<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Mon, 22 Sep 2014 03:25:42 -0500 Mon, 22 Sep 2014 03:25:42 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[2 Dead, Nearly 48 Hurt in Bus Crash]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 03:17:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Delaware-Bus-Crash-Twitter.jpg

Two women were killed and nearly 50 people were injured after a tour bus overturned in Delaware late Sunday afternoon.

The first woman, 54-year-old Hua'y Chen of New York City, died at the scene of the crash. The second woman, 30-year-old Idil Bahsi of Istanbul, Turkey, died Sunday night at the hospital.

The 1996 Setra Touring Coach bus, which had a driver and 49 passengers on board, was traveling southbound on state Route 1 and exiting onto the off-ramp to US-13 northbound in New Castle around 4:20 p.m.

As the driver, identified as 56-year-old Jinli Zhao of Flushing, New York, tried to turn on the ramp, the vehicle went off the roadway and overturned onto its roof, according to investigators.

The bus slid on its roof and traveled down a grassy embankment and rotated on its left side until it came to a final rest, according to police.

Chen, who was a passenger on the bus, was ejected from the vehicle and then pinned underneath it. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I guess she was trapped underneath the bus," said Elvis D'cruz, a 19-year-old college student from New Castle, Delaware. "One man was saying, 'my wife, my wife, my life.' That keeps replaying in my mind."

D'cruz tells NBC10 he was driving home with a friend when he spotted the overturned bus. The two quickly got out of their vehicle to help the victims.

"It must've been within five minutes of the crash," D'cruz said. "There were about two to three other civilians there helping out. The bus had flipped over onto its side and some people were still underneath it. The bus was completely in a ditch. We tried to help them get out, as much as we could. We went to the car, got first aid equipment and passed out gauze and bandages, whatever we could to comfort people." 

D'cruz described the crash scene as total chaos.

"It just made me feel how fragile life is at times," D'cruz said while in tears. "It was hard seeing that little boy in the middle of the crash scene. What I really can't forget is all of the screaming and the smell of blood in the air. People didn't know what to do. There was no one else at the scene. Within 15 minutes, State Police arrived."

Zhao and the 48 other passengers were all injured in the crash. They were transported by a Delaware State Police helicopter to several local hospitals, including the Christiana Hospital Trauma Center, Wilmington Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital, Middletown Emergency Department and the Alfred I DuPont Hospital for Children.

Of the dozens of people who were hurt, at least three of them were critically injured, including Bahsi. She died from her injuries at Christiana Hospital around 10:45 p.m. Sunday. Investigators also say two of the injured victims are children though they have not yet revealed their conditions.

"The injuries vary widely," said Dr. Rob Rosenbaum, an Emergency Room physician at Christiana Care. "Some patients have head injuries. Some have injuries to their torso, ribs, abdomen and fractures."

Zhao, who was properly restrained, suffered minor injuries.

Officials say the bus is owned by Am USA Express Incorporated, a regional bus transportation company based in Chinatown, New York. The passengers were part of a sightseeing group sponsored by E World Travel and Tours based in New York City, according to police. Investigators say their three-day trip began Friday when they traveled from New York to Washington, DC. The group was traveling from DC back to New York at the time of the crash.

D'cruz says the passengers appeared to be foreigners.

"They were mixed in race," he said. "There were a few people speaking Mandarin and a few people speaking Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish."

According to D'cruz, the Route 13 off-ramp has a history of accidents.

"They're used to be a guard rail," he said. "People would go highway speeds on it even though you're supposed to slow down. People kept on slamming into the guard rail but it would stop them from flipping. They later on removed the guard rail and put flags up." 

The ramp from Route 1 southbound to US-13 northbound was closed for approximately six hours before it was finally reopened.

The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit continue to investigate the accident.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth



Photo Credit: Elvis D'cruz]]>
<![CDATA[Person of Interest in UVa. Case]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:29:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/0917-hannah-graham-.jpg

Charlottesville, Virginia, police have issued an arrest warrant on charges of reckless driving for a man they call a "person of interest" in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Police have not charged Jesse Matthew in Graham's disappearance, but Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he believes Matthew was the last person to see Graham.

“I believe Jesse Matthew is the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face off the earth,” Longo said at a media briefing on Sunday. "But somebody knows where she is. And we want to know who that person or persons are.”

Longo said Matthew arrived at police headquarters on Saturday and asked for a lawyer. After speaking to the lawyer, Matthew left the station without talking to detectives.

Longo said after Matthew left, he was being overtly followed by state and federal officials. Matthew then sped away from police at a high rate of speed.

Longo said the speed was so great that police disengaged from the pursuit.

Hannah’s father, John Graham, spoke publicly for the first time Sunday, appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

“Who saw Hannah?” asked John Graham, during the press conference, with his wife, Sue, standing next to him. “Somebody knows what happened to Hannah.”

The father expressed gratitude to more than 1,000 volunteers who combed Charlottesville where Graham was last seen, on Saturday and Sunday.

“We have been utterly overwhelmed by the generosity of the spirit of all the people we’ve met,” he said. “This is every parent’s worst nightmare. We need to find out what happened to her so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Graham expressed hope that his daughter would be found alive.

"'Hannah is brilliant, resilient, determined and loves life more than anybody else I know."

He read an email from Hannah's former teacher, who wrotte: “If anybody could get through this, it is Hannah."

The chief, in an emotional statement, said Sunday that Matthew was the person seen in surveillance video walking with Graham before she disappeared more than a week ago.

He wants anyone who saw Graham or Matthew that evening to contact police as soon as possible.

Longo thanked people who were involved in the search this weekend as well as those who emailed him from all over the country, saying “you rose to the occasion, you stepped up to the plate.”

Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s Mark Eggeman said nearly 2,000 people searched for clues into Graham’s disappearance. Eggeman said he spent his daughter’s birthday with searchers, saying, “No place I’d rather be.”

Hannah Graham has been missing since early on September 13. She was seen in surveillance video along the city's Downtown Mall.

A man, who police believe is Matthew, is later seen wrapping his arm around Graham's waist. Police say the two then entered a Charlottesville restaurant during the early morning hours of September 13, where the man bought alcohol and later left in a burnt-orange car.

