<![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 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:50:45 -0400 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:50:45 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Robber Opens Fires When Victim Tries to Grab Gun: Police]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:00:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/freeport-robbery.JPG

A Long Island woman walking home Wednesday afternoon says a masked, armed man followed her and demanded money, then opened fire when she tried to grab the gun from him, police said. 

There were no injuries after the gunfire at the home on Randall Avenue in Freeport.

Police and neighbors say the victim and her husband told them a masked man with a gun followed her home from the Baldwin train station, demanding she retrieve money from her house.

Before going inside her home, the victim made a grab for the gun, but the robber got it back, she told police. As she tried to run away, he opened fire.

Neighbors said they heard two gunshots, and one next-door neighbor told NBC 4 New York the victim ran to her door after the shots were fired, scared that she'd been hit by a bullet.

"I heard the screaming, sounded like it was in my living room," said Lorri MacQueen. "She's like, 'am I shot, am I shot?'"

There were no wounds on the victim, who neighbors say is a mother of a 14-year-old boy and runs a day care center.

A man at the victim's home declined to speak to reporters.

Police haven't said whether they've identified a suspect.

<![CDATA[NJ Koreans Hopes for Miracle in Ferry Disaster]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:00:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nj+koreans+reax+ferry.jpg

In Korean coffee shops and restaurants on Broad Avenue in Palisades Park, N.J., the South Korean ferry disaster 7,000 miles away seems to be on everyone's mind. 

"It's definitely big news," said student Joe Kim. "I woke up this morning and the first thing my roommate said was, 'Did you hear?'"

"It's very saddening," he added. 

The devastating image of the capsized vessel off the coast of South Korea is on the front page of the Korean-language newspaper and on continuous breaking-news coverage on local Korean television.

Survivors told Korean media there was a loud bang, and then the ferry headed toward the tropical Jeju Island lost control and began to sink. One student told reporters at the scene that he and his friends asked if they should escape but an announcement urged them to stay still. 

Almost 200 people were rescued by dozens of helicopters and boats, including a U.S. Navy ship, but almost 300 more remain missing. The 160,000 members of New Jersey's Korean American community are watching and waiting to see if the tragic accident involves any of their family or friends. 

The pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Palisades Park says he will ask his congregants to pray for a miracle. 

"There might be a lot of survivors and hopefully the rescue team will find them and rescue as many as they can," said Rev. Do Il Kim. 

-- Jen Maxfield contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[4 Teens Expelled After Confederate Flag, Blackface ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:12:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/022014-school_generic.jpg
Four Catholic high school students on Long Island have been expelled after two senior boys brought a Confederate flag to a school event and two sophomore girls posted a blackface photo on social media, the school said.
The two events were separate, according to Gary Cregan, principal of St. Anthony's High School.
The boys allegedly brought the flag to a school gathering on April 9. Teachers immediately took it away, and the students were suspended.
Two days later on Friday, the girls posted a photo of one of them in blackface, along with racist language, the school confirmed.
In a letter to parents on Friday about the flag incident, Cregan said the use of symbol "designed to revive past injustices or to inflame discrimination or racial intolerance is completely unacceptable and profoundly offensive."

"St. Anthony's will always demand acceptance and respect for all races, religions and cultures," he wrote. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Franco, O'Dowd in "Of Mice and Men"]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:40:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/MiceITW.jpg

Celebrated director Anna D. Shapiro pulls no punches in her savage take on “Of Mice and Men,” the American lit classic about migrant farmhands in Depression-era California, now open at the Longacre Theatre. It certainly helps that she has two gifted performers as her leading men, James Franco and Chris O’Dowd, both making memorable debuts.

As matters get underway, George Milton (Franco) and Lennie Small (O’Dowd) are quarreling over the dead mouse Lennie has in his pocket. It’s soft, and it’s Lennie’s pet, and we see the sadness in O’Dowd’s eyes when Franco hurls the creature into a river.

That moment sends a clear signal: the prevalent theme in this staging is our need for companionship. We see it in the way a farmhand’s wife (Leighton Meester, of TV’s “Gossip Girl”) seeks attention in a room of rambunctious men, and in the symbiotic relationship between George and Lennie. But it’s most evident in the ways animals are worked into this production, the play’s first Broadway revival in four decades.

