<![CDATA[NBC New York - Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:24:45 -0400 Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:24:45 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Gunfire Erupts During Armed Robbery, Newark Cop Shot]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 22:29:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/newark+police+shooting+july+30.jpg

A Newark police officer was shot in the leg during a dramatic confrontation with an armed robber inside a convenience store Wednesday afternoon, officials and witnesses say. 

Employees at the bodega near Clinton Avenue and Stratford Place said the suspect entered the store around 3 p.m., ordered everyone to get on the floor and demanded money.

But one employee, James Harris, instead ran out, locking the suspect inside the store and flagged down a police officer passing by. That appeared to set the gunman off, according to Harris.

"He was coming towards the door, pointing the gun at the door at me, but he didn't know the officer was right there," said Harris. "So I stepped to the side and the officer stepped in front and told him to drop the gun." 

Witnesses who were in the store at the time said the suspect ignored warnings from the officer to drop the gun and fired at the officer first. The officer then fired twice at the suspect.

"The guy wouldn't give up," witness Lloyd Darby said of the robber. "He wanted to kill." 

Store employees helped care for the officer until help arrived, and Mayor Ras Baraka praised them.

"The civilians, the residents in this area, we want to thank them," he said. "They helped apprehend the gentleman who was robbing the establishment."

The unidentified officer, an 19-year veteran of the force, is in good condition.

"He's doing good," said Baraka. "He's going to be OK." 

The store employees said the officer is known and well-liked in the neighborhood. 

"He's a good officer, a stand-up officer," said Lloyd.

The suspect was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He's expected to face charges.

<![CDATA[Pit Bull Survives Being Tossed from Moving Car]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:11:46 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/meeker-pit-bull.jpg

A pit bull is convalescing in a Brooklyn animal hospital after being thrown from a moving car on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Tuesday evening, and landing on a busy street 25 feet below.

A stunned driver couldn't believe what he falling from the sky on Meeker Avenue.

"The way he was falling, head over heels down on the pavement, it just made us think we had probably seen a dog being thrown over the barrier," said Jon Ernsberger whose car was almost struck by the falling dog.

Two bike riders under the span were stunned to come upon the pit bull, crying and struggling to stand. The eyewitnesses called police and took the dog to an animal hospital.

Meeker, as the pit bull was named for the avenue where he was discovered, suffered no broken bones but was treated for a collapsed lung and may need surgery to repair a hernia he suffered upon impact.

But the pit bull is expected to make a full recovery, said the veterinarian taking care of him. 

"Your first reaction is obviously anger," said Dr. Brett Levitzke of the Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group in Cobble Hill. "Followed up quickly by very thankful that this Good Samaritan saw it happen and then brought him in. Because without him, Meeker would probably be dead right now."







<![CDATA[Teen Arrested in Deadly Shooting of Girl on Queens Bus]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:18:46 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bus+shot+queens_edited-1.jpg

Police say they've arrested a second person in the deadly shooting of a 14-year-old girl on a Queens bus last year.

A 16-year-old Brooklyn boy was arrested Wednesday on charges of second-degree murder, criminal use of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment in the May 2013 shooting death of D'Aja Robinson.

Robinson, of South Jamaica, was riding a city bus on her way home from a sweet 16 party when she was shot in the head and killed by a stray bullet from gunfire on the street, police said.

She was sitting about three rows from the back of the Q6 bus near Sutphin and Rockaway boulevards when the shot came through the bus and killed her.

Police and U.S. Marshals arrested 21-year-old Kevin McClinton in South Carolina several weeks after the shooting and charged him with second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment. 

The teen suspect's and McClinton's exact roles in the deadly shooting were not immediately clear.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Plane Evacuated at LaGuardia for Smoke in Cockpit]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:34:53 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lga+plane+evac+july+30.jpg

A plane leaving LaGuardia Airport returned shortly after takeoff and was evacuated after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit, officials say. 

Envoy Air 3340, headed to Knoxville, Tennessee, turned around and made an emergency landing on Runway 22 at about 3:20 p.m., according to the FAA.

The passengers were escorted from the Embraer 145 and bused to the terminal.

The runway was closed briefly as officials responded. 

None of the 44 passengers or three crew members were injured, officials say. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Shot in Gun Battle With Abuse Suspect Leaves Hospital ]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:33:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/detective+released.jpg

The NYPD detective who went into a Greenwich Village smoke shop on a tip that an accused child molester on the run for two years was working there and was shot, along with two U.S. Marshals, when gunfire erupted as the officers tried to apprehend the suspect, was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Flanked by uniformed officers, detective Mario Muniz left Bellevue Hospital in a wheelchair around noon, about a day after the two marshals injured in the gunfight were released.

