<![CDATA[NBC New York - Crime and Courts]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcnewyork.com/feature/crime-and-courts http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usSun, 23 Oct 2016 05:50:55 -0400Sun, 23 Oct 2016 05:50:55 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Caregiver Who Killed Boy Gets 22 Years to Life in Prison]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:13:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/boy+death+times+square.jpg

The caregiver who fatally beat and starved a 4-year-old New York City boy was sentenced Friday to 22 years to life behind bars.

Kryzie King was sentenced to the prison term a month after she pleaded guilty in the death of Myls Dobson. Dobson was found unconscious in King's apartment in December 2013, and medical examiners ruled Myls died of child abuse, including dehydration.

King was caring for Dobson while his father was jailed. His mother had lost custody, but was in court clutching Dobson's teddy bear as the boy's family attended King's sentencing hearing.

King admitted to repeatedly assaulting the child, including binding his hands and feet, striking him with an electrical cord and burning him with a hot toaster oven rack.

She was sentenced to prison stints on nine charges, including second-degree murder. Each sentence will be served concurrently.

Dobson's grandparents said Friday they still couldn't understand why Dobson was tortured and killed.

"I don't rest, I go to sleep and I wake up and all I can see is the picture that we saw -- Myls' little face at the coroner's office," said Dobson's grandmother, Faye Bennett.

The case spurred changes at the city's child welfare agency.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Exclusive: NYPD Hatchet Attack Survivors Talk to News 4]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 17:51:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000007039683_1200x675_440437827788.jpg The four officers who were attacked in Queens last October speak exclusively to News 4's Jonathan Dienst.]]> <![CDATA[AG Won't Probe Deadly NYPD Shooting of Mentally Ill Woman]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 23:57:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/deborah+danner.jpg

New York's attorney general will not investigate this week's deadly NYPD shooting of a mentally ill Bronx woman, saying a review of the evidence indicated the case falls outside the jurisdiction of his office.

Eric Schneiderman said Thursday "there is no question" the shooting of 66-year-old Deborah Danner should be investigated, but he said the probe does not fall under the purview of his office under a 2015 executive order allowing for a special prosecutor in police shootings "only under limited circumstances." 

"It is vital to note that this jurisdictional determination has no legal impact whatsoever on the ultimate question of whether or not a crime was committed, or whether the officer involved should be prosecuted," Schneiderman said, adding it is up to the Bronx district attorney to decide whether to bring a case.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said Thursday her office would "conduct a full, reasoned and independent investigation into this matter, with an open mind, and any decisions that I make will be based upon the evidence."

The development comes a day after top city officials, including the mayor and NYPD commissioner, condemned the fatal shooting as "unacceptable." 

Officers were called to Danner's seventh-floor apartment on Pugsley Avenue Tuesday after a neighbor called 911 to report a disturbance. NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry, an eight-year department veteran, encountered the schizophrenic woman in her bedroom; she was naked and armed with scissors. He persuaded her to put down the scissors but as he was coaxing her out of the room, she picked up the baseball bat and charged him. Barry fired two shots, killing her. 

Both NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill and Mayor de Blasio have pledged a thorough investigation into the shooting. In the meantime, Barry has been placed on modified duty, stripped of his gun and his badge. 

O'Neill said Wednesday it was evident some NYPD protocols around mentally ill suspects were not followed in Danner's case. The investigation will focus on a number of factors, including why Barry did not deploy his stun gun. 

"What is clear in this one instance, we failed. I want to know why it happened," O'Neill said. 

De Blasio said Wednesday the sergeant who shot Danner was among the thousands of cops who received proper training as it relates to the mentally ill. 

"Something went horribly wrong here," the mayor said. "It's quite clear our officers are supposed to use deadly force only when faced with a dire situation and it's very hard for any of us to see that that standard was met here." 

"Deborah Danner should be alive right now, period," de Blasio added. "If the protocols had been followed, she would be alive. It's as simple as that." 

Dozens of people called for justice for Danner in a march Wednesday night through the streets of Castle Hill. On Thursday, dozens of mourners gathered outside Danner's Bronx home to grieve and call for change. 

Ed Mullins, president of the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association, said Barry was patient in trying to deescalate the situation. He said Barry was trying to convince Danner to leave the bedroom in a peaceful manner when she grabbed the bat, ignored his demands to drop it, and aimed the weapon at his head. 

"Fearing for his own life, as well as the lives of others, Sgt. Barry fired two shots from his service weapon and mortally wounded Ms. Danner," Mullins said in a statement. "Sgt. Hugh Barry, an eight-year department veteran with an exemplary record, took immediate charge of the situation. As a frontline supervisor, it is his responsibility to do so." 

