<![CDATA[NBC New York - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:36:27 -0400 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:36:27 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Child, Firefighters Hurt in 5-Alarm Blaze at Supermarket]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:32:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bronx-Food-Dynasty-Fire.jpg

One child and two firefighters were injured when a five-alarm blaze tore through a Bronx supermarket early Friday, fire officials say.

The blaze broke out in the ceiling of the Food Dynasty on Hunts Point Avenue at about 12:30 a.m., fire officials say. The flames quickly spread throughout the rest of the building.

Fire officials say that groceries inside the store fanned the flames as more than 200 firefighters worked to stop the fire from spreading to neighboring buildings.

One child in an apartment next door was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation but is expected to survive. Two firefighters also had minor injuries. 

The buildings on both sides of the grocery store were evacuated. Between 50 and 100 residents were temporarily displaced.

--Tracie Strahan contributed to this report

<![CDATA[SUV Slams Boy on Bike Through Bronx Storefront]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:02:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/boy+on+bike+hit+suv.jpg

Surveillance video capturing a horrifying crash that sent a boy on his bicycle flying through a Bronx storefront has bolstered neighbors' calls for increased traffic safety measures in the area, and the city is promising changes.

Video of the May 10 crash obtained exclusively by NBC 4 New York shows a black SUV veering across a median near White Plains Road and Watson Avenue, slamming up onto the sidewalk and plowing the boy through the plate glass of a barber shop. (Warning: Video above may be shocking to some.)

The boy, 12-year-old Abraham Al-Saidi, recalled: "I got hit hard."

Abraham said he was in such shock and that "it didn't hurt that much because I didn't feel it, because it came right away."

It's not clear what caused the driver to go across the road so suddenly, whether she was going too fast or trying to make a U-turn.

Crossing guard Glady Valdez, who's worked at the nearby intersection for 20 years, says traffic in the area has always been "very dangerous." 

"Sometimes I fear for my life," she said. 

Mark Solomon, the barbershop owner who witnessed the crash, thinks the road is so dangerous because "everybody is trying to beat the light."

The city acknowledges that White Plains and Watson, just yards from where Abraham was hit, was identified as a "high-crash corridor with the amount of severe crashes and fatalities ranking in the top of 10 percent of all Bronx corridors." 

The city sent the local community board a poster highlighting eight fatalities, 27 severe injuries per mile and 230 total injuries on that stretch of road since 2007.

Under Mayor de Blasio's new Vision Zero traffic safety plan, the city has lowered the speed limit to 25 miles per hour and will add turning lanes this fall.

Abraham's lawyer said the changes, while set in motion some time ago, didn't come in time to protect the boy.

"It's always good to improve safety for the lives of the people in the neighborhood and the lives of the people in the city," said Micah Kwasnik. "Unfortunately, it's a little late." 

The boy's family has filed a notice of claim against the city.

<![CDATA[Man Slashed Near Times Square: NYPD]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:45:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/crime-stock-police-scene-tape-car-bicycle-lane.jpg

A 32-year-old man was slashed while walking near Times Square early Friday, police say.

Police say the man was on Eighth Avenue near 45th Street at about 2:15 a.m. when he was attacked.

The man was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. His condition is unknown.

The suspect ran north on Eighth Avenue after the attack and police are looking for him.

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Straphangers Bracing for 5-Week Shutdown on G Line]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:01:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/g+train+shut+down.jpg

Straphangers in Brooklyn and Queens are bracing for rush-hour headaches as the MTA prepares to shut down the portion of the G subway line that connects the two boroughs for the next five weeks.

No G trains will run between the Nassau Avenue stop in Greenpoint and Court Square in Long Island City from Friday night until Sept. 2, the MTA says.

Officials say the shutdown is necessary to make repairs to tunnels that were flooded with 3 million gallons of salt water during Sandy. The salt water submerged tracks, power cables and other equipment, leaving behind a corroded mess.

The damage was so severe that repairs couldn't be made during weekends or overnight hours.

“We saw damage on tracks, signals, pump controls, communication rooms,” said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. “You name it, we saw some extensive damage.”

The five-week shutdown is likely to be an inconvenience for many of the more than 100,000 riders in Brooklyn and Queens who use the line every day, but residents in Greenpoint will be most affected. The north Brooklyn neighborhood is served exclusively by the G line, and the shutdown will close all of the area's stations.

