<![CDATA[NBC New York - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Fri, 22 May 2015 10:55:47 -0400 Fri, 22 May 2015 10:55:47 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[D.C. Mansion Murder Suspect Caught]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 10:43:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/wint+mugshot.jpg

The man suspected of brutally killing a family of three and their housekeeper in a northwest Washington, D.C., mansion last week was arrested late Thursday night in a traffic stop across town, capping a manhunt that had expanded to New York.

Daron Dylon Wint, 34, who had once worked for the company run by one of the victims, is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday afternoon. 

In a statement released through a spokesperson Friday, the Savopoulos family thanked the law enforcement agencies involved in Wint's arrest.

"While it does not abate our pain, we hope that it begins to restore a sense of calm and security to our neighborhood and to our city," the statement read in part.

Wint showed little emotion when he was captured, Robert Fernandez, commander of the U.S. Marshal Service's Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force told The Associated Press on Friday.

"He was stoic," Fernandez said.

Investigators had tracked Wint to the Brooklyn area of New York City, where they barely missed him Wednesday night, Fernandez said.

"We believe he saw himself on the news and just took off," Fernandez said. Investigators then tracked Wint to a Howard Johnson Express Inn in College Park, Maryland, on Thursday night, he said.

A team realized Wint was probably in one of two vehicles in the motel parking lot: a car or a moving truck. The vehicles left together and the team followed as they took a U-turn and a strange route -- seeming to be lost or trying to shake those who followed, Fernandez said.

Officers eventually got between the two vehicles in 1000 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE at about 11 p.m. and took Wint, three other men and two women into custody, Fernandez said.

"We had overwhelming numbers and force," Fernandez said. "They completely submitted immediately."

Fernandez said he noticed a big wad of cash in the moving truck, but he didn't know how much was there. NBC News has confirmed that at least $10,000 was found in the moving truck.

It was not clear whether that money might have been connected to the Savopoulos family. Fernandez said he did not know whether any weapons were found as the group was taken into custody.

Wint is charged with first-degree murder while armed in the deaths of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57.

Their bodies were found in the Savopoulos family's burning mansion early in the afternoon of May 14.

Authorities had searched several locations in Maryland for Wint on Wednesday night and Thursday. Law enforcement sources said Thursday afternoon they believed Wint took a bus to New York City and arrived in Brooklyn in the previous 24 hours, before returning to the D.C. area.

A law enforcement official told NBC 4 New York's Jonathan Dienst that they tracked Wint to Brooklyn in part through his phone, which his girlfriend had when they interviewed her Thursday.

Wint's girlfriend, a Brooklyn resident, talked to NYPD officers at the 69th Precinct in Brooklyn for hours after being picked up at her apartment Thursday. She told police Wint was going back to D.C., possibly to surrender. She is not under arrest, NBC 4 New York reports.

Police believe the victims were kept bound and threatened overnight the night before they were killed.

Sometime that night, someone called Domino's from their house and ordered pizza. Sources say Wint's DNA was found on a pizza crust

The next morning, someone delivered $40,000 in cash to the multimillion-dollar house. The cash was withdrawn from an account at American Iron Works, where Savvas Savopoulos served as CEO. 

Sometime after the cash arrived, the home was set on fire, leading to the discovery of the bodies.

Three of the victims had been beaten and stabbed to death, and some of the bodies smelled of gasoline, police said.

Philip's body was so badly burned that investigators aren't sure if he was injured before the fire was set, and he still hasn't been officially identified, sources close to the investigation said.

His body was found in his room; three other bodies were found on the floor in another bedroom.

Later on the afternoon of May 14, the family's Porsche was found burning in a church parking lot in suburban Maryland. Police had circulated the grainy image of a person leaving the scene of the car fire, wearing black clothing.

Police said Thursday that they haven't ruled out the possibility that other people were involved in the slayings, but no other suspects have been identified.

Who is Daron Dylon Wint?

From 2003 to 2005, Wint worked as a welder at American Iron Works, where victim Savvas Savopoulos served as CEO, sources said. One of Wint's relatives was also fired from the company.

An American Iron Works welder -- who said he lost a great friend in Savopoulos -- told News4 that Wint couldn't get along with any of his coworkers when he worked there.

Attorney Robin Ficker, who has represented Wint in the past, told News4 he doesn't believe Wint did it.

"He is a gentle guy. He was a student at Prince George's Community College. He wouldn't hurt a fly," Ficker said. "He's the kind of guy that you wouldn't mind your grandmother going to lunch with."

Wint was born and raised in Guyana and moved to the United States in 2000, when he was almost 20 years old, according to court records filed in Maryland. He joined the Marine Corps that same year and was discharged for medical reasons, the records show. Following his discharge, he worked as a certified welder, the records show.

Wint was convicted of assaulting one girlfriend in Maryland in 2009, and he pleaded guilty the next year to malicious destruction of property after he allegedly threatened to kill a woman and her infant daughter, breaking into her apartment, stealing a television and vandalizing her car.

"I'm going to come over there and kill you, your daughter and friends," Wint told that woman, according to the records.

"The defendant advised he was good with a knife and could kill them easily and was not afraid of the police," a detective wrote.

Also in 2010, Wint was arrested while carrying a 2-foot-long machete and a BB pistol outside the American Iron Works headquarters, but weapons charges were dropped after he pleaded guilty to possessing an open container of alcohol.

At least one police record lists a home address that is less than a half-mile from where the Porsche was found burning.

Wint also had four previous arrests from Oswego, New York, including assault, harassment and violating an order of protection, a source familiar with the investigation told NBC 4 New York.

Message From the Housekeeper

Savopoulos and his wife, Amy, were well known in the neighborhood, often hosting parties for neighbors and friends, according to The Washington Post; the family attended St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the neighborhood.

Philip was a fourth-grader at St. Albans, the private school near St. Sophia and the National Cathedral; two daughters were away at private boarding schools.

Neighbors who have been in the home said the family had an extensive and valuable art collection, which was on display a couple of years ago during the Christmas house tour put on by St. Albans.

The timeline of events that investigators are working from seems to match information from a longtime housekeeper for the Savopoulos family, who said she was a good friend of Veralicia Figueroa.

Neliy, who didn't want her full name used for security reasons, owns her own cleaning company and worked for the family for more than two decades. Neliy allowed Figueroa to work with her at the Savopoulos family's home.

On May 13, Figueroa texted Neliy to say she wanted to work at the home, and planned to finish by 3 p.m., Neliy told News4.

That evening, Neliy missed a call from Savvas Savopoulos, saying Figueroa was spending the night at the family's home. She heard the call on voice mail the next morning.

An Eerie Encounter

Neliy said Figueroa's husband went to the home the morning of May 14 to look for her and had an eerie encounter. No one answered the door when he knocked on it, but he told Neliy he had the feeling someone was standing just inside the closed door.

He went around the back of the house to knock again. As he did, Neliy said, Savopoulos called his cell phone. Savopoulos said Figueroa was OK and had spent the night, according to Neliy.

The fire at the home was reported about four hours later.

Neliy said Figueroa was hard-working and loved life. She'd come to the United States from El Salvador to earn money before planning to retire next year.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with her funeral costs.

Throughout the week, federal agents and D.C. police have continued to gather evidence at the Woodley Park home. Meanwhile, in New Carrollton, authorities used a bloodhound to try to track down the person who torched a 2008 blue Porsche 911 stolen from the home on the day of the fire.

The Porsche was found burning in the parking lot of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church. At a banquet hall nearby, surveillance video of a person of interest in the case was captured on a security camera.

Police say Wint is the person of interest seen in the video. While he is difficult to see, police say Wint was dressed in dark clothing, including a hoodie with the hood pulled up.

Meanwhile, neighbors and friends are mourning the family -- and left dreading the idea of what they endured in the hours they may have been held captive in their own home.

"This was a beautiful family, a wonderful family with children," said Coco Palomeque, a friend of Amy's. She described Amy as "beautiful, vibrant, full of life and full of energy -- ready to jump into any project to help others, to help her community."

"The community where they lived really loves them, and we are here to support them if they need us," she said.

