<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Wed, 07 Oct 2015 05:08:25 -0500 Wed, 07 Oct 2015 05:08:25 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Pros.: Man Drove Away From Crash With Body Still on Car]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 11:35:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/adrian+harris.jpg

A Chicago man accused of fatally hitting a person on the Eisenhower Expressway over the weekend was pulled over after police spotted him driving with the victim’s body still on his car.

Adrian Harris, 33, appeared in court Monday, where a judge set his bail at $400,000.

Harris was charged with reckless homicide in the death of Jess Rodriguez, who was fatally hit while trying to cross Interstate 290.

Rodriguez was struck at about 4 a.m. Saturday in the westbound lanes of the interstate near the Western Avenue exit.

Prosecutors said Rodriguez had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend when the woman exited the vehicle and started walking on the left shoulder. Rodriguez pulled over on the right shoulder and was attempting to cross the expressway to reach the woman when he was hit, officials said.

Prosecutors alleged Harris pulled over briefly after hitting Rodriguez but then continued driving with the body still on his rear windshield.

Harris did not stop driving until the Homan exit, police said at the time.

Harris exited the expressway and was pulled over after a sheriff’s officer saw him driving with the body on the car, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors claimed Harris was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

It was not immediately clear if Harris had an attorney.

He is expected to appear in court next on Oct. 23.

Photo Credit: Cook County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Cargo Ship: Who Are the Americans Aboard?]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:19:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/missing-cargo-ship-splitscreen.jpg

Family members of the 28 Americans aboard a container ship believed to have sunk when Hurricane Joaquin swept the Bahamas are sharing the stories of their missing loved ones.

El Faro's American crew members range in age from 23 to 53 and include the ship's captain, second mate, several engineers and merchant marines and a cook, among others, NBC News reported. Many live in Florida but have ties to other areas of the eastern seaboard, including Maine, Massachusetts and New York.

Authorities have only recovered one body so far, and family members are holding out hope that the others are still alive.

Click through below for more on their stories.

Photo Credit: Family Photos Provided to NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Transgender Woman Killed ]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:45:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Kiesha-Jenkins-New.jpg

Police are investigating the murder of a transgender woman overnight in Philadelphia.

Police say 22-year-old Kiesha Jenkins, of North Philadelphia, was dropped off on the 1300 block of Wingohocking Street around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. As she got out of the vehicle she was approached by at least five men who began to attack and beat her, according to investigators. After Jenkins fell to the ground, one of the men pulled out a gun and fired two shots, police said.

Jenkins was struck twice in the back as the suspects fled the scene. She was taken to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

Police say it's too early to determine whether or not the incident was a hate crime.

"Right now we don't have any motive," said Philadelphia Police Captain James Clark. "We don't know if it's potentially a hate crime or if it was a robbery. We really don't know. It's too early in the investigation to tell." 

Police spoke with Jenkins' family and are searching for possible surveillance video. They are also trying to find the driver who dropped Jenkins off.

News of Jenkins' death sparked a strong reaction on social media as posters showed their support for her and urged others to help find her killers by using the hashtag #SayHerName on Twitter and Facebook.

If you have any information on Jenkins' death, please call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-3334.

Photo Credit: Facebook.com ]]>
<![CDATA[Sex Predator Sting Leads to Arrests]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 03:40:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Fairfield+sexual+predator+bust+1200.jpg

Fairfield, Connecticut police teamed up with former NBC News reporter Chris Hansen from “To Catch A Predator” in an undercover sting to bust sexual predators targeting children and it resulted in 10 arrests.

10 men are now behind bars after the sex sting operation in Fairfield. The men thought they were talking to children over the internet and through text messages, but they were really talking to Fairfield police and Hansen.

"Over the next month or so he had received information that there were individuals approaching what they believed were children," Gary McNamera. "Either a 12-year-old or 13-year-old girl or boy and that they were engaged in this inappropriate discussion on the internet."

That’s when, one by one, the men were lured to the Fairfield home and were greeted by investigators and Hansen with a camera crew before being placed under arrest. Police are not releasing the location of that house.

"I’m alarmed and certainly glad they found out and stopped it," Deborah Gallagher, of Fairfield, said.

The following men were arrested in the sting:

  • Charles Lawrence, 59, of 8 Pleszko Pl., Fairfield
  • Michael Manzi, 32, of 42 Haviland St., Apt. 2, Harrison, New York
  • Jeffrey Sokol, 44, 1064 Beacon St., Apt. A, Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Stephen Buchanan
  • Jeffrey Tiriolo
  • Vincent Ambrosio, 19, of 6 Swenson Dr., Wappingers Falls, New York
  • Jesse Velez, 28, of 3142 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport
  • John Dupee
  • Joshua Colon, 32, of 72-15 67th St., Apt. 4B, Glendale, New York
  • Michael Gentile

The text messages from the suspects were disturbing, said police, who defend working with Hansen.

"Some messages were sent, some items were sent via the internet," McNamara said. "We’ll leave you up to the imagination of what those items may have been but they were certainly inappropriate and illegal and they shouldn’t be exposing those to what they believed to be were children."

The men arrested are between ages 19 and 64 years old, most of them from Connecticut.

Their charges range from minor risk of injury to a child to attempt of inappropriate sexual behavior.

