<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:15:44 -0500 Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:15:44 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[2 Dead, 29 Wounded in Weekend Shootings]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:44:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/violence+9-21-2.jpg

Two people have been killed and at least 29 others wounded in weekend Chicago shootings on the last weekend of summer.

The weekend’s first homicide took place around 4:10 a.m. Saturday in the city’s West Garfield Park neighborhood, in the same block where three others, including a 12-year-old boy, had been shot late Friday night.

Officers responding to a call of a person shot found a 16-year-old boy in an alley in the 4000 block of West Jackson Boulevard on the city’s West Side with two gunshot wounds.

The boy managed to give police his name and said, "Please don't let me die," the Chicago Tribune reported.

The teen was taken to Loretto Hospital in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

Police said no one was in custody Sunday morning and Area North Detectives were investigating.

Just before 7 p.m. Saturday, a 21-year-old man was fatally shot while driving on the city’s Northwest Side.

Police were flagged down in the 3300 block of West Chicago Avenue and discovered a 21-year-old man had been shot in the chest in the 3900 block of West Ferdinand Street. The man was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

At least 15 others were wounded in shootings Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

  • Just before 11 a.m., a 37-year-old woman was shot in the lower left leg in the 5200 block of West Diversey. The woman refused to go to the hospital and was treated and released at the scene, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Thomas Sweeney. Circumstances surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.
  • Around 3:45 a.m., a 26-year-old man was shot in the 2600 block of North Long Avenue in the Cragin neighborhood, police said. The man was shot in the left thigh and was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition. Further details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available
  • About an hour earlier, a 34-year-old man was shot while riding in a car in the 7700 block of South Stewart Avenue. The man was a passenger in car driving southbound on Stewart Avenue when someone opened fire on the vehicle. The man was shot in the head and was driven to Saint Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center and was later transferred to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition. Police said the shooter is known but no one was in custody Sunday morning.
  • Just before 2 a.m., a 23-year-old man was injured in a shooting in the 1700 block of South Loomis Street. The man told officers he was standing on the sidewalk when he heard shots and realized he had been shot twice in the chest. The man was driven by a friend to Stroger Hospital and was listed in stable condition. Police said the shooting may have been gang-related after a witness near the crime told officers the victim was standing on the sidewalk displaying gang signs before the shooting.
  • Two people were shot during a “domestic-related incident” around 1:10 a.m. in the 5400 block of South Justine Street. Police said a man was involved in an argument during a family gathering. The man left the residence after the argument but returned a short time later and opened fire outside the home, injuring a 39-year-old woman and a 38-year-old man on the sidewalk, according to authorities. The woman was shot in the buttocks and both legs and was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. The man was shot in the left leg and taken to Saint Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center in good condition. No one was in custody Sunday morning but Area Central Detectives are investigation.
  • Just before 10 p.m. Saturday, two teens were shot in the 6000 block of South Paulina Street in the West Englewood neighborhood. The two were at a party when a black and gray Jeep drove by and someone inside fired shots in their direction, police said. A 19-year-old man was shot in the back and a 16-year-old girl was shot in the foot. Both were taken to Stroger Hospital in stable condition.
  • Around the same time, three people were shot in the 6900 block of South Vernon Avenue. The three were walking in an alley and were about to enter the backyard of a residence when someone appeared at the mouth of the alley and opened fire, according to police. A 23-year-old man was shot in the knee and was taken to Saint Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center in stable condition and an 18-year-old woman was shot in the foot and was also taken to Saint Bernard Hospital in good condition. A 20-year-old man was shot in the buttocks and was taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
  • Around 8 p.m., a 19-year-old man suffered a graze wound to the leg in the 5600 block of South Perry Avenue, police said. The teen refused treatment at the scene and was uncooperative with police, officials said.
  • Around 5:20 p.m., a 23-year-old man was walking outside in the 7400 block of South Colfax Avenue when he heard gunshots and discovered he was hit, police said. The man was taken to Stroger Hospital in serious but stable condition. Further details surrounding the shooting weren’t immediately available.
  • Just before 5 p.m., a 19-year-old man walked into Roseland Hospital with a gunshot wound to the arm. The man was uncooperative with police and would not say where he was shot or offer any details surrounding the shooting.
  • Around 3:40 p.m., a 26-year-old man was shot in the armpit in the 6300 block of South Kedzie Avenue. The man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in stable condition but details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.


Fourteen others were injured in shootings Friday evening and Saturday morning.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

<![CDATA[Racist Messages Spray Painted on Chicago's South Side]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:55:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/morgan+park+vandal.jpg

Police are searching for suspects in connection with a series of vandalism incidents involving racially charged messages spray painted on cars and garages in a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

The first incident was reported Friday morning in the Morgan Park neighborhood after a 54-year-old woman told police she woke up and found her car, her daughter’s car and their garage spray painted with offensive and hateful messages.

The woman said both cars were parked in an alley behind their home near 108th and Hermosa Streets, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic.

Marsha Eaglin said two of her cars were tagged with similar racial slurs.

“We’re really shocked,” she said. “N-word, F-U, n-word misspelled, we don’t know what was going on in their heads.”

Eaglin said her daughter made the discovery as she walked out of their home on Hermosa Street.

“My daughter kept saying ‘Is this 2014 or are we in 1950 or 60?’” Eaglin said.

On Saturday, a similar incident was reported when a 54-year-old woman told police her garage and car had been vandalized with spray paint and that the messages were offensive and hateful, police said.

Cheryl James was still scrubbing the graffiti, which included the “n-word” and other racially charged messages, off her car Sunday morning.

“I was hurt, really hurt,” she said. “I really didn’t know what to think.”

Eaglin and James said other neighbors in the area were tagged with the same messages.

“They hit my car, our two cars, and two other cars down the street from me on my block,” Eaglin said.

Chicago police said Area South detectives are investigating the vandalism.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

<![CDATA[Person of Interest in UVa. Case]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:34:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/0917-hannah-graham-.jpg

Charlottesville, Virginia, police have issued an arrest warrant on charges of reckless driving for a man they call a "person of interest" in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Police have not charged Jesse Matthew in Graham's disappearance, but Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he believes Matthew was the last person to see Graham.

“I believe Jesse Matthew is the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face off the earth,” Longo said at a media briefing on Sunday. "But somebody knows where she is. And we want to know who that person or persons are.”

Longo said Matthew arrived at police headquarters on Saturday and asked for a lawyer. After speaking to the lawyer, Matthew left the station without talking to detectives.

Longo said after Matthew left, he was being overtly followed by state and federal officials. Matthew then sped away from police at a high rate of speed.

Longo said the speed was so great that police disengaged from the pursuit.

