<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usMon, 21 Aug 2017 05:22:17 -0500Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:22:17 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Slaying Was Part of Murder-Suicide Sex Fantasy: Prosecutors]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 17:28:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lathem+warren+mugs.png

Warning: Details in this story are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.

Prosecutors alleged Sunday that the men charged in the "gruesome" stabbing death of a 26-year-old hairdresser committed the crime as part of a sexual fantasy of "killing others and then themselves."

A judge ordered former Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem, 43, and Oxford employee Andrew Warren, 56, held without bond after prosecutors detailed a pre-meditated attack they said the suspects plotted in an online chat room.

Authorities said Warren admitted that the two met on the internet and communicated about their shared fantasy for several months before Lathem paid for him to come to Chicago from England in late July to carry out their plan.

Prosecutors said Lathem picked Warren up at O’Hare Airport a few days prior to the brutal killing of Trenton H. James Cornell-Duranleau, who was found dead inside Lathem’s River North condo on July 27.

After Warren arrived in Chicago, the men "discussed who they would kill and when," authorities said, settling on Cornell-Duranleau, who was Lathem’s boyfriend, to be their first victim.

Prosecutors allege that the men ultimately planned to kill one another – with Warren shooting Lathem as he stabbed him – after committing several murders.

On July 26, authorities said Lathem rented a room for Warren at the Palomar Hotel, within walking distance of his home at the Grand Plaza Apartments, located at 540 N. State St.

Cornell-Duranleau arrived at Lathem’s residence that evening, according to police, who said the two were seen on surveillance video entering the building together.

After Cornell-Duranleau fell asleep, prosecutors said Lathem texted Warren "that it was time to kill" and to come to his apartment.

Surveillance footage captured Warren entering the lobby of Lathem’s building at around 4:30 a.m., officials said – roughly a half hour before witnesses told detectives that they heard "what sounded like a fight and screaming."

Once he arrived, Warren told investigators that he and Lathem conferred in the bathroom, where Lathem allegedly took a drywall knife out of its packaging before authorities said he handed Warren a cell phone, telling him to record the murder.

Prosecutors said Lathem then left the bathroom, entering the bedroom to repeatedly stab Cornell-Duranleau, who woke up and "began to scream and fight back."

Lathem called to Warren for help in controlling Cornell-Duranleau, authorities allege, at which point Warren placed his hand over the victim’s mouth, then struck him in the head with a heavy metal lamp.

Warren then went to get two kitchen knives, prosecutors said, and returned to join Lathem in continuing to stab the victim – using so much force that the blade of one of the knives broke.

Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed 70 times in total, prosecutors said the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office found.

According to prosecutors, the victim’s last words to his boyfriend and alleged killer were, "Wyndham, what are you doing?"

Authorities said Lathem and Warren then showered and attempted to clean up the scene before leaving the apartment at around 5:24 a.m., at which point they were once again seen on surveillance footage exiting the property together, according to police, who said they fled Chicago shortly thereafter.

The men rented a car and left an anonymous cash donation of $5,610 to the Howard Brown Health Center in Cornell-Duranleau’s name before driving to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, authorities allege.

That evening, Lathem donated another $1,000 in the victim’s name to the Lake Geneva Public Library, according to CPD Detective Commander Brendan Deenihan, who said he then requested to use the phone and anonymously called his apartment building, alerting security to check a residence on the 10th floor "because a crime may have been committed."

"What I can tell you is it was not domestic in nature like a husband-wife, or boyfriend-boyfriend, or a love triangle; that was not the motive," Deenihan said at a news conference on Sunday, before the suspects appeared in court. "It was a little bit more dark and disturbing, as far as I’m concerned."

Around 8:30 p.m., a doorman and Chicago police officers entered the apartment to discover the body of Cornell-Duranleau, who authorities said had been dead for more than 12 hours.

When the victim’s body was moved, he appeared to have been nearly decapitated, prosecutors said, and he had sustained multiple wounds that would have been mortal in and of themselves.

An autopsy found Cornell-Duranleau died of multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, and his death was ruled a homicide. A toxicology report released Friday found that he had methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.

Warren and Lathem fled, sparking a nine-day, nationwide manhunt, during which officials said Lathem sent a video message to friends and family members, allegedly apologizing for his involvement in the crime.

In the video, prosecutors said Lathem claimed "he is not the person people thought he was," admitting that Cornell-Duranleau trusted him completely and that he had "betrayed that trust."