Barry has been the subject of two lawsuits in 2010 and 2011 alleging brutality, according to court records. The first was settled for $25,000 and the second for $10,000.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Top Nassau Politician, His Wife Indicted on Federal Charges]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 22:26:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mangano+fbi+charge.jpg

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, his wife and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto have been indicted on corruption-related counts for allegedly accepting bribes and kickbacks from local businessmen -- including a no-show job for Mangano's wife where she made more than $450,000 as a "food taster," federal authorities said.

U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said that the trio was named in a 13-count indictment unsealed Thursday. Mangano and Venditto both face multiple corruption-related charges including fraud and conspiracy to commit federal services bribery. Mangano was additionally charged with extortion, while his wife, Linda Mangano, was accused of making false statements.

All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on bond. 

"I'm going to continue to govern and go to work. You'll all have an opportunity to hear everything and decide for yourselves," Mangano told reporters afterward.

Capers said earlier, "No one is above the law, and the defendants will all be held to account for their actions." 

Federal prosecutors alleged that Mangano, Venditto and others received bribes and kickbacks from an area restaurateur and businessman from 2010 to 2015.

The indictment alleges that the two elected officials took kickbacks and bribes in exchange for Oyster Bay to guarantee about $20 million in bank loans for the restaurateur. When the business owner defaulted on one of the loans in 2015, the lender demanded that Oyster Bay remit payment on the outstanding balance. 

A job for Mangano's wife was among the kickbacks that the Nassau County executive is accused of accepting. Federal prosecutors allege that the restaurateur hired Linda Mangano to a job in 2010 and paid her more than $450,000 over several years. But they said she didn't actually do anything in her role -- and later listed "food taster" as one of her duties.

Mangano was additionally accused of accepting five vacations between 2010 and 2014, a $3,371 ergonomic office chair, a massage chair from Brookstone, wood floors in his home and a Panerai Luminor watch valued at more than $7,000 in 2012.

Venditto, meanwhile, is accused of accepting limousine service for more than two years. He also accepted discounted rates for fundraisers at the business owner's restaurant. 

All three are accused of lying to agents from the FBI and IRS during the investigation, and Mangano and his wife allegedly met with the restaurateur to create stories to explain Linda Mangano's job and the vacations the family received.

Capers wouldn't reveal the identity of the restaurateur, but questions have swirled over Mangano's ties to restaurant owner and businessman Harendra Singh. Singh has restaurants in Bethpage and Oyster Bay, including one at the town's golf course.

Singh was arrested last year and has denied charges he bribed one Oyster Bay official in exchange for getting loan guarantees. He was also accused of lying to FEMA in order improperly collect $1 million Sandy relief money. Singh's attorney declined comment on the case this week. 

The Manganos' attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Venditto's attorney declined to comment.

On Wednesday, shortly after NBC 4 New York first reported Mangano would face federal charges, spokesman Brian Nevin denied the county executive committed any wrongdoing.

"County Executive Mangano has the highest integrity, has done nothing wrong, has not been contacted, and the accusations are preposterous," Nevin said. 

Mangano was first elected county executive in 2009, and re-elected in 2013. Prior to becoming county executive he served seven terms as a county legislator. 

He worked as a janitor to put himself through college, eventually earning a law degree from Hofstra. 

Venditto has held his office since 1998. Prior to serving as Oyster Bay town supervisor, he was town attorney for six years. He spent the 1980s on the town council. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Oyster Bay Supervisor Arrested by Federal Agents: Source]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:07:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-181450900.jpg

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto has been arrested by federal investigators in connection with a Nassau County corruption sting, a source close to the case says.

Venditto's arrest on Thursday morning comes as Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his wife surrendered to federal agents on corruption-related matters.

The trio is expected to be named in a federal corruption-related indictment later Thursday. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nassau Co. Exec Expected to Face Corruption-Related Charges]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 22:13:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mangano+responds+sexting.jpg

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano is expected to be charged as early as Thursday on federal corruption-related matters, according to sources familiar with the case.

For more than a year, questions have swirled about the 54-year-old Mangano's ties to businessman Harendra Singh and whether Mangano accepted free vacations from the restaurant owner in exchange for helping him with business deals. 

Singh has restaurants in Bethpage and Oyster Bay, including at the town's golf course. 

Singh was arrested last year and has denied charges he bribed one Oyster Bay town official in exchange for getting loan guarantees. He was also accused of lying to FEMA in order improperly collect $1 million Sandy relief money. 

Despite sources telling NBC 4 that Mangano is expected to appear at the federal courthouse in Central Islip Thursday, a spokesman for the Republican official, Brian Nevin, told NBC 4 New York, "County Executive Mangano has the highest integrity, has done nothing wrong, has not been contacted, and the accusations are preposterous." 

