<![CDATA[NBC New York - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:54:08 -0400 Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:54:08 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Pregnant Woman Shot 5 Times, Unborn Baby Killed: Sources]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:25:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/red+hook+shooting+david+torres.jpg

A pregnant woman was shot five times and her unborn baby was killed after a drive-by shooting in Brooklyn Monday night that injured four other people, police sources tell NBC 4 New York.

The four-months pregnant woman, 19, was standing in front of a housing project on Dwight Street with two other women and two men when someone in a passing SUV opened fire at them, the sources say.

The pregnant woman was critically injured in the shooting, according to the police sources. One of her companions, a 20-year-old man, was hit seven times in the body, authorities said.

Another 19-year-old woman was also shot five times, while the remaining two victims were shot in the legs. All five victims were taken to nearby hospitals.

The SUV drove off after the shooting.

Police sources say the violence is thought to stem from a rivalry between residents of two housing projects in the neighborhood. Police are looking for two suspects.

The drive-by comes after another shooting on Sunday.

Three died and 16 were wounded in seven separate shootings across the city over the weekend, including one shooting in which nine people were shot during a backyard party in East New York.

On Monday, community activists took a coffin to Brooklyn Borough Hall in protest of the seeming rise in gun violence.

"I think that's crazy, it's happening all around the city, shootings everywhere," said Denise Morales, of East New York.

Brooklyn Borough Hall President Eric Adams joined the protesters, speaking about the need to reduce gun violence.

"Our children deserve to live," he said. "Our adults deserve to live. All lives matter."

Mayor de Blasio's office, however, says crime is actually down and that the number of shooting incidents has dropped slightly from 674 last year to 669 this year.

--Andrew Siff contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: David Torres]]>
<![CDATA[86 Sickened Amid Legionnaires' Outbreak in NYC; 7 Dead]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:52:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/meeting+overlay+legionnaires.jpg

Five more cases of Legionnaires' disease have been added to the Bronx outbreak that has claimed seven lives and sickened more than six dozen people in the last three weeks, Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday. The number of those killed stands at seven.

The mayor's briefing comes a day after the city announced an increase in the death toll and the number of cases at a packed town hall meeting at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, where hundreds of residents gathered to hear what state, city and local officials had to say about the deadly outbreak.

Eighty-six cases of the disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the south Bronx since July 10, city officials said Tuesday. That marked 40 new cases since Wednesday, when 46 cases were announced as health officials first discussed the outbreak. The seven patients who died had underlying health conditions, authorities said.

De Blasio said Tuesday the fact only five new cases were added to the outbreak total in the last day "suggests a reduction in the rate of increase and that is good news." He said authorities have identified the peak of the outbreak as July 30, and the daily rate of increase has reduced since then.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella; in most cases, people are exposed to the bacteria by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers and faucets or drinking water.

Twenty-two buildings have been visited as "disease detectives" hunt for the source of the outbreak, the city said Friday. Seventeen of those buildings have cooling towers -- five of those tested positive for Legionella, including one at Lincoln Hospital; one at Concourse Plaza; one at a shopping plaza; one at a Verizon office building and one at the Opera House Hotel. All have been decontaminated.

De Blasio said Tuesday officials believed they had identified the only sites that are causing the outbreak, and no additional cooling towers are believed to be contaminated.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said authorities are confident one of the five cooling towers that tested positive for Legionella is the primary source of the outbreak, though it will likely take weeks to confirm. Now that the contaminated sources have been remediated, she said, authorities expected to see the number of cases continue to go down.

"Although we will continue to see cases, we expect the case rate to decline and the number of cases to fall over the coming weeks," Bassett said Tuesday.

She reiterated that the contaminated cooling towers have had no effect on the water in the Bronx, and that tap water remains entirely safe to drink.

The cases have been reported primarily in High Bridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point and Mott Haven since July 10, the Health Department said.

No additional deaths were reported Tuesday, a day after the city announced three more people had died in connection with the outbreak, bringing the total to seven. As word of three new deaths spread Monday, officials held a town hall to offer residents a forum to express their concerns and so those with knowledge of the situation could help disseminate information.

"We are not at a level of panic, but anxiety is really high," Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said at the meeting.

Lines were out the door and at least 75 people had to stand outside because there was no room inside. Many were concerned about the growing number of dead. They also wanted to know what's being done to stop the spread of the disease.

"There's more questions than answers to this disease that's going around," South Bronx resident Renita Henry said. "I'm scared, yes, because it's right in my backyard."

Both de Blasio and Bassett stressed last week there was no concern for alarm.

"People have to understand that this is a disease that can be treated -- and can be treated well if caught early," de Blasio said Thursday. "The exception can be with folks who are already unfortunately suffering from health challenges, particularly immune system challenges. But for the vast majority of New Yorkers, if they were even exposed, this can be addressed very well and very quickly so long as they seek medical treatment."

Legionnaires' disease usually sets in two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and has symptoms similar to pneumonia, including shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaires' also experience appetite loss, confusion, fatigue and muscle aches.

It cannot be spread person-to-person and those at highest risk for contracting the illness include the elderly, cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung or immune system disease and those receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

The Health Department urges anyone with symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

An outbreak last hit the Bronx in December. Between then and January, 12 people in Co-op City contracted the potentially deadly disease. Officials said a contaminated cooling tower was likely linked to at least 75 percent of those cases. No one died in that outbreak.

<![CDATA[Cecil Hunter's Guide Feels He Did Nothing Wrong]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:10:07 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cecil-the-lion-Theo-Bronkhorst.jpg

The guide accused of helping an American kill Cecil the lion told NBC News on Tuesday that he felt he did nothing wrong.

Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer allegedly paid Theo Bronkhorst $50,000 to lure the lion out of a wildlife reserve so he could shoot it with a bow.

The animal was a tourist favorite and subject of an Oxford University research project. Its death has provoked global outrage.

"I do not feel I have done anything wrong," Bronkhorst said via telephone. "This has been a very stressful time for me and my family. We have been pulled into something we are not happy with."

