<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:31:20 -0500 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:31:20 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Plane Crash in French Alps: By the Numbers]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 06:38:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.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.

The captain of the plane was Patrick Sonderheimer, sources confirmed to NBC News on Saturday.

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.

50,000: The number of euros Lufthansa will pay, as a preliminary payment, to the relatives of each deceased passenger to help cover immediate costs, a company spokesperson told NBC News. The money will not have to be paid back, Lufthansa said.

400: Number of French officers mobilized for the plane crash, according to the French National Gendarmerie.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[1 Dead in Shooting Outside NSA Facility in Maryland]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:56:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/20150330+Ft+Meade.jpg

One person is dead after a security guard exchanged gunfire with two men who tried to enter Fort Meade disguised as women.

The men tried to drive their Ford Escape into the National Security Agency portion of the Maryland installation without authorization just after 9 a.m. Monday.

Gunfire was exchanged with a security guard, and it is believed that the guard shot at least one of the men. The second suspect was also injured in the firefight.

At least one gun and drugs were found in the stolen Ford Escape the men were riding in, according to NBC News.

From Chopper4, emergency workers could be seen caring for an injured, uniformed man who was loaded into an ambulance.

There are also two damaged vehicles outside the gate, including a police SUV.

A senior U.S. official told NBC News that the incident appears to be a "local criminal matter"; so far, no federal agencies, including the FBI, are involved in the investigation.

“The incident has been contained and is under investigation,” said Colonel Brian Foley, Fort Meade garrison commander.

The FBI's Baltimore office says they do not believe this incident is related to terrorism.

Fort Meade, a United States Army installation, is home to approximately 11,000 military personnel along with about 29,000 civilian employees, according the military installation's website. It is also home to the National Security Agency.

Stay with News4 for more on this developing story.


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<![CDATA[Apple's Tim Cook: "Religious Objection" Laws Are "Very Dangerous"]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:22:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tim-cook-apple-fortuna.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook slammed Indiana's new "religious objection" legislation over the weekend, penning a Washington Post piece warning that “there’s something very dangerous happening in America.”

The piece, which was posted late Sunday night, said the openly gay executive, who was raised in a Baptist home in the South, was "deeply disappointed" in the recently passed "Religious Freedom Restoration" law in Indiana that shields business owners who turn away customers for religious reasons.

"This isn’t a political issue," he wrote. "It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous."

Cook called this new wave of legislation "very dangerous," noting there are about 100 similar bills under consideration in two dozen states. And he added that they "go against the very principles our nation was founded on" and "have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality."

“America's business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business,” he wrote. “At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers' lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That's why, on behalf of Apple, I'm standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I'm writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement.”

Cook, who was baptized in a Baptist church and grew up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s.  He publicly disclosed that he is gay in October. Last week, Cook announced that he will give his fortune away.



Photo Credit: NBC NEWS]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:50:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP535773581837_1_Yemen.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[$100K Reward for Missing College Student in LA: Family]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:53:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/3-29-15+Missing+UC+Berkeley+student.JPG

A $100,000 reward was being offered for the safe return of a UC Berkeley student who went missing after leaving a party near the University of Southern California campus early Saturday morning, family members said.

Eloi Vasquez, a 19-year-old freshman who plays on the school's soccer team, walked out of a fraternity house in the 600 block of West 28th Street about 1:30 a.m. with only his cellphone in hand.

His friends tried to get him to come back to the party, but he told them over the phone he "was going to the beach."

Vasquez then called a friend, Aurora Cardena, in Northern California at 2:18 a.m. and told her he was "screwed" and got lost, his mother Wendy Margolin said.

"He pretty much said, 'I need you to come over here, I need help.' I asked him 'Where are you?' and he told me that he was in LA and that he didn’t know where he was at and that he was lost," Aurora Cardenas told NBC Bay Area. "The second time he called it just clicked. I didn’t know if his phone died, or if he hung up."

When Vasquez left the party he didn't have his wallet, money or ID with him. The phone he used to call his friend has since died.