Staff members Pat Collins, Meagan Fitzgerald, Mark Segraves, Jackie Bensen and Shomari Stone and the Associated Press are among those who contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[2 Arrested for Trying to Join ISIS]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 10:01:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP174818460670.jpg

Two men were arrested Thursday night, one at LAX and one in Orange County, by a Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI said.

While the sources would not elaborate on specifics, they said the case involved suspects who are trying to travel abroad to join ISIS. The men were expected to be charged Friday.

The unarmed suspects fit a pattern of individuals who had been recruited by ISIS as foreign fighters, particularly through social media propaganda, sources told NBC News.

The task force includes agents from the FBI, Anaheim police and the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Both men are from Anaheim, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. One was arrested at an Inn in the city, she said Friday.

The FBI has served at least two search warrants in connection with the case, according to NBC News.

Law enforcement sources told NBC News that there was no local public safety threat.

Ryan Bougard and Asher Klein contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Woman Shoots Robot in LA Standoff]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 07:14:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/5-21-15+Mobile+Home+Gun+Barricade.JPG

A 22 hour standoff with an armed 70-year-old woman at a mobile home park in Topanga finally ended peacefully early Friday.

She was taken into custody at around 3:30 a.m. without incident, then transported to a local hospital for treatment, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman said. Neighbors will finally be allowed to return to their homes.

The woman is said to have earlier shot a robot when officials sent it to make contact with her after alleged threats were made against residents at the park on the 4200 block of Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

The standoff was sparked after a call was made at 5:35 a.m. reporting someone in need of medical attention.

Upon arrival, emergency crews found the woman with a gun, a representative with the Woodland Park Mobile Estates said. She also allegedly pointed her weapon at deputies.

The representative said the woman ran through a neighbor’s backyard and threatened residents.

Late Thursday, residents were running out of patience after being shut out of their homes due to the standoff.

"I just want to get back home, this is kind of ridiculous," a neighbor named Theresa said. "I feel if I was in the bushes I would've been shot at about 12 hours ago."

"I've been out of my house since about 8:30 this morning," resident Kendall Childs said. "Fortunately I have a very nice neighbor who let me into her home... everybody's been really great on our street."

After a couple of hours, officials sent a robot to contact the woman, who then shot at it twice, deputies said.

A crisis negotiation team was working to safely defuse the barricade situation. Tear gas was used in an attempt to flush her out, but she remained indoors. Extra deputies and an rescue vehicle equipped with a forklift were also deployed.

The standoff was ongoing as of 1:30 a.m, an LA County Sheriff's Department spokesman said. 

Beverly White contributed to this report



Photo Credit: KNBC NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Goose Attacks NBC Photog]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 10:04:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/goose-attack.jpg

An NBC 5 photographer was just taking a gander at rising lake levels, but it was enough to ruffle the feathers of one Fort Worth goose.

Kerry Smith began unpacking his camera equipment and setting up for a live shot of Lake Worth for the morning broadcast when the goose spotted him.

"It started squawking at me as soon as I arrived," he said.

The goose circled Smith and voiced its displeasure for several minutes before losing its patience and asserting its dominance.

"I thought we had come to an understanding, but clearly the goose wasn't happy with the terms," Smith said. "I apparently wasn't getting the message that this was his territory."

After the attack, the goose — now sporting an inflated ego — refused to let Smith pack up and leave for a while. Smith said he was just ready for the incident to end.

"I am just a little embarrassed that I turned into Shirley Temple," he said. "Samantha [Davies] had just said when we were live that the goose looked harmless."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Marathon Victim's Family Grateful]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:38:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Lingzi.JPG

The Chinese family of Lingzi Lu, the 23-year-old Boston University graduate student who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings, have thanked Boston for the "unending river of love and kindness" they've received from the city and its "true heroes."

Lu's family thanked first responders, health care professionals and strangers who risked their lives to save others in an open letter in the Boston Globe.

"During the darkest days and nights since the passing of our dear daughter Lingzi, we have been gifted with an unending river of love and kindness from the Boston community and people from all over the world," the letter read, in part. "We are humbled and forever grateful for your continued generosity, support, and encouragement."

Over 260 people were injured and three people were killed, including Lu, in the April 15, 2013 bombings.

Lu's family also thanked the jurors who convicted and sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death in the bombings for their work during the trial.



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[How to Help Victims of Nepal Earthquakes]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 15:41:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/471414010_Nepal.jpg

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on Tuesday, killing dozens of people, less than three weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake rocked the Himalayan country, killing 8,000 people. 

Nepal's National Emergency Operation Centre confirmed that Tuesday's quake killed 37 people and injured 1,117 others.

The U.S. Geological Survey said that the estimated damage from the April 25 quake and strong aftershocks that devastated Nepal could cost between $100 million and $10 billion.

The quake flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings, injuring at least 17,860 people. World leaders and global charities offered emergency aid and the United States was sending a disaster response teams and $10 million to help the people of Nepal, The Associated Press reported.

Here are ways you can donate:

WORLD VISION

The humanitarian aid group had staff on the ground when the earthquake hit. Members of the organization said survivors need food, water and shelter, spokeswoman Laura Blank told NBC News.

“Infrastructure is down all over the city,” World Vision’s operations director in Kathmandu Philip Ewert also said. “Power is out with limited internet access. Walls and water tanks are damaged. We are also getting reports that people are trapped in temples and other public buildings as there was a large festival here Saturday.”

To make a donation to the organization to address these needs, you can visit their Nepal page or text NEPAL to 777444 to donate $10.

RED CROSS

Volunteers and staff at the Nepal Red Cross Society are providing aid, but they have limited stocks of emergency relief items available in the country, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a statement.

"We are extremely concerned about the fate of communities in towns and villages in rural areas closer to the epicenter," said Jagan Chapagain, the IFRC's Director for Asia Pacific. “We anticipate that there will be considerable destruction and loss of life.”

For information on how to donate, visit the IFRC website.

SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES

In addition to the physical damage, Nepal's earthquake has left children scared and traumatized. This NGO plans to create 14 child-friendly spaces to provide "psychological and medical support" for children so adults can focus on rebuilding efforts. 

SOS Children's Villages has worked in the country for more than 40 years to give "loving, stable homes to orphaned and abandoned children," they said in a statement. "Our presence and permanence in the country allows us to quickly respond and support the local community in times of crisis."

You can donate to the organization's Nepal Emergency Children's Care Fund here.

GLOBALGIVING

The organization hopes to raise 1 million dollars and has created a Nepal-specific page outlining specific issues they hope to address with the funds.

“Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors' immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter,” the organization said on its page. “Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted local organizations.”

GlobalGiving says it will provide updates about how the funds are being used. You can donate here.

AMERICARES

An emergency team from the AmeriCares India office is preparing shipments of medical aid and relief supplies for survivors. The organization stocks emergency medicine and relieft supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in time of crisis, and launches comprehensive recovery programs.

"Our emergency response team is en route to Nepal and we are prepared to help any way that we can," AmeriCares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis said in a statement. "This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the families suffereing."

To donate to AmeriCares International Disaster Relief Fund, you can click here.

UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in Nepal providing critical emergency aid to children and families.

"UNICEF expects children, an estimated 40 percent of Nepal's poplulation, to be among the worst affected by the earthquake. The first priorities are lifesaving interventions—getting essential medicines, nutrition, and safe water to children and families in immediate need," the organization's website said.

To support the UNICEF relief efforts in Nepal, you can donate here.

MERCY CORPS

Mercy Corps' team is on the ground in Nepal working to get a better understanding of the conditions. The team is focused on delivering lifesaving aid to hard-hit communities. Mercy Corps will be helping communities immediately start to rebuild homes, schools, help people return to work and process the trauma.

To support Mercy Corps' earthquake response team, you can donate here.

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES 

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has emergency personnel in Kathmandu that say weather conditions following the deadly quake have made life for survivors even harder.

“The situation is getting critical with the rain and cold winds,” Kushal Neogy, a member of the CRS India staff, said in a statement. “It slows down the rescue and relief operation and makes life difficult for those living on the street or in open fields.”