Bronkhorst has pleaded not guilty last week to a charge of failing to prevent the unlawful killing of Cecil. He was released on $1,000 bail and was due back in court Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Photos courtesy Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Turnpike Shut Down After Truck Catches Fire Under Overpass]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:49:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Fire-NJ-turnpike-0804.jpg

A large truck crashed, overturned and caught fire on the New Jersey Turnpike Tuesday morning, shutting down the highway and causing miles-long backups.

The crash was reported shortly before 11 a.m. in Cataret underneath an overpass. The truck burst into flames, and appears to have heavily damaged the overpass.

Some drivers stuck in the traffic said that it appeared that parts of the bridge were falling off after the crash.

It's not clear if the truck's driver was hurt.

Several fire and emergency vehicles have responded to the scene.

It's not clear when traffic will start moving again. As of 11:30 a.m., the turnpike was shut down in both directions between exits 12 and 13.

Delays on the northbound side stretch back nearly to the Garden State Parkway. On the southbound side, traffic is jammed as far back as Interstate 280.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Customer Berated for Speaking Spanish at IHOP]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:01:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/216*120/08-04-2015-woman-rant-spanish-ihop.jpg

Norma Vasquez said she felt "awful" and "worthless" after she was berated by another customer for speaking Spanish in a confrontation caught on camera at a Southern California IHOP.

Her son, Carlos Vasquez, captured the three-minute rant on video Friday at the restaurant west of downtown Los Angeles. The clash began when a woman in large, dark sunglasses interrupted his mother, who was speaking Spanish, as they waited for a table, Vasquez said.

"We speak English in America," the woman can be heard saying.

"I speak English. Not good, but I speak English," Vasquez's mother responded.

The unidentified woman can be heard telling Vasquez's mother to "go back to Spain." Norma Vasquez came to the United States from El Salvador in 1984.

"Spanish is from Spain," the woman said. "I've been to Spain, so I know."

The IHOP visit was an early birthday present for Vasquez from his mother. Carlos Vasquez can be heard repeatedly telling the woman she should not tell his mother she must speak English.

"Inside, I wasn't upset," Vasquez said Monday. "I got more upset when my mom started to cry. It wasn't fair for my mom to cry to a stranger just because my mom was speaking Spanish."

The woman eventually turned her full attention to Carlos Vasquez and the fiery exchange continued with the woman asking, "Do you want the Russians over here telling you what to do? Do you want the Nazis telling you what to do?"

"That's what you're doing to my mom," he responded. "You're telling her what to do. She speaks English. She's not perfect, but she speaks English."

Vasquez, whose family lives in Highland Park, said he was surprised by the woman's furor.

"This is Los Angeles," he said. "Even the name of the city is in Spanish. She shouldn't be mad or interrupting families for whatever language they're speaking."

"I felt awful, as though I was worthless," Norma Vasquez, who works for an office cleaning service, told NBC4.

Vasquez shared the video on his Facebook page. As of Monday morning, the video had 14 million views and 423,000 shares.

NBC4 and Telemundo52 have attempted to contact IHOP management for comment, but have yet to receive a response.

Photo Credit: Carlos Vasquez]]>
<![CDATA[2 Shot After Concert at PNC Bank Arts Center; Gunman at Large]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:57:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/holmdel+shooting.jpg

Two people are in critical condition after being shot outside the PNC Bank Arts Center in Central New Jersey following a hip hop concert Monday night, police said.

NJ State Police said the unidentified victims were shot sometime around 11 p.m. outside the arena, which is in Holmdel, after a performance by artists J. Cole and Big Sean.

The victims were taken to Jersey Shore Hospital.

Police say they are looking for a lone shooter in a wooded area near the arena.

Witnesses said the shooting started after an argument in the PNC parking lot.

J. Cole and Big Sean are scheduled to perform at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Jimmy Coppa]]>
<![CDATA[42,500 Without Power After Vicious Storms Pummel NY]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:17:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/storm+damage+li.jpg

Powerful early-morning storms battered parts of Long Island's north shore Tuesday morning, dropping torrential rains and sending damaging wind gusts that felled trees, disrupted power to tens of thousands of customers and caused disruptions for the Long Island Railroad.

More than 42,500 customers lost power following the storms Tuesday morning, PSEG Long Island, with communities in Brookhaven and Smithtown being the hardest-hit. PSEG says it will take two days for the utility to restore power to all of its customers that lost it.

The quick-moving storm walloped the two towns between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., dropping heavy downpours amid powerful sustained winds topping 60 mph and numerous lightning strikes.

Storm Team 4 says that during the most damaging period of the storm, as many as 2,500 lightning strikes were recorded in 15 minutes.

The severe weather had passed out of the region by about 7 a.m., but left behind wreckage that will take days for homeowners to clear up. Dozens of trees were downed throughout the villages on the north shore, some on houses and crushing cars.

Several residents posted photos of the damage to social media networks. Images and video from the area showed tree limbs snapped by lightning and wind, and streets blocked off by fallen branches and trunks. The National Weather Service said it would not be investigating a potential tornado in the area; the agency says no tornadic activity was spotted on Doppler radar during the storm.

The storm also affected New York City, with booming thunder waking up residents in Brooklyn overnight. One Instagram user captured video of lightning striking the Empire State Building at the peak of the storm.

Debris from the storm forced MTA officials to temporarily shut down parts of the Port Jefferson branch of the Long Island Railroad Tuesday morning.

Severe storms also struck parts of New Jersey and New York City, causing several power outages in those areas. The storms, while not as intense as the ones seen in

There have been no immediate reports of injuries.

Photo Credit: Ashley Leisey / Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Freezing in the Office? Temp Formula Was Devised for Men]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:47:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-525397795+%281%29.jpg

There is proof women aren't just complaining about freezing office temperatures. According to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, air conditioning systems are designed using a 1960s formula that assumed the average office worker was a 40-year-old, 154 pound man.

In addition to making life miserable for women, the cold air could be helping drive climate change, the research team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands said. 

Men, in general, have higher metabolic rates than women, according to the researchers, and they argue that the AC needs to be reset to reflect the true office population. Women prefer rooms at about 77 degrees, while men prefer a cooler 72 degrees, according to Boris Kingma of the Maastricht University Medical Center.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/EyeEm]]>
<![CDATA[Police Deliver Baby at WTC PATH Station]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:24:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/port+authority.jpg

Port Authority police delivered a baby Tuesday morning at the PATH train station at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, Gov. Cuomo announced on Twitter.

