhalation. His body was found underneath a heavy, burning wooden armoire which fell on him, breaking five of his ribs, according to investigators. A large carving knife, covered in Joyce's blood, and serrated bread knife were found near the bodies.

Investigators conducted 180 interviews during their probe. Some colleagues of John Sheridan said he seemed "withdrawn," "very upset" and "out of character" because of work-related issues in the days leading up to the deaths.

The Sheridans' sudden and violent deaths shocked colleagues, family and friends who regarded the couple as liked and seemingly happy.

Sheridan joined Cooper in 2005 and is credited with helping transform the health care system, including adding a cancer center and medical school. Mrs. Sheridan was a teacher at South Brunswick High School who had a passion for helping students in need. They were friends of governors and other politicians.

"The death of our parents has left a hole in our hearts and family that can never be filled," the family said in a statement following the discovery.

But Friday, the couple's four sons — Mark, Matt, Dan and Tim Sheridan — angrily blasted prosecutors' ruling calling it an "embarrassing bungling" of a murder investigation.

“From the outset we have said that no one wants answers about our parents’ deaths more than we do. The conclusion announced today fails to provide those answers," they said in a statement.

The men questioned several aspects of the investigation including how their father wound up under the heavy furniture after stabbing himself, why there was no motive for the suicide and why investigators failed to find the knife used to carry out the self-inflicted wounds.

Prosecutors admitted they could not locate the weapon, but did test a melted piece of metal on the bedroom floor. They couldn't, however, say if it was a knife that that melted in the fire.

The children went on to say county prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano told them he had "no idea what happened in that room." They also question the ruling out of foul play by an intruder.

"This conclusion seeks to convict our father based on little more than rank speculation," the men said. "We will be filing a lawsuit challenging the conclusion announced by investigators."

"We will not allow our father to be convicted based on guesswork resulting from an inadequate and incomplete investigation simply because he is not here to defend himself," they went on to say.

In a statement, Soriano called the family's loss unfathomable, but defended the ruling saying, "we stand confidently behind the results of this investigation which was completed in a very methodical and comprehensive fashion by a number enforcement agencies, including our State Medical Examiner's Office."



Photo Credit: Courier-Post Online]]>
<![CDATA[Massive Gator Spotted Again]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:10:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/gatoreatingturtle.jpg

The giant alligator spotted at an Englewood, Florida, golf course is back -- and this time, he's hungry.

The Myakka Pines Golf Course posted a new photo to Facebook Thursday of their famous resident -- a giant alligator affectionately known as "Goliath."

This time, Goliath is chowing down on a giant turtle.

"Sorta nasty to see, but it's the reality of wild animals," the club says on their Facebook page.

Mickie Zada, manager of the club, estimates that Goliath is at least 12 to 13 feet long.

The reptile earned his name after the club polled fans on Facebook on what they should name him.

The other choices were "Viral" and "Myakka Mike."



Photo Credit: Myakka Pines Golf Club ]]>
<![CDATA[Verdict in Silicon Valley Lawsuit]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:50:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2015-03-27_14-03-11.jpg

A jury decided Friday that a prestigious venture capital firm did not discriminate or retaliate against a female employee in a case that debated gender imbalance and working conditions for women in Silicon Valley.

The jury in San Francisco reached the verdict after three days of deliberations in a lawsuit filed by Ellen Pao against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The lawsuit claimed Pao was fired when she complained about discrimination at the firm.

Pao waved quickly to the jury as she left the courtroom after the verdict was announced.

"I have told my story and thousands of people have heard it. If I helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it,'' she said, adding that she will return to her career, family and friends.

The verdict came after a judge ordered the panel to resume deliberations when a discrepancy was found in the initial vote count.

Jurors heard conflicting portraits of Pao during closing arguments. Her attorneys said she was an accomplished junior partner who was passed over for a promotion and fired because the firm used different standards to judge men and women.

Kleiner Perkins' attorney, Lynne Hermle, countered that Pao failed as an investor at the company and sued to get a big payout as she was being shown the door.

"It never occurred to me for a second that a careful and attentive jury like this would find either discrimination or retaliation and I'm glad to have been proven right about that,'' Hermle said.

Juror Steve Sammut said jurors thought Pao was driven and ambitious.

"We felt that she was someone who probably wouldn't take no for an answer and was pushing for her agenda,'' Sammut said.

In making their case during the five-week trial, Pao's attorneys said she was excluded from an all-male dinner at the home of Vice President Al Gore; received a book of erotic poetry from a partner; was asked to take notes like a secretary at a meeting; and subjected to talk about pornography aboard a private plane.

Juror Marshalette Ramsey, 41, said she believed Kleiner Perkins had discriminated and retaliated against Pao.

"We're all tasked to a certain standard of conduct, and in a case like this it brings to the forefront that something innocent isn't really innocent'' in the workplace, said Ramsey, a manager for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. "I think Ellen Pao, if nothing else, opens all of our eyes to that.''