"Everyone knows how responsible he is, how dedicated to school he is and he hasn't contacted anyone since," Margolin said. "Something is going on with him."

Vasquez's parents drove to LA from Northern California on Saturday hoping to find their son. The home where Vasquez was last seen has since been littered with fliers by friends also in hopes of his return.

A $50,000 reward was offered for Vasquez's safe return Sunday. The amount was doubled Monday. 

"All his friends are out scouring for him... looking around for him," Margolin said. They've gone to lifeguard towers in the Santa Monica and Venice area, hoping someone has seen him.

His mother planned to visit candy and doughnut shops that stayed open late night near where the party was.

Vasquez's friends said they had been drinking at the party on spring break.

"It's definitely unlike him and we're very concerned," said Vasquez's friend, Marko Helfrich.

Vasquez is described as 6 feet tall, weighing about 175 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a baseball T-shirt with red sleeves, gray pants and white tennis shoes.

"Eloi is a wonderful young man who has excelled both academically and athletically here at Cal. Our entire Cal Athletics family is very concerned for Eloi’s safety and our first priority is to help in any way we can to locate him," the Berkeley athletics department said in a statement.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 213-486-8582.

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<![CDATA[8 Killed, 10 Hurt in Florida Van Crash]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:36:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/swflavancrash.jpg

Eight people were killed and 10 injured when the van they were in crashed into a canal early Monday in southwest Florida, NBC affiliate WBBH reports.

The Florida Highway Patrol said a preliminary investigation showed that a vehicle carrying 18 people and heading eastbound on SR-78 passed through a stop sign in the town of Moore Haven after midnight.

The van then traveled across all lanes of US-27 and crashed into a steep, partially-filled water canal.

The van is said to be from a church out of the Fort Pierce area, which is north of West Palm Beach, and was headed back after a weekend convention in Fort Meyers, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

According to NBC 6 South Florida teams on the scene, a smashed van was loaded onto the back of a flatbed truck at the crash site. That van belongs to the Independent Haitian Assembly of God, with a listed address of 1914 Orange Ave in Fort Pierce

The driver of the van and seven passengers died. Ten other passengers were transported to local hospitals.

The ten passengers were taken to four area hospitals, according to FHP.  One patient, a 4-year-old child, was in stable condition at a Fort Meyers hospital. At least two patients were classified as trauma alerts. The other passengers conditions range from serious to stable. The injury status of the other patients it not immediately known.

 

One of the five patients taken to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Meyers has been released, according to the hospital's administrative supervisor. Two patients there were in critical condition and two others were in stable condition Monday morning, he said.

FHP says it was not foggy in the area of the crash scene in Glades County, west of Lake Okeechobee. The T-intersection is said to be surrounded by farmland.



Photo Credit: Julia Bagg/NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[JetBlue Computers Back Online After Outage]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 08:01:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Jetblue+System+Down+2.jpg

A computer outage that caused delays for thousands of JetBlue Airways passengers early Monday morning has been resolved, the company said.

JetBlue Airways said it had fixed a systemwide computer problem by 6:15 a.m. Eastern that has caused delays because the airline had to manually check in passengers.

NBC News reported that the airline had to issue handwritten boarding passes to passengers at many airports.

 

The company said in an email that passengers might experience delays throughout the day. It did not specify how long it would take to work through delays and get operations back to normal.

The airline did not immediately respond to inquiries on how many flights were affected, but passengers at airports in Boston; Orlando, Fla., and Washington, D.C., took to social media to report long lines and delays. 



Photo Credit: Charlie Field
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<![CDATA[Robin Williams' Children Battle Widow Over Estate ]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:46:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP741201775385.jpg

Seven months after Robin Williams tragic suicide, his family is taking their battle over his estate to the courtroom.

According to court documents, Williams’ three children will dispute with the late actor's widow, Susan Schneider, Monday morning over the rights to Williams' Marin County home and the belongings inside.

In her filing, Schnieder alleges the comedian's children from two previous marriages took items without her permission from the Tiburon, California, home she shared with Williams.