The MTA is offering alternatives during the shutdown. Shuttle buses will run from Court Square to the Lorimer Street L train stop, and free out-of-system transfers will be offered on the J and M lines in the southern portion of Williamsburg. Get more information here

The East River Ferry also recently resumed picking up passengers at its dock in Greenpoint following a five-month closure caused by the collapse of passenger walkway in February.

Still, some straphangers say the outage is going to be an inconvenience.

“The way my schedule runs on the train, it’s going to affect me a lot,” said Ryhmel Norris. “I’m going to have to get up half an hour earlier.”

Others say they’re ready to adapt.

“People have to find a way to move around,” said Vicki Sliwowski. “It’s America, It’s New York -- people know how to survive."


Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Worker Stole Items From Military]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:27:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/James-Matthews.jpg

An employee at O’Hare International Airport was charged with theft after he allegedly stole items from military foot lockers that were meant to be shipped overseas.

James Matthews, 41, of Sauk Village, Illinois, was charged with two felony counts of theft, police announced early Friday.

Chicago police officers and the U.S. Postal Service Inspector saw Matthews taking mail, a military foot locker that contained a laptop, and other stolen items from flights to the post office just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

He is scheduled to appear in bond court Friday.

Photo Credit: Chicago Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Taxi Jumps Curb in Harlem, 2 Hurt: Police]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:11:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/harlem+cab+jumps+curb.JPG

A livery cab SUV jumped a curb in Harlem and injured two people Thursday evening, police say.

The livery cab went onto the sidewalk at the corner of 134th Street and Lenox Avenue at about 7:15 p.m.

The cab was parking when it lost control, jumped the curb and barreled into a mother walking with her two small children, who are about 1 and 5 years old, police said. The children weren't hurt.

Witnesses said other pedestrians were hit by the out-of-control cab.

"It was like a movie," said Lamont Dore. "It was so calm, cool and collected out here, and out of nowhere you hear screeching and tires and brakes." 

The mother sustained injuries to her leg. She and another woman hit by the cab were taken to Harlem Hospital with serious injuries but are expected to be OK. 

It's not clear what caused the driver to lose control or whether he will face charges. Witnesses said he told them that he could not get his foot off the gas pedal.

-- Checkey Beckford contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Boy, 3, Drowns in Staten Island Day Care Pool: Police]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:53:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/161*120/IMG-20140724-12257.jpg

A 3-year-old boy drowned in a pool at a Staten Island day care center Thursday, police say.

The boy somehow got into the above-ground pool in the backyard of the Mothers Byrd Day Care Center on Maple Parkway center in Mariners Harbor around 5:30 p.m., according to police. The day care center appears to be run out of a home.

Police sources said the gate leading to the pool was locked, and the child accessed the pool by climbing on top of boxes.

Emergency responders rushed the child, identified as Edward Harris, of Staten Island, to Richmond University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Neighbors said they were heartbroken by what appeared to be a tragic accident.

"It's summertime and everything, and for a kid to drown, it's scary," said Eduardo Tapia.

John Blanchard said, "You gotta watch your kids, especially these days. Anything can happen." 

State records show the day care center was first licensed in November 2007, and is registered to run through November 2015. It can hold up to 12 children from 6 weeks old to 12 years old.

It was last inspected in December 2013, and there are currently no uncorrected violations, records show. The day care is registered to Sherrie M. Byrd. No one answered at the phone number listed for Byrd, and the home was blocked off by police Thursday night.

-- Brynn Gingras contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Hospital Shooting Suspect "Abusive"]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:51:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/191*120/RICHARD+PLOTTS.JPG

He's been called abusive by his ex-wife and crazy by his neighbors, and he's even served time for a Delaware bank robbery. But the latest crime Richard Plotts, 49, of Upper Darby, is accused of committing left his case worker dead, a doctor wounded and himself fighting for his life.

Police say Plotts opened fire Thursday in the psychiatric unit at the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center in Darby, killing his 53-year-old case worker and wounding a doctor who fired back, critically injuring Plotts. He is in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," said former Crum Lynne neighbor Diane Clements. "He was a creep."

That's one of the nicer things said about Plotts.

His ex-wife, who asked to remain anonymous, told NBC10 her ex-husband was abusive, made threats on her life and acted violently toward her family.

"He was violent, physically and mentally," Plotts' ex said. "He has threatened to kill me. He's been violent to my family — parents, siblings — and he's just never been a very good person."

The couple's divorced was finalized in 1999, while Plotts served six years in prison for a Delaware bank robbery four years earlier.