Witness the stillness that descends upon the audience when Carlson, a determined fieldworker (Joel Marsh Garland), separates the old one-armed farmhand (Jim Norton, a Tony-winner for “The Seafarer”) from his precious mutt, who “stinks like hell.” A good 30 seconds or so—it feels like forever—elapses between the time Carlson walks the dog outside, and the gunshot we know is coming. The moment here is played for all the tension Shapiro can wring out of it, and it foreshadows things to come for George, a savvy man of the world, and Lennie, a gentle giant with no sense of his strength.

It’s O’Dowd (the doughy Irish actor and comic, of “Bridesmaids”), as Lennie, who has the hardest job. We need only to see the easygoing way he cradles a newborn puppy to understand his characterization. His Lennie is a human being of emotional intelligence, whose overwhelming feelings often get the better of him. O’Dowd gives an endearing interpretation of a mentally addled man who wants nothing more than “to live off the fat of the land.”

Franco, the performer-director-writer-teacher—geez, he’s such a multitasker that he even appears in a Gucci ad on the back of the Playbill—is such a cult object that I feared his presence would throw the characters out of equilibrium. My fears were unwarranted, because he gives such an understated and natural performance.

Case in point, the way Franco’s George reacts when Lennie gets worked up about the still-imaginary rabbits they would one day have on their farm. Instead of calming his hysterical friend, Franco leans back on his chair and makes a noise, an imitation of a screeching cat. This George respects Lennie enough to engage in that most intimate of friendship rituals: teasing.

Meester also makes her Broadway debut, as “Curley’s wife,” a character so devoid of identity that she doesn’t warrant a first name. Dressed like a 1930s starlet, she is merely flirty when she pops in to the workers’ bunkhouse, “jus lookin’ for somebody to talk to.” But she reveals a sweetness and openness in the second act, sitting with Lennie in the barn, as she invites him to touch her hair.

A half-dozen supporting players are all distinguished, in particular Jim Parrack, as Slim, the even-keeled “jerkline skinner,” who understands the relationship between George and Lennie, and Ron Cephas Jones as Crooks, a black stablehand segregated from his coworkers, whose appearance in the first scene illustrates that financial woes weren’t the only themes Steinbeck explored in his 1937 work (the play was written alongside the novella).

The story’s two climactic gunshots—one at the end of each act—are so well-known that they’re in danger of being anticlimactic, but Shapiro knows how to draw out tension and play on the chemistry her characters have established to make them both utterly chilling. (Fans of “The Walking Dead” will discover a fascinating parallel here.) I left the theater desperately wishing things hadn’t gone as awry as they did.

“Of Mice and Men,” through July 27 at the Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. Tickets: $42-$135. Call Telecharge, 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Richard Phibbs]]>
<![CDATA[Plane Evacuated at JFK After Bomb Threat: Officials]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:50:00 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/JFK-airport.jpg

A plane was evacuated at John F. Kennedy International Airport Wednesday evening after a bomb threat was made, officials say.

Authorities cleared out United Airlines flight 5714 at 7:40 p.m. after officials received an alert for the threat, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The FBI searched the plane, officials say, but agents didn’t find anything. Passengers were allowed back on the plane, and all of the luggage on the plane was rescreened.

The plane took off for its destination, Dulles International Airport in Washington, at 9:45 p.m., officials say.

No arrests have been made.

Photo Credit: File Photo / AP]]>
<![CDATA[Nassau PD's New Record-Keeping System Inefficient, Costly, Critics Say]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 23:09:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/211*120/intergraph+nassau.JPG

When Nassau County lawmakers rolled out a $5.5 million electronic record-keeping system for their police department, they hoped it would save both time and money. Three years later, they claim that it has done just the opposite.

Lawmakers say the Intergraph records management system has cost millions in police overtime and kept cops behind desks when they should be on the street. And now, even before the old system has been fully implemented, they are about to ask for $4.3 million to replace it.

"This is a system that was a bad idea right from the beginning," said Nassau Police Benevolent Association President Jim Carver.

Carver said the Intergraph system was rife with problems from the beginning, slowing arrest processing time to around three hours -- many taking well over 12 hours -- and costing taxpayers a bundle.

Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter agreed that data entry started taking longer under the new system. Many facts had to be entered into the system multiple times, error messages popped up on screens unexplained, and the new software did not "communicate" with the department's old software, resulting in an unwieldy dual system.

"Every single day officers are earning overtime while they are processing arrests," Krumpter said.

Nassau Legislator David Denenberg (D-Merrick) said the Intergraph system has cost taxpayers much more than the $5.5 million initially laid out.

"I believe the costs are tens of millions more than that when you look at police overtime," he said.