The CRS plans to give out tarpaulins and other shelter materials with donations they are now collecting. To help out, click here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Boy, 11, Graduates From College]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 10:16:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TanishqAbraham.jpg

At age 11, Tanishq Abraham was the youngest this year to graduate from a Sacramento college with three degrees on Wednesday night, and possibly in the school's 60-year-history.

"The assumption is that he's the all-time youngest," American River College spokesman Scott Crow told NBC Bay Area on Thursday. "But we don't have all the archives to completely confirm. He was definitely the youngest this year."

Tanishq walked across the stage, complete with rainbow-colored scarf knit by his 82-year-old grandmother and decked-out cap with reference to "Toy Story's" mantra "To Infinity and Beyond."

Quite the overachiever, Tanishq didn't earn just one associates degree from the community college. He earned three. They are in math and physical science, general science and language studies.

Afterward, he told NBC affiliate KCRA that the entire ordeal, especially sitting next to classmates twice his age and size, wasn't "much of a big thing for me."

He said some of the roughly 1,800 or so graduates and other college classmates were "intimidated of me."

But others liked having his young spirit around.

"A lot were really happy that there was a kid in their class," he said.

As for his parents, they looked pretty low-key about their son's unsual accomplishments at such an young age.

"Even in kindergarten," his mother Taji Abraham said, "he was a few years ahead. It just went from there."

Tanishq made headlines last year as well, when he graduated from high school at age 10, eight years earlier than most Americans do. He was home-schooled because he got "bored" in regular school, and ended up graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

His mother, a veterinarian, put her own Ph.D studies on hold to teach him, though his studies were complemented by taking classes at American River College since he was 7 years old.

His father, Bijou, a software engineer and Cornell University graduate who himself earned a perfect SAT score in math, said in a previous interview: "He came out smart."

When he was 4, Tanishq joined Mensa International, a group for people whose IQ is in the top 2 percent of the population. His sister, Tiara, who is now 9 and quiet a singer, also joined Mensa and also takes classes at American River College.

As for post college plans, Tanishq's summer plans include taking an eight-week Calculus II course and a family vacation.

And for the long-term future? He's toying with the ideas of becoming a doctor, medical researcher or president of the United States.



Photo Credit: KCRA]]>
<![CDATA[New Charges in Wesleyan "Molly" ODs]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:22:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/wesleyan+web.jpg

Prosecutors are set to announce federal charges Friday against Wesleyan University Students accused in a spate of "Molly" overdoses earlier this year.

Nearly a dozen people were hospitalized one weekend in late February after taking a drug that was presented as Molly, a popular name for the euphoria-inducing stimulant MDMA.

U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly will announce federal charges at 11 a.m. ET related to the distribution of synthetic drugs and associated overdoses by several Wesleyan University students.

Officials started receiving calls for medical help from the Butterfield and Foss Hill dorms, as well as 200 High Street at 7:30 a.m., 8:21 a.m., 12:26 p.m., 1:21 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22, according to Middletown Fire Battalion Chief David Anderson said.

Several students were transported to Middlesex Hospital, then LifeStar transported two students to Hartford Hospital and an ambulance transported two more, according to police. Two of the four students were listed in critical condition and two were listed in serious condition.

Five Wesleyan University students were arrested on local charges in connection with the case, but it’s not yet clear who will federal charges are being filed against.

NBC Connecticut will livestream the news conference. You can watch it online.

Check back for updates.
 

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<![CDATA[Va. Cop Resigns Over Use of Force]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 06:33:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/01generic-police-lights12.jpg

A police officer resigned after inappropriately using a Taser and pepper spraying a man who was driving recklessly while suffering from a health emergency May 4, according to the Fredericksburg Police.

About 5 p.m. that day, 34-year-old David Washington of Fredericksburg was driving southbound on the Jefferson Davis Highway when his car crossed over the median into the northbound lanes and struck a Jeep, police said.

After Washington attempted but failed to drive away, the driver of the Jeep called Fredericksburg Police, authorities said. Two officers arrived, held Washington at gunpoint and ordered him out of the car, police said. When Washington did not comply, a third officer, Officer Shaun Jurgens, arrived at the scene and promptly used his Taser on Washington, police said. But the Taser did not make a proper connection and was ineffective, so Jurgens pepper-sprayed Washington as well, police said. Washington was then removed from the car.

During transport to a local hospital, it was learned Washington was suffering a medical emergency that started hours earlier, police said.

The other officers at the scene reported the use of force to superiors, and the command staff reviewed the incident and determined it was inappropriate, according to Fredericksburg Police.

Jurgens subsequently resigned from the Fredericksburg Police Department May 14.

“The use of force demonstrated in the incident involving Mr. Washington was not in compliance with department policy or training,” Capt. Rick Pennock said. “We take matters such as these very seriously and require that officers at all times exercise appropriate restraint and good judgment in their dealings with citizens."

Washington faces several charges, including hit-and-run, reckless driving, property damage, and a third offense of driving on a revoked or suspended license. Washington has yet to be served these charges.

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<![CDATA[Calif. Oil Spill: How to Help]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 05:46:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/Foto+Derrame+Santa+Barbara+15.jpg

Nine miles of a Southern California state beach are slicked in a major oil spill that California Governor Jerry Brown has declared an emergency.

But residents don't need to head to Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County to help clean up, or at least not yet. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is responding to the April 19 spill and is not requesting assistance from the public to clean up the thousands of gallons of oil that ended up in the water.

"We urge the public to stay out of the affected areas...closed because of health hazards (due to) the crude in the water," Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said. "Even the volunteers must be trained and wearing proper protective equipment."

Pre-trained volunteers are working with UC Davis's Oiled Wildlife care Network staff to clean and transport animals covered in oil from the spill, according to California's volunteer-organizing website.

Instead, the state says people can best assist by reporting wildlife that's covered in oil to 1-877-UCD-OWCN (1-877-823-6926).

Williams sought to manage the public's expectations of the water being quickly cleaned up -- a popular nearby beach, El Capitán State Beach, was closed indefinitely after the spill.

"Cleanup doesn't occur overnight. It's a long process," Williams said.

Officials say more than 7,700 gallons of oil has been raked, skimmed and vacuumed from the spill, a fraction of the crude that escaped from a broken pipeline.

Coast Guard Lt. Jonathan McCormick said additional crew members and boats will be added to the cleanup effort Thursday along the Santa Barbara coast. And Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Michelle Rogow said Thursday that the cleanup would be moved to a 24/7 operation.

About 21,000 gallons of crude oil were estimated to have made their way from the ruptured pipeline to the ocean, according to a fact sheet provided by the cleanup command. Up to 105,000 gallons of oil in total were released form the ruptured pipeline. Officials could update both estimates.

More than 300 federal, state and local first responders people were taking part in the cleanup at Refugio State Beach as of Thursday, along with environmental cleanup contractors, Williams said.

The U.S. Coast Guard is overseeing cleanup in connection with Plains All-American Pipeline, the company responsible for the pipeline to Southern California that ruptured Tuesday.

 

"We're going to be here until it's returned back to the way it was," a Plains All-American Pipeline spokesman said Thursday.

More on the oil spill:
PHOTOS: Oil-slicked coast
Plains All-American Pipeline's safety record
State of Emergency Declared

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pizza Spurs Mansion Murder Manhunt]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 23:26:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/wint+mugshot.jpg

The man accused in the brutal murder of three members of a Washington, D.C., family and their housekeeper was seen in Brooklyn Thursday morning and may already be back in Maryland.

Daron Dylon Wint, 34, is wanted for first-degree felony murder while armed.

Authorities searched several locations in Maryland for him Wednesday night and Thursday. Law enforcement sources said Thursday afternoon they believe Wint took a bus to New York City and arrived in Brooklyn sometime in the previous 24 hours. He also may be back in Maryland by now, they said.

Wint's girlfriend, a Brooklyn resident, talked to New York Police Department officers at the 69th Precinct in Brooklyn for hours Thursday after being picked up at her apartment. She is not under arrest, NBC New York reports.