A study introduced as evidence during the trial showed that women are grossly underrepresented as partners in the venture capital sector. Industry consultants say the case has already sparked some technology and venture companies to re-examine their cultures and practices for potential gender bias.

During her testimony, Pao told jurors that her lawsuit was intended in part to create equal opportunities for women in the venture capital sector.

Hermle, however, accused Pao of having less altrusitic motives.

"The complaints of Ellen Pao were made for only one purpose: a huge payout for team Ellen,'' Hermle said in her closing argument.

Kleiner Perkins officials also said Pao was a chronic complainer who twisted facts and circumstances in her lawsuit and had a history of conflicts with colleagues that contributed to the decision to let her go.

The case included salacious testimony about Pao's affair with a male colleague that was intended to bolster her allegations of gender bias. Pao said the colleague pursued her relentlessly before the affair began, and that she broke it off when she learned he had lied about his wife leaving him.

Pao told jurors the colleague later retaliated by shutting her out of key emails and meetings, and Kleiner Perkins did nothing to stop him when she complained.

Testimony showed the colleague was later found to have harassed another female employee.

Hermle, however, showed the jury emails and text messages that seemed to contradict Pao's claims that the colleague hounded her into a relationship. In one email from 2006, after the affair began, Pao wrote that she was always looking out for the colleague _ "never stopped, never will.''

Jurors were asked to determine whether Kleiner Perkins discriminated against Pao because she is a woman; failed to take reasonable steps to prevent that discrimination; and retaliated against her after she complained about gender bias by failing to promote her and then firing her.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz Speaks in NH]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:22:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cruz-AP938170470053.jpg

Just days after making his presidential candidacy official, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is in New Hampshire for a two-day swing.

Cruz was the first major candidate to announce a run for president. He made the announcement on Monday at Liberty University in Virginia.

On Friday, he attended a rally in Merrimack, New Hampshire, at 3 p.m.

He's also scheduled to speak later in the day at the "New England Freedom Conference" in Nashua, being held by the Young Americas Foundation. On Saturday, he is scheduled to speak at a brunch being hosted by the Rockingham County Republican Committee and the Seacoast Republican Women.

Cruz has made four previous visits to the Granite State with more than a dozen individual stops dating back to 2014. See those visits and more in NECN's New Hampshire Candidate Tracker. 



Photo Credit: FILE - AP Photo/Andrew Harnik]]>
<![CDATA[Special Needs Student Forced to Take Off Varsity Jacket]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:06:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/LetterJacket.jpg

A Kansas mother is calling on a local high school to change its policy on varsity letters after her special needs son was asked to remove his jacket. 

Jolinda Kelley, of Wichita Kansas, told NBC affiliate KSN  that she bought a varsity letter for her son, Michael Kelley, who has Down Syndrome and autism. While Michael Kelley is not a varsity athlete, he participates in extra-curricular special needs basketball.

The coat that his family bought him is an official Wichita East High School varsity letter jacket, but only varsity athletes can wear the letter, according to East High’s policy.

Michael was asked to take the jacket off, and was given a sweatshirt to wear instead, his mother told the station. 

East High Principal Ken Thiessen acknowledged to KSN that "teachers told the parents they would prefer he not wear the letter on his jacket.”

When KSN followed up to ask if the school would consider giving a varsity letter to a special needs student he responded, “ We have considered it, and our decision was no."

"We decided that is not appropriate in our situation because it is not a varsity level competition,” he said.

There is no district-wide policy in Wichita, so Thiessen’s building is allowed to make the decision that varsity letters can only be worn by varsity letter winners, the station reported.  However, some school board members say they are open to reevaluating the policy. Jolinda Kelley hopes that happens. 

“It’s not just my son... It’s every student that’s there on Friday that plays their hardest and to the best of their capability regardless of what that is,” Jolinda Kelley said.
 



Photo Credit: KSNW]]>
<![CDATA[19 Hurt in NYC Building Explosion]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:06:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/east+village+fire+explosion.jpg

UPDATE: Improper Access to Gas Line Eyed as Cause of East Village Explosion

Investigators are looking into whether construction workers inside a sushi restaurant in the East Village may have accidentally hit a gas line, causing an explosion that injured 25 people and left two people missing, sparked a massive fire and caused three buildings to collapse, law enforcement sources tell NBC 4 New York.

The explosion inside 121 Second Ave., between East 7th Street and St. Marks Place, caused the buildings at 121, 123 and 119 to collapse after they became engulfed in flames, according to city officials. No. 125 was still burning early Friday morning.

The explosion injured 25 people, including four firefighters and one EMS worker. Two people are still unaccounted for, fire and police officials say.

The approximately 250 firefighters on the scene have managed to contain the 7-alarm fire to those four buildings, and are expected to stay "for a very long night," said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. 