Denenberg says in 2013, overtime hours were 18 percent over budget. He blames Intergraph.

The I-Team asked Intergraph what specific steps were taken to help make the software work for the Nassau Police. In response, the company released this statement:

"We have worked diligently with the department through every phase of the project to address any concerns. We remain committed to our customers."

Denenberg said he thinks the county should consider taking legal action against Intergraph.

"Let's recoup our taxpayers' money, that's the people's money," he said.

Krupter sad officials are considering all their options.

<![CDATA[Teens Who Shared Explicit Photos Arrested for Child Porn]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:49:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/texting-sexting.jpg

Two New Jersey teens are facing criminal charges after allegedly sharing nude photos of other teens, some of whom were engaging in sex acts, police said.

The Little Falls Police Department said Wednesday that a 16-year-old West Orange boy was arrested after he texted eight naked photos of a 17-year-old girl to a 16-year-old girlfriend from Little Falls.

That friend is then accused of showing the photos to others, and may have posted them on social media, police say. 

The girl is also believed to have sent other videos and photos of underage teens engaging in sex acts to other juveniles.

The teens are charged with endangering the welfare of a child by possessing child pornography. Both teens were released to the custody of their parents.

Police are urging parents to explain to their children that sending, taking and sharing of naked photos of juveniles is a crime. 


Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Robber Attacks Elderly Woman Eating Breakfast]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:49:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/201*120/nassau+county+police+car.jpg

A 92-year-old woman eating breakfast in her kitchen on Long Island was attacked by a robber who broke into her home and snatched jewelry from her neck Wednesday morning, police say. 

The man entered the woman's Carole Court home in North Valley Stream through an unlocked door at about 9:30 a.m., according to police. He grabbed the elderly victim's neck, removed a gold-colored necklace, and then ran away.

The necklace was recovered at the scene. Police say the woman was not hurt. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. 

<![CDATA[Teen Girl Attacked, Robbed of $1 in Subway Stairwell]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:47:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/girl-robbed-1-dollar.jpg

Police are looking for a man who approached a teen girl in an Upper West Side subway stairwell and tried to rob her before assaulting her and fleeing with $1.

The 15-year-old girl was entering the B and C subway station on 96th Street and Central Park West at about 10 a.m. Saturday, police said.

The suspect approached her and demanded her valuables.

He then assaulted her and took $1 from her jacket before fleeing.

Police released surveillance images of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

<![CDATA[Man Pulls Down Boy's Pants, Gropes Him in Bronx: Cops]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:51:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/forcible+touching+bronx+suspect.jpg
Police are looking for the man who pulled down a 13-year-old boy's pants in a Bronx building and touched his buttocks before the boy fought him off.

Authorities say the suspect assaulted the boy March 13 around 5:30 p.m. in the building near Boynton and Lafayette avenues in Soundview. The suspect ran off after the boy pushed him. 

The boy wasn't injured.

Police released a surveillance image of the suspect (above). 

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

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Another Measles Case Confirmed, Now 26 Affected]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:00:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/new+measles+photo.jpg

Another case of measles has been confirmed in New York City, bringing the total number of cases considered part of the outbreak that emerged in February to 26, the Health Department said Wednesday.

The outbreak remains centralized in upper Manhattan, the Health Department said, though cases have been identified in the Bronx, the Lower East Side and Brooklyn. It's not clear where the latest case was. 

Twelve children and 14 adults have tested positive for measles so far. An additional case was identified, but the Health Department said it was associated with foreign travel and unrelated to the outbreak.

The most recent case was identified more than two weeks after the last confirmed cases, and the Health Department is urging continued vigilance. Anyone older than 12 months who hasn't been vaccinated for measles should be as soon as possible, authorities say.

Measles is a viral infection characterized by a generalized rash and high fever, accompanied by cough, red eyes and runny nose, lasting five to six days. The illness typically begins with a rash on the face and then moves down the body, and may include the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. 

As many as one in three people with measles develop complications, which can be serious and may include pneumonia, miscarriage, brain inflammation, hospitalization and death. Infants, people who have a weakened immune system and non-immune pregnant women are at highest risk of severe illness and complications. 

Officials investigating the source of the outbreak are looking into whether it could have spread through exposure at medical facilities, including emergency rooms and doctor's offices.

Dr. Jay Varma, the Health Department's deputy commissioner for disease control, said last month the outbreak may have spread because workers in those medical facilities didn't recognize the symptoms quickly enough to isolate patients and prevent them from spreading it to others. 