Hannah’s father, John Graham, spoke publicly for the first time Sunday, appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

“Who saw Hannah?” asked John Graham, during the press conference, with his wife, Sue, standing next to him. “Somebody knows what happened to Hannah.”

The father expressed gratitude to more than 1,000 volunteers who combed Charlottesville where Graham was last seen, on Saturday and Sunday.

“We have been utterly overwhelmed by the generosity of the spirit of all the people we’ve met,” he said. “This is every parent’s worst nightmare. We need to find out what happened to her so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Graham expressed hope that his daughter would be found alive.

"'Hannah is brilliant, resilient, determined and loves life more than anybody else I know."

He read an email from Hannah's former teacher, who wrotte: “If anybody could get through this, it is Hannah."

The chief, in an emotional statement, said Sunday that Matthew was the person seen in surveillance video walking with Graham before she disappeared more than a week ago.

He wants anyone who saw Graham or Matthew that evening to contact police as soon as possible.

Longo thanked people who were involved in the search this weekend as well as those who emailed him from all over the country, saying “you rose to the occasion, you stepped up to the plate.”

Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s Mark Eggeman said nearly 2,000 people searched for clues into Graham’s disappearance. Eggeman said he spent his daughter’s birthday with searchers, saying, “No place I’d rather be.”

Hannah Graham has been missing since early on September 13. She was seen in surveillance video along the city's Downtown Mall.

A man, who police believe is Matthew, is later seen wrapping his arm around Graham's waist. Police say the two then entered a Charlottesville restaurant during the early morning hours of September 13, where the man bought alcohol and later left in a burnt-orange car.

"We have every reason to believe Ms. Graham was in that vehicle," said Detective Sgt. Jim Mooney of Charlotteville police.

Police searched the man's apartment and car and even talked to him -- but stopped short at calling him a suspect. When asked if the man had a criminal history, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he has "had contact with police."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

<![CDATA[2 Charged in Alleged Tow Truck Scam]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 14:45:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/perry+mugshots.jpg

A Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation worker and his relative were charged in an alleged tow truck scam where they towed vehicles and charged car owners to get their cars back.

Lennie Perry, 40, of the 7500 block of South Maryland Avenue and Arica Perry, 28, of the 9000 block of South Harvard Avenue, were each charged with theft by deception, according to police.

Officers were flagged down around 11:20 p.m. Friday in the 500 block of South Columbus Drive by a 39-year-old woman who told them her vehicle, which had been parked on the same block, had been towed by a Streets and Sanitation tow truck.

The woman claimed that when she approached the tow truck driver to ask about her vehicle, the driver told her she had to pay a nominal fee, said to be $150, to get her car back and directed her to a woman claiming to be an employee of the Department of Streets and Sanitation who was parked nearby.

Police investigated the woman’s allegations and arrested Lennie and Arica Perry.

The Chicago Tribune, citing police sources, reports that officials believe the scam has been going on for at least two months and that several cars were found near a downtown impound by Lower Wacker Drive where the towed cars were said to have been taken.

The driver reportedly has a criminal history and was hired as part of a second-chance program.

A request for comment from a spokesperson for the Department of Streets and Sanitation was not immediately returned.

Area Central detectives are investigating.

Photo Credit: Chicago Police]]>
<![CDATA[Jared Allen Speaks About Peterson Case]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:07:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/jared+allen+9-20.jpg

Chicago Bears defensive end and former Minnesota Viking, Jared Allen, spoke out about the allegations surrounding his former teammate and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

“I’ve said it all along that I have my beliefs and my opinions,” Allen said after practice Saturday, noting his focus has been on the Chicago Bears. “And that’s what they are and I live my life a certain way. I believe good people can make bad decisions. I’m not perfect so I’m not one to cast judgments on others.”

Peterson was booked and released from a Texas jail last week on a charge alleging that he spanked one of his sons with a wooden switch.

Peterson was benched for last Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. The Vikings initially decided to allow Peterson to play while the legal process plays out in Texas, the team quickly reversed course and benched Peterson indefinitely. The organization put Peterson on the exempt-commissioner's permission list, meaning he is off the active roster while he deals with his legal affairs. 

“Obviously, they’ll have to deal with those circumstances,” Allen said. “Adrian and everybody [with the Vikings] will have to deal with that going forward. It’s a tough deal and it’s sad. I guess that’s my best answer. It was sad to hear.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

<![CDATA[Sunday's Forecast: Slight chance of an afternoon shower.]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 05:08:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Andy+Avalos+Updated.jpg

Sunday: Mostly cloudy, chance of afternoon showers, 67.

Sunday night: Mostly clear, 48.

Monday: Mostly Sunny, 79.

Tuesday: Mostly Sunny, 72.

Wednesday: Mostly Sunny, 74.

Thursday: Mostly Sunny, 75.

Friday: Mostly Sunny, 76.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, 75.

<![CDATA[Limbo Party During Traffic]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:19:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/200*120/steel_drum_interstate_party.JPG

WATCH: Steel Drum Party on I-76

A group of motorists stranded on I-76 in Pennsylvania turned the headache of the standstill traffic into a communal steel drum and limbo party on the highway. A car flipped over in the I-76 eastbound lanes about a mile from the King of Prussia exit Saturday afternoon.

Motorists emerged from their bumper-to-bumper parked vehicles and gave new meaning to a traffic jam.

"It was better than being stuck in a snowstorm," said Justin Berk of Baltimore, who was en route to the Philadelphia Half Marathon. "I've been stuck in a lot of traffic jams and got out and people started talking to each other."

The result was a chance meeting of Berk and David Gettes of Trinidad North Steel Drum Band & Company. Gettes and percussionist Paul Downie were traveling from the Muhlenberg International Festival in Reading to Media when they got stuck.

Just after 2 p.m., Gettes pulled out his steel drum and played a pop-up set of island sounds for 15 minutes as motorists danced in a limbo line.

"We were struck in the traffic. We saw people around us frustrated. I know the magic of the (steel drum) instrument. It was not taking any toll on me to do that so why not," said Gettes.

Berk pulled out his camera to record the fun. He said the stranded motorists worked together to make the best of a bad situation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

<![CDATA[1 Dead, 14 Wounded in Overnight Chicago Shootings]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 11:47:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/violence+9-20.jpg

A teen boy was killed and at least 14 others, including a 12-year-old boy, were wounded in overnight shootings across Chicago.

The weekend’s first homicide took place around 4:10 a.m. Saturday in the city’s West Garfield Park neighborhood, in the same block where three others had been shot late Friday night.

Officers responding to a call of a person shot found a 16-year-old boy in an alley in the 4000 block of West Jackson Boulevard on the city’s West Side with two gunshot wounds.

The boy managed to give police his name and said, "Please don't let me die," the Chicago Tribune reported.