"The initial impact appears to have been caused by plumbing and gas work that was occurring inside 121 Second Avenue," said Mayor de Blasio at a news conference Thursday evening.

Officials say four of the civilians were critically injured, and seven others had minor to non-life threatening injuries. Three others were evaluated on the scene and didn't need medical attention. 

The most critical patients have respiratory burn, according to officials, which is different from smoke inhalation and is caused by the inhalation of hot gas or burning particles that result in tissue damage to the respiratory system. 

Family members said Friday they were searching for 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa, who was on a lunch date at the sushi restaurant during the blast and has not been heard from since. Concerned relatives or friends that believe someone else may be missing are urged to call 311.

There were no calls to either 911 or Con Ed reporting any type of gas leak or concerns before the explosion, de Blasio said.

However, shortly before the blast, Con Ed inspectors were at the site to evaluate work the building plumbers was doing in connection with a gas service upgrade, according to Con Ed President John McAvoy.

Con Ed said the restaurant was swapping a single gas meter for multiple gas meters as part of a renovation, but the work failed the inspection, partly because there was insufficient spacing for a new gas meter in the basement. The inspectors gave instructions on what changes were needed, then left. 

About an hour later, a worker who opened a door to a closed area of the kitchen smelled gas and tried to start an evacuation, according to a source close to the investigation. That's when the explosion occurred.

Huge flames were shooting out of the front of the buildings at the height of the blaze, and thick plumes of white smoke could be seen billowing from the structures in the tightly packed, business-heavy neighborhood.

The flames and smoke could be seen from at least 20 blocks north, and the smell of smoke was detected as far north as midtown, including at the NBC offices at Rockefeller Center.

People were seen laying on the ground in front of the restaurant, apparently unconscious, immediately following the explosion, multiple witnesses told NBC 4 New York.

A neighbor who lives on Second Avenue and East 7th Street told NBC 4 New York he was home when he heard a loud explosion that "shook everything."

"When I went outside, I saw people running and broken glass everywhere," said the neighbor, David Hollands. 

Others described hearing something like a bomb or a car crashing through a store. 

Hollands said the storefront at 121 Second Ave. was entirely blown out, with glass strewn over 200 feet. He said within two minutes, at least 20 fire trucks rushed to the scene.

Hollands' building and others nearby were evacuated, and firefighters continued to push back residents further away as the collapse danger zone expanded. 

Another witness, Lorne Colon, said he saw the "entire building explode" and that there were "definitely people inside the restaurant." 

"Within minutes, there were hundreds of people on the street," said Colon. 

A resident at 124 Second Ave. across the street, Larry Gregory, said he saw several people laying on the sidewalk in front the restaurant after the "loudest explosion I've ever heard in my life" and that others "were running around in a panic." 

Several people rushed to the buildings to help trapped or distressed residents, multiple witnesses said. One neighbor on the block and the manager of nearby Dallas BBQ restaurant separately recounted watching a civilian help a woman down from a fire escape on one of the collapsed buildings before firefighters arrived. One Twitter user also captured the rescue:

Gregory, the neighbor across the street, said acrid smoke was permeating the neighborhood in the aftermath of the explosion. 

Fire radio transmissions captured by Broadcastify.com reveal the collapse threat firefighters faced as they "made extremely dangerous searches" for people possibly trapped inside, according to Nigro. 

One radio dispatch could be heard: "All incoming units are advised not to enter the building at all. We're going to pull them out of the building and off the rooftop. All units responding to Box 436, remain outside the building. Do not respond." 

"The first two floors of 121 are totally collapsed. It's a five-story, non-fireproof building. We're totally involved with fire at this time," another dispatch stated minutes later. 

Con Edison were shutting down gas service in the area as a precaution. 

During the restaurant renovation at 121 Second Ave., gas service was supposed to be cut off, according to Con Ed officials, so investigators are now looking into what fueled the explosion. The utility said it was looking into whether gas complaints were filed there recently. 

The private contractors doing the work inside the restaurant have not been identified.

The Red Cross has set up a relief center for affected neighbors at PS 63, at 121 E. 23rd St. 

Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Esposito said a crew will be working to get rid of as much debris from the explosion -- like the splintered wood, bricks and glass -- as quickly as possible. 

Esposito urged neighbors to keep their windows closed and to limit their time outside as much as possible. Those with respiratory or heart conditions should remain especially alert to conditions and seek medical attention immediately if they feel discomfort. 

An NYPD unit was seen setting up an air quality monitor at the scene. The health department said there was a rise in air pollutants that peaked at about 4 p.m. Thursday, but that number since declined to normal levels and wearing respirators or surgical masks was not necessary. Officials say the odor will linger in the area for a while, but it does not pose a risk to the public.

