<![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 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 22:27:27 -0500 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 22:27:27 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Boy Stands on Corner for Days, Asks Drivers to "Honk for USA"]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:56:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/boy+flag+sign.jpg

A 14-year-old New Jersey boy eager to express his patriotism has been standing on a street corner in front of his house with an American flag and a sign reading "Honk if you love the USA," and he says he'll continue to stand there until the fireworks go off on the Fourth of July. 

Shpejtim Zenelej has been standing on the corner of Harold Avenue and Franklin Street in Rahway all day every day since Sunday, inspired to show his love for America after he saw reports of flag burning last week. 

"It's the best country in the world," he said.

Zenelej was born in the U.S. but his parents are from Kosovo. He said he's been to the republic and knows how fortunate his life has been in America. 

In recognition of Zenelej's efforts Thursday, Rahway put on an impromptu parade of police and other first responders. It only lasted a couple minutes, but "it was the best day of my life," the teen said. 

The parade was organized by the mayor and some city employees during break and lunch times, with a hidden motive, according to Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman.

"There's people that are deplorably trying to hang onto the Confederate flag," he said. "He's reminding them there's only one flag in the U.S.A. It has the colors red, white and blue." 

The boy's parents say they're very proud of their son, whom they characterized as "14 going on 40." 

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<![CDATA[Fourth of July: What You Should Know]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 05:59:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP863047613399.jpg

There will no doubt be plenty of beer and fireworks this Fourth of July.

Although we celebrate Independence Day on July 4 every year, that may not be the correct date of America's independence from Britain. In fact, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail hailing July 2 as the day people would celebrate America for generations to come.

That's because on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution for independence. However, America celebrates July 4 because that was the day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Here's a look at other things to know this July 4:

15,000 - The approximate number of July 4 fireworks shows that took place in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

41.9 Million - The number of travelers AAA predicts will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday weekend.

150 Million - The approximate number of hot dogs to be consumed on the Fourth of July, according to Marketresearch.com.

61 - The number of hot dogs San Jose native Joey Chestnut ate in 10 minutes to win the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn last year for the eighth time in a row. He also proposed to his girlfriend, fellow competitive eater Neslie Ricasa. She said yes.

69 - The hot dog eating record Joey Chestnut set in 2013.

6.8 Million - Number of singles sold of Katy Perry's "Firework" from her third studio album "Teenage Dream," according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

99
- The percentage of consumer fireworks that are made in China, according to The New York Times.

3 - The number of U.S. presidents who have died on July 4. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe also died on July 4, five years later.

1870 - The year Congress passed a bill to make July 4 a national holiday, though it has been celebrated as early as 1977, according to Time.

$55.84 - The average cost of a barbeque cookout this summer for 10 people, according to a survey of grocery stores in 30 states.

201.6 Million - The number of pounds of fireworks consumers used in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

15 - The number of seconds San Diego's fireworks show lasted in 2012 when tens of thousands of fireworks were accidentally shot off at the same time.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Brisket Bandit Burns Meat at Texas BBQ Joint: Owners ]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:30:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mass+meat+stolen.jpg

An attempt to steal meat ended with a fire and a lot of lost meat — and money — for a Denton barbecue restaurant.

Last Friday morning, firefighters had to come to Bet the House BBQ on South Elm Street just before 5 a.m. to put out a fire that started behind the building in the restaurant's smoke house.

Owners said the fire appeared to start because someone left the doors on the smoker open, letting in oxygen that mixed with grease and heat to start the blaze. They didn't believe it was anyone who worked there that would have made the mistake.

When their landlord gave them the surveillance video from that morning, it became clear what happened.

The video files show what looks like a blue or red Honda Fit with a bike and bike rack on the back pull up to the smoker and a man get out of the passenger side. He enters the smoke house and, in just 32 seconds, he grabs a brisket that was cooking inside, tosses it into the passenger seat as he hops back in, and the car takes off quickly.

It's unclear if there was a second person driving the vehicle.

Owners Shawn Eagle and Cody Smithers believe the man must have left that door open, because just 10 minutes later the video shows smoke and flames start to shoot out of the smokehouse chimney as the fire took hold.

The flames ruined all of the meat being prepared in the smoker, forcing the restaurant to close for most of the day; only opening late Friday with the few items they could quickly prepare in time. Eagle said they had also been preparing for a large catering order that had to be canceled.

"Easily $1,500 in sales alone," said Smithers.

"Everything that we had cooking in there ended up on the ground," said Eagle. "We basically lost $600-700 worth of meat."

The restaurant has since added security camera warnings on the smoker as a deterrent.

They hope now someone will recognize the man caught in the video or the car he was driving and point police in the right direction.

Within hours of posting still frames of the video on Facebook, Eagle and Smithers said it had been viewed thousands of times and shared across the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call the restaurant or Denton Police.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 06:55:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_674589382945_EpiscopalChurchGayMarraige.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[JetBlue's First Flight to Cuba]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:55:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/flight+to+cuba.jpg

JetBlue officially began direct flights to Cuba out of New York's Kennedy Airport Friday, becoming the first major carrier to make the trip after travel restrictions were eased by the White House earlier this year and making passengers who got to be on the virgin flight feel like part of history.