While serving the remainder of his sentenced for the robbery -- three years supervised release -- he was arrested for possession of a firearm. His release was revoked and he was sent back to prison.

He was also arrested in the early 90s for trying to make a purchase at a John Wanamaker store with a stolen credit card, according to court records.

"He's a con artist," said his ex-wife. "He has psychiatric issues."

She did not elaborate on what those issues were, and details on his mental health were not immediately available.

"He was a goofball. He was crazy, and he had a girlfriend, and we used to hear him beating that girl up," Clements said.

Plotts was evicted from his home in the Kenneth House Apartments on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby about six months ago, according to a building maintenance man.

Cathy Nickels, his neighbor there, recalled the contentious way Plotts left after his eviction.

"As he was taken away in a van," she said, "he yelled, 'You haven't heard the end of me yet.'"

Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Single-Engine Plane Crashes in Connecticut]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:11:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/danbury+plane+crash.jpg

The lone person aboard a small plane that crashed near Danbury Airport in Connecticut is expected to be OK, the town's mayor says.

The single-engine plane crashed on Miry Brook Road Thursday afternoon. Police said it ended up in a swamp.

It wasn't clear what caused the plane to crash.


Photo Credit: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton]]>
<![CDATA[De Blasio Cheered as He Vacations in Italy]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:07:47 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BtT31duCEAAAttB.jpg

Mayor de Blasio is digging into his family history in Italy. 

On vacation with his family, de Blasio visited the home of his maternal grandmother in the small town of Grassano Thursday. He was greeted with fanfare, and even generated his own hashtag as small newspapers tweeted about him with #WelcomeHomeBill.

He told the crowd there, "For our family, this is an incredible moment to experience the love and support of our ancestral hometown."

Earlier, he and he family were welcomed in Sant'Agata near Naples, where his grandfather was born. A large crowd met him outside town hall, and the local mayor and a cousin who lives in a nearby city also greeted him. 

De Blasio was given honorary citizenship of Sant'Agata during a ceremony in the town's main square. 

His next stop will be Venice. 

Photo Credit: il guotidiano della basilicata]]>
<![CDATA[Man Mistakenly Shot at in Dorner Manhunt to Get $1.8M]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:42:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Perdue+Still.jpg

A Southern California man mistakenly shot at by police officers during the manhunt for a murderous ex-LAPD officer on a rampage last year will receive $1.8 million in a settlement with the city of Torrance.

David Perdue, 39, and his wife, of Redondo Beach, filed an excessive force lawsuit against the city in June 2013, alleging two Torrance police officers rammed their car into Perdue's truck and shot at him Feb. 7, 2013 while he was on his way to go surfing.

The settlement with the city of Torrance and Officers Brian McGee and Erin Sooper was reached last month, but the amount of the cash payout was confirmed Thursday by Torrance police Sgt. Chris Roosen.

"We are grateful to the city of Torrance and to the attorneys representing the city of Torrance for their consummate professionalism throughout these proceedings," said Robert Sheahen, Perdue's attorney.

None of the bullets struck the 39-year-old Perdue, who had previously been stopped and cleared by other officers, according to the lawsuit, which was filed after he failed to reach a settlement with the city.

Perdue says he suffered a concussion when his truck's airbag opened and has lingering physical and emotional problems as a result of what happened to him that day.

Authorities said that the ex-LAPD Officer, Christopher Dorner, killed four people --  a Riverside police officer, a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy and the daughter of a former LAPD captain and her fiance -- during a rampage fueled by his anger over being fired from the Los Angeles force several years ago.

The disgruntled ex-cop's remains were found inside a burned-out Big Bear cabin after a shootout with law enforcement, culminating a nearly week-long manhunt for the fugitive.

<![CDATA[Sick Boy Becomes Cop for a Day]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:35:46 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Adam-Broderson.jpg

One suburban Chicago police department had a new top cop on Wednesday.

Adam Broderson -- a 7-year-old boy with a heart defect -- was named sergeant by the Buffalo Grove Police Department for a day, and got to hang out with the other members of the force.

Adam dreams of one day growing up to be a police officer, but has already had to tough out several surgeries during his short life due to a rare heart condition that left him with only one working ventricle.

His day on the force was a surprise, and the young boy suited up for SWAT training, patrolled the village with his partner and even got to catch a bad guy in a simulated arrest.

He even got to train at the shooting range, which wasn't the favorite part of his day because of the noise.

The police department set up Adam's special day after seeing a letter he wrote in school.

Adam's parents say after suffering through three major heart surgeries, getting to live out his dream was the chance of a lifetime.