Police believe victims Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57, were killed May 14, hours after someone delivered $40,000 in cash to the multimillion-dollar house.

Police publicly identified Wint as their suspect Wednesday night. Sources say DNA on a piece of Domino's pizza that was delivered the night of May 13 led investigators to Wint. The crust was analyzed at a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lab.

From 2003 to 2005, Wint worked as a welder at American Iron Works, where victim Savvas Savopoulos served as CEO, sources said. He also had a relative who was fired from the company.

An American Iron Works welder who said he lost a great friend in Savopoulos told News4 Wint couldn't get along with anybody when he worked there.

The family was likely kept bound and threatened overnight on the night of May 13, sources close to the investigation tell News4.

The cash was withdrawn from an account at American Iron Works, the sources said.

Sometime after the cash arrived the following day, the home was set on fire, leading to the discovery of the bodies.

Attorney Robin Ficker, who has represented Wint in the past, told News4 he doesn’t believe Wint did it.

“He is a gentle guy. He was a student at Prince George’s Community College. He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Ficker said. “He’s the kind of guy that you wouldn’t mind your grandmother going to lunch with.”

The case seems almost unimaginable in its brutality -- and in its location. It happened in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive NW in Woodley Park, a neighborhood of security systems and landscaped lawns just blocks from the vice president's home and near the National Cathedral.

Three of the victims had been beaten and stabbed to death, and some of the bodies smelled of gasoline, police said.

Philip's body was so badly burned that investigators aren't sure if he was injured before the fire was set, and he still hasn't been officially identified, sources close to the investigation said.

Philip's body was found in his room; three other bodies were found on the floor in another bedroom.

The family Porsche was found burning in a church parking lot in suburban Maryland. Police had circulated the grainy image of a person leaving the scene of the car fire, wearing black clothing.

Wint has a court record that includes charges of assault, carrying concealed weapons and theft. In a 2010 case, he was arrested after a Prince George's County Police officer found Wint with an open beer and a bookbag carrying a two-foot-long machete and a black BB gun near the trash bins at a Shell gas station.

At least one police record lists a home address that is less than a half-mile from where the Porsche was found burning.

Wint also had four previous arrests from Oswego, New York, including assault, harassment and violating an order of protection, a source familiar with the investigation told NBC New York.

Message From the Housekeeper

Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, which helped build major D.C. construction projects, including the Verizon Center and CityCenterDC. Savopoulos and his wife, Amy, were well known in the neighborhood, often hosting parties for neighbors and friends, according to The Washington Post; the family attended St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the neighborhood.

Philip was a fourth-grader at St. Albans, the private school near St. Sophia and the National Cathedral; two daughters were away at private boarding schools.

Neighbors who have been in the home said the family had an extensive and valuable art collection, which was on display a couple of years ago during the Christmas house tour put on by St. Albans.

The timeline of events that investigators are working from seems to match information from a longtime housekeeper for the Savopoulos family, who said she was a good friend of Veralicia Figueroa.

Neliy, who didn't want her full name used for security reasons, owns her own cleaning company and worked for the family for more than two decades. Neliy allowed Figueroa to work with her at the Savopoulos family's home.

On May 13, Figueroa texted Neliy to say she wanted to work at the home, and planned to finish by 3 p.m., Neliy told News4.

That evening, Neliy missed a call from Savvas Savopoulos, saying Figueroa was spending the night at the family's home. She heard the call on voice mail the next morning.

An Eerie Encounter

Neliy said Figueroa's husband went to the home the morning of May 14 to look for her and had an eerie encounter. No one answered the door when he knocked on it, but he told Neliy he had the feeling someone was standing just inside the closed door.

He went around the back of the house to knock again. As he did, Neliy said, Savopoulos called his cell phone. Savopoulos said Figueroa was OK and had spent the night, according to Neliy.

The fire at the home was reported about four hours later.

Neliy said Figueroa was hard-working and loved life. She'd come to the United States from El Salvador to earn money before planning to retire next year.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with her funeral costs.

Throughout the week, federal agents and D.C. police have continued to gather evidence at the Woodley Park home. Meanwhile, in New Carrollton, authorities used a bloodhound to try to track down the person who torched a 2008 blue Porsche 911 stolen from the home on the day of the fire.

The Porsche was found burning in the parking lot of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church. At a banquet hall nearby, surveillance video of a person of interest in the case was captured on a security camera.

Police say Wint is the person of interest seen in the video. While he is difficult to see, police say Wint was dressed in dark clothing, including a hoodie with the hood pulled up.

Meanwhile, neighbors and friends are mourning the family -- and left dreading the idea of what they endured in the hours they may have been held captive in their own home.

"This was a beautiful family, a wonderful family with children," said Coco Palomeque, a friend of Amy's. She described Amy as "beautiful, vibrant, full of life and full of energy -- ready to jump into any project to help others, to help her community."

"The community where they lived really loves them, and we are here to support them if they need us," she said.

Staff members Pat Collins, Meagan Fitzgerald, Mark Segraves, Jackie Bensen and Shomari Stone are among those who contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Biker Freed After Paying $1M Bond]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 19:42:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/jeff-battey-inset.jpg

One of the 177 bikers arrested following a deadly shooting outside of a Waco, Texas, restaurant is free after paying a $1 million bond.

Nine people were killed and another 18 were injured after an altercation led to a shootout outside of the Twin Peaks restaurant on Waco's south side Sunday afternoon.

Afterward, the 177 bikers not killed or injured in the melee were arrested. Hundreds of weapons, motorcycles and other vehicles were seized by police and either impounded or taken into evidence.

Bond for each of the bikers was set at $1 million by McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. Peterson, who said the bond amount was appropriate given the level of violence that occurred at the restaurant.

Jeff Battey was among those arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime with relation to a capital murder. He is the first to have paid his $1 million bond and was released from the McLennan County Jail.

Three others, originally charged under a different case number, had been released earlier in the week on bond amounts between $20,000 and $50,000. Their charges were later matched to the Waco incident and new bond amounts were reissued and two of the three men had been re-arrested, police said.

The third man, police said, would be returned to police custody and held on $1 million bond. At this time, it is not known if he is currently in police custody.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/McLennan County Sheriff's Office
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Recall: Booster Seats]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 20:02:29 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/OXO-Nest-Booster+Recall.jpg

The restraint on your child’s booster seat could potentially come loose and pose a fall threat to you child.

OXO recalled about 25,000 Nest Booster Seats sold in the United States and Canada at Buy Buy Baby, Toys”R”Us/Babies”R”Us and other stores from September through April, said the Consumer Product Safety Commission Thursday.

Restrain straps on the seats that come in green, pink, taupe and orange with a white base can separate from the seat, said the CPSC.

The CPSC said that consumers should stop using the boosters immediately and contact OXO for a free repair kit.

Consumers can call OXO at (800) 545-4411 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays of email the company.



Photo Credit: CPSC.gov]]>
<![CDATA[Gates Urges Scouts to Drop Gay Ban]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 17:26:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Boy-Scouts-America-Kerchief.jpg

The president of the Boy Scouts of America, Robert Gates, said Thursday that the organization's longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults is no longer sustainable and called for change in order to prevent "the end of us as a national movement."

In a speech in Atlanta to the Scouts' national annual meeting, Gates referred to recent moves by Scout councils in New York City and elsewhere to defy the ban.

"The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained," he said.

Gates said no change in the policy would be made at the national meeting. But he raised the possibility of revising the policy at some point soon so that local Scout organizations could decide on their own whether to allow gays as adult volunteers and paid staff.

In 2013, after bitter internal debate, the BSA decided to allow openly gay youth as scouts, but not gay adults as leaders. The change took effect in January 2014.

Gates, who became the BSA's president in May 2014, said at the time that he personally would have favored ending the ban on gay adults, but he opposed any further debate after the Scouts' policymaking body upheld the ban.

On Thursday, however, he said recent events "have confronted us with urgent challenges I did not foresee and which we cannot ignore."

He cited the recent defiant announcement by the BSA's New York City chapter in early April that it had hired the nation's first openly gay Eagle Scout as a summer camp leader. He also cited broader developments related to gay rights.

