<![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, 24 Apr 2014 04:05:59 -0700 Thu, 24 Apr 2014 04:05:59 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Stowaway's Dad: "Allah Saved Him"]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 03:56:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/04-23-2014-hawaiian.jpg

The father of a Santa Clara teen stowaway who survived a 5 1/2-hour flight from San Jose to Hawaii Sunday despite high altitudes, low oxygen and freezing temperatures tells the Voice of America that Allah protected his son.

“When I watched the analysis about the extraordinary and dangerous trip of my son on local TVs and that Allah had saved him, I thanked God and I was very happy,” Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi, who lives in Santa Clara, told VOA's Somali service in an interview Wednesday.

Abdi identified his son as Yahya Abdi, adding that he received the news about his trip in a phone call from police in Hawaii.

“They told me that they were holding my son,” he said. “I was shocked. I wondered how my son went there.”

The teen’s story has been met with amazement by experts, who say low temperatures and lack of oxygen in the wheel well would make it hard to survive such a journey.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, only 25 of 105 flight stowaways reported since 1947 have lived.

“They tried to explain to me about the stowaway and the plane story,” Abdi told VOA. “I got confused, and asked them to call the San Jose police department which later explained to me how things happened.”

Abdi told the news service his son was at home Friday at noon, and they had prayed together. On Sunday, the teen scaled the fence at San Jose Mineta International Airport, sneaking into the Boeing 767's wheel well.

The teen crawled out of the wheel about an hour after the plane landed in Maui and was spotted by airport workers on the tarmac.

When VOA asked what might have spurred his son to fly to Hawaii in such a risky way, Abdi said:

“He did not receive education when he was in Africa. Since we came here he had learning challenges at school. He was not good at math and science and I think he had a lot of education problems bothering him.”

Abdi described his son as a “very quiet person.”

“He was always busy with watching the TV and using computer. I can say he was really cool boy,” he said.

According to Abdi, his son always talked about going back to Africa, where his grandparents still lived.

“We want to go back, but due to the current living conditions we can’t go back.” Abdi said.

Photo Credit: Hawaiian Airlines]]>
<![CDATA[Sriracha Plant Shutdown Vote Delay]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 03:56:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/236*120/srirachawednesday4.JPG

Officials in a Southern California city held off on a decision about whether to force the closure of the Sriracha hot sauce plant that is being blamed for bad odors and heat that burns eyes.

Irwindale officials want to work with the company to fix the odor and are not ready to force them to do it yet.

"I brought my own personal one to show that we want to work with you," said Irwindale Mayor Mark Breceda as he pulled out a bottle of the hot sauce in the council chambers.

The City Council voted to table the issue until the next scheduled council meeting. The shelving of the decision came as about a dozen hot sauce supporters rallied outside City Hall.

"They can kill me, but they can't take out my business," said the owner of the plant, David Tran, who founded Huy Fong Foods, Inc., which produces the spicy sauce.

This was another step in an ongoing saga that pits people who live near the factory complaining about stinging eyes, headaches and coughing fits, and the owner.

Supporters, meanwhile, say complaints of the "spicy and offensive odor" stem from only four local households.

They also say the South Coast Air Quality Management District investigated and found no offensive emissions from the plant.

In addition, the Republican Party of Los Angeles County recently passed a resolution of support for the company, supporters said.

Tran said he’s willing to take drastic action and move the plant elsewhere. He was entertaining offers to move the plant to at least 10 other states, including Texas and Louisiana.

Nearly 200 workers stand to lose their jobs or move with the company. Worker Mary Almodovar said she was on pins and needles waiting to find out her fate.

"This is our family income," she said. "For many of us, this is our only income."

Two residents at the council meeting spoke out against the odors.

If the ordinance passes, Tran would have 90 days to fix the odor problem or the city will install technology to track odors coming from the plant.

Tran said he wants city officials to inspect the plant themselves so he can make the necessary adjustments.

"If they don't come, it doesn't matter (if it's) two weeks or two months, I don't do anything," Tran said.

Congressman Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., is fighting to keep the plant in Southern California.

Gordon Tokumatsu and Irene Moore contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Batteries in Baby Video Monitors Recalled]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:58:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/baby_feet_generic.jpg

Summer Infant is recalling about 800,000 rechargeable batteries used in baby video monitors because of a burn hazard.

The Woonsocket, R.I.-based manufacturer has received 22 reports of overheated and ruptured batteries, including incidents of smoke and minor property damage.

The hand-held, color video monitors were sold with a matching camera and A/C adaptors at Babies "R'' Us, online and other retailers from about February 2010 through 2012 for $150 to $350. The batteries are about 1 ½ inches tall by 2 ¼ inches wide and are ¼ inches thick, black, and marked with TCL on the batteries' lower right corner.

Consumers can contact Summer Infant for a replacement battery at 800-426-8627 or online at the company's website.

The batteries were manufactured in China. About 58,800 batteries were recalled in February 2011.

<![CDATA[Century-Old Shipwreck Found in SF]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:08:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/04-23-2014-chester-rosato.jpg

A steamship that sank with 16 passengers aboard in 1888 has been located again under the Golden Gate Bridge, leading to the release of new sonar images of the boat sitting upright, covered in mud.

James Delgado, director of maritime heritage for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Sanctuaries, called the rediscovery of the passenger ship the “City of Chester,” which was first located more than 100 years ago, quite remarkable. And not just because it was the Bay Area’s second most deadly shipwreck.

The find is significant, Delgado said, because its revelation allows the public to learn more about ordinary people put in extraordinary circumstances. And re-examining the story of the ship, he said, allows for a bit of Gold Rush-era Chinese bigotry to be erased.

The shipwreck, which occurred following a collision with a boat carrying Chinese immigrants, was initially blamed on the passengers and crew of the other ship involved. While it was later revealed that the Chester was at fault -- and Chinese crew worked to save the lives of those on board -- the wreck "was then largely forgotten," according to the NOAA.

“History is made up of a  lot of people who never made it into the books,” said Delgado, an archaeologist who grew up in San Jose, Calif., and now works in Washington, D.C. “Same with this shipwreck. It was filled with everyday people who got into a situation beyond their control.”

“Not every discovery,” Delgado said, “is the Titanic.”

The ship was most recently found in 200 feet of water about  quarter mile away from the Golden Gate Bridge in May 2013, when coastal teams were scouring the bottom of the bay before the America’s Cup, according to Delgado. But the NOAA waited until Wednesday to present its findings publicly, after months of sorting through data and sonar imagery. 

2013 Multi-beam sonar profile view of the shipwreck SS City of Chester. (Credit: NOAA Office of Coast Survey NRT6)

Delgado said while his team was out on the Bay looking to make sure the racing sailboats wouldn’t get caught on anything, crews were also looking for this wreck, which he knew about from the history books.

High-resolution sonar imagery clearly defined the hull, according to NOAA, rising some 18 feet from the seabed, and the fatal gash on the vessel’s port side.

For Delgado – who said he was actually the first archaeologist aboard the Titanic in 2000 - the finding of the 202-foot long steamship is a chance to talk about his favorite subject, history.

Ninety people were aboard the ship on Aug. 22, 1888, which made a regular trip from the Bay Area to British Columbia. It was named City of Chester after the Pennsylvania city in which it was built. 

On the day of the wreck, the captain of the ship took an unsafe turn, Delgado said, forcing the oncoming Oceanic to strike it. The City of Chester was impaled and sank. Sixteen people died.