The teen was taken to Loretto Hospital in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

Police said no one was in custody Saturday morning and Area North Detectives were investigating.

About an hour and a half earlier, three people were shot about a half-mile away in the 3900 block of West Flournoy Street, also on the city’s West Side.

A group of people were walking northbound when someone walked up behind them and opened fire, police said.

A 33-year-old man suffered a graze wound to the chest, a 22-year-old man was shot in the arm and leg and a 28-year-old man was shot in the leg. All three were taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in good condition.

Around 11 p.m. Friday, three others were shot in the 4000 block of West Jackson. Police said the victims were standing at a bus stop when they “heard shots and felt pain.”

An 18-year-old man was shot in the buttocks and was taken in good condition to Mount Sinai Hospital.

A 12-year-old boy was shot in the left calf and a 16-year-old boy was shot in the left wrist. Both were taken in good condition to an area hospital.

Just before 10 p.m., a 17-year-old boy walked into Norwegian American Hospital with a gunshot wound to the thigh. He told officers he had been shot in the 500 block of North Albany Avenue. Officials said the wound appeared to be self-inflicted but an investigation was ongoing Saturday morning.

About 20 minutes earlier, a man was shot while sitting on a porch with a group of friends in the 7100 block of South Rhodes Avenue.

The 27-year-old man was shot in the side and was listed in stable condition at Stroger Hospital.

At least five people were shot in three separate shootings within 15 minutes Friday night.

Around 8:15 p.m., an 18-year-old man was shot in the foot and shoulder in the 2900 block of West 85th Street at Hayes Park on the Southwest Side. The teen told police he was walking when someone got out of a vehicle and opened fire at him.

He took himself to Little Company of Mary Hospital where he was listed in stable condition.

Five minutes earlier, three people were shot in the 7200 block of South May Street in the Englewood neighborhood.

An 18-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the back and a 15-year-old boy was shot in the buttocks. Both were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in good condition. A third person, a 37-year-old man, was shot in the thigh and took himself to Little Company of Mary Hospital where he was listed in good condition.

Police said the three were standing on the block when a group of men opened fire in their direction.

Just before 7 p.m., a 16-year-old girl was shot in the 1400 block of West 81st Street in the Gresham neighborhood. The teen was shot in the lower back when a man fired “several shots” in her direction, police said. She was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in stable condition.

Police said preliminary evidence indicates the girl may not have been the intended target.

<![CDATA[Thousands Without Power After Saturday Storms]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 14:46:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Lightning-Generic1.jpg

Saturday's stormy weather brought high winds and rain to parts of the Chicago area and left thousands without power in Northwest Indiana.

The severe weather quickly moved across areas south of Chicago and into Northwest Indiana.

A Tornado Warning was issued for southern Porter County in Northwest Indiana just after 3 p.m. That warning remained in effect until 3:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service reported a severe squall line in the area capable of producing tornadoes that may not be visible due to heavy rain. The system was moving east at 35 mph.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued Saturday afternoon and remained in effect until 9 p.m. Saturday for La Salle, Kankakee, Grundy, Will, Kendall, Livingston, Knox, Iroquois, and several other Illinois counties.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was also issued for Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties in Indiana and Kankakee and Will counties in Illinois. That warning expired at 3:30 p.m.

The alerts warned of wind gusts of up to 80 mph and hail.

NIPSCO reported more than 3,000 homes were without power Sunday morning following the storms. A NIPSCO representative said crews worked overnight and into the morning hours to try to restore power as quickly as possible.

STORM PHOTOS? Email isee@nbcchicago.com

Sunday cools down to the mid-60s with a chance for showers, but storms should be well out of the way of the Chicago area.

Photo Credit: [UGCDFW-CJ-weather]]]>
<![CDATA[Cupich Introduced as Next Chicago Archbishop ]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 17:28:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Blase-Cupich.jpg

Pope Francis on Saturday appointed Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Washington, the next Chicago Archbishop. 

The announcement was made early Saturday morning by the Vatican. The Chicago Archdiocese also held a news conference Saturday, where they introduced Cupich.

"The Holy Father's appointment of me humbles but also encourages me," Cupich said Saturday. "As Pope Francis began his pastoral minstry in Rome by asking the people to pray for him, so too now I bow my head in the hope that everyone in Chicago will pray for me in the days ahead."

Cupich will succeed Cardinal Francis George, 77, who announced several months ago that he wanted to begin the process of finding his replacement after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

George has previously expressed a desire to meet his successor.

"I leave this church in better hands than mine," George said Saturday. "This is a full time job. I am relieved and grateful that now somebody who can do it full time will be in charge."

Cupich will be installed as archbishop of Chicago on Nov. 18, officials said.

"Today all of Chicago honors Cardinal Francis George for his compassionate pastoral leadership and his steadfast commitment and service to Chicago's people and neighborhoods throughout the last 17 years," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "And we congratulate Pope Francis on his appointment of Bishop Blase Joseph Cupich to succeed Cardinal George -- we welcome Bishop Cupich to Chicago with open arms and stand eager to work with him as he begins his pastoral duties in our city."

According to the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Cupich, 65, was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1975. He was named Bishop of the Rapid City, South Dakota Archdiocese in 1998 before taking over the Spokane position in 2010.

Cupich was born in Omaha, Nebraska.

This marked Pope Francis' first major appointment. Sources believe the Pope bypassed the Congregation of Bishops and worked the telephones on his own, calling Catholic leaders throughout the country to get a read on who would be best for Chicago.

Cupich had appeared on many lists of favorites for the position, but most agreed Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin was the frontrunner.

Many also expected the Pope's choice to be a Spanish speaker, and while Cupich doesn't speak Spanish, he is fluent in Italian.

"I think the Holy Father is a pastoral man, I think that his priority is not to send a message but a bishop," Cupich said. "I wouldn’t want to in any way overly politicize or put this in a different context, I think he cares a lot about people and he wanted to provide a pastor so I think he sent a pastor not a message."

Those who know Cupich describe him as a competent leader who's willing to take charge, and more of a peacemaker than a lightning rod.

"Having first met Bishop Blase Cupich when I was an 18-year-old backpacker in Europe and he was a seminarian in Rome, I can say with confidence that, as archbishop of Chicago, he will be a pastorally dedicated, theologically astute and visionary leader in line with Francis' transformative papacy," University of Notre Dame President, Father John Jenkins, said in a statement. "We thank Cardinal George for his dedicated service, and we welcome Bishop Cupich to the great Archdiocese of Chicago."

The Spokane Diocese declared bankruptcy 10 years ago after settling sex abuse complaints, but sources say it was Cupich's leadership who got it back up and running.