Muniz had the most severe injuries of the three agents: one bullet hit his stomach, crossing from the left side to the right side of the abdomen, according to doctors. A second and a third bullet fired toward his chest were stopped by a vest. 

"No question that vest was life-saving gear," said Dr. Spiros Frangos. 

Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, speaking outside Bellevue, said that once Muniz goes home to recuperate, "The reality of what could have happened will set in."

Palladino added, "I'm going to renew my message to all the criminals in this city: It's not open season on these detectives ... because our mission is to get the job done."

The fugitive suspect, Charles Mozdir, was killed in the Monday afternoon shootout in Smoking Culture on West Fourth Street. Muniz went in to visually confirm the suspect was there and alone, and when he returned with the marshals to make an arrest, Mozdir opened fire with a .32-caliber revolver, police say.  

Muniz was shot twice in the stomach below his bulletproof vest. One marshal was shot in the leg and the other was hit in the elbow.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Muniz's vest may have saved his life.

Mozdir had been accused of sexually assaulting a boy he babysat in Coronado, California, near San Diego. The 32-year-old was recently profiled on "The Hunt with John Walsh," a CNN show similar to "America's Most Wanted."

Mozdir was wanted on a $1 million warrant. He was charged with multiple counts of committing forcible lewd acts on a child and attempting to dissuade a witness. He skipped an April court appearance in California and his car was found in Georgia two months later.

The trail went cold after that until officers got a phone call from a woman in Florida who is part owner of Mozdir's black Labrador retriever, law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York. 

His weapon was recovered at the scene. Mozdir had 20 more rounds in his pockets, police said.

A neighbor in the Alphabet City area where Mozdir resided said she sometimes ran into him while walking her dogs with her daughter.

He "never made eye contact," said Natasha Callapally, and was "really creepy, really weird."

-- Marc Santia contributed to this report

Photo Credit: NYPD/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Mystery of Ship Buried Under World Trade Center Revealed ]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:08:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/191*120/ground+zero+buried+ship2.jpg

Remnants of an 18th-century ship found buried in soil 20 feet under the World Trade Center site four years ago have been traced to Colonial-Era Philadelphia, according to a new study.

The 32-foot piece of the vessel was found in July 2010 as bulldozers excavated a parking garage for the future building. At the time, historians said the ship likely dated back to the 1700s, and that it was defunct by the time lower Manhattan's western shoreline covered it up around 1818.

But the mystery of its origins persisted -- until now.

Scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory analyzed the skeletal remains of the ship using dendrochronology, which relies on tree rings to determine dates and chronological order.

In a study published in the journal Tree Ring Research, the scientists say they traced the white oak used in the ship's frame to an old growth forest in the Philadelphia era. The article says the trees were probably cut around 1773, shortly before the Revolutionary War.

Wood sampled from Independence Hall in Philadelphia 20 years ago had growth rings that matched those from the World Trade Center ship, suggesting the wood used in both constructions came from the same area.

Scientists say they believe the ship is a Hudson River Sloop, designed by the Dutch to carry passengers and cargo over shallow, rocky water. The article says it was likely built in Philadelphia, a shipbuilding hub during the Colonial era, and used for 20 to 30 years before sailing to what would become its final stop in lower Manhattan.

Workers and archaeologists had also found a 100-pound anchor in the same area as the ship, but it wasn't clear at the time if it belonged to the ship.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Killed in NY Bridge Plunge, Racing Eyed: Cops]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:59:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Ardsley-Carmaro-Crash-NY-Drag-Racing.jpg

Police are investigating whether a driver who was killed when his car plunged off a Westchester bridge early Wednesday was drag racing before the crash, authorities say.

The 21-year-old man, identified as Christopher Seguinot, of West Harrison, was headed north on the Saw Mill River Parkway in Dobbs Ferry in a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro at about 12:10 a.m. when the car went off an exit, smashed through a guardrail and flew off the Ashford Avenue Bridge, police say.

The car crashed into the ground more than 30 feet below, and the man was pronounced dead.

A police spokesman said that speed was "definitely a factor" in the crash. 

Seguinot was the only person in the car.

His uncle described him as a "good kid" who had dreams of becoming a state trooper.

The parkway’s northbound lanes reopened after several hours. The bridge remained closed.

A bridge inspector was called to the scene to assess structural damage to the roadway.

-Sheldon Dutes contributed to this report

<![CDATA[Report Ranks Best and Worst NYC Subway Lines]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:08:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/183*120/76025564.jpg

The No. 2 train is the worst subway line in the city when it comes to service regularity and delays related to mechanical breakdowns, according to a report by a rider advocacy group.