Delgado said that the deadly shipwreck was the captain of the Chester’s fault. But that at the time, because of anti-Chinese sentiment during the height of the Gold Rush era, the public blamed the Chinese crew aboard the Oceanic for the deaths. But Delgado said the animousity wasn't warranted. 

Modern view of the Golden Gate Channel and approximate location of the SS City of Chester. (Credit: Robert V. Schwemmer, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries)

 “The Chinese crew saved a lot of lives," Delgado said. "They pulled people onto their boats. If not for them, more people would have died.”

The City of Chester wreck is the second worst shipwreck of the San Francisco Bay Area, Delgado said, second to a 1901 Golden Gate Bridge-area wreck that killed 128 people.

NOAA officials gave credit to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey for locating the City of Chester 125 years ago. But no one verified the find, and no attempt was made to lug the ship to shore.

And no attempt will be made now, either. The shipwreck will remain submerged on the seafloor.

Just knowing it’s there is enough for Delgado.

“It’s a tangible link to another time," he said.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Molotov Cocktail Hurled Into Store]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 03:56:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/molotov+cocktail+store.jpg

Police are searching for a man caught on surveillance video throwing a flaming bottle into a 24-hour mini-mart in Brooklyn, setting the clerk inside on fire.

The suspect had an argument with the clerk inside 3901 Fort Hamilton Parkway in Borough Park early Wednesday, according to police. The clerk, who had returned to work Thursday morning, told NBC 4 New York that the suspect got angry when the clerk refused to give him beer and cigarettes on credit.

About an hour later, the man returned to the store wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, lit a bottle on fire, threw it into the business and then ran away, police say. 

The 34-year-old store worker's hair and jacket caught on fire.

Co-worker Fidel Perez said he heard a big boom as he was cutting bagels in the back. When he ran out and found the clerk on fire, Perez found buckets of water to douse the flames.

Police say the victim suffered minor injuries, and the store wasn't badly damaged. 

Paul Sanz, who owns the business next door, said he can't imagine why someone would fight with the cashier.

"He's the most passive, nicest guy in the world," he said. "That's the strangest part. That's why I couldn't believe it was him."

"It's a shame, he's a hard-working guy, he works nights by himself and then you got some punks that try to do that to him," he said. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

-- Ida Siegal and Katherine Creag contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Man Wins Lottery 3 Times in 3 Weeks]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:53:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kaelin+lottery.jpg

Three is a magic number. At least, it might be for one Chicago resident.

Christopher Kaelin, an occasional lottery player, won the same lottery game three times in three weeks, officials announced Wednesday.

“I never expected to win,” Kaelin told Illinois lottery officials earlier this month, “especially not three times.”

Kaelin said his first win came during his lunch break when he bought a Crossword instant ticket at Gateway Newstand on Clark Street in Chicago and won $25,000.

“My fiancé and I were so thrilled that I won $25,000, we went out for dinner to celebrate,” he said.

After their celebratory dinner, the couple stopped at a gas station where Kaelin decided to buy another Crossword ticket and won $1,000.

The following week, he stopped at the same store where he purchased his $25,000 winning ticket and bought his third Crossword instant ticket. He said he was in his office when he used a key to scratch the ticket and realized he had won what he thought was $25,000.

“I was in the elevator when I took another look at my ticket and noticed I had the tenth word. The prize wasn’t $25,000 -- it was $250,000,” he said. “I was shocked.”

In total, Kaelin won $276,000.

Photo Credit: Illinois Lottery]]>
<![CDATA[Autistic Boy's Facebook Page Surges]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 10:47:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/joshua+birthday.jpg

Facebook page started by a Queens woman so her autistic son would have "friends" on his birthday has attracted more than 10,000 likes after NBC 4 New York's report on the heartwarming story.

Brenda Figueroa's son, Joshua, turned 12 on Tuesday, and she started the page so he could have birthday greetings. He has trouble making friends, he said.

"When I'm trying to make friends, sometimes the kids ignore me," he said.

After NBC 4 New York's report on the family Tuesday, well-wishers have flocked to the page and posted happy birthday wishes from around the nation.

"Looks to me like you have lots of friends Buddy. I'm glad I can be one!!! Happy Birthday Joshua!! I hope your day was all you wanted it to be!!!" wrote one poster.

"You are a special guy and I hope you had a great birthday," wrote another.

"God gives special kids to very special moms, and thou I don't know you, I can tell you are special," another poster said.

Figueroa posted a thank you to all of Joshua's Facebook supporters, saying her son was thrilled to see how many people care for him.


<![CDATA[Photo May Show Stowaway's Footprints on Airplane Wheels]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:16:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*155/wheel4.JPG

New images obtained by an NBC affiliate in Hawaii show what appear to possibly be the Santa Clara stowaway's footprints on the wheel of a plane he hid in for 5 1/2 hours from San Jose to Maui.

Hawaii News Now, which goes by the call letters KHNL, obtained photos from a source showing what looks like footprints on the wheel of the Hawaiian Airlines aircraft. Another photo (below) appears to  show footprints and handprints on the door of the craft.

The prints are believed to belong to the 15-year-old Santa Clara teen who hid in the wheel well on Sunday, traveling from San Jose Mineta International Airport to Hawaii. His story has been met with disbelief from experts, who say low temperatures and lack of oxygen in the wheel well would make it hard to survive such a journey. Only 25 of the 105 flight stowaways reported since 1947 lived, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

NBC Bay Area and NBC News have been unable to independently verify the photos.

Hawaii News Now also first reported that the 15-year-old boy - a student at Santa Clara High - may have been headed to Africa to reunite with his biological mother, according to an anonymous source with the Maui police department.

The station reported that the boy, who lives in Santa Clara, wanted to reunite with his mother in Somalia. Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano said that the boy lives with his biological father and a stepmother, but was not happy living with so many siblings and step-siblings.

The teen's family told NBC Bay Area in a brief interview Monday that the reports of an argument were untrue.

Both FBI Special Agent Tom Simon and Maui Police Lt. William Juan declined to confirm or deny to NBC Bay Area the report that the boy was trying to head to Africa.

NBC News also reported that the boy first hopped a fence at San Jose's airport at 1 a.m. on Sunday near a fuel farm . A video apparently shows him climbing into the wheel well of Flight 45 between gates two and three, NBC News reported. The plane landed at Kahlului Airport at 4:30 p.m.

The teen's former English teacher at Oak Grove High, Keith Chung, told NBC Bay Area he did not know much about the teen, other than that he had moved to the U.S. from Africa three years ago and that his father was a cab driver.

Chung said the boy had some recent run-ins in his English-learning class. Those issues, on which Chung did not elaborate, had culminated in a transfer to Santa Clara High.

"I'm totally shocked," Chung said. "I had this random thought that when I heard the news, that wouldn't it be funny if he went to Oak Grove? No, I wouldn't think he would do anything that this. He's very quiet."

Student Emanuael Golla, 18, told NBC Bay Area that the teen had just transferred to Santa Clara High about five weeks ago. Golla described him as very quiet, someone who kept to himself.

And Santa Clara High Principal Greg Shelby said that when the teen returns to school, he will be able to receive psychological services if he wants.



Photo Credit: Anonymous source via Hawaii News Now]]>
<![CDATA[Men Keep Underwear for 7 Years on Average: Study]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 03:57:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/209*120/underpants-on-clothesline.jpg

Men, how often do you replace your underwear? Probably not that often, a British survey and an  NBC affiliate in Phoenix suggest.

A study in the United Kingdom found that men hold onto their undies for an average of seven years, and 22 percent of men admitted to wearing the same pair multiple days in a row, NBC station KPNX reported.