"We have every reason to believe Ms. Graham was in that vehicle," said Detective Sgt. Jim Mooney of Charlotteville police.

Police searched the man's apartment and car and even talked to him -- but stopped short at calling him a suspect. When asked if the man had a criminal history, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he has "had contact with police."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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<![CDATA[3 Afghan Soldiers Missing in Mass.]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 22:28:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372563.jpg

Police are looking for three Afghanistan National Army soldiers who went missing on Cape Cod, Massachusetts National Guard confirms.

Major Jan Mohammad Arash, Captain Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Captain Noorullah Aminyar were last seen Saturday night. They were last seen at Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis.

State police and local officials are searching.

According to officials, the soldiers have been at Joint Base Cape Cod since Sept. 11. They are in Massachusetts for Regional Cooperation, a training exercise designed to promote cooperation between regional and foreign forces around the world.

Twelve other Afghan soldiers were at the event.

Massachusetts National Guard says there is no threat to the public at the time.

NECN will have more as this story develops.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Take the Phone Quiz: iPhone 6 or Android? ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:57:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pile+of+phones1.jpg

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hit the shelves at Apple Stores on Friday morning, ending weeks of anticipation by Apple fans.

At some Apple stores, lines have stretched around the corner for days or even weeks. Apple sold more than 4 million phones in online preorders on the very first day they were available. And this weekend, the company is expected to make billions. According to Bloomberg Business Week, the phone line accounts for more than half of Apple's $171 billion annual revenue.

But is the phone for everyone? More importantly, is it for you?

We put together this Phone Wizard to help you find out. We examined the key features of eight state-of-the-art phones, looking at things like battery life, size, operating system and camera quality. After you answer a handful of questions about your personality, preferences and habits, we identify the phone that we think is right for you.

Now, don't get carried away: Just because we tell you the Samsung Galaxy S5 is better for you than the iPhone 6 Plus (that 4K HD is just so important to you, right?) doesn't mean you should go and buy one today. At least visit your local retailer to see how it feels in your hand before plopping down a few hundred dollars. But consider this a starting point. 



Photo Credit: Photograph: Alamy]]>
<![CDATA[70-Pound Turtle Found Wandering Near SoCal Country Club]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 02:15:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/140921-la-canada-turtle.jpg

A turtle weighing a whopping 70 pounds was found wandering the streets near a Southern California country club, officials said Sunday.

Sheriff’s deputies found the common snapping turtle Thursday on the corner of Angeles Crest Highway and Starlight Crest Drive near the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club (map), where it had apparently stopped to rest several feet from a pond.

It was taken to Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan.

“The turtle appears healthy – maybe too healthy, quite obese, and it’s probably eaten everything that’s been in the pond with it,” said Joel Almquist of Forever Wild.

The turtle’s appetite can be a danger, as common snapping turtles are known to eat anything and everything in sight.

“They’re very detrimental to the native wildlife here,” Almquist said. “They eat everything that they can fit in their mouths, and apparently by the size of this one, it has.”

“If he grabbed onto a finger, you would be one digit less,” he added.

It is unclear where the turtle came from, since it is not native to the area. Almquist said it may be someone’s lost pet.

Forever Wild will likely build a special pond where the hulking turtle will be housed, Almquist said.

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<![CDATA[Bike Gang Shooting Stops Freeway]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:04:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/140920-15-freeway-shooting-traffic.jpg

A fatal shooting on the 15 Freeway in the Corona area reportedly involving two rival motorcycle gangs prompted an hours-long shut down of the roadway near El Cerrito Road.

Gunfire broke out on the freeway at Cajalco Road just south of the 91 Freeway, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said. The incident was reported about 6:30 p.m. on the CHP's traffic incident information website.

Responding officers found two males suffering from gunshot wounds. Both were taken to a hospital where one was pronounced dead and another was admitted for his injuries, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

A third person was treated for similar injuries and released.

According to the CHP traffic incident information website, the shooting involved two rival motorcycle gangs. Those reports have not been confirmed by authorities.

Traffic was backed up for miles on the freeway and surrounding streets as drivers were diverted at Ontario Avenue. Southbound lanes of the freeway were reopened before 7 a.m. Sunday. The El Cerrito onramp and offramp were still closed Sunday morning.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth



Photo Credit: Kate Larsen (@KateNBCLA via Twitter)]]>
<![CDATA[Truck Drops 50 Ft. off Freeway]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 20:27:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dave+and+busters.jpeg

A truck drove off the freeway and landed in a restaurant parking lot Sunday afternoon, a drop of at least 50 feet.

The crash happened around 3 p.m. on northbound Interstate 805 in Mission Valley.

A tan vehicle tapped the back of a yellow Ford pickup truck, forcing the truck to spin out and flip over the guardrail, according to the California Highway Patrol. The truck fell at least 50 feet into the parking lot of Dave and Buster's at 2931 Camino Del Rio North.

Emergency crews pulled a man from the wreckage and rushed him to Sharp Memorial Hospital with major traumatic injuries, according to CHP. However, officials said he was alert and talking to firefighters.

“He’s lucky he landed the way he did, and he’s fortunate to be alive,” said Capt. Chad Willenberg with the San Diego Fire Department.

Officials did not release the victim’s name, but said he is in his mid-30s. He was the only person inside the truck.

The truck hit Dave and Buster's on the way down, leaving a gaping hole in the building. It did not cause any structural damage, according to the fire department. Broken glass and debris filled the back parking lot.

Julie Melia was inside the restaurant-arcade at the time of the accident. She said she didn’t know anything had happened until she saw the mangled truck.

“It looked very bad. You don’t know how somebody could survive that,” Melia said.

No one at Dave and Buster’s was injured.

Witnesses told CHP the tan vehicle was driving erratically before forcing the truck off the road.

“The SUV continued northbound on the 805. We don’t have a license plate or description of the driver,” said CHP Officer Jose Meza.

CHP is now looking for a tan SUV or truck with a camper shell and damage to the left side. The driver could face felony hit and run charges.

