<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Wed, 22 Oct 2014 00:15:28 -0500 Wed, 22 Oct 2014 00:15:28 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Vet's Penalty Not Tough Enough, Dog's Owner Says]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:51:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/doc-tierce-and-sid.jpeg

A Fort Worth veterinarian who admitted to keeping a family's dog alive to use it for blood transfusions instead of euthanizing it has been barred from practicing for five years -- a decision the family says isn't tough enough and could put other pets in danger.

"What does it take for the state of Texas to revoke a vet's license?" wondered Marian Harris, whose rescue of her dog Sid from a clinic this year touched off the monthslong investigation and triggered animal cruelty charges against the veterinarian.

The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners suspended Dr. Millard Lucien "Lou" Tierce's license on Tuesday for five years, after he admitted he had kept alive at least four dogs that should have been euthanized, including his own, at Camp Bowie Animal Clinic.

The board found he had failed to provide a professional standard of care, had behaved dishonestly and had not kept his clinic sanitary, along with a handful of other rule violations.

Harris told NBC 5 those violations should have resulted in an outright revocation of his license, not just a five-year suspension.

"We were really hoping for a revocation, because a suspension allows him to own a practice. And that gives him proximity to animals, and that's what we were trying to prevent," Marian Harris said. "If he's got proximity to animals, then he can harm other animals."

"I'm just upset that he can still go to the clinic now," she added, becoming emotional as she spoke. "That's what we were kind of hoping to stop."

The board had temporarily suspended Tierce's license back in May while they investigated animal cruelty allegations that emerged in April, when Marian Harris and her husband Jaime rescued Sid after being tipped off by a veterinary technician there that he was still alive and caged there -- even though he was supposed to have been euthanized.

The Harrises said that they had given the OK six months earlier for the clinic to euthanize Sid after Tierce told them he was suffering from a spinal defect from which he would never recover -- a condition the Harrises say they later learned their pet did not have.

That rescue triggered a board investigation that found unsanitary conditions in the clinic, as well as uncovered four other dogs that it says also should have been euthanized, including one that Tierce said had been living at the clinic for years after its owner had chosen to euthanize it.

It also led to Tierce's arrest on April 30. He was charged with cruelty to animals, before being released on $10,000 bond after he surrendered to the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office.

Police and animal control officers said they found a border collie, which Tierce admitted was his pet, lying in a box on the floor of an exam room. The dog was twitching in pain with one leg missing, another leg dislocated and two shoulders dislocated, police said.

The suspension of Tierce's veterinary license Tuesday capped a monthslong investigation by the state board, which launched its own investigation at the time and detailed some of its findings in its ruling Tuesday.

"Animal organs were kept in jars throughout the clinic. Bugs were visible in exam rooms. Stacks of drugs, trash, laundry, paperwork and other miscellaneous items were strewn about the examinations rooms, hallways, stairwells, operating room, laboratories and offices of the clinic,” the board said.

Sid has since recovered from the ordeal, the Harrises say. The family has sued Tierce for $1 million for Sid's medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.

As for Sid, the 5-year-old Leonberger that prompted the state investigation, his condition is improving.

Sid is undergoing physical rehabilitation two days a week at PetsWest Canine Rehabilitation and Conditioning in Aledo.

Just last week, the staff outfitted the dog with braces for his hind legs, to assist him with his walking.

Without the braces, Sid's hind legs visibly wobble due to muscle atrophy when he walks, according to Laura Johnson, of PetsWest.

"Oh, boy, I mean he literally looked like a little child running through the house with swim flippers on [when he is] trying to walk. That's how dramatic his walk is," Johnson said.

"Now, will it ever be better? Well, we hope that it is. But is he more than likely gonna always have to wear these shoes? Probably so," Johnson added.

NBC 5's Ben Russell contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Mothers Continue to Deliver at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:47:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Presby+baby+newborn+Dallas.jpg

Mothers are continuing to have their babies at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, despite the recent Ebola scare, but some say they've been met with questions.

Two mothers who delivered within the past 48 hours volunteered to talk about their experiences to NBC 5.

Sara Larkin, of Richardson, delivered son Wesley on Monday morning. He is the second child she has delivered at Presbyterian Hospital.

She said when she learned Ebola was spread at the hospital, she was "nervous at first" and relied on reassurances from her doctor.

"I trust my doctor completely. She was incredibly supportive through our first pregnancy and our first child. I felt like coming to her would make us calm," said Larkin. "I can't imagine changing when we were so close to having our baby boy."

Larkin said her doctor explained to her the unit dedicated to labor, delivery and postpartum care is in a different building than where Thomas Eric Duncan was being treated for Ebola. She also said people criticized her decision to proceed with her planned delivery at the North Dallas hospital.

"That was hard, because it makes you feel like you're a bad mom, and I know I'm not," said Larkin.

J.J. Aubrey, who is recuperating from a cesarean section in the room next to Larkin's, expressed that she received the same sentiments from some family members.

"Some of them trusted what I had to say and were OK with it Some of them still just thought I should transfer," said Aubrey.

Both mothers feel they made the right decisions. They also feel sympathy for hospital staff dealing with the Ebola situation.

"Things are going to happen, and when you're treating a virus with this magnitude and you are provided with equipment that you have on hand, you do the best you can," said Larkin. "I don't blame the hospital. I feel strongly that they did the best they could with what they had at the time."