The Queens-based airline announced its plan to offer the weekly direct flights in May, but the first flight, on an Airbus 150-seat A320, was made Friday. It left JFK at noon en route to Havana's Jose Marti International Airport. 

Carlos Infante, a Cuba native who lives in Brooklyn and was aboard that first flight to Havana, said before he boarded the plane that he felt like he was a part of history.

"This is something we're gonna talk about for years and years and years; this is an opportunity for American people to go to Cuba," said a smiling Infante, holding his boarding pass in front of him.

Infante said he treasured the freedom to travel to his country of birth, direct from New York, for the first time in at least 50 years.

"I can't explain, it's something that's in your heart," Infante said. "I don't have words to say how I feel -- this is a beautiful day."

The weekly charter flights will leave JFK at noon each Friday, with a scheduled landing time in Havana at 3:30 p.m. Return flights leave Cuba at 4:30 p.m. and land in New York around 8 p.m.

While operated by JetBlue, the flight is being offered by Cuba Travel Services, and travelers should make arrangements directly with the carrier service provider at cubatravelservices.com.

A smaller airline, Sun Country, has been offering direct flights between JFK and Havana for several months. JetBlue is the first major carrier to do so. 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Fireworks Nixed in California Because of Drought]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:39:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/fireworks+generic+1.jpg

Fireworks celebrating July 4 will splash across the sky in major California cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

But several cities in the drought-stricken state have put the kibosh on the pyrotechnics.

Most notably, the city of Cupertino canceled its annual fireworks show because the event took place on the high school lawn, which is actually made of plastic turf. It is believed to be the first city in California to have done so because of drought-related reasons.

Crews estimated it would take 100,000 gallons of water to drench the fake grass before and after the show to prevent the plastic from melting, according to city spokesman Rick Kitson. The school district decided not to waste all that water this year as California is in its fourth year of drought.

Some other areas decided to follow similar suit because of the drought.

Accuweather reports that Kern County and the city of Danville have banned fireworks and two lake areas —  Bass Lake, roughly 55 miles northeast of Fresno, and Don Pedro Lake — have nixed fireworks because of the drought.

Separate from the drought, Santa Clara County supervisors last month voted to hold homeowners accountable when fireworks are discharged from their property by being slapped with a $350 fine if the explosives are launched off their lawns.

That’s not to say there isn’t enough to do for the July 4 weekend. The Bay Area has at least 20 shows, events and parades to celebrate the nation’s birthday. And still, there are sanctioned fireworks displays in downtown San Jose's Discovery Meadow, Leo Ryan Park in Foster City, the Berkeley Marina and Pier 39 in San Francisco.
 

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<![CDATA[Woman Arrested Over "Racist, Alarming" Message at NY Church]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:42:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/pellino.jpg

A 66-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly leaving a "racist and alarming" message on the voicemail of a Long Island church, police said.

Elisa Pellino, of Farmingdale, was arrested at her home Thursday in connection with the message left at New Hope Institutional Baptist Church in Amityville a day earlier.

The pastor of the church called police after getting the voicemail and detectives with Suffolk County's hate crimes division launched an investigation.

The specific nature of the voicemail wasn't clear.

Pellino was charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime.

She was expected to be arraigned Friday. It wasn't immediately clear if Pellino had an attorney.



Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Double-Decker Bus Strikes, Pins Man Walking in NYC]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:09:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/bus+sightsee.jpg

A double-decker sightseeing bus struck a man walking in Greenwich Village Friday afternoon, dragging him several feet and pinning him beneath the vehicle, fire officials and witnesses said.

A witness told NBC 4 New York the bus was turning left onto West Fourth Street when it struck the man in the crosswalk near Sixth Avenue and dragged him several feet. The witness said the man was screaming as he was being dragged; photos showed blood streaking the pavement near the bus.

A woman who works nearby and ran to help said the man was conscious. She said she repeatedly asked his name, but he kept screaming "at the top of his lungs."

"He really couldn't say his name because it was so, so much excruciating pain," said Shante Service. "When I looked under the bus, his leg was dislocated. I could see flesh and bone." 

Another witness said emergency responders had to use blocks to lift the bus off the victim. Police said he was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition with severe injuries to his leg.

Images on social media showed a crowd of bystanders around the scene as police cars and emergency vehicles swarmed the area.

The bus driver remained at the scene. He has not been charged, according to police. 

In a statement, a spokesman for the Twin America bus company said, "We are aware of this the accident this afternoon and deeply regret this very unfortunate incident. We are fully cooperating with the authorities while this accident is being investigated."



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Man Hit by Car While Mowing Lawn]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:48:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Lawn+mower+crash+0702.JPG

A man mowing his lawn in Chula Vista Thursday night was hit by a driver who may have been intoxicated, police said.

The Southern California man and the driver, both not yet identified, were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

Police said the motorist was driving a black Ford Focus when he lost control of the car, hit an electrical box, plowed through a fence and then hit the man.

Firefighters had to extricate the driver from the car using the Jaws of Life. The area of Fifth Avenue in Chula Vista, about 10 miles from downtown San Diego, was closed after the incident.

Thursday evening, a crumpled lawn mower was seen near the damaged car. The victim's flip-flops were thrown across the lawn.