Varma didn't specify any facilities where lapses may have occurred. He said exposure in such places was common, but since the outbreak wasn't localized to any specific group of people, it may be more challenging to contain.

In a statement Wednesday, Health Commissioner Mary Bassett urged people who suspect they may have the virus to contact their medical provider before going to a doctor, urgent care center or emergency room to avoid exposing others. Bassett also advised health facilities to educate staff about isolation protocol in suspected measles cases.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Snow in April? Tri-State Wakes Up to More White Stuff]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:21:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/snow+in+april1.jpg
Winter returned for a mid-April encore on Wednesday, dusting the tri-state area with a coating of snow that came with brutally cold temperatures and bitter winds.

Snow coated windshields in much of the five boroughs and in New Jersey as ice made roads slick and temperatures dipped near freezing overnight. Morning wind chills made it feel like 20 degrees, and both Islip and John F. Kennedy International Airport saw temperatures that tied record lows for the date. 

There wasn't much accumulation, but it was enough to have New Yorkers shaking their heads.

Forecasters say the snow should melt quickly Wednesday, but temperatures won't feel much warmer. Meteorologists predict a high of 50 degrees, though it'll feel like the 40s. The average high for April 16 is 62.

Another hard freeze is possible overnight Wednesday into Thursday, with temperatures dropping into the mid-to-upper 20s north and west of the city and into the mid-30s in midtown, forecasters say. 

The weather improves slightly by Thursday, when the sun should make a 51-degree day feel a bit warmer. We're stuck in the 50s through the rest of the week with a chance for patchy showers Friday afternoon along the coast.

Saturday brings another chance of showers, but Easter Sunday is expected to be beautiful, with temperatures rising above 60 degrees again amid sunny skies.
<![CDATA[$12M in Heroin, Meth Seized From Manhattan Stash Houses]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:55:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/handcuffs12.jpg
Authorities arrested three people in connection with an investigation into two suspected stash houses in Washington Heights from which authorities seized 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth, believed to have a street value of more than $12 million. 

Officials allege the suspects are members of a sophisticated drug trafficking ring based in two apartments in a building on Wadsworth Avenue that they used to house copious amounts of drugs for distribution in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other states.

They say the suspects chose the location because access to the George Washington Bridge, Interstate 95 and the RFK Triborough Bridge facilitated drug transit.

Authorities had been conducting surveillance for several days outside the Wadsworth Avenue apartment building and noticed the suspects repeatedly coming in and leaving with bags. On Monday, investigators trailed two of the suspects as they left the building and took them into custody several blocks away. A third suspect was arrested later.

Later that afternoon, investigators executed a search warrant at one of the suspected stash apartments and say they found $120,000 cash in a bedroom safe and 17 pounds of methamphetamine in a hidden compartment behind the wall of the bathroom. They found hollowed out shoes, which are often used to conceal narcotics.

Authorities also seized 100 grams of heroin from the pocket of a jacket inside a closet, multiple cellphones, drug ledgers and an electrical bill for another apartment in the same building.

Officials got a search warrant for the other apartment, to which two of the suspects had keys, and found a sophisticated counter-surveillance system inside. Two pinhole cameras recorded activity in the public hallway from end to end and fed the video to a monitor mounted above the door inside the apartment and to a DVR, authorities said.  

Officials say they found more than three dozen pounds of heroin in the second apartment -- 24 pounds in a hidden kitchen compartment, 11 pounds tucked between a mattress and box spring in the bedroom, 2 pounds in a TV storage tower and 5 pounds behind a bathroom wall. 

The three suspects were arraigned Tuesday night on multiple counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Two were held without bail. 

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Staten Islanders Howl as Trees Are Chopped Down at Mount Manresa]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 23:03:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/trees+downed+mount+manresa.jpg There's a land battle over centuries-old trees on the grounds of Mt. Manresa - once a retreat for Jesuits. The Jesuits solds the property to a housing developer, who is angering local residents and politicians who think the developer is trashing the area's natural beauty. Marc Santia reports.]]> <![CDATA[Fire Truck Crashes Into Restaurant]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 01:45:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/217*120/firetruckcrash1.JPG

Witnesses described a scene of chaos in Monterey Park on Wednesday as 15 people were hurt in a crash involving two fire trucks, including one that plowed into a restaurant.

Lu's Dumpling House owner Vivian Lu said a man was on the sidewalk when the fire engine jumped the curb, pushing him as it slammed through her restaurant near Garfield and Emerson avenues about 3:25 p.m.