The study was of British men, but some underwear shoppers told a Phoenix, Ariz. NBC affiliate they thought the findings rang true for Americans, too.

"I think it's more of a pain to shop for them, unless they are shopped for us. So that's why I think we tend to hold on to them longer," a man told KPNX.

A woman shopper said she thinks men are indifferent about their underwear and its appearance. And a  Target employee told KPNX that male shoppers in her store can often look a little lost when browsing for underpants.

"We see people come in here looking for underwear, and they have no idea where to look. Clearly, they have not bought underwear in years," she said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Serial Killer Probe Solves '78 Case]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:57:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Beaudion+sheriff.jpg

The death of a 22-year-old man from Chicago has been solved nearly 30 years later, thanks in part to the Cook County sheriff's search for the unidentified victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Sheriff Tom Dart announced Wednesday Edward Beaudion likely was killed in 1978 by a Missouri man named Jerry Jackson, who confessed to the murder but was never charged and has since passed away.

A new lead in Beaudion's death came after Dart obtained DNA profiles in 2011 for Gacy's eight unidentified victims and publicly asked anyone with missing loved ones between 1972 and 1979 to come forward.

Beaudion disappeared after attending a wedding on July 23, 1978, Dart said. The car he borrowed from his sister to get to the reception was found in Missouri on Aug. 15, 1978, in the possession of Jackson, who was extradited to Chicago.

Jackson confessed that he killed Beaudion during a fight and dumped his body in an abandoned area off I-55. The body wasn't recovered, though, and Jackson received a four-year sentence for car theft.

On April 2, 2008, a family stumbled upon the remains of a skeleton while walking in the Black Partridge Woods in Lemont and contacted the Cook County Sheriff's Police. The bones were determined to be human, but the Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death "undetermined."

In October 2011, Dart announced he was reopening the Gacy investigation to identify Gacy's unidentified victims. Ruth Rodriguez and her father, Louis Beaudion, contacted the sheriff's office about Edward Beaudion and submitted DNA samples.

As part of a protocol introduced by Dart in 2011, the DNA samples and DNA from the remains were sent in October 2013 to a lab the department uses in Texas.

This year, the Texas lab confirmed the bones found in Lemont shared DNA with the samples submitted by Rodriguez and Louis Beaudion. On Feb. 26 the remains were confirmed to be those of Edward Beaudion.

Dart said he conducted a dig of Black Partridge Woods on April 1 and discovered additional bones belonging to Beaudion. The Medical Examiner's Office concluded his death was a homicide by unspecified means.

Jackson, who later changed his name to Jerry Cole, passed away on May 29, 2013, in Missouri in the same town where he was arrested for the stolen car.

Dart said he accompanied the Beaudion family earlier this month to the area where Beaudion's body laid for more than 30 years. The family marked the area with a cross in honor of Beaudion.

Photo Credit: Charlie Wojciechowski]]>
<![CDATA[Bratton on Twitter Fail: I Welcome the Attention]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:04:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mynypdtwitter.jpg

An NYPD social media campaign backfired when the police department asked New Yorkers for photos with cops and Twitter erupted with unflattering pictures of officers making arrests, tangling with citizens and in some cases wielding their weapons.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday disputed the idea that the effort was a failure, saying he welcomed the images, and that sometimes police work isn't pretty.

"Send us your photos, good or bad," he said. "I welcome the extra attention."

The department on Tuesday asked followers on its official Twitter account, @NYPDNews, to post photos of themselves with officers:

"Do you have a photo with a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD."

The #myNYPD hashtag quickly took off when people began tweeting photos that the NYPD would probably rather not highlight. The hashtag became a trending topic, drawing responses from around the world. 

Many of the photos showed the NYPD wrestling with demonstrators and pointing or swinging weapons at civilians.

Bratton said Wednesday that the images didn't necessarily portray police misconduct, saying this is the kind of work police officers do.

The tweets accompanying the photos were often negative and sarcastic.

"The #NYPD will also help you de-tangle your hair," read one tweet accompanying a photo of officers pulling a woman's hair as she was in handcuffs.

"Need a lift? The #NYPD's got you! Free Delivery, only at #myNYPD" read another, with a photo showing a man being carried by officers from his arms and legs. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the NYPD defended its campaign, saying it was "creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community."

"Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city," the statement read.

Some people did post the kind of police-friendly photos the department hoped to get.


Photo Credit: Twitter/NYPDNews]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigate Highway Shooting]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:21:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Police-crime-scene-generic-.jpg

Dallas police are investigating a highway shooting that the victim believes was a road rage incident prompted by her driving with the car's high beams on.

The alleged road rage incident happened just after midnight Monday on Interstate 20 near South Prairie Creek Road, between Interstate 45 and state Highway 175. It was one of two separate shootings along the same stretch of Interstate 20 over a four-day period.

"If they would have had better aim they could have killed somebody out there that night," said Gerald Pinke, who was traveling home from a funeral in Tyler with his wife when the shooting happened.

According to the police report, the passengers were headed westbound on I-20 in their Nissan Altima with their high beam lights on, when they pulled up behind an orange Pontiac Vibe.

Gerald Pinke said he was asleep and his wife, Gail, was driving when an orange Pontiac Vibe aggressively pulled in behind their car and began to tailgate them and flash its high beams.

Gail Pinke believes the only possible explanation for what could have angered the shooter was that she had been driving with her high beams on.

"I was on cruise control. I wasn't doing anything," she said. "There were not a lot of cars on the highway. [So] I tapped on the brake to let them know to get away and they got even closer. And I kind of stomped on the brake and woke my husband up."

After he woke up and his wife told him what was happening, Gerald Pinke said he told Gail to pull to the side of the highway so he could drive.

Once in the driver's seat, Gerald Pinke said he realized that the Pontiac Vibe had slowed down ahead in an apparent effort to allow them to catch back up.

Even in the darkness, Gerald Pinke said he could see someone gesturing toward him through the window of the sport utility vehicle.

"They were talking and I was telling them to pull over," Gerald Pinke said about what was happening when they heard the bang.

Pinke thought it was a gunshot; his wife was more confident of what had just happened.

"They shot at us," Gail Pinke said Tuesday, standing in front of the bullet scar that tore across the passenger side of her maroon Nissan Altima, a matter of inches away from where she was seated at the time.

The Pinkes then dialed 911 and followed the suspects at a safe distance, before losing them off the St. Augustine exit.

"I wanted to see them get caught. I still want to see them get caught," Gerald Pinke said.

The Pinkes' story is thought to be the latest of two separate shootings along the same stretch of Interstate 20 over a four-day period.

The first shooting was reported around 3:30 a.m. April 18, along the 40700 block of Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, just east of where I-20 meets state Highway 67, according to a Dallas police report.

In that incident, a 19-year-old passenger was shot in the leg by an unknown gunman, the police report states. The bullet came through the front passenger door.

NBC 5's Ben Russell contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Was Stowaway Headed to Africa?]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:51:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/219*120/plane36.jpg

A teen stowaway from California who flew to Hawaii tucked into a plane's wheel well may have been trying to reach family in Africa, where his biological mother lives, an NBC affiliate in Hawaii reported.

A teacher and classmate described the 15-year-old to NBC Bay Area on Tuesday as a quiet boy who, despite some troubles in his English class, mostly keeps to himself.

The boy, who attends high school in the Santa Clara Unified School District, lives with his biological father and a stepmother in Santa Clara, police told Hawaii News Now. But the station reported that the teen was not happy living with so many siblings and step-siblings, and wanted to reunite with his mother in Somalia.