CHP issued a Sig Alert for the area. The transition ramp from westbound Interstate 8 to I-805 was closed for hours.

Check back for updates on this developing story.
 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[LL Coach Killed by Baseball]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:23:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_12161325.jpg

A 50-year-old little league coach died on Long Island after he was struck in the head with a baseball, authorities said.

Richard Becher, of Holbrook, was hit with the baseball during warm-ups before a game Saturday afternoon at Baseball Heaven, a baseball facility in Yaphank.

According to police, bystanders were performing CPR on Becher, who was unconscious, when officers and paramedics arrived.

Becher was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived, police said.

Newsday reports that Becher was hit while pitching batting practice to his 12-year-old son's team.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Limbo Party During Traffic]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:54:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/200*120/steel_drum_interstate_party.JPG

WATCH: Steel Drum Party on I-76

A group of motorists stranded on I-76 in Pennsylvania turned the headache of the standstill traffic into a communal steel drum and limbo party on the highway. A car flipped over in the I-76 eastbound lanes about a mile from the King of Prussia exit Saturday afternoon.

Motorists emerged from their bumper-to-bumper parked vehicles and gave new meaning to a traffic jam.

"It was better than being stuck in a snowstorm," said Justin Berk of Baltimore, who was en route to the Philadelphia Half Marathon. "I've been stuck in a lot of traffic jams and got out and people started talking to each other."

The result was a chance meeting of Berk and David Gettes of Trinidad North Steel Drum Band & Company. Gettes and percussionist Paul Downie were traveling from the Muhlenberg International Festival in Reading to Media when they got stuck.

Just after 2 p.m., Gettes pulled out his steel drum and played a pop-up set of island sounds for 15 minutes as motorists danced in a limbo line.

"We were struck in the traffic. We saw people around us frustrated. I know the magic of the (steel drum) instrument. It was not taking any toll on me to do that so why not," said Gettes.

Berk pulled out his camera to record the fun. He said the stranded motorists worked together to make the best of a bad situation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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<![CDATA[WWII-Era Ship Spills Oil]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 19:00:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/0921141059.jpg

A cleanup effort by multiple agencies is underway for an oil spill from a World War II-era ship that now serves as a tourist attraction in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf.

The United States Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are investigating the fuel spill that occurred Saturday near Pier 45.

Coast Guard personnel received a report at 10:56 a.m. that an undetermined amount of oil spilled into the bay from the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, a fully functional World War II Liberty Ship. The Coast Guard said that it immediately dispatched a pollution response crew to assess the spill and recover the discharged fuel.

The Coast Guard told NBC Bay Area that a barrel of crude oil ruptured causing the fuel to go overboard. No more than 50 gallons made it into the bay, officials said. The ship is currently closed to tourists. There is currently 6,000 feet of boom around the ship, the Coast Guard said.

According to the Coast Guard, the fuel spill's source has been secured. A Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter and a small boat investigating the spill found a 100-by-150-yard sheen in the area of the spill. Vaccum trucks and skimming vessels carried out recovery operations Sunday, officials said.

"On-scene coordinators are working diligently with Wish and Wildlife to ensure the SS Jeremiah O'Brien is taking every action necessary to achieve a prompt and satisfactory cleanup effort," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The cause of the fuel spill remains under investigation.



Photo Credit: Norbert Lee]]>
<![CDATA[Racist Messages Spray Painted]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:55:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/morgan+park+vandal.jpg

Police are searching for suspects in connection with a series of vandalism incidents involving racially charged messages spray painted on cars and garages in a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

The first incident was reported Friday morning in the Morgan Park neighborhood after a 54-year-old woman told police she woke up and found her car, her daughter’s car and their garage spray painted with offensive and hateful messages.

The woman said both cars were parked in an alley behind their home near 108th and Hermosa Streets, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic.

Marsha Eaglin said two of her cars were tagged with similar racial slurs.

“We’re really shocked,” she said. “N-word, F-U, n-word misspelled, we don’t know what was going on in their heads.”

Eaglin said her daughter made the discovery as she walked out of their home on Hermosa Street.

“My daughter kept saying ‘Is this 2014 or are we in 1950 or 60?’” Eaglin said.

On Saturday, a similar incident was reported when a 54-year-old woman told police her garage and car had been vandalized with spray paint and that the messages were offensive and hateful, police said.

Cheryl James was still scrubbing the graffiti, which included the “n-word” and other racially charged messages, off her car Sunday morning.

“I was hurt, really hurt,” she said. “I really didn’t know what to think.”

Eaglin and James said other neighbors in the area were tagged with the same messages.

“They hit my car, our two cars, and two other cars down the street from me on my block,” Eaglin said.

Chicago police said Area South detectives are investigating the vandalism.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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<![CDATA[Woman, 93, Gets High School Diploma]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:40:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007925420_1200x675_331726403774.jpg

A northern Virginia woman has received her high school diploma this weekend after waiting 75 years for the honor.

Jane Pickett, who lives in Burke, Virginia, also turned 93, and celebrated the milestones with her family and friends.

She was supposed to graduate in 1939 from her high school in the New York area. But Pickett fell in love with her high school sweetheart.

“I got married the same day I would have graduated from high school,” Pickett said.

Her daughter surprised her with an honorary diploma from the school this weekend after reaching out to the school.

“All the neighbors came over and she had absolutely no idea,” said Sharon Mills, Pickett's daughter. “Cousins came into town. Kids came home from college. But she had absolutely no idea this is what we were doing for her."

The school sent the diploma with a graduation sash and other gifts.


 

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<![CDATA[11-Pound Baby Born on Freeway]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 14:47:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/140920-baby-born-91-freeway.jpg

A woman gave birth to an 11-pound, 6-ounce baby girl in a car on the side of the 91 Freeway in Anaheim on Sunday with the help of her husband.

The couple and their three children were on their way to see the children's grandmother about 3 a.m. when the expecting mom had some of the telling signs that the baby might be on her way.

"All of sudden I get this horrible pain that I had felt before with the other ones," said Sandra Vilchez. "I told my husband, 'She's coming now,' and I yelled because her head was coming out."