The explosion comes a week after the one-year anniversary of the East Harlem explosion that leveled two buildings and killed eight people. The blast also injured dozens of people and left many homeless for months. 

Since the 2014 explosion, the FDNY has been given a much greater role in responding to reports of possible gas leaks and New Yorkers are now encouraged to call 911 about gas leaks and odors rather than 311. 

The city will open a resident service center at the Tompkins Square Branch Library at 331 East 10th Street at 8 a.m. Friday.

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<![CDATA[Antarctica Ice Shelves Melting at Faster Pace: Study]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:00:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Brunt_Ice_Shelf_2011_D7000_DSC0745.jpg

Antarctica’s floating ice shelves have thinned by as much as 18 percent in the last two decades, and the melting is picking up, according to research released Thursday by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The study, published in the journal Science and supported by NASA, examined data to find out how climate change is affecting the Antarctic ice sheet. Ice shelves are created through glaciers flowing off Antarctica, combined with compressed snowfall, but they can be lost by breaking off or melted from warm water.

Taking data from three satellite missions by the European Space Agency (ESA), researchers merged the measurements to find out how much the ice changed from 1994-2012.

The total ice shelf volume didn’t vary much from 1994-2003, but from 2003-2012, it started to melt quickly, the study says. While all ice shelves decreased during that time period of time, specific areas saw an 18 percent decrease.

“Eighteen percent over the course of 18 years is really a substantial change,” said Scripps graduate student Fernando Paolo in a news release. “Overall, we show not only the total ice shelf volume is decreasing, but we see an acceleration in the last decade.”

Because of this, researchers are predicting West Antarctica could be half its size in 200 years.

Scripps glaciologist Helen Amanda Fricker said while the melting does not contribute directly to rising sea levels, “the ice shelves buttress the flow from grounded ice into the ocean, and that flow impacts sea-level rise,” so that’s a key concern from our new study.”

Future studies from the group will focus on the causes behind the ice shelf changes, such as atmospheric effects like El Nino.



Photo Credit: Michael Studinger/NASA]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Rape Woman at Gunpoint: Cops]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 04:08:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/218*120/port+richmond+rape+robbery.JPG

Two teens are in custody after Philadelphia police say they forced a young woman into a gravel lot late Thursday night at gunpoint, then robbed and raped her in a crime so violent her screams could be heard by neighbors nearby.

The woman was walking home from the gym around 11 p.m. when the teenage boys approached her along the 3900 block of Richmond Avenue, not far from Castor Avenue, and one pulled out a gun, investigators said.

The pair then sexually assaulted the woman behind a factory and stole some of her belongings, authorities said. Someone in the area heard the woman's cries and called police.

"This was a very violent crime, a very heinous crime," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.

Responding officers took her descriptions of the suspects and apprehended two teens a few blocks away.

One suspect was found on the 3700 block of Richmond Street, the other on the 2300 block of East Butler Street, Small said. Both were positively identified and had cash and other items belonging to the woman, he said.

The woman did not have any injuries that required hospitalizion, said Small, who recalled the message the suspects gave before fleeing the scene.

"If she called the police or told anyone including her family, they would find and kill her and also her family," Small said. "You can imagine she was frightened when she was reporting this information to the Philadelphia Police officers who responded."

Police have not recovered the gun used in the crime. Authorities plan to review surveillance video from nearby businesses' security cameras as part of their investigation.

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<![CDATA[76-Year-Old Woman Dies After Beating From Son: Cops]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 03:25:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/timothy+anderson+mug+shot.jpg

A 76-year-old Stamford woman has died three days after her son brutally beat her, causing her brain to swell and bleed, according to police.

Authorities said Maryanne Anderson died at Stamford Hospital after undergoing surgery to remove part of her skull and relieve pressure in her brain. She was listed in "grave condition" after the attack. Police said doctors induced a coma and placed Anderson on a ventilator.

The woman's son, Timothy Anderson, 42, is accused of assaulting her Monday at her home on Sleepy Hollow Lane. Police said Maryanne Anderson confronted her son about his medication, which he was neglecting to take, at which point Timothy Anderson grabbed his mother and punched her repeatedly in the face.

Maryanne Anderson called out to her older son, who intervened and dialed 911, according to police. The two brothers scuffled and Timothy Anderson fled the home. Police took him into custody on Haig Avenue.

Timothy Anderson was arrested and charged with first-degree assault of an elderly person, first-degree unlawful restraint, third-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

Police said an autopsy is scheduled for Friday. Stamford police detectives will work with the state's attorney's office to file upgraded charges against Timothy Anderson, who is being held on $500,000 bond and is due back in court April 21.



Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Border Patrol Agent Indicted for Hidden Bathroom Cam]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 03:49:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Border-Patrol-Generic.jpg

A federal grand jury charged a Southern California Border Patrol agent with 19 counts on Thursday, after prosecutors say he installed a hidden camera in a women's bathroom and collected video and photos of his colleagues for more than a year.