<![CDATA[No Bail for Woman Accused in Dismembered Mom Case]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:59:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Body-Found-Bay-Shore-LI-0724.jpg

A 42-year-old Brooklyn woman has been charged in the killing of a missing mother of four whose partially dismembered body was found in a parking lot on Long Island earlier this month, police say.

Leah Cuevas is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Chinelle Latoya Browne, who lived at the same Brooklyn address as the 42-year-old suspect. At her arraignment in Islip Thursday, the judge said Cuevas was "charged with the worst conduct a human can be charged with" and remanded her without bail. 

Cuevas, who has no criminal history, did not enter a plea and didn't speak to reporters as she was led to court.

Prosecutors say Cuevas and Browne had an argument about rent and utilities on July 4, and police were called to the Brownsville building. The following day, the women again got into an argument in the basement after Browne went down to do laundry, according to prosecutors. Browne was heard by neighbors yelling "No, Leah!" and "I'm sorry," and that was the last time she was seen or heard. 

Her mutilated torso was discovered in a weedy, vacant parking lot in Bay Shore early on July 8 by people going to the nearby Fire Island ferry. Prosecutors said the clothing on the torso matched the ones last seen worn by Browne when she had gone to the wash her clothing. 

A search warrant was executed at the Brownsville building on July 10, and investigators found blood splatter in Cuevas' apartment and hallway that belonged to Browne. 

A medical examiner has determined that Browne died of multiple stab wounds to the neck and torso. Prosecutors say she was killed in Brooklyn, and her dismembered remains were scattered on Long Island.

On July 17, a severed head was found on Boylston Street in Hempstead. On July 9, a homeowner found an arm with women's clothing attached to it in his front yard on Webb Avenue. The next day, someone else discovered another arm in their yard about a half-mile away, near Stewart Avenue and Cornell Street. 

Investigators are looking to see if a second person played a role in disposing the victim's body and planned to question Cuevas' husband about the case. 

Cuevas was arrested Wednesday by U.S. Marshals in Bay Shore, where was believed to be staying with her sister in a basement of a home.

Browne's family were in court Thursday during Cuevas' appearance. Her husband Dale Browne, who flew to New York from Guyana, said his wife had set out to the U.S. to try get citizenship and make a better life for their family. She had kissed their four young children goodbye when she left, and now he was facing the difficult task of explaining to them their mother was gone. 

"She wanted her family with her, and she did all that it took to do that," he said.

Browne's aunt Pauline Claxton said, "We love her. It's very difficult for us at this time. She means the world to us and her children and husband." 


<![CDATA[Obama Speaking on Economy in LA]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:28:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/200*120/lax+obama+af+1.jpg

President Barack Obama focused on the economy, jobs and growing the middle class during a speech at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College on Thursday as he wrapped up a 24-hour visit to Los Angeles.

While speaking to the college-aged crowd, Obama took swipes at Congress for not helping middle-class Americans' quality of life.

"The hardest thing in politics is to change a stubborn status quo," Obama said.

Obama started his day at a fundraiser at the Brentwood home of Michael Rapino, the CEO of concert promotion behemoth Live Nation, according to City News Service. The cost for a ticket to the roundtable discussion was a hefty one, reaching $32,4000, the maximum allowable contribution to a national party in a calendar year.

Read: Obamas Buying $4.25 Million Home in California's Rancho Mirage: Report

Following the fundraiser, Obama made a surprise stop at Canter's Deli in the Fairfax area. There he met with four people who wrote him letters, according to the White House.

The president spoke at the  Los Angeles Trade-Technical College in South Los Angeles because it was awarded a Department of Labor skills training grant, which funds projects that train workers to obtain or upgrade employment in high-growth sectors.

Pro-immigration and pro-Palestinian groups were expected to protest outside the college campus, calling for an end to deportations of immigrants, the creation of a Palestinian state and for the U.S. to demand Israel end attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Southern California is the last stop on Obama's three-day West Coast trip, which began Tuesday in Seattle. Obama began Wednesday in San Francisco, where he attended a morning fundraiser benefiting the House Majority Political Action Committee, before arriving at Los Angeles International Airport around 3 p.m.

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Once in LA, Obama stopped in Hancock Park at the home of television producer Shonda Rhimes for a DNC fundraising reception.

Obama is expected to head back to Washington, D.C. following after his speech. Until then, Southland residents could expect traffic delays.