The baby girl was delivered on platform B at the transportation hub at about 2:30 a.m., according to the World Trade Center.

The child is the first to be born at the World Trade Center since before the Sept. 11 attacks. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Monster Sinkhole Devours Brooklyn Street]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:49:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/220*120/sinkhole-Brooklyn-NY-0804.jpg

A giant sinkhole opened up in a Brooklyn intersection Tuesday morning, halting traffic on the busy roadway.

The sinkhole swallowed up most of the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 64th Street in Sunset Park at about 8 a.m., according to the Office of Emergency Management.

Traffic on Fifth Avenue, one of Sunset Park's busiest roadways, has been diverted while crews work to repair the gaping hole.

No injuries were immediately reported.

It wasn't clear if the sinkhole was related to severe storms that passed through the region early Tuesday.

<![CDATA[Woman Who Reported $1k Stolen Lost Money in Drug Deal: Cops]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 04:38:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/drug+deal+gone+wrong+li.jpg

A Long Island woman who reported $1,000 had been stolen from her lost the money in a drug transaction, police said.

Nicole Deluca, 24, told Franklin Borough Police that a man had taken more than $1,000 from her on June 26. But when authorities investigated further, they found woman had lost the money during a narcotics sale, cops say.

Deluca is accused of filing a false police report.

Police also arrested Ronald W. Sahli, 47, for taking the money. He is charged with one count of theft.

It wasn’t clear if either had an attorney.

Photo Credit: Suffolk County Police]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTO: ’Triple Washed’ Spinach Had Dead Frog, Woman Claims]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:03:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/knbc-frog-in-spinach.jpg

A woman claims she found a dead frog in a package of organic baby spinach she bought at a Southern California market over the weekend.

Donna Souza of Covina said she was making herself a salad for dinner when she noticed the frog's legs tucked between the leaves.

The spinach, packaged by Taylor Farms, was purchased at Sam's Club in Glendora, she said. The label on the package says the leaves are "triple washed & ready to enjoy."

A quality assurance director at Taylor Farms sent Souza a letter of apology.

Sam's Club did not immediately return a request for comment. Sam's Club managers told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that there weren't other reports of frogs appearing in spinach packages.

"I can't eat salad anymore for fear a dead animal will be inside," Souza wrote on Facebook.

The Taylor Farms quality control director explained that a malfunctioning laser scanner may have allowed the frog to pass through its screening process, according to a letter written by Kari Valdés, director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance at Taylor Farms. Souza sent the letter to NBC Los Angeles.

The company is reviewing what went wrong in this instance, Valdés wrote. "I would like to personally extend my deepest apology for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Photo Credit: Donna Souza]]>
<![CDATA[Cops Seek ID of Woman Whose Bones Were Found on LI]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 04:17:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/setauket+remains+found.jpg

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman whose bones were found on Long Island earlier this year.

The woman’s remains were found on March 22 on the Greenway Bicycle Path in East Setauket.

Authorities said the remains had likely been there for about a year.

Suffolk County police say a hiker discovered the skeletal remains after observing deer gathered at the spot. They say the remains were about 20 feet off the path and were not visible from the trail.

The woman is believed to have been between 30 to 50 years old and between 5’3” and 5’9”.

Suffolk police were also seeking to ID a man whose body was found in a wooded area in East Patchogue last month. His body was found in a beige Kelty tent northeast of Swan Lake Drive and Franklin Street on July 30. 

The man's cause of death was ruled non-criminal. He was about 5'5" to 5'6" and had a thin build. He's believed to be between 45 and 60 years old.

Police say he was living there for about a year and was often seen biking in the area wearing a red bandana.

Anyone with information on either case is asked to call detectives at 631-852-6392 or Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.

<![CDATA[Man Treads Water for 4 Hours in Sea]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 07:34:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/philadelphia-ness.jpg

A fisherman who was thrown overboard and was forced to tread water for about four hours amid a powerful storm off New Jersey’s coast Saturday night said the love for his wife and two young sons kept him alive.

"I just couldn't picture the next day somebody coming to tell them I'm not going to be home anymore because I knew it would ruin their lives," Damian Sexton told NBC10 in Philadelphia as he fought back tears. "And I love them too much for that."

Sexton, 45, was on a 40-foot fishing boat with his friend about 44 miles east of Cape May, New Jersey, when they got caught in a storm. 

"The boat went this way and I fell right out," Sexton said. "It was a big thunderstorm, giant bolts of lightning, just waves that were huge."

Sexton's friend, who was still on the boat, made a mayday call to the Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay but was unable to stop the vessel. 

"I didn't have a chance to show him how to operate the autopilot," Sexton said. "So I think that's the reason the boat kept going."

Sexton, who didn't have a life jacket on, was left stranded in the middle of the storm. Desperate to survive and make it home to his family, Sexton started swimming, following a container ship for about ten miles. 

"The wind was so bad," Sexton said. "It was blowing me back or it was blowing the ship away from me."

Unable to feel his legs and his arms cramping up, Sexton admits he began to feel hopeless. 

"I coughed water out of my lungs so many times and all I would have had to do was take one breath of water and it was over," he said.

Fortunately for Sexton, help was on the way. The Coast Guard launched a C-130 "Hercules" aircraft from the Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Air Station and an MH-65 "Dolphin" helicopter from the Atlantic City Air Station. A boat crew from the Cape May Coast Guard Station joined in the rescue effort as well. They located Sexton around 2 a.m. Sunday and threw him a life preserver so he could get back onto his boat until the rescue crew could take him for medical help. 

When the helicopter arrived, crews hoisted Sexton aboard and flew him to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City for treatment. The incredible rescue was captured on video.

"He was wrapped up on a blanket on his couch and was just seizing and convulsing," said Christopher Lynch, the Coast Guard member in the video who grabbed Sexton. 

Sexton is alive and doing well, thanks to the heroic efforts of the Coast Guard as well as the love of his family that inspired him to fight for his survival. 

"I love him more than anything," Sexton's wife Robin told NBC10. "I mean that with every ounce of my body."

Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[Severe Weather Causes Suspensions on LIRR's Port Jefferson Branch]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:39:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lirr+generic.jpg

Severe storms Tuesday morning caused intermittent suspensions along the Long Island Railroad's Port Jefferson branch, MTA officials say.

Downed trees caused suspensions on stretches of the rail line between Port Jefferson and Huntington throughout the morning. 

As crews worked to clear trees, different sections were shut down, while some parts were restored. Some platform signs were also damaged during the severe weather.

The MTA suggests commuters use Ronkonkoma Branch trains, which are making all local stops between Ronkonkoma and Deer Park before continuing to Jamaica Station. 

It's still not clear when full service will resume on the Port Jefferson line. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dramatic Images Show Crippling Aftermath of NY Storms]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:49:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lightning+strike+ugc.jpg A powerful storm caused havoc on the north shore of Long Island Aug. 3. Storms also thrashed New York City overnight. ]]> <![CDATA[Sandra Bland's Family Files Lawsuit]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:36:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/sandra_bland_5_0d94fc2cb66771514770db7b47a5bbab.nbcnews-fp-1200-800.jpg

The family of Sandra Bland filed a lawsuit against the trooper who arrested her and others they say are responsible for the suburban Chicago woman’s death in a Texas jail cell.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Houston against Trooper Brian Encinia and “others responsible for the death of Sandra Bland,” including the Waller County Sheriff and two jailers, according to the family’s attorney.

"The reason we filed a lawsuit today is because candidly we were unable to get any of the answers that we have been asking for for weeks," said attorney Cannon Lambert. "We are looking to hold the people accountable for her being stopped, and mistreated and who are ultimately responsible for her death."

Bland, a 28-year-old Chicago-area woman, was found dead in her Waller County jail cell on July 13, three days after her arrest. Officials say she used a plastic bag to hang herself, a finding her family has questioned.

"I am still confident in the fact that [Sandra] knew enough about Jesus that she would not take herself out," said Bland's mother Geneva Reed-Veal. "Anything is possible, I wasn't there, but as a mother my inner is telling me that she did not do it. I am the first to tell you that if the facts show without a doubt that that was the case, I’ll have to be prepared to deal with that, but the bottom line is she never should have been inside of the jail."

Lambert said the family, despite their attempts to obtain information, has not yet received details like Bland's time of death or police reports that were filed.

"I don't think it's unreasonable that we be seeking these things," he said. "Those are the types of things that we need in order for our independent investigation to be complete."

Bland's family and others have criticized Encinia, who stopped Bland for failing to signal a lane change. The family on Tuesday called for him to be "relieved" of his duties.

"We know that this type of thing can be done, that he can be relieved," Lambert said. "We're asking for bold, decisive action and that has not happened."

Dashcam video released by officials showed a confrontation between Bland and Encinia swiftly escalated after she objected to being told to put out her cigarette. Encinia at one point is seen holding a stun gun as he says, "I will light you up!" after Bland refuses to get out of her car. Bland, who was black, eventually was arrested for allegedly assaulting the white trooper.

Texas authorities said that Encinia violated procedures and the department's courtesy policy during the traffic stop and was placed on administrative leave.

"I've watched the video once and I will not watch it again," said Reed-Veal. "Anger, disgust, disappointment and sadness-- those are my feelings. I have chosen to channel those feelings in another way. Justice is going to be served, if the justice system will do what it's supposed to."

Some Texas politicians, including state Sen. Royce West, have said that Bland should not have been arrested in the first place.

Bland's death came after nearly a year of heightened national scrutiny of police and their dealings with black suspects, especially those who have been killed by officers or die in police custody.

"I have many people around me who are very angry and it’s rightfully so but we’re going to channel this the right way," said Reed-Veal.

According to his personnel file, Encinia was selected for the Trooper Trainee Academy in December 2013, joined the Department of Public Safety in June 2014 as a probationary trooper and completed his probation in June 2015, becoming a Highway Patrol trooper.

An initial toxicology report was released for Bland that two experts said raised the possibility that she may have used marijuana while in custody. Prosecutor Warren Diepraam has said information on her marijuana use may be relevant to the case in determining her state of mind.

A committee of outside attorneys will assist Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis in investigating Bland's death.

"I don't know if we'll ever get an answer to all the questions," said attorney Lewis White of Sugar Land, one of the committee members. "But our job is to get answers. There are going to be answers some people don't like."

The Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating the case.

"We have a young lady who was on her way to get groceries," said Bland's sister Sharon Cooper. "She ends up jailed, she ends up dying in police custody. We are three weeks out from her death, we are a week out from burying her and we still don't know what happened to her."

<![CDATA[MH370 Search: 3 Questions Experts Want Answered]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:33:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-482269752+%281%29.jpg

Investigators in Toulouse, France, who are analyzing a fragment of a jetliner found on the shores of Reunion Island in hopes of solving the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, will try to determine three things. 

Jean Paul Troadec — former head of the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis, France's counterpart to the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators will seek to pin down the origin of the flaperon. Experts are in agreement that the debris came from a Boeing 777 — and MH370 is the only such missing jetliner in the world.

Troadec said investigators also will be studying the debris to figure out how it detached from its aircraft.

The plane vanished without a trace on March 8, 2014 — and the debris discovered on Reunion was covered in barnacles. The investigators would also be on the lookout for other organisms that could also provide clues, according to The Associated Press.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2 Officers Injured After Patrol Car Struck During Traffic Stop: NYPD]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 05:50:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cops+hit+brooklyn.jpg

Two officers sustained minor injuries after their patrol car was rear-ended while making a traffic stop early Tuesday morning in Brooklyn, the NYPD said.

The officers were stopping a car by eastbound Belt Parkway and Erskine Street in East New York around 2:15 a.m. when they were hit, police said.

The officers were taken to Jamaica Hospital to be treated for neck and back pain.

The driver who hit the patrol car was placed in custody.

<![CDATA[Mother, Young Daughter Pulled From Dangerous Rip Current by Beachgoers]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 01:27:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rockaway+rescue.jpg

A young girl and her mother were rushed to the hospital after being rescued from rough surf by beachgoers in Queens Monday night.

Fire officials said they received calls of two people stuck in the rip current at Jacob Riis Beach in around 6:30 p.m.