Patrons on the No. 2 line are also frustrated by the lack of available seats, according to the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign's annual "State of the Subways" report, which measures six indicators of subway performance straphangers have deemed crucial.

Most of the measures evaluated are based on weekday statistics.

The report gave the No. 7 line the top rating of the 20 subway lines reviewed. The Straphangers Campaign says that line runs most frequently and performed above average in terms of subway car cleanliness and seat availability.

Fewer delays due to mechanical breakdowns are also reported on the No. 7 line compared with the rest of the system.

System-wide, subway cars are dirtier than they were last year, though 90 percent of them are rated clean, according to the report. Cars are also more likely to break down, with the Straphangers Campaign finding a mechanical failure every 172,700 miles between December 2012 and December 2013 compared with one every 153,382 miles in the prior year.

In a statement, the MTA said it has been transparent about the data provided in the Straphangers Campaign report. Spokesman Adam Lisberg also said the agency regularly analyzes data to enhance servie and develop new improvement initiatives.

"Customers can go to our website at any time where the most up to date information and performance indicators on our subways are updated on a monthly basis – everything from quality of service, to cleanliness to safety," Lisberg said.

Click here to review the Straphangers Campaign's full report or to get more detailed information on the individual lines assessed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Rolls Out Food Trucks to Feed Kids During Summer Break]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:05:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/summer+meals+new+york+city.jpg The New York City Department of Education has rolled out special food trucks to feed students on summer break. Stacey Bell has the story.]]> <![CDATA[2 Homes Destroyed, 13 Hurt in Large Bronx Fire]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:29:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bronx+fire+july+30.jpg

Thirteen people, including 11 firefighters, were hurt in a large fire at a Bronx home Wednesday afternoon, officials say. 

The four-alarm fire broke out on the 4500 block of Hill Avenue in Wakefield at around 2 p.m., according to the FDNY. It was under control by 3:30 p.m.

One firefighter was taken to Cornell Medical Center in serious condition for first-degree burns to the neck, officials say. Ten other firefighters had minor injuries and were taken to New York Hospital along with two injured civilians.

Chopper 4 over the scene shows the fire appeared to spread from one two-story house to another.

The Red Cross is assisting the four families displaced in the fire.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Astorino Hammers Cuomo on Handling of Moreland Commission]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:09:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cuomo+astorino+moreland.jpg Governor Cuomo's handling of the Moreland Commision is becoming an election-year thorn in his side. His Republican challenger Rob Astorino is now hammering on this one issue. Melissa Russo reports.]]> <![CDATA[Crime and Courts]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2012 11:40:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gavel.jpg

Photo Credit: Martin Poole /Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fake Utility Workers Rob Elderly Couple, Warning Issued]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:13:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/valley+stream+elderly+burglaries.jpg

Police are looking for burglars who posed as utility workers to distract an elderly couple while they ransacked their house, and authorities are cautioning residents to avoid opening the door for anyone claiming to be a worker who hasn't called ahead amid a spate of similar robberies.

In the most recent case, one of the two suspects went to the couple's home on North Cottage Avenue in Valley Stream Monday evening and knocked on the door, authorities say. When the couple answered, the man told them that he was with the water department and needed to check the water pressure in the basement. 

When the man took the couple to the basement, a second suspect came into the house, police say. The utility impostor somehow communicated with the burglar upstairs as he rifled through the house, stealing cash. They left about 15 minutes later.

The couple discovered they had been burglarized the next day and called the water company, which said it didn't have anyone working in the area.

Monday's burglary was the latest in a string of similar schemes. Utilities and law enforcement agencies have been warning homeowners to watch out for the theft routine, and are asking residents not to let anyone claiming to be a worker in their house if they don't call ahead.

"Please don't let them in the house," said Nassau Inspector Kenneth Lack. "Talk to them through the closed door, talk to them through an open window and ask to see photo ID." 

Safeguarding homes could also be as simple as knowing what utility workers wear, according to Brian Bruce of NY American Water, the company serving the Valley Stream neighborhood. Bruce says his workers wear a company shirt, and the service workers wear a blue uniform that has the company logo on it. They also drive company vehicles.

Neighbor George Catalanotto said he's watching for the scam artists as part of Valley Stream's civilian patrol. 

"It adds to the need for all of us as neighbors to be vigilant," said Catalanotto. 

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.

-- Greg Cergol contributed to this report 

<![CDATA[WATCH: News 4 New York]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 22:53:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/garden+state+plaza+mall+gunman+2.jpg

NBC 4 New York streams live at 11 p.m. every weekday.