Drivers were urged to avoid the following areas:

  • Beverly Boulevard and North Doheny Drive from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Grand Avenue and West Washington Boulevard from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunset Boulevard and Mandeville Canyon Road from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Sunset Boulevard and Barrington Avenue from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Figueroa Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Man Hanged Dog, Set House Fire: PD]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:24:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Fire-Generic.jpg

A New Jersey man allegedly involved in a domestic dispute hanged his family dog before setting fire to his home, police say.

The Press of Atlantic City reports that 29-year-old Janrv Bacolod is accused of using an accelerant and setting fire to several parts of his Holly Street home in Mays Landing last Friday.

Several cats inside the home were killed, according to The Press of AC.

Prior to setting the blaze, police say Bacolod hanged his dog.

Police records show that the suspect's estranged wife had a restraining order against him. They say he violated that order when he called her at work and threatened her.

Bacolod is being held on $100,000 bail, according to the paper.


Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Intruder Who Claimed Pregnancy ID'd]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:42:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LB+Intruder+Female+Solo+2.jpg

Police on Thursday identified a suspected burglar who told a homeowner she was pregnant before he fatally shot her outside his home in Long Beach.

Tom Greer appeared to have no regret when he told NBC4 Wednesday night that he shot the woman twice in the back with his .22-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver as she was fleeing with a male accomplice.

The woman was identified as Andrea Miller, 28, from Long Beach. The male suspect was identified as Gus Adams, 26, of Long Beach. Adams was booked into jail on a robbery and murder charge, Long Beach police said in a press release.

"She says, 'Don't shoot me, I'm pregnant -- I'm going to have a baby.' And I shot her anyway," Greer said. "The lady didn't run as fast as the man so I shot her in the back twice, she's dead ... but he got away."

There was no immediate confirmation of the pregnancy, but the Los Angeles County coroner's office planned to perform an autopsy on the woman on Friday, said Ed Winter, of the coroner's office.

Long Beach police said they are investigating whether Greer should face charges for Tuesday night's shooting in the 3900 block of Country Club Drive.

Even though the woman was running away, Greer said he regards what he did as self-defense.

He said he arrived at home Tuesday night to find a couple in the middle of a late-night break-in when they attacked him.

"When I went in there, they tackled me," Greer told NBC4. "Both of them jumped up on top of me."

At one point, Miller stopped hitting Greer to help Adams break into a safe, police said.

While the suspects ransacked his home, Greer got his gun from another room, returned to confront them and fired his gun while they were still inside his house, police said.

Both suspects ran out, making off with items taken during the burglary. Greer followed them as they ran out and fired again.

Miller was struck by gunfire, fell in the alley, and died, authorities said. Adams got away, but was captured later.

The surviving suspect was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of residential burglary and murder, McDonnell said. The murder charge, which will be considered by the district attorney, is possible because Adams is accused of being involved in a felony that led to a death, McDonnell said. 

It was not immediately clear whether Adams hired an attorney.

Greer told detectives he believes the suspects broke into his home and stole cash and property three times before, police said. Greer's estranged wife, Dorothy, said on Thursday one of the burglaries happened while she was at home. She saw her jewelry stolen.

But she never expected such violence.

"It's scary," she said. "Either way it goes, it's scary. It was just a bad situation, all the way around."

Greer was treated at a hospital Wednesday for a severe shoulder and collarbone injury.

Photo Credit: Long Beach Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Mysterious Dolls Left on Doorsteps]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:00:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/209*120/San+Clemente+doll+4+%282%29.jpg

A Southern California woman who attends her Orange County community's church decided to clear out her doll collection and surprise her neighbors with the dolls, leaving some residents stumped and "disturbed" by a resemblance to some neighborhood children.

The slew of deliveries began July 16 with at least eight San Clemente families finding porcelain dolls on their doorsteps.

While residents said they felt creeped out and "disturbed" over fears someone was trying to scare the Talega neighborhood of San Clemente, investigators learned Thursday night that the woman's intentions were pure.

"The woman attended church with many of the impacted families," Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said.

The woman said she was clearing out an old doll collection and thought of some young girls in the neighborhood who might enjoy them, Hallock said.

It was not clear why the woman did not leave a note or tell the residents about the dolls.

Earlier Thursday, residents said they were afraid of the reason behind the toys.

"I'm actually thinking the worst, like someone creepy watching our children and I'm actually pretty scared about it," resident Mary Robin Baziak said. "(Someone) found a China doll on her stop that looked like her daughter."