Both men were taken into custody separately in northern California on Aug. 4. Warren was arrested in San Francisco, while Lathem later surrendered at the federal courthouse in Oakland after communicating with authorities, according to the U.S. Marshals office.

Once in custody, prosecutors said Warren confessed to plotting the murder-suicide fantasy, and admitted that there was a plan to kill another victim the morning after Cornell-Duranleau’s death – though he didn’t know if the person showed up at Lathem’s condo after they fled.

"I can only describe the course of events that lead to Mr. Duranleau’s murder as unquestionably tragic," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Sunday, the day after Lathem and Warren were extradited to Chicago

Upon arrival, authorities said detectives interrogated the men, who were then formally charged with first-degree murder

Photo Credit: Chicago Police]]>
<![CDATA[Trubisky's Mom Posts Adorable Pic of QB on His Birthday]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 17:57:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trubisky+halas.png

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky celebrated his 23rd birthday this weekend, and his mom marked the occasion by posting an adorable old photo on social media. 

Trubisky, who threw for 60 yards and a touchdown in the Bears' win over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, likely won't be the team's starter in Week 1, but his mom still has a special place in her heart for him anyway: 

The quarterback, the second pick in the NFL Draft back in April, is currently the Bears' third string quarterback behind Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez on the depth chart. 

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<![CDATA[Predators' Mascot Nails Blackhawks With Insult Tweet]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:44:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-669632864.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks were swept out of the playoffs by the Nashville Predators, but that wasn't enough humiliation for the Predators' mascot apparently. 

On Sunday, the Blackhawks posted a tweet about single-game tickets going on sale this week, and the Predators' mascot Gnash had a painfully true rebuttal on tap: 

[[441206603, C]]

It's hard to formulate a response to the tweet, as the Predators limited the Blackhawks to just three goals in a four-game sweep during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Predators then rode that momentum all the way to the Cup Final before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Man Killed After Being Ejected From Truck in Little Village]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:16:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Web+-+Chicago+Police+SUV_28397313.jpg

A man is dead after he was ejected from the bed of a pickup truck in an accident in the city’s Little Village neighborhood.

The accident occurred in the 2700 block of S. Komensky at approximately 6:55 p.m. Sunday evening. A blue pickup truck was driving northbound through an alley when it collided with a Chevy Trailblazer, according to Chicago police.

After striking the vehicle, the truck then careened into a fence, ejecting two men from the bed of the pickup.

One of the men, a 26-year-old, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the truck and another passenger inside the cab both exited the vehicle and fled the scene, according to police.

The CPD Major Accident Unit is still investigating the accident.  

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Police Issue Alert After Bucktown Restaurant Robberies]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 20:46:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+police+car+GettyImages-2435030.jpg

Chicago police have issued a community alert after a series of robberies at restaurants in the city’s Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods.

According to a press release, a series of five burglaries have taken place since July 22, and the department is asking for the public’s help in identifying the man responsible in the incidents.

Four of the burglaries, including the most recent one in the 1800 block of W. North, have taken place in Bucktown restaurants during overnight hours in which the establishments are closed. An unidentified offender has broken into the restaurants overnight and has stolen property from each of them.

A fifth restaurant, located in the 2000 block of W. Division in the city’s Wicker Park neighborhood, was also targeted.

Here is the full list of restaurants that have been robbed:

  • July 22 at 3 a.m.: 2000 block of N. Damen
  • July 22 at 5:19 a.m.: 1700 block of N. Damen
  • July 31 at 2:09 a.m.: 1900 block of N. Leavitt
  • Aug. 2 between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m.: 2000 block of W. Division
  • Aug. 6 between 12:01 a.m. and 2 a.m.: 1800 block of W. North

Police are asking restaurant owners and the public to pay attention to suspicious persons around restaurants at closing time, and to call 911 immediately if a robbery is witnessed. 

<![CDATA[Avila Delivers Cubs a Wild Win Over Blue Jays]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 17:42:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-835985254.jpg

The famous Blue Angels repeatedly rocked Wrigley Field on Sunday afternoon, but it was the Chicago Cubs who drew the loudest ovation as they scored a stunning comeback win over the Toronto Blue Jays. 

The Cubs trailed by two runs going into the bottom of the 10th inning, but Alex Avila played the hero as his two-run single gave the team a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays and a three-game sweep in the series. 