The teen's former English teacher at Oak Grove High, Keith Chung, told NBC Bay Area he did not know much about the teen, other than that he had moved to the U.S. from Africa three years ago and that his father was a cab driver.

Chung said the boy had some recent run-ins in his English-learning class. Those issues, on which Chung did not elaborate, had culminated in a transfer to Santa Clara High.

"I'm totally shocked," Chung said. "I had this random thought that when I heard the news, that wouldn't it be funny if he went to Oak Grove? No, I wouldn't think he would do anything that this. He's very quiet."

Student Emanuael Golla, 18, told NBC Bay Area that the teen had just transferred to Santa Clara High about five weeks ago. Golla described him as very quiet, someone who kept to himself.

And Santa Clara High Principal Greg Shelby said that when the teen returns to school, he will be able to receive psychological services if he wants.

What prompted the teen to hitch a hazardous ride inside the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines plane Sunday at San Jose International Airport remains unclear.

Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano spoke to a source in the Maui police department who told her that the teen had run away after getting into an argument with his father. The teen then either misunderstood or couldn't read the information on the plane he jumped into, before making the 5 1/2-hour journey to Hawaii. He told the FBI when he landed and was found walking around on the tarmac that he had had a fight with his family, according to Kawano.

But the teen's family told NBC Bay Area in a brief interview Monday that the reports of an argument were untrue.

Both FBI Special Agent Tom Simon and Maui Police Lt. William Juan declined to confirm or deny to NBC Bay Area the report that the boy was trying to head to Africa.

The Department of Human Services in Hawaii said the teen was in the care of Child Welfare Services, and the agency is doing what needs to be done to "ensure the child's safe return to his home in California." While the teen was said to have miraculously survived, Hawaii News Now said he was taken from a hospital in Maui to a hospital in Oahu.

The teen's journey has raised questions about airport security, with many wondering how anyone — especially a high schooler — could scale the barbed wire fence at the airport and escape scrutiny before hiding in the wheel well of a Boeing 767.

Many have also questioned how a person could actually survive a flight in 80-below temperatures with little oxygen flying at 38,000 feet.

The FBI said the teen was was unconscious for most of the flight, and that it was "clearly amazing" that the boy exited the wheel well unscathed.

According to the FAA, the last known survivor of a stowaway incident was in August 2013 on a domestic flight within Nigeria. Since 1947, the FAA has recorded 94 stowaway incidents involving 105 people. Of those, only 25 survived.

The Hawaiian Airlines plane the Santa Clara stowaway hid on returned to San Jose International Airport, April 21, 2014.


 NBC Bay Area's Chase Cain and Dan Pyryt contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[FedEx Sued Over Deadly California Bus Crash]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:26:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/198*120/AP437289118866.jpg

The mother of a 17-year-old honors student who was among 10 people killed in a fiery Northern California bus crash sued FedEx on Tuesday, alleging that its trucks have a history of catching fire.

The negligence suit that seeks $100 million in damages is the first filed in connection with the April 10 freeway crash in Orland, said A. King Aminpour, the attorney for the plaintiffs.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of Rosa Rivera, mother of Jennifer Bonilla of Los Angeles.

The Dorsey High School student had earned a college scholarship. She and other teens were heading north for a free tour of Humboldt State University when the bus was struck head-on by a FedEx truck.

Dozens escaped through windows before the bus exploded into towering flames, but five students, three adult chaperones and both drivers died.

"She had her whole future before her," Aminpour said of Bonilla. "She was the first in her family to ever go to college."

The California Highway Patrol has not determined the cause of the crash 100 miles north of Sacramento.

Some witnesses reported that the FedEx truck was on fire before the crash, and the lawsuit alleges that FedEx trucks have a history of catching fire from mechanical problems, driver error or improper cargo loading.

"Our heartfelt condolences remain with everyone affected by this tragic accident," Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Corp. said in a statement. "We remain focused on providing support to those affected and cooperating with the authorities as they conduct their investigation. This is not the time for us to discuss potential litigation."

The suit also names the estate of the FedEx driver and the bus owner, Silverado Stages, as defendants. The bus lacked adequate exit doors that would have allowed passengers to escape after the crash, the lawsuit contends.

A message seeking comment from a Silverado Stages executive after hours Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[9 Facts About YouTube on Its 9th Anniversary]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:52:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/youtube-463842675.jpg

YouTube, with its bottomless supply of videos, is turning nine.

The first video ever uploaded to YouTube went up on April 23, 2005, nine years ago Wednesday. To commemorate YouTube's ninth anniversary, we've put together nine fun facts about the video sharing site we all know and love.

1. Paypal brought founders together

YouTube was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. The trio met at PayPal, where they were all former employees. YouTube's first headquarters sat above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant in San Mateo, Calif. 

2. It was originally a dating site

An earlier version of YouTube was a dating site called "Tune In Hook Up," influenced by the site "Hot or Not," which let users rate the attractiveness of potential partners. But the idea of a video version of Hot or Not failed to catch on after a couple of months.

3. What inspired YouTube as we know it

YouTube's founders say two key experiences inspired them to turn what had been a dating site into the video sharing site we all know. Karim had had trouble finding footage online of Janet Jackson's Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction and, later, of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. And Hurley and Chen had difficulty sharing a video shot at a dinner party in San Francisco in 2005.

4. YouTube? Or Utube

The domain name YouTube.com was activated on Valentine's Day in 2005 and the site was developed months after. But the domain name didn't sit well with an Ohio-based industrial equipment supplier called Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment, with the domain "utube.com." Utube.com was flooded with traffic from people trying to spell the video site, and its owners sued YouTube saying its business was hurt. Claims were dismissed, though, and Utube has changed its site to utubeonline.com.

5. And the first-ever YouTube video upload was...

The first video uploaded to YouTube, titled "Me at the zoo," made its online debut on April 23, 2005. The 19-second video was shot by Yakov Lapitsky and shows YouTube co-founder Karim at the San Diego Zoo. It has racked up 14 million views in its nine years online.

6. April Fools!

Since 2008, YouTube has featured an April Fools' Day prank on April 1 of every year. The first prank, known as "rickrolling," remains a classic: The featured videos on YouTube's main page linked to the music video for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up." From turning the site upside-down in 2009 to allowing users to submit ideas for memes in 2014, YouTube knows how to pull a great prank.

7. Surprising stats

YouTube says users worldwide upload 100 hours of video each minute, and more than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month, and 80 percent of traffic comes from outside the U.S.

8. Most Viewed Music Video of All Time

According to Videotrine, the nod for the most viewed video of all time goes to the music video for PSY's "Gangnam Style," with 1.9 billion views:

9. Most Viewed Viral Video of All Time

Not counting music videos, the most viewed viral video is the classic "Charlie Bit My Finger," which clocks in at 6.9 million views, according to Videotrine:

Photo Credit: Getty Images for YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[City to Pay for Razing Wrong House]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 17:53:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/demolish-wrong-071613.jpg

The Fort Worth City Council has agreed to pay more than $62,000 to a homeowner whose house was mistakenly demolished last summer.

A city crew marked the wrong house for demolition last July. A contractor destroyed 9716 Watercress Drive -- when the crew should have demolished the house next door, 9708 Watercress Drive.

That vacant home was owned by David Underwood. Underwood and his attorney met with city attorneys last month in mediation and agreed to a $102,500 settlement.