Two men, Hannibal Paredes and Oscar Lowe, jumped into the water after they saw the victims waving their hands for help as the waves pulled them back.

“The girl that was unconscious, he gave her to me,” Lowe said. “I brought her to the front and first responders took over.”

Less than an hour earlier, a woman in her 60s was also rescued from rough surf at Far Rockaway Beach.

This marks the third day of dangerous water conditions that left one person dead and nearly two dozen in need of rescue at area beaches. Kashawn Carlos, 23, was killed Saturday after he and a friend were pulled out to sea by a rip current at Long Beach.

Rip currents are the result of water rushing out in one area of a beach. They were especially rough this weekend. There was a high rip current risk alert through Monday.

Beach supervisor John Skudin compared the rough waters to a treadmill in the ocean.

“You tire and just go backwards and backwards,” Skudin said.

<![CDATA[Legionnaires' Death Toll Rises to 7; 81 Cases Reported]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:30:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/meeting+overlay+legionnaires.jpg

Three more people have died of Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx in an outbreak that has claimed seven lives in total and hospitalized more than 60 people, the New York City Health Department said Monday as hundreds of residents met with health experts and state and city officials at a town hall meeting to get answers.

Eighty-one cases of the disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the south Bronx since July 10, city officials said. That's 23 new cases since Wednesday, when 46 cases were announced as health officials first discussed the outbreak. The seven patients who died had underlying health conditions, authorities said.

As word of new deaths spread Monday, Bronx residents packed a town hall meeting at the Bronx Museum of the Arts to hear what state, city and local officials, as well as health experts, had to say about the deadly outbreak.

"We are not at a level of panic, but anxiety is really high," Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said at the meeting.

Lines were out the door and at least 75 people had to stand outside because there was no room inside. Many were concerned about the growing number of dead. They also wanted to know what's being done to stop the spread of the disease.

"There's more questions than answers to this disease that's going around," South Bronx resident Renita Henry said. "I'm scared, yes, because it's right in my backyard."

Three people were released from the hospital Monday, bringing the total number of people discharged up to 28, according to the Health Department.

Officials announced the death of a fourth person on Saturday. The news came as two more Bronx buildings tested positive for the Legionella bacteria.

A Verizon office building at 117 E. 167th St. was the fourth location to test positive, according to Verizon spokesman John Bonomo. Streamline Plastic Co. at 2590 Park Ave. was the fifth location to test positive. Since the announcement, remediation and removal of the contaminants have been completed at both locations, officials said Monday. Verizon said that it would perform checks on all cooling systems at all its facilities in the Bronx.

"Over the weekend we did remediation, we decontaminated and everything got cleaned up today," Streamline Plastic Co. President Joe Bartner said, adding that the company looks to be back in operation on Tuesday.

The cases have been reported primarily in High Bridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point and Mott Haven since July 10, the Health Department said.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella; in most cases, people are exposed to the bacteria by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers and faucets or drinking water.

Twenty-two buildings have been visited as "disease detectives" hunt for the source of the outbreak, the city said Friday. Seventeen of those buildings have cooling towers -- five of those tested positive for Legionella, including one at Lincoln Hospital; one at Concourse Plaza, a shopping plaza; and one at the Opera House Hotel.

"Whatever's in the atmosphere gets pulled into the cooling tower, so there's a lot more dirt and debris and areas that organisms can grow in," Pete Stempkowski, of Clarity Water Technologies, said.

In addition to the Verizon location and plastic company, remediation has also been completed at the other three locations that tested positive: Lincoln Hospital, Concourse Plaza and the Opera House Hotel. The Department of Health said it resampled all sites Monday and would sample them again on Tuesday to make sure that the remediation was successful.

"The reason we sampled those towers is because those are the ones closest to where the people are getting sick," Dr. Jay Varma, of the Health Department, said. "We know with this disease it's not going to be from a cooling tower that's 10 miles away." 

Mayor de Blasio and Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said at a briefing Thursday there was no evidence of contamination within Lincoln Hospital, and though the hospital confirmed it is treating patients with the disease, Bassett said no one -- neither patients nor employees -- contracted it at the facility.

Since the cases are widely dispersed — as in they're not clustered in one or two buildings —authorities do not believe the outbreak is connected to any contaminated drinking water, Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said at a news briefing Thursday.

"The water supply in the south Bronx remains entirely safe. We don't know the source of this outbreak, but in recent months we have seen outbreaks associated with cooling towers and that's why we're focusing on them," Bassett said. "We're testing every cooling tower we can find in the area."

Both de Blasio and Bassett stressed there was no concern for alarm.

"People have to understand that this is a disease that can be treated -- and can be treated well if caught early," de Blasio said Thursday. "The exception can be with folks who are already unfortunately suffering from health challenges, particularly immune system challenges. But for the vast majority of New Yorkers, if they were even exposed, this can be addressed very well and very quickly so long as they seek medical treatment."

Legionnaires' disease usually sets in two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and has symptoms similar to pneumonia, including shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaires' also experience appetite loss, confusion, fatigue and muscle aches.

It cannot be spread person-to-person and those at highest risk for contracting the illness include the elderly, cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung or immune system disease and those receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

The Health Department urges anyone with symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

An outbreak last hit the Bronx in December. Between then and January, 12 people in Co-op City contracted the potentially deadly disease. Officials said a contaminated cooling tower was likely linked to at least 75 percent of those cases. No one died in that outbreak.

<![CDATA[Is Homelessness on the Rise in NYC?]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 23:02:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/homeless+in+nyc.jpg Many New Yorkers say they are seeing more homeless people in their neighborhoods. Now there appears to be some disagreement over whether street homelessness is up. City homeless officials insist it is not and that the warm weather is causing a perception of rising homelessness. Melissa Russo reports.]]> <![CDATA[Mom Killed Dad, Daughter: Police]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 12:31:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Cheyanne-Jessie-thumb.jpg

A central Florida woman is set to appear in court Monday after authorities say she shot and stabbed her father and 6-year-old daughter and left their bodies in plastic bins in her landlord's shed.

According to a report from NBC affiliate WFLA, 25-year-old Cheyanne Jessie, of Lakeland, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of tampering with evidence in death of her father, 50-year-old Mark Weekly, and her 6-year-old daughter, Meredith Jessie.