When the fire truck came to a stop, a man was found pinned beneath it.

Cellphone video captured the moment when a firefighter attempted to help the man under the front bumper of the engine. The victim was believed to be hospitalized in critical condition.

"A lot blood,” Lu said. ”I see a lot blood."

Lu said the impact of the crash also pushed a built-in cashier's table across the floor, sending a waitress into a wall and making the building unstable.

Six firefighters suffered minor to moderate injuries, and eight other people had minor injuries.

"I see a few people sitting on the street and all this blood," Lu said.

The number of injuries fluctuated, but at least 15 were hurt as of 6 p.m. As many as six  firefighters were hurt.

The crash happened down the street from Garfield Medical Center, where many of the victims were being taken on foot by firefighters.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

Photo Credit: NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[Once-Conjoined Twins Leave Hospital]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:26:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Ezell-Twins-041514.jpg

The conjoined twins who were separated at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas have left the hospital for an inpatient rehabilitation center.

"We are thrilled beyond words that we are here today," the boys' mother Jenni Ezell said Wednesday.

The boys were born in July and were connected from the chest to the belly button. They shared a liver and intestines until doctors at Medical City Dallas Hospital separated them a month later.

Owen and Emmett Ezell left the Dallas hospital eight months after their surgery and a day after turning 9-months-old.

"This is a big day we have been waiting on a long time, we have been ready to bring these boys home for months now so this is a good thing," said the boys' father Dave Ezell.

It was an emotional departure for the hospital staff, the team of doctors and nurses who have cared for them in the neonatal intensive care unit since their birth and separation surgery in August.

"I just can't thank them enough we are so happy and grateful," said Jenni Ezell. "They are like family to us. It is hard to say goodbye until later."

While at rehab, the boys' parents will learn to manage those tubes until the boys can eat on their own.

"When we first learned they were conjoined we never imagined, that we would be here but it has come and it is time now time to keep loving them and watching them develop and grow," said Dave Ezell. "We are in charge of their care, we get to take care of the babies. So it is like the beginning of this whole new world for us, where it is going to be physically exhausting, it's going to be amazing." 

The Ezells home the boys can go home for good in a month.

The family has been chronicling the boys' progress, since their separation surgery in August 2013 on The Ezell Twins blog.

The Ezells are selling T-shirts through their blog that read, "The Works of God Displayed in Them, John 9:1-3."

The funds donated go into a trust fund set up for Emmett and Owen and their direct care.

More: The Ezell Twins blog | The Ezell Twins T-Shirts | Contribute

Photo Credit: Ezell Family/Medical City Children's Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Jesus Drawing a Record in Chalk?]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 23:41:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/chalk-jesus-03.jpg

Fellowship Church in Grapevine is attempting to set the world record for the largest chalk drawing.

The church, led by Pastor Ed Young, is coloring a drawing of Jesus Christ that spans nearly 17,000 square feet, according to a statement on their website.

It took 6,700 individual pieces of chalk to create the portrait, and 125 bags of charcoal, according to a church representative.

The purpose of "Chalk Jesus" is to get people interested in and talking about the church in the days leading up to Easter.

"We believe the church should be the most creative entity on the face of the planet. Not boring, not humdrum," said Derric Bonnot with Fellowship Church. "But it should be out there thinking up new ways to tell the story of who Jesus is and who God is. And so hopefully this just catches people's attention to want to see more and want to know more."

Bonnot told NBC DFW hundreds of volunteers helped to make the portrait possible. Most were members of the mega church, which has six locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But many of the volunteers were people who learned about the effort from social media, the radio or from the television, Bonnot said.

"Honestly, I think it speaks to people," said church member Roger Moreno about the portrait. Moreno brought his son, Luciano, 2, to help. "To show him that it's a good thing to give back and not just be so selfish."

"That actually shows that we actually still care and [we are] trying to make a difference in somebody's life," Moreno added.

The portrait will stay in place through Sunday's Easter services, at which point congregation members will then wash it away.

Despite their 12+ hour drawing effort, if rain showers come before Sunday, Bonnot says the church understands that may make the chalk Jesus "an abstract art piece."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[VIDEO: Burglar Peers Into Crib]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:40:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gjanda-2014-04-16-12h46m46s137.jpg A burglary suspect who broke into a Houston home was caught on the video baby monitor set up to view the family's sleeping toddler.]]> <![CDATA[Fire Erupts at New Jersey Hotel]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:50:47 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/IMG_20140416_133922.jpg

A blaze at a hotel in Elmwood Park, N.J., Wednesday afternoon forced one person to jump out of a window but resulted in no serious injuries, according to the man's account and authorities.