<![CDATA[NYPD Probing Anti-Islam Fliers Posted in Brooklyn]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:25:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/anti-muslim-flier-bensonhurst.jpg

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating anti-Muslim fliers that were posted in Bensonhurst over the weekend.

Police from the 62nd Precinct received a call Saturday morning from a 65-year-old woman who said a flier that read "Islamists go to your country!!! USA Hates you!!!" was posted on the front of her apartment building on 21st Drive.

Police canvassed the area and found 10 more identical fliers with anti-Muslim language and images.

Anyone with information about the fliers is asked to call police. 



<![CDATA[No Charges in Fatal NYPD Shooting of 16-Year-Old in Brooklyn ]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:50:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kimani+gray+mom.jpg

The officers involved in the shooting of a 16-year-old Brooklyn boy whose death sparked outrage and protests will not face criminal charges, the office of the Brooklyn District Attorney said Tuesday.

Kimani Gray was shot by two plainclothes officers in East Flatbush in March of 2013 after police said he pulled a gun on them. But Gray's family and supporters have argued that no witnesses saw Gray with a gun. A gun was recovered from the scene, according to police.. 

His sparked days of protests and outrage as protesters marched on the 67th Precinct, demanding that those officers be charged with a crime.  The demonstrators questioned the police account of the shooting and said they were fed up with aggressive law-enforcement actions.

Gray was with a group of people the night of March 9, but left when he saw police in an unmarked car, police said. Authorities say he was acting suspicious when plainclothes officers approached him.

Police say Gray pointed a .38-caliber revolver at them, and they opened fire. The medical examiner's office ruled that Gray was hit seven times in both the front and back of his body, including his shoulder, rib cage, forearm and legs.


Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man With Box Cutter Tries to Rape Woman in Bronx: Cops]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:14:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/attempted+rape+bronx.jpg
Police are looking for a box cutter-wielding man who threw a 20-year-old woman to the ground in the Bronx over the weekend and tried to rape her.

Authorities say the suspect followed the woman along East 149th Street down Jackson Avenue in Mott Haven around 2 a.m. Saturday and flashed the box cutter when they reached St. Mary's Park.

He then pulled on the woman's shirt, reached under her clothes and pushed her to the ground. He climbed on top of her and she screamed for help. Then he ran off.

Police released surveillance video (above) of the suspect walking down the sidewalk.

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Kennedy Cousin to Return to Court]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:59:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/michael+skakel+released+bond.jpg

Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel appeared in Stamford Superior Court on Wednesday to face the state's appeal of a ruling nearly a year ago that allowed his release from prison, pending a new trial in the case of the 1975 murder of Greenwich neighbor Martha Moxley.

Skakel said he's been spending as much time with his family as he can. Asked if he was enjoying his time out of prison, he said, "I wouldn't say enjoying."

Last October, after serving more than 11 years in jail for his 2002 conviction in Moxley's murder, a judge ruled that Skakel's former trial attorney failed to adequately represent him in 2002 and granted him a new trial. After posting bail, he walked free from prison last November.

The state is hoping a judge will reverse that decision. If the judge doesn't rule in their favor, Skakel will be granted a new trial. His attorneys are fighting to keep him a free man.

The Greenwich Time reported that Skakel's defense is also filing motions to bar audio tapes Skakel made for a memoir from being used in future court proceedings. The audio tapes were meant as a resource for ghost writer Richard Hoffman to pen Skakel's book, "Dead Man Talking: A Kennedy Cousin Comes Clean," the newspaper reported.

Skakel's attorneys told NBC's Today Show they plan to argue that the tapes, used as evidence in the previous trial, should be inadmissible this time, claiming police illegally seized the tapes from Skakel's ghostwriter and that the audio files have been selectively edited out of context.

Gary Galanis, a family friend of Skakel's, told NBC News that "the implication is that Michael was there confessing to to the crime on this tape. That's not the case at all." The tapes do contain an admission by Skakel to engaging in sexual activity in a tree outside of Moxley's home the night she was murdered. Skakel was 15 years old at the time of the murder.

Skakel's criminal defense attorney, Stephan Seeger told NBC's Ron Mott that he's ready to prove his client is innocent.

"And that's something that the public needs to know. And I think that if the public learns more about the evidence we have especially more approximate evidence that people will start to change their mind about what happened in this case," he said.

During a 10-minute court proceeding Wednesday, the judge ordered the prosecution and defense to compile a list of Skakel's belongings to be returned and ordered all evidence preserved.

Skakel declined to comment on his way out of court.