"People of faith really need to work together for the common good," Cupich said. "Labels are hard for anybody to live up to. I just try to be myself and I try to learn from great people."

Cupich didn't detail much about his plans for Chicago, but noted his stance on immigration reform and crimes against children.

"I don't want to dance around the issue that we need comprehensive immigration reform," he said. "Every day we delay it is a day too long and we should move on it today."

He also said he hopes to focus on the protection of children.

"I'll work hard at this and make it an important part of my ministry" he said, also noting that the system is "always going to be imperfect, it's never going to be enough."

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a news release Friday stating Cupich "acted irresponsibly by exploiting bankruptcy law to avoid embarrassing disclosures about the complicity of the Spokane church hierarchy in dreadful crimes against kids." The organization claims more than 200 children came forward in Spokane.

"He must not be dismissive of those who have been wounded," said Kate Bochte with SNAP.

<![CDATA[Ratliff, McClellin Ruled Out for Jets Game]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:04:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/183*120/455464746.jpg

The Chicago Bears' injuries keep piling up.

The latest string of injuries has left several opening-day starters out for Monday's game against the Jets.

In an announcement made Saturday, defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, who suffered a concussion, and linebacker Shea McClellin, who has a fractured hand, were ruled out.

The two join a long list of players out for the Monday game, including cornerback Charles Tillman, who was placed on injured reserve with a torn triceps muscle.

McClellin injured his hand earlier this week during practice.

Also not playing Monday are Matt Slauson and Roberto Garza, both of whom will be sitting out for the second week in a row, and Sherrick McManis, who was injured in last week's game against the 49ers.

Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are listed as "questionable," but they are expected to play Monday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Training Camp: 3 Lessons Learned So Far]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:29:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/494771679.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks wrapped up the University of Notre Dame portion of their training camp on Sunday morning, and while they still have a ways to go before their season begins on October 9, they are still starting to sort out some of the questions they have surrounding their lineup and roster.

To recap what we’ve seen so far, we have the top three lessons we’ve learned about the Blackhawks, and what each of those can teach us about what is to come for the team as they gear up for another season as serious Stanley Cup contenders.

The Second Line Could be Explosive

The Blackhawks brought in Brad Richards over the offseason, and even though we are only a few practices into training camp, he’s already showing incredible chemistry with Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad. The trio is moving the puck around the ice effortlessly, they have scored gobs of goals in scrimmages, and most importantly of all, they are keeping everyone involved despite the level of offensive skill of each player on the line.

What will be interesting to see as the preseason gets underway is whether or not Richards is able to match the defensive intensity of Saad on the forecheck. Having a guy like Marian Hossa on a line solves that problem easily, but with Kane on the line, things will be a bit tougher on the center.

The Madhouse May Not Have Seen the Last Enforcer Named Brandon

When Brandon Bollig was traded to the Calgary Flames at the NHL Entry Draft, the assumption was that the team wasn’t going to be utilizing the fourth line “enforcer” spot that Bollig held down for all 82 games last year.

That thinking has been dramatically challenged, and Brandon Mashinter looks like he’s going to be that guy. The Blackhawks are going to get plenty of offense from their top three lines (assuming that Jeremy Morin and Bryan Bickell skate with Andrew Shaw on the third line), so the fourth line is going to be a defensive line. With Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith serving as the returning veterans on that line, Mashinter could fit in nicely, but it will be interesting to see whether or not he can avoid the kind of defensive lapses and mental mistakes that plagued Bollig at times during his tenure with the Blackhawks.

Teuvo Time Could be a Bit Delayed

While Teuvo Teravainen has looked good in the first few practices of training camp, things came to a stop on Saturday after he took a hit from defenseman Cam Barker during scrimmage play. He sat out Sunday’s session with a minor upper-body injury, but the good news is that he’s just day-to-day with the ailment.

The key lesson for Teuvo to learn from this situation is that he needs to be able to take a hit and keep on going. Teams aren’t going to take it easy on him just because he’s a skilled player, and guys like Kane have already learned to keep their heads up at all times. Until Teravainen can protect himself and absorb that kind of contact, he’s not going to find regular playing time. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Most Important Blackhawks: #9 Patrick Kane ]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:27:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/495442373.jpg

As part of our ongoing preview of the 2014-15 Chicago Blackhawks season, we will be counting down the 10 players who will be most important to the team as they try to win their third Stanley Cup championship in six seasons.

We keep the countdown rolling today with the number nine player on our list, as Patrick Kane takes his turn under the microscope.

It may seem strange to put such an integral part of the team’s offense so low on our list, but that shouldn’t be taken as a step to diminish his importance so much as a reflection of just how deep and talented this team is.

Kane is unquestionably one of the most explosive players in the NHL, and no matter who Joel Quenneville put out there with him in the 2013-14 season, Kane succeeded. He ended up with 29 goals and 40 assists, and even though his regular season was cut short by a lower-body injury, the winger still was able to come back and make a sizable impact in the playoffs as well.

While some players’ impact can’t necessarily be measured in traditional statistics or by defined roles, Kane’s is pretty easy to explain. He is arguably the biggest cog in an offensive engine that features some of the most talented players in the game, and his ability to facilitate offense through his exquisite passing and willingness to carry the puck up the ice and into the offensive zone makes him really difficult to defend against.

Where Kane’s impact will really be felt this season could be on youngster Brandon Saad. After a year in which the forward bounced between the first and third lines, he could end up finding a good home with Kane and Brad Richards on the second line, and the trio could form one of the most explosive offensive lines in the game.

Of course, knowing Quenneville’s strategy, the group could be split up in an instant if he feels like changes need to be made, but judging by what we’ve seen so far in training camp, this trio could become a go-to grouping like the defensive pairing of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya is. Whenever the Hawks need a jumpstart to their offense, Kane’s speed and vision will be key, and he should continue to progress as he nears the beginning of the lucrative new extension he signed during the summer. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jesse White Tumbler Killed in Old Town Shooting]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:53:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Devonshay-Lofton.jpg

A member of the Jesse White Tumblers was shot and killed Thursday night.

Police say 16-year-old Devonshay Lofton was standing on a sidewalk in the 1300 block of North Cleveland when two individuals riding on a bike opened fire.

Lofton first joined the Tumblers seven years ago.

"I just really want justice for my son, that's all," the victim's mother, DeShawn Lofton, said at a Friday night vigil.

Secretary of State Jesse White says Devonshay was a good kid who didn't get into trouble.

No arrests have been made in the case.

A police officer who was responding to the shooting was getting out of his vehicle when his gun discharged and the bullet struck him in the foot, police said.