Williams' trust granted his children his memorabilia and awards in the entertainment industry and some other specific personal items, but also called for the creation of provisions to benefit his wife, who has two teenage sons of her own. This included the couple's home in Tiburon, California and "the contents thereof,” according to the actors will, The New York Times reported.

Schneider is asking the court to exclude the contents of the Tiburon home from items Williams wanted the children to have.

The case over the details of Williams’ trust is expected to go beyond Monday’s initial hearing.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Thrown From Moving Car]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 02:39:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/3-29-15+Woman+Thrown+From+Car+2.JPG

A Southern California woman was allegedly thrown out of a moving car in downtown Los Angeles after getting into an argument with her boyfriend Sunday, officials from the Los Angeles Police Department said.

The domestic dispute happened near the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street at 12:20 a.m.

Officials who responded to the scene found the injured 19-year-old on the ground and her unharmed dog by her side. The dog was not thrown from the car, officials said.

It was unclear how fast the car was moving when the woman was shoved out of it.

She was taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition.

A driver of a BMW was detained in connection with the incident.



Photo Credit: OnSceneTV]]>
<![CDATA[Coney Island Coaster Gets Stuck]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 05:25:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/032915coney.jpg

The legendary Coney Island Cyclone gave passengers a scare Sunday when it got stuck on its first public run of the season, forcing a number of riders to climb down the wooden structure on foot.

All the passengers - attending what were to have been leisurely festivities to mark the reopening of Luna Park for the season - appeared to have escaped the roller coaster unharmed. But some said the slow climb from high up on the open structure left them feeling shaken.

"It was terrifying, because I was up there and everything was spinning," Gabriella Centeno said after she reached solid ground. "I didn't know what to do."

Anna Dartany said the park staffers' assistance made climbing down possible.

"I'm scared of heights," she said, "but with their help I made it down. ... This was insane."

Angie Morris, brand manager at Luna Park, said the historic roller coaster had undergone tests over the past month ahead of Sunday's season opening. Such a problem hadn't occurred for a very long time, she said, although she declined to specify how long.

She said the Cyclone would be back up and running within a matter of hours.

Despite the less-than-summery temperatures, longtime fans had flocked to the roller coaster Sunday morning to celebrate the amusement park's reopening and to take advantage of free tickets being offered to the first 100 people who showed up to ride the wooden icon.

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<![CDATA[Newborn Jaguar Cub Debuts at San Diego Zoo]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 13:27:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/JagBaby3-27-15_Med.jpg

A young jaguar cub will be the newest addition to the family at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, zoo officials said.

Mother Nindiri welcomed the cub on March 12 at 8:30 p.m. inside the jaguar den at the Harry and Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey exhibit.

Visitors looking to spot the wobbly-legged newborn can see it in the cave viewing area during Play Days, a zoo event that started Saturday.

The 18-day-old cub is the third for seven-year-old Nindiri. The sex of the cub is not yet known.



Photo Credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[2 Dead in Philly Suburb Plane Crash]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:23:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/194*120/Chester+County+Plane+Crash.JPG

Two men died when a small plane plummeted to the ground near a suburban Philadelphia airport Sunday afternoon, police said.

The plane -- a Piper PA28-- crashed into a wooded area near Saunders Lane and Andrews Drive in West Goshen, Chester County killing both people on board around 1:45 p.m., officials confirmed.

"Shortly after taking off the plane started to sputter and then basically took a nosedive and came down in the woods," said Bob Fleming, of Goshen Fire Company.

It had taken off minutes earlier from the Brandywine Airport, which is roughly two miles from the crash site, police said. Officials said the last deadly accident out of Brandywine Airport was 10 years ago.

Witnesses on the ground suggested the single-engine Piper PA-28 may have lost power -- the engine sputtering -- and then stalled before crashing into the woods and bursting into flames. 

"We couldn't see anything, just heard a big bang," said Frank Kraus, a neighbor.

Kraus added he was thankful the tragedy was not any worse, considering the proximity of several homes and a large senior living housing complex to the crash site.