On Tuesday, Fort Worth agreed to pay $62,500 to Underwood for the mistake. The remaining $40,000 will be paid by the contractor and the insurance company.

Underwood was not at Tuesday's council meeting.

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Mom Gives Autistic Son Friends]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:52:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/joshua+birthday.jpg

A Queens woman who says her autistic son doesn't have any friends started a Facebook page for him so he could receive happy birthday wishes.

Brenda Figueroa said her son, Joshua, turned 12 years old Tuesday.

She said on Facebook that her son, who loves comic books, science-fiction stories and drawing, didn't have any friends, and she was sad about that.

Joshua told NBC 4 New York that he gets nervous when trying to talk to new people.

"When I'm trying to make friends, sometimes the kids ignore me," he said.

His father said other kids often just don't understand how to connect with Joshua.

"They see him one way, but they don't understand his behavior or attitude sometimes in certain situations," he said.

His mother said on Facebook that her role is to see that he is loved "by precious people." So she started the page on Monday.

By Tuesday afternoon, he had dozens of friends and many birthday greetings.

"Happy birthday Joshua and many more," said one.

"Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!!" said another.


<![CDATA[WATCH: Penguin Chicks Take 1st Swim]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 03:25:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MysrticPenguinsSwim1.jpg

Penguin chicks are cute — and penguin chicks swimming are even cuter.

Three African penguin chicks that hatched in January took their first swim at Connecticut's Mystic Aquarium on Tuesday.

They spent the first 13 weeks of life huddled under their parents to stay warm. 

Now that the penguins are almost fully grown, trainers have worked to introduce each chick to a small spray of water to prepare them for their first swim.

Mystic Aquarium is part of the African penguin Species Survival Plan, a breeding program that ensures the long term survival of African penguins in zoos and aquariums. 

Since 1997, the aquarium has reared 19 penguin chicks as part of the program. 

Later this month, a blood sample will be taken to determine the gender of the chicks, which will each receive wing identification beads to show the order in which they joined the Mystic Aquarium’s African penguin colony. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[3 Crashes Into SoCal Home in 6 Mos.]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:30:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/car+into+highland+home.JPG

After a car smashed through a Southern California home in the third such incident in six months, city officials are doing a traffic study to determine what improvements can be made.

The study of the sweeping downgrade on Tuolumne Lane in Highland will take a couple of weeks and could result in the posting of new signs or cutting the speed limit.

The study is usually done once a year, but officials are making an exception.

Highland is nestled near the San Bernardino Mountains in the Inland Empire.

The news comes after a crash into a home and the arrest of a suspected drunken driver of a Lincoln Towncar who tried to run away.

The car slammed into the family's garage -- with their infant daughter sleeping in a crib 5 feet above. The family moved out of their house and into a hotel temorarily while their home is repaired.

The family whose house was hit said they have been looking for a solution after three vehicles smashed onto their property in six months.

"My first thought is, it’s a huge earthquake," Kristina Sauerwein said.

The impact sheared a gas line and a water line that flooded the home's first floor. The crash also damaged the family's new car that was parked in the garage.

"I opened up the door, and there's just a cloud of debris," Jeff Sauerwein said.

"I actually thought the whole entire car was going to explode," said the couple's son Tristan.

The family rushed to get out of the house.

As they did, the driver of the car ran, too. At one point the family and the driver exchanged words. While running after the driver, the husband dialed 911 from his cellphone, summoning deputies.

The driver was booked into jail on charges of driving under the influence and hit and run, deputies said.

A truck crashed into the family’s front yard in January. Last fall, another car crashed into their gate. The family said they have made calls and written letters to the city asking for help, but said those pleas have gone unanswered.

"Put some speed bumps, some kind of signage up there, to help with this problem, because someone's going to die," Jeff Sauerwein said.

Neighbors told NBC4 that more than a dozen cars had gone into that property in a decade.

<![CDATA[Going Green: 4 Questions on Sustainable Shopping]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:58:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/green-shopping-182865996.jpg

From toothpaste to wedding dresses, shoppers across the U.S. now have no trouble finding products that claim to be good for the environment.

But the popularity of buying with the environment in mind — and lack of clear marketing guidelines — has made it "much harder for a consumer to figure out which of these green products is really green," according to Northwestern University associate professor Brayden King, an expert on corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

As Earth Day kicks off, here's a look at the latest trends in the "green industry" and how consumers can make the most out of their environmentally-conscious purchases.

What kind of "green" products are available?

A better question might be what products aren't. It's rare to find a product or industry that doesn't offer a "green" option. Seventh Generation, an early leader in green cleaning products and baby items, reported more than $200 million in retail sales in 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Household brands are embracing the trend, too. Nike recently unveiled a new facility featuring technology aimed at cutting back at water use in the textile dying process, while Proctor & Gamble Company began in recent years to incorporate plastic made from sugarcane into packaging for some beauty products.

"Environmental sustainability" ranked third among culinary trends for 2014 identified in a survey of chefs by the National Restaurant Association. And it's not just farm-to-table bistros greening menus. McDonald's recently vowed to source its Big Macs from "sustainable beef" by 2016, though it's not yet clear how the company will achieve that goal.

How "green" are green products?

It varies. Upwards of 400 separate "eco-label" systems or ratings now exist, according to King, the associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. But a rise in "sustainable" products doesn't necessarily mean more items that are good for the environment.

“Putting labels on things that say this is organic or this is environmental friendly has given consumers options," King said. "The downside of this is it has become very easy for companies to put those labels on and consumers are not always savvy enough to know if they’re buying something that is really good at the environment or buying something that just has the label." The Federal Trade Commission also urges caution, saying that many green marketing claims "sound great, but are too vague to be meaningful."

So what's a consumer to do? The FTC recommends looking for specific labels or certifications "that tell you what makes the product environmentally friendly," such as disclosures saying the product is "free of" a certain substance or chemical. The agency has posted a consumer guide to shopping green that includes definitions of commonly used promotions.

Who buys "green?"

Most of us, it seems. More than 80 percent of respondents to a 2011 Gallup survey said they make an effort to adopt environmentally friendly behaviors, with 60 percent saying they either bought a product because it was environmentally friendly or plan to do so in the next year.

The segment of consumers interested in stocking their shelves and pantries with "green" products extends beyond "the granola type," as one report commissioned by the Grocery Manufacturers' Association put it. The 2009 analysis by Deloitte found that people buying green "are diversely spread along all income ranges, age brackets, education levels and various household sizes."

What incentives do companies have to go green? 

Green ones — in more than one sense. Coming off as environmentally conscious can be a good sell with consumers. Research by Deloitte found that "green shoppers" represent a "high value segment who buy more products on each trip, visit the store more regularly, and demonstrate more brand and retailer loyalty in their purchasing behavior."

Major corporations like Wal-Mart have also instituted "green" measures such as recycling programs and energy conservation policies at corporate headquarters that shave operating costs while boosting the corporation's image with consumers, according to King. Being perceived as anti-environment has costs as well.

"If a company is continually being boycotted by activist groups or you see these protests outside company headquarters or you have shareholder activists who are submitting proposals every year to require the company to be more environmentally friendly, this kind of continual pressure can start to influence a company and damage its reputation," King said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Newlywed Guilty of Murdering Wife Days After Honeymoon]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 17:01:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/042214+michel+escoto+guilty.jpg

A jury returned a guilty verdict Tuesday for a South Florida man accused of murdering his newlywed wife to collect a $1 million insurance policy.

Michel Escoto, 42, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of wife Wendy Trapaga in October 2002 to collect the policy. The couple had returned from their honeymoon just days earlier.