Dr. John Bertrand, who's been in obstetrics and gynecology for more than 30 years, said 12 to 15 percent of his patients ultimately elected to be treated at the hospital's sister facility in Plano.

"There are some that are just not comfortable, and we understand. We would like to retain those patients and not send them elsewhere. We'd like to continue to serve them, and it's been nice to have a sister facility we could do that in," said Bertrand. "This is a safe building. It's safe to have your baby here."

"This is a great hospital, and people need to understand that this is a great place. It's not their fault that what happened has happened," said Aubrey.

"Our fears are just fears. We're not going to get Ebola just by coming to the same hospital," Larkin added.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Swarm of Bees Stings 22 Saginaw Students]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:34:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ambulance-kids-bees.jpg

School officials confirm 22 students were stung by a swarm of bees outside Saginaw's Highland Middle School Tuesday morning during PE class.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District spokeswoman Kristin Courtney said a group of sixth-grade students, 21 boys and four girls, were outside the school in the 1000 block of Bailey Boswell Road in Fort Worth when they were attacked while playing soccer.

Courtney said the bees had built a hive inside an underground irrigation valve box, which was disturbed when one of the students stepped on the box cover.

Officials told NBC 5 the 22 children were stung at least once, some as many as 12 times. MedStar officials said they transported four children to Cook Children's Medical Center, including one who had a severe reaction to the sting.

One student, Isaac Armendariz, was stung on the ear and his arm.

"It was pretty weird.  Just a whole bunch of people started running, chasing, the coaches were like, super calm and everything. They were trying to get us all situated and trying to get us away from the bee hive," Armendariz said.

According to Courtney, the district's integrated pest management coordinator euthanized the remainder of the hive. Officials will continue to monitor the area for bees before declaring it safe for students.

Animal control officers are awaiting tests on the bees to see if they were Africanized killer bees, but the pest management coordinator said that based on the bee's behavior they do not appear to be killer bees.

NBC 5's Julie Fine contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[New Flu Shots, Mist Give Extra Protection]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:39:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Flu+mist+nasal+vaccine.jpg

It's that time again to get the flu shot, but if you are wanting a flu shot for your kids, this year pediatricians are recommending the flu mist instead.

This year's flu vaccines are more effective than ever, protecting against all four strains of the virus, compared with just three last year, according to Dr. Ray Tsai, medical director at Children's Health Pediatric Group.

The new flu mist vaccine, a nasal spray, is especially effective for younger children, Tsai said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the spray for children between the ages of 2 and 8.

"It does appear to show some increased efficacy compared to the flu shot [for younger children]," Tsai said.

Children as young as six months can get flu shots, which doctors recommend not just to protect individuals, but also to keep the flu from spreading.

Monica Jaramillo, 12, got the flu vaccine at her North Texas doctor's office Tuesday.

“I feel really safe because they give me the flu shot," she said. "I recommend to everybody to come."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA["Ahead of the Curve": Popular Denton Bars Ban Smoking]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:13:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/108938428e.jpg

Many students returning to the University of North Texas this fall were surprised to find some of their favorite bars along Fry Street in Denton adorned with "No Smoking" signs -- but their owners think their new policy could herald a broader smoking ban to come.

Lucky Lou’s, Riprocks Bar and Grill and Cool Beans collectively made the move in August to go smoke-free indoors.

"We decided together,” said Riprocks' general manager Blake Jutton. “It was just: 'The curve is coming. We're going to get ahead of the curve.'"

Denton banned smoking in restaurants and other indoor establishments in April 2013, amid a wave of new smoking bans nationwide. The ban has been an overall success, and all businesses have complied with it, according to Denton's intergovernmental relations manager Lindsey Baker.

But the city's ban doesn't apply to bars. Patrons are free to smoke in any bars limited to people aged 18 and up or operating as private clubs.

Neither Jutton nor Lucky Lou's owner Lou Delaney expects that exemption to last.

"Eventually it's going to go statewide, and likely the city's going to be doing it soon, anyway,” Delaney said.

That’s just a forecast on his part, but movement could be on the way.

Denton's city council will revisit its smoking ordinance in early December to discuss issues like rules on e-cigarettes, and it's likely that the issue of smoking in bars will be raised again, Baker said.

Also likely to be raised is the issue of smoking on bars' patios, an issue also raised during the smoking ordinance's creation.

The trio of Fry Street bars banning smoking are still allowing smoking on their outdoor patios and says that other bars along their stretch didn't join them in banning smoking because they don't have patios where smokers can smoke.

The Fry Street trio isn't alone in banning smoking recently, though. A handful of other bars throughout the city have also gone smoke-free voluntarily recently, Baker said, including the Rockin’ Rodeo nightclub near the UNT campus.

Delaney and Jutton said their bars have seen a positive response from the move, and they hope it continues.

"Our non-smoking customers love it, and surprisingly, our smoking customers are quite fond of it, too, saying they seem to smoke less while they're here and save money,” said Delaney.

"At first we had a couple of customers come up and say, 'We want to be able to smoke in here,'" Jutton said, "but it's 15 feet to the next possible patio area."

Many other smokers on Fry Street said they weren’t crazy about the non-smoking rule, but as long as the patio was still an option, they could work with it.

"It's not that bad. It's just frustrating sometimes,” said Adam Moseley of Denton.