<![CDATA[Bears' Run Game Must Show Progress vs. Jets ]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:05:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/455515072.jpg

The Chicago Bears have developed a well-deserved reputation as a pass-first offense under head coach Marc Trestman, and while that formula has worked to a degree in their first two games of the regular season, their offense still isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders.

That’s because their run game, headlined by Matt Forte, hasn’t been producing at the level necessary to take pressure off the passing game. In the first two weeks of the season, the Bears are averaging 3.8 yards per carry, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. They also have only attempted to run the ball 35 times in those two contests, and that is tied for the second-worst mark in the league.

Granted, the Bears weren’t exactly a run-heavy team last year, finishing 24th in the league in attempts, but they were a lot more successful in the limited carries that they did give Forte. They finished seventh in the league in yards per attempt in 2013, and they finished 16th in total rushing yards. Those numbers aren’t astounding, but they are enough to prevent the team from becoming too one-dimensional and to take some pressure off of their offensive line.

That offensive line is still going to be in for a challenge this week, as Brian de la Puente and Michael Ola get their second consecutive starts in place of Roberto Garza and Matt Slauson, respectively. They had to do a lot of work in pass protection last week, and while de la Puente is making a push to become the team’s full-time starter at center, Ola struggled somewhat as he tried to contend with an aggressive San Francisco 49’ers defensive line.

Unfortunately for Ola and the Bears, the task doesn’t get any easier this week. The New York Jets currently have the best rushing defense in the NFL, only allowing 105 yards on the ground through their first two games. They are also only allowing 2.8 yards per carry, and it’s their combination of skilled linebackers like Demario Davis and David Harris and a gifted nose tackle in Damon Harrison that is allowing their defense to thrive in the early going.

Despite that obstacle, the Bears have to get their run game going somehow. Putting all that extra pressure on Ola and Jordan Mills (who despite starting all 16 games last year saw his effectiveness against the pass rush decline week-by-week) to keep Jay Cutler upright isn’t fair to them, and so the team needs to rush the ball more to not only force the Jets to respect it and not drop their linebackers into coverage more frequently (which would have a detrimental impact on Forte and Martellus Bennett in the passing game), but also to keep their offensive linemen fresh and effective.

Getting fullback Tony Fiametta back should be a sizable boost to the team's prospects, however. Even though Dante Rosario occasionally will drop back in the formations to show a two-back set, Fiametta can not only run out of that formation, but his blocking ability and pass-catching skill make him a versatile weapon that teams have to account for when they're trying to apply pressure up the middle of the field against the run. 

This game is going to be a big test for the Bears’ offense, and will really show what they’re made of. Yes, they will be a pass-heavy team so long as Trestman is in charge, but if they can’t run the ball effectively, then it’s going to put extra pressure on just about every component of the offense, and in a tight NFC race, that could be the difference between a playoff run and booking tee times in early January. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged With DUI After Flagging Down Officer to Say "Hello"]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 11:51:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/freddie+levison.jpg

A Chicago man who flagged down a police officer to say “hello” while driving in west suburban Riverside was later charged with DUI.

Riverside police said 57-year-old Freddie Levison was driving a 2012 Chevy utility vehicle early Saturday morning when he waved down a police officer in a marked squad car in the 3400 block of Harlem Avenue.

Levison told the officer he just wanted to say “hello,” then continued driving southbound on Harlem Avenue, a release from Riverside police said.

The officer reported that Levison began driving erratically and could not maintain lane usage. Police said the car “weaved from lane to lane and straddled the center lane marker numerous times.”

Police stopped the vehicle in the 3800 block of Harlem Avenue and an officer reported smelling a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the driver’s mouth.

“When asked for his driver’s license, the individual dropped the items he was holding numerous times and seemed very disoriented,” according to a release from Riverside police. “The driver informed the officer that he was paraplegic and was unable to perform any standardized field sobriety tests. However, he wanted the officer to know that he had been arrested for DUI previously and his driver’s license was currently suspended for a DUI.”

Levison was evaluated by paramedics and eventually transported to the Riverside Police Department. Police said he had a blood alcohol level .210, nearly three times the legal limit in Illinois.

Levison, of the 7500 block of South Dorchester Avenue, was charged with two counts of DUI, driving with a suspended license and illegal lane usage.

Photo Credit: Riverside Police]]>
<![CDATA[Woman, 93, Gets High School Diploma]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:40:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007925420_1200x675_331726403774.jpg

A northern Virginia woman has received her high school diploma this weekend after waiting 75 years for the honor.

Jane Pickett, who lives in Burke, Virginia, also turned 93, and celebrated the milestones with her family and friends.

She was supposed to graduate in 1939 from her high school in the New York area. But Pickett fell in love with her high school sweetheart.

“I got married the same day I would have graduated from high school,” Pickett said.

Her daughter surprised her with an honorary diploma from the school this weekend after reaching out to the school.

“All the neighbors came over and she had absolutely no idea,” said Sharon Mills, Pickett's daughter. “Cousins came into town. Kids came home from college. But she had absolutely no idea this is what we were doing for her."

The school sent the diploma with a graduation sash and other gifts.


<![CDATA[San Diego Police Chase Bank Bandit]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:44:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/El-Chaparrito1.jpg

After robbing a bank in the Clairemont area, a bandit led San Diego police on a pursuit Saturday afternoon that ended with the suspect crashing into a police car, officials said.

The robbery happened around 1:40 p.m. at a Wells Fargo Bank in the 5500 block of Balboa Avenue. The suspect made a verbal demand for cash, but did not brandish a weapon, police said.

After getting some money, the suspect fled the scene in a silver Nissan truck, leading officers on a chase along several streets including Mount Acadia and Clairemont Mesa boulevards, as well as Field Street.

The pursuit lasted about 10 minutes, police said. A helicopter was launched to help spot the suspect by air.

After making his way to westbound Interstate 8 and the Sports Arena Boulevard off-ramp, the suspected bank robber struck a police car. He then kept driving and hit a bystander's car, police said.

The driver fled the crash scene on foot, but was ultimately arrested moments later.

Officials have not released the suspect's name, but he seems to match the description of the notorious "El Chaparrito." The bank robber nicknamed for his short stature has struck more than a dozen banks in the San Diego area since last November.

Bank robberies are on the rise in San Diego, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI said there were 61 bank robberies by this time last year, but there have already been more than 80 this year.

Police said no one was injured Saturday's bank heist or pursuit.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: FBI]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Man Had $2M in Pot: PD]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:30:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/136b6c3946e449e29dd25d30dff69ba1.jpg

A Corona man was arrested after an investigation into a marijuana-growing operation at his home led to the discovery of pot with an estimated street value of more than $2 million, police said Saturday.

YongTing Yan was arrested for cultivation and sales of marijuana, according to a Corona Police Department news release.