“It’s terrible to have had happened," George Gallagher, of Fairfield, said. " I’m surprised at the number of people involved.”

Photo Credit: Fairfield Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Punched by Officer in Custody]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 01:39:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/N5P_VO_CHP_URBAN_BACKLASH_for_web_1200x675_301698115995.jpg

The woman who was videotaped by a passing motorist being punched by a California Highway Patrol officer as she wandered along the side of the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles was detained on Tuesday in the same area where the 2014 incident took place, according to a CHP report.

Marlene Pinnock, who settled a lawsuit for $1.5 million in connection with the case, was taken into custody by CHP officers on Tuesday. Unlike the previous arrest, sources said, Tuesday's incident did not involve force and after being taken into custody, Pinnock was subsequently placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.

The CHP, not accustomed to the kind of public criticism leveled at agencies like the LAPD and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, drew widespread consternation in the use of force against Pinnock, highlighting law enforcement tactics as they pertained to the mentally ill.

Pinnock's arrest took place a month before a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, which along with other incidents put police around the country under heavy scrutiny regarding use of force.

Pinnock sued the CHP, which settled the case for $1.5 million in September, 2014.

"I feel good about the settlement," Pinnock told KNBC last year. "This chapter can be closed in my life and I can move on."

The officer who employed the force, Daniel Andrew, had two years on the job at the time of the incident. He has reportedly resigned but he could not immediately be reached comment.

In the 2014 video, Andrew is shown standing next to a red pick-up truck on the freeway on-ramp. He makes his way across to a concrete median where he follows a woman who is walking there and is carrying a white bag.

Moments later, he tries to grab the Pinnock's arm as she appears to resist. As he tries to gain control over her, Andrew throws Pinnock to the ground. While Pinnock is on her back, the officer Andrew holds her down delivers about a dozen hits to her head and upper body in about 11 seconds.

As the officer is seen hitting the woman, she appears to be use her arms and hands to shield her head and face. A second man joins the officer to help control the woman so she can be placed in handcuffs.

The CHP said in the 2014 incident that Pinnock walked away from Andrew “while ignoring commands to stop from the officer heading westbound against the flow of traffic into the traffic lanes."

"During the conversation the pedestrian then becomes physically combative at which point the officer is forced to place the pedestrian under arrest in fear of the pedestrian's and officer's safety," the agency said. "A physical altercation ensued as the pedestrian continued to resist arrest at which point a plain clothes, off-duty officer assisted in applying the handcuffs to the pedestrian. When asked if she sustained any injuries, the pedestrian did not advise of any nor where any located by the officers on scene. She was transported to Los Angeles County Medical Center for further evaluation."

The video titled "Police Brutality?" was shot from a vehicle entering Eastbound Interstate 10 near La Brea Avenue. It was posted July 2nd 2014 and runs for 1 minute, 30 seconds and includes footage of the incident in real time and in slow-motion.

KNBC interviewed David Diaz, the man who shot the footage. He is a self-described music producer.

The CHP has added additional training to deal with the mentally ill. See Below

"The CHP's Mental Illness Response Program (MIRP) Unit provides several important areas of instruction to cadets and officers on how to interact with individuals who suffer with mental health issues (mental health consumers).  The techniques and tactics taught are used to assist officers with de-escalation practices when faced with these difficult encounters.  The CHP has created an innovative comprehensive program to ensure our level of service to the public continues to be held to the highest standard in law enforcement.  As a leader in law enforcement training, the CHP has divided the training into several key training phases indicated below:

  • Cadets receive an initial 10 hours of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) instruction while attending the CHP Academy.  The training covers recognition, response, communication, and how to resolve the situations using de-escalation techniques.  The training is then applied in several scenario-based simulations to allow practical application of the lessons learned.  This training provides a foundation for the cadets on how to recognize and interact with a mental health consumer in crisis.
  • After graduating the CHP Academy, newly promoted officers are assigned to a Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP).  During their FTEP training, newly appointed officers are provided an additional 10 hours of area specific CIT training to become familiar with local area resources.  Field Training Officers will also reinforce recognition and de-escalation training.
  • After officers have completed the FTEP program and their first year of patrol experience, they are provided an additional 20 hours of advanced skills in CIT training.  During this training, officers are provided more detailed instruction in how to deal with consumers in a mental health crisis, highlighting de-escalation and safety. 
  • In addition to the eight hour course, a four hour leadership course is provided to CHP Lieutenants and above to ensure that CIT training is directed uniformly in every CHP area office, with emphasis placed on collaboration with advocacy groups and networking to understand local resources and create partnerships.

The CHP continues to lead the way in MIRP training and is actively engaged in a community partnership with law enforcement, mental health providers, advocacy groups, mental health consumers, and family members.  By working together, we are able to better understand and address mental illness, to avert crisis, to de-escalate volatile situations, and to direct the consumer to appropriate care."

<![CDATA[McHenry Teachers Strike to Continue Wednesday]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 22:22:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/McHenry+School+Strike.png

Wednesday marks day five of a teachers strike in northwest suburban McHenry, canceling classes and school services for more than 2,500 northwest suburban Chicago students.

Hundreds packed a school District 156 School Board meeting Monday night, and afterwards the teachers' union and board held emergency negotiations late into the night, but still came away without an agreement to end the strike.