Albert Almora Jr. had a three-run double in the third inning, and Kyle Hendricks pitched six innings and gave up three runs as the Cubs secured the victory. 

After the game went into extra innings, the Cubs gave up two runs in the top of the 10th, as Josh Donaldson scored after advancing to second on a strange errant throw from Avila. Norichika Aoki then drew a bases loaded walk off of Justin Wilson, and the Blue Jays seized a two-run lead. 

The game took an even stranger turn in the bottom of the inning as Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez both reached base on dropped third strikes. Schwarber scored on an RBI single by Ben Zobrist, setting the stage for Avila's heroics. 

The catcher lined a single to right field, scoring both Zobrist and Baez to secure the win and the sweep for the Cubs. 

The Cubs will have Monday off before embarking on a road trip, which will start in Cincinnati on Tuesday night. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Stabbed in Face During Attempted Robbery]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 15:40:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+police+generic+cpd+1016.png

A 34-year-old man was stabbed in the face during an attempted robbery in the city's West Garfield Park neighborhood on Sundaqy morning. 

The attempted robbery occurred in the 200 block of South Kostner, police said. Just before 5 a.m., the man was attacked, sustaining stab wounds to his back, right eye, and nose during the attempted robbery. 

After the incident, the man was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition, according to police. 

No one is yet in custody in the incident, and Area North police are still investigating. 

<![CDATA[Former NU Professor, Oxford Employee Charged With Murder]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 14:03:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/LathemWarren+Mugs+8-19.jpg

The former Northwestern University professor and Oxford employee accused in the "gruesome" stabbing death of a Chicago man late last month were formally charged with murder on Saturday, according to police.

Wyndham Lathem, 43, and Andrew Warren, 56, were extradited from northern California – where they surrendered on Aug. 4 after an eight-day, nationwide manhunt – to Chicago early Saturday.

Upon arrival, authorities said detectives interrogated the men, who were then formally charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing of 26-year-old Trenton H. James Cornell-Duranleau.

Cornell-Duranleau, a hairstylist and Michigan native who moved to Chicago about a year ago, was found dead on July 27 inside Lathem’s condo in the city’s River North neighborhood, according to police.

Officials said Cornell-Duranleau was in a romantic relationship with Lathem, an associate professor of microbiology at Northwestern University's medical school. He was terminated by the university, where he had worked since 2007, after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

On the evening of July 27, a doorman at the Grand Plaza Apartments, located at 540 N. State St., received an anonymous phone call telling him to check a residence on the 10th floor “because a crime may have been committed,” CPD Detective Commander Brendan Deenihan said at a news conference Sunday.

Around 8:30 p.m., the doorman and Chicago police officers entered the apartment to discover the body of Cornell-Duranleau, who authorities said had been dead for more than 12 hours.

Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed more than 40 times, so “savagely murdered,” according to police, that the blade of one of the two knives believed to have been used in the attack was broken.

An autopsy found Cornell-Duranleau died of multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, and his death was ruled a homicide. A toxicology report released Friday found that he had methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.

Detectives spoke with witnesses who said they heard “what sounded like a fight and screaming” at around 5 a.m. that morning. Investigators later discovered that Lathem was staying at a hotel close to the apartment building, and was seen with the victim on surveillance video in the area the day before.

They also learned that Lathem picked up Warren, a senior treasury assistant at the University of Oxford who he met through the internet, at O’Hare International Airport several days before the killing, Deenihan said.

Warren and Lathem were seen on surveillance footage leaving the property after the incident, according to police, who said they fled Chicago shortly thereafter.

The men drove to Lake Geneva and donated $1,000 in Cornell-Duranleau’s name to the Lake Geneva Public Library, where Deenihan said Lathem was the one who made the anonymous call to the doorman alerting him of the crime.

Lathem also sent a video message to family members and friends after the killing, according to police, allegedly apologizing for his involvement in the crime.

Warren was arrested in San Francisco on Aug. 4, while Lathem surrendered at the federal courthouse in Oakland later that day after communicating with authorities, according to the U.S. Marshals office.

Police revealed a select few pieces of information Sunday, as the suspects were to appear in court in the afternoon, at which point the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office planned to address the charges and allegations against them in greater detail.

“What I can tell you is it was not domestic in nature like a husband, wife, or boyfriend, boyfriend, or a love triangle; that was not the motive,” Deenihan said. “It was a little bit more dark and disturbing, as far as I’m concerned.”