Weekly and the girl were last seen on July 18th at his Lakeland home. According to reports, Meredith was left in her grandfather's care. The two were reported missing Saturday by a family member.

In a press conference Sunday, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said Jessie killed her daughter over concerns that the child would interfere with her relationship with her boyfriend.

Authorities have not determined the motive behind the killing of her father.

Neighbors told WFLA that Jessie would often complain about her daughter's behavior, but said that the child did not have issue while in the care of her grandfather.

Deputies say that after Jessie murdered her father and daughter, she watched an episode of the television show "Criminal Minds" which gave her the idea to get rid of the bodies by stuffing them in plastic bins. Jessie then moved the bodies to her landlord's shed in the yard.

The decomposing bodies were discovered Sunday.

Jessie remains at the Polk County Jail. It is not known if she has hired an attorney.

Photo Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Boat Parade Honors Missing Fla Teen]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 07:19:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/080315+jupiter+parade.jpg

A boat parade sailed along the coast of Jupiter, Florida, Monday evening in a show of support for two teenagers missing from the town since they took a boat to sea more than a week ago.

The gathering of hundreds, all holding onto hope that search-and-rescue teams find Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, who have now been missing for more than ten days.

"We're hoping and we're praying. It's a pretty small town and so I guess we're just hoping and praying for a miracle," said Heather Popi, who attended the parade.

The parading boats pushed through the water where the teens were last seen, as people holding candles lined the shore. Coast Guard teams scoured almost 50,000 square nautical miles off the Florida coast, finding their capsized boat but no sign of the boys.

Orlando Paz has been following the developments, from the private searches that took over for the Coast Guard, stretching from Florida to the Carolinas, to how this community copes.

"Even though I'm from Miami, I come here a lot. People here in this town– you feel so together and you feel the pain," Paz said.

Total strangers have been united by sorrow and faith, and families like Heather Wood's held each other tight, hoping they'll never be forced to let go.

"I live in Jupiter and I want to support our town and having two young kids, try to get them to understand what could happen, you know, if they were missing," Wood said.

The rescue fund Kickstarter for Perry and Austin stood at over $450,000 Monday night, about 80 percent of the families' goal. The fund pays for resources that keep planes and boats searching the sea for the boys.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Decapitation Suspect Was 'Trying to Get the Evil Out']]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 23:32:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mugshot13.jpg

As grim new details emerged on Monday about the Arizona man accused of decapitating his wife, officials released a video of Kenneth Wakefield's first court appearance in which he appeared to interrupt the proceedings with a startling shriek, NBC News reported.

Wakefield, 43, told police that he beheaded his wife, Trina Heisch, 49, because "he was trying to get the evil out of" her, according to a court document released Monday.

Police discovered Heisch's body in the couple's blood-soaked apartment on July 25, after a neighbor called 911. Officers also found several bloody knives in the apartment, the document says, and "Trina had multiple stab wounds to her torso along with defensive wounds to her hands and arms."

Photo Credit: Phoenix Police
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<![CDATA[Man Wanted in String of Queens Burglaries: Police]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 18:09:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/burglaries+flushing.jpg

A man is wanted in a string of commercial burglaries in Queens this summer, police say.

The man has allegedly targeted everywhere from a spa to a dentist's office in Flushing since May.

The man stole a Panasonic projector, wall screen and a speaker system from a business at 5 p.m. on May 24 after breaking in through a fourth floor window, according to police.

He struck again a little over a week later on June 3, breaking open a door at The Boss Dental around 8 p.m. and taking an undetermined amount of cash from the business, police said.

Then on June 13, the suspect allegedly forced a door open at King Spa just after 6 a.m. and took an undetermined amount of cash before taking off on foot.

A couple of weeks later on July 7, the suspect allegedly hit 3 places in one evening. First he broke open the front door at HT Insurance and stole cash around 5:30 p.m., before stealing more cash from Travel Inc. at 6:30 p.m. and an iPad from NM Travel at 7:50 p.m., police said.

Most recently, the suspect targeted an employment agency on August 2. Police say the suspect entered the business at 5 a.m. through a rear window, but didn't manage to steal anything. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

<![CDATA[Man Steals Chains on Trains, in Stations: Police]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 17:26:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/chains+trains+thief.jpg

Police are searching for a man who has been snatching necklaces off of women's necks as they ride the subway or wait in subway stations. 

The man has stolen at least three pieces of jewelry since mid July, according to police. All of the thefts have occurred in Brooklyn.

The first theft was on the platform of the Alabama Avenue station in East New York just after 8 a.m. The suspect sat next to a 26-year-old woman, snatched the chain from around her neck and ran from the station, police said.

The man struck again on July 26 around 9:30 a.m. at the Chauncey Street station in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Police say the man walked up to a 20-year-old woman, grabbed the chain from around her neck and took off.

The most recent theft happened just before 10 a.m. on July 31 at the Utica Avenue station in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The man snatched the chain from around a 41-year-old woman's neck as she waited in a subway train, police said. He then took off on foot as the subway car's doors opened.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

<![CDATA[13-Year-Old Girl Breaks Pelvis, Another Hurt in Tube Crash]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:51:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Boat-LI-Sound-Crash-0802.jpg

Two 13-year-old girls were hospitalized, one with a broken pelvis, after the water tube they were being pulled on in the Long Island Sound Sunday smashed into the side of a 69-foot yacht, throwing them face down into the water, authorities say. 

Police say the girls were on a two-person tube being pulled by a Nautica rubberized ribber tender, which is a smaller, inflatable motorized boat, off Jennings Beach in Connecticut's Fairfield County around 4:30 p.m.

Minutes into the ride, their tube slammed into the side of the yacht and they were flung, unconscious, according to police, into the water. People aboard the yacht, including the father of one of the victims, jumped into the water to rescue the two girls and brought them onto the bigger boat.

A chilling 911 call documents the fear and panic of the people on board the yacht.

"We're in the water -- someplace, where are we, Connecticut? The kids hit the boat, they were tubing and she's unconscious," the panicked caller tells the 911 operator, according to the call obtained by NBC 4 New York.

As the 911 caller tries to assess the situation and the location of the boat, the female caller fumbles around for words then clarifies, "Two kids unconscious, there's two unconscious kids."