The victim was taken to UCSD Medical Center and admitted into the ICU. He was seriously injured but responsive as of 11 p.m., officials said.

Police said the driver may have been driving under the influence of alcohol, though the crash remains under investigation.

One neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told NBC 7 she heard the loud crash and immediately ran over to help the victim.

“He had to have flown pretty far because it looked like he was here opening his side gate while he was mowing his lawn, putting his lawnmower in, and he was found all the way at the other corner of the block,” she explained. “He did fly quite a bit.”

Neighbors said the man mowing his lawn is a well-known realtor in the community.
 



Photo Credit: Doug Aguillard]]>
<![CDATA[Video Shows Man Punched by Cop]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 09:49:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/man+resists+arrest+harlem.jpg

The NYPD says it's investigating a video showing a man getting arrested after a knockout fight with a plainclothes officer Wednesday night.

The video circulating on Facebook, which had more than 1 million views by the next day, shows the arrest near 131st Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. The man's friend, who shot the video on his phone, told NBC 4 New York they were leaving a pizza place down the street to go to the man's apartment when he was stopped by plainclothes officers. 

One of the officers asks the man, Saykour George, for his ID, the video shows. The NYPD said later police saw that George had a knife, prompting the stop.

Jun Iceaa, the friend who shot the video, said George had small pocketknife in his pocket, but "the way [the officer] really approached us, was like he really had a grudge against my man, like he know him from somewhere," he said. 

The video shows police attempting to take George into custody, and he refuses. 

"I'm just trying to do my job," the officer says, taking out his handcuffs and telling George they can talk further in the police car. 

"I'm letting you do your job," George says. When the officer says, "No, you're not," George says, "Y'all not arresting me for nothing. No, no, no," and he begins walking away. 

The officer tries to stop George from walking away, and both move to travel a few steps and then the officer pushes George back. George then pushes the officer, and that's when the officer starts swinging. The two square off, and more police arrive and get George on the ground. 

"The officer did not say, 'You are under arrest,'" said Iceaa. 

"The officer swung at him how many times before my man swung?" said Iceaa. "You have to defend yourself if you know you're not under arrest." 

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told NBC 4 New York Thursday he'd seen the video. He reminded New Yorkers that "you have no right under the law of New York to resist arrest," and that's what it appears George was doing. 

He said, "The initial encounter -- the individual, all he had to do was surrender, and then we would not have had an encounter. So he didn't surrender, he now has additional charges against him. We'll process it through the courts." 

Bratton said that in a preliminary review of the video, he "saw nothing inappropriate" with the officers' behavior, but that internal affairs is investigating. 

In a statement, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said the officers did what they needed to do to take the man into custody.

"Given the current atmosphere on the streets today, people mistakenly think that they have the right to resist arrest and that inevitably leads to confrontation and potential injury," Lynch said. " The use of force in making an arrest is always ugly but is absolutely necessary and appropriate when the suspect resists. These two officers did their job, they did it appropriately and they are to be commended for a job well done."

Private security consultant Manny Gomez agreed. 

"I don't see anything wrong with this video," he told NBC 4 New York. "He was belligerent, resisted arrest and he was in the wrong, period." 

Watching the video, Gomez said it appears officers used minimum force to avoid close contact and to stop George from leaving. 

"He used the bladed stance to keep his weapon away from the subject, and that's for his safety," he said. 

George is facing several charges, including assault on an officer, possession of a weapon and disorderly conduct. Attorney information wasn't immediately clear. 

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<![CDATA[WATCH: Judge, Suspect Reunite]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:52:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/070215+judge+mindy+glazer+arthur+booth.jpg

A Miami-Dade judge and one of her old middle school classmates had an emotional reunion in court after he was arrested following an alleged burglary and police pursuit.

Arthur Booth, 49, was arrested Monday by Hialeah Police on several charges including burglary, grand theft, fleeing, and resisting arrest.

On Thursday, he went before Judge Mindy Glazer in bond court. Glazer, recognizing Booth from their days at Nautilus Middle School, asked if he had gone there.

"Oh my goodness, oh my goodness," Booth said, as he covered his head and began crying.

"I'm sorry to see you there, I always wondered what happened to you sir," Glazer said, as Booth continued crying. "This was the nicest kid in middle school, he was the best kid in middle school. I used to play football with him, all the kids, and look what has happened."

Booth continued to repeat "Oh my goodness" as Glazer gave him words of encouragement.

"I am so sorry to see you there. Mr. Booth, I hope you are able to change your ways, good luck to you," she said. "What's sad is how old we've become. Good luck to you sir, I hope you are able to come out of this ok and just lead a lawful life."

According to an arrest report, Booth was spotted driving a gold Honda Accord that was a vehicle suspected of being involved in a home burglary. When an officer tried to stop the Accord, Booth took off, and a pursuit began, the report said.

Booth ran stop signs and was involved in two accidents before crashing the car in the area of Northwest 36th Street and North River Drive, the report said. Booth fled on foot but was caught a short time later, authorities said.

Booth's bond was set at $43,000. It was unknown if he's hired an attorney.