Lathem and Warren were scheduled to appear in bond court at 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: Chicago Police]]>
<![CDATA[7 Shot, 1 Fatally, in Parking Lot on Chicago’s South Side]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 20:30:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CAPTURED_Seven+Shot+-+00020804_28540841.png

Seven people were shot, one fatally, in the parking lot of an event center on Chicago’s Far South Side early Sunday, according to police.

Authorities said the shooting occurred at around 2:30 a.m. in the 11900 block of South Loomis Street in the city’s West Pullman neighborhood.

The group was in the parking lot of the Universal Entertainment Center when a man in a black SUV opened fire before fleeing the scene, according to Chicago police.

One man was pronounced dead on the scene, officials said. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office did not immediately confirm the fatality, and further details, including the victim’s age and identity, were not available.

A 30-year-old man and two women, ages 31 and 33, were each shot in their left legs, while a 32-year-old woman was shot in the right leg, authorities said.

A 32-year-old man sustained a gunshot wound to the abdomen and a 36-year-old man was shot in the buttocks, according to police.

All of the victims were taken to area hospitals in conditions ranging from stable to serious, police said.

An 8-year-old boy was struck by the SUV as it fled the scene, according to police. He was taken to the hospital in stable condition with a broken right ankle. 

Emotions ran high Sunday morning as friends and family of the victims gathered near the scene, searching for answers. A confrontation erupted as a woman who was speaking with officers rushed across the street and began fighting with another woman.

No one is in custody in connection with the shooting and authorities continue to investigate.

Photo Credit: Captured News]]>
<![CDATA[Toews Not One of NHL's Top Centers, New Ranking Says]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 20:11:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/toews+blackhawks.png

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has three Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals on his resume, but those impressive accomplishments didn’t help him in a new ranking of the top centers in the NHL.

According to a new ranking released by NHL Network, Toews is the 12th-best center in the league right now. Toews, who will be entering his 11th NHL season this fall, scored a career-low 21 goals and dished out 37 assists last season, and he saw his team get bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs in just four games in the spring.

Two centers from the Central Division made the list ahead of Toews, as Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin (eighth) and Winnipeg Jets center Mark Schiefele (tenth) both finished ahead of the Blackhawks’ captain.

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid topped the list, followed by a pair of Pittsburgh Penguins as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin rounded out the top three.

Toronto Maple Leafs sensation Auston Matthews and Washington Capitals star Nicklas Backstrom rounded out the top five. 

Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Lewis: A Complicated King of Comedy]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 16:02:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/jerrylewiswinefeuerherd.jpg

In his “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”-inspired comedic master work, “The Nutty Professor,” Jerry Lewis gave fans two characters for the price of one: sweet, ineffectual scientist Julius Klemp and his chemically conjured alter ego, the obnoxious lounge singer and ladies’ man, Buddy Love.

But through his eight-decade career, Lewis, who died Sunday at age 91, presented many other sides of his personality as he spurred laughter, tears and even anger on the way to becoming a deceivingly complicated entertainment icon.

There was the manic man-child who propelled Lewis’ zany 1940s and 1950s buddy comedy hits with straight-man crooner Dean Martin (the best of the bunch include “Artists and Models” and “Sailor Beware”). There was the solo, would-be auteur who, with mixed success, attempted to transform himself into the Chaplin of his era (“The Bellboy” and “Cinderfella” rank among the standouts – just ask his many French fans).

There was the selfless, indefatigable humanitarian whose annual Labor Day TV telethons drew awareness  – and celebrities – to the battle against muscular dystrophy, raising about $2.5 billion on behalf of “Jerry’s Kids” over 44 years (Lewis lived up to the pledge he sang at the end of each installment: "You'll Never Walk Alone").

There was the Lewis who also could get serious on the big screen – no more so than in Martin Scorsese’s underrated 1982 gem “King of Comedy,” in which the actor portrayed a top comedian kidnapped by a deranged fan (Robert DeNiro).

Then there was the Lewis, who eventually became the cranky old man of comedy – foolishly declaring, variously, that women couldn’t or shouldn’t be funny.

Unlike Prof. Klemp, Lewis didn’t have to chug a secret formula to summon his multiple personalities – bouncing in latter-day stage and TV talk show appearances from the overgrown, rubber-faced kid yelling “Hey, Lady!” to singing schmaltzy songs designed to make his audience – and himself – shed a tear to occasionally letting his ego and blind spots get the better of him. 