Sean Johnson said he jumped from a third-story window at the Red Carpet Inn when the smoke became unbearable.

The fire at the hotel on Route 46 started after 1 p.m. and was knocked down by 3 p.m., according to local authorities.

First responders were going from room to room to make sure all hotel patrons and staff were accounted for. The fire is believed to have started with a mattress on the first floor.  

No one suffered serious injuries, according to initial reports from authorities.   

<![CDATA[Man Tried to Rape Woman in Her Bedroom: NYPD]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:57:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/east+village+attempted+rape+copy.jpg

Police are searching for a home intruder who allegedly tried to rape a woman in her Manhattan bedroom early on Saturday. 

The 32-year-old victim told police she forgot to lock the door to her East Village apartment near Avenue B and Sixth Street before going to bed, according to sources. 

The woman awoke at about 3 a.m. to find the man standing on her bed, police said. He sexually assaulted her, then ran away after she struggled, according to police. 

Investigators believe the suspect had been trying to open other doors in the building before he arrived at the victim's apartment, sources said. 

Women in the neighborhood say the attack has prompted them to be extra careful about keeping their doors locked.

"I didn't expect things like that to happen, but that really rang my alarm, and I think I should pay more attention to that," said Candy Huang.

Police released a sketch of the suspect (above). Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

-- Checkey Beckford contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[Your Photos: Spring's Surprise Snow ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:51:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/181*120/230d5fa396234ee6a5d8e5fcd96b2907.jpg Thought spring was here? Mother Nature had other plans with a spring snowfall that came after a weekend of beautiful, balmy weather. Viewers sent us these photos of the spring snowfall. Send yours by emailing stormteam@nbcnewyork.com

Photo Credit: Julie Williams]]>
<![CDATA[Man Spit on Girl, Made Anti-Muslim Statements: NYPD]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:57:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Queens-Anti-Muslim-Statement.jpg

Police are looking for a man who they say harassed a 15-year-old girl on a crowded city bus in Queens last week, spitting on her, making anti-Muslim statements and threatening to punch her.

The girl was riding a Q88 bus at Horace Harding Expressway and Kissena Boulevard on April 7 when the suspect began berating her, the NYPD says.

According to the New York Post, the suspect hurled profanities at the girl, calling her a “terrorist.” The man shoved the girl and spit on her repeatedly.

When the girl spoke up, the man raised his fist and threatened to kill her, the Post reports.
The suspect got off the bus at a stop on Kissena Boulevard.

If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

<![CDATA[Choir Boy Shot on Street May Lose Sight, Friends Say]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:12:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/brooklyn+boy+shot+innocent+bystander.jpg

A 13-year-old boy waiting for the bus with his aunt and cousin was shot twice in the head when a gunman unleashed a hail of bullets at a man he was chasing down Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn Monday, police and the injured teen's father said.

The gunman fired at least nine shots shortly before noon, police said. The teen, Gama Droiville, was struck by two bullets on Flatbush near Beverley Road. The man police say the suspect was aiming for was hit once in the leg.

The bleeding teenager stumbled into Avenue Pizza II and collapsed into a chair. A worker behind the counter rushed over to him and applied pressure on his wounds, then called police.

"I tried to help," said Ruffino Salazar.

Droiville's father, Jimmy Marcel, said the boy's aunt began panicking when he said he was having difficulty with his vision.

"When Gama realized, he said 'Auntie, I could not see, I could not see,'" said Marcel. "That when she realized Gama got shot." 

Witnesses said they could hear the screams of the young boy's aunt.

The boy, an honor student and choir boy, underwent a four-hour surgery at Kings County Hospital overnight and was listed in stable condition as of Tuesday morning, police said. Family friends and supporters say it appears he'll likely lose vision in his right eye, but doctors say it's a miracle the boy is alive at all after being caught in the gunfire. 

"The doctors told us that is a blessing that he is alive," said Marcel. 

The 24-year-old man police believe was the intended target was also in stable condition at the hospital.

Community leaders held a rally Tuesday evening near where Droiville was shot.  

Police have released surveillance video of the suspected gunman running through the area with a weapon in his hand (above).

Anyone with information about his whereabouts or the assault is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

<![CDATA[Bloomberg to Spend $50 Million to Fight Gun Violence: Report]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:32:46 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mayor-bloomberg-budget.jpg

In his first major political investment since leaving office, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to build a nationwide network aimed at curbing gun violence and battling the National Rifle Association, according to published reports.