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<![CDATA[Competitor Killed in Bike Crash]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:55:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/070215+Investigator+Carlos+Silva.jpg

A competitor in the World Police and Fire Games died Thursday evening after he was hurt in a cycling crash Thursday afternoon, Prince William County Police said in an update.

Thousands of miles from his home in Brazil, investigator Carlos Silva, 48, was killed. The member of the Civil Police of the Federal District of Brazil died about 5 p.m. Thursday.

"He loved what he do. He loved to be here. He loved to train. And most of all he loved his career and his daughter," Investigator Alexander Manzan said at a press conference Thursday night. Manzan traveled to the Games from Brazil with Silva.

Silva's body was transported from Inova Fairfax Hospital about 10 p.m. by an honor guard by the Fairfax County Police Department. He is survived by his 13-year-old daughter.

Two other riders were in critical condition after the devastating crash -- a 43-year-old man and a 44-year-old man, police said.

"Investigator Silva and our two other officers are our everyday heroes," Fairfax County Police Chief Lt. Col. Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said, with a black ribbon pinned to his uniform.

A rider in a cycling time trial blew a front tire on a downhill portion of the course in Prince William Forest Park about 12:30 p.m., police said. The rider lost control of the bike on Scenic Drive near Turkey Run Road and crashed, causing a chain reaction, police said. The cyclists were wearing the proper safety gear, police said.

Members of the Prince William and Fairfax fire departments immediately helped the victims, along with two off-duty Fairfax County police officers. 

"We are deeply saddened that an athlete participating in the World Police and Fire Games passed away today at the cycling event in Prince William County," Michael Graham, prseident of the World Police and Fire Games Federation and others said in a joint statement. "Two other athletes are severely injured. Please join us as we keep these athletes, their families and friends in our thoughts and prayers during this tragic and challenging time."

The cycling road race event was scheduled to last from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Events for the remainder of Thursday were canceled.

The World Police and Fire Games have brought 12,000 first responders from 70 countries to events in the capital area. The 10-day event began June 26 and is scheduled to end with a closing ceremony July 5.

The accident comes a day after the Wall Street Journal released an in-depth and telling story on the dangers of downhill cycling.

Carlos Silva's Biography:

Carlos Eugenio Reino da Silva, “Geno”, was born on April 10th, 1967, in Brasilia, the federal capital of Brazil. He received a degree in Geography and Law. In 1990, Geno entered the Civil Police Service of the Federal District, and was a Supervisor of Special Operations of the Civil Police. Geno is survived by his 13 year old daughter, Leticia Bittes Reino, whom he loved very much. His love extended to his relatives who still live in Brazil. Leticia and Geno were best friends and enjoyed traveling together. People who knew him would describe him as young at heart, amazing person, and a wonderful human being. He was always happy and had a very contagious smile, which could be the origin of his other nickname “DENTINHO”, which means “small teeth”. Geno was an athlete and always enjoyed an adventure. Some of the adventures led Geno to competing in the Ironman and Xterra competitions. Geno was not only devoted to his friends and family, but also to his religion. His favorite saint, Saint Rita De Cascia, was known to be a patroness for abused wives and heartbroken women. This suited the profession he chose to help the people of the community. We have all been touched in some way by this loss. Whether we have lost a brother in uniform, a father, or a friend; in speaking with the people close to him it is clear that this world has lost a great person. Geno has left this world far too soon but he is now with his parents in heaven, watching over all.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Hit-Run Garbage Truck Kills Woman With MS Crossing NYC Street]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:48:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sanitation+truck+death1.jpg

A garbage truck fled the scene after striking and killing a 46-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis using a walker to cross a Brooklyn street Thursday night as she headed home from visiting her mother, authorities and relatives say.

The woman, identified as Alberta Bagu, was hit by the truck as she tried to cross the street near Broadway and Ditmars Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant around 10:30 p.m.

Police say Bagu was found unconscious on Broadway with severe trauma to her head and body.

A preliminary investigation indicates the private sanitation truck was moving south on Broadway between Ditmars Street and Willoughby Avenue when it hit Bagu as she tried to cross mid-block, police said.

Bagu's devastated longtime boyfriend, Edmund Pieters, said he couldn't help thinking her death was just a dream.

"I'm still thinking she's going to walk into the door," Pieters said. "I can't even cry no more -- so much crying I did. Two more minutes and she would have been home; she was right there."

Lanatte Flood, the dead woman's sister, said despite Bagu's disability, she continued to help others -- especially her mother. Flood described Bagu as a woman with "a very good heart" who was always "nice to people" and had a "wonderful sense of humor."

As for the truck driver who hit her, Flood said, "My sister has been using a walker for quite some time now. And she knows how to use a walker. It was extended out. How could you not see that?"

No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Marathon Bomber's Friend Withdraws Appeal]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 05:23:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP517905288195.jpg

Azamat Tazhayakov, one of the convicted friends of the Boston Marathon bomber, withdrew his appeal Thursday, according to court documents.

Tazhayakov was sentenced early last month to three and a half years in federal prison for covering up evidence in the April 2013 terror investigation.

Prosecutors say Tazhayakov took evidence, including a backpack, fireworks and a laptop, out of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and disposed of it as authorities released images of Tsarnaev and his now-deceased brother, Tamerlan.