Supervisory Agent Armando Gonzalez, 45, is accused of placing the camera in a stall at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station, telling others it was part of a drug investigation into one of his female employees. No such investigation was actually underway, according to the grand jury’s indictment.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez is shown in his own footage hiding the camera sometime in July 2013, and in over more than a year, it took an estimated 300 videos by automatically recording when someone entered the stall.

A woman with U.S. Customs and Border Protection found the camera on Jan. 9 and reported it to authorities. Not long after, investigators say they found close to 170 pictures of naked women or those wearing only undergarments in Gonzalez’ office.

When confronted about the device, he told investigators it had been there for several days, according to prosecutors.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be arraigned on April 2 on various counts, including a felony count of making a false statement and a misdemeanor count of video voyeurism.

His defense attorneys told NBC 7 Gonzalez is pleading not guilty. They said to allow the justice system to work.

A CBP spokesman previously said Gonzalez has been placed on paid administrative leave.


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<![CDATA[Suicide by Plane? Past Intentional Crashes]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:09:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP962082083139_3_Germanwings.jpg

The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet that crashed in the French Alps this week apparently brought down the plane deliberately, killing all 150 people aboard, officials said Thursday, as Tuesday's tragedy took a horrifying turn.

Andreas Lubitz, 27, appears to have intentionally flown the plane into the side of a mountain while he was alone at the controls, while the plane's pilot pounded on the locked cockpit door, officials said flight recordings showed.

Deliberate crashes of commercial passenger jets, while rare, are believed to have occurred before. Here are some of the most well-known of them. 

2013 — Mozambique Airlines Flight TM470
Bound for Angola from Mozambique, this flight went down in heavy rain in Namibia on Nov. 29, 2013. Mozambique aviation experts said they believed the crash, which killed all 33 people on board, was intentional. The pilot, Hermino dos Santos Fernandes, locked himself in the cockpit and refused to let the co-pilot back in until just before the plane hit the ground, the BBC reported.

1999 — EgyptAir Flight 990
This plane crashed into the ocean en route from New York City to Cairo on Oct. 31, 1999, killing all 203 passengers, four crew members and 10 flight attendants. A National Transportation Safety Board report released two years later blamed co-pilot Gamil al-Batouti’s "manipulation of the airplane controls"; U.S. investigators said he cut power to the engines, turned the plane down and repeated the phrase, "I rely on God." He had been demoted hours before the trip over accusations of sexual misconduct, The New York Times reported. Egypt's aviation authority charged, however, that American investigators had failed to consider evidence supporting the possibility that multiple failures in the airplane’s elevator control system may have caused the crash.

1997 — SilkAir Flight 185
A SilkAir airplane crashed into a river shortly after leaving the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, on Dec. 19, 1997, killing all 104 people on board. American investigators believe that the pilot acted deliberately, the BBC reported. The investigators said the pilot, Tsu Way Ming, did not try to stop the plane’s nosedive. In addition, the cockpit voice box recorder appeared to have been disconnected. An Indonesian investigation was not conclusive.

1994 — Royal Air Maroc Flight 630
All 44 people aboard a turboprop were killed when a captain deliberately flew the plane into a North African mountainside on Aug. 21, 1994, the Los Angeles Times reported. The co-pilot could be heard screaming, "Mayday, mayday, the pilot is..." The captain had disconnected the autopilot, according to Moroccan officials, and newspaper reports suggested he was upset over a love affair. The flight union disputes those findings.

1982 — Japan Air Lines Flight 350
A Japan Air Lines captain crashed his plane into the ocean on its approach to Tokyo on Feb. 9, 1982. His fellow crew members struggled with him in the cockpit, The New York Times reported, but 24 of the 174 people on board died. Days afterward, the airline's president said the pilot had had a "psychosomatic illness" in 1980 but had later been found fit to return to duty.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Assistant Barricaded Students, Took Off Clothes]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:27:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lemon+grove+academy.JPG

An after-school assistant in California was arrested after some bizarre behavior, including barricading several students into a classroom, taking off her clothes and upending desks, according San Diego County Sheriff's officials.

At about 4 p.m. Wednesday, Linda Lira, 31, started acting strangely at Lemon Grove Academy and shut herself into a room with students.

After several minutes, the children became scared by her behavior, so they used her campus radio to call for help and alert other teachers.

Staff fought Lira to get inside the classroom and get the children out, sheriff's officials say.

They told authorities Lira showed signs of being on narcotics or a hallucinogen. As she struggled with staff, she took off her clothes.

By the time deputies arrived, Lira had barricaded herself in the classroom again. Deputies say she was throwing things, toppling over desks and putting on and removing her clothes over and over again.