The girls were still unconscious when the Fairfield Police Marine Unit responded to the emergency call, authorities say.

The teenagers remained in the hospital Monday. One of the girls is walking, while the other is recovering from a broken pelvis. The full extent of their injuries remains unknown but they were conscious Monday.

One of the girls is from Long Island; the other is from North Carolina, authorities said.

The yacht owner was driving the boat that was pulling them on the tube, authorities said; the smaller boat goes with the larger yacht, which is registered in Miami. The yacht owner is from Long Island. Details on his identity weren't clear, but he appears to be related to the two victims, officials said.

Authorities say alcohol is not believed to have been involved in the accident and no charges have been filed.

Last year, a 16-year-old high school student died and another suffered a serious leg injury after they fell while tubing on Long Island Sound and were hit by the boat towing them.

Police said that the driver of the boat was properly licensed with a boating safety certificate and described the scene as a "tragic accident." Alcohol did not appear to be a factor, according to police.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Disabled Students Shackled for Misbehaving: Lawsuit]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 22:26:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/string_out_2-00_01_01_06-still001_0_6843b418d66cd65d609c00e14ac56b8d.nbcnews-ux-600-480.jpg

A sheriff's deputy in Kentucky illegally shackled two disabled children in a school after they misbehaved, a lawsuit filed Monday in federal district court claims, NBC News reported

Video posted by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the children, showed one of the encounters, which involved an 8-year-old boy and a sheriff's deputy who was working as a resource officer at Latonia Elementary School, just south of Cincinnati.

The boy, who is identified in the lawsuit as S.R. and has been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to the complaint, was sent to the vice principal's office in November 2013 after experiencing "disability-related difficulties complying" with his teacher.

Video footage from the office shows the deputy, Kevin Sumner, placing the boy's hands behind his back and handcuffing his biceps.

The lawsuit, which names Sumner and the Kenton County Sheriff's Office as defendants, is requesting policy changes and unspecified damages.

Pat Morgan, chief deputy with the Kenton County Sheriff, declined to discuss specifics of the suit, saying he had only just learned of it. "We're going to talk to our attorney," he told NBC News. 

Photo Credit: ACLU]]>
<![CDATA['Easy Transition': Older Pets Become Instant Companions ]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:01:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Captain_Reynolds.jpg

Alba and Steven King never thought of adopting a cat — they'd always wanted a dog — so it certainly never crossed their mind to adopt an older feline companion.

But when they went to a New York City shelter in November to check on a sick stray they had brought in a few days earlier, they ended up taking home a 10-year-old cat who meowed his way into their hearts.

“When we walked in the room where there was a wall of cages, he came over to the door of his cage and was meowing at us”, Alba King, 27, said of the cat. “He was the only one trying to get our attention." 

The couple felt an immediate connection with Andrew, whom they renamed Captain Reynolds after a character in a TV series “Firefly,” and knew their apartment in Queens allowed the pets. But when King found out the cat was 10, she immediately called her mom and brother to get their opinion on adopting an older cat.

“The first thing they said to me was ‘why are you getting an old pet?’ That’s what everyone said to me,” she said.

King worried, too, that Captain Reynolds might get sick soon and die next year. But the staff at Animal Care Centers of NYC in Brooklyn put her at ease and explained that a cat’s life expectancy is 15 to 20 years.

“I looked at him and then I realized that kittens are a lot of work, they are very playful and they change when they grow up, whereas with Captain Reynolds, what I was seeing is what I was getting,” said King.

Animal shelters across the U.S. are filled with healthy older dogs and cats in need of a home. Animal care professional urge those thinking about picking up a pet from a local shelter to not look past older cats and dogs because they need families, too. 

“Unfortunately, the older animals and seniors are often overlooked because people are excited to adopt puppies and kittens,” said Jessica Vaccaro, adoption manager at Animal Care Centers of NYC, which takes in more than 30,000 animals each year. “We hope to encourage people to come and see these wonderful, mature animals-- animals that are often already trained, often used to living in a household.”

Adopting an older pet is as practical as it is gratifying, experts say. There are fewer surprises with older pets because you’ll know their full-grown size, personality and grooming needs. They are often already trained and calmer than youngsters.

Older dogs are not necessarily “problem dogs” — they can end up at the shelter for a number of reasons, including their owner going through a job loss or move. 

Elizabeth Hendrix, 67, of Manhattan, had been considering adopting a dog when her granddaughter sent her a photo of 13-year-old Max, a 91-pound Swiss mountain mix who ended up at the Animal Care Centers of NYC in Harlem because his owner was unable to care for him. Hendrix went to meet Max in mid-July and brought him home the same day after he refused to go back in his cage at the shelter.

“He had a very sad look in his eyes, like 'why am I here?'” said Hendrix, who already has a 3-year-old terrier mix named Molly. “I couldn’t see him being euthanized; he needed to live out his final days as comfortable and as loved as possible.”

Hendrix said the benefit of adopting an older pet is that “they already have all their little problems out of the way: they’re already trained, house broken, they don’t chew things up."

"The main thing is they just need to be loved,” she added.

She said less than one week after the adoption, Max became her instant companion. He follows her everywhere she goes.

Not all senior pets are so lucky when it comes to finding home. Cherie Wachter, vice president of marketing at the Humane Society of Broward County in Florida, said puppies and kittens there get adopted very quickly, but older pets linger in the shelter for weeks.

In early June, she had two 7-year-old-dogs, a little dog named Nacho and a shepherd mix named Roxy, available for adoption. She said they lived in the same household and are very attached, so they’d have to be adopted together. No one had expressed any interest at that time, even though they are potty trained.

Wachter said people looking for pets often don’t realize how much work and patience little puppies require. 

"I wish more people opened up their hearts and homes to mature pets,” she said.

Emily Huetson, animal welfare director at On Angel’s Wings in Crystal Lake, Illinois, also finds that older pets are a better fit for many families. She said qualities more typical of older animals, such as a calm demeanor and less destructive nature, often come up when the shelter asks potential puppy owners what qualities they are looking for in a pet.

"What they want is the qualities we have in our 8-year-old dogs," Huetson said.