Moxley's family released the following statement ahead of Skakel's appearance on Wednesday:

"With regard to the hearing, we don't see how a judge could possibly hear the argument when no one knows what the status of the case will be. The state's appeal is just going in at the end of the week. It's our hope that the judge's decision will be overturned and the conviction will be reinstated and that Michael Skakel will go back to jail where he belongs."

<![CDATA[Subway Track Fire Stymies No. 7 Train Service]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:57:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/generic+caution+tape+vg.jpg

Service on the No. 7 subway line has resumed between Times Square-42nd Street and Hunters Point Avenue in Queens following intermittent suspensions caused by a track fire in the tunnel leading to Grand Central Station, the MTA says.

Service was suspended for a time between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza while firefighters doused the flames. It was then restored on a partial basis before the MTA shut it down again because lingering smoke in the tunnel was causing visibility problems.

Some No. 7 trains were terminating service early at one point, but the MTA said regular service resumed shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The MTA said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Fake $100 Bills Smuggled in Barney Bag]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:07:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Counterfeit-Bills-JFK.jpg

Customs agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport seized more than 2,000 counterfeit bills that had been smuggled into the country in picture frames, electronics cases and a Barney the dinosaur bag.

Officials say that agents found 1,252 counterfeit $100 bills in an international shipment from “Handycrafts Pictures” during a search on July 15.

The next day, they searched another shipment from “Handycraft Bags,” and found another 853 fake bills. In total, the counterfeits added up to the equivalent of $210,500.

Officers say that the bills were hidden inside photo frames, protective cases and book bags.

The bills will be destroyed, officials say. The Secret Service has launched an investigation into the source of the counterfeits. 

<![CDATA[Deadly Sucker-Punch Attack Family Stunned by Charge]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:31:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/sucker+punch.jpg

A grieving Bronx family is stunned that the teen accused of sucker-punching their father and husband is being charged with a misdemeanor that could result in the suspect doing less than a year in jail.

Ildefonso Romero Jr. died days after a teenage boy allegedly sucker-punched him outside his home on Thieriot Avenue in Soundview on June 21. Witnesses said Romero had been protecting a girl from local teens who were apparently causing trouble in the street, and one of the teens punched Romero.

Romero fell and hit his head on the curb, and his son found him unconscious on the ground.

"I'm holding his hand and I'm looking at him and asking him, you know, 'Papi, wake up, Papi, get up,' and he wouldn't respond," said Noel Romero, the victim's son.

Ildefonso Romero's wife Jenny Guevarez said tearfully, "I kept on calling his name so he could wake up."

Romero died June 24.

Police arrested a 17-year-old, and though prosecutors believe he caused Romero's death, the Bronx district attorney's office has charged him with misdemeanor assault, which means he could end up serving less than a year if he's convicted.

"This guy kills my father and he's only gonna serve a year in jail? What kind of justice is that?" asked Noel Romero.

"A slap on the wrist, it's not fair," added Jennifer Perez, the victim's daughter.

The district attorney's office wouldn't comment other than to say the evidence didn't warrant additional charges. Sources familiar with the case say the district attorney believes there was no recklessness or intent to cause serious bodily harm.

Attorney information for the suspect wasn't immediately available.

Romero's family says the charge doesn't amount to justice for a man who raised five children, was two years shy of retiring from his job at Lincoln Hospital and was killed days before turning 60 and celebrating 34 years of marriage.

"I was planning his 60th birthday," said Guevarez. "A surprise party, and the surprise was for us. In one second, they took his life away."

Local officials are asking the district attorney's office to upgrade the charges, and are also drafting legislation that would make it mandatory for similar one-punch crimes to result in more jail time.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[5 Firefighters, 2 Cops Injured in Queens Blaze]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 09:15:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/elmhurst+fire.jpg
Five firefighters and two Bridge and Tunnel officers were injured in a Queens fire early Wednesday, but all are expected to be OK, authorities say.

The fire broke out on 51st Avenue in Long Island City shortly before 7 a.m. and was extinguished a short time later. 

It wasn't immediately clear how the firefighters and officers were injured, nor was it known if any civilians were hurt. 

The fire is under investigation.  

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Man Pleads Not Guilty to Murdering 85-Year-Old Woman]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:57:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/grandma-gruber.jpg

A Mount Vernon man pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the death of a beloved 85-year-old grandmother whose body was found at the bottom of her basement stairs in February.

Lloyd Lewis, a neighbor of Emma Gruber, a longtime Mount Vernon resident and beloved fixture of the community, was remanded without bail after his arraignment Wednesday. In addition to murder, he was charged with multiple counts of burglary and petit larceny, among other offenses.

Investigators determined Gruber was killed by blunt force trauma. A piece of wood with her blood on it was found near her body, which was under a large pile of clothes and a piece of plywood.