"I remind you of the recent debates we have seen in places like Indiana and Arkansas over discrimination based on sexual orientation, not to mention the impending U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer on gay marriage," he said. "We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be."

Gates said the BSA technically had the power to revoke the charters of councils that defied the ban on gay adults, but said this would be harmful to boys in those regions

He also noted that many states have passed laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, raising the possibility of extensive legal battles.

"Thus, between internal challenges and potential legal conflicts, the BSA finds itself in an unsustainable position, a position that makes us vulnerable to the possibility the courts simply will order us at some point to change our membership policy," Gates said.

He expressed concern that an eventual court order might also strike down the BSA's policy of banning atheists.

"Waiting for the courts is a gamble with huge stakes," he said. "Alternatively, we can move at some future date -- but sooner rather than later -- to seize control of our own future, set our own course and change our policy in order to allow charter partners -- unit sponsoring organizations -- to determine the standards for their Scout leaders."

Such an approach, he said, would allow churches, which sponsor about 70 percent of Scout units, to establish leadership standards consistent with their faith.

"I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement," he said.

But some churches may be alienated nonetheless. Some Southern Baptist churches stopped sponsoring troops after gay scouts were allowed, and letting in gay adults will likely prompt even more departures, said Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land, who formerly led the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

To him, Scouts shouldn't have leaders who are sexually attracted to their gender, whether a heterosexual man leading Girl Scouts or a gay man supervising boys, no matter objections that leaders of any sexuality shouldn't be assumed to be potential pedophiles.

"This seems to me to be sound judgment 101," he said, calling Gates' message a display of "political correctness."

The Utah-based Mormon church is the nation's largest sponsor of Boy Scout units, and in the past has supported the ban on participation by openly gay adults.

In a brief statement Thursday, the church said it would examine any policy changes "very carefully to assess how they might impact our own century-long association with the BSA."

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest U.S. gay-rights group, called Gates' speech "a step in the right direction."

"But, as we have said many times previously, half measures are unacceptable, especially at one of America's most storied institutions," said the campaign's president, Chad Griffin. "It's time for BSA leaders to show true leadership and embrace a full national policy of inclusion."

Until Thursday, there had been no indication how the BSA would respond to the New York Councils, which on April 2 announced the hiring of Pascal Tessier, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout. Tessier, currently finishing his freshman year of college, has been a vocal advocate of opening the 105-year-old organization to gay scouts and leaders.

Tessier had been getting legal advice from prominent lawyer David Boies, whose recent causes include arguing for recognition of same-sex marriage. Boies said it was possible that Tessier's hiring could lead to litigation between the New York chapter and the BSA's national headquarters, but he expressed hope this could be avoided.

After Tessier's hire, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office opened an inquiry into the BSA's membership policies and influence over local councils' hiring decisions. The office, which cited state laws against hiring discrimination based on sexual orientation, was reviewing Gates' remarks Thursday.

One of Tessier's lawyers, Josh Schiller, expressed hope that the BSA's ban would be lifted.

"People will join the Boy Scouts and look at them as an organization that has the principles of equality," he said.

Debate over the BSA policy has coincided with a steady drop in the organization's youth membership, which fell 7.4 percent last year to about 2.4 million.

After the 2013 decision to admit gay youth, some conservatives split from the BSA to form a new group, Trail Life USA, which has created its own ranks, badges and uniforms. The group claims a membership of 23,000 youths and adults.

Trail Life's chairman, John Stemberger, said his organization was "saddened" by Gates' speech.

"It is tragic that the BSA is willing to risk the safety and security of its boys because of peer pressure from activists groups," he said. "Trail Life USA remains committed to timeless Christian values."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sentence in Halloween Hit-and-Run]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 00:55:23 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/11-3-14-Jaquinn+Ramone+Bell+Booking+Photo+Halloween+Hit+Run.JPG

An Orange County, California, man was sentenced to over 15 years behind bars Thursday after pleading guilty to a Halloween hit-and-run crash that left three teen girls dead.

Jaquinn Bell, 32, pleaded guilty in March to felony charges in the crash that killed twin sisters Lexandra Perez and Lexi Perez, and friend Andrea Gonzalez, all 13 years old.

Bell was sentenced to 13 years and eight months in state prison and six months in jail, as well as an additional year and a half for a probation violation in a separate case. The OC District Attorney's Office previously said Thursday that Bell was given 14 years and eight months behind bars, but corrected the amount to a total of 15 years and eight months.

On Halloween night 2014, the 13-year-old girls were donning costumes and trick-or-treating in Santa Ana when Bell's SUV sped through a crosswalk and struck the girls.

Family and friends described the teens as girls who were "always laughing" and "always had a smile on their face." All three died at the scene.

Bell ditched the SUV about three blocks from the crash and ran away, but police captured him at a Motel 6 in Stanton over a day later.

Santa Ana police said Bell's 17-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter were in the vehicle with him at the time of the crash.

Several witness accounts of the crash with a description of the heavily damaged vehicle led authorities to the motel, where Bell was with two other adults, including his mother, and his two children.

Bell has a lengthy criminal record, including cases involving domestic violence, child abuse and endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol and hit-and-run with property damage, all misdemeanors, according to court records.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[1,000 Protest Low Wages at McD's HQ]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:23:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Fight-for-15---1.jpg

More than 1,000 “Fight for 15” protesters returned to McDonald's headquarters Thursday to rally for higher wages ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Demonstrators marched down streets outside the Oak Brook building and gathered in front of the main entrance, which was blocked off by police. The group — police estimated there were more than 1,000 — chanted "If we don't get it, shut it down" and "No burgers, no fries, make our paychecks supersize."

Protesters delivered a petition with more than one million signatures calling for the fast food giant to pay an hourly wage of $15. While police said the demonstrators weren't allowed in, a McDonald's representative did come out to receive the signatures. 

The rally comes just one day after hundreds of protesters swarmed the headquarters, prompting the company to close a nearby restaurant and building for traffic concerns.

Demonstrators from the "Fight for 15" organization, many of them members of the Service Employees International Union, came from cities such as New York City and Kansas City to be on hand for Wednesday's rally.

"We go to work every day. We slave. We sweat for $8.25," said Dominique Mack, who works at a McDonald's restaurant at West Roosevelt Road and Harlem Avenue in Chicago. "That can't take care of our kids. We got a house. We got bills we need to pay. Like every other worker that goes to work, we would like to get paid like everybody else."

The campaign for pay of $15 an hour and a union began in late 2012 and has involved a range of tactics, including ongoing demonstrations in cities around the country. Earlier this year, McDonald's said it would raise its starting pay for workers to $1 above the local minimum wage. Labor organizers said the move falls short because it only applies to company-owned stores.

In addition to the wage increase, many of the workers on hand said they also want the opportunity to be represented by a union.

"Whether it's the eight-hour work day, paid sick days -- these are all things, living wages, that have been won by unions," said political activist Clem Balanoff.

McDonald's Corp. owns about 10 percent of its stores in the U.S., while the rest are run by franchisees.

The protests come as McDonald's fights to hold onto customers amid intensifying competition from smaller rivals and changing tastes. CEO Steve Easterbrook, who stepped into the role in March, has said he wants to transform McDonald's into a "modern, progressive burger company."

Thursday will mark his first shareholder meeting as CEO.



Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[D.C Mansion Fire Murders Suspect May Have Been in NYC: Police]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 23:19:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mansion+murder+suspect.jpg

The man suspected in the brutal murders of a family and their housekeeper in an exclusive Washington, D.C., neighborhood last week may be back in Maryland after New York City authorities said earlier he may be in Brooklyn. 

Law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York Thursday U.S. Marshals and the NYPD were tracking leads that suspect Daron Dylon Wint, 34, may be in the area. Authorities picked up Wint's girlfriend at her Brooklyn apartment and questioned her; she is not considered a suspect.

NBC Washington, citing law enforcement sources, reported that he may be back in Maryland and the D.C. area by now. 