"It's really creepy and disturbing. As a mom with a daughter, it freaks me out," another neighbor said. "Hopefully it's a prank and not someone with very bad motives."

Christina Cocca contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[2 Guilty in Fatal Nightclub Beating]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:43:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/01-santaana.jpg

Two women were convicted of voluntary manslaughter Thursday in the beating death of a 23-year-old woman outside a Santa Ana nightclub.

Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 26, and Candace Marie Brito, 27, were also found guilty of assault with force to produce great bodily injury in Annie Hung "Kim" Pham's fatal beating, but were acquitted of felony second-degree murder.

They each face up to 11 years in prison.

The two are accused of killing Pham by kicking her in the head as she was on the ground fighting their friend outside the Crosby Restaurant and Nightclub on Jan. 19, officials said.

Friends of Pham told police that three women attacked her without provocation after the two groups bumped into each other outside the nightclub. Another witness said Pham instigated the fight by shouting obscenities and throwing the first punch after she and her friends bumped into another group exiting the bar.

Portions of the attack were captured on cellphone video as the victim's friends and a security guard unsuccessfully attempted to intervene, officials said.

Pham was hospitalized after the attack and taken off life support Jan. 21.


<![CDATA[New Video Shows NYPD Chokehold Arrest in Subway]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:51:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/216*120/nypd+chokehold+subway.JPG

A new video showing the arrest of an alleged Manhattan subway farebeater purports to show a police officer using a chokehold to subdue the suspect, a prohibited police tactic that's sparked outrage since a Staten Island man died after being put in a similar position last week.

The suspect was arrested at the 125th Street subway station on Lexington Avenue in East Harlem on July 14, just three days before Eric Garner of Staten Island died while in police custody.

Autopsy results are pending in Garner's death, which has sparked protests, a criminal probe and a warning by the Rev. Al Sharpton that Garner's family would explore asking for a federal civil rights investigation.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has since promised that the police department would retrain its officers on the use of force. Department policy prohibits chokeholds during arrests.

In the video of the subway arrest, witnesses are heard shouting at the officers, "Why do you have to hit him?" as one cop punches the alleged fare evader, 23-year-old Ronald Johns, as he wraps his arm around Johns' neck.

The video was posted online by the Rev. Kelmy Rodriquez, who said he received it in an anonymous email. After posting that video, another witness sent him another video of the arrest.

Rodriquez told NBC 4 New York he believes the chokehold should not have been used but noted that the suspect was resisting arrest and said he understood if the officer felt threatened.

The NYPD said its internal affairs department is looking into the video. Johns has been charged with fare-dodging, criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

A funeral for Garner, who was 43, was held in Brooklyn Wednesday.

<![CDATA[Patient Kills Case Worker: DA]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:21:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/226*120/mercy+fitzgerald+hospital+shooting+33.JPG

A female case worker was killed and a doctor shot when a psychiatric patient opened fire on them Thursday in a wellness center on the campus of a Delaware County, Pennsylvania, hospital, officials say.

Officials say that patient was then shot by the doctor, who returned fire from his own gun.

The shootout took place around 2:20 p.m. Thursday inside a doctor's office in the psychiatric unit at the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center, officials say. The center is located along the 1500 block of Lansdowne Avenue in Darby, Pa. That's located across from Mercy-Fitzgerald hospital, on its campus.

The gunman, identified as Richard Plotts, of Upper Darby, had come to the unit with his caseworker, 53-year-old Theresa Hunt of Philadelphia, according to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. They then went behind closed doors in a doctor's third floor office when a confrontation occurred.

“A worker did confirm that he heard some loud arguing going on. They came in and they actually opened the door and saw him pointing a gun at the doctor. They did not notice the case worker at that point. They shut the door very quietly and one immediately called 911," Whelan said.

The DA said a short time went by and then gunfire erupted from Plotts' gun. Plotts has had run-ins with the doctor's and hospital staff in the past, Whelan said.

Both the doctor, identified as Dr. Lee Silverman, and the case worker were hit by the gunfire. The woman was fatally shot in the small office, and the doctor was grazed in the head, Whelan said.

Silverman also pulled out his weapon and fired upon the suspect, the preliminary investigation showed. Plotts was hit three times in the torso, Whelan said.

Other doctors and case workers then rushed into the room and tackled the man to the ground, wrestling with him for the weapon.

“We’re not exactly sure what had occurred and what might have precipitated this particular incident," Whelan said. "We do know the psychiatric connection, we have that concern, however we don’t know if there was another dispute that occurred inside that room that led to these shots being fired."