“She wasn’t threatening to harm the children, but her behavior was dangerous for those kids to be in the classroom,” explained Lt. Christopher May of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. “At one point she actually threw an object through a class window at the fire department, so that was a dangerous situation for the kids to be in.”

Law enforcement was eventually able to take Lira into custody, and she was first transported to the hospital for evaluation.

On Thursday, investigators returned to the school and interviewed students to count her offenses. Lira was taken to Las Colinas Woman's Detention Facility on 14 felony counts of child endangerment and 14 felony counts of false imprisonment.

The suspect could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

The Lemon Grove School District had social workers and therapists at the campus for those affected by the incident. Lemon Grove Academy is a seventh and eighth grade school located at 7885 Golden Avenue.

On Friday, NBC 7 spoke with Lemon Grove School District Superintendent Ernie Anastos about the odd occurrence, which he said happened in a classroom where children attend an after-school homework club. The children in the club are between nine and 11 years old.

“It was unsettling and upsetting for the kids. This happened over a period of 20 to 30 minutes,” Anastos said. “The attendant was acting strangely. She started saying things that were unusual and she started acting in a behavior that scared the kids.”

“She was saying they don’t have to follow the rules anymore. She maybe referenced Satan,” Anastos continued. “She was behaving strangely and was clearly not herself.”

“One of the little boys in the class had the sense to take the walkie-talkie and press the button down so everyone else could hear what was going on. Once that decision was made, everyone arrived on the scene,” he added, praising that student’s quick thinking.

Anastos said Lira had been working for the school district for two months. He said all staffers, including Lira, undergo an extensive background check before employment that includes a physical exam, drug testing and fingerprinting. Lira was completely cleared through that process, Anastos said.

“What happened in the last couple days is beyond explanation that I might have,” he added. “This was unexpected, baffling behavior.”

The superintendent said the principal of Lemon Grove Academy met with parents following the incident and all parents of children in the after-school program were given details on what happened in that classroom.

Anastos said the 14 children involved in the incident were doing well on Thursday when they returned to the after-school program.



Photo Credit: Google Maps
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<![CDATA[Father Helped Officer Son Escape]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 02:52:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/03-26-15_Solis-Mexico-Arrest.jpg

The father of ex-LAPD officer Henry Solis was arrested Thursday for allegedly helping his son evade authorities when he was wanted for the murder of a California man.

Victor Solis, 53, allegedly told investigators that he drove his son to El Paso and dropped him off at a bus station the day after the murder, but no longer knows where his son is.

But surveillance images released Thursday by the FBI show Victor and Henry Solis crossing the border into Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico from El Paso, Texas on March 14, the day after the murder.

"He is a former military member, so we are worried he may have survival skills," FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimller said, "He is very good with a weapon so we are very worried about what can happen next."

Victor Solis at some point returned to the U.S. Eimller said he has admitted to driving his son to El Paso.

Henry Solis, 27, is accused of murder in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Salome Rodriguez Jr. in Pomona earlier this month after a fight. Solis allegedly chased Rodriguez after the altercation and shot him several times, killing him.

A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of Solis, a former Marine and rookie LAPD officer. Solis had been with the LAPD since June 2014 and was terminated from the department after the murder charges were filed.

He should be considered armed and dangerous and a suicide risk, according to the FBI.

The elder Solis was arrested in Lancaster and appeared in federal court Thursday afternoon, where he waived his right to proceedings in Los Angeles. He is being transferred to El Paso.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Federal Bureau of Investigations]]>
<![CDATA[Military Members Fire Back Online at ISIS]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:50:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ISIS4.jpg

Veterans and military members have fired back on social media following threats made by ISIS targeting specific armed forces members.

A group called the Islamic State Hacking Division issued a threat earlier this week online against 100 service members.

In the threat, the group asked that attacks be carried out against members of the military conducting airstrikes on ISIS.

Now, some service members are arming themselves with strong words.

A user posted on Twitter a picture of ISIS fighters with the caption: “We are going to kill you” beneath a photo of Marines with the quote, “Hurry we eat chow at 1630.”

Another online post with a photo of a heavily armed soldier read: “Friends help friends kill ISIS.”

A few local residents expressed similar sentiments on NBC 7’s Facebook page. Brandon Garcia wrote: “If they can get through my door I’m hungry for some hand-to-hand combat.”

Another Facebook user, Derek James, wrote: “Add me. I’ll give them my address! I wanna play!”

The response to the online threats from ISIS is not a surprise to Nathan Fletcher, a Marine veteran and Truman National Security Project board member.

“Americans don’t react well to being bullied and service members in particular,” he said.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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<![CDATA[Former UNC Coach, Dean Smith, Leaves $200 to Former Players]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:45:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/80261754.jpg

Every letter winner who played for former North Carolina basketball coach, Dean Smith, was granted with a heart-warming suprise a month after his death: $200 dollars from his estate.