Photo Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Editor Ben Bradlee Dies at 93]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:38:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/137613147.jpg

One of the great figures in American journalism has died.

Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Washington Post, passed away at the age of 93.

The family says he had been in hospice care suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

His death was reported by The Washington Post Tuesday.

Bradlee skyrocketed to fame in the early 1970s when he allowed the Post to look deeper into the burglary at the Watergate Hotel. His collaboration with young reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein eventually brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency and established the Washington Post as one of the world's top newspapers.

"He had the courage of an army," Woodward and Bernstein said in a statement Tuesday evening. "Ben had an intuitive understanding of the history of our profession, its formative impact on him and all of us. We loved him deeply, and he will never be forgotten or replaced in our lives."

Bradlee's Watergate fame was sealed with the movie "All the President's Men," in which he was portrayed by actor Jason Robards.

Bradlee lived a life as rich as his family name. Born into privilege in Boston, he graduated from Harvard. As a young man he lived in Paris for a time, working for the American embassy. He then joined Newsweek and eventually the Washington Post, where he served as the executive editor from 1968 until his retirement in 1991.

A prominent figure in the glamorous days of the Kennedy Administration, he was a close friend of both John and Jackie Kennedy.

Bradlee was a major player in those heady days when Georgetown dinner parties probably shaped government policy more than Congress.

He added to his stature in 1978 when he married the young style section reporter, Sally Quinn, who was 20 years his junior.

Since retiring, Bradlee wrote a memoir entitled "A Good Life" in 1995 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama last year.

"A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country's finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told - stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better," President Obama said in a statement Tuesday. "The standard he set - a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting - encouraged so many others to enter the profession."

As for journalism, Bradlee once said, "I don't mean to sound arrogant, but we are in a holy profession.”

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Big Changes Coming to South Arlington School]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:07:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Arlington+ISD.jpg

Lisa Starr says she may be a bit biased, but when it comes to Arlington elementary schools, she thinks Corey Elementary is the best.

“There’s a lot of tradition at Corey,” said Starr, who is the school’s PTA president and the parent of two students there. “People have been here a long time and it makes it a really special place."

That’s why she had mixed emotions when she learned that Corey is being re-purposed as a dual-language fine arts academy.

“Well, it’s sad for us to think that the school is changing,” said Starr.

The change is part of the $663.1 million bond package approved by voters back in May.

Arlington ISD said it wants to give families a variety of educational opportunities and options, and because enrollment in that part of Arlington is declining, they thought it made the most sense to use the building for a district-wide academy.

“Corey, actually, as of last school year had 14 empty classrooms,” said Arlington ISD spokesperson Leslie Johnston. “So they had the space in that building already where we could start this program.”

Students who attend the academy will be taught the normal elementary school curriculum but with special emphasis on foreign languages and the arts.

The district is still finalizing what languages will be taught and other specifics. Parents interested in learning more about the academy are invited to attend a public meeting at Corey Elementary on Thursday, Oct. 23, starting at 6:30 p.m.

In the meantime, the district is working to rezone Corey Elementary’s students to either Moore or Wood elementaries.

Students currently in kindergarten through fifth grade at Corey Elementary will be allowed to stay there until they go to junior high. As they move on, the district will phase in a new grade level for the academy each year until the transition is complete.

“I think it’s good to have that option,” said Starr. “It’s great for the kids and their friends to be with each other until they get to junior high.”

Starr admits it won’t be easy saying goodbye to the school she and so many others have known for so long. But, long term, she thinks the district made the right call.

“It’s a good thing for South Arlington,” said Starr. “It’s neat that that will be right in our backyard. And I think it will benefit our kids.”

Multiple public meetings have been scheduled to discuss the new school boundaries:

  • Moore Elementary – 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 21
  • Wood Elementary – 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 27
  • Corey Elementary – 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 30

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[“A Living Science Experiment": Nursing School Reflects on Ebola Cases]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:01:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola_funerario_duncan.jpg

Just before Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, students in a microbiology class at Texas Christian University read the medical thriller "The Hot Zone."

The 1994 best-selling chronicle introduced them to virus hunters desperately battling outbreaks of Ebola and other deadly viral hemorrhagic fevers in Africa, the dangers the scientists faced and the stringent safety procedures they followed, from the biohazard clothing they wore to chemical showers and ultraviolet scans they used to keep from infecting themselves.

It was enthralling and far away.

And then Ebola arrived in Dallas — sickening a Texas Christian University graduate, Nina Pham, one of the two nurses who became ill after they cared for Duncan, the Liberian man who died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

When the Ebola scare began unfolding three weeks ago, 19-year-old nursing student Andrea Jumper thought about what she had read, particularly the protective steps the researchers took in "The Hot Zone.”

"It was all decontamination," the sophomore from Keller, Texas, said. "They had so much protection and they were just dealing with little samples of Ebola.”

She wondered why Duncan’s specimens were sent through the hospital’s tube delivery system during Duncan first visit to the hospital, when he arrived at the emergency room with a fever and complaining of nausea, abdominal pain and other symptoms. That changed when, after initially being sent home, he returned on Sept. 28 and was hospitalized.

“It was really mind-boggling to me that here they sent in the samples with all the other blood samples,” she said. “And they didn't have nearly as much of the protection as they use in the book.”

The hospital just did not know what to expect, she said.