Spokespeople for the U.S. Attorney and the FBI declined comment, as did Singh's attorney. 

Mangano was first elected county executive in 2009, and re-elected in 2013. Prior to becoming county executive he served seven terms as a county legislator. 

He worked as a janitor to put himself through college, eventually earning a law degree from Hofstra. 

<![CDATA[Court Docs Reveal Chilling Details in Central Park Rape ]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 14:41:23 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/central+park+robberies1.jpg

The 26-year-old Bronx man accused of raping a woman walking in Central Park last week allegedly threw the victim to the ground and threatened to cut her the throat if she cried out for help, according to a criminal complaint.

Forrest Richardson, who has a long rap sheet, was arraigned Monday on charges of first-degree rape and sexually motivated robbery in the Oct. 10 attack on the woman in the park near Park Avenue and 110th Street. 

According to the criminal complaint, the woman was walking on East Drive when the man came up behind her, grabbed her and pulled her into the bushes. He threw her to the ground and told her not to scream or he would "cut her throat," the complaint alleges. Richardson then allegedly rifled through the woman's pockets, stole her phone and then raped her.

The complaint alleges he kicked the woman in the head before running off.

Court documents say Richardson admitted to detectives that he was in the park and that he grabbed the woman, pushed her down, unzipped her sweatshirt and took her phone. The documents do not indicate he confessed to the rape. Police said they used the stolen iPhone to track him down. 

The woman was treated and released at a hospital after the attack. 

Richardson is being represented by Legal Aid, which has a policy of declining comment on ongoing court cases. He was remanded following his arraignment Monday and is due back in court next month.

A woman who answered the door at Richardson's listed address last week did not want to speak to NBC 4 New York. 

Police said Richardson has a violent past with 30 arrests, including two for sexual assault in 2013 and 2014. In the June 2013 arrest, Richardson was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of child endangerment in the case and was sentenced to six months in jail, officials said. In the December 2014 arrest, he allegedly raped, assaulted and held his pregnant 22-year-old girlfriend against her will for days in Rockaway Beach. He was sentenced to four months in jail in that case. 

The NYPD said that rapes and robberies are down in the park this year, while assaults are up. There has been one reported rape so far this year, compared with two through the same point last year. Fifteen people have reported being robbed, down from 23 in 2015. There have been six assaults, compared with three through the same point last year.

<![CDATA[Judge Rejects Plea Deal in NY Teacher Sex Abuse Case]]> Fri, 07 Oct 2016 00:48:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/sexting+cell+phone.jpg

A judge has thrown out a sex abuse-case plea deal that prosecutors struck with a former drama teacher at a prestigious Westchester high school, citing concerns over the teacher avoiding sex offender status in the state registry. 

Christopher Schraufnagel, 42, pleaded guilty in August to misdemeanor sexual contact with two Horace Greeley High School students and to endangering the welfare of a third between May 2011 and June 2015.

Under the deal, a felony charge would have been dropped and Schraufnagel would have served probation under sex offender status, avoiding jail time. But he would not have been placed on the state sex offender registry -- something the judge questioned Thursday. 

Parent Sandy Nohavicka's son is not one of the former students Schraufnagel is accused of abusing but says her then 15-year-old son and other students who took his class were exposed to inappropriate behavior.

"My son saw the things he kept in his office," she said. "The pubic hair doll and the sperm in a cup." 

David Engelsher represents four additional plaintiffs who have filed a civil suit against Schraufnagel and the Chappaqua school district. The judge's rejection of the plea deal was both a win and loss for his clients.

"A lot of the parents want to see him go to jail," said Engelsher. "Their children were innocent and now they're damaged." 

But now the defendant who once pleaded guilty starts over in the case with a clean slate.

"His statement that he did it doesn't count," said Nohavicka.

Schraufnagel wasn't in court Thursday. His defense attorney Stacey Richman said he was ill and his immune system too compromised to travel.

She has filed a motion for the judge to reconsider the plea. 

"Everything will be attended to in the courtroom," she said, declining further comment. 

The Chappaqua Central School District has denied any responsibility in the incidents, saying the former students showed "carelessness" and "recklessness" and are partly to blame for any harm they've suffered. 

<![CDATA[Cop Held on $500K Bail in Off-Duty Road Rage Shooting Death]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:51:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/off-duty-cop-0704.jpg

The off-duty NYPD cop who allegedly shot and killed a driver in a fit of road-rage in Brooklyn this summer was held on $500,000 bail at his arraignment on murder charges Tuesday.