"Thank God for the pilot," he said. "But then the pilot and his passenger didn't make it which is sad. Sad to hear that people didn't make it."

The identities of the victims have not been released and it's unknown at this time what caused the plane to crash. Authorities confirmed at least one of the victims is a West Goshen Township resident.

Local authorities and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating. Officials with the National Transportation and Safety Board are expected to arrive Monday to aid in the investigation.

Oddly enough, a similar Piper aircraft also crashed Sunday in Virginia, killing a teenage student pilot.



Photo Credit: SkyForce10]]>
<![CDATA[Music Festival Bans Selfie Sticks]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 07:03:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/181*120/Coachella2014-Sunday-Scenery.jpg

Festival goers can leave behind their selfie sticks when packing for their trips this year.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California is the latest in a string of festivals and venues to ban ticket holders from carrying in the popular selfie stick. 

"NO Selfie Sticks / Narsisstics [sic]," the website reads. Festival organizers did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

Selfie sticks help large groups take selfies easier, but organizers of several large music festivals around the nation are banning the stick on their grounds. 

Earlier in the week, Lollapalooza, a summer music festival in Chicago, also had a noticable addition to its FAQ section on the website for 2015 festival goers, NBC Chicago reported: no selfie sticks.

"GoPro attachments like sticks, selfie sticks & monopods," the website clarified. Professional recording equipment, such as detachable zoom lenses and tripods, will also not be allowed into festival grounds. 

It was immediately unclear whether other large music festivals in California would institute a similar ban. HARD Fest, a popular music festival in Los Angeles, did not specifically mention selfie sticks on their prohibited items list, though they do not allow professional recording equipment such as cameras with detachable lenses, or videos cameras or GoPros. 

Other popular California music festivals, such as Outside Lands in August or County Summer in June, do not specifically mention selfie sticks. The highly anticipated San Diego festival, Kaaboo, will not allow audio or video recording equipment on festival grounds. 

ULTRA, a large music event in Miami, specified on their website that they would not allow festivals goers in Miami to bring in "professional cameras, flash cameras or video and audio recording equipment, or camera poles." Summerfest, a Milwaulkee, WI festival, did not specify whether they would allow the sticks. 

Music festivals are not the first to institute a selfie stick ban. The Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museumbanned the popular sticks in February



Photo Credit: Ryan Cowen]]>
<![CDATA[Police Call Off Search for Missing Sorority Sister]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:31:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/u+of+minnesota.jpg

The investigation into the disappearance of a Minnesota university student changed from a search for a missing person to a "water recovery effort" on Monday, police in Minneapolis said. 

Jennifer Houle, 22, was last seen around 1 a.m. Friday at the Blarney Bar in Dinkytown, a neighborhood in Minneapolis, police told NBC News. Houle’s purse was found two hours later about three blocks away from the bar.

Police on Monday said they'd obtained video which showed Houle entering the Mississippi River from the 10th Avenue Bridge. No foul play was suspected, they said.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the Houle family and all of Jennifer's many friends," the department said in a statement.

Houle was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority at the University of Minnesota. Her sorority sisters posted a message on Facebook asking for the public to join the search. "We need all the help we can get to find this warm-hearted, beautiful person." The message has been shared more than 8,000 times. 

Our sister, Jen Houle is still missing. She was last seen in this outfit at 1am Friday March 27th in Dinkytown. We need...

Posted by Pi Beta Phi UMN on Saturday, March 28, 2015

Friends and family hosted a prayer vigil Sunday night at Stillwater Area High School. Houle graduated from Stillwater in 2011, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boston Police Officer in Surgery]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 18:12:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/John+Moynihan.jpg

A Boston police officer honored for his role in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings is in stable and improving condition after undergoing successful surgery.

Officer John T. Moynihan, 34, was critically injured Friday night during a shootout in the city's Roxbury neighborhood. He had been in a medically induced coma at Boston Medical Center since the shooting.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans met with doctors Sunday, who told him the bullet was removed from his neck after several hours of surgery.