Tsarnaev was formally sentenced to death last week for his role in the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Group Denied Muhammad Ad Sues]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:39:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_413603_metro_train_double.jpg

The group that sought to plaster images of the Prophet Muhammad on Washington, D.C., public transportation has sued the Transit Authority on charges it violated the group's First Amendment rights by refusing to post the ads.

Metro banned all political ads after the American Freedom Defense Initiative submitted an image of Muhammad to run as an advertisement on D.C. buses and train stations.

Pamela Geller, founder of AFDI, submitted the "Support Free Speech" ad depicting the winning entry of the controversial "Draw Mohammad" contest to the D.C. Metro Authority. The May event led to a deadly shooting in Garland, Texas.

"Running and hiding is no strategy in a war. Operation Fetal Position is a recipe for disaster," Geller said Thursday in a statement. 

AFDI has run controversial ads on subways and buses in other cities across the country as well — among them Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco. In 2012, they were able to get another poster deemed offensive to Muslims on D.C.’s Metro.

The group is listed as an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Date Set for Garland Shooting Trial]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:13:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/draw-muhammad-shooting-3.jpg

A Phoenix man accused of helping orchestrate a shooting at an anti-Islam event in Texas originally planned to participate in the attack alongside the two gunmen who were eventually killed by police, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, 43, was arrested June 11 by the FBI on charges related to the May 3 shooting at a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas.

He's being held without bail after being charged with conspiracy, making false statements and interstate transportation of firearms with intent to commit a felony.

Kareem is scheduled to stand trial on Oct. 6. His lawyers asked a federal judge for additional time to prepare and sought a continuance from the scheduled Aug. 4 trial date.

Last month, FBI Special Agent Dina McCarthy described at a U.S. District Court hearing how a witness and a confidential informant learned about Kareem's interest in the Islamic State group, including watching its videos with shooters Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi.

Kareem, Simpson and Soofi all attended the same mosque in Phoenix.

According to a federal indictment, Kareem hosted the shooters in his home beginning in January and provided the guns they used in the Texas attack.

Documents unsealed Thursday show that a confidential informant told authorities that Kareem "planned to attack the event alongside Simpson and Soofi" and was angry when the source wouldn't sell him silencers and bulletproof vests.

A confidential witness told authorities that Kareem drove Simpson and Soofi to desert locations in Arizona to fire assault weapons several months prior to the Texas event featuring cartoons deemed offensive by Muslims.

The documents also outlined the prosecution's reasons why Kareem should be detained before trial, stating he "poses both a flight risk and a danger to the community due to his prior criminal history."

Prosecutors said Kareem has been arrested 11 times between 1991 and 2004 and served jail time twice.

Newly unsealed documents also cover information released earlier by federal investigators -- that Kareem, Simpson and Soofi talked about wanting to make pipe bombs and that Kareem possibly plotted to use explosive devices at the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 in suburban Glendale.

However, McCarthy previously said in court that Kareem provided no specifics about how serious he was about the Super Bowl plan.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton also ordered Thursday that the unexecuted arrest warrant for Kareem will remain sealed.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Helps Mother, Son Reunite]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 06:00:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/0703-2015-REUNION.jpg

A family photo posted on Facebook helped a South Bay mother and son reunite after more than a decade apart.

Campbell resident Hope Holland said her son, Jonathan Holland, was kidnapped by his father 15 years earlier.

Jonathan was born in the South Bay but raised in Mexico by his father. He had no memory of his mother who has spent years searching for him.

Both Hope and Jonathan said they feared a reunion would never happen.

"First three years of his life he was only with me," Hope said. "I was completely absorbed for some time just looking for him."

Hope said Jonathan was 3-years-old when he was kidnapped by his father, who shared legal custody.

Last year, Jonathan posted a family picture as his Facebook profile photo, with hopes that maybe his mother or brother would see it and reach out.

When Hope came across the photo she said she was filled with joy.

After years of working with investigators and child services, it was a Facebook search and familiar picture that brought a family together again.

"I'm happy he wanted to know me," Hope said.

Jonathan has one year left in high school and will return to Mexico in the fall. He plans to come back to California after graduation. Jonathan was set to reunite with his older brother late Thursday.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Hollywood Hills 'Campsite' Fight]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 06:04:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/188*120/7-2-2015-HHCampsite.JPG

A Hollywood Hills homeowner is fighting back and calling accusations from neighbors "lies" after they claimed to see people openly drinking and having sex on a "campsite" being rented out on her property.

Advertised through the Airbnb website, the site was marketed as a "Hollywood Hills Camping Retreat" on La Punta Drive, but sits in the middle of a multimillion-dollar neighborhood. For the cost of $35 per night — or $800 a month — people get a tent, spectacular views and are within short walking distance of the Hollywood sign.

The listing appeared to have been taken down as of Thursday morning.

But people living in the well-heeled locale are unhappy at the way they claim renters are behaving during their stays — smoking, having sex and drinking — within view of the surrounding mansions.

"People buck naked, people doing sex out in open. Drinking," resident and father Sanjeeb Kumar told NBC4. "Our own backyard, it's scary. Scared to come out."

"I think it's really hard when a lot of us have children and we are driving by and the kids see strange things and ask, 'Why is that going on there?'" another neighbor said.