Officer Wayne Isaacs will also have to forfeit his U.S. and Guyanses passports and any firearms he owns as his case moves forward. 

A Brooklyn grand jury Monday indicted 37-year-old Isaacs in the July 4 shooting, following an investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. 

Isaacs allegedly shot and killed Delrawn Small from his car on July 4 on an East New York Street after Small got out of his vehicle and approached Isaacs at a stoplight. Small believed Isaacs had cut him off, his girlfriend said.  

Isaacs' lawyer maintained his client's innocence in court Tuesday, claiming when Small approached Issacs' car he "wasn't coming to give him best wishes and salutations."

Prosecutors argued the shooting was a "brutal, deliberate act" with no legal justification.  

Isaacs is the first cop to be charged by Schneiderman under his role as special prosecutor for all police killings of civilians in New York, according to The New York Post, which first reported the indictment. Schneiderman was assigned as special prosecutor by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the wake of Eric Garner's chokehold death. 

Initially, police said Small had punched Isaacs before the gunfire erupted. But a security camera video that surfaced later cast doubt on that account by appearing to show Small getting shot the instant he reached the officer's car.

Isaacs had his badge and gun taken away.

The police union representing Isaacs has declined to comment.

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<![CDATA[Who Is Ahmad Khan Rahami? What We Know]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:07:00 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rahami-quad.jpg

Ahmad Khan Rahami, a suspect in the bombings in New York City and a shore town in New Jersey, immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan and lives in New Jersey, where his father owns a fried chicken restaurant.

Rahami was wounded during a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey, Monday after he was found sleeping in the doorway of a bar, according to authorities. Two police officers were shot, but both have been released from the hospital. Rahami was taken into custody and, Monday evening, charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law-enforcement official in Union County. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors filed charges in the New York and New Jersey bombings and bombing attempts. 

Rahami, 28, is a U.S. citizen whose family opened First American Fried Chicken in 2002 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The restaurant was searched by authorities Monday. The family came to the United States in 1995 as asylum seekers. 

Rahami lives with his family above the restaurant, according to The Associated Press.

"He's a very friendly guy, that's what's so scary," Ryan McCann of Elizabeth told the AP.

Travel to Pakistan, Middle East

A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News on Monday that Rahami, who was born on Jan. 23, 1988 in Afghanistan, made several trips to Pakistan and visited Afghanistan in 2013. The Afghan Taliban distanced themselves from Rahami, telling NBC they knew nothing of him. 

He was not on a U.S. terrorist watch list nor on one maintained by the New York Police Department, senior officials told NBC News.

Previous FBI Investigation

The FBI looked into Rahami two years ago after his father called his son a "terrorist" following a domestic dispute involving Rahami's sister and brother, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. A neighbor overheard and called police, prompting an FBI probe, law enforcement officials said. The father walked back the statement, telling FBI investigators he just meant his son was hanging out with the wrong crowd, the officials said. He reiterated as much in a later FBI interview. 

The FBI checked its databases, interviewed other relatives and found nothing connecting Rahami to terror groups, three law enforcement officials said. The case was closed in a matter of weeks. 

Rahami was not interviewed at the time because he was jailed in connection with the domestic dispute. A grand jury declined to indict him and the matter was dropped.

High School and College

Friends and former classmates told NBC News that Rahami was a "cool dude" in high school with the nickname Bo. He liked to have fun and served as a father figure to his younger siblings. 

"I played lacrosse with him until he was kicked off the team for being late all the time," said one former classmate, who didn't want his name made public. "He definitely didn't seem like the kind of guy you would think would do something like this."

Rahami was a criminal justice major at Middlesex Community College from 2010 to 2012 but did not graduate, a college spokesman said. The school said there was nothing concerning in his file.

Wives, Girlfriends and Kids

Rahami has a wife, Aziza, who is not in the United States. Rep. Albio Sires, who represents Elizabeth in Congress, told NBC that Aziza Rahami had previously sought a visa to entire the United States via Pakistan, but was denied because her passport was expired.

Rahami also has a child with a former high school classmate, Maria Mena. She went to court Tuesday seeking a restraining order against him as well as full custody of their child.

Mena told the court she has not spoken to Rahami since January. Court records show that as of last year, he owed thousands of dollars in child support. 

Rahami Family's Lawsuit

Five years ago, Mohammed Rahami and two relatives claimed in a lawsuit filed in federal court that they were harassed by city officials over the restaurant's hours of operation. Neighbors had complained that the restaurant was a late-night nuisance.

They accused the city of targeting them because they were Muslim, according to the the civil rights complaint.