It’s an assessment that Texas Health Presbyterian shares. It has acknowledged that its nurses had not received full training for such a deadly, contagious illness and that it made mistakes.

“On that visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola,” Barclay Berdan, the CEO of Texas Health Resources, the hospital’s parent company, wrote in a letter to the community. “For this, we are deeply sorry.”

At Texas Christian University's Fort Worth campus of yellow brick buildings, green quads and purple depictions of the school's mascot, a horned frog, the nursing students are keeping up with the latest developments on Ebola and here, their discussions have an added urgency. They will soon be on medicine's front lines, battling Ebola and other illnesses.

Kristie Tinh, a 21-year-old junior, said she and classmates are following the news reports and trying to make sure they have the correct information.

"We understand why it's a big deal, but we really just want people to calm down and look at the facts," she said.

Tinh said she was inspired by her father, a survivor of the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s who volunteered at a clinic where the injured were cared for. His work was dangerous, she said.

“He would tell me stories of what he would do and it just seemed really fascinating to me,” she said. “And that's what really pushed me to go into a health profession.”

She and other students said they thought that they were being prepared to protect themselves and that, panic aside, the disease in the United States was being controlled.

“You just need to be smart about it and take the proper steps and just think about what you're going in to,” said Jumper, who plans to work in neonatal care after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Clark A. Jones, Jumper’s microbiology professor, said that each year he began his course with “The Hot Zone,” reading an excerpt at the start of the first class. It provides an excellent description of epidemiology and shows how agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control Prevention in Atlanta and the U.S. Army work together in public health emergencies, he said.

“It’s been an amazing book to always use,” Jones said. “Did I ever foresee that we would see something like this? Well, we talk about it a lot, especially as the book ends with HIV …a major virus that has affected our world.”

His students have asked about droplet transmission — when a virus is transmitted through fluids as Ebola is — as opposed to airborne transmission, and they understand why the nurses were so much more at risk of infection than Duncan’s fiancee and her family, he said. After reading “The Hot Zone,” they knew the danger of a “Level 4 hot agent” like Ebola and questioned why the protection gear being worn by the Dallas health-care workers as recommended by the CDC in Atlanta seemed inadequate, he said.

“Our students were really surprised,” he said.

Since Pham and the other nurse, Amber Joy Vinson, became infected, the CDC has announced a series of measures to better protect health-care workers, the most recent change coming on Monday, when it issued stricter guidelines for protective equipment worn by the workers. The CDC is now calling for gear that covers the workers’ bodies completely, with face shields, hoods and boot covers, and for trained monitors to supervise them as they put it on and remove it.

Also, on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that the state would create two new biocontainment facilities for treating patients with Ebola and other contagious diseases. Pham and Vinson are now hospitalized at two of the country’s four biocontainment hospitals specially equipped to handle infectious diseases, Pham at the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, and Vinson at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Suzy Lockwood, the director of undergraduate nursing studies at Texas Christian University’s Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said the school’s students have always been made aware of the need to guard against infectious diseases.

She poined out that the Dallas nurses, in trying to better protect themselves, taped their gear closed, perhaps putting themselves at greater risk as they removed the tape. Some of the protective gear was too large for the nurses. Lockwood noted that Pham, whom she taught and described as very caring, thoughtful and smart, is also small. The CDC recommendation for monitors to watch health-care workers remove their gear is key, Lockwood said.

“We’re all in a living science experiment,” she said. “We’re learning so much. Unfortunately, Presbyterian, the hospital here, ended up being the hospital that got the patient. Any other hospital would have had the same, probably would have had the same experience — just a little bit different but would have had the same struggles that this hospital had. They wouldn’t have had any different equipment.”

Maddy Robinson, a 19-year-old former nursing student at Texas Christian University, said the Ebola cases at Texas Health Presbyterian showed how the importance of nurses, something she had learned from her father, a plastic surgeon in Atlanta.

“We're not prepared for something like Ebola,” said Robinson, who is now studying education instead.

She had the passion but not the aptitude for nursing, she said.

“It was something I just really wanted to do,” she said. “It's something to help people -- exactly why you see so many nurses do it today.”

With Pham still hospitalized, students and staff at the Harris School of Nursing have started wearing purple and apricot ribbons as a show of support, purple for the university, apricot because it is the academic color for nursing. After homecoming this past weekend, alumni have been calling asking for them, Lockwood said.

“We’ve been sending ribbons all over the country,” she said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images / File Photo
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<![CDATA[Postal Worker Shot, Killed in Md.]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:05:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Tyson+Jerome+Barnette+postal+worker+killed.jpg

Police are hoping a grainy surveillance video will help them solve the 2013 murder of a Maryland mailman.

Tyson Jerome Barnette, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md., was on duty when he was shot and killed around 7:20 p.m. in the 6000 block of Reed Street in Cheverly, Md. on Nov. 23.

Tuesday, police released surveillance video of a dark-colored SUV, possibly a Jeep Grand Cherokee, they say could be related to the murder.

The murder sparked a conversation between residents and the postal service, that postal office workers were working late hours that made the job a risk.

Fellow postal workers had said they worried about their own safety as well following the murder. "That could have been me," one told News4.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Prince George’s County Homicide Unit at 301.772.4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

<![CDATA[Nurse Nina Pham Upgraded to Good Condition]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:22:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nina-pham-nih.jpg

Dallas nurse and Ebola patient Nina Pham's condition was upgraded from fair to good Tuesday at the National Instites of Health in Maryland, where she has been in isolation with the potentially deadly virus since Thursday.