A woman who identified herself as the homeowner, an actress named Dita de Leon, told NBC4 on Thursday those accusations are lies and that her security cameras "never captured anything like that."

"They're fabricating lies that people are having sex in public, that's not true," she said. "That's false. Unless they can produce proof that happened, that's false, and they were not my guests."

"Maybe somebody was trespassing and decided to have sex — if it even happened. I have no firsthand knowledge of it," de Leon continued.

De Leon said that when she first posted her ad on Airbnb, she did so because she loved her home so much, she wanted to share the experience of being there. That, she says, is not breaking any rules.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm not breaking any laws by sharing my property with my guests that I invite to visit up here and to enjoy my dream home," she said.

"I put an ad out on Airbnb to rent out a tent so what was being rented was an actual tent, not the property. So there is no property rental," de Leon added. "I rented out a tent. the people that came here were staying as my guest, as my visitor, for free. That was the misconception, that I was renting out this piece of dirt."

De Leon said she's been at the home since January and was sad to hear that her ad was no longer on the Airbnb site.

Airbnb gave the following statement to NBC4:

"The listing is no longer on the site. Airbnb guests expect unique and authentic travel experiences and in turn communities rightfully expect considerate visitors. We have had more than 40 million guests stay with Airbnb. Problems for hosts, guests and neighbors are extremely rare but when they happen, we work fast to make things right."

Neighbors also voiced concerns that a fire could be sparked as campers have been seen smoking, even though a sign in front of the property, which is surrounded by dry brush, says smoking is not allowed.

"We have a major drought situation, that could go up, take the whole hillside and take the houses with it," a resident said.

De Leon said she has a no-smoking policy, and she later showed NBC4 the tents pitched on her property,

According to the now-offline campsite listing, campers may use the mansion's bathrooms during their stay for an extra fee.

Neighbors are hoping to have the campsite closed down, and are working to have the city check for any possible zoning violations.

The city issued a statement Thursday saying that it is "in the preliminary stages of an investigation on this property."

De Leon told NBC4 that she has no plans to take the tents down, which makes some of her own tenants uncomfortable.

"It's supposed to be a safe place and you don't know who you are inviting up there," said Tess Roussin, who rents a home from de Leon. "I don't think it's appropriate but I'm just a renter."

Michael Larkin contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Man's Death at Ribfest a Suicide: Police]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:13:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/sky+5+ride.png

A man died Thursday at Naperville’s annual Ribfest after deliberately diving under a moving carnival ride, authorities say.

Two festival-goers told NBC Chicago they saw the man throw himself under Pharaoh’s Fury, a large popular boat-shaped ride that was swings back and forth.

Naperville Police say the man was in his early 20s and had attended the festival by himself.

The ride was moving with approximately 25 people on board at the time. Witnesses said it looked as if he did it on purpose. The man was said to be struck while the boat swung back and forth multiple times before the operator could halt it.

Both witnesses said those in the area could see the man's body lying facedown after he was killed and the ride stopped, calling the scene "gruesome."

The incident happened less than three hours after the gates in Knoch Park opened at noon. Emergency crews and the DuPage County coroner's office were immediately called to the scene.

“I just saw everybody running over to the ride,” recalled festival attendee Rhonda Sandifer.

As of 6 p.m. a few rides were still closed, but the family event remained open.

His death was an intentional act, according to police, and there was no foul play or ride malfunction reported.

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<![CDATA[Local News Crew Mugged, Pistol Whipped at San Francisco Pier]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:29:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/N5A+SET+UP+KRIS+VO+-+00000401.jpg

An NBC Bay Area news crew was attacked early Thursday morning while reporting a story in a mugging that injured the photographer, whose camera gear was also stolen. A second station was also robbed of its gear.

The brazen attack occurred just before 6 a.m. at Pier 14 in San Francisco, where the reporter and photographer – along with several other news stations – were covering a story about a woman who had been shot to death there the night before. NBC Bay Area is not identifying any victims of the attack.

As the two were about to go on air, a man pulled up to the curb in a black four-door BMW, approached the photographer and pistol-whipped him with a gun then shoved him to the ground, the photographer and reporter said. The man then grabbed the photographer's camera gear, and as he was struggling to get it inside his getaway car, returned to pistol whip the photographer again, the news crew reported.

The reporter was not injured and the photographer suffered a cut to his ear. The photographer was checked out by paramedics along the Embarcadero and declared OK. Both returned to work later to the warm embrace of their colleagues.

"I thought I was going to hear a click," the photographer said afterward, meaning that he thought he was going to die. He said he told the man to simply take the camera.

As the attacker, described as a man in his 20s wearing a hoodie, was hurting the photographer, the reporter yelled, "Don't shoot, don't shoot."

A reporter from KTVU was also at the scene, and had to duck out of her live newscast when the attack occurred. What happened was not shown on camera. The suspect took KTVU's gear, too.

Crews from KRON and KGO-TV were there, but they were not robbed, witnesses said.

Witnesses said it appeared as though the attacker got into a getaway car, driven by someone else. There was possibly another person in the back of the car, too. Later, San Francisco police said there were three men, and one of them had dreadlocks. They drove off in what looked like a black BMW 7 with upgraded rims and no plates.