The restaurant had an exemption to stay open past 10 p.m., but police repeatedly tried to close it early, according to the lawsuit. During one confrontation with police, one of Ahmad Rahami's older brothers was arrested after a fight with an officer, and later fled to Afghanistan, The New York Times reported.

One man, James Dean McDermott, told the family, "Muslims make too much trouble in this country," according to the complaint.

McDermott, a freelance television cameraman, denied the accusation, telling NBC News, "it never happened." He said his dispute with the Rahamis was over the restaurant's hours and not their religion.

Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage told The AP that Rahami's father and two brothers sued after the city passed an ordinance requiring it to close early. 

The owner of a neighboring business described the family as "very secluded" and said the children usually worked behind the counter.

Rahami's father told NBC News in a brief interview Monday that he had no idea his son was plotting an attack.

For more coverage of the New Jersey and New York bombings, click here.

Photo Credit: New Jersey State Police
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<![CDATA[Man in Brutal Chair Attack in NYC Eatery Sentenced]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 21:31:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bayna-Lehkiem+El-Amin+copy.jpg

A New York City man captured on video smashing a wooden chair over the heads of two men inside a Dallas BBQ restaurant last year has been sentenced to nine years in prison in the high-profile attack. 

The sentenced handed down to Bayna-Lekheim El-Amin by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arlene Goldberg Thursday follows his convictions of assault and attempted assault in May by a state Supreme Court jury. 

The Daily News reports El-Amin, 32, had about two dozen supporters in the courtroom during sentencing and did not apologize to the victims. 

Video of the May 2015 attack inside Dallas BBQ in Chelsea shows El-Amin flinging a chair over his head, then smashing it on the skulls of two men he had gotten into an argument with. Horrified bystanders scream as he walks calmly out the door. 

The attack was so brutal that bystanders said they were afraid to confront the assailant. 

Prosecutors said the 25-year-old victim was knocked unconscious and the 32-year-old victim collapsed onto a nearby chair. Both men suffered head, back and neck pain. 

El-Amin turned himself in to police about a month after the attack.

The victims, who are gay, told media outlets at the time that El-Amin, who has also identified himself as gay, hurled racist and homophobic slurs at them. El-Amin's lawyer previously said his client was attacked first. 

El-Amin may have been slapped by one of the victims with a canvas bag but wasn't justified in reacting so viciously, Goldberg said Thursday, according to The Daily News. 

<![CDATA[Timeline Charts Series of NY, NJ Explosions]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:06:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_16262793671218.jpg

The interactive timeline above charts a series of events beginning with a pipe bomb explosion at a Marine 5k race in Seaside Park, New Jersey, Saturday. Hours later, a device exploded in or near a large bin on a packed block in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 29 people. Another device was found nearby.

Late Sunday, five devices were found in a trash can near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. A robot trying to disarm the devices inadvertently detonated one, causing an explosion. No one was injured in the New Jersey cases. Suspect Ahmad Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, was taken into custody following a gun battle with police Monday. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Man Fleeing Police Attacks Cop With Cleaver: NYPD]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 22:21:46 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cleaver+attack+2.jpg

UPDATE: Exclusive video shows chaos breaking out near Penn Station as officers sprint after suspect; wounded detective released from hospital

A man attacked an off-duty NYPD officer with a cleaver near Penn Station at the height of the evening rush hour Thursday, wounding the cop in the face before being shot at 18 times by police, officials say.

Police initially confronted 32-year-old Akram Joudeh near West 31st Street and Broadway as they caught him trying to remove a boot from his car, NYPD Chief of Department and incoming police commissioner Jimmy O'Neill said at a briefing Thursday evening. 

Video obtained exclusively by NBC 4 New York shows a frustrated Joudeh trying to remove the boot, pulling tools from his packed car.

When police arrived, Joudeh pulled out an 11-inch cleaver from his waistband and began running toward Sixth Avenue, officials said. Officers chased after him, with others joining the pursuit along the way, and one uniformed sergeant deployed a stun gun to no effect.

The suspect continued running westbound on West 32nd Street toward Seventh Avenue, and in the middle of the block, mounted the front grill of a marked NYPD car, O'Neill said.

That's when an off-duty detective, who was walking to Penn Station to catch a Long Island Rail Road train home after work, saw the chase coming toward him, law enforcement officials told NBC 4 New York. He decided to engage and went to tackle the suspect. 

The two struggled, and Joudeh hit him in the head with the cleaver, leaving a six-inch gash from the temple to the jaw, said O'Neill.

Three uniformed NYPD officers fired a total of 18 gunshots at Joudeh, striking him several times.

"I heard police from behind me screaming, 'Get down, get down, get down!'" said witness Jonathan Schneier. "I saw a deranged individual with a very large meat cleaver... Probably six to eight suspects engaged the suspect verbally, told him to drop his weapon."