Moynihan is expected to get out of intensive care in the days ahead.

"I'm thankful to the doctors and medical team at Boston Medical Center for taking such good care of my officer," said Evans in a statement. "I was happy to hear that he made it through surgery without any complications, it shows you what a strong kid he is and what a great medical team they have here."

A healing service was held for Moynihan Sunday morning at St. Patrick's Church in Roxbury to coincide with the scheduled surgery. Many law enforcement officers were present to support their brother in blue.

The shootout took place after police say they tried to make a traffic stop on Humboldt Avenue around 6:40 p.m. Friday. According to authorities, the suspect, later identified as 41-year-old Angelo West, exited his vehicle and opened fire at police.

Moynihan was shot below his right eye. Police returned fire and West, who had a history with violence towards law enforcement, was killed in the shooting. A middle-aged woman was also caught in the crossfire as she drove by, suffering a flesh wound to her right arm. Evans said Friday that she was fine and in good spirits.

A decorated Iraq war veteran, Moynihan has been with the Boston Police Department since 2008, currently serving on the department's Youth Violence Strike Force. MBTA Officer Dic Donohue, who was injured in the manhunt after the Boston Marathon bombings, confirmed to necn that Moynihan helped rescue him in 2013. The following year, Moynihan received the Nation's Top Cops Award from President Barack Obama, followed by the Boston Police Medal of Honor.

Saturday, Donohue expressed his gratitude to Moynihan and sent his best wishes.

"John played a part in saving my life, and that's something I will never forget," he said in a statement to necn. "His record of service speaks for itself. Everyone is wishing him well and we know he has the strength to pull through."

Police said Friday that two suspects besides West were in custody "on unrelated matters." No further information has been available about them.



Photo Credit: Boston Police
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<![CDATA[Train Derailment Wreckage Cleared]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 11:05:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/150328-6pm-metro-train-crash_1200x675_419651651872.jpg

The wreckage from the crash in Southern California between a metro train and a car, which left one person in grave condition Saturday, has been cleared.

The collision occurred when the train hit a car that turned in front of it in Exposition Park.

In addition to the person who was reportedly near death, 20 other people were also injured.

The train operator was hospitalized in serious condition, said Shawn Lenske of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

He was later released and was recuperating at home, according to Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo. He identified the operator as Kenneth Goss, a 29-year Metro veteran who is in his mid-50s.

Nineteen other people, all train passengers, suffered minor injuries in the 10:50 a.m. crash and eight of them were taken to hospitals, Lenske said.

The train hit the Hyundai at a traffic signal between USC and the Museum of Natural History.

Ubaldo told City News Service the car and the train both were heading east, when the car made a left turn toward the USC gate and was hit by the electric light rail vehicle.

Witnesses said after the Hyundai made an improper turn, it became wedged between a pole and the train, which derailed, according to the Sgt. Mike Verlich of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Left turns such as that are regulated by a left turn arrow, and there are flashing alarms for approaching trains, which get stop signals if cars are turning across the grade crossing.

After the wreck, a picture shot from a USC office building across the street, and posted on the Internet, showed a crushed car on the westbound tracks at the Watt Drive signal, and a stopped train on the tracks usually used by trains heading from Culver City to downtown Los Angeles.

The crash was next to the Exposition Park Rose Garden, about halfway between the tunnel under Figueroa Street, and Vermont Street.

Expo Line service in both directions was cut, and firefighters were warned a half hour after the crash that the train line's overhead power supply could not be immediately cut off. The train's electric arms had been retracted but firefighters were warned that low voltage batteries might still be a hazard, firefighters were told.

Buses were being used as a ``bridge'' to ferry passengers around the wreck.

Regular service on the Expo line wasn't expected to be restored until about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Ubaldo said.

Crews will have to de-energize both tracks to replaced a damaged traffic signal pole and officials wanted to wait until spectators, many of whom relied on mass transit, left a sold out Mexico-Ecuador soccer game that was played tonight at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Ubaldo said.

The game ended about 8:30 p.m.

Crews would be working through the night to complete repairs and reopen
the line, Ubaldo said.
 