A 911 operator helped the father, Bolivar Vilchez, deliver the baby.

"I was terrified," said the father. "Needless to say, I saw my baby she's blue, I didn't know anything. I mean, 18 years in the Marines Corps, you get all this training, but you're not trained to deliver babies on the side of the 91, especially your own."

Paramedics were called to the freeway near Kraemer Boulevard, but the baby had already arrived.

Paramedics took the mother and her newborn to Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center to be checked out. Mother and baby were resting comfortably at the hospital.

The couple's other children are ages 6, 4 and 3.



Photo Credit: Vilchez family]]>
<![CDATA[1 Officer Dead, 8 Injured in Crash]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 19:28:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nypd+van+crash.jpg

One police officer is dead and eight others are injured after an NYPD vehicle crash early Sunday in the Bronx, authorities said.

Michael Williams, 25, was ejected from the rear of a Police Department van when it crashed in Hunts Point, authorities said. Williams had been on the force for less than a year.

He and eight other officers from the 47th Precinct in the Bronx had been on their way into Manhattan to staff a demonstration at the United Nations and the People's Climate March. The van was not engaged in a pursuit, and no other vehicles were involved in the crash, police said.

One witness, William Soto, said that in the aftermath of the crash he saw another officer's head bleeding. He looked "like he was trying to gasp for air," Soto said.

The eight officers who were injured are all expected to recover, authorities said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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<![CDATA[Man Flagged Officer to Say "Hello"]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 11:51:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/freddie+levison.jpg

A Chicago man who flagged down a police officer to say “hello” while driving in west suburban Riverside was later charged with DUI.

Riverside police said 57-year-old Freddie Levison was driving a 2012 Chevy utility vehicle early Saturday morning when he waved down a police officer in a marked squad car in the 3400 block of Harlem Avenue.

Levison told the officer he just wanted to say “hello,” then continued driving southbound on Harlem Avenue, a release from Riverside police said.

The officer reported that Levison began driving erratically and could not maintain lane usage. Police said the car “weaved from lane to lane and straddled the center lane marker numerous times.”

Police stopped the vehicle in the 3800 block of Harlem Avenue and an officer reported smelling a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the driver’s mouth.

“When asked for his driver’s license, the individual dropped the items he was holding numerous times and seemed very disoriented,” according to a release from Riverside police. “The driver informed the officer that he was paraplegic and was unable to perform any standardized field sobriety tests. However, he wanted the officer to know that he had been arrested for DUI previously and his driver’s license was currently suspended for a DUI.”

Levison was evaluated by paramedics and eventually transported to the Riverside Police Department. Police said he had a blood alcohol level .210, nearly three times the legal limit in Illinois.

Levison, of the 7500 block of South Dorchester Avenue, was charged with two counts of DUI, driving with a suspended license and illegal lane usage.



Photo Credit: Riverside Police]]>
<![CDATA[Retired Cop Re-Arrested]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 11:36:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/216*120/Juan+Roman.png

A retired Miami police officer is returning to jail after he is accused of filming himself fondling a 7-year-old girl in his Biscayne Park home.

Juan Roman, 57, was re-arrested following a search warrant of his home last month. At the time, Roman was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

In August, Roman posted bond on federal child porn charges, according to the Miami Herald.

When detectives continued going through evidence this week, they allegedly found disturbing videos which they said were filmed with a hidden camera inside his home.

"There are two individuals that were captured on the defendant’s hidden camera utilizing the bathroom," said a state prosecutor that was not identified.

Authorities allege that the former detective who retired from the force about 5 years ago--filmed himself fondling a 7-year-old child.

During bond court, a state prosecutor described his alleged actions while Roman shook his head no.

"In the videos, he's doing so in such a way that should he wish to watch that film later on he can see himself fondling the child," the prosecutor said.

"I never thought it would be my next door neighbor," Tasha Luke said.

Roman's neighbors are disgusted by the allegations.

"I always thought we were safe because we stay next to a cop," Luke said.

Neighbors say it’s a family-friendly neighborhood that several children call home.

"Were here every day--the kids are playing outside,” Karina Petite said.

Roman faces 3 felony counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child. He was held with no bond and remains in jail.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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<![CDATA[2 Dead, 29 Wounded in Chicago]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:46:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/violence+9-21-2.jpg

Editor's Note: NBC Chicago includes shootings that took place between 6 p.m. Friday and 12 a.m. Monday in the weekend violence report.

Two people have been killed and at least 29 others wounded in weekend Chicago shootings on the last weekend of summer.

The weekend’s first homicide took place around 4:10 a.m. Saturday in the city’s West Garfield Park neighborhood, in the same block where three others, including a 12-year-old boy, had been shot late Friday night.

Officers responding to a call of a person shot found a 16-year-old boy in an alley in the 4000 block of West Jackson Boulevard on the city’s West Side with two gunshot wounds.

The boy managed to give police his name and said, "Please don't let me die," the Chicago Tribune reported.

The teen was taken to Loretto Hospital in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

Police said no one was in custody Sunday morning and Area North Detectives were investigating.

Just before 7 p.m. Saturday, a 21-year-old man was fatally shot while driving on the city’s Northwest Side.

Police were flagged down in the 3300 block of West Chicago Avenue and discovered a 21-year-old man had been shot in the chest in the 3900 block of West Ferdinand Street. The man was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

At least 15 others were wounded in shootings Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