Police were looking into the possibility that Wint took a bus to New York at some point, stayed with his girlfriend Wednesday night and left in the early-morning hours as the national manhunt for him intensified.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said initial information pointed to Wint having been somewhere in south Brooklyn at some point, though Police Commissioner Bill Bratton emphasized police have not been able to confirm he was in the borough.

"We have a very active investigation underway at this time assisting our colleagues at the Marshal service and the DC metropolitan police," Bratton said. 

Wint is considered armed and dangerous and was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue hooded sweatshirt and white tennis shoes, authorities said. A U.S. military official says Wint enlisted in the Marine Corps about 15 years ago but never made it through basic training and was kicked out after several days. 

The Marine Corps had no immediate comment.

A law enforcement official says Wint's girlfriend told investigators the suspect told her he was considering turning himself in. 

DNA found on a piece of a pizza delivered to the slain family's home led police to Wint, who is now wanted for first-degree murder while armed in the deaths of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their 10-year-old son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57.

The family had likely been kept bound and threatened overnight May 13, sources close to the investigation told NBC Washington. Police believe the victims were killed the next day, hours after someone delivered $40,000 in cash to the multimillion-dollar house. Some time after the cash arrived, the home was set on fire, leading to the discovery of the bodies, authorities have said.

The cash had been withdrawn from an account at American Iron Works, where one of the victims was the CEO, the sources told NBC Washington. Police said it's believed Wint worked at the company at some point, and they say that the crime was not random. Authorities say they have not ruled out the possibility that multiple suspects were involved in the murders, though they declined to elaborate.

The brutal murders in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive NW in Woodley Park, a neighborhood of security systems and landscaped lawns just blocks from the vice president's home and near the National Cathedral, shocked the local community and drew national attention.

Three of the victims had been beaten and stabbed to death, and some of the bodies smelled of gasoline, police said. The 10-year-old boy was so badly burned that investigators couldn't say if he had been injured before the fire was set, sources close to the investigation told NBC Washington. The boy's body was found in his room; the other three were found on the floor in another bedroom.

The family Porsche was found burning in a church parking lot in suburban Maryland. Police had circulated the grainy image of a person leaving the scene of the car fire, wearing black clothing.

Wint has four previous arrests in New York state in the Oswego area; he has at least two assault and harassment convictions from 2007 and an open arrest warrant for violating an order of protection, a source familiar with the investigation tells NBC 4 New York.

The suspect also has a court record in Maryland's Prince George County that includes charges of assault, carrying concealed weapons and theft. One of those records lists a home address that is less than a half-mile from where the car was found burning. In another case, in 2010, he was arrested near American Iron Works with an open can of beer and a 24-inch machete and a BB gun in a backpack. He pleaded not guilty to charges involving only the alcohol in a plea deal.

The American Iron Works CEO Wint is accused of killing, Savopoulos, and his wife, Amy, were well known in the neighborhood, often hosting parties for neighbors and friends, according to The Washington Post; the family had attended St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the neighborhood.

Their son Philip was a fourth-grader at St. Albans, the private school near St. Sophia and the National Cathedral; two daughters were away at private boarding schools.

Neighbors who have been in the home told NBC Washington the family had an extensive and valuable art collection, which was on display several years ago during the Christmas house tour put on by St. Albans.

The timeline of events that investigators are working from seems to match information from a longtime housekeeper for the Savopoulos family, who said she was a good friend of Veralicia Figueroa.

Nelly, who didn't want her full name used for security reasons, owns her own cleaning company and worked for the family for more than two decades. Nelly allowed Figueroa to work with her at the Savopoulos family's home, NBC Washington reports.

On May 13, Figueroa texted Nelly to say she wanted to work at the home, and planned to finish by 3 p.m., Nelly told NBC Washington. That evening, Nelly missed a call from Savvas Savopoulos, saying Figueroa was spending the night at the family's home. She heard the call on voicemail the next morning.

Nelly said Figueroa's husband went to the home the morning of May 14 to look for her. No one answered the door when he knocked on it, but he told Nelly he had the feeling someone was standing just inside the closed door.

He went around the back of the house to knock again. As he did, Nelly said, Savopoulos called his cellphone. Savopoulos said Figueroa was OK and had spent the night, according to Nelly.
The fire at the home was reported about four hours later.

Nelly said Figueroa was hard-working and loved life. She'd come to the United States from El Salvador to earn money before planning to retire next year. 



Photo Credit: AP/NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Scrabble's New Words Bring the "Lolz"]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 16:42:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/scrabble-AP9407080176.jpg

Some people will find a few of the new acceptable Scrabble words “ridic.”

"Lolz", "cakehole," "thanx" and "ridic” are now able to be played in the word game, according to the latest edition of "Collins Official Scrabble Words" published on Thursday.

About 6,500 words were added to the comprehensive Scrabble dictionary, which already contains 250,000 accepted words, NBC News reported.

Words and terms of modern-day culture used to be difficult to pin down for dictionary makers in general, a representative at Collins said. However, technology has made the process a lot easier.

"Dictionaries have always included formal and informal English, but it used to be hard to find printed evidence of the use of slang words," head of language content at Collins Helen Newstead told BBC News. "Now people use slang in social media posts, tweets, blogs, comments, text messages - you name it - so there's a host of evidence for informal varieties of English that simply didn't exist before."

Here’s a few of the new Scrabble words:

Lolz — 13 points
Thanx — 15 points
Lotsa — 18 points
Dench — 11 points
Emoji — 14 points
Sexting — 15 points
PWN — 8 points
Shizzle — 18 points
Twerking — 16 points



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Pizza Spurs Mansion Murder Manhunt]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:55:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP692342268838_3_Mansion.jpg

UPDATE: The man accused in the brutal murder of a Washington, D.C., family and their housekeeper worked at the victim's business "sometime in the past," Police Chief Cathy Lanier said during a press conference Thursday.

Go here for the latest updates in the case.


DNA found on a piece of a pizza led police to the man they believe brutally murdered a Washington, D.C., family and their housekeeper last week in the exclusive Woodley Park neighborhood in northwest D.C.

Daron Dylon Wint, 34, is wanted for first-degree murder while armed, police said late Wednesday. Just before midnight Wednesday, police were seen questioning people at Wint's last known address in Prince George's County, Maryland.

U.S. Marshals and the New York Police Department believe Wint could be in the New York City area, multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation told NBC 4 New York.

The break in the case came when investigators found DNA on a piece of Domino's pizza that was delivered the night of May 13, sources close to the investigation told News4.

Police believe three family members — including a 10-year-old boy — and their housekeeper were killed the next day, hours after someone delivered $40,000 in cash to the multimillion-dollar house.

The family had likely been kept bound and threatened overnight May 13, sources close to the investigation tell News4. The cash had been withdrawn from an account at the company where one of the victims was the CEO, the sources said.

Sometime after the cash arrived the following day, the home was set on fire, leading to the discovery of the bodies.

Wednesday's developments were major breaks in a case that seems almost unimaginable in its brutality and in its location. It happened in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive NW in Woodley Park, a neighborhood of security systems and landscaped lawns just blocks from the vice president's home and near the National Cathedral.

Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57, were found dead after the home was set on fire. Three of the victims had been beaten and stabbed to death, and some of the bodies smelled of gasoline, police said.

Philip's body was so badly burned that investigators aren't sure if he was injured before the fire was set, and he still hasn't been officially identified, sources close to the investigation said.

Philip's body was found in his room; three other bodies were found on the floor in another bedroom.

The family Porsche was found burning in a church parking lot in suburban Maryland. Police had circulated the grainy image of a person leaving the scene of the car fire, wearing black clothing.

Wint has a court record that includes charges of assault, carrying concealed weapons and theft in Prince George's County. One of those records lists a home address that is less than a half-mile from where the car was found burning.

Message From the Housekeeper

Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, which helped build major D.C. construction projects, including the Verizon Center and CityCenterDC. Savopoulos and his wife, Amy, were well known in the neighborhood, often hosting parties for neighbors and friends, according to The Washington Post; the family had attended St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the neighborhood.

Philip was a fourth-grader at St. Albans, the private school near St. Sophia and the National Cathedral; two daughters were away at private boarding schools.