On Thursday night, detectives were investigating Yan’s home in the 300 block of Villafranca Street (map) and allegedly found more than 1,600 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. More than 5 pounds of packaged pot intended for sale were also discovered at the residence, officials said.

Yan also faces charges of theft of a public utility. Police said electrical lines at the home had been tampered with.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

<![CDATA[4 Charged in Murder of 9-Year-Old Chicago Boy]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 08:55:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/antonio_smith_8-21.jpg

Four people were charged in connection with the murder of 9-year-old Antonio Smith, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Friday.

Derrick Allmon, 19; Jabari Williams, 22; and Michael Baker, 19,  and an Paris Denard, 19, all face charges of first-degree murder. Williams also faces a charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Antonio was found shot multiple times Aug. 20 in a backyard in the city's South Side Grand Crossing neighborhood.

At a Friday news conference announcing the charges, McCarthy said the men -- who are all documented gang members -- were driving around in two separate cars looking to confront members of a rival gang.

McCarthy says the men located the gang members they were looking for in the 1200 block of East 71st Street, and Williams handed Allman a gun and told him to shoot.

"As Allman approached his intended targets on foot, he came across Antonio Smith in a rear yard of a residence. Believing that Antonio Smith was yelling a warning to his intended victims, Allman shot Antonio Smith multiple times, wounding him fatally," McCarthy said.

McCarthy says Allman fled the scene and discarded the .380 calibre handgun in a nearby sewer, which was recovered by investigators Thursday. Police say the same handgun has been traced to two other shootings this year, including a murder.

Antonio's mother, Brandi Murry, said the boy had walked out of the family's house by himself that day while his older brother and sister were watching him after he threw a "temper tantrum" because he got into trouble.

Murry said she rushed home from work and called police to report him missing, and that's when officers arrived and told her what happened to her son.

"I don't even understand it, why anyone would do this," Murry said. "I'm praying for the whole city right now ... not even just for my son and my family, I'm praying for everybody. And I don't even want any other parent to even go through this."

Antonio would have entered the fourth grade this fall.

“He was just a kid,” said family friend Bridgett Jackson. “You should not have to bury a kid.”

"He will never graduate eighth grade, go to high school or get married," neighbor Rebecca Sankey said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

<![CDATA[Bishop Cupich 1 on 1]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 16:38:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008905682_1200x675_331606595797.jpg Mary Ann Ahern sits down with Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Washington, the next Chicago Archbishop.]]> <![CDATA[Navy Sailor Awarded Silver Star]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:52:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Kong-Silver-Star.jpg

A Navy hospital corpsman who faced heavy fire to save an injured Marine was presented with the military’s third highest decoration for valor, the Silver Star, at Camp Pendleton Friday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Kong, now a pre-med student, was serving in the Sangin District of Afghanistan on June 13, 2011 when he and fellow service members came under attack during a battalion clearing operation – just two hours into a four-day operation.

Kong saw Marine Cpl. Michael Dawers from a shot to the chest, so braving a hail of bullets, Kong rushed from his covered position into the kill zone to reach the man.

“You get so close to the them. It’s a bond you just can’t describe in words," Kong said. "People tell me I was brave and courageous but ultimately, I wasn’t even thinking."

Kong fired back at the enemy, stood up in the line of fire and pulled the injured service member to safety.

“On that June morning, Doc Kong reacted instinctively and did something very few perhaps would have done,” said Marine Maj. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson.

Kong then treated Dawers for his injuries and provided vital information about the enemy’s position, Navy officials say. Dawers survived.

As he was given the Silver Star Friday, Kong said he didn’t deserve it because he was just following his instincts, humbly calling his actions “almost more stupid than it was brave.”

“There’s so many guys out there doing so many incredible things, and they don't always get recognized for it,” said Kong. “I was just kind of out there doing my job, and you know, a Marine gets hit and you don’t really think.”

Kong looked at his fellow service members and said he knew they would do the same thing in his place.

Serving in the Navy since 2007, Kong, a San Jose native, deactivated from active duty and now studies medicine at Stanford.

In addition to the Silver Star, his awards include the Navy Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Photo Credit: Mark Sackett]]>
<![CDATA[Insect in School Lunch Investigated]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:03:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/wrom+school+lunch.jpg

A New Jersey high school's food vendor says it's investigating after several students began circulating video purporting to show a live insect squirming inside a taco salad school lunch.

Video taken by North Bergen High School students show what appears to be a small worm on the lunch plate. One girl posted the video on Instagram, and another boy sent video to NBC 4 New York.

The authenticity of the videos could not be immediately confirmed Friday, but the lunch vendor for the school, Nu-Way Concessionaires, said it's investigating and that the health department was immediately called in. 

"This is an isolated incident. We've taken steps to discuss this with our food producers. We are very concerned about what we feed children," said Sal Valenze of Nu-Way Concessionaires.

One student, Luis Godreau, said "I would think they would make sure nothing like that would get inside it. It's crazy to see that inside it." 

Another junior student who wanted to remain anonymous said a freshman made the gross discovery and brought the video to the school's main office.

Nu-Way officials say they believe the insect was a small worm, and though rare, insects can get into produce during the agricultural process. 

As a precaution, the product batch has been pulled from distribution. The USDA is also expected back at the school Monday to continues its investigation, Nu-Way said.

Calls to the school district and the North Bergen Health Department were not returned Friday night. 

(WARNING: Instagram video below contains some explicit language) 

Follow Checkey Beckford on Twitter @Checkey4NY

<![CDATA[Stranded Suburban Firefighters Return From Cabo]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:54:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Hoffman_firefighters.jpg

A group of Hoffman Estates firefighters stranded in Cabo San Lucas following Sunday's hurricane began arriving back home Friday.

Around 40 active and retired firefighters and their families were attending a wedding in the Mexican resort town when Hurricane Odile hit.

They were trapped in a hotel for days without power and scant resources until they were able to fly out Thursday.

The stranded travelers began arriving at O'Hare Airport Friday with stories to tell about their harrowing ordeal.

"By the time we got to Thursday, we realized the locals, they got restless, they need water, they need shelter, they need food, and they know where to go an get it, and that's the big hotels," Patrick Fortunato said.

Reports of looting outside of the hotel quickly turned into looting on the inside.

"A lot of the firemen stayed up and we all collected in six or seven rooms. Some slept in rooms and others slept in the hallway, and literally the fireman protected the entire group," Nancy Fortunato said.

By Wednesday night, the group said they knew they had to find a way out.

"We were a group of 50 trying to stick together, and we arranged with money -- you can do a lot with money down there -- so we had arranged for the vans, a quasi military operation to get out of hotel under the cover of darkness," Lt. Jim Long said.