A letter sent to 180 players was sent from Smith's trustee, stating: "Each player was important and special to Coach Smith and when he prepared his estate plan, Coach wanted to reach out to each of his letterman. Accordingly, Coach directed that following his passing each letterman be sent a two hundred dollar ($200.00) check with the message 'enjoy a dinner out, compliments of Coach Dean Smith.'

Smith, who died at age 83 last month, went 879-254 in his years at North Carolina, landing him in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983. However, Smith was also known for the compassion he had for his players.

In 1965, Smith helped a black North Carolina graudation student, Howard Lee, purchase a home in an all-white neighborhood during segregations. A year later, Smith intergrated the Tar Heels, recruiting Charlie Scott, who became the first African-American scholarship player in the school's history.

Serge Zwikker, who played for Smith from 1993-1997, told ESPN: "My wife opened the letter and handed it to me. At first  I didn't know what it was, but when it hit me, it put a tear in my eye. Even after he passed, he was still all about this players."

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<![CDATA[Captive Owl Video Sparks Outrage]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:35:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vod-web-owl.jpg Florida Fish & Wildlife officers investigate a viral video showing man driving drunk with a federally protected Great Horned Owl in his car, then threatening to eat it. Brian Entin from NBC station WPTV reports.]]> <![CDATA[Wisconsin Basketball Player Accidentally Admits Crush]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:13:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2015-03-26-at-5.37.13-PM.jpg

Cattywampus. Onomatopoeia. Antidisestablishmentarianism. For Nigel Hayes, University of Wisconsin  basketball forward, these are the words of a modern love letter.

Hayes answered reporters covering the NCAA March Madness tournament with these arbitrary words in a press conference a couple days ago, stumping everyone in the room.  Hayes originally joked that he wanted to break up the monotony of the stenographer’s job with some unique words.

A reporter kicked off the latest news conference asking Hayes if he wanted to say anything to the stenographer, Debra Bollman, before they began, in which he responded: “syzygy”.

A hot mic then picked up Hayes whispering to his teammate, “God, she’s beautiful.” His eyes lit up when he heard laughter in the room. He asked Bollman, “Did you hear that?” She responded “yes” before Hayes covered his face with his hands in embarrassment.

While it's not yet known whether Hayes’ “soliloquy” will help him get a date with Bollman, he can at least say he's made her day more interesting.


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<![CDATA[Americans Plotted to Help ISIS: DOJ]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:39:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*123/handcufss+steel.jpg

A U.S. Army National Guard soldier and his cousin have been charged with conspiring to support ISIS, federal prosecutors say.

Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds, 22, and Jonas Edmonds, 29, both from the suburban Chicago community of Aurora, are accused of plotting to provide material support and resources to the terror organization, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon announced Thursday.

They also allegedly planned to use Army uniforms and military knowledge to attack a U.S. military facility in northern Illinois.

According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, the pair allegedly devised a plan in late 2014 for Hasan Edmonds to travel overseas and use his military training to fight on behalf of ISIS. As part of the plan, Hasan Edmonds booked a flight scheduled to leave Wednesday from Chicago and arrive in Cairo Thursday.

Both men also met with an FBI undercover employee to present a plot to carry out an armed attack against the military facility where Hasan Edmonds had been training, according to the complaint. As part of the plan, Jonas Edmonds and the undercover officer would use Hasan Edmonds’ uniforms and his knowledge of the facility to access the grounds and target officers for the attack.

“Disturbingly, one of the defendants currently wears the same uniform of those they allegedly planned to attack,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin said in a statement.

Hasan Edmonds was arrested at Midway Airport during an attempt to fly to Egypt, and Jonas Edmonds was arrested at his home in Aurora, prosecutors say. Both were charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

"We will pursue and prosecute with vigor those who support ISIL and its agenda of ruthless violence," said U.S. Attorney Fardon. "Anyone who threatens to harm our citizens and allies, whether abroad or here at home, will face the full force of justice."

Conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

"Upon learning of the investigation, our effortsand priorities focused on ensuring the safety of our Soldiers, Airmen, and their Families," said Brad Leighton, public affairs director for the Illinois National Guard. "We have remained in communication with federal authorities throughout the process, which culminated in the arrest by federal officers of Hasan Rasheed Edmonds last night."

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<![CDATA[Ebola Patient at NIH Critical]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:48:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NIHClinic.jpg

An American healthcare worker infected with Ebola has been ungraded from critical to serious condition, hospital officials announced Thursday.

The patient was flown to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, from Sierra Leone earlier this month. Days after he or she was admitted, health officials said the patient's condition had deteriorated from serious to critical condition.

The agency said in a statement Thursday that the patient's status had improved, but no additional details about the patient were shared.

The patient, a clinician working with Partners in Health, a Boston-based nonprofit, had been volunteering at an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone when he or she contracted the disease.

The patient's name, age and gender have not been released.