Both Plotts and Silverman were taken to the trauma center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in nearby Philadelphia. The suspect is in surgery and is listed in critical condition, Whelan said. The doctor's condition has not been released.

Officials say a 911 call came in at 2:19 p.m. with the caller saying a doctor had been shot. The center and hospital was quickly placed on lockdown as police swarmed the campus.

Allen Williams was checking in his father for an X-ray on the center's ground floor when the shooting happened.

"As we were giving the information, they said the hospital is on lockdown and they locked out the doors. They told us to sneak out the back door," he said. “I was hoping everyone was going to get out safe."

Williams slowly led his father, who uses a walker, in a group of 15 people onto a grassy area outside the building. He says police kept them at the scene as they checked the building.

Police arrived within minutes and evacuated the entire wellness center as SWAT officers swept the building as a precaution.

The Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center has physician offices and offers outpatient services for ambulatory care, audiology, cardiac rehabilitation, radiology and hearing and balance, according to the health system's website.

Late Thursday night, Mercy Fitzgerald released this statement regarding the deadly shooting:

"We continue to pray for the victims and their families. As this is an ongoing investigation, we remain focused on working with the Delaware County Police Departments to understand fully the details of the event and to do all we can to assist those affected.

We are thankful for the responders to this incident, the many law enforcement professionals who are a part of the investigation, and the outpouring of support we have received from our community."

A large police presence from Yeadon, Haverford Township and other Delaware County law enforcement agencies remained at the scene for hours as the crime scene was processed.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

<![CDATA[Did Obama Delay Woman in Labor?]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:27:54 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/202*120/pregnant+woman+obama+motorcade+cedars+sinai.PNG

A pregnant woman was stopped from crossing a Los Angeles street Wednesday afternoon because the road was closed for President Barack Obama’s motorcade.

NBC4 anchor/reporter Robert Kovacik witnessed the woman take shelter at a bus stop bench on the south side of Third Street east of Robertson Boulevard and across from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The pregnant woman was with her spouse at the time. Witnesses and two LAPD officers on scene said they believe the woman was in labor and told NBC4 an ambulance was called to the location as a precaution.

NBC4 talked to the woman on the scene, and she asked not to be shown on camera. She was out of breath and appeared to be in active labor.

Police on the scene tell NBC4 there were two medical emergencies during the president’s motorcade, the woman’s pregnancy and a man having post-surgical problems.

Kovacik shot video on his cellphone of the woman sitting at a bus stop bench and posted it to his Instagram account.

Read: Man Accused of Killing Daughter, Wife Found Nearly 20 Years Later Living With New Family

Kovacik questioned LAPD Sgt. Kurt Smith at the scene.

"As soon as we can, looks like the motorcade is coming through right about now," the LAPD officer responded. "We’ll be able to open it up for traffic and first we’ll thing we’ll try to get to will be an ambulance, but I can’t guarantee ... the time on that," the officer said.

Obama was in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon for a 24-hour visit that included two political fundraisers and a speech at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. Wednesday's fundraisers included a stop at the Hancock Park home of television producer Shonda Rhimes.

Several street closures were announced before the visit.

According to witness Carrie Clifford, the woman waited at least 30 minutes before she could cross the street, she told The Blaze. Clifford tweeted updates and pictures from the location, including: "Ironically, Obama is going to @shondarhimes. This could be #GreysAnatomy - woman in labor can't get to Cedars cuz of O."

The White House has not responded to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Secret Service said the incident is under investigation by the LAPD.

"The Secret Service works closely with state and local police counterparts in planning for and conducting motorcade movements of our protectees," Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said in an email. "It is always our policy to prepare for and facilitate medical emergencies, medical flights, ambulances etc. in the fastest and safest way possible."

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Robert Kovacik]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Rips Through Long Island Businesses]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 04:55:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Fire-Nassau-County-NY.jpg

Arson squads are investigating after five businesses were destroyed when a raging fire ripped through a row of buildings on a Long Island street early Thursday, officials say. 

The fire broke out at a bar at Willis Avenue and Goodrich Street in Williston Park at about 2:45 a.m., fire officials say. The blaze spread quickly, jumping to four neighboring businesses and causing the bar's roof to collapse. 

Shortly after crews arrived, fire officials say there was a small explosion inside one of the buildings.

No injuries were been reported.

Crews from 13 towns responded to the fire, which sent billows of heavy, black smoke into the sky.

Firefighters worked for several hours in a mostly defensive operation before the five-alarm blaze was brought under control.