  • Just before 11 a.m., a 37-year-old woman was shot in the lower left leg in the 5200 block of West Diversey. The woman refused to go to the hospital and was treated and released at the scene, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Thomas Sweeney. Circumstances surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.
  • Around 3:45 a.m., a 26-year-old man was shot in the 2600 block of North Long Avenue in the Cragin neighborhood, police said. The man was shot in the left thigh and was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition. Further details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available
  • About an hour earlier, a 34-year-old man was shot while riding in a car in the 7700 block of South Stewart Avenue. The man was a passenger in car driving southbound on Stewart Avenue when someone opened fire on the vehicle. The man was shot in the head and was driven to Saint Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center and was later transferred to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition. Police said the shooter is known but no one was in custody Sunday morning.
  • Just before 2 a.m., a 23-year-old man was injured in a shooting in the 1700 block of South Loomis Street. The man told officers he was standing on the sidewalk when he heard shots and realized he had been shot twice in the chest. The man was driven by a friend to Stroger Hospital and was listed in stable condition. Police said the shooting may have been gang-related after a witness near the crime told officers the victim was standing on the sidewalk displaying gang signs before the shooting.
  • Two people were shot during a “domestic-related incident” around 1:10 a.m. in the 5400 block of South Justine Street. Police said a man was involved in an argument during a family gathering. The man left the residence after the argument but returned a short time later and opened fire outside the home, injuring a 39-year-old woman and a 38-year-old man on the sidewalk, according to authorities. The woman was shot in the buttocks and both legs and was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. The man was shot in the left leg and taken to Saint Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center in good condition. No one was in custody Sunday morning but Area Central Detectives are investigation.
  • Just before 10 p.m. Saturday, two teens were shot in the 6000 block of South Paulina Street in the West Englewood neighborhood. The two were at a party when a black and gray Jeep drove by and someone inside fired shots in their direction, police said. A 19-year-old man was shot in the back and a 16-year-old girl was shot in the foot. Both were taken to Stroger Hospital in stable condition.
  • Around the same time, three people were shot in the 6900 block of South Vernon Avenue. The three were walking in an alley and were about to enter the backyard of a residence when someone appeared at the mouth of the alley and opened fire, according to police. A 23-year-old man was shot in the knee and was taken to Saint Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center in stable condition and an 18-year-old woman was shot in the foot and was also taken to Saint Bernard Hospital in good condition. A 20-year-old man was shot in the buttocks and was taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
  • Around 8 p.m., a 19-year-old man suffered a graze wound to the leg in the 5600 block of South Perry Avenue, police said. The teen refused treatment at the scene and was uncooperative with police, officials said.
  • Around 5:20 p.m., a 23-year-old man was walking outside in the 7400 block of South Colfax Avenue when he heard gunshots and discovered he was hit, police said. The man was taken to Stroger Hospital in serious but stable condition. Further details surrounding the shooting weren’t immediately available.
  • Just before 5 p.m., a 19-year-old man walked into Roseland Hospital with a gunshot wound to the arm. The man was uncooperative with police and would not say where he was shot or offer any details surrounding the shooting.
  • Around 3:40 p.m., a 26-year-old man was shot in the armpit in the 6300 block of South Kedzie Avenue. The man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in stable condition but details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.

 

Fourteen others were injured in shootings Friday evening and Saturday morning.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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<![CDATA[Lobbyist Accused of Sexual Assault]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 06:54:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AJ-Marsico.jpg

A Pennsylvania lobbyist was arrested Saturday after he allegedly raped a woman inside a Center City hotel.

A.J. Marsico, 40, is accused of sexually assaulting a 27-year-old woman at the Hyatt at the Bellevue on the 200 block of South Broad Street back on August 21.

Marsico was arrested at his apartment on the 1400 block of South Penn Square. He is charged with indecent assault, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, simple assault and other related offenses.

Marsico is a senior associate at Greenlee Partners, a Pennsylvania government affairs firm. He is also the younger brother of Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico Jr. and cousin of Ron Marsico, a Pennsylvania state representative.

Marsico is also the husband of Action News reporter Annie McCormick. Marsico maintains his innocence, says his attorney, Fortunato N. Perri Jr.

This story is developing. Stay with NBC10.com for updates.
 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth



Photo Credit: Hugh E. Dillon/The Philly Post]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Escapes Serious Injury; Car Crashes Into Home]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 02:42:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Car+Into+FW+Home+092014.jpg

Fort Worth firefighters say a 17-year-old driver is lucky she escaped serious injury or worse when her car crashed through two fences and hit a home in Northwest Fort Worth Saturday.

It happened just before 3 p.m. in the 5500 block of Penwell Drive.

The Fort Worth Fire Department said as the teen's car hit the home, a piece of 2x4 lumber went through the windshield and hit the top half of the steering wheel, stopping it from hitting the girl.

The teen's father told NBC 5 his daughter fell asleep behind the wheel. The girl's parents took her to a local hospital for evaluation. The teenager was not injured but was shaken up.

"I just heard a loud noise and I came out, you know I thought it was happening to our garage, I came out and I run over there and I can hear her crying an everything. And I run to her, and I'm like 'are you OK?' and she's like 'yeah I'm OK' and she was just crying and she was terrified," said neighbor Cherika Robinson.

The homeowner arrived at home shortly after the crash and told NBC 5 the girl apologized to her and everyone whose property was damaged.

Rescue crews waited for a wrecker to pull the car from the home so that they can determine how much damage was done and check the structural integrity of the home before boarding it up.

No one was home at the time of the accident, there were no other injuries.

Fort Worth police are investigating the incident.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Police Chase Bank Bandit]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:36:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Bandit-Pursuit-2.jpg

After robbing a bank in the Clairemont area, a bandit led San Diego police on a pursuit Saturday afternoon that ended with the suspect crashing into a police car, officials said.

The robbery happened around 1:40 p.m. at a Wells Fargo Bank in the 5500 block of Balboa Avenue. The suspect made a verbal demand for cash, but did not brandish a weapon, police said.

After getting some money, the suspect fled the scene in a silver Nissan truck, leading officers on a chase along several streets including Mount Acadia and Clairemont Mesa boulevards, as well as Field Street.

The pursuit lasted about 10 minutes, police said. A helicopter was launched to help spot the suspect by air.

After making his way to westbound Interstate 8 and the Sports Arena Boulevard off-ramp, the suspected bank robber struck a police car. He then kept driving and hit a bystander's car, police said.

The driver fled the crash scene on foot, but was ultimately arrested moments later.

Officials have not released the suspect's name, but he seems to match the description of the notorious "El Chaparrito." The bank robber nicknamed for his short stature has struck more than a dozen banks in the San Diego area since last November.

Bank robberies are on the rise in San Diego, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI said there were 61 bank robberies by this time last year, but there have already been more than 80 this year.