McHenry High School District 156 teachers will continue to strike again Wednesday after another marathon 12-hour negotiation session didn't come to a deal. The strike began last Thursday, after teachers and the District 156 Board of Education met Wednesday night and could not reach an agreement after their first six hours of negotiations. 

More than 150 teachers refused to report to school to picket at both McHenry Community High School’s East and West Campuses.

District 156's strike comes after Prospect Heights teachers went back to school last Monday following an entire week of canceled classes as District 23 officials duked it out over pay.

<![CDATA[Why Fighting Tickets in Illinois Just Got Harder, Costlier for Some Drivers ]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 22:40:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Ticket-CHi.png

Fighting parking tickets just got harder and much more costly for thousands of Illinois drivers who register their cars under a corporation’s name, thanks to a recent decision handed down by the Illinois appellate court.

Ironically, the case at the center of the decision, Stone Street Partners LLC v. City of Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings, has nothing to do with parking tickets, but everything to do with some drivers’ ability to fight them. 

Last March, the First District Appellate Court heard the Stone Street case, which centered on building code violations, and ruled corporations cannot represent themselves at any administrative hearings in the city of Chicago. Only lawyers can. That’s the same venue – the only venue – where parking tickets can be contested. This unintended side effect of the ruling means some drivers will have to hire an attorney to represent them in every matter, even contesting parking tickets.

It’s an effect that hit home for Chicago photographer Laurie Rubin. Like many, Rubin, who is self-employed, registered her car under her corporation’s name for tax purposes. When Rubin says she was unfairly ticketed in January and tried to fight it, she was stunned to learn she couldn’t.

“I got a letter from the city informing me for the first time – I had never heard this before – that I cannot contest a ticket because my car is registered in the name of a corporation,” Rubin recalled.

Rubin said fighting her $75 parking ticket suddenly skyrocketed into hundreds of dollars, once she factored in the cost of an attorney.

“I can’t ever contest a parking ticket without hiring a lawyer, which seems ridiculous,” Rubin said.

NBC 5 Investigates heard the same story from David Latko last spring. He hit the same brick wall when he tried to fight a ticket issued to a car titled in his business’ name.

"It makes your blood boil,” Latko said. "They came back and said I can't even defend myself against the tickets anymore."

It’s a fight he and potentially tens of thousands of other Illinois drivers can’t begin to mount, even if they can prove the ticket was written in error.

Kent law professor Harold Krent said the decision unfairly burdens small business owners, and should be re-evaluated.

"The problem is when the rule is applied to a very small corporation -- particularly if the corporation is one person -- the rule doesn't make any sense," Krent explained. “I think that if it's asked, the court itself would carve out an exception for the simple category of traffic tickets. It doesn't make sense if the corporation is an individual. The individual should be able to represent him or herself just like they can in any other case."

For now, the ruling stands, putting drivers in a corner: unfairly ticketed but financially unable to fight back

"So what am I going to do?” Lakto said. “Pay $300 for a lawyer to write a letter to me to defend against a $100 or $150 ticket?
"So if I lose, I'm out $450.”

NBC 5 Investigates reached out to the city’s law department for answers. While sympathetic to Rubin’s predicament, the city said it is bound to follow the appellate court ruling. The city said it has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse the decision. But as of now, it has no flexibility to allow non-attorneys to appear at a hearing on behalf of a corporation, regardless of the dollar amount involved.

<![CDATA[6,000 Federal Prisoners to Be Granted Early Release: Report]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:48:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ObamaPrison1.jpg

The Justice Department will grant early releases to about 6,000 federal inmates within weeks, according to a report published Tuesday, NBC News reported. 

The inmates will be freed between October 30 and November 2, according to the Washington Post, which said the move was an attempt to reduce overcrowding and support drug offenders who had received stiff sentences.

It is the largest ever one-time release of federal prisoners, the newspaper said.

Photo Credit: File--AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Murder Charges Filed in 2013 Crash That Killed Boy]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 21:52:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rockie+douglas.jpg

Prosecutors have filed murder charges against a man accused of a carjacking that led to a crash that killed an 11-year-old boy in 2013 days before Christmas.

Rockie Douglas, 36, has been charged with two counts of murder as well as one count of vehicular hijacking and one count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle. 

Police say Douglas was the driver of a stolen green minivan that collided with a Chevy suburban at the intersection of 55th and Halsted Streets. Donovan Turnage, 11, was thrown from the Chevy and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The suspect raced from the scene to a nearby gas station where he stole a second vehicle, according to authorities.

Chicago and state police say Douglas began a series of carjackings in Chicago on Friday, when he allegedly stole a green Dodge Caravan at 11:20 a.m. in the 800 block of West Irving Park Road.

Douglas is set to appear in bond court Wednesday. It was not known if he had an attorney. 

<![CDATA[John Kerry Stops in Haiti to Discuss Election Preparations]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 20:37:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/KerryHaitiElections.jpg

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stopped in Haiti's capital on Tuesday to discuss preparations for the country's upcoming elections and encourage people to refrain from disrupting balloting after a messy parliamentary first round in August.