All of the buildings were unoccupied when the blaze broke out, officials say. No firefighters were injured.

Nassau County arson investigators are looking into the cause of the blaze.

<![CDATA[Kitten Tossed From Moving Car: Officials]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:03:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Kitten-Tossed-From-Car.jpg

Authorities are looking for the person who a witness says tossed a 4-week-old kitten out of a moving car on Long Island.

A passerby saw someone throw the cat from a green Honda on Merrick Road in Freeport on July 17, authorities say. The passerby scooped the kitten up and took it to an animal hospital in Farmingdale.

Miraculously, the tiny animal hadn't been seriously injured.

“He has no broken bones, which is very amazing,” said Teena Toro, a spokeswoman with the hospital. 

The kitten only had a few minor scrapes and seems to be in good spirits, veterinarians say.

“I can’t even fathom why someone would do this,” Toro said.

SPCA officials and police are trying to track down the driver and are checking surveillance tapes from businesses along Merrick Road to see if they can get an image of the car or a person inside.

It's not clear when the kitten will be up for adoption. 

<![CDATA[Superheroes Surprise Children at NY Hospital]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:06:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/superhero+nypres.jpg
Window washers disguised as superheroes surprised children at a New York hospital Wednesday, scrubbing the windows of their rooms in Batman and Spider-man costumes as the wide-eyed kids waved.
Two Power Rangers stopped cleaning for a moment to give a window pane fist bump to a young child in a hospital gown at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. 
Another child's infectious giggles were caught on video as Spider-Man made faces at him through the glass. 

NewYork-Presbyterian staff also donned superhero costumers and cheered on the window washers from the sidewalks.  

Photo Credit: NY-Presbyterian Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Accused Killer Found After 20 Years]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:49:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/honsch+family.jpg

Almost 20 years after the body of a 17-year-old girl was discovered behind a Connecticut shopping plaza, police have identified the slain teen and charged her father with murdering her and her mother.

Robert Honsch had moved to Dalton, Ohio, and was living under the name Tyree Honsch with his current wife and children, authorities said.

His daughter, Elizabeth Honsch, was found shot in the head near 593 Hartford Road in New Britain on Sept. 28, 1995. Her body had been wrapped in a sleeping bag and plastic trash bags, according to police.

The body of her mother, 53-year-old Marcia Honsch, was found eight days later, 40 miles away near the entrance to a state park in Tolland, Massachusetts. She had also been shot in the head and had been dead for a week when her body was discovered, according to police.

Both women were found without any identifying information and, until Wednesday, were known publicly only as Jane Doe. DNA testing revealed that they were related, and their names were released at a news conference on Wednesday.

Police said they have obtained arrest warrants charging 70-year-old Robert Honsch with murder in both Connecticut and Massachusetts.

He's in the custody of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department in Wooster, Ohio, and will be extradited to New England, authorities said.

The Honsch family was living in Brewster, New York, at the time of the murders. According to police, the Honsches "suddenly lost contact with all other family members" in October 1995, shortly after the bodies were found.

Police released pictures of the clothing and jewelry Elizabeth Honsch was wearing at the time of her death, along with facial reconstruction images.

Police began investigating the disappearance of the mother and daughter when relatives reported them missing in June.

The arrest warrants for Robert Honsch have been sealed and it's not clear why family members waited so long to report the women's disappearances.

Information on an attorney for Robert Honsch was not immediately available.

Photographs of Marcia, Elizabeth and Robert Honsch were released on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Honsch isn’t the only woman to be found dead on Hartford Road in New Britain.

In 2007, the bodies of three other women were discovered in the same area near the intersection of Route 9 and Hartford Road.

Two of the woman have been identified as Joyvaline “Joy” Martinez, of East Hartford, and Diane Cuzack of New Britain. Their deaths are also considered homicides but police have not said whether they're connected.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Psychiatric Patient With Violent Past Missing: NYPD]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:58:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Vadim-Babyrev-NY.jpg

Authorities are looking for a psychiatric patient with a history of violence who they say didn't return from a day's leave from a mental health center on Staten Island over the weekend.

Vadim Babyrev hasn’t been seen since getting a day pass to leave South Beach Psychiatric Center on Saturday afternoon, authorities say.

Police say the 44-year-old has been in psychiatric care since 1999, when he allegedly tried to kill his mother with an iron. In 2006, he allegedly attacked two guards at another psychiatric center during an escape attempt.

Authorities released a photo of Babyrev (above) and ask anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.