A 32" flat screen TV was missing from her home and the basement was flooded because her water meter and copper pipes had been cut out and removed. Jewelry was also stolen.

Gruber was known for fostering children and giving out candy in her community.

Lewis faces up to life in prison without parole if he is convicted of the top charge against him.

Lewis' attorneys had asked the judge to delay his arraignment because they argued media in the courtroom could sway the jurors. The judge refused. They didn't comment on the case.


<![CDATA[Woman Punched, Kicked in NYC Elevator Robbery]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 07:03:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/elevator+robbery+bk.jpg

Police are looking for two men they say followed an 18-year-old woman into a Brooklyn apartment building elevator, then punched and kicked her before running away with her purse.

The robbers followed the woman into her Midwood building after 9:30 p.m. Sunday, video shows, and then into the elevator. The woman appears to try to get off the elevator, only to be stopped by the men, who drag her out by her hair, throw her to the floor, then punch and kick her repeatedly. 

They then run out of the building with her purse, and one of the suspects tosses the bag as they flee.

The victim was treated for bruising around the eyes at Coney Island Hospital. 

Records show felony assaults are up year over year in the 70th Precinct, where the assault took place: there were 160 reports of assaults in the last year, compared to 141 at this time last year.

Robberies, however, are down: there were 157 reported in the last year compared to 178 at this time last year.

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. 

-- Gus Rosendale contributed to this report

<![CDATA[Man Shot in Head, Killed After Argument: NYPD]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:45:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Williamsburg-Body-Scene.jpg

Police say a 27-year-old man was fatally shot in the head after a dispute outside his apartment building in upper Manhattan late Tuesday.

Daryl Washington was pronounced dead outside the building on West 144th Street in Hamilton Heights, according to police.

Officers responding to a call there found him lying unconscious with a single gunshot wound to his head.

It’s not clear who he was arguing with before the shooting.

No arrests have been made.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Boy Diagnosed With Rare Strain of Lyme Disease]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:21:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lyme+outbreak+long+island.jpg

A Long Island boy has been diagnosed with a rare strain of Lyme disease after playing in a wooded area with friends recently, and one Suffolk County doctor says the disease seems to be infecting people at an alarming rate this summer.

The 13-year-old boy began to get sick two weeks after he was bitten by the bug, suffering a fever and "excruciating" headaches, according to his mother Christine Brennan.

Dr. Nadia Persheff, a pediatrician at Hampton Pediatrics, said the symptoms of the rare strain of Lyme disease, Borrelia Miyamoto, are different, and can include anxiety for children.

Persheff said she's treating people infected by Lyme disease at a concerning rate. In the past, she would get cases weekly, but she now says she sees patients infected by Lyme disease almost daily.

"This year has been extremely overwhelming with Lyme as opposed to the past. We've never seen this much Lyme before," said Persheff.

Elva Guerra recently brought her 2-year-old son Carlos to Persheff after she found a tick just below his knee, followed by a rash.

"I thought I saw a new birthmark on his knee, but it was really a tick," said Elva Guerra.

Carlos was too young to realize what had happened to him, but his mother did.

"Reading how it affects the nervous system sometimes and how the joints get swollen, and to think that our son, who's only 2 years old, was going to go through that, it's really, really scary," said Guerra.

Persheff said both strains of Lyme disease are curable, if treated properly with antibiotics.

Hundreds of cases of tick-borne illnesses are reported every year across New York.

A doctor with the Suffolk County Health Department said there are typically three kinds of ticks found in the northeast, and are typically in areas of high vegetation like grass and trees.

He warns the public that if you do venture out in these areas, considered "tick territories," it is best to wear long pants, tuck the pants into socks and wear repellent.

<![CDATA[Minister Defrocked After Larceny Charges]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:44:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/stratford-baptist-church-robert-genevicz.jpg

The Connecticut minister accused of cheating two elderly parishioners out of hundreds of thousands of dollars has been defrocked.

The Rev. Judy Albeen, the executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut, tells The Connecticut Post it has removed the ordination of Robert Genevicz and no longer recognizes him as a minister.

Genevicz, 67, is charged with first-degree larceny in the theft of more than $173,000 from a 71-year old member of the church.

Police began investigating Genevicz in May 2013 after money disappeared from the parishioner's account. Genevicz had been granted power of attorney and was named conservator for the woman.

He also is being sued by a Trumbull woman who alleges the minister defrauded her 88-year-old mother out of about $200,000.