Police said no one was injured Saturday's bank heist or pursuit.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth



Photo Credit: Marina Provenca Novo]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Born on Side of Freeway]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:10:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/140920-6pm-freeway-baby_1200x675_331669059733.jpg A father helped deliver his newest baby when the mother gave birth on the side of the 91 Freeway in Anaheim. Kate Larsen reports from Anaheim for the NBC4 News at 6 on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[SoCal Man Had $2M in Pot: PD]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:30:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/136b6c3946e449e29dd25d30dff69ba1.jpg

A Corona man was arrested after an investigation into a marijuana-growing operation at his home led to the discovery of pot with an estimated street value of more than $2 million, police said Saturday.

YongTing Yan was arrested for cultivation and sales of marijuana, according to a Corona Police Department news release.

On Thursday night, detectives were investigating Yan’s home in the 300 block of Villafranca Street (map) and allegedly found more than 1,600 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. More than 5 pounds of packaged pot intended for sale were also discovered at the residence, officials said.

Yan also faces charges of theft of a public utility. Police said electrical lines at the home had been tampered with.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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<![CDATA[Man Burned Co-Worker: Police]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:29:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Marvin+Rivera-Montalvo.jpg

Miami-Dade Police arrested 30-year-old Marvin Rivera-Montalvo in the death of 51-year-old Yolanda Samaniego who was found burned and decapitated on Wednesday morning.

Investigators say Rivera-Montalvo contacted police claiming he has information on the death and stated that Samaniego's husband killed her.

On Saturday morning, police continued to interview Rivera-Montalvo where he confessed that he planned on killing Samaniego with other individuals who have not been identified.

According to police, Rivera-Montalvo was a co-worker and stated that he lured Samaniego to his vehicle and another individual shot her. He then allegedly drove to a nearby hotel where he pepared to dispose her body and eventually left Samaniego in an open field and burned her body.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue discovered the body near the intersection of NW 64th Street and NW 82nd Avenue. Initially, Fire-Rescue thought the scene was a small brush fire, but as the flames were extinguished, the scorched body of a decapitated woman was discovered.

At the time, a concerned family rushed to the crime scene looking for answers. The family of Samaniego said the woman had been missing since last Saturday.

“We heard they found a body in this area and my aunt has been missing,” said Mirta Celaya.

Samaniego’s family believes the woman left work around 2:30 a.m. and was dropped off at a nearby gas station by a co-worker. The family said she was waiting for a ride home and that’s the last they heard from her.

“No one came to pick her up, or, well, I don’t know what happened to her,” Celaya said.

The pastor of a church nearby said police looked at their surveillance cameras, but didn’t find any clues. Locals said there isn’t much activity in the area after dark and that they were stunned that such a gruesome act would take place so close to their place of worship.

“I am completely shocked, wouldn’t expect something like that to happen. I really feel for her family and for her son,” said Alfredo Usecha.

Rivera-Montalvo was charged with first-degree murder. It is not known at this time if he has attorney.

Samaniego left behind a 17-year-old son.

If you have any information on the death, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth



Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Police]]>
<![CDATA[Navy Sailor Awarded Silver Star]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:52:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Kong-Silver-Star.jpg

A Navy hospital corpsman who faced heavy fire to save an injured Marine was presented with the military’s third highest decoration for valor, the Silver Star, at Camp Pendleton Friday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Kong, now a pre-med student, was serving in the Sangin District of Afghanistan on June 13, 2011 when he and fellow service members came under attack during a battalion clearing operation – just two hours into a four-day operation.

Kong saw Marine Cpl. Michael Dawers from a shot to the chest, so braving a hail of bullets, Kong rushed from his covered position into the kill zone to reach the man.

“You get so close to the them. It’s a bond you just can’t describe in words," Kong said. "People tell me I was brave and courageous but ultimately, I wasn’t even thinking."

Kong fired back at the enemy, stood up in the line of fire and pulled the injured service member to safety.

“On that June morning, Doc Kong reacted instinctively and did something very few perhaps would have done,” said Marine Maj. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson.

Kong then treated Dawers for his injuries and provided vital information about the enemy’s position, Navy officials say. Dawers survived.

As he was given the Silver Star Friday, Kong said he didn’t deserve it because he was just following his instincts, humbly calling his actions “almost more stupid than it was brave.”

“There’s so many guys out there doing so many incredible things, and they don't always get recognized for it,” said Kong. “I was just kind of out there doing my job, and you know, a Marine gets hit and you don’t really think.”

Kong looked at his fellow service members and said he knew they would do the same thing in his place.

Serving in the Navy since 2007, Kong, a San Jose native, deactivated from active duty and now studies medicine at Stanford.

In addition to the Silver Star, his awards include the Navy Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.



Photo Credit: Mark Sackett]]>
<![CDATA[Insect in School Lunch Investigated]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:03:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/wrom+school+lunch.jpg

A New Jersey high school's food vendor says it's investigating after several students began circulating video purporting to show a live insect squirming inside a taco salad school lunch.

Video taken by North Bergen High School students show what appears to be a small worm on the lunch plate. One girl posted the video on Instagram, and another boy sent video to NBC 4 New York.

The authenticity of the videos could not be immediately confirmed Friday, but the lunch vendor for the school, Nu-Way Concessionaires, said it's investigating and that the health department was immediately called in. 

"This is an isolated incident. We've taken steps to discuss this with our food producers. We are very concerned about what we feed children," said Sal Valenze of Nu-Way Concessionaires.

One student, Luis Godreau, said "I would think they would make sure nothing like that would get inside it. It's crazy to see that inside it." 

Another junior student who wanted to remain anonymous said a freshman made the gross discovery and brought the video to the school's main office.

Nu-Way officials say they believe the insect was a small worm, and though rare, insects can get into produce during the agricultural process. 

As a precaution, the product batch has been pulled from distribution. The USDA is also expected back at the school Monday to continues its investigation, Nu-Way said.

Calls to the school district and the North Bergen Health Department were not returned Friday night. 