The body of Trapaga, 21, was found next to a trash bin at a warehouse parking lot between the Palmetto Expressway and Miami Springs.

Escoto showed little emotion as the verdict was read. Trapaga's family cried.

Both sides presented closing arguments Monday. Escoto faces life in prison at sentencing, which was scheduled for May 7.

The trial, which began last month, has provided for some dramatic and awkward moments as Escoto, who is not an attorney, represented himself. Escoto had pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors had repeatedly objected to Escoto, who was also held in contempt at one point after he allegedly threatened a witness on the stand.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Stowaway's Sister Denies Fight ]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:53:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP737537110995.jpg

A woman who said she is the older sister of the 15-year-old boy who hid in the wheel well of a plane and flew from San Jose to Hawaii unharmed denied reports that he had an argument with his family before he decided to become an overseas stowaway.

In a short interview from her Santa Clara home on Monday, the woman spoke off camera with NBC Bay Area in halting English, and in a calm tone that didn't reveal her brother's harrowing tale: That the teenager scaled a fence at San Jose International Airport on Sunday morning, hid in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight, and survived the flight across the Pacific Ocean, despite being unconscious for the 5 1/2-hour trip. All the while, authorities said the temperature sank to below minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Department of Human Services in Hawaii said on Monday that the teen was in the care of Child Welfare Services, and the agency is doing what needs to be done to "ensure the child's safe return to his home in California."

The sister also denied reports that her brother got in a fight with family at home before he took off on his journey, which has raised questions about airport security. She spoke only briefly, and answered with a simple "no," when asked whether her brother ran away because of an argument. The sister also said her brother was "OK" physically after the trip. She declined to say any more.

Outside the family's home, family members arrived - without the teen - in a taxi, which pulled into the garage. Relatives did not want to speak and they closed the door. A neighbor called them "perfectly nice."

The sister's response seems to be in stark opposition to the story that emerged on Sunday, which was  investigated by the FBI.

In a phone interview on Monday from Hawaii, FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said that agents interviewed the boy, corroborated his story, and turned the teen over to child services in Hawaii until he could be reunited with his family.

"We're done," he told NBC Bay Area. "There's no case here."

Simon added that the boy did not commit any crimes in Hawaii and will not be charged by the FBI there. Simon said it is not his agency's jurisdiction to determine whether the teen committed any other crimes by allegedly hopping the fence in San Jose.

Back in California, San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol said the "event was documented" and was "will be reviewed" by the District Attorney for any pending charges.

As for the teen's journey -  flying at an altitude of 38,000 feet with no oxygen and coming out unscathed - Simon said: "Clearly, it's amazing."

The Associated Press reported that security footage from the San Jose airport verified that the Santa Clara teen hopped a fence to get to Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 on Sunday at 7:55 a.m.

Simon said when the flight landed in Maui at 10:25 a.m. Hawaii time, the boy hopped down from the wheel well and started wandering around the airport grounds.

"He was unconscious for the lion's share of the flight," Simon said. 

According to the FAA, the last known survivor of a stowaway incident was in August 2013 on a domestic flight within Nigeria, Africa. Since 1947, the FAA has recorded 94 stowaway incidents involving 105 people. Of those, only 25 survived.

The Hawaiian Airlines plane the Santa Clara stowaway hid on returned to San Jose International Airport, April 21, 2014.

The teen's misadventure -- including scaling a six-foot high barbed wire fence at the airport -- immediately raised security questions. A Congressman who serves on the Homeland Security committee wondered how the teen could have snuck onto the airfield at San Jose unnoticed.

"I have long been concerned about security at our airport perimeters. #Stowaway teen demonstrates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed," tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who represents the San Francisco Bay Area's eastern cities and suburbs.

Rosemary Barnes, a spokeswoman for Mineta San Jose International Airport, said airport police were working with the FBI, San Jose police, and the Transportation Security Agency to review security at the facility as part of an investigation. A TSA spokeswoman on Monday, however, said the breach is not a TSA matter.

San Jose's airport issued a statement saying "SJC's security program meets and exceeds all federal requirements and we have an excellent track record...Despite this, no system is 100 percent and it is possible to scale an airport fenceline, especially under cover of darkness and remain undetected."


 NBC Bay Area's Chase Cain and Oskar Garcia from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[ATV Riders Destroying Dunes Installed After Sandy]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:42:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/crescent+beach+dunes+ATV.jpg

The New York City Parks Department is installing fences and fixing gates along dunes on a Staten Island beach, hoping to keep out ATV riders who have been destroying the barriers put in place after Sandy.

Crescent Beach resident Coleen Wood says she frequently hears the ATVs, believed to be operated by teenagers, running over the dunes outside her home.

"Constantly back and forth, back and forth, even at nighttime we hear them," she said.

Sandy sent floodwaters 10 feet high outside and into Woods' home. The dunes and dune grasses were put in place for essential protection from future coastal storms, and Woods can't understand why others would want to endanger their community with a joyride.

"Right here is not a good time or a good place to do it," she said.

Another Crescent Beach resident, Mark Palazzolo, said, "Wise up, because it's their neighborhood that's gonna take a hit."

In addition to putting up fences around the dunes, parks enforcement officers will also be on patrol. ATV riders caught treading over the dunes could face a $2,000 fine.

"Have some respect for other people," said Woods. "We have to live here."

<![CDATA[Meb Keflezighi's SD Family Celebrates Boston Marathon Win]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:52:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marathon+winner+204.JPG

Meb Keflezighi’s parents and sister huddled around a small computer screen inside their Chula Vista home.

They watched Meb take a big lead in one of the world’s premiere running events, the Boston Marathon, only to see it dwindle down to a gut-wrenching eight seconds approaching the last mile. The family prayed hard enough to be felt 2,500 miles away from the San Diego County city.

“My heart was beating and oh God, oh God, help him, help him,” said Meb’s father Russom. “I was praying and when he made it, I was excited.”

At his home in Scripps Ranch, Meb’s brother AK also watched and prayed.

“I was kneeling down, praying, sending him positive energy,” said AK Keflezighi. “'God, help him push that last mile because I know he deserves it. I know he wants it. Nobody works harder than he does.'”

Born in Eritrea, Keflezighi became a U.S. citizen in 1998 after his family fled war to establish a new home in San Diego in 1987.

The San Diego High School and UCLA alum has won four NCAA titles, the New York City marathon in 2009, and an Olympic silver medal in 2004

Even with his record of past wins, the family knew very well the symbolic meaning of Monday’s Boston Marathon. It was more than just a race. It was a chance for America to ease the pain of last year’s tragic bombing.

“He’s a humble guy. I’m sure he was thinking of the victims that lost their lives last year,” said AK Keflezighi, Meb’s brother.

AK said that his brother wrote on his bib the names of the three victims who lost their lives near the finish line, and also the name of the security guard killed as police closed in on the bombing suspects.

“It was absolutely a glorious day. He was fantastic. From early on, I knew it was going to be special,” AK said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2 Shot Outside National Zoo in DC]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:44:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/240*120/20140421+Zoo+Shooting2.jpg

The Smithsonian's National Zoo says it will review and work to improve its safety procedures following a shooting just outside its gates Monday afternoon.

"We are very concerned about the incidents yesterday on Connecticut Avenue. People -- of all ages -- come to the zoo to see the animals and enjoy the festivities," said National Zoo spokeswoman Annalisa Meyer. "Our number one priority is safety. We’re going to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of our visitors."