Genevicz led the Stratford Baptist church for 16 years. That church said Tuesday it stands behind a previous statement that it fully supports Genevicz and wants him to remain pastor of the church.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police/NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Racy Book Returned to NYC Library After 50 Years]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 07:35:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/late+library+book+nypl.jpg

A library book racy enough to make any mild-mannered bookworm blush has made its way back to the New York Public Library after 54 years.

The book was due Aug. 17, 1959 and it arrived at the Fifth Avenue branch just last year, in a padded envelope from Scottsdale, Arizona. 

The content of the book, "Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique," may have had something to do with the delay. Written by a Dutch gynecologist and published in 1926, the scientific sex manual is filled with graphs and diagrams, and, according to the National Review, "is not a prude's book." 

The book came with a handwritten note both humorous and sad.

It read: "We found this book amongst my late brother-in-law's things. Funny thing is, the book didn't support his efforts with his first and only marriage, it failed. No wonder he hid the book. So sorry. A shocked in-law." 

The fine for an overdue book at the time was 5 cents a day, which would total more than $1,000 by now. But the library caps book late fees at $12. 

"We just want to get our materials back," said managing librarian Billy Parrott. 

<![CDATA[Brooklyn Chain Snatching Caught on Tape]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:03:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bus-stop-chain-snatch.jpg

Police are looking for a man caught on surveillance video ripping a chain off a woman's neck and tossing her to the ground at a Coney Island bus stop. 

The 54-year-old woman was standing at the stop on Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street on July 18 when the man walked by and snatched the chain, causing the woman to fall face first to the sidewalk.

The suspect was seen passing by the stop several times before the theft.

A bystander is seen in the video (above) helping the woman. The suspect runs away, and at least one witness can be seen chasing after him.

The victim was treated at a nearby hospital for a cut to her head.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. 


<![CDATA[NJ Gas Main Break Shuts Down Port Terminal]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:05:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ELIZABETH+GAS+MAIN+BREAK.jpg

A gas main break in New Jersey has shut down a cargo terminal in a busy port area and crews are working to turn off the gas, officials say. 

The Port Authority says a water main break at Maher Terminals in Elizabeth hit a gas main Tuesday afternoon, breaking that main. 

There were no hazardous materials in the containers at the terminal, but the fumes have forced it to close, says the Port Authority. Another building on the property, located on Corbin Street, was evacuated. 

Trucks on the terminal were being held in place until the gas was turned off. 

No one has been hurt. 

<![CDATA[Long Island Mom Stabbed 20 Times by Boyfriend: DA]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:06:56 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/monica+lino+charles+pray.jpg

Prosecutors say a Long Island man stabbed his girlfriend more than 20 times during a fight at her home.

Charles Pray of Bay Shore was being held without bail Tuesday. He is charged with second-degree murder.

Police say Monica Lino was found dead Sunday in her home in Farmingville.

The 34-year-old Pray, who worked as a cook and had a minor criminal record, gave a videotaped confession to detectives. But defense attorney Steven Politi told reporters his client had been attacked by Lino, and says Pray suffered stab wounds to his hand, arms and upper torso.

Lino's neighbors didn't buy it. They say the 36-year-old mother of two was recovering from a motorcycle crash that left her incapacitated for days.

"She was on crutches, she was all messed up," said Carolyn Hughes, a tenant of Lino. "She couldn't even defend herself if she wanted to." 

Hughes said Pray had been seeing Lino for about two months.

Lino's 9- and 12-year-old children were not at home; they have been spending the summer with family in Portugal, relatives said.

A Volkswagen Jetta registered to Lino was found by Suffolk County homicide detectives in Merrick, more than 35 miles from her home.

Her aunt wept outside court Tuesday after hearing how her niece died. 

"I'm very upset. They killed my niece," she said. 

 -- Greg Cergol contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[Teen, 16, Accused of Killing Teen, 17, With Punch to Head]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:53:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hillsborough+teen+killed+punch.jpg

A 16-year-old New Jersey boy faces reckless manslaughter charges for allegedly punching a 17-year-old boy in the head, killing him.

Police responded to a 911 call on Orchard Drive in Hillsborough Township Saturday afternoon and found Jared Colon with a head injury. He was airlifted to the hospital and died two days later.

Prosecutors say the fatal head injury was caused by a punch, allegedly from the 16-year-old defendant, after the two got into an argument over dirt-biking while at Colon's house. The 16-year-old punched Colon once near his chin, according to authorities. 

The 16-year-old, who lives in Hillsborough Township, is being held at a juvenile detention center.

Friends remembered Colon as a funny teen who loved being outdoors and enjoyed fishing, dirt-biking and riding ATVs with his friends. But they also cautioned against placing too much blame on the younger teen. 