Another reporter from KCBS radio tweeted out a photo of an ammunition magazine left at the scene.

Anyone with further information should call Sgt. Maris Goldsborough at Southern Station (415) 575-6000, the SFPD Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and include “SFPD” at the beginning of the message.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Wisconsin Is Drunkest State in U.S.: Report]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:55:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Wisconsin-Beer-Drinking-2-July-2015.jpg

Everything you thought about Wisconsin’s love of beer is true, according to a new report. 

A new study has officially proven what many expected from a state that named its baseball team after its love of breweries: Wisconsinites like to drink.

Detox.net analyzed America’s alcohol consumption from 2011 to 2013 across different states and made a list of states with the most drinkers, based on responses from more than 400,000 interviews.

Wisconsin topped the list, with 65.33 percent of adults saying they had had at least one drink within the past 30 days.

Wisconsin was followed by the District of Columbia (not a state, but considered as one in the survey). Rounding out the top five were Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

And when it comes to binge-drinkers, Wisconsin still tops the list, followed by North Dakota, Washington D.C., Iowa and Illinois. Apparently, the Midwest in known as the “binge drinking belt.”

Among the states with the least drinkers were Utah, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Hopefuls Flood NH for July 4 Weekend]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:33:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP136093298170.jpg

Presidential hopefuls are going on parade throughout the Granite State this July 4. 

At least seven 2016 candidates will spend Independence Day courting residents who will vote in the nation's first presidential primary contest next year, according to scheduled logged in necn's 2016 New Hampshire Primary Candidate Tracker, making a combined 14 stops.

While parades are by far the most popular stops during the holiday tour — at least 11 such appearances are expected — candidates' Saturday calendars also include breakfasts, cookouts and grassroots events. Revelers along the routes in Amherst and Merrimack will watch no fewer than three candidates strut by. The resort town of Wolfeboro, where 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney owns a home, will be greeted by at least two GOP hopefuls.

For some candidates, one parade just isn't enough. Republicans Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry, as well as Democrat Lincoln Chafee, are marching in two apiece. Perry, the former Texas governor, appears to have the busiest public schedule on Saturday so far, stopping by parades in Amherst and Merrimack before greeting crowds at the Windham GOP July Fourth Cookout later in the day.

The holiday hand-shaking isn't limited to July 4 itself. Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, has been barnstorming the state since making his official entry into the race on Tuesday, including several events on Friday. Perry and Democrat Hillary Clinton are also getting their patriotic partying started early with Friday events, while former New York Gov. George Pataki and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both candidates for the GOP nomination, will join New Hampshire residents wishing America a belated birthday with Sunday celebrations.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Comic-Con to Stay in San Diego for 2 More Years: Mayor ]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:55:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/San-Diego-Comic-Con-2-July-2015.jpg

The costumed characters and superheroes of make-believe will be roaming downtown San Diego a while longer.

On Thursday, organizers of San Diego's largest and most celebrated convention announced it’s here to stay through 2018.

That came after what Comic-Con officials called "touch and go" bargaining with downtown hoteliers over jacked-up room rates that had challenged the budgets of the event's faithful followers.

"The hotel community really believes it has pricing power when there's demand, and that's not unusual,” says Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi. “But they've been really good at recognizing the customer of Comic-Con, and that's what Comic-Con's concern was -- 'We don't want to price ourselves of that market'."

Voice of San Diego editor Scott Lewis told NBC 7 the same scenario figures to materialize in the next round of negotiations:

"This is capitalism, right?” Lewis asked, rhetorically, in an interview Thursday. “They're going to charge for their hotel rooms the most that they can. So unless a regulatory force steps in and says 'You have to, for the good of the civic cause, lower your prices for this convention that comes in every year', there's still going to be a problem from year to year."

Another perennial sticking point -- the undersized Convention's Center's crowded confines -- have become less of a problem, at least through 2018.

In recent years, off-site venues offered by nearby hotels have created a festive 'campus' atmosphere, sort of a 'moveable feast'.

But the inescapable issue of how and where to expand the center is the focus of a city report later this month.

Says Terzi: “It will, I think, reinforce what was said before, that if you're going to expand the center, it needs to be contiguous to the building to maximize the functionality."

Whatever the outcome, Comic-Con only figures to keep growing.

A logical conclusion?

More hotels are needed.

"We book up the entire downtown with Comic-Con and with other conventions -- not just Comic-Con,” says Convention Center board member Gil Cabrera. “So it is something we're going to be wanting to look at, and hopefully there'll be other folks building hotels and more rooms coming online in the future."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[9/11 First Responder Hits $5 Million Lottery Jackpot]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 05:59:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Carmelo-Mercado-Lotto-0702.jpg

An FDNY firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terror attacks -- then had to retire three years later because of the toll it took on his body -- just hit the jackpot.

Carmelo Mercado, a firefighter from Queens who rushed to Ground Zero moments after the second twin tower collapsed and spent two days aiding in search efforts, was presented with a $5 million check Thursday at the New York Lottery's offices in lower Manhattan.

Mercado said that he hit the lottery after buying two tickets earlier this year. He said the first one didn't net him a prize. He said when he saw the first digit of the winning scratcher, he had to do a double-take.