The group says flooding forced them to carve their way out through the tennis courts and spend hours on a tarmac waiting for a pickup.

"The moment we really knew we were OK was when an Air Canada employee walked up to us on the tarmac. He said to us, 'We are here to help you, you guys are now safe," Patrick Fortunato said.

<![CDATA[Cook County Begins 24-Hour Tracking of Juvenile Offenders]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:54:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Electronic_bracelet_9-19.jpg

A series of NBC 5 Investigates stories has prompted Cook County probation officials to take action.

The department confirmed Friday it has began the giant leap of implementing 24 hour monitoring of juvenile offenders who have been placed on electronic home confinement.

For years the monitoring has only been part-time, maintained by juvenile probation officers who had to periodically do manual checks on the offenders to whom they were assigned, making sure they were where they were supposed to be.

The monitoring will be performed at a remote center in Irvine, Calif., operated by the County's vendor, Sentinel Offender Services.

The revelation that offenders were not watched on a full-time basis came to light when kidnapping and assault charges were filed against a 17-year-old Aaron Parks, who was wearing a home monitoring bracelet at the time he allegedly assaulted a pregnant Chicago State University student on Sept. 10.

"Instead of officers having to check their computers, Sentinel will send an email alert for each instance of non-compliance to the electronic monitoring probation officer, all three supervisors, and the Deputy Chief Probation Officer," said Rose Golden, the Director of Probation and Court Services. "This is a significant improvement to the process."

Previously, the periodic checks were only made by officers while on-duty, meaning young offenders went unwatched as long as 16 hours a day.

"This means that if officers are performing other duties outside the office when the alert comes in, management can step in to take action," Golden said. "This can include contacting staff who are in the community to investigate, and attempt to resolve non-compliance."

The probation officer assigned to Parks was placed on temporary suspension.

The union representing the probation officers assigned to home monitoring complain that moving to 24 hour surveillance should have been given to them, not the vendor, since they have decades of experience in keeping watch over the County's most youthful offenders.

"That's going to have to be discussed with the union," said Jason Smith, president of AFSCME local 3477. "Because that's our work."

"We need to have some input about what's going to take place," he said. "Why take that work from us? We do the work. We do a good job."

After Parks' arrest last weekend, Golden announced a total review of the program, along with the suspension of the officer who had been given responsibility for keeping watch on Parks while he was free.

"I believe they're using this officer as a scapegoat," said Smith. "They need someone to blame for this incident."

<![CDATA[Mars Chocolate Issues Recall Over Undeclared Peanut Butter]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 18:46:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/452614600.jpg

Mars Chocolate North American has issued a voluntary recall of its M&M’s Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box because it may contain peanut butter that is not listed on the ingredient label on the outside box.

The company identified the issue after a consumer notified it of an M&M’s Brand Peanut Butter package containing peanut butter M&M’s inside a M&M’s Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box.

People allergic to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if their theater box contains an inner M&Ms Brand Peanut Butter bag and they consume the product, the company said in a release.

There have been no reports of adverse reactions.

The recall affects M&M’S Brand Theater Box 3.40 oz UPC #40000294764 with various lot numbers. Click here for a full list of those numbers.

The specific lot codes were shipped between May 8 and July 1, 2014, to customers’ warehouses across the U.S., including Texas, Florida, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Virginia.

Mars Chocolate said it will work with retail customers to ensure that the recalled product is not being sold. Consumers who believe they have purchased the recalled item and have allergy concerns, should return this product to the store where they purchased it for a full refund. Consumers with questions or concerns may call 1-800-627-7852, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Saves Choking Driver: NYPD]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 12:19:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/nypd+officer+saves+choking+driver.jpg

A police officer stationed on a Bronx highway saved a driver who started to slow down when she began choking on a piece of candy, the NYPD says, and the rescue was captured on the officer's dash cam.

The officer was conducting speed enforcement on the Bronx River Parkway Wednesday when he saw a 2014 Ford Taurus slow down in the right lane, according to the NYPD. 

He pulled up behind the car, got out of his vehicle and immediately noticed the driver was in distress, police said. She appeared be having difficulty breathing and was holding her throat. 

"Are you choking? You're choking?" the officer is heard saying in the video as he motions her out of the car. 

"Yes, sir," the 49-year-old woman says, gagging. 

The officer performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman, which dislodged the throat lozenge blocking her airway, police said. 

The woman appeared to be OK after the officer performed the Heimlich. He radioed for an ambulance to the scene. 

<![CDATA[Firefighters Battle Extra-Alarm Blaze at West Side Church]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:37:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/fire+unity+church.jpg

An extra-alarm blaze was sparked at a West Side church Saturday morning.

The fire was reported just after 11 a.m. at the Unity Church of God in Christ, located at 4901 W. Ferdinand St. in the city's Austin neighborhood, according to Chicago Fire Department media.

There was a partial collapse to the building but officials said no injuries had been reported as of 11:40 a.m.

The flames were put out just before 12:30 p.m. but firefighters remained at the scene "chasing hot spots."

It was not immediately clear what sparked the fire.

Photo Credit: Chicago Fire Media]]>
<![CDATA[Gunman Says Hello, Shoots 4: Cops]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:55:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/jackson+heights+shooting+sept+19.jpg

Police in Queens are searching for a gunman who shot four men outside a home in Corona Friday night, according to the NYPD.

The gunman and one other suspect walked up to the victims outside 32-14 106th St., near Northern Boulevard, at about 9:45 p.m. and said hello, police say. 

The gunman then fired at least one round at the victims, and the two suspects ran away, according to police. 

A 24-year-old man was shot in the arm, a 25-year-old man was shot in the torso and head, a 25-year-old man was shot in the torso and head, and a 34-year-old man was shot in the right side of his face, police said. 

They were all taken to Elmhurst Hospital. Two are in critical condition, and the other two are in serious but stable condition, the FDNY said. 

None of the injuries is life-threatening. 

There are no arrests, police say. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Illinois Governor Candidates Trade Jabs]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:49:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Rauner_Quinn_9-19.jpg

The Illinois governor's race continues to heat up.

Rauner, fresh off an endorsement from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, appeared before Chicago reporters for the fifth day in a row Friday to reinforce his message linking Gov. Pat Quinn to disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"We're at the bottom of the barrel in economic growth, the bottom of the barrel on job creation and we can't solve our problems if we don't fix that," Rauner said.

Quinn continues to tout the state's improving job numbers and senses momentum is on his side.

"It's 46 days to the election. Every day counts. I never presume anything," Quinn said.

Rauner is hoping to walk into a friendlier General Assembly. He donated another $750,000 to the Illinois Republican Party, making a total of $2.8 million he's contributed to help boost lawmakers' campaigns.

"We'll win this race because I'm going to work for the people of Illinois," Rauner said.