In some districts, legislative elections held Aug. 9 were so plagued with disorder and voter intimidation that makeup elections will have to be held in more than two dozen constituencies. Monitors with the Organization of American States said the irregularities were not enough to invalidate overall results.

"Haiti needs governing institutions that are legitimate and representative, and those cannot come into being without free and fair elections that take part without intimidation, without violence," Kerry said on the grounds of Haiti's National Palace in Port-au-Prince.

Haiti will hold its first round of presidential elections on Oct. 25 at the same time as runoffs for legislative seats. With none of the 54 presidential candidates likely to dominate voting, this month's election is expected to force the two highest vote-getters into a Dec. 27 runoff to become Haiti's next leader.

With outgoing President Michel Martelly at his side, Kerry encouraged Haitians to listen to those candidates who offer "real plans" to advance the country, noting there needs to be confidence in the political system to help attract investment and jobs.

He said the U.S. and the rest of the international community hope that the Oct. 25 elections will be a "smoother process" than what took place in August.

In a Caribbean country that has undergone more than 30 coups in 200 years. Kerry stressed that it was only through holding elections that a "legitimate transfer of power can take place."

Martelly thanked Kerry for Washington's support with helping to finance elections, strengthen the roughly 12,000-member national police force and boost the chronically struggling economy. The U.S. is Haiti's largest international donor, providing more than $30 million to support this year's electoral process alone.

Acknowledging that the Aug. 9 elections were "far from perfect," Martelly said that the upcoming vote on Oct. 25 "should be better" organized by election authorities.

"I laud the help the United States gave us for the electoral process, which must end before the end of the year," said Martelly, who repeated that he would leave office in February to honor the Constitution and not in May when he was previously expected to depart. He is barred from running for a consecutive term.

Kerry stopped in Haiti on his return to Washington from Chile, where he attended the second "Our Ocean" conference. He said the U.S. was working to finalize an agreement with Cuba on a protected marine area, among other announcements.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Human Ancestor Naledi Was Handy With Tools: Scientists]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 20:24:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_146703177011.jpg

Homo naledi, the ancient human ancestor whose fossils have been retrieved from a South African cave, may have been handy with tools and walked much like a person, according to scientists who examined its well-preserved foot and hand bones, NBC News reported.

Its foot and hand anatomy shared many characteristics with our species but possessed some primitive traits useful for tree climbing, the researchers said on Tuesday. Scientists last month announced the discovery of this previously unknown species in the human linage in a cave northwest of Johannesburg. The new research offers fresh insight into a creature that is providing valuable clues about human evolution. Paleoanthropologist Tracy Kivell of Britain's University of Kent said it boasted a hand "specialized for fine, powerful manipulation."

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Norwegian Airline CEO Hints to $69 Flights From U.S to Europe]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 20:03:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NorwegianCEO.jpg

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA hopes to sell one-way tickets to Europe for $69 as early as 2017 by flying from U.S. airports that have low fees, Chief Executive Officer Bjørn Kjos said in an interview Tuesday, NBC News reported.

Europe's third-largest budget airline is considering flights to Edinburgh and Bergen, Norway from U.S. airports that have little to no international service today, such as New York's Westchester County Airport and Connecticut's Bradley International Airport, just north of Hartford, Kjos said.

Average prices on such routes are likely to be closer to $300 round trip, Kjos said, compared with many of Norwegian's fares that run more than $500 today because of higher fees levied by busier airports.

Photo Credit: File--Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grandmother, Child Injured in Dog Attack]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 22:31:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/216*120/Dog95.jpg

A grandmother and a young girl were injured when they were attacked by a dog in Chicago Tuesday afternoon.

Police said the attack happened in the 5100 block of South Fairfield Avenue in the Gage Park neighborhood. Animal control vehicles were at the scene.

A 56-year-old woman and an 8-year-old girl both sustained injuries to their legs after being attacked by a pitbull, authorities and neighbors said. The two were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where they were in stable condition.

Witnesses saw the attack happened and called 911. They say the victims were walking into a house when one of three dogs in the home proceeded to attack them.

Neighbors were familiar with the dogs, but said they never expected the attack.

"For the most part they were friendly, said neighbor Jose Fontanez, who added that they previously "never bothered anybody."


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wrigleyville Businesses on Alert Ahead of Wild Card Game]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 22:32:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Cubs+Fans.png

Even though the Chicago Cubs will fight to win the National League Wild Card Game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, officials in the team's hometown neighborhood are preparing for the many fans that will flock to watch the game.

Some Wrigleyville business owners met with fire and police on Monday to lay out a plan ahead of the rush.

"We're expecting tomorrow to be just like Blackhawks game six," said Zach Strauss of Sluggers World Class Sports Bar. "This is do or die. Gotta win it! And I think we will!"

Strauss said the bar plans on doubling security and clearing out furniture to make the place safe for customers.

Alderman Tom Tunney said Tuesday that bars and restaurants in the Wrigleyville area will have additional security and will use plastic cups instead of glass.

While no additional parking restrictions are expected, police may choose to close streets depending on crowds, Tunney said, adding that officials are advising visitors to use public transportation.

All packaged goods stores have been asked by police to end sales at 10 p.m. for any game that could decide a series, including the wild card game, Tunney said.