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<![CDATA[Neighbor Helps Rescue Girl]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 17:42:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/easthartfordfire.jpg

A neighbor helped rescue a young girl from a fire that ripped through an East Hartford home early Sunday morning, the fire department said.

Flames and heavy smoke were seen at the home at 86 Pendleton Drive when authorities arrived around 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

An elderly women, her adult son, her nephew and a young girl lived in the home, the fire department said. The fire started while the family was sleeping.

“It was me and her father, got the key to the front door," said neighbor Jay Arcand. "There was so much smoke we just kind of leaned in and reached around and luckily she was near the front door, and we just pulled her out.”

The girl was barely conscious and was taken to Shriners Hospital in Boston in serious condition, having suffered burns to her hands and face.

The family's two dogs were also caught in the fire. One was able to be resuscitated, while the other died in the blaze.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the fire marshal.

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<![CDATA[NYC Building Blast Search Continues]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:09:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/east+village+fire+explosion.jpg

Emergency workers continued searching Saturday for at least two people still missing after an apparent gas line explosion leveled three Manhattan apartment buildings, though authorities cautioned that chances of finding survivors are slim.

Meanwhile, investigators piece together what exactly caused the blast that injured 22.

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 blast that leveled three buildings in the East Village.

"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 news 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. This could have saved money and perhaps allowed for gas to flow to some apartments that had not yet been cleared for service. 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.

About 60 firefighters were still working to put out hot spots on Saturday, and rescue workers with K9 units were on the scene searching for the two missing people. Earlier, Con Ed shut off gas to 187 residential customers and 32 commercial customers in the area while the search and recovery work continued.

Residents of three nearby buildings were still barred from entering, but about 40 apartments in five other buildings were reopened to residents as of Saturday. Some 20 apartments in those buildings were to remain closed until damage could be repaired. Officers were escorting residents into buildings when possible to help them retrieve pets and personal belongings, officials said.

On the day of the explosion, 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. Inspectors didn't smell any gas, Con Ed said.

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 and 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.

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<![CDATA[10 in Hospital, SoCal Train Crash]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 02:37:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/03-28-15+Train+Crash+LA+Times+Photo+%284%29.JPG

A University of Southern California film student was hospitalized in "grave" condition after the car he was riding in was crushed by a Metro train near the school’s campus Saturday, officials said. Nine people aboard the commuter train were also taken to hospitals after the crash, including the train operator.

The collision was reported just before 11 a.m. near the intersection of Exposition Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, officials with the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Investigators say the 31-year-old driver, who has not been identified, may have made an "improper turn" to his left, crossed the tracks and collided  with the train, said Sgt. Michael Verlich of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

The car became wedged between the train and a pole, causing the train to come off the tracks and trapping the driver inside the mangled vehicle.

"It was just like a big, loud crash of metal," said USC freshman Johnny Stevens, who saw the aftermath from his dorm room. "It was huge so we knew it wasn't just a car crash. We figured something big happened, so we looked out our window and we saw half of a car smashed into the rail."

In all, 21 people received medical attention, LAFD Assistant Chief Don Frazeur said. 

The driver, who is also a military veteran, was taken to the hospital in "grave" condition after being rescued from the crumpled Hyundai Sonata.

The train operator, identified as Kenneth Goss, was recovering at home with his family after being treated at the hospital for injuries that were described as "serious." He has worked for Metro for 29 years, said Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo.

Eight others were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. Several others were treated at the scene.

LAFD officials initially said two cars had been involved in the crash with the train, but later changed that number to one.

About 100 passengers were on the train at the time of the wreck, Ubaldo said.

The crash interrupted additional Metro train service for a crowd of 80,000 at the Mexico versus Ecuador soccer match at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Metro officials warned commuters to expect major delays on the Expo Line. Bus shuttles were requested between Jefferson Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. The line was expected to reopen by midnight, said Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo.