For whatever faults he possessed, Lewis' influence is everywhere – from every buddy-comedy flick made since the 1950s to the careers of Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy, who most folks probably think of these days when they hear the words “Nutty Professor.”

Still, it’s hard to beat the 1963 original, especially the climax when slick Buddy slowly turns back into the buck-toothed and bespectacled Julius, who delivers a speech by turns corny and devastating:

“I didn’t like being someone else,” Julius declares mid-transformation, his voice part whiny Klemp, part grating Buddy – and all Jerry Lewis. “At the same time, I’m very glad I was. Because I found out something I never knew: You might as well like yourself.

“Just think about all the time you’re going to have to spend with you.”

Fans around the word were lucky enough to spend time with Jerry Lewis in all his incarnations – through the heartfelt to the infuriating to the inspiring to the hilarious – during an at-times nutty, but ultimately unforgettable comedic journey.

Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Police Officer Shoots Person on Southwest Side]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 09:03:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/10p+Gage+Park+Late+Night+Shooting+-+00003918_28540947.png

A Chicago police officer shot a person on the city’s Southwest Side Saturday night, authorities said.

Around 8:45 p.m., officers approached a group of males who were drinking in the 5600 block of South Artesian Avenue, according to a statement from Chicago police.

When the officers walked up to the group, they noticed one of the males had a handgun, officials said.

An “armed confrontation ensued” between the person with the gun and one of the officers, according to police, and the officer discharged his weapon.

Authorities said the male subject, whose age was not released, sustained a graze wound to the neck and was taken to an area hospital with injuries that were believed to be non-life threatening.

No officers were injured and a weapon was recovered at the scene, according to police.

The officer involved will be placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days, as is customary in all police-involved shootings.

The Independent Police Review Authority continues to investigate.

<![CDATA[America Still in Turmoil a Year After Kaepernick's Protest]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 11:31:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kaepernickfeuerherd.jpg

What started as a protest against police brutality has mushroomed a year later into a divisive debate over the future of a football player who refused to stand for the national anthem and now faces what his fans see as blackballing for speaking out in a country roiled by racial strife.

Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick demonstrated outside the Los Angeles Rams' Aug. 12 preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys, part of calls for boycotts of the upcoming NFL season. Film director Spike Lee is promoting a rally on his behalf.

On the opposing end of a wide range of opinions, some fans say Kaepernick shouldn't have sat or kneeled during the national anthem, while others argue the quarterback's lack of a job is more about his talent.

The once-rising star and Super Bowl quarterback has been unemployed since March, when he opted out of his contract and became a free agent who could sign with any team. At least three NFL clubs have openly discussed the idea of signing him, but the embattled quarterback has yet to sign a contract with training camps well underway.

Just weeks away from the regular season, he has become a symbol of the clash of celebrity, sports and social issues as more people —including players, fans, politicians, team owners and pundits — invoke his name to debate thorny issues of patriotism and race. Other prominent NFL players have sat out or demonstrated during anthems this preseason, one saying his decision was bolstered by a recent white supremacists' rally in Virginia that turned deadly.

"There's a lot going on inside people's hearts right now," said Dan Rascher, a sports business professor at the University of San Francisco. "This may have been a catalyst for that even though it's not about Colin Kaepernick, but about our country and who we are."

Other players who joined Kaepernick in protest are still employed. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins pledged to continue his protests this season, tight end Martellus Bennett signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers and linebacker Brandon Marshall stayed with the Denver Broncos even as he lost two endorsements for kneeling during the anthem.

Still, some fans say they believe Kaepernick has been passed up as punishment for his actions, which initially went unnoticed until the third preseason game last year.

The chorus gets louder every time a quarterback vacancy is filled on an NFL team, such as when the Miami Dolphins brought 34-year-old quarterback Jay Cutler out of a short-lived retirement to lead its franchise. Cutler was out of work — like Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and others — and planned to work as a television analyst before the Dolphins reunited him with coach Adam Gase.

"Either some owners and/or the NFL are punishing him for speaking out, or they've decided that it's best for business to sweep these valid issues under the rug in order not to upset fans who, in our opinion, don't have a valid reason to be upset about Colin Kaepernick being on their team," said Tim Clark, who is organizing boycotts of all 32 teams for the NFL's regular season opener.