But Quinn, a life-long politician, has been counted out before -- only to survive.

"Campaigns are about the people, not about candidates. It's important we do things for everyday people who live paycheck to paycheck," Quinn said.

The Illinois governor's race is considered one of the top five in the country.


<![CDATA[White Sox Eliminate Rays From Playoff Contention]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 22:22:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/183*120/White_Sox_50.jpg

Jose Quintana pitched into the eighth inning and Avisail Garcia had a two-run double to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Friday night, eliminating the Rays from playoff contention.

Chicago rookie Jose Abreu also had a run-scoring single during a four-run fifth, giving him 104 RBIs for the season.

The Rays had a chance to tie the score in the seventh when Ben Zobrist hit a two-out double off the glove of second baseman Marcus Semien, but Semien recovered the ball in time to throw out Kevin Kiermaier at the plate.

Logan Forsythe drove in Tampa Bay's runs with a two-run double in the first and a leadoff home run in the fourth, his sixth of the season.

Quintana (9-10) gave up three runs — one earned — and nine hits in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA over his last four starts.

Zach Putnam got the last two outs, striking out Kiermaier with two runners on in the ninth to earn his sixth save.

Jeremy Hellickson (1-4) allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings, failing to get through the fifth for the third time in his last five starts.

The Rays, who dropped to 35-44 at home, began the day 9 1/2 games behind the second AL wild-card spot.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Parking Fight Leads to Standoff]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 19:52:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/meriden+condo+complex.jpg

A Meriden, Connecticut, resident will face felony charges after a conflict with a neighbor led to a police standoff during which she slipped knives under her apartment door and threatened to shoot police and other residents, then blow up or burn down the building.

Police said Regine Rivers, 48, who lives in the condo complex at 775 West Main Street in Meriden, began arguing with another resident over a parking dispute around 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Emma Guzman-Valentin identified herself as Rivers' target. She said Rivers parked over the line Thursday, leaving no room for Guzman-Valentin's car, then ignored a note Guzman-Valentin left asking her to park properly.

Rivers confronted her today.

"She started cussing and bad talking, and talking about how I messed with the wrong one and she's from Chicago," Guzman-Valentin explained. "I was like, 'Listen, it's no big deal. I just need you to move your vehicle. You don't need to take it further, but if you want to take it further, let me know.'"

She went home and returned 15 minutes later with a kitchen knife, according to Guzman-Valentin.

"She comes out with a knife, a kitchen knife, and threatened me with her knife," Guzman-Valentin said. "She was pointing the knife at me like she wanted to stab me with it."

Guzman-Valentin said Rivers had a drink in her other hand.

"She was intoxicated. You could tell, because she even admitted herself that," Guzman-Valentin said. "she's like, 'Look, I am drunk, and I ain't moving no car, and that's why I got a drink in my hand and I'm walking.'"

According to Guzman-Valentin, Rivers began walking down West Main Street with the knife and drink in tow.

Residents were frightened and called the police. By the time authorities arrived, Rivers had gone back inside her apartment and turned up the music on her stereo, making conversation near impossible, police said.

A SWAT team and hostage negotiation team were called in, and residents were evacuated from the complex. While authorities were attempting to communicate with Rivers, she began slipping knives under the apartment door, according to police.

Police said she threatened to shoot authorities and other residents of the complex and told them she was armed with a 9mm handgun. She also threatened to blow up or burn down the building.

"She proceeded to threaten the cops, that she had a gun, she was going to make a bomb and she was going to blow up the place," Guzman-Valentin said. "It just got crazy. It got really out of hand."

Because Rivers refused to turn down the volume on her stereo, police called CL&P to cut the power to the building so they could communicate with her.

Authorities managed to contact Rivers'  boyfriend, who was not home at the time. Police said he was cooperative and told them the couple had lived in Meriden for only two weeks after moving from out of state.

Rivers eventually opened the door and was taken into custody, police said. Authorities brought her to the hospital, where she will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. It’s not clear when she will be discharged.

"I'm stunned, because in all my years, never have we witnessed anything like this," Guzman-Valentin said. "This same lady approached me last week in a loving, nice manner, and then for her all of a sudden to threaten me in this fashion – it blew me away. It blew me away and it scared all of us."

Charges are pending, but police said Rivers will face both felony and misdemeanor counts. Her bond has been set at $500,000.

No firearms have been recovered.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Jury Finds Man Guilty in Romeoville Murder Case]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:22:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Erick_Maya.jpg

A man accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend and her mother in Romeoville earlier this year has been found guilty.

Erick M. Maya, 23, of 5600 Park Avenue, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery in connection with the Feb. 13 shooting of 15-year-old Briana Valle and her mother, Alicia Guerrero.

Valle and Guerrero were sitting in their vehicle on the 300 block of Emery Avenue that morning, about to leave for school, when prosecutors said Maya walked up and fired shots. Valle was shot in the head and died two days later. Guerrero, 33, survived after taking a bullet to the neck.

Police said Maya and Valle, a Romeoville High School student, had dated in the past but were not romantically involved at the time of the shooting.

During the trial, Guerrero testified that she tried to keep her daughter away from Maya, even making contact with authorities to seek orders of protection. To better protect her family, Guerrero said she moved from Chicago's Little Village neighborhood to Romeoville, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Maya, initially charged with attempted murder, was ordered held without bond.

<![CDATA[Girl Falls Through Retention Pond Grate During Gym Class]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:02:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/plainfield+grate.jpg

A 12-year-old girl from southwest suburban Plainfield was rescued Friday morning after she fell 10 to 12 feet through a retention pond grate.

School officials say the seventh grader was running laps at about 10 a.m. around the field at Ira Jones Middle School for gym glass when she ran over the 4-foot-wide grate and fell backward into the hole.

"A young lady was jogging backwards and she tripped backwards, fell onto the grate and the grate gave way," school superintendent Lane Abrell said.

She fell into 2 feet of water below, and the grate, which weighs about 250 pounds, fell on top of her. Luckily, she only suffered a broken finger.

"No one thought it would break. She just accidentally stepped on it like anyone would, and it just fell and she fell in it," the girl's friend, Mekenzie Smith, said. "I was bawling, it was really scary, because no one knew if she'd survive, no one knew how deep the water was."

The girl was in the hole for about 25 minutes with the 250-pound grate resting on part of her. She was rescued by Plainfield Fire and Police and transported to a local hospital.

"It was really scary because we couldn't see her, all I saw were little fingers in the grate, but I did hear her voice, so that was reassuring that she was breathing," said Randie Hillison of Plainfield Fire Protection.

The school district plans to investigate the incident and inspect other schools with similar grates to prevent the incident from happening again.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com]]>