The shooting was reported at 5:17 p.m. on a busy stretch of Connecticut Avenue in northwest D.C.

According to D.C. police, a large group of between 30 to 50 people was traveling southbound on Connecticut Avenue when shots rang out.

Police are reviewing security camera footage from businesses near the zoo, in hopes of finding the gunman.

"We have no indication that there was an argument that precipitated the shooting," D.C. Police Cmdr. Michael Reese said during a news conference about an hour after the shooting.

Jim Battagliese with WTOP-103.5 FM said he heard two shots and saw parents diving to the ground to protect their children.

One 18-year-old man was shot in the hand and found outside the zoo. Four blocks down, another man, also 18, was found with a gunshot wound to his arm.

Both injuries are non-life-threatening, and no suspect information has been released. Additional police presence spread to neighboring Metro stations immediately after the shooting.

The zoo hosted Easter Monday: A Washington Family Tradition event throughout the day, with family-friendly activities and live entertainment.

"We were scared because we do have our kids out here," a mother who was at the zoo at the time told News4.

"We were not expecting [a shooting] but we had a heavy police presence up here," Reese said. "We had multiple agencies... this is a very festive event. Numerous times nothing happened up here, but it's important for us to show a force and that's what we did."

On Easter Monday in 2011, a 16-year-old stabbed a 14-year-old at the zoo. Mshairi Alkebular received an 82-month sentence after pleading guilty in that stabbing.

On Easter Monday in 2000, a 16-year-old shot seven people near the zoo entrance. That teen was sentenced to 25 years in jail.

<![CDATA[Feds Create New Chicago Office ]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:13:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Zach-fardon-1-9.jpg

Chicago's new U.S. attorney on Monday announced the creation of a unit within the Department of Justice's Northern Illinois office that aims to temper the city's violent crime.

The Violent Crimes Section was launched April 1 with 16 prosecutors who will focus solely on how federal statutes can be used to go after violence, said Randall Samborn, the spokesman for U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon.

The new section comes as a part of a complete restructuring for the Northern District office. The restructure includes breaking up some large divisions into new, smaller sections. The Securities and Commodities section is another new group.

Samborn said prosecutors previously devoted roughly the same resources to those crimes. He says Fardon just felt some of divisions were too large.

Before Fardon took the top post six months ago he came under pressure to ensure his office did more to help stem persistent street-level violence in Chicago.

<![CDATA[Pop-Up Cat Cafe Opens in NYC ]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:25:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/5E5A9530.JPG

A pop-up cat cafe is set to open in downtown Manhattan later this week, allowing visitors to pet free-roaming kittens while relaxing over coffee. 

Visitors to the Cat Café, opening at 168 Bowery in the Bowery neighborhood on Thursday, will be able to pick up complimentary coffee beverages like the "cat'achino" and bakery items, then play with cats in the main lounge during operating hours, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The adoptable cats are from the North Shore Animal League America rescue group.

Purina One, the sponsor of the pop-up cafe, says speakers are also lined up to speak each day the cafe is open Thursday through Sunday. 

Cat cafes are popular in Japan and have started to take off overseas. One cafe opened in London in March and saw bookings fill up through the end of June. The tea room, called Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, charges customers about $8 for two hours of playtime with cats. 

A few cat cafes are in the works in California. 


Photo Credit: Courtesy Purina ONE]]>
<![CDATA[Convicted Killer's Son Remains Conflicted]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:50:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mohammed-AlHimidi.jpg

The son of an Iraqi immigrant convicted of killing his wife said he remains conflicted on the high-profile case that ended in San Diego earlier this week with a guilty verdict, adding that he still loves his father.

“It’s not that I disagree with what the decision was, it’s just I hate what the decision was itself. I hate the verdict,” Mohammed Al-Himidi told NBC 7 San Diego Friday in an exclusive interview.

Mohammed is the oldest son of Kassim Al-Himidi, 49. On Thursday, Al-Himidi was found guilty of the 2012 murder of his wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32.

The verdict sparked several outbursts in the courtroom, including Mohammed screaming, “This is bulls---! This is f---ing bulls---! My dad is innocent. He was tried unfairly.”

Mohammed said his post-verdict outburst was a mix of every emotion he’s ever had about the case involving his parents, finally reaching a boiling point.

“I had an emotional breakdown, really,” he told NBC 7. “A million thoughts were going through my head. Basically, the judge [had] just said, ‘Your dad is going to be locked up for life.’ My dad has been there throughout my whole life.”

On Mar. 21, 2012, Mohammed’s mother was brutally beaten in a bloody attack at their family’s home in El Cajon. She suffered critical brain injuries and died three days later. At the time, Mohammed was only 15 years old.

At first, the case was investigated as a hate crime due to a handwritten note found at the crime scene, which read: “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist.”

Ultimately, El Cajon police determined it wasn’t a hate crime but rather a crime of domestic violence. Investigators arrested Al-Himidi in connection with the killing in November 2012.

Mohammed said he’s been conflicted with the case from the beginning. Now, with the guilty verdict, it’s even harder. He said he still feels like he’s stuck in the middle when it comes to what he believes.

“My dad, I personally thought, was innocent coming into the trial. I didn’t know what to believe, honestly. It’s the law versus your loyalty for your dad,” he explained. “It’s kind of like [being] in the middle. When I say I love my dad still, I’m just thinking, ‘Damn, I don’t know if my mom is going to be cool with that.’ It’s hard. It’s in the middle. I love my mom, but I also love my dad.”

While Mohammed said he loved his mother deeply, he worries that he’s now lost his father, too.

The teen said he still doesn’t know if he believes his dad is really guilty.

“I wasn’t actually there to see what happened. That’s between God and my mom. My mom was there – she knows who did it. Maybe my dad did it, maybe he didn’t,” he said. “Even [if] my dad did that, I still have love for him. It’s still my dad.”

Mohammed said the verdict is especially difficult to swallow because his father never had a history of violence in the family.

“My dad was never like that, never ever like that. My dad was never aggressive, never physical, never any of that stuff. I mean, it’s so confusing,” he said.

The teenager said he and his younger brother, Ali, have differing opinions when it comes to whether or not their father committed the crime. Still, those opinions won’t pit the brothers against one another.

“My brother and I are best friends. We’re really close. We don’t agree with each other, but that’s not going to ruin our brotherhood,” said Mohammed, adding that he respects the opinions of all of his siblings on this case, but stands by his own as well.

“I lost my parents, but I still have my siblings. I’ve trying to hold it together. There’s a lot going on,” he added.

Despite a verdict in place and Al-Himidi awaiting his sentencing on May 15, Mohammed said closure for the family still seems elusive at this point.

“Right now, to be honest with you, I don’t really feel a sense of closure. I just feel a sense of the family being even more separated,” he said.

Mohammed currently lives with relatives in Texas. He’s graduating from high school in May and said he plans to pursue a career in counseling, focusing on children and teens who have experienced this same type of trauma.

<![CDATA[Texas Dad Shot Son, 10: Police]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 17:47:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Forest-Hill-Nesbitt.jpg

A 10-year-old boy remains hospitalized at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth after police in Forest Hill say he was shot by his own father.

Byron Nesbitt, 32, was arrested and charged with shooting his son in the course of an argument with his wife.

Investigators said Nesbitt's wife called 911 shortly after midnight early Sunday morning, when he arrived home intoxicated.

There was an argument and according to police, Nesbitt's wife piled their kids and others into a van, about six of them in all, and tried to drive away.