O'Neill told reporters, "Keep in mind he had just attacked an off-duty officer who's got a six-inch gash on his face. He's got an 11-inch cleaver. They shot until the threat was stopped."

The off-duty detective, identified by sources as 16-year veteran Det. Brian O'Donnell, was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he's listed in serious condition, officials said. Doctors are assessing the damage, and surgeons have said reconstructive surgery will be needed.

O'Donnell has spent most of his time on the force in the 19th Precinct, and became a detective in March 2015.

Two other officers were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries from the encounter, though it's not clear how they got hurt. 

Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who is finishing his last week on the job, visited the officers at the hospital. Bratton said the wounded detective was in good spirits despite the "significant injury." 

Joudeh was also taken to Bellevue Hospital, and he's in critical but stable condition, said O'Neill. He has been moved to the operating room. 

The attack happened near the busy Midtown commuter hub at the height of the evening rush hour. Bratton said the officers acted bravely in subduing the suspect in the crowded shopping and transit district, and that "sufficient shots" were fired to stop the "character running down the street waving a cleaver." 

Witness Steven Coyle, who recorded video of officers shooting at the suspect, agreed.

"He was a threat to the officers and anyone in the area," he said. 

Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, said in a statement, "An incident like this proves that you are really never off duty. Our detective engaged the perpetrator because the suspect was carrying a meat cleaver and the detective was worried about the crowded conditions on the street given that it was rush hour full of residents, tourists and commuters."

Joudeh has 15 prior arrests, including one on July 27 after he was found carrying knives near a synagogue in the Manhattan Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn. His last known address was in Queens, though police say he may have been living in his car.  

The other arrests stretching back to 2009 include charges for driving while impaired by drugs, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing with a weapon and criminal trespassing, sources said. 

Two years ago, a hatchet-wielding man ambushed a group of NYPD officers in Jamaica, Queens, gashing a rookie cop in the head with the 18-inch ax. Two other officers shot and killed the suspect, Zale Thompson, on the street. 

Thompson was a self-radicalized "lone wolf terrorist," police officials said after the attack. 

In Thursday's incident, a federal official told NBC News "based on what we know of how this started, and on his priors, we don't currently think this was an act of terrorism." 

Another law enforcement source told NBC 4 that investigators actively looked into whether Joudeh had any interest in or connection to terror planning after he was caught outside the synagogue in July with the knives. But they did not find any evidence of any radicalization. 

Joudeh's former neighbors in Elmhurst described him as troubled, constantly fighting with his two roommates and sometimes getting visits from police. One woman who asked not to be identified said he once got into an altercation with a family member, and during the fight, broke the front glass door of the building's entrance.

Photo Credit: @d8brown/Provided to NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[29 Hurt in 'Intentional' Chelsea Explosion]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:05:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/Chelsea+Bomb+Presser.jpg

Some 29 people were injured in an explosion in Chelsea Saturday night, and authorities removed what appeared to be a secondary device a few blocks away. 

"All hands are on deck; injuries are significant," Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening, though. 

"There is no evidence at this point of a terror connection," he said, though he added it was "an intentional act."

Law enforcement sources say police are in possession of a video that shows a man putting an object in a dumpster, followed by an explosion some time later.

President Obama was briefed on the explosion and receiving regular updates.

Crews responded to the scene at 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue around 8:30 p.m. Police Commissioner Jimmy O'Neill said the explosion took place out on the street, though de Blasio declined to answer whether the cause was a bomb in a dumpster, as some sources suggested. 

The NYPD also removed a possible secondary device on 27th St. Four sources said the device was a pressure cooker and that it had what appeared to be wires coming from it, a cell phone and black tape. 

After asking people to stay away from their windows in the area of that device, the NYPD tweeted that it had been safely removed just before 2:30 a.m.

Photos posted to social media showed an extensive emergency presence at the scene, with the area between Sixth and Seventh avenues cordoned off. Sixth Avenue was closed from 14th to 34th Street and NYC Transit reported extensive disruptions to the 1, 2, E and F subway lines. 

At least one Twitter user tweeted that her "whole high-rise building shook" from a apparent blast. Another image showed a Dumpster or trash bin blown apart, with bits of debris scattered on the sidewalk. People at least seven blocks away reported hearing and feeling a loud boom.

Earlier Saturday, one of three bundled pipe bombs placed in a trash can along a 5k race route to be run by Marines detonated in Seaside Park, New Jersey. The race had been running late, but authorities said they believed the device had been timed to explode as runners went by the trash bin.