"I said, 'Holy mackerel, that looks like $5 million'," he said. "My mind went blank. I was in shock."

Mercado will take home a $3.3 million lump sum payment, after taxes, lottery officials.

"Talk about Jackie Gleason: Hamana-hamana-hamana that's a lot of money," he said. "Beautiful!"

The former firefighter says he plans to take a cruise and may buy a house in Florida. He also plans to treat his daughter.

"My daughter asked me, 'Does that mean I can get an American Girl doll?'" he said. "So I told her, 'How 'bout 10?'"

He said that the money should also help with any medical expenses that could arise. 

Mercado, a 27-year veteran with the FDNY, had to retire in 2004 after being told by doctors he had developed a lung ailment from responding to Ground Zero.

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<![CDATA[All Clear Given at Washington Navy Yard: Police]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:23:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/220*120/2015-07-02_0810.jpg

U.S. Capitol Police have given the all clear at the Washington Navy Yard after the report of a shooting Thursday morning, triggered vivid memories of a 2013 deadly mass shooting at the naval installation. 

D.C. police said a woman called from inside a Navy Yard building to report that she might have heard sounds of gunshots around 7:20 a.m. However, investigators found no sign of a shooting, a shooter or anyone injured.

“We don’t believe that it was a malicious hoax or incident like that,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said during a press conference Thursday morning. 

Lanier added that the employee was doing what she was supposed to do. 

After receiving the call, authorities converged on the area and searched each building one-by-one. 

One of the buildings searched was the Humphreys Building, which was the sight of a deadly mass shooting nearly two years ago. The building was formerly known as Building 197.

The naval installation was placed on lockdown and employees were told to shelter in place. 

"It was pretty much like the first time. There were lots of people running for the exits, running for shelter, a lot of confusion," said Lt. Commander Scott Williams, who was inside the building when Thursday's incident was reported. 

A number of roads were closed in the area as authorities completed their investigations. A nearby elementary school was also placed on lockdown for a short time.  

On Sept. 16, 2013, 12 civilians were killed and four others injured during a mass shooting at Building 197. The gunman, Aaron Alexis, was killed by police. Alexis was a civilian contractor and former Navy reservist who suffered from mental health problems.

It was the second-deadliest rampage on an American military base, after the Fort Hood shootings in Texas in 2009.

The building reopened in February after extensive renovations.

Counselors and chaplains will be provided to any Navy Yard employees who need to speak with someone. 

The Navy Yard, in southeast Washington, is the country's oldest naval installation.

Stay with News4 on-air and online for more on this developing story. 


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<![CDATA[WATCH: Dramatic Escape From Burning Building]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:48:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/fire+jump.jpg

Dramatic video shows two young women jump to their safety from a burning apartment building in Sandy Springs, Georgia. 

When WXIA, an NBC affiliate in Atlanta, arrived at the scene, a young woman could be seen screaming for help after breaking the third-floor window. 

Two neighbors appeared below and convinced the woman to jump into their arms. Moments later, a second young woman jumped from the window to safety. 

"I heard someone banging on the window -- you could see the window all broken, so we just ran over there and helped them out," Deigo Silva told WXIA.

Twenty-nine people from 11 families had their homes destroyed in the fire, officials told WXIA. The cause of the blaze was being investigated. 



Photo Credit: WXIA]]>
<![CDATA[Gay Pride Adaptation of Iwo Jima Photo Draws Backlash]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:19:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/IwoJimaSplit.jpg

Joe Rosenthal’s historic photograph depicting five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the flag on Iwo Jima is one of America’s most iconic war-related images. It is also one of the most parodied images, but a recent depiction of the event sparked fury on social media. 

On June 26, photographer Ed Freeman posted a picture he took more than a decade ago for the cover of Frontiers, a gay magazine, that shows four male models planting a gay pride flag similarly to how the six soldiers planted the flag at Iwo Jima 70 years ago. Freeman’s Facebook post celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to allowing same-sex marriage nationwide. 

“When I took this picture almost ten years ago, it never, never occurred to me that it would someday come to symbolize the victory we are celebrating today,” Freeman said in the post. “Congratulations to all of us! Love to you all.”

The backlash against the photograph was fierce, according to The Washington Post, with many social media users saying that comparing the sacrifice of American soldiers in World War II with the struggle for gay rights was disrespectful. 

"Altering the American flag colors && trying to remake the "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" photograph with the gay pride flag is degrading," one user said.

"I get all that gay marriage stuff but to replace the American flag from the iconic Iwo Jima picture, just no," another post read. 

Freeman, whose studio is in Los Angeles, told the Post he even received a death threat that he reported to the FBI.

"This picture was just a flashpoint for a lot people who are looking for a reason to lash out, so I guess I get to be the whipping boy,” Freeman told the Post about the backlash. “I’m fine with that if that’s what it takes.”

The Iwo Jima motif has appeared elsewhere, including to sell beer and promote the Hard Rock Cafe, and its use has been similarly criticized. In 2008, Time magazine was criticized for using an altered version of the Iwo Jima photograph showing soldiers planting a tree. That cover, which was meant to compare the struggle to win the war to the struggle to combat climate change, even drew condemnation from some fellow journalists.

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