“We welcome additional visitors and Cub fans to our neighborhood on a regular basis. We remind everyone to be respectful of our neighborhood and celebrate responsibly,” Tunney said. “The Cubs success is good for the team, our businesses, the neighborhood and our city. I wish them great success in the next few weeks and look forward to many more post-season games at Wrigley Field.”

Police said in a statement that they "have implemented enhancements to the deployment and without going into specific numbers, we're prepared from a resource perspective to keep everyone safe to celebrate a Cubs win."

The security precautions come after hundreds of Chicago Blackhawks fans took to the streets to celebrate the team’s Stanley Cup victory in 2013, breaking down police barricades, setting off fireworks and shattering storefronts. Nearly two dozen people were arrested in the celebration.

The Cubs game begins at 7:08 p.m. CT Wednesday. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Local Drone Operator May Face Record Fine, FAA Says]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:47:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/FAA-Drone.png

Amazing aerial images of Chicago and other cities are possible thanks to unmanned aircraft. But the Federal Aviation Administration said a local drone operator could face a record fine for not following the rules.

Chicago-based SkyPan International, Inc., faces a $1.9 million civil penalty after the FAA said the business operated dozens of unauthorized flights in crowded Chicago and New York air space. According to an FAA press release, SkyPan conducted 65 unauthorized operations between March 21, 2012, and December 15, 2014, in some of the country’s most congested airspace, violating airspace regulations and various operating rules. Of those, 43 flights were in the highly-restricted New York Class B airspace. The agency alleges the aircraft was not equipped with a two-way radio, transponder and altitude-reporting equipment.

“They had been advised by an FAA inspector of what the rules are and they chose to disregard those,” said FAA administrator Michael Huerta.

The FAA alleged that on all 65 flights, SkyPan’s drones lacked an airworthiness certificate and effective registration. The FAA said flying drones in violation of the rules is illegal and can be dangerous.

“If you’re going to operate for commercial purposes within the national airspace system, you need a specific authorization from the FAA,” Huerta said.

SkyPan declined to comment when contacted by NBC 5 Investigates.

The company has 30 days to respond to the FAA.

SkyPan currently holds an FAA exemption, according to its website. A spokesperson for the FAA said the unauthorized flights occurred before the exemption was granted.

<![CDATA[Police Believe Iowa Murder Suspects Heading for Chicago]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:45:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Police+Tape4.jpg

Two suspects wanted for questioning in a murder in eastern Iowa could be heading for Chicago, according to police.

The Dubuque Police Department warned law enforcement in central Wisconsin to be on the lookout for Norris Culver, Jr., 30, and Kohlvidas Lee, 27, who may be passing through the state on their way to Chicago, according to local NBC affiliate KWWL.

If found, Culver and Lee will be arrested for outstanding probation violations, but police are also interested in questioning them regarding the murder of James "Jimmy" D. Richardson in Dubuque on Sunday, KWWL reports.

Richardson, of Freeport, Illinois, was found shot to death in the backyard of a home in the 700 block of Rhomberg Avenue. KWWL reports that police found a gun near Richardson's body.

Culver and Lee are described as black men driving a 2001 Chevrolet SUV Venture with Iowa license plates that read "DJF 939." 

Police caution anyone who sees Culver and Lee not to interact with them as they are considered armed and dangerous. Instead, they should call police.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[20-Foot Python Attacks Pet Shop Owner]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:20:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/snakestore.jpg

 A 20-foot python turned on a north Kentucky pet store owner "like lightning" on Monday, biting him in the arm and wrapping itself around his body while a customer screamed in terror, NBC News reported.

Then the 125-pound snake began to squeeze.

"A horror movie in real life is what that was," the customer, Melissa McElfresh, later told local NBC affiliate WLWT. "Probably the most scariest thing I've ever seen in my life. And I'm still in shock over it."

Pythons kill their prey by coiling themselves around their target's bodies and slowly crushing them. So when Terry Wilkins, owner of Captive Born Reptiles, had to clean out the snake's cage, he had McElfresh tap on its glass to distract it.

But McElfresh saw the snake's head turn toward Wilkins.

<![CDATA[Burger King’s H.A1.LOWEEN Whopper Produces Unexpected Side Effect: Reports]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:16:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/halloween_burger.jpg

People are saying on social media that Burger King’s new H.A1.LOWEEN Whopper has an unexpected side-effect.

Consumers of the burger, which features a black bun for the holiday, took to social media in droves to claim it turned their excrement green.

The idea of the burger came from a similar one sold at Burger King restaurants in Japan. It features the bun that has A.1. sauce baked inside.

Despite the burger being black, people are tweeting that it returns another color. One person on Twitter described it as “cartoon green."

Burger King didn’t respond to NBC Chicago’s request for comment.

Here’s what people are saying:

Photo Credit: Burger King
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<![CDATA[Skokie Police Alert Schools of 'Suspicious Person']]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:31:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/01generic-police-lights13.jpg

The Skokie Police Department issued a warning to area schools and religious institutions Monday after they discovered a "suspicious person" taking photos outside of a synagogue and a high school over the weekend. 

At about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, police observed a man described as white or Middle Eastern taking pictures of the Iran Hebrew Congregation, located at 3820 Main St., according to police. When security approached the man, he told them he was taking pictures of a sign in front of the building.