NBC4's Irene Moore contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times]]>
<![CDATA[7 Shot at Spring Break Party: Cops]]> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:23:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/panama+city+mug+032815.jpg

A spring break party in Panama City Beach, Florida, turned violent early Saturday morning after police said seven people, including students, were shot.

Gunshots rang out at the house party around 1 a.m., according to NBC affiliate WJHG. Bay County Sheriff spokeswoman Ruth Curley told NBC News that some of the victims are students at Alabama A&M University who were visiting the area for spring break.

Officials said 22-year-old David Jamichael Daniels of Mobile, Alabama, was arrested after police set up a perimeter. Daniels is being held at the Bay County Jail on seven counts of attempted murder.

Curley said police recovered a .40-caliber handgun in the backyard of a nearby home.

Deputies responding to the scene found three victims shot in the street, one outside the house, and three others inside.

Police identified the victims who were visting from Mobile, Alabama, as 20-year-old Kearria Freed; 22-year-old Henton Franklin; and 22-year-old Tykeria Ethridge. Freed was shot in the head and remains in critical condition, Curley said, while Franklin was shot in the side and Ethridge was shot in the neck and shoulder.

Police identified the remaining victims as 21-year-old Devanta Moore, who was shot in the chest; 20-year-old Anesia Powell, who was shot in the left arm, chest, and knee; 22-year-old Jacole Young, who was shot in the back; and 21-year-old Kelli Curry, who was shot in the leg.

All of the victims were transported to area hospitals. Freed, Franklin and Moore are in critical condition, Curley said, while the others remain in stable condition.



Photo Credit: Bay County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Officer Driving Police Cruiser While Intoxicated: Police]]> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 22:54:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WEB+darryl+cathey+police+officer+dui.jpg

A Philadelphia Police officer was charged with driving under the influence after another officer watched him driving a marked police vehicle with flat tires and smelled alcohol on his breath early Saturday, said Lt. John Stanford.

The 12th District officer, identified as 26-year-old Darryl Cathey, pulled up to 6500 block of Woodland Avenue, just after midnight in southwest Philadelphia in a marked police cruiser with three flat tires and bent rims, said Stanford.

A sergeant from the district was at the location and saw the car's damage and smelled alcohol on the man's breath.

Cathey also indicated he did not know his tires were flat and he was driving the police cruiser on the rims, authorities said. He also had bloodshot eyes, police said.

This isn't the first time the 6-year department veteran has faced charges. In November 2011, Cathey was arrested for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend. He was fired that same year, but got his job back in 2013 through arbitration.

Cathey struggled with the sergeant and other officers early Saturday morning while being taken into custody. He was charged with DUI and is being investigated by accident division and internal affairs, according to Stanford. He is expected to be charged with aggravated and simple assault and reckless endangerment in addition to the DUI charge.

"The department takes these type of incidents seriously and behavior that doesn't conform with department policy will not be tolerated," said Lt. Stanford. "The appropriate action will be taken against this officer as soon as all charges are filed."

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey will suspend Cathey for 30 days with intent to dismiss. 

Bail has been set at $5,000. Cathey is scheduled to appear in court April 13.

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<![CDATA[New Jersey Girl Meets President ]]> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 22:05:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/181*120/obama+atlantic+city+girl+meet.JPG

A New Jersey girl had a once in a lifetime thrill this week when she went to the White House to meet President Barack Obama and even had a chance to sit in his chair in the Oval Office.

"I'm trying to be a community organizer," Sparkle Prevard, of Atlantic City, told Obama.

Prevard visited Washington D.C. with several other young women who were all named Youth of the Year winners.

The South Jersey teen, who graduated from Atlantic City High School, plans to attend Richard Stockton State College in the fall, according to the Boys &  Girls Club in New Jersey's website.

Catch their meeting in the West Wing Week: 3/20/2015 video below.

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<![CDATA[Boston Police Officer, Suspect Shot]]> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 20:46:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/John+Moynihan.jpg

A Boston Police officer honored for his role in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings is listed in critical condition after he was shot in the face following a traffic stop in the city's Roxbury neighborhood Friday evening, police said.