Neighbors who have been in the home said the family had an extensive and valuable art collection, which was on display a couple of years ago during the Christmas house tour put on by St. Albans.

The timeline of events that investigators are working from seems to match information from a longtime housekeeper for the Savopoulos family, who said she was a good friend of Veralicia Figueroa.

Nelly, who didn't want her full name used for security reasons, owns her own cleaning company and worked for the family for more than two decades. Nelly allowed Figueroa to work with her at the Savopoulos family's home.

On May 13, Figueroa texted Nelly to say she wanted to work at the home, and planned to finish by 3 p.m., Nelly told News4.

That evening, Nelly missed a call from Savvas Savopoulos, saying Figueroa was spending the night at the family's home. She heard the call on voice mail the next morning.

An Eerie Encounter

Nelly said Figueroa's husband went to the home the morning of May 14 to look for her and had an eerie encounter. No one answered the door when he knocked on it, but he told Nelly he had the feeling someone was standing just inside the closed door.

He went around the back of the house to knock again. As he did, Nelly said, Savopoulos called his cell phone. Savopoulos said Figueroa was OK and had spent the night, according to Nelly.

The fire at the home was reported about four hours later.

Nelly said Figueroa was hard-working and loved life. She'd come to the United States from El Salvador to earn money before planning to retire next year.

A GoFundMe page was created to help with her funeral costs.

Throughout the week, federal agents and D.C. police have continued to gather evidence at the Woodley Park home. Meanwhile, in New Carrollton on Monday, authorities used a bloodhound to try to track down the person who torched a 2008 blue Porsche 911 stolen from the home on the day of the fire.

The Porsche was found burning in the parking lot of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church. At a banquet hall nearby, surveillance video of a person of interest in the case was captured on a security camera.

The person is difficult to see in the video, and is dressed in dark clothing, including a hoodie with the hood pulled up.

Watch the Police Video Here
Meanwhile, neighbors and friends are mourning the family -- and left dreading the idea of what they endured in the hours they may have been held captive in their own home.

"This was a beautiful family, a wonderful family with children," said Coco Palomeque, a friend of Amy's. She described Amy as "beautiful, vibrant, full of life and full of energy -- ready to jump into any project to help others, to help her community."

"The community where they lived really loves them, and we are here to support them if they need us," she said.

Staff members Pat Collins, Meagan Fitzgerald, Mark Segraves, Jackie Bensen and Shomari Stone are among those who contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Bears Get in Shoving Match Over Trash on NJ Street]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 15:33:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bear+fight+video+nj.jpg

A pair of bears caught rummaging through trash in a residential New Jersey neighborhood apparently weren't prepared to share the goods with each other. 

Montville Township resident Tracey Bednash captured video of the two bears battling one another at a tipped garbage can on trash day.

Bednash said she saw the bears in the cul-de-sac in Towaco sauntering toward her neighbor's recycling bin.

"It's not uncommon for them to come around here on garbage day and ransack the cans," Bednash told NBC 4 New York in an email. "The huge mama bear was seen around the neighborhood the past week or two. I'm sure she was lurking around." 

The state Division of Fish and Wildlife warns residents to never feed or approach a bear. Repeated black bear damage or nuisance behavior can be reported to the DEP at 877-927-6337.

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<![CDATA[WATCH: Whales Swim Beside Fishing Boat in Long Island Sound]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:20:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/whales+long+island+sound.jpg

Four college buddies on an angling trip in the Long Island Sound this week came home with one heck of a fishing story — and the video to back it up.

Schofield Campbell, Charlie DeNatale, Ryan Bard and Brendan Miner were fishing off the coast of Fairfield, Connecticut, when they say they spotted a group of light gray forms underwater.

Those forms turned out to be whales, and they seemed to be following the boat. Video shows the marine mammals approach the boat and swim alongside it, breaching several times before disappearing back into the sea.

Miner said the group contacted Norwalk's Maritime Aquarium and showed experts the footage. The aquarium identified the whales as Belugas, which were also recently spotted near Narragansett Bay off of Rhode Island.

"Have there ever been whales in Long Island Sound?" one of the students wonders in the video.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says whales, porpoises and dolphins occasionally visit the sound.



Photo Credit: Brandon Campbell]]>
<![CDATA[Dad Outraged After Finding Bikini-Clad Daughter Pic on Overseas Site]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 11:29:07 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/computer+generic1.jpg

A Long Island father is speaking out after he found a photo of his teenage daughter in a bikini on an overseas website that compiles anonymously submitted photos of scantily clad or nude women.

Cliff Pfleger said he found his daughter's photo on the site that authorities think is run out of Ukraine and features hundreds of pornographic images. Below the image, Pfleger said, he saw comments from users asking for more pictures of the girl.

He said he was also able to find photos of other Long Island teens in sections sorted by high school and hometown.

Pfleger told NBC 4 New York he and his wife were outraged after finding the photo, which he said was posted without his daughter's consent. He said she put the photo on social media and someone with access to it moved it to the photo-sharing site overseas.

Pfleger said he was able to get the photo taken down, but he wants other parents in the area to be on alert. 

"The first feeling is like you found your house burglarized," Pfleger said. "You feel violated, like, 'Holy cow.'"

Pfleger said a Facebook tip pointed him in the direction of the overseas site.

"You get a sense that it's almost as flippant as trading baseball cards," the father said.

The Suffolk County Police Department said its computer crimes unit has been monitoring the online image board for about four of five months. Investigators say they received complaints from elected officials and school boards in and around Islip.

Police say that there isn't any evidence of child porn on the site, so they don't have enough evidence to pursue charges against anyone.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kitten Survives 12-Story Fall]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 11:24:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Lilac-Lead-Photor.jpg

A kitten's fall from a 12-story building has prompted SPCA officials to warn pet owners about the dangers of "high-rise syndrome."

A kitten, nicknamed Lilac by responders, fell from the 12th story of a Philadelphia apartment building in April, PSPCA Humane Law Enforcement officers say.

Lilac was taken to the PSPCA shelter hospital, where she was found to have fractures in both femurs and her hard palate and a soft tissue injury to her wrist. She underwent successful surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, before being put into foster care and later adopted.

PSPCA officers say they had initially been told the cat had been thrown from the window, but officers who inspected the scene found no evidence of animal cruelty. Investigators soon determined Lilac wasn’t thrown from the window, but rather fell from it while her owner was away from home — a result of high-rise syndrome, they said.

High-rise syndrome describes when animals, especially young cats, become startled while near a window or chase a bug or bird off a balcony or through an unsecured window, officials say.

“Oftentimes people say, ‘Cats always land on their feet,’ but it is a common misconception that cats will not be injured if they fall from even low height levels,” says PSPCA Staff Veterinarian JoEllen Bruinooge. “In fact, they may actually have more damage when falling from only two-to-four stories because they do not have time to adjust their body position.”

While cats often survive falls from heights higher than a human can survive, they still suffer serious, life-threatening injuries.

If your pet falls from a window, make sure you contact a veterinarian immediately.

“If your pet does accidentally fall from a window, get them to the veterinarian immediately," a PSPCA spokeswoman said. “There is a 90 percent survival rate for cats who are high-rise victims if they receive immediate and proper medical attention. There is no 'at-home' treatment, and many of these pets are in extreme pain, whether they show the symptoms of pain or not.”

High-rise syndrome is prevalent during warm weather. Officials have the following tips for orders to protect their pets:

  • Secure windows with well-fitting, animal proof screens
  • When able, open the top pane of windows that are inaccessible to pets, rather than the bottom panes
  • Never leave windows open when animals are unattended
  • Close windows before starting loud appliances such as vacuums or blenders that may startle cats
  • If pets are allowed out on balconies never leave them unattended. Even then, do not allow then to jump onto railings or banisters. Move all furniture away from railings to lower access or better yet just don't let them out. Accidents happen!
  • Close windows before playing chase or fetch games inside with your pet, they may be more focused on that laser pointer than the approaching window



Photo Credit: PSPCA]]>
<![CDATA["I Have the Baby": Mom Delivers Her Son Inside SUV]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 03:50:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Mason-Modeste.jpg

Mason Modeste may not be able to understand much. But that’s not stopping his mother from telling him how he was born. It’s a story that he’ll have to get used to.