About two hours later, a man matching the same description was seen taking photos of Niles North High School, located at 9800 North Lawler, police said. He then tried to enter the front door of the school, but he couldn't get inside because the door was locked. When security approached him, he said, "I already talked to one of your guards." 

The man left both scenes in a four-door 2015 white Chevrolet Malibu with the Illinois license plate that reads "E906649." 

No crimes have been reported at either the synagogue or the high school, but police are searching for the man "to determine the reason for his behavior." 

Police ask anyone with information to call 911.

<![CDATA[Manny Pacquiao Announces 2016 Senate Run in Philippines]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:25:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MannySenate.jpg

Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao announced Monday he will run for Senate in the Philippines in 2016, NBC News reported.

Pacquiao, who is currently a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, confirmed his plans to GMA News Online, saying he would formally announce his senatorial bid within the week.

According to GMA News Online, Pacquiao made the announcement during his state of the district address.

The 36-year-old athlete and politician has served in Congress since 2010, after a landslide victory in the district of Sarangani. Pacquiao has also been active in U.S. politics, making endorsements for Nevada Senator Harry Reid and California Governor Jerry Brown in 2010.

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Are You a Cubs Superfan? Take Our Quiz to Find Out!]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:30:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/5-NEWS-QUIZ-2.png

Think you're a Cubs superfan? Take our quiz and find out what kind of fan you are!

(If you answered 1-3 questions right you're a fairweather fan, if you got between 4 and 6 questions correct you're a bandwagon fan, if you got 7-8 answers right you're a pretty big fan, and if you answered 9-10 questions accurately, well, you're most definitely a superfan!)

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<![CDATA[Toddler Contracts E. Coli and Dies]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 20:59:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/guay.jpg

The parents of a toddler say their son passed away after contracting E. coli at the Oxford County Fair in Maine.

Beth and Jon Guay of Poland, Maine, say that their 20-month-old son Colton may have contracted Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome after being exposed to E. coli bacteria while visiting a petting zoo at the Oxford Fair.

"It is believed that he contracted it through simple interaction with farm animals at a local fair," Guay said in a Facebook post Tuesday. "It began with severe diarrhea and ended with massive brain seizures that ultimately took his life."

“He was just a happy, happy baby,” said Beth Guay. “We’re just figuring out how we’re going to go forward without him.”

Public health officials in Maine confirmed that two children who recently attended the fair contracted E. coli and said they are working to determine whether there are any other common links to the two cases. Authorities are not releasing any further information, citing confidentiality laws. 

On Tuesday night, Victor Herschaft said his son, Myles, has also contracted HUS from E. coli exposure. The Guay’s said they met the Herschaft family at the hospital, and realized their children had attended the same petting zoo at the same fair.

“Myles is still battling with HUS,” said Herschaft. “We need more people aware as more and more cases are appearing in recent months in Maine. And to the Guay family I’m so sorry for your loss.”

The traveling fair was held from Sept. 16 through Sept. 19. A fair spokesperson says this is a tragedy and they're not aware of any other cases. 

Dr. David Meguerdichian of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston says E.coli is a common bacteria that's found in both people and animal's intestinal tracks, but that some E. coli can make you sick. 

When necn asked Dr. Meguerdichian about animal transmission, he said that's a less common occurrence and something you don't see as often.

"You can get this from animals when there's contact with animal feces as well...Usually the cases we hear about in the news have been from food exposures or under-cooked food such as hamburger meat," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, animals that can spread E. coli to humans are cows, especially calves, goats, sheep, and deer.

The CDC says the animals appear to be healthy and clean, but the germs can "quickly contaminate the animals skin, fur, feathers and the areas where they live."

Dr. Meguerdichian says hand sanitizer, if used properly, is a pretty good agent for decreasing the chances of being exposed to the bacteria, but he says washing hands with soap and water is the best approach to getting rid of the E.coli bacteria.

Symptoms of E.coli can include very severe diarrhea, sometimes bloody, a fever, and vomiting.

Most people can recover, but Dr. Meguerdichian says it can be more serious for people with compromised immune systems and for the young and really old.

E. coli is rare but has been connected to a number of fairs across the country in recent years, including cases in North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.

To prevent becoming ill, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands often: In fact, wash your hands when leaving an animal area, even if you didn't touch an animal.
  • Eat and drink safely: Keep food and drinks out of animal areas, and do not share your food with animals.
  • Keep children safe around animals: Never allow a child to put their thumbs, fingers or objects in their mouth while interacting with animals.

The CDC also suggests leaving strollers, bottles and pacifiers outside of animal areas.

[CLICK HERE for more information on how to protect your family from E. coli exposure.]

Photo Credit: Jon Guay/Facebook
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<![CDATA[Trial Begins for Man Charged in Metra Officer's Killing]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:09:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/nicholson+j.jpg

Opening arguments began Tuesday in the trial of a man charged with the murder of a Metra Police officer in south suburban Harvey in September 2006.

Metra Police Officer Thomas Cook was killed while sitting in his squad car outside the 147th street Metra Station in Harvey when he was shot in the head before someone stole his service revolver. He had been monitoring activity at the station following a rash of reported armed robberies.

Jemetric Nicholson, 28, was charged with first-degree murder in 2010, four years after Cook was shot and killed in the line of duty.