She had been in fair condition since Friday, a day after her transfer to the taxpayer-funded Bethesda hospital -- home to one of the nation's top-level biocontainment facilities -- from Dallas.

Pham contracted Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with the potentially deadly virus in the United States, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Pham had been listed in good condition in Dallas before her transfer, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Laboratory of Immunoregulation, had said the change to fair shouldn't be understood as meaning that her condition had worsened.

"She's not deteriorating," he had said Friday. "She is quite stable now and resting comfortably."

Last week Fauci said they fully intend to have Pham walk out of their hospital and will do everything they can to make sure that happens.

Photo Credit: AP / Texas Christian University
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<![CDATA[Fliers Distributed Where Family Quarantined]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:45:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ebola+flier++Dallas+neighborhood.jpg

The Dallas Police Department's Office of Community Affairs distributed fliers to neighbors of the Catholic Conference Center in Oak Cliff Tuesday.

The fliers alerted residents that Louise Troh and her family had been staying at the center as a guest of the Catholic Diocese as they were monitored for symptoms of the Ebola virus.

Troh's fiance, Thomas Eric Duncan, was the first person in the U.S. diagnosed with the disease. He died Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas after spending several nights in her family's apartment.

On the fliers, Dallas city leaders said Troh and her children had been monitored for 21 days and showed no sign of having contracted the potentially deadly disease.

Troh and her children may remain in Oak Cliff for the next couple of weeks while the city of Dallas and local churches assist the family in finding a new home.

The Troh family is now looking for a new home," the city said. "We thank you for your understanding and for providing privacy and dignity to this family."

In addition to that flier, officials also distributed a second with information about the Ebola virus and what to do if you believe you have symptoms.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Lockdown Lifted at Arlington Elementary School]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:23:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372564.jpg

An Arlington elementary school delayed the release of its students Tuesday afternoon while police searched for a burglary suspect nearby.

Students were kept inside Blanton Elementary School until about 4:45 p.m., according to Arlington police.

Investigators say officers were dispatched to a burglary in progress call in the 500 block of Biggs Terrace at about 2:20 p.m. When police arrived at the home, they arrested one suspect and saw a second suspect fleeing on foot.

The school, which is located along South Collins Street at East Lovers Lane, was placed on lockdown as a precaution.

The second burglary suspect was arrested a short time later, and the students were released to go home.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Waive Michael Sam]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:37:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GERRY_MCCARTHY__1409761483_39578161-620x503.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys have waived defensive end Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly-gay player, from the team's practice squad.

Sam, 24, joined the Cowboys on Sept. 3 after being cut from the Rams. He was drafted by St. Louis in the 7th round and totaled nine tackles and three sacks in three preseason games before being cut by the Rams. 

He never played in a game for the Cowboys and the team has not released a statement on his departure.

After the announcement, Sam tweeted thanks to team owner Jerry Jones for the opportunity, as well as friends, family, teammates and fans.  He added he was disappointed, but looked forward to fight for an opportunity to play every Sunday in the NFL.

According to DallasCowboys.com, the release of Sam makes room for linebacker Troy Davis who worked out with the team Monday.

Sam is a Texas native who played high school football at Hitchcock High School before playing for Missouri.  While at Missouri, he was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and had 11 1/2 sacks in the 2013 season.

The 6-1 Cowboys are off to their best start since 2007 when then finished the regular season at 13-3.  Monday night they'll face an NFC East rival, the 2-5 Washington Redskins, in Arlington.

Photo Credit: Gerry McCarthy / Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer
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<![CDATA[107 Remain on Watch for Ebola Symptoms]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:42:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zach+Thompson+DCHHS+063014.jpg

More and more people on the 21-day Ebola monitoring list are being given the “all clear” this afternoon, a positive step that Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says is proof that Dallas is now “winning the fight against Ebola.”

At a Dallas County Health and Human Services briefing before the County Commission meeting Tuesday morning, DCHHS Director Zachary Thompson said 51 people had been removed from the monitoring list as of 10:30 a.m. — a slight increase from Monday’s number.

But an hour later, the CDC gave a new number — 60 contacts have completed surveillance and no longer pose a risk to catch Ebola.

Dallas County Medical Director Dr. Christopher Perkins said the number is “fluid” and will continue to change.

A few days ago Dallas County became one of the only county health departments in America with the ability to test for the Ebola virus, making it possible to test for the virus at the state lab in Austin or the Dallas County HHS office near Downtown Dallas.

Thompson said they’ve already had to perform two Ebola tests, both of which were negative. Still, it gave his staff key experience in testing for the deadly virus.

It’s called a “Preliminary Chain Reaction" (PCR) test, and it takes 4-6 hours to complete. But, Thompson said by being able to test for Ebola within Dallas County gives patients peace of mind more quickly and can save taxpayer dollars.

"It's a big deal because Dallas County is only county in the state that can do the test. The turnaround time is key. The quicker we can get the results the quicker we can get the information to patients. And so right now the two tests we've performed have been negative," Thompson said.

Earlier this month, epidemiologists had to drive the Ebola samples to the state lab in Austin. Dr. Perkins said it’s a 400 mile round trip and takes about four hours. He estimated the cost of gathering the sample; packaging and preparing it for the drive; plus gas and expenses at around $500.