"As she was fleeing, the husband attacked, beating on the windshield with a handgun, and as she was leaving, he fired several shots at the van," said Forest Hill Police Capt. Jerry Cosby. "At least one of the bullets had penetrated the van and came through and struck the 10-year-old in the hip."

Nesbitt already faces some serious charges and possibly more after the case is filed with the district attorney's office.

Forest Hill police said the boy is expected to make a full recovery. Nesbitt posted $75,000 bond and was released from jail at 6 p.m. Monday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Forest Hill Police]]>
<![CDATA[Charges in Prep School Drug Ring]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:17:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Main+Line+High+School+Drug+Ring.jpg

Two prep school graduates who prosecutors say had their sights set on running the drug trade on suburban Philadelphia's Main Line have been arrested along with so-called "sub-dealers" for allegedly selling illicit substances in high schools and colleges.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman announced on Monday the arrests of Neil Scott and Timothy Brooks and detailed their alleged operation called the "Main Line Take Over Project."

Scott, 25, and Brooks, 18, employed "sub-dealers" at five Main Line high schools and three area colleges who would sell marijuana, hash oil, cocaine and MDMA, a drug commonly known as Ecstasy, Ferman said. Authorities confiscated drugs, cash and guns in a sweep related to the operation, which officials said had been running for the past couple of months, officials said.

“This was not a game. These people were in business, they were in business to make money and they were going to do whatever they needed to do so that no one threatened their business," Ferman said.

The schools involved were the private Haverford School and public high schools Lower Merion High School and Harriton High School in Lower Merion Township, Pa., Conestoga High School in Tredyffrin Twp., Pa., Radnor High School in Radnor, Pa., as well as Gettysburg, Lafayette and Haverford colleges.

Ferman said both men, who are graduates of the prestigious all-boys preparatory school The Haverford School, worked together to "create a [drug] monopoly to high school students in the area." Both men played lacrosse at the swanky Montgomery County private school and coached youth sports leagues, according to Ferman. The DA said Brooks and Scott exploited those relationships to help grow the criminal enterprise.

According to a 100-page criminal complaint obtained by NBC10.com, Scott received bulk shipments of marijuana from California to his apartment in Haverford, Pa. Drugs would also be sent to his parent's home in Paoli and Brooks' home in Villanova, according to the complaint.

Authorities said Scott worked, at one time, at a legal marijuana dispensary in California and used those connections to garner his supply.

Through text messages obtained during the investigation, prosecutors said they learned Scott and Brooks ran the ring like a legitimate business. Scott allegedly coached Brooks, who would in turn supervise the "sub-dealers" inside the high schools.

“The high school sub-dealers were encouraged to develop their business so that they could sell at least one pound of marijuana each week,” Ferman said. "Brooks instructed the dealers to make sure that there was never a drought."

John Nagl, headmaster for The Haverford School, said school officials were notified about an on-going investigation several weeks ago, but were asked not to interfere.

"We focus on developing boys with good character, despite our best efforts, sometimes boys make bad choices," he said. "This was destructive and horrible. And we are deeply saddened."

Nagle said the school, which teaches 1,000 boys in a lower, middle and upper school, does not comment on current or former students. He said he did not know how many students may have purchased drugs through the ring.

“The school is cooperating with the law enforcement investigation," he said.

Spokespersons for the Lower Merion, Radnor and Tredyffrin/Easttown school districts said officials have been made aware of the allegations and that the safety of students is most important. All said they were unaware of the investigation, but will cooperate if asked.

Gettysburg College is conducting an internal investigation, a spokesman for that college said.

NBC10.com also reached out to the other schools involved in the case, but so far we have not heard back.

Ferman said investigators learned about the "Main Line Take Over Project" through confidential informants and conducted a one-day round-up in February. In that operation, prosecutors said they confiscated 8 lbs. of marijuana, 3 grams of hash oil, 23 grams of cocaine, 11 grams of Ecstasy, $11,000 in cash, a loaded handgun, an AR-15 assault rifle and AR-15 style rifle. Most of the contraband came from Scott's Haverford apartment, authorities said.

In addition to Scott and Brooks, seven alleged "sub-dealers" were also charged. They are: Daniel McGrath, 18, a student at The Haverford School; John Rosemann, 20, a student at Lafayette College; Christian Euler, 23, a graduate of The Haverford School and student at Lafayette College; Garrett Johnson, 18, a student at Haverford College; Reid Cohen, 18, a Haverford College student; Willow Orr, 22; Domenic Curcio, 29.

Two juveniles, a 17-year-old Radnor High School student and 17-year-old Lower Merion High School student, have also been petitioned by the DA's office.

Scott, who is being held on $1 million bail, covered his face and shouted expletives at reporters attempting to get comment following his arraignment on Monday afternoon. His attorney declined comment saying he had just gotten the case.

Brook's attorney said the teen "lost his way" and is remorseful. His parents posted the $25,000 bail to release him from jail.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Teen Carjacks 3 Kids, Puppy]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 18:21:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Kids-Found-0421_Crop.jpg

A father's stop at his wife's work turned into a harrowing experience Sunday, when authorities say a teen carjacked the vehicle with three kids and puppy inside.

The gray 2005 Dodge Magnum was reported stolen around 5:30 p.m. from 47th Street and Market Street in the Chollas View area.

A 7 year-old girl, 3 year-old boy and 18 month-old girl were inside the car that had been left with the keys in the ignition. The family's puppy was also inside the car.

San Diego police Lt. Steve Shaw said the father heard what sounded like his car driving off.

"He went outside and his vehicle was gone," Shaw said.

Approximately 30 minutes later California Highway Patrol Officer Derek Meissen spotted the car on State Route 125 at Jamacha.

The suspect led officers on a pursuit up SR-125 and over to State Route 94. The car took the College Avenue exit before hitting a curb and crashing on Acorn Street.

Officers took the 15-year-old suspect into custody. 

Meissen said the children witnessed the entire arrest.

"They were very scared. The little girl came out. She was freaking out while we were trying to take custody of the driver so we had to get her out of the way but she was very scared," he said.

San Diego police took the 15-year-old suspect, whose name has not been released because she is a minor, to Juvenile Hall on charges of auto theft, robbery and kidnapping.

Police initially told NBC 7 that the dad stopped at the mom’s work and thought he had locked the car when he went to talk to her.

They later said the father had left the keys in the car, giving the suspect an opportunity to hop in and make a getaway.

The carjacking appears to be random.

Officials were preparing to issue an Amber Alert, but Officer Meissen spotted the car a half hour after it was reported stolen.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 ]]>
<![CDATA["Yeezy" Sneaker Shooting]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:11:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/yeezy+sneaker.jpg

A 14-year-old boy was arrested over the weekend after allegedly shooting another teen in the foot for cutting in a line for coveted $250 sneakers Saturday morning, police say.

The victim, a 15-year-old boy, was shot outside a Foot Locker on Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick about 6 a.m. as he and other customers waited outside the store for the chance to buy a pair of Nike Foamposite Pro Premium "Yeezy" shoes, named for Kanye West, police say.

After the boy cut in line, one of the customers left and returned with a handgun, police say. The shooter fired the gun four times, with one of the bullets hitting the 15-year-old in the foot.

The boy was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive, according to the NYPD.

The 14-year-old boy, who wasn't identified, was arrested over the weekend and has been charged with first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

Earlier this month, there was nearly a riot after hundreds of people lined up outside a Soho sneaker store for the debut of a different model of Nike Foamposite sneakers, according to the New York Post. The store canceled the sale after customers got unruly.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>