Bloomberg told the New York Times that he is planning to spend $50 million this year to establish the grassroots gun control lobbying group, called Everytown for Gun Safety.

The new organization will encompass two other Bloomberg-funded gun control groups – Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – and will first take aim at expanding background checks for gun buyers both at the state and national levels, according to the Times. 

Everytown for Gun Safety will borrow from some of the NRA’s field operation tactics to grow influence, targeting mothers and other women that might be swayed on gun issues. The group has already targeted 15 states across the country with varying views on gun control, with the goal of recruiting 1 million new supporters.

“Right now, women, when they go to the polls, they vote on abortion, they vote on jobs, they vote on health care,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts told the Times. “We want one of those things to be gun violence prevention.”

Bloomberg said he wanted work with both parties on gun control efforts and assembled an advisory board of Republican and Democratic officials, philanthropists and investors.

The former mayor's $50 million contribution would more than double the NRA’s $20 million in annual spending on political activities, the Times reports. Bloomberg hinted that his contributions to the cause could grow.

“I put $50 million this year, last year into coal, $53 million into oceans,” he told the Times. “Certainly a number like that, $50 million. Let’s see what happens.”

Bloomberg and Watts appeared on NBC's TODAY show Wednesday morning to talk about the group.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused of Driving Bus Full of Drunk Teens: Cops]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:32:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Luis-A-Guevara-Henriquz.jpg

A Long Island man is accused of endangering the welfare of a child after officers found 42 drunk teens, beer and booze on the bus he was driving Monday night, police said. 

State police received a 911 call at 9:30 p.m. Monday reporting screaming at the Sunrise Highway rest area in Southampton. Police arrived to find 42 teens, ages 16 and 17, in "various stages of intoxication," and more than 100 cans of beer and "several gallons of various opened and empty whiskey and rum bottles" on the bus, state police said.  

The bus driver, Luis A. Guevara-Henriquz, 26, of Hempstead, was arrested. The teens, all students from the Sewanhaka Central High School District in western Nassau County, were turned over to relatives.

The bus, a Coachman limousine from Farmingdale, left Garden City earlier that evening and was bound for Montauk, police said. 

The teens were on the bus that night because a parent of one of the students had rented it for the junior prom in March but the bus had a mechanical issue at the time, said Trooper Frank Bandiero, a spokesman for the state police. The bus company offered the students this trip to make good on that junior prom booking, Bandiero said.  

Guevara-Henriquz was given a desk appearance ticket and is due in Southampton Town Court at a later date. The Suffolk County District Attorney's office did not have information on the suspect's lawyer. No one answered the door at Guevara-Henriquz's home, and the bus company had no comment. 

The Long Island Limousine Association says while Coachman is not a member of its organization, industry standards call for companies to sign contracts with parents in situations were teens are being transported, and the fine print always bans alcohol for underage riders. It is typically the driver's responsibility to enforce the rules. 

Marge Lee, whose son died in a drunk driving accident years ago and now teaches teens about the consequences of underage drinking through an organization called Dedicatedd, says the driver should have stepped up.

"If he knew these kids were drinking, then he should be responsible," she said. "He's culpable. He's the adult on the bus." 

But West Hempstead resident Cathy Farrell said the parents should be held responsible. 

Investigators are looking into who bought the alcohol and whether anyone else can be charged, police said. More charges are pending in the ongoing investigation.

"I feel anger, disappointment, fear for the children's safety," said Lee. "These kids get off that party buss and they're drunk out of their minds -- what's to stop them from stepping in the street and being killed?"

-- Greg Cergol and Brynn Gingras contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[Footballers Wanted as Witnesses in NYC Attack: Reports]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:09:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Kelcy-Quarles-Victor-Hampton-NYC-Fight.jpg

Two former University of South Carolina football players expected to be selected in May’s NFL draft are wanted for questioning by the NYPD after a man was bashed over the head with a hookah water pipe at a Manhattan nightclub, according to published reports.

Former Gamecocks defensive standouts Victor Hampton and Kelcy Quarles were in the VIP section of the Greenhouse Nightclub in the West Village Friday when a man was assaulted, the Daily News reports.

The paper reports that the man fell to the ground after being walloped with the pipe at the Varick Street club. Then, two men beat him so severely that he required surgery for extensive facial injuries.