“Considering that the Ebola situation occurred here initially, we need to be in the right position to address the position locally, rather than deal with a 3- to 4-hour drive to Austin,” Perkins said.

Thompson said Ebola can hit any hospital, in any county, in any state in the country. If needed, he said he’s willing to send his epidemiologists to help contain an outbreak somewhere else.

“Hopefully that will never happen,” he said. “But we stand ready to assist any state or any county in their response. We want to use our expertise,” he said. “But let’s hope that we have the funding, we have the PPE, we have the CDC Guidance, so if this happens again we can hit the ground running on day one."

Both Perkins and Thompson said they had no advanced knowledge that Amber Vinson requested permission to fly to Ohio while on the Ebola watch list, and they both said they never personally spoke to her about the trip. They would not comment further about the county health worker who may have spoken with Vinson and told her it was OK to travel on a plane out of state.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Treatment, Containment Facility to be Built in North Texas]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:31:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rick-perry-ebola-456469138.jpg Gov. Rick Perry today announced the creation of a state-of-the-art Ebola treatment and infectious disease bio containment facility in North Texas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["Don't Touch My Girlfriend" ]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:54:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/obama-vote-girlfriend-1.jpg

While taking part in Early Voting in Chicago on Monday, President Barack Obama was interrupted at his electronic polling station by a man with a lighthearted word-of-caution.

"Mr. President, don't touch my girlfriend," the man, later identified as Mike, quipped as he crossed the room.

Standing beside Obama at her own polling station was Mike's clearly embarrassed girlfriend, Aia Cooper.

"You know, I really wasn't really planning on it," Obama replied with a chuckle. "There's an example of a brother just embarrassing me for no reason."

Obama added: "Now you'll be going back home and talking to your friends about this. ... I can't believe Mike, he is such a fool."

After a moment the pair finished with their ballots and the president went toward Cooper for a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

"Now you're really jealous," Obama said, smiling and pointing at Mike.

The president was in Chicago on Sunday and Monday attending fundraisers and offering support to Gov. Pat Quinn, who is in a challenging campaign against Republican Bruce Rauner.

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<![CDATA[UTSW to Staff Ebola Treatment Facility in Richardson]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:25:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/perry-utsw-presser.jpg

Texas is creating two new biocontainment facilities for treating possible future Ebola patients, one in Richardson and the other in Galveston, Gov. Rick Perry announced Tuesday, as two Dallas nurses remain hospitalized out of state with the potentially deadly virus.

The Methodist Campus for Continuing Care in Richardson will host the new facility on a floor of its hospital, as well as in a wing of its ICU best-suited for treating infectious patients.

Doctors and nurses from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas will staff the new unit there, with nurses, lab technicians and other health care workers from Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas working alongside them.

Perry stressed the need for better Ebola preparedness at a news conference Tuesday at UTSW to unveil the new Ebola-ready facilities, weeks after the first U.S. Ebola patient sought treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and days after two nurses who treated him became infected.

"The past three weeks have taught us that treating an infectious disease like Ebola is not just a theoretical problem," Perry said.

He acknowledged the burden Presbyterian had shouldered in becoming the first U.S. hospital to diagnose a patient with Ebola, when Thomas Eric Duncan was admitted with the disease weeks before he died.

"Presbyterian has played an important role," Perry said. "With that said, that hospital has been on the front line. They have paid a heavy price."

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, officials with Presbyterian said they look forward to sharing what they've learned and that they plan to remain active participants in the shared goal of defeating Ebola.

"As the first U.S. hospital to face the challenge of both diagnosing and treating Ebola patients, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas will continue to share our learnings with health officials at all levels of government, our fellow hospitals and the broader health care community. A coordinated response is in all our best interests, and we remain active participants in discussions to advance the shared goal of defeating this insidious disease,"

Dr. Brett Giroir, the Texas A&M Health Science Center chief whom Perry tapped this month to head the state's Ebola task force, said the new facilities should prevent such problems in the future, should new patients be diagnosed.

"What we are trying to do with the new protocol," Giroir said, "is to learn from our current experience."

In addition to the facility in Richardson, an Ebola treatment biocontainment facility is being established at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Previously, officials had eyed sending Ebola patients to one of four top-level biocontainment facilities in the U.S.: Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland, Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha or St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana.

Dallas nurse Nina Pham is currently being treated in isolation at NIH, while her coworker Amber Vinson is being treated at Emory, the same hospital where Dr. Kent Brantly of Fort Worth recovered from the virus. Officials have still not determined exactly how Pham and Vinson contracted the disease.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for how health care workers should gear up to treat Ebola patients after Pham and Vinson, were diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease after treating Thomas Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.

The guidelines call for face shields, hoods, boot covers and other garb that leave no part of the body exposed. They also call for a trained monitor to supervise the donning and doffing of protective wear. And they call for repeated training and practice.

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<![CDATA[Woman's Body Found in Dallas Creek]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:36:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dpd-cruiser-generic722.jpg

Dallas police are investigating the death of a Hispanic woman whose body was found in a creek Tuesday morning.

Police have not said if they are investigating the woman's death as a homicide.

Her body was found near the intersection of Scyene Road and Hatcher Street, not far from Fair Park at about 7:20 a.m.

Dallas police are talking with possible witnesses and have released no other details.