Officer John T. Moynihan, a 34-year-old who has been with the department since 2008, was transported to Boston Medical Center. Moynihan is listed in critical condition and remains sedated; however a senior Boston Police source said Saturday morning that he "had a good night" and is expected to survive and recover, NBC reported.

The 41-year-old suspect, identified as Angelo West, was killed in the shooting on Humboldt Avenue after police returned fire. Boston Police and the Suffolk District Attorney's Office have launched a thorough investigation and will determine if police were justified in the shooting death.

West was arrested in 2001 in another police-involved shooting.

Police say two other suspects that were in the vehicle are in custody "on unrelated matters."

"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.

Moynihan is a decorated military veteran and active in the department's Youth Violence Strike Force, and a decorated veteran who served as a U.S. Army ranger in the Iraq War from 2005 until 2008, the year he joined the Boston Police Department.

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 following year, Moynihan received the Nation's Top Cops Award from President Barack Obama, honoring him for his "heroic and relentless" response in Watertown. Also in 2014, he received the Boston Police Medal of Honor.

"Last night was a tough night and it hit home when we found out who the injured officer was. John played a part in saving my life, and that's something I will never forget," Donohue told necn in a statement Saturday. "His record of service speaks for itself. Everyone is wishing him well and we know he has the strength to pull through."

"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 middle-aged woman who was caught in the crossfire as she drove by suffered a flesh wound to her right arm.

"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.

Mayor Marty Walsh released a statement on the incident Saturday: 

"My thoughts and prayers continue to be with Officer John Moynihan, his family, friends, the innocent person caught in the crossfire, and the entire community impacted by Friday night's violence. I have spoken with Officer Moynihan's family and Commissioner Evans and I am hopeful that under the experienced and talented team at Boston Medical Center the Officer will continue on a strong path to recovery. It is clear that Officer Moynihan is a hero for our city, and the entire nation, and today we are thankful for all of those who put their lives on the line every day to protect us."

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



Photo Credit: Boston Police
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<![CDATA[Teen Stabbed Mom to Death: Police]]> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 20:59:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Philadelphia+Ambulance+Generic+Medic+15.JPG

A teen, who neighbors say suffered years of abuse, killed his mother and put his grandmother in the hospital in a stabbing attack in their feces-covered Pennsylvanian home Friday, police said.

Police charged 19-year-old Zachary Pritchett of Bridesburg with murder, criminal homicide, aggravated assault and related offenses.

Neighbors on the 2800 block of Reynolds Street-- many who claim they often heard yelling coming from the home -- heard screams Friday morning and called police.

Pritchett directed responding officers to the second floor where they found 53-year-old Melizza Wiley dead from multiple stab wounds to her face, neck and upper torso, according to officials.

The teen's 73-year-old grandmother, who was in a hospital-type bed in the first floor living room, had also been stabbed in the face, neck and upper torso. Medics rushed her to Aria Torresdale Hospital, where she remains in critical, but stable condition, officials said.

Investigators told NBC10 police have visited the home several times in the past. Several others who live on the block claimed they called police and the Department of Human Services, because they were concerned for the teen's welfare.

"I called DHS many times," said Kelly McGrath, a neighbor. "I know other neighbors who have called. I also called the school board to inquire about his homeschooling."

The home reportedly did not have running water and the gas was shut off.

"He wasn't born with outward signs of problems, physical or mental or developmental," said McGrath, who recalled one instance when Pritchett, as a young boy, was "playing" with another child.

"Zach stood and looked out the front storm door and the other kid would play with his cars. And Zach just watched him and that's how he played," she said. "We all said something bad is going to happen."

Pritchett rarely left the home, according to multiple neighbors.

The teen had lacerations on his hand from the incident and was treated at Aria Torresdale Hospital and released.  When officers first arrived at the home, Pritchett told them three unknown men entered the house and attacked the family, investigators said.

Many in the community have said they hope authorities consider the years of alleged abuse Pritchett suffered in their investigation.

"The ones of us who knew what was happening," McGrath said, "are all in support of him getting some sort of help rather than incarceration."



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>