Color of Change, an online civil rights organization, flooded Baltimore Ravens headquarters with telephone calls when the team didn't quickly sign him as it openly considered options to react to an injury. The Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network, which demonstrated over the weekend, says it will boycott the Rams and Chargers games at Memorial Coliseum. A change.org petition calling for a season-long boycott of the NFL has collected more than 170,000 signatures.

"We understand the NFL is very important to you. We also understand the purpose of Colin Kaepernick's protest is FAR more important than any games you will ever watch," the petition said.

Elie Mystal, an editor at the "Above the Law" legal commentary website, agreed with the proposed boycotts.

"Kaepernick doesn't have a job because he spoke out about race," Mystal said. "That's the thing you're not allowed to do in our sporting culture and most of our popular culture, unless you're so over-the-top talented that they need you for winning."

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem while Rams defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist during Saturday's game between the two teams.

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Martellus Bennett's brother, sat during the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the second straight week on Friday. He was joined by two teammates standing by him. Bennett said the death of a young woman protesting white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, underscored his decision.

"First of all, I want people to understand I love the military. My father was in the military. I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American, but I don't love segregation," he said. "I don't love riots. I don't love oppression. I don't love gender slander."

Some fans say Kaepernick has not been signed because he's had an inconsistent career. He played in the 2013 Super Bowl but faded in the seasons leading up to the protests, winning just three games in his last 19 starts.

He had two seasons where he was the starting quarterback for all 16 of his team's games, including the 2014 season that ended with San Francisco missing the playoffs. He suffered from a shoulder injury for half of 2015 and began the 2016 season as a backup, then started 11 games. The 49ers finished in last place for the second season in a row.

"Do these people (complaining) about Kaepernick going unsigned not understand that he sucks, and he's a liability/distraction?" tweeted Joe Patterson, a business management major at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Henry Schafer, executive vice president of Q Scores Marketing Evaluations, said Kaepernick's popularity has plummeted.

"He's very polarizing and much more in the consciences of the general population as well as sports fans and, creating, I would think, a pretty big dilemma for the NFL teams as to where he's going to go," Schafer said.

The fallout wasn't all negative: Kaepernick inspired a movement as high school athletes across the country kneeled during the anthem. Kaepernick had the 17th highest jersey sale in May and came in 39th in all merchandise from May through July 31. He's the only player in the top 50 in sales without a job.

Kaepernick, who is white and African-American, took a stand that was unpopular among many whites, which is what boxing great Muhammad Ali did when he refused to be drafted into military during the Vietnam war.

Ali was convicted of draft evasion, which was later overturned, banned from boxing and stripped of his heavyweight title.

It's uncertain how history will treat Kaepernick. But just as Ali was linked to the "black power" movement, Kaepernick has become linked with the Black Lives Matter movement, says Soyica Diggs Colbert, a Georgetown University professor who is writing a book on black movements.

"When we think about how Black Lives Matter as a political movement gets woven into sports," Kaepernick's certainly the key figure in that conversation, she said.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Butch Dill]]>
<![CDATA[David Ross Goes Skydiving at Air and Water Show]]> Sat, 19 Aug 2017 18:06:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/David+Ross+Skydive+8-19.png

Former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross has appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and showed off his moves on “Dancing With the Stars,” but he added another item to his resume this weekend.

Ross, who was a member of the 2016 Cubs’ World Series title winner, jumped out of a plane to kick off Chicago’s Air and Water Show on Saturday morning. Ross jumped with the Golden Knights, and his thrilling jump was captured on video:

The Cubs had to get used to the Air and Water Show noise this week, as the Blue Angels repeatedly buzzed the stadium during games at Wrigley Field.

All of the noise hasn’t seemed to bother the Cubs lately, as they’ve picked up back-to-back wins against the Toronto Blue Jays. 

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Man Crashes Stolen Car Into Illinois State Police Vehicle]]> Sat, 19 Aug 2017 21:57:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Illinois+State+Police.jpg

A man driving a stolen car crashed into an unmarked Illinois State Police vehicle on Saturday night in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood.

The incident occurred just after 8 p.m. when Chicago police officers spotted a stolen vehicle. The driver then fled after seeing the officers, and a short pursuit took place, according to police.

The chase ended when the man went through a stop sign and crashed into an unmarked Illinois State Police car. Three state troopers were in the vehicle at the time, and all three were taken to an area hospital in good condition. 