<![CDATA[Mavs Beat Grizzlies, Cut Roster to 18]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:48:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mavs-rick-carlisle.jpg

Last night the Mavericks finished their home pre-season schedule by beating the Grizzlies.

This morning they continued putting the finishing touches on their roster.

The Mavs waived forward Eric Griffin and guard Yuki Togashi, trimming their roster to 18. They must be down to 15 by Monday at 4 p.m.

Griffin shined in the Summer League but only played in two exhibition games, while the 5 foot 7, 145-pound Togashi was just signed last week.

The Japanese point guard will likely wind up in the NBA’s Development League playing for the Texas Legends in Frisco.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Romo is Playing at an Elite Level]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:06:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457510812.jpg

You know who’s having a horrible fall?  Presbyterian Hospital. Clayton Kershaw. Oh yeah, and Tony Romo haters.

Hear that? The golden silence? They’re all muted in the corner, impatiently waiting for December. Because, for now, there’s no way around it: The Cowboys are 6-1 because their quarterback is playing at an elite level.

How elite?

Since his season-opening, three-interception performance against the 49ers that had his critics repeating “same ‘ol choker,” Romo has almost been perfect. During Dallas’ six-game winning streak he’s thrown 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions for a quarterback rating of 115.2.

Add to that his spin-to-win escapes against the Texans and Seahawks and Romo is playing better quarterback than anyone this side of Peyton Manning. Not bad for a guy who takes Wednesdays off to continue strengthening his surgically repaired back and who had to take a pain-killing shot for sore ribs just to play against the Giants.

Sure Romo’s being helped by DeMarco Murray’s assault on the NFL rushing record. The run sets up the pass, I get it. It certainly helps Romo be confident that he doesn’t have to produce a miracle on every play. Still, he’s far from a conservative bus driver.

Despite the Cowboys’ commitment to the run, Romo’s Top 10 in every passing category. He’s 1st in completion percentage, 4th in rating, 5th in touchdowns and 10th in yards. Last time the Cowboys had a quarterback with a rating this high after seven games, the year was 1976 and the player was Roger Staubach.

Romo isn’t merely not losing games, he’s helping the Cowboys win games.

Sorry, haters.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lewisville Police Investigating Recent Attacks]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:48:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Lewisville+TX+suspect.jpg

Lewisville police say a woman was pulled under a bridge and attacked earlier this month, and it's not the first time it's happened in recent months.

Police got a report of a woman walking home near State Highway 121 and Southwest Parkway on Oct. 9 at about 9:50 p.m. when a man pulled her under the Timber Creek Bridge in an attempted assault.

The victim struggled with the attacker and was pulled further under

At that point, she told police, she screamed, and when the man heard people on the bridge above he took off on foot.

The woman was treated for minor injuries at the scene and helped police produce a sketch of the attacker, who is described as a Hispanic man between 20 and 30 years old with a muscular build.

Police said at least one other time in recent weeks a woman was pulled beneath the bridge and attacked, but they've gotten reports of several other assaults in the area of Highway 121 and Timber Creek in the past 60 days.

Police Lt. Scott Haynes of the Criminal Investigations Division said they've gotten few details of the attackers from victims, but most describe someone similar to the man described in the most recent case.

Haynes also said it's unclear what the man's intentions are, but he said the attacks appear random and they are treating the cases very seriously as to avoid the situation escalating.

Several residents living in the neighborhood say the area sees heavy foot traffic from nearby apartments and hotels to the restaurants, stores and bars along that stretch.

Many said they received alerts about the most recent crime and are keeping a much closer eye on their surroundings as a result.

Haynes recommended people remain cautious and vigilant when walking in the area, especially as Daylight Savings Time draws nearer and the sun starts going down earlier.

Police ask anyone with information in the attacks to call them at 972-219-8477(TIPS).

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Man Extradited on Terror Charge]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:12:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/terror+suspect+extradite.jpg

Haroon Rashid Aswat, a British man charged with conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, is being flown to New York from London Tuesday by U.S. officials after nine years of fighting extradition, law enforcement officials tell NBC New York.

Aswat faces federal charges of conspiring with radical cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, to establish a terrorist training camp in Bly 15 years ago.

Mustafa was convicted in New York in May of being involved in the Oregon terror plan. He was also convicted of helping to plot the 1998 kidnappings of tourists, including 16 Americans, in Yemem. Mustafa told the jury that he lost both hands and an eye in an accident in Pakistan while working with explosives.

A third man, James Ujaama, pleaded guilty in 2007 to being the American contact for Mustafa and Aswat in their alleged bid to build a terror camp in the United States. The fourth man to be named in the plot, Oussama Abdullah Kassir, a Swede born in Lebanon, was convicted of terror charges in 2009.

Aswat, who is being treated for paranoid schizophrenia, has been fighting extradition to America since his 2005 arrest in London on a U.S. warrant. Last month, Britain’s high court ruled Aswat could be extradited after receiving assurances from U.S. authorities that his mental illness would still be treated.

Media reports in London Tuesday say the Metropolitan Police confirm that Aswat was taken from Broadmoor psychiatric hospital and escorted onto a plane by U.S. officials.

Officials from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office in New York declined to comment.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Capital Murder Defendant Incompetent to Stand Trial]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:06:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/129310646.jpg

A Parker County judge signed an order finding a capital murder defendant incompetent to stand trial.