“It feels good to start it after so many years of waiting,” said the officer’s widow, Pam Cook.

Before Pam Cook testified about losing her husband, prosecutor’s told the jury in their opening statement that the “evidence in this case is clear” that Nicholson killed officer cook.
The defense and defendant’s family want the jury to understand that “Nicholson is not guilty of first degree murder.”

“I hope he gets a fair trial and hope everything is played out correct and he did not do it," Nicholson's fiancee Samaria Matthews said.

“My brother was set up," said Nicholson's brother Lazeric Lipscomb. "He’s going to be found not guilty because he’s not guilty.”

Cook’s family hopes this trial will finally bring her justice.

“We just hope at the end of this she can put closure to this and the people that committed these crimes will serve their time,” said Terri Hilliard, Pam Cook's sister.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez alleged in 2010 that Nicholson and an accomplice, identified as 22-year-old Jonathon Lloyd, shot the officer in order to steal his gun.

Allegedly, Lloyd acted as a lookout while Nicholson approached the squad car and shot Cook twice in the head.

Lloyd was arrested in 2009 and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges. He is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence.

Photo Credit: Cook County]]>
<![CDATA[Student Charged Over Mac and Cheese]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:25:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Luke+Gatti+mug+shot.jpg

A University of Connecticut student was arrested Sunday night after allegedly drinking at an on-campus dining area and scuffling with management over mac and cheese in an encounter that was captured on camera.

According to a report from UConn police, Luke Gatti, 19, of Bayville, New York, refused to leave the Union Street Market on the Storrs campus around 10 p.m. Sunday when he was denied service because he had been drinking there.

A nine-minute expletive-laden video posted on YouTube Monday appears to show Gatti confronting the market manager because he wanted bacon-jalapeno mac and cheese, then shoving the man several times until market staff detained him and police arrived.


Police responded after receiving a 911 call from someone who said the student refused to leave and the disturbance had turned physical.

Gatti was charged with second-degree breach of peace and first-degree criminal trespass. He is due in court on Oct. 13.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to Gatti, who had not responded as of Tuesday afternoon. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.

UConn issued a brief statement saying federal student privacy provisions prevent the university from discussing potential discipline cases involving students.

"Generally speaking, any UConn student found to have violated the provisions of the Student Code may face penalties imposed by the Division of Student Affairs that range from probation to expulsion," the e-mailed statement says.

According to court records from Massachusetts, Gatti was arrested twice in 2014, when he was a student at the University of Massachusetts. He was charged with disorderly conduct in one case and disorderly conduct and assault and battery on a police officer in the other.

No information was immediately available on either case.

Photo Credit: Amherst Police Department
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<![CDATA[Arrieta Excited, Ready to Pitch for Cubs vs. Pirates]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:15:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/arrieta+diamondbacks.jpg

The Chicago Cubs arrived in Pittsburgh ahead of their wild card game against the Pirates on Wednesday night, and starting pitcher Jake Arrieta is excited for the opportunity to start for the Cubs in their first postseason game since 2008.

“It’s a nervous excitement. It’s not anxiety,” he said. “This is why I’ve prepared as hard and as rigorous as I have for the past however many years for this game. This is one of the moments that you think about when you’re training in the offseason. You think about pitching in games like this. ... It’s been a long time coming to this moment. I’ve been waiting for it for a number of years, and I’m ready.” 

Arrieta is one of the frontrunners for the Cy Young Award in the National League, and he’s been positively deadly down the stretch for the Cubs. Overall on the season he ended up with a 22-6 record and a 1.77 ERA, and he has been setting records for his pitching since the All-Star Game in July.

When he steps onto the mound in Pittsburgh, he will be battling the Pirates in a hostile environment, but Arrieta isn’t worried about crowd noise impacting his game.

“I thrive off that regardless of whether it’s home crowd or opposing crowd,” he said. “If you allow the noise to affect you mentally and allow it to take away from your stuff and your ability to execute pitches, then it’s going to be negative.”

Arrieta is confident in his ability to win the game on Wednesday, and manager Joe Maddon echoed those sentiments in his press conference Tuesday.

“What a really good Major League starting pitcher can do is throw a strike when he wants to, and Jake does that,” Maddon said. “He’s a strike-thrower.”

Even though Arrieta has never pitched in a postseason game, he knows what it takes to win on baseball’s biggest stage.

“It’s going to come down to who makes the fewest amount of mistakes both on the mound, on the field, (and) on the bases, because we obviously know that two of the best three teams in baseball are playing for a do or die game tomorrow,” he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Karen Lewis Talks Road to Recovery, Politics and Future]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:41:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/karen+lewis+exclusive.jpg

It’s been one year since Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis was rushed to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms.

Lewis was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had surgery days later.

After a year of chemotherapy and radiation for her brain tumor, Lewis has changed in appearance, but not in tone.

On Tuesday, she spoke of her recovery and her plans for the future in an exclusive interview with NBC 5's Carol Marin and Mary Ann Ahern.

She said her doctor “got 97.97 percent of the tumor” and her last MRI showed no sign of the tumor.

"There were a lot of good factors for me," she said. "One was where the tumor was, it was fairly close to the surface, the frontal lobe."