Investigators are working to identify the assailants, the paper reports. Officers are looking to talk to Quarles and Hampton as potential witnesses.

Tuesday, Quarles told The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., that he was in New York City last week but never went to the nightclub and wasn't involved in the brawl.

“I’m (mad) about it because it’s going to hurt my draft status,” Quarles told the newspaper. “I’m about to do everything I possibly can to get my name cleared because it’s not fair. I had nothing to do with this.”

Hampton didn’t comment to The State.

Quarles, a defensive tackle, and Hampton, a cornerback, were both in New York City for a draft-related photo shoot, The State reports. Both players are expected to be picked in the NFL draft’s middle rounds.

About 50 minutes after the attack, a third former South Carolina player – defensive end Chaz Sutton – was stabbed in the shoulder after leaving the club, the Daily News reports. The stabbing doesn’t appear to be connected to the beating, and Sutton wasn’t severely injured.

Sutton is expected to be a late-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent.

<![CDATA[NYPD Disbands Unit That Spied on Muslims]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 01:55:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nypd-Surveillance-Muslims.jpg

The New York Police Department says it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to try to detect terror threats in Muslim communities through secret surveillance sparked outrage.

The NYPD confirmed the decision on Tuesday.

The surveillance program by the NYPD Intelligence Division had come under fire by community activists who accused the department of abusing civil rights.

The program relied on plainclothes officers to eavesdrop on people in bookstores, restaurants and mosques. The tactic was detailed in a series of stories by The Associated Press and became the subject of two federal lawsuits.

The NYPD's decision to disband the unit was first reported in The New York Times.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SUV Crashes Into MTA Bus in Manhattan: FDNY]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:09:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mta+bus+crash+east+side.jpeg

An SUV crashed into an MTA bus on Manhattan's East Side Tuesday afternoon, injuring both drivers, authorities say. 

The SUV crashed into the bus in front of 883 1st Avenue, near 49th Street, at about 4:15 p.m., according to the FDNY.

The bus driver had minor injuries, but refused medical attention. The driver of the SUV was taken to Cornell Medical Center and was listed in serious but stable condition.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. 

Photo Credit: William J. Shepard]]>
<![CDATA[Tweeters Respond to Palindrome Week]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:30:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/121330338.jpg

This week is palindrome week—every date reads the same forwards and backwards. 4/12/14, 4/13/14, 4/14/14... you get the point. Just like words and phrases can be palindromes—mom, racecar, level, live not on evil—so too can numbers. The palindrome has a long history that goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks, who would inscribe palindromic phrases on fountains. One of the most popular fountain inscriptions was "wash the sin as well as the face." Although that phrase isn't a palindrome in English, it is one in Greek.

Palindrome week is only really celebrated in the United States, as it's the only country that uses the mm-dd-yyyy format when writing out dates. Most countries around the world use the dd-mm-yyyy style, although China and Japan are notable for using yyyy-mm-dd. In any case, Twitter has been abuzz with tweets about the week-long holiday. Some have taken to Twitter to celebrate the wordsmith holiday.


Photo Credit: Getty Images/Image Source]]>
<![CDATA[$70,000 in Heroin Seized From Man's Underwear at JFK]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:38:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/heroin+underwear.jpg
Authorities searching a man passing through John F. Kennedy International Airport found nearly two pounds of heroin -- worth more than $70,000 on the street -- in his underwear. 

Officials say Bernard Charles, a Trinidad and Tobago citizen, arrived at JFK from Port of Spain, Trinidad April 1 and appeared extremely nervous as customs officials were going through his suitcase, as is routine. 

Authorities took Charles to a private search room. During the search, agents found two clear packages in his underwear. The packages contained a brown paste-like substance that tested positive for heroin.  

Charles was arrested and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations. He faces federal narcotics smuggling charges. 

It wasn't clear if he had an attorney.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Dina Lohan Pleads Guilty to DWI, Avoids Jail]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:46:00 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dina+lohan+court.jpg

Dina Lohan pleaded guilty in Long Island court Tuesday to aggravated driving while intoxicated and speeding in connection with a 2013 traffic stop in exchange for no jail time.

The mother of the oft-troubled actress will lose her license for a year and, after that, her car will be outfitted with an ignition interlock so she can't drive it if she's had alcohol.

As part of the plea deal, she was also ordered to pay $2,600 in fines, complete 100 hours of community service and attend a drunk driving program.

Lohan was arrested in Sept. 2013 on the Northern State Parkway with a blood alcohol level of .20, more than twice the legal limit.


Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>