The defendant, Jacob Evans, is accused of killing his mother and sister in Aledo on Oct. 4, 2012 according to a press release. The ruling Monday was made after a court appointed forensic psychologist found that Evans was not competent to stand trial.

“We agreed to the incompetency finding and temporary commitment after reviewing the evaluation and conclusions reached by the court appointed psychologist,” said Assistant District Attorney Robert DuBoise.

Evans' attorneys filed a notice of intent to raise the insanity defense at trial, but that motion was not addressed Monday.

Last month, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that defendants convicted of capital murder committed when they are 17 years of age face life in prison with parole consideration after 40 years.

The release said that the highest criminal court in Texas declined to hear Evan's appeal on the ruling. Evans' attorneys filed a motion to reconsider the decision which is currently pending.

The order also committed Evans to no longer than 120 days in a maximum security state mental hospital.

“It is important to point out that this finding does not mean that Mr. Evans will not face trial on the capital murder charges," said DuBoise. "It just means that he will not face trial until the professionals at the North Texas State Hospital can assist him in regaining competency.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tetra images RF]]>
<![CDATA[Texas State Trooper Injured in Wreck]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:20:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/trooper-hurt-angleton.jpg

A Texas State Trooper was injured in a wreck involving multiple vehicles in Angleton Monday afternoon, officials said.

Authorities said the trooper was on the shoulder of Texas 288 south of Houston after pulling over a semi-trailer when a driver crashed into the back of the trooper's vehicle, trapping him inside.

The trooper was taken to a nearby hospital, according to police. There is no word yet on his condition.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the wreck.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Owner of Dog Cop Shot in Video: "I Couldn't Believe It"]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:50:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cleburne-cop-dog.jpg

A Cleburne family is demanding justice after just-released video showed a police officer shooting and killing their 6-month-old pit bull Maximus.

“Every time the shot went off -- just like 'boom, boom, boom' -- I couldn't believe it at first,” owner Amanda Tatum-Henderson said of the video, which shows the officer firing three shots at her dog. “But I was seeing it and couldn't believe it.”

Earlier Tuesday, the city said it was expanding its review of the August 10 shooting, which came to light after Maximus' owners filed an open records request for the police report and video. The city has asked the Texas Rangers and another agency to conduct their own independent investigation.

“Do I have a personal opinion from reviewing it?” Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain said. “It's a close call. The video admittedly is very disturbing.”

Amanda and her husband Quinton say all their dogs are loving and friendly. But they managed to escape from their fenced backyard  that day, and a neighbor called 911 to report that pit bulls were loose.

The police officer said in his report that when he arrived near Lindsey Lane, he eventually found the loose dogs roaming. "As soon as I lifted my pistol, the dog began coming up the hill, continuing to growl and showing his teeth," the officer said in the report.

The officer involved in the shooting was placed on administrative leave Friday and is currently living with family out of state, because he has received death threats via social media.

"The city is obviously concerned about the video showing an officer shooting a dog," Cleburne police spokeswoman Kelly Summey said. "As is often the case, the short video does not tell the whole story."

Police said the officer was responding to a 911 call when he found people pinned in a vehicle by three dogs. The officer was trying to secure the dogs until animal control arrived when, according to police, one dog became aggressive.

Mayor Cain said he was confident that following the reviews, the shooting would be handled swiftly and decisively, and added that he was concerned about the death threats against the officer.

"Level heads must prevail," he said. "Threatening our officer is not only counter-productive, it is a crime. Should these threats continue, we will turn them over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution."

The Cleburne Police Department asked that anyone who saw the shooting contact the Professional Standards Unit at 817-556-8894.

Photo Credit: Cleburne Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Nina Pham Remains in Fair Condition]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:40:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pham-dog.jpg

Dallas nurse and Ebola patient Nina Pham is still in fair condition at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, officials there said Monday.

Her condition has not changed since Friday, they said.

Pham, who contracted Ebola after caring for patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, was flown to Maryland on Thursday to be treated at the taxpayer-funded hospital.

Pham was listed in fair condition Friday after NIH staff assessed her following her transfer Thursday night from Dallas, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Laboratory of Immunoregulation.

She had been listed in good condition in Dallas before her transfer, but Fauci said the change in status shouldn't be understood as Pham's condition worsening.

"She's not deteriorating. I cannot tell you at this particular time why we have said fair, because of patient confidentiality, but she is quite stable now and resting comfortably," said Fauci.

Last week Fauci said they fully intend to have Pham walk out of their hospital and will do everything they can to make sure that happens.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Plano Police Search for Serial Bank Robber]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 05:32:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/plano-robbery-suspect.jpg

Police said they are investigating a series of bank robberies in Plano this month.

Plano Police Department spokesman David Tilley said they think the same person robbed banks in the 200 block of Coit Road, the 3300 block of Preston Road and the 1900 block of Dallas Parkway.

The suspect was described as a white male, 35 to 50 years old, 5-feet 9-inches to 6-feet tall and 160 to 180 pounds with a thin build. In one of the robberies, the suspect was seen leaving in a dark blue or black Ford Ranger truck. 

In each incident, the suspect entered into the bank, demanded money from the teller and then left the location in an unknown direction.

Plano Police Department officials asked that anyone with information about this incident contact their tip line at 972-941-2148 or the Crime Stoppers tip line at 877-373-8477.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>