(WARNING: Instagram video below contains some explicit language) 

Follow Checkey Beckford on Twitter @Checkey4NY

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<![CDATA[Gunman Says Hello, Shoots 4: Cops]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:55:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jackson+heights+shooting+sept+19.jpg

Police in Queens are searching for a gunman who shot four men outside a home in Corona Friday night, according to the NYPD.

The gunman and one other suspect walked up to the victims outside 32-14 106th St., near Northern Boulevard, at about 9:45 p.m. and said hello, police say. 

The gunman then fired at least one round at the victims, and the two suspects ran away, according to police. 

A 24-year-old man was shot in the arm, a 25-year-old man was shot in the torso and head, a 25-year-old man was shot in the torso and head, and a 34-year-old man was shot in the right side of his face, police said. 

They were all taken to Elmhurst Hospital. Two are in critical condition, and the other two are in serious but stable condition, the FDNY said. 

None of the injuries is life-threatening. 

There are no arrests, police say. 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Mars Chocolate Issues Recall Over Undeclared Peanut Butter]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 18:46:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/452614600.jpg

Mars Chocolate North American has issued a voluntary recall of its M&M’s Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box because it may contain peanut butter that is not listed on the ingredient label on the outside box.

The company identified the issue after a consumer notified it of an M&M’s Brand Peanut Butter package containing peanut butter M&M’s inside a M&M’s Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box.

People allergic to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if their theater box contains an inner M&Ms Brand Peanut Butter bag and they consume the product, the company said in a release.

There have been no reports of adverse reactions.

The recall affects M&M’S Brand Theater Box 3.40 oz UPC #40000294764 with various lot numbers. Click here for a full list of those numbers.

The specific lot codes were shipped between May 8 and July 1, 2014, to customers’ warehouses across the U.S., including Texas, Florida, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Virginia.

Mars Chocolate said it will work with retail customers to ensure that the recalled product is not being sold. Consumers who believe they have purchased the recalled item and have allergy concerns, should return this product to the store where they purchased it for a full refund. Consumers with questions or concerns may call 1-800-627-7852, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Intruder Gets Into White House ]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 12:11:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/whitehouse6.jpg

The Secret Service is coming under intense scrutiny after a man who hopped the White House fence made it all the way through the front door before being apprehended.

President Barack Obama and his daughters had just departed the White House on Friday evening when an intruder scaled the north fence, darted across the lawn and into the presidential residence, where agents nabbed him.

The security breach triggered a rare evacuation of much of the White House, with Secret Service officers drawing their guns as they rushed staffers and journalists out a side door.

For the Secret Service, the incident was a devastating episode that prompted fresh questions about the storied agency and its ability to protect the president.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who chairs the House subpanel on national security oversight, called it "totally unacceptable'" but said the incident was just one of a string of security failings on the Secret Service's watch.

"Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job," Chaffetz said. "These are good men and women, but the Secret Service leadership has a lot of questions to answer."

"Was the door open?" he added incredulously.

On Saturday morning, Secret Service agents could be seen walking shoulder to shoulder across the North Lawn, apparently combing the turf for anything the intruder may have dropped during his sprint the night before. The Secret Service said only that the activity was related to the previous night's incident.

The man in jeans and a dark shirt who scaled the fence shortly after 7 p.m. appeared to be unarmed, but ignored commands from officers to halt, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said. He was tackled just inside the doors of the North Portico, the grand, columned entrance that looks out over Pennsylvania Avenue. A search of the suspect turned up no weapons.

The Secret Service identified the suspect as Omar J. Gonzalez, a 42-year-old man from Copperas Cove, Texas. He was charged with unlawful entry into the White House complex and transported to a nearby hospital complaining of chest pain. Attempts to reach Gonzalez or his relatives by phone were unsuccessful.

Although it's not uncommon for people to make it over the White House fence, they're typically stopped almost immediately and rarely get very far. Video from the scene showed the intruder sprinting across the lawn as Secret Service agents shouted at nearby pedestrians to clear the area.

"This situation was a little different than other incidents we have at the White House,'' Donovan said. "There will be a thorough investigation into the incident.''

Only minutes before the breach, Obama had boarded his helicopter on the South Lawn with his daughters and one of their friends, who was joining the Obamas for a weekend getaway to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. First lady Michelle Obama had traveled separately to Camp David and was not at home.

It was unclear whether any other fence-jumpers have ever made it into the White House, one of the most highly protected buildings in the world. But Friday's incident was just the latest setback for an elite agency whose reputation has suffered a succession of blows in recent years.

In 2012, 13 Secret Service agents and officers were implicated in a prostitution scandal during preparations for Obama's trip to Cartagena, Colombia. The next year, two officers were removed from the president's detail after another alleged incident of sexually-related misconduct. And in March, an agent was found drunk by staff at a Dutch hotel the day before Obama was set to arrive in the Netherlands.

Obama appointed the agency's first female director last year as a sign he wanted to change the culture and restore public confidence in its operations. An inspector general's report in December found no evidence of widespread misconduct.

The Secret Service has struggled in recent years to strike the appropriate balance between ensuring the first family's security and preserving the public's access to the White House grounds. Once open to vehicles, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was confined to pedestrians after the Oklahoma City bombing, but officials have been reluctant to restrict access to the area further.

Evacuations at the White House are extremely rare. Typically, when someone jumps the White House fence, the compound is put on lockdown and those inside remain in place while officers respond.

Last week, the Secret Service apprehended a man who jumped over the same stretch of fence on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, prompting officers to draw their firearms and deploy service dogs as they took the man into custody.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Saves Choking Driver: NYPD]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 12:19:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nypd+officer+saves+choking+driver.jpg

A police officer stationed on a Bronx highway saved a driver who started to slow down when she began choking on a piece of candy, the NYPD says, and the rescue was captured on the officer's dash cam.

The officer was conducting speed enforcement on the Bronx River Parkway Wednesday when he saw a 2014 Ford Taurus slow down in the right lane, according to the NYPD. 

He pulled up behind the car, got out of his vehicle and immediately noticed the driver was in distress, police said. She appeared be having difficulty breathing and was holding her throat. 

"Are you choking? You're choking?" the officer is heard saying in the video as he motions her out of the car. 