However, she added, “I know it can always come back.”

Lewis took off her hat for the first time publicly for this interview and revealed one side where the tumor was removed is nearly bald. Her hair is growing back slowly.

But losing her hair was the least of her troubles, she said.

"Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, all these things you have to do to get better," she said. "Hair grows back right? What else am I going to lose, am I going to be able to talk, am I going to be able to think?"

Lewis discussed politics from Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Governor Bruce Rauner and whether the Chicago teachers might strike.

Her immediate goal, she said, is “to run for another term as CTU president” in May.

"I'm not weak mentally, and I'm not weak emotionally," she said. "I'm certainly not weak when it comes to have a conversation with someone."

Lewis has lost about 200 pounds, but said she's not done letting others see her as she is.

"Most people don't want to talk about cancer, because it makes people uncomfortable," she said. "But I say let's talk about it, let's put it out on the table, let's show our [hair]-do, let's be forward."

More to come on NBC 5 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

<![CDATA[New FDA Anti-Smoking Ads Target Black and Latino Youth]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:52:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/FDAKids.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration, never known for its cachet with the youth of America, is reaching out with a new hip-hop themed anti-smoking campaign, NBC News reported.  

Featuring YouTube videos of up-and-coming artists, it's seeking to discourage black and Hispanic youths from using tobacco.

"I reject anything including tobacco that tries to control me," one teenager after another says in one of the videos.

"We are working with DJs and musicians and artists that we hope will really help us to get the message out locally," said Kathy Crosby of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[7 Ways Cubs Fever Has Invaded Chicago]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 19:50:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cubs+fan+fever.jpg

With the wild card game just around the corner, Cubs fever has swept across Chicago, from shows of superstition to shows of pride.

Here are seven ways Chicago has proved it has the fever.

1. The Brachiosaurus outside the Field Museum proudly sports a Cubs jersey to cheer on the team.

2. City Hall flies the "W."

3. Clark the Cub surprises fans around Chicago Tuesday with free swag, "W" flags and Chicago gear.

4. Wrigleyville bar Merkle's becomes "The Pink Flamingo" for Joe Maddon's pleasure.

5. Dunkin' Donuts locations in Chicago offer "W" doughnuts to Cubs fans with a sweet tooth.

6. Competitive eaters and owners of the Lincoln Square restaurant Taco in a Bag devour an entire 40-pound goat in an attempt to break the Cubs curse.

7. Lastly, Joe Maddon has been made into a collectible bobblehead, complete with his signature blue hoodie.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Photo of Marathoners Helping Stranger Across Finish Line Goes Viral]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 10:55:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000014561273_1200x675_539457603812.jpg It’s a photo that has inspired thousands in just a day’s time. After running more than 20 miles, you sometimes just can't get across that finish line on your own. Luckily, 75-year-old Minnesota man Rick Kleyman, he got some help when he needed it the most.]]> <![CDATA[Chicago's Top Cop Addresses Critics, Says He'll Stay on the Job]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:36:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/190*120/168171599%281%29.jpg

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy faced tough questions at a City Council budget hearing Tuesday afternoon, one day after several city aldermen publicly called for his firing following another violent summer in the city.

"I can't worry about what people say," he said. "I understand their frustration and I am frustrated too. I can only control what I can control, which is working hard and keeping my nose to the grindstone."

The comments come in response to a press conference Monday, where 15 members of the Black Caucus called for Chicago's top cop to be fired. McCarthy has held the top spot for five years.

"Supt. McCarthy has had five years, he has failed," said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, chairman of the Black Caucus.

Many of the aldermen in Tuesday's budget committee meeting were openly hostile, saying the department is not meeting the needs of their communities.

"Not once have you come and walked and marched in my community since you have been superintendent," Ald. Anthony Beale said. "Not once have you called to say, 'How can I partner with you to make the community better?'"

At Tuesday's meeting, members of the Black Caucus continued citing data to back their calls for McCarthy's removal. Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward) compared the number of shooting incidents in Chicago this year to last. According to Brookins, there were 1,581 incidents in 2014 and 1,870 incidents already in 2015.

The comments come on the heels of a particularly violent September, which saw two consecutive weekends with more than 50 people shot.

"My constituents get sick and tired of hearing about statistics and no action," Ald. Carrie Austin said.

Despite the violent end to summerfewer people were reportedly shot last weekend than any since February.

Ald. Brookins and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward) also pointed to the number of African-American officers in the police department as one of McCarthy's failures, saying 23 percent of the department and 32 percent of the command is African-American.

On Monday, McCarthy announced the retirement of his trusted second-in-command, Alfonza Wysinger. Wysinger is the highest-ranking African American in the Chicago Police Department. 

Ald. Beale also accused McCarthy of "systematically denying" the ability of African-American officers in the department to be promoted.

Despite the complaints, McCarthy has supporters both in the council chamber and on the fifth floor of City Hall. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among those defending him Tuesday.

"My focus, and everyone's focus should be on gangs and guns, not on Garry," Emanuel said. "The problems related to gun violence are about too easy access to guns, too few penalties and not enough access to job opportunities." 

McCarthy said he did not take the criticism from the aldermen personally, adding that he has the resources he needs to get the job done and he has no plans of going anywhere. 

Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>