No one was hurt, and de Blasio said there was no evidence of a connection between the two blasts. 

Photo Credit: Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office
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<![CDATA[Paterson City Council Mulls No-Confidence Vote Against Mayor]]> Wed, 14 Sep 2016 21:27:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/paterson+city+council+no+confidence+vote+mayor.jpg

The Paterson City Council debated a vote of “no confidence” against Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres Tuesday following a series of I-Team reports showing city workers appearing to do doing private jobs for the mayor.

The vote would be a symbolic gesture, and would not directly affect Torres’s role. Still, it would be a major blow at a time when Torres is already under fire over high taxes and cuts to city services.

City council members could vote on the measure as early as next week.

“We’re not going to sit here and stay quiet and not say anything about this,” said councilman Alex Mendez. “It’s our responsibility as an elected official to take action about this. “

The council was divided over whether it was premature to take a “no confidence” vote in Torres. The state attorney general is still investigating the allegations against him. While some council members said they have lost faith in Torres based on the I-Team’s reports, others said they want to wait for the attorney general to finish its investigation before passing judgment.

“I have no opinion on this either way, and I’m still waiting for those findings to come about,” said councilman Ken Morris Jr.

“I don’t want to be part of something that’s still being investigated,” said Councilman Luis Velez.

The I-Team reports show numerous city workers caught on tape working at the mayor’s home, and at a beer warehouse linked to the mayor’s nephew. On at least eight occasions, time sheets obtained by the I-Team show that the workers were on the clock while working for the mayor. Usually, the sheets say they were getting paid overtime.

The videos were shot by a private eye hired by a developer who had a permit dispute with the city.

“They’re doing the work, and then the time cards match the time they were there. So clearly there’s something wrong, and I can’t approve of that type of behavior.” said councilman Andre Sayegh.

Torres has denied workers had been on the public payroll while working for him. Since March, he has repeatedly declined to answer the I-Team's questions on the matter, and rrecently threw an I-Team producer out of his office when she raised the issue.

Torres did not return requests for comments after Tuesday’s meeting.

Some residents now say a vote of no confidence may not be enough to satisfy them.

“The mayor should step down. The rules are rules, and the rules are for everyone,” said Rafael Fontana.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[New Video Shows Killed Jogger on Day She Went Missing]]> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 08:31:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/HOWARD+BEACH+JOGGER+SURVEILLANCE+VO+-+00002618_WNBC_00000001305.jpg

Police have released new surveillance video showing what may have been Karina Vetrano's final moments on Aug. 2 before she was found killed near her home in Queens.

The video shows Vetrano jogging near her Howard Beach home. She was later found sexually assaulted and strangled in a marshy area just off the trail at Gateway National Recreation Area. 

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday the release of the new video is an effort to keep the case fresh in the public's mind. 

"It remains one of the unsolved, very high-profile murders," he said. 

A reward of nearly $300,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest. 

Late last month, police released a sketch of a man in a woven wool cap they want to talk to in connection with Vetrano's death. The man was seen in the area around the time Vetrano went missing.

Police officials stressed at the time that the man wasn't a suspect or a person of interest in the case. The man was seen in the area around the path where Vetrano was last seen that day and was spotted by a utility worker. Police said that the man could have seen Vetrano or her assailant.

Authorities have culled DNA from three different investigative points -- Vetrano's neck, her phone and her fingernails. Police say the fingernail DNA is the strongest, and all the samples point to the same person, though the state and local databases have yet to yield a possible match.

Anyone with information on the Vetrano case should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA['Evil Stepmother' Gets 15 Years for Starving, Torturing Girl]]> Fri, 09 Sep 2016 18:36:00 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/queens+child+abuse+ozone+park.jpg

A Queens woman was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for beating and starving her young stepdaughter for two years, depriving her of food and water and hitting her with baseball bats and broom handles so severely that in one case, the little girl was found lying in a pool of blood with a wrist cut so deep her tendons were visible, prosecutors said.

Sheetal Ranot, 35, was accused of locking the 12-year-old girl in her room, hitting her in the face with a rolling pin and beating her with a broken metal broom handle that cut her wrist down to the bone. She was convicted of assault and child endangerment charges in July. 

The victim's biological father, Rajesh Ranot, is also charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment and child endangerment. He will be tried at a later date. It's unclear what happened to the child after the arrests. 

Prosecutors allege the Ozone Park duo terrorized the child from December 2012 to July 2014.

According to a criminal complaint, Sheetal Ranot repeatedly hit her stepdaughter, causing bruising and pain, locked her in her bedroom and starved here for extended periods of time during that two-year span. In one case, the 31-year-old woman allegedly kicked the then 10-year-old girl in the face while wearing shoes.