She said the shelter encourages families with young children and seniors to adopt older pets since they are already trained. In addition to providing information about the dog's personality and history, she encourages families and children to meet and interact with the seniors pets. 

"They just kind of sit there with sad eyes,"  said Huetson. "They don’t know why they're in the cage."

Many potential pet owners are worried that adopting an older pet can mean high vet bills, but experts say that is not always the case. Sometimes a shelter will have medical records that can help owners make an informed decision about possible health issues. Either way, experts recommend a full vet visit -- including a geriatric workup -- soon after the adoption is complete. 

King learned that Captain Reynolds was allergic to some foods, so he’s on a special diet now that does cost a little more every month. He also had to have 16 of his teeth taken out because he spent so many years as a street cat without dental care and is now left with only one fang. King discussed the potential costs of teeth extraction with a vet and, since it wasn't a life-threatening condition, she was able to save up for a few months to cover the $373 bill. She said a kitten “could’ve grown up to have the same problems just maybe a little later.”

At Operation Kindness in Carrollton, Texas, a permanent foster care program eliminates concerns over vet bills. Anyone who adopts an older pet form the shelter can return there to get medical care for their pet for free, according to CEO Jim Hanophy.

“That takes worry off the table for some people,” he said. “People underestimate the length of time an animal can live. If an animal is healthy when they are 12 they will probably be healthy till the end."

For King, Captain Reynolds’ age is just a number and she said from now on she’ll  adopt older pets.

“It was such an easy transition,” King said. "He’s just really relaxed, he’ll take a nap on a couch, he’ll take a nap on a windowsill. I didn’t have to turn my life upside down to have a companion.”

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<![CDATA[Gusty Thunderstorms Possible Monday as Humidity Rises]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 15:43:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/top+of+rock+view.jpg

Scattered, gusty thunderstorms are expected to move into the region -- up near the Catskills and Poconos -- during Monday's evening rush, bringing hail, lightning and heavy downpours before they move toward the city, Storm Team 4 says. 

Most of the thunderstorms are expected to weaken before they hit the midtown area, Storm Team 4 says, but heavy downpours are still possible. Temperatures were expected to peak around 90 degrees in midtown, above the average high of 84 degrees, amid increasing humidity. 

An isolated thunderstorm is also possible Tuesday, but the bulk of the day looks dry and hot, Storm Team 4 says. Humidity levels will fall in the afternoon.

Dry weather continues Wednesday with highs in the middle 80s. 

Cooler weather builds later in the week, with temperatures sticking in the 70s on Thursday. Rain may develop late Thursday into part of Friday depending on the track of a storm to the south.

The weekend looks pleasant with temperatures in the lower 80s under a mix of clouds and sunshine.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[NJ 'American Idol' Hopeful Dies in Crash After Audition]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:47:04 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/217*120/95+Accident1.JPG

An "American Idol" hopeful from New Jersey died and five friends were injured when their SUV flipped in a high-speed crash on Interstate 95 in Pennsylvania Sunday as they returned from the reality show audition, police said.

The friends were on their way back to their New Jersey homes after attending "American Idol" auditions held at Temple University's Liacouras Center in Philadelphia when the driver lost control after passing another vehicle on the shoulder at a high rate of speed, police say a preliminary investigation reveals.

Their SUV moved from the right northbound shoulder across both northbound lanes and into the center grass median of I-95, where it flipped and rolled over several times, according to the police report. Three of the six people in the car were ejected from the vehicle upon impact; by the time authorities arrived after getting the 6:45 p.m. call, all six were lying in various spots outside the SUV.

The woman who auditioned for "American Idol" earlier that day, Natasha Bellott, of Bloomfield, and a friend, 19-year-old Leslie McCoy, of Montclair, were taken to Saint Mary's Medical Center by ambulance. Bellott was pronounced dead at the hospital; she had just turned 20 years old.

Police said Bellott still had her "American Idol" ticket in her pocket.

"Her idol was Justin Bieber. She loved him," Yesenia Nieves, who said she met Bellott two years ago through friends, told NBC 4 New  York on Twitter. "She was such a loving person -- always had a smile on her face. You would never have a dull moment with her." 

McCoy was admitted for a head injury and fractured ribs. The other four people in the car were taken to Capital Health Hospital in Trenton for injuries that were not believed to be life threatening. Those victims include Jacob Gorski, 18, of East Orange, Carol Delpolito, 24, of Bloomfield, a 16-year-old girl from Bloomfield and a 17-year-old girl from Bloomfield, police say.

NBC10 in Philadelphia has reached out to "Idol" for comment.

Photo Credit: PennDOT Traffic Camera]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Officer Who Killed Michael Brown: Ferguson Not Racist]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 16:40:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/141124-darren-wilson-2250.jpg

The former police officer whose killing of Michael Brown sparked riots in Ferguson, Missouri, a year ago, says he hasn't read the U.S. Justice Department's report detailing the city's systemic racism and has no plan to, according to a profile of him in the New Yorker, NBC News reported.

"I don't have any desire," Darren Wilson told the magazine. "I'm not going to keep living in the past about what Ferguson did. It's out of my control."

The article is the first in-depth look at Wilson's life since the Aug. 9, 2014, shooting, for which he was exonerated of criminal wrongdoing but remains the target of a wrongful death lawsuit. It marks his first public remarks since last November, when he was interviewed by ABC News.

Wilson, 29, declined to talk about his shooting of Brown, citing the pending lawsuit. He repeated what he told ABC, saying: "I did my job that day."

Wilson also said that he saw instances of biased policing in Ferguson, but denied it was systemic.

Photo Credit: St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Man, 66, Accused of Aggravated Sex Assault on 4-Year-Old Boy]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:03:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/RUSSELL+CORTESE.jpg

A 66-year-old New Jersey man was arrested for the alleged aggravated sexual assault of a 4-year-old boy.

Russell Cortese, of Jersey City, was arrested Sunday stemming from information the child provided to police in the course of the investigation, authorities said.

A spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's office told The Star-Ledger Cortese and the victim knew each other. Cortese allegedly assaulted him Saturday. Additional details weren't available.

Cortese was arrested Sunday in Point Pleasant Borough, where he was visiting.

Bail was set at $150,000 for Cortese, who was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>