The driver of the stolen vehicle was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital with minor injuries, police said.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing. 

Photo Credit: Illinois State Police]]>
<![CDATA[First DC Corpse Flower Begins to Bloom; 2 More Ready]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 08:31:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/RBotanicalGarden.jpg

The first of three corpse flowers in Washington, D.C., started blooming late Saturday night, and two more of the stinky blossoms are still waiting to go.

Three corpse flowers, also called "the stinky plant," were predicted to reach peak bloom between Aug. 17 and 22 at the U.S. Botanical Garden. The plant's signature stench has been described as a combination of garlic, fish, diapers and rotting meat. Their scientific name is amorphophallus titanum.

"Not really something you'd want around dinner time," USBG plant curator Bill McLaughlin told NBC4 during another peak bloom in 2013.

The plant, native to tropical rainforests in Indonesia, doesn't follow a set schedule. They can take anywhere from years to decades to store enough energy to bloom. Once they're fully open, they’ll collapse between 24 and 48 hours later.

The flowers were first discovered in 1878. They hold the record for the world's largest unbranched inflorescence -- flower structure -- growing up to 12 feet tall. Each has one giant bud, made up of hundreds of tiny, stinky flowers. Their scent attracts carrion beetles and flies.

A corpse flower last bloomed in D.C. in 2016. Thirty-two corpse flowers bloomed around the world last year in the U.S., India, Australia and more, BBC reported.

You can watch the plants bloom in real time on the USBG's livestream here.

Photo Credit: United States Botanical Garden
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<![CDATA[Monuments Fight Heats Up in Capital of the Confederacy]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 06:56:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-112906040.jpg

As a wave of U.S. cities have moved to topple their Confederate statues in the wake of violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Richmond — which was once the capital of the Confederacy — could become the next flashpoint in the debate over what to do with its monuments.

In the heart of Richmond, five statues depicting Confederate figures line a two-mile stretch of Monument Avenue, NBC News reported. The monuments are of Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and Matthew Fontaine Maury. 

On Wednesday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney pointedly reversed course and announced that he felt the Confederate statues should be removed. The marked change came days after the deadly protest in Charlottesville, where a woman was killed and 19 others were injured after a driver slammed his car into counter-protesters as white nationalists rallied against the planned removal of a Confederate monument.

"I wish they had never been built," Stoney said in a statement, later adding, "These monuments should be part of our dark past and not of our bright future."

Photo Credit: Chuck Myers/MCT/Getty Images, file]]>
<![CDATA[Pets Find New Homes in Chicago Area for Clear the Shelters]]> Sat, 19 Aug 2017 18:09:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DHnKg0TXgAIBivk.png

Within minutes of doors opening at animal shelters across the Chicago area Saturday for Clear the Shelters, several animals had already found their forever homes. 

Just 30 minutes into the big adoption event, the first pet adoptions had been reported at PAWS Chicago, the DuPage County Animal Care & Control, Tails Humane Society in DeKalb and many more. 

Several hours later, success stories continued to pour in from dozens of shelters as long lines of people remained hopeful they would find a new family member to take home. 

Lines formed outside numerous shelters hours before doors opened for the massive event with families hoping to bring home a new furry friend. 

Outside the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, nearly a dozen people were waiting just after 9 a.m. for their chance to meet the 48 cats and 24 dogs available for adoption Saturday. 

At the DuPage County Animal Care & Control, lines of people had formed with just 30 minutes until the start of the event. 

Shelters across the city, the suburbs and northwest Indiana opened at 11 a.m. for Clear the Shelters, which continues until 4 p.m. 

As of 5 p.m., 660 animals had been adopted and at least one shelter - Magnificent Mutts Animal Rescue in Hillside - was cleared, with numbers expected to grow. 

Last year, 53,000 animals were adopted during the nationwide adoption campaign, with more than 1,000 of them being from the Chicago area. In total, six of the participating shelters were completely cleared.

This year, nearly 30 Chicago-area shelters are participating, with hundreds of animals available for adoption. 

Photo Credit: Allison Rosati
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Pets Find New Homes in the Chicago Area]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 10:58:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/first+adoption+main.jpg The big day is finally here - pets in need are finding new homes left and right during Clear the Shelters! Dozens of shelters in Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana are waiving or discounting fees as part of the one-day adoption event.]]>