"Yes, sir," the 49-year-old woman says, gagging. 

The officer performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman, which dislodged the throat lozenge blocking her airway, police said. 

The woman appeared to be OK after the officer performed the Heimlich. He radioed for an ambulance to the scene. 

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<![CDATA[Pope Names Next Chicago Archbishop]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 17:28:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Blase-Cupich.jpg

Pope Francis on Saturday appointed Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Washington, the next Chicago Archbishop. 

The announcement was made early Saturday morning by the Vatican. The Chicago Archdiocese also held a news conference Saturday, where they introduced Cupich.

"The Holy Father's appointment of me humbles but also encourages me," Cupich said Saturday. "As Pope Francis began his pastoral minstry in Rome by asking the people to pray for him, so too now I bow my head in the hope that everyone in Chicago will pray for me in the days ahead."

Cupich will succeed Cardinal Francis George, 77, who announced several months ago that he wanted to begin the process of finding his replacement after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

George has previously expressed a desire to meet his successor.

"I leave this church in better hands than mine," George said Saturday. "This is a full time job. I am relieved and grateful that now somebody who can do it full time will be in charge."

Cupich will be installed as archbishop of Chicago on Nov. 18, officials said.

"Today all of Chicago honors Cardinal Francis George for his compassionate pastoral leadership and his steadfast commitment and service to Chicago's people and neighborhoods throughout the last 17 years," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "And we congratulate Pope Francis on his appointment of Bishop Blase Joseph Cupich to succeed Cardinal George -- we welcome Bishop Cupich to Chicago with open arms and stand eager to work with him as he begins his pastoral duties in our city."

According to the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Cupich, 65, was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1975. He was named Bishop of the Rapid City, South Dakota Archdiocese in 1998 before taking over the Spokane position in 2010.

Cupich was born in Omaha, Nebraska.

This marked Pope Francis' first major appointment. Sources believe the Pope bypassed the Congregation of Bishops and worked the telephones on his own, calling Catholic leaders throughout the country to get a read on who would be best for Chicago.

Cupich had appeared on many lists of favorites for the position, but most agreed Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin was the frontrunner.

Many also expected the Pope's choice to be a Spanish speaker, and while Cupich doesn't speak Spanish, he is fluent in Italian.

"I think the Holy Father is a pastoral man, I think that his priority is not to send a message but a bishop," Cupich said. "I wouldn’t want to in any way overly politicize or put this in a different context, I think he cares a lot about people and he wanted to provide a pastor so I think he sent a pastor not a message."

Those who know Cupich describe him as a competent leader who's willing to take charge, and more of a peacemaker than a lightning rod.

"Having first met Bishop Blase Cupich when I was an 18-year-old backpacker in Europe and he was a seminarian in Rome, I can say with confidence that, as archbishop of Chicago, he will be a pastorally dedicated, theologically astute and visionary leader in line with Francis' transformative papacy," University of Notre Dame President, Father John Jenkins, said in a statement. "We thank Cardinal George for his dedicated service, and we welcome Bishop Cupich to the great Archdiocese of Chicago."

The Spokane Diocese declared bankruptcy 10 years ago after settling sex abuse complaints, but sources say it was Cupich's leadership who got it back up and running.

"People of faith really need to work together for the common good," Cupich said. "Labels are hard for anybody to live up to. I just try to be myself and I try to learn from great people."

Cupich didn't detail much about his plans for Chicago, but noted his stance on immigration reform and crimes against children.

"I don't want to dance around the issue that we need comprehensive immigration reform," he said. "Every day we delay it is a day too long and we should move on it today."

He also said he hopes to focus on the protection of children.

"I'll work hard at this and make it an important part of my ministry" he said, also noting that the system is "always going to be imperfect, it's never going to be enough."

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a news release Friday stating Cupich "acted irresponsibly by exploiting bankruptcy law to avoid embarrassing disclosures about the complicity of the Spokane church hierarchy in dreadful crimes against kids." The organization claims more than 200 children came forward in Spokane.

"He must not be dismissive of those who have been wounded," said Kate Bochte with SNAP.

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<![CDATA[Officer Failed to Help Kids: Mom]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 10:06:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Bridgeport+police+generic.jpg

Authorities are investigating after two sisters, ages 13 and 7, were confronted by a strange man in a car while walking home from school Monday and tried but failed to get the attention of a nearby Bridgeport, Connecticut, police officer.

The girls' mother, Gloria Byfield, said the girls were heading home Monday afternoon when a man in a tan car tried to get their attention.

"She said the guy pulled over in front of her and got out the car and continued trying to talk to her and say things to her and at that point she got on the phone and called me," said Byfield.

Byfield said the man ran off and she instructed her daughters to go to a nearby officer, just two blocks from Waltersville School, while staying on the phone.

"I went to the police officer, and I told him. And he told me he was off duty so he couldn't do anything about it, and he told me to walk home," said 13-year-old Anya Jackson.

Byfield says the officer told her daughters to have their parents file a report of the incident with police.

The two girls walked to their mom and she went to the police station.

Authorities said they've increased patrols in the area and launched a criminal investigation into the suspicious vehicle and internal affairs is investigating the allegations against the officer.

“The investigation is underway and is a priority for the Office of Internal Affairs. We teach our kids to go to a police officer if they are scared or in trouble. I taught that to my son," said Asst. Police Chief James Nardozzi, in a statement released by the department. "Investigators are still gathering the facts, but I can’t stress enough how seriously we take these allegations.”

In the same statement, Brett Broesder, spokesperson for Mayor Bill Finch said, "Mayor Finch expects a lot from our police officers who work hard to keep our streets safe every single day. But he also strongly believes that the top priority of our officers is protecting kids. That’s why he looks forward to this investigation turning up the facts surrounding this incident, and if there was any wrongdoing, ensuring that appropriate action is taken.”

Byfield said her children are scared and she wants the officer punished.

"At the end of the day my kids could be gone because of this one mistake, this one officer," said Byfield.

Police say they've canvassed the area searching for potential witnesses as well as surveillance video. Anyone with information is urged to call Bridgeport police at 203-576-8126.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>