“I’m telling him the story now,” Tiffany Modeste said while laughing. “He’s going to know this story! His friends are gonna know this story! Girls who want to date him are gonna know this story!”

Tiffany expected to give birth to Mason Tuesday, just not as early or under the extreme circumstances that she did.

“My recent doctor’s visit didn’t indicate that I was going to be going into labor,” she said. “They thought they were going to induce me. Going into labor was far from my mind.”

She was with her husband Andre inside their Burlington Township, New Jersey, home around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday when she started having contractions.

“They actually started coming pretty consistently every 10 minutes during that hour,” she said.

Tiffany called her doctor at Capital Health Medical Center Hopewell in Pennington, New Jersey, to make sure everything was okay.

“The doctors said it sounded like I was in early labor so they figured I had time,” she said. “They figured I didn’t need to rush. Of course, they’re the professionals, so I didn’t rush.”

That quickly changed however when the contractions started coming at a faster pace.

“They went from 10 minutes to eight minutes to six minutes and then to the point where I just had no break in between the contractions as they were coming,” she said.

Tiffany and Andre left their 3-year-old son with their mother, who was at the house at the time, and rushed out the door. Even before stepping foot in their SUV, Tiffany knew the baby would arrive before they got to Capital Health.

“As we were leaving the house I told my mom I don’t think we’re gonna make it to the hospital,” she said. “As soon as we got into the car and we were pulling out I told my husband, ‘I think the baby is coming.’”

Andre first stopped at the Endeavor Emergency Squad, an emergency medical and rescue services center located only a few blocks away from their home. He quickly ran out and shouted for help.

“I’m banging on the door and I’m ringing the bell,” he said. “No one came out.”

Realizing that they had little time left, Andre went back in the SUV and drove to the nearest hospital, the Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County.  Even though Lourdes does not have a labor delivery unit, Andre knew it was their only option and drove there as quickly as he could.

“I’m running lights, I’m flying,” he said. “She’s in the back saying she thinks the baby is coming!”

The car ride only took a few minutes. Yet they may have been the most important minutes of Tiffany’s life.

“All I remember is hearing the roar of the engine while I was in labor,” she said. “And with each labor pain I got I had the urge to actually push. My body is pushing. I’m not trying to push but my body is doing it. It was natural. At one point I put my hand down and realized something was really happening. Then my husband pulled into the parking lot at Lourdes.”

Andre pulled up on a curve at the entrance of Lourdes, ran into the hospital and screamed for help.

“I’m like, right now I need as much help as I can get,” he said. “The doctors come out and the nurses come out with a wheelchair and gurneys.”

Yet Andre was in for a shock as he returned to his SUV less than a minute after running into the hospital. His wife was holding their newborn son.

“Baby,” Tiffany screamed. “I have the baby!”

Tiffany described the incredible moment.

“When he ran into the emergency room I had another pain,” she said. “And I pushed and my baby came out in my hand. He had his umbilical cord around the back of his neck so I just gently pulled that off and put him on my chest. I patted him and he started crying. He was breathing okay and I just waited two more seconds and saw my husband come out with the security guard and nurses."

Both Tiffany and Andre believe the birth was a miracle.

“It was an act of God,” Andre said. “I seriously believe God took over at that point.”

Tiffany was eventually transferred to Capital Health where she was Wednesday night with her newborn son Mason, who is a healthy seven pounds and six ounces and 20.5 inches long.

“My son is doing wonderful,” she said. “My oldest son is happy to be a big brother and people are just amazed. I’m just really grateful to everyone at Lourdes and Capital Health.”

It’s an experience that Tiffany will not only share with her son but also look back to whenever times get tough.

“I never thought I would be able to do it without assistance,” she said. “You really don’t know your own strength until it’s put to the test.”
 



Photo Credit: Andre Modeste]]>
<![CDATA["Mini Me" Tapes LAX Cops Tasing Man]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 21:10:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/5-19-15-LAX.jpg

Los Angeles airport police used a Taser to subdue a man after he breached security Wednesday at LAX, officials said.

Airport police were notified by Transportation Security Administration officers that a man was not cooperating with security officials in the screening area at Terminal 6.

As police tried to help the TSA officers, the man refused to cooperate and pushed past an officer. They followed the man and detained him at Gate 66.

Actor Verne Troyer, best known for his role as Mini Me in the “Austin Powers” film series, was at the airport and captured the man’s interaction with police.

In Troyer’s video, which the actor posted to his YouTube channel, an officer can be seen trying to handcuff the suspect, who then raises his arms and walks away.

Another cellphone video taken by a passenger in the terminal shows an officer using the Taser on the man as he lay face down the ground. The man, who was unarmed, was taken to a hospital to be evaluated.

The man was identified as 21-year-old Christian James Heinz of Danville. He was booked for trespassing and resisting arrest, said airport police spokeswoman Alicia Hernandez.

No passengers in the checkpoint were injured.


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<![CDATA[Mom Graduates in Son's Place After Fatal Post-Prom Crash]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 10:27:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Katherine-Jackson.jpg

In her late son’s cap and gown, Katherine Jackson sat among graduating students at Thornton Fractional North High School Wednesday.

“[My son] knows his mom never walked the stage,” she said. “I’m going to be his legs and he’s going to be my wings and we’re going to go up there and get our diploma.”

Jackson’s son, Aaron Dunigan, was one of two people killed in a south suburban Chicago car crash while on his way home from prom over the weekend. The 18-year-old football quarterback died when the car he was riding in, which was driven by his friend, crossed a median and crashed into another car.

The crash also killed the driver of the other vehicle, 56-year-old Metra employee Juan Rivera, who was on his way to work at the time.

David Peden, who was driving the vehicle Dunigan and a classmate were riding in, was later charged with DUI causing death and reckless homicide with a motor vehicle.

The third teen in Peden’s vehicle, Mike Crowter, was badly injured in the crash.

The three classmates were scheduled to graduate Wednesday and were returning from prom at the time of the crash.

Crowter was able to attend the school’s graduation ceremony, arriving in a wheel chair.

“It was prom night,” said classmate Keshawn Harrison. “Just wasn’t supposed to end like that.”

Dunigan, who was preparing to play football for Southern Illinois University in the fall, was honored and mourned at the ceremony by friends and family.

“This has to be a moment of celebration and learning,” the school’s superintendent Creg Williams said during the event. “Let their incident not be in vain. Be safe.”

“I just wish he was here so we’d all celebrate together,” said student Jasmine Bailey.

Dunigan’s mother took his place in the ceremony, walking up to the stage to accept her son’s diploma.

“All of this was divinely orchestrated by my son,” Jackson said.
 

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<![CDATA[Deportation Halted for Kidney Donor]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 09:16:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Jazmin-Argenis-Longoria.jpg

A 21-year-old Chicago woman suffering from kidney failure learned Wednesday morning a judge had halted deportation proceedings against her brother in order to give him time to donate a potentially life-saving organ.

"I've seen so many people pass away that started at the same time I started dialysis, and they're gone," Jazmin Longoria-Lara told NBC Chicago. 

Her brother, 27-year-old Argenis Longoria, was set to be deported to Mexico after pleading guilty to a burglary. Instead, he was granted a six-month reprieve so he can undergo the necessary testing and preparation for the kidney transplant.

"This is a blessing,” said Emma Lozano, the family’s pastor. "It’s a miracle, Jazmin has a new look on life. She’s going to be able to live."

Argenis Longoria remained in the McHenry County Jail on Wednesday evening but was scheduled to be released sometime Thursday morning. The family reunion was planned for Thursday afternoon at Lincoln United Methodist Church and will include a press conference where they'll discuss what's next and express their gratitude. 

Longoria-Lara’s mother donated an organ to her daughter after a childhood disease resulted in kidney failure, but that kidney failed four years ago. Since then, she’s had to undergo dialysis for several hours, three times a week.

Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez both petitioned the judge to delay Longoria's deportation.

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