Six months later, Ranot repeatedly hit the girl with a broken metal broom handle, leaving her with a cut near her knee and a cut so deep on her wrist that her tendons were exposed and she needed to have surgery, the complaint said.

Rajesh Ranot also allegedly starved the girl for years, and prosecutors say he forced her to take cold showers while he beat her with his fists and other household objects, including a baseball bat.

In April 2014, Sheetal Ranot allegedly hit her stepdaughter in the face with a wooden rolling pin. The girl had to be taken to the hospital, and doctors there saw she was painfully thin -- weighing 58 pounds -- and wearing dirty clothes. It wasn't clear if they contacted authorities.

Over the next three weeks, prosecutors allege Rajesh Ranot continued to beat his daughter with a baseball bat. The girl was taken to the emergency room, where doctors noticed various bruises, marks and scars in different stages of healing all over her body. An investigation was launched and the stepmother and father were arrested shortly afterward.

Child-welfare authorities ultimately removed the girl from the home.

<![CDATA[Cuomo Aide Slay Suspect Arrested in California]]> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 15:20:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gabay.jpg

Authorities arrested a man in California in connection to the shooting death of Carey Gabay, a former aide to Governor Cuomo slain during last year's J'Ouvert festival. 

Kenny Bazile was arrested by NYPD detectives, U.S. Marshals and local police Thursday afternoon in Palm Desert. 

Bazile allegedly fired shots in a gang-related gun battle where Gabay was hit by stray gunfire hours before the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn last September.  

The 43-year-old Harvard-educated lawyer and Bronx native died after spending more than a week in a coma at a city hospital. 

"As we approach the one year anniversary of Carey's tragic death, we all mourn his loss and honor his memory," Cuomo said in a statement. "This arrest is another step forward in the pursuit of justice for Carey’s family and loved ones."

Several other men were arrested in June for their role in the shooting. 

Micah Alleyne, 24, Tyshawn Crawford, 21, and Keith Luncheon, 24, are named in a 16-count indictment charging them with various counts of second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment. Each faces up to 25 years in prison on the top count. 

Stanley Elianor, 25, had previously been charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly possessing a machine gun at the scene. He was arraigned in October and faces up to 15 years in prison. 

The J’ouvert festival Gabay had been attending and the parade that follows attract hundreds of thousands of revelers to Brooklyn every Labor Day but have been marred by several shootings in recent years. 

Prosecutors said two to three dozen shots were fired from at least eight firearms when Gabay was hit. They say multiple gang members were in the area amid heightened tensions and intended to shoot at rivals on sight; Gabay was an unintended target and had tried to hide behind a parked car. 

Thursday's arrest comes a city and police officials ramp up security efforts ahead of this year's festival and parade. 

On Friday, nearly three dozen suspected crips gang members were taken into custody at the 71 precinct in Crown Heights, blocks from where Gabay was slain. 

Police seized 10 guns and a number of drugs in the bust, authorities said. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sketch Shows Man Wanted for Questioning in Vetrano Case]]> Wed, 31 Aug 2016 23:53:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/vetrano-sketch-split00830.jpg

Police released a sketch of a man they'd like to talk to in connection with the death of a missing runner who was found strangled in an overgrown section of a Queens park earlier this month.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce held up a photo Wednesday of a man wearing a woven wool cap and asked anyone who recognized him to call police. The man was seen in the area around the time Karina Vetrano went missing at the Gateway National Recreation Area in Howard Beach on Aug. 2.

Her body was found in a marshy area of off a trail several hours later.

Boyce stressed that the man wasn't a suspect or a person of interest in the case. The man was seen in the area around the path where Vetrano was last seen that day and was spotted by a utility worker. Boyce said that the man could have seen Vetrano or her assailant.

"We have to speak to this person," Boyce said. "That's the only reason we're putting this out."

The man is described as being between 35 and 45 years old, standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall and has a medium build. Boyce said his wool cap stuck out on the hot summer day.

"It's a little unusual he was walking around in August with a cap on," Boyce said.

Earlier this week, Vetrano's father said he was seeking a runner who frequented the area before her death but hadn't been seen since. Police later said the man was not a suspect and had in fact been resting an injured knee. 

Authorities culled DNA from three different investigative points -- Vetrano's neck, her phone and her fingernails. Police say the fingernail DNA is the strongest, and all the samples point to the same person, though the state and local databases have yet to yield a possible match. 

Vetrano's family has raised more than $250,000 for a reward in the 30-year-old's death.

Eighty-five tips have poured in to police about the case, Boyce said; nine remain to be investigated. Anyone with information on the Vetrano case should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: NYPD / Instagram
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