The NIH Clinical Center's Special Clinical Studies Unit (SCSU) is designed for high-level isolation capabilities and is staffed by specialists in infectious diseases and critical care, the NIH said.

The patient is the second to be treated for Ebola at NIH. Last fall, Texas nurse Nina Pham was treated there after contracting the disease while treating the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.



Photo Credit: NIH Clinical Center
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<![CDATA[WATCH: New Anti-Smoking Ads Highlight Pain, Suffering]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:51:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/smoking-stock-generic-73160938.jpg

Smokers are once again sharing their gruesome stories of pain and suffering to motivate cigarette-puffing peers to quit.

“If I’d had a crystal ball many years ago, I would never have put that first cigarette in my mouth," one woman who is losing vision due to macular degeneration says in a new video from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cautionary tales are part of a national tobacco education campaign from the CDC, Tips From Former Smokers, which first launched in March 2012. The often cringe-worthy advertisements, on television, radio, billboards, online and in theaters, magazines and newspapers, feature former smokers sharing their painful stories of smoking-related illnesses, the agency said in a release.

In one video, a woman lies on her hospital bed, and in raspy voice, says how she developed throat cancer at the age of 40. In another, a man, with a hole in his neck, informs viewers to stand away from the showerhead. And another woman, sitting at her kitchen table, advises to suction out her tube before eating.

The ads will also highlight how quitting smoking can benefit loved ones, and the importance of quitting completely, not just cutting down on smoking.

“These former smokers are helping save tens of thousands of lives by sharing their powerful stories of how smoking has affected them,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, said in a statement. “These new real-life ads will help smokers quit, adding years to their lives and life to their years.”

Since 2012, Tips has helped millions of smokers try to quit, the CDC reports. When the CDC’s 2014 campaign aired, nearly 80 percent more people called the national quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, for free help. Over 500,000 additional calls to the toll-free hotline have been made since 2012.

“All the Tips ad participants are heroes,” said Tim McAfee, senior medical officer in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “By courageously sharing their painful personal stories, they’re inspiring millions of Americans to make the life-saving decision to quit smoking.”

Smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, the CDC reports, and remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the country. For every American who dies from smoking-related illnesses, nearly 30 more suffer from at least one smoking-related illness.



Photo Credit: FILE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blame Neighbors for Drought: Poll]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:08:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/generic-sprinklers.jpg

The majority of Californians say their neighbors are failing to do enough to respond to the state's severe drought, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute.

Two-thirds of residents surveyed, 66 percent, said people in their part of the state are not doing their share when it comes to water conservation and drought-relief measures. About 24 percent said their neighbors are doing just enough and 6 percent said they were doing too much, according to the poll.

"The ongoing drought is raising concerns about the long-term water supply," said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. "Most Californians think their neighbors could be doing more to save water today."

The poll, released Wednesday, showed that 66 percent of those surveyed believe their regional water supply is a "big problem," near a record high of 68 percent in October. The problem seemed most urgent in the Central Valley, the heart of California's agricultural operations, where 76 percent said the water supply is a major problem.

When asked about the most important issue facing California, poll participants were just about as likely to indicate water and the drought as they were jobs and the economy. Those issues were much higher priorities than education and immigration, according to the poll.

More than 93 percent of the state is under severe drought, according to this week's U.S. Drought Monitor report, which categorizes drought into five levels of severity -- abnormally dry, moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional. Nearly 42 percent of California is under exceptional drought, an increase of nearly 2 percentage points over last week.

One year ago, 24 percent of the state was under exceptional drought.

The state's critically low reservoirs received little relief this winter as California nears the end of its wet season. In the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where springtime water runoff benefits an estimated 25 million Californians, precipitation since October is 10 inches below normal.

The poll comes a week after the governor, who declared a drought emergency in January 2014 and called on residents to reduce water use by 20 percent, announced a plan to accelerate funding for water projects. That $1 billion proposal to speed up spending and offer about $75 million in immediate aid to residents and wildlife was sent to the governor's desk Thursday.

The legislation accelerates water infrastructure spending, some of which can boost local water supplies in future years. It includes $267 million to give out grants for water-recycling projects and expand drinking water in small and poor cities.

Earlier this month, the State Water Resources Control Board extended and expanded restrictions on water use, admitting that its actions so far have been focused on the easier ways to immediately cut down urban water use. Members voted to extend statewide outdoor water limits imposed in July, barring washing down driveways, decorative fountains without recirculating pumps and sprinklers that spray pavement.

New rules will require local water departments to restrict the number of days residents can water their lawns. If they don't, residents must follow a state rule limiting their sprinkling to twice a week. Homeowners are also barred from using sprinklers on days when it rains and for the next two days.

Editor's Note: The Public Policy Institute of California poll results are based on a telephone survey of 1,706 California adult residents conducted March 8 to 17.


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