"I would say it was more of a freak accident, and that was clearly not the boy's intentions," said Sarah Critelli, a former neighbor of Colon. 

Sarah Depinto, a graduate of Hillsborough High School, where the boys were students, said. "A lot of people play fight, and they don't mean to hurt anyone at all."

-- Jen Maxfield contributed to this report


<![CDATA[3 Kids Hurt in Brooklyn Apartment Building Blaze]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 02:19:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/brooklyn+fire2.jpg

Three young children were injured, one of them critically, when flames erupted at an eight-story apartment building in Brooklyn Tuesday morning, fire officials say.

Authorities say the two-alarm fire broke out in a fourth-floor apartment in the Loring Avenue building in City Line shortly after 11 a.m. The critically injured child, who is 3, was found in a bedroom.

The other injured children, ages 5 and 8, were found in another bedroom. Firefighters cut through a window grate to pull them out. They were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Fire officials say it appears the children were related and that they were being watched by their grandfather at the time of the fire. He got out of the apartment himself and was taken to the hospital along with a neighbor who was being treated for smoke inhalation.

Around the same time they responded to the Brooklyn fire, firefighters were called to a two-alarm fire on the fourth floor of the 12-story Latham Hotel on East 28th Street in the Flatiron district.

No injuries were reported and the fire was quickly contained.


Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[City Schools May Start Earlier This Fall]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:41:53 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000004514935_1200x675_313413187884.jpg Hundreds of city schools could have new start times this fall, and that means thousands of parents and their children may have to rearrange their mornings to get to school on time. Melissa Russo has more.]]> <![CDATA[2-Year-Old Double Amputee Still "Got It" After Viral Success]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:51:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/new-KAYDEN_KINKLE1_t580.jpg

When 2-year-old Kayden Kinckle took his first steps on prosthetic legs, he didn’t want help.

“I got it, I got it, I got it,” Kayden said with each step. A YouTube video documenting the milestone for the Englewood, New Jersey, kid's family and friends has since been viewed more than 800,000 times. 

His parents say he has always been this confident despite doctors' doubts. 

"If he wants something, he will get it and that could be good sometimes and bad sometimes," Kayden's father, Kevin Kinckle, told NBC. "He's always been a warrior." 

Kayden was diagnosed in utereo with omphalocelea, a birth defect in the abdominal wall that causes an infant’s intestines, liver and some other organs to grow outside the body. Kayden also had a band wrapped around his legs in the womb — causing deformities that required him to have his left leg and right foot amputated in January. One out of 7,000 children are born with opmhalocelea, and nearly half of all babies born with opmhalocelea also have other birth defects, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

The numbers of children living without limbs are unclear because of doctor's confidentiality agreements, according to the Amputee Coalition. Nearly 2 million people across the United States have limb loss.

Kayden's mother Nikki Kinckle said doctors had advised her to consider whether to carry her baby to term. She said the suggestion didn't make her angry, because it was a "fact" that her baby would face serious challenges. 

"The nurse asked me if my house was wheelchair-accessible, and that was hard," Nikki said.

The proud parents have received a volley of messages online from people who have been inspired by Kayden's can-do attitude and charisma. NFL athlete Michael Vick shared Kayden’s video with the caption, “Luke 1:37- For with God nothing shall be impossible… 'I got it, I got it' lol.” Vick's post contributed to the video going viral around the Fourth of July. Messages of support have included those from other amputees, cancer patients and people who are paralyzed, his mother said. 

Kayden still uses his walker but insists on independence, his father said. The fiery 2-year-old is antsy to stay off the couch. He crawls "very well" without his prosthetics and loves playing basketball with his parents. Kayden even tries to teach his 9-month-old sister, Cherish, how to crawl. After the surgery in January, Kayden still didn't slow down.

"The day after the surgery, he was shooting baskets with me and his mother," Kevin Kinckle said.

The family continues to raise money on GoFundMe.com, which had $73,839 donations as of July 29. The family's first goal was $50,000 to cover past medical expenses such as the surgery and his first pair of prosthetics. After Kayden's viral video success, the couple pushed the goal to $500,000.

"We were made aware that prosthetics are an ongoing thing for life, physical therapy is once a week. He may need more walkers or crutches as he gets olders and his weight changes," Kevin Kinckle said. "We need to adjust as he grows and as technology grows we want the top-of-the-line stuff for him."

The couple talks about Kayden's future all the time. They feel Kayden has proven that he can do anything.

"He is a face of adversity," Kevin Kinckle said. "Whatever he wants to do, we are confident he can do it, whether it's a lawyer or doctor or athlete." 

Photo Credit: Nikki and Kevin Kinckle]]>