<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 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, 29 Jul 2015 19:04:58 -0500 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:04:58 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Dallas Zoo Defends Safety, Says Giraffe's Death a 'Fluke"]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:32:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Kipenzi.jpg

A day after the tragic death of a young giraffe, NBC 5 Investigates is looking into the safety record at the Dallas Zoo where officials say a fluke accident, not a zookeepers mistake, led to the death of the beloved creature.

Kipenzi, the baby giraffe whose live birth was broadcast online to the world in April, died immediately after she broke three vertebrae in her neck Tuesday afternoon when she ran into the perimeter edge of her habitat.

In a statement released to NBC 5, zoo officials said zookeepers were routinely moving the giraffes into their night barn when 3-month-old Kipenzi began to scamper in the feed yard, made a sharp turn, collided with the wall and broke her neck at about 5:30 p.m.

Following Kipenzi's death, the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on The U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a thorough investigation into the animal's death.

"The USDA needs to step in and do its job on behalf of the animals -- conduct a thorough investigation and take all appropriate enforcement action against the Dallas Zoo," said Brittany Peet, PETA deputy director.

NBC 5 Investigates began its own investigation and learned Tuesday night that federal inspectors ordered the zoo to make changes last summer to correct concerns about "animal handling" after a staff member was hospitalized after being attacked by a lion that escaped its enclosure and had to be tranquilized. Zoo officials acknowledged at the time that the incident was the result of a staffer's mistake.

That incident wasn't the first time the USDA raised concerns about animal handling at the Dallas Zoo.

In 2011 the USDA told zoo officials to "re-evaluate" employee training and supervision after a chimp escaped. The report said an employee involved "was also involved in a gorilla escape" a year earlier. Seven years before that, in 2004, a lowland gorilla named Jabari escaped and attacked a zoo visitor before being shot and killed by Dallas police.

During their most recent visit to the Dallas Zoo, in June, the USDA found no violations.

The Dallas Zoo defended its past safety record Wednesday and said Kipenzi's death was a fluke accident and not the result of a zookeeper's mistake. The zoo said Kipenzi has been limited to smaller enclosure yards to avoid injury during the first months of her life

"There was nothing in that yard that she had not encountered before. But some fluke incident -- she hit something," said Harrison Edell, the zoo's senior director of living collections.

In an email Wednesday to NBC 5 Investigates, Dallas Zoo spokeswoman, Laurie Holloway said, "This incident yesterday was a tragic accident, and absolutely had nothing to do with improper animal care. Our safety and animal husbandry policies are state-of-the-art."

The USDA told NBC 5 Investigates an inspector will likely visit the zoo soon to look into Kipenzi's death. Also, The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a group that accredits the zoo, said it will also investigate the incident as deaths of giraffes in custody are extremely rare.

The Dallas Zoo's Giants of the Savanna habitat, where Kipenzi lived, was named the No. 3 zoo habitat in the nation and the best in Texas in USA Today's 10 Best travel ranking earlier this year.



Photo Credit: The Dallas Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Denton Reports Positive WNV Mosquito This Year]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:23:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/alerta-condado-los-angeles-mosquitos-virus-nilo-1.jpg

The city of Denton says a mosquito trapped at the University of North Texas athletics facility near Highland Park Road has tested positive for West Nile virus.

It is the first positive West Nile virus sample collected this year in the city.

No human cases have been reported in Denton this year.

In a press release Wednesday, city officials said the trap was collected July 22, and they have now entered what they call "risk level 3," meaning they believe the probability of a person contracting a mosquito-borne disease is low to moderate.

The Denton Water Utilities Department is providing Bti briquettes to residents while supplies last at two locations:

  • Water Administration, located at 901 A Texas St. in the Utility Service Center; Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • City of Denton Composting, located at 1100 S. Mayhill Road in the Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Facility; Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Residents must show their driver's license or a current Denton utility bill to prove their residency.


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<![CDATA[Ohio Officer Faces Murder Charge in Driver's Killing]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:20:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ray-Tensing-mug.jpg

The white University of Cincinnati police officer who shot unarmed black man Samuel Dubose during a traffic stop has been indicted on murder charges, a prosecutor announced Wednesday, saying the cop "purposely" killed the motorist and "should never have been a police officer," according to NBC News.

In announcing the murder charge against officer Ray Tensing, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters lambasted the cop over the death of Dubose, 43, saying the fatal shooting was "the most asinine act I've ever seen a police officer make."

Dubose was pulled over July 19 for having a missing front license plate.

Authorities say when Tensing asked Dubose to hand over his driver's license and registration, he "produced a bottle of alcohol from inside the car, handing it to Officer Tensing" instead.

The car began rolling forward, and Tensing was knocked to the ground.

After a brief struggle ensued, Dubose was shot once in the head by the officer as he sat behind the wheel of his car, authorities said.

The president of University of Cincinnati announced that the school has terminated Tensing.



Photo Credit: WLWT]]>
<![CDATA[New Donut-Ice Cream Hybrid Food Craze: Milky Buns]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:36:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/milkybun.jpg

There's a new food crazy that is kicking Cronuts to the curb: the Milky Bun.

"When [customers] tried the Milky Bun for the first time, that's when the wild fire started," Scott Ngheim, co-found of Afters Ice Cream in Los Angeles, said. "We did not expect the scale of how large everything went."

Ngheim and his partner Andy Nguyen put a new twist to classic sweets: stuffing homemade ice cream inside a warm glazed donut. 

When Ngheim and Nguyen started the ice cream shop, they knew the frozen dessert wouldn't be enough.

"We needed something more in order to get people really excited," said Nguyen. The two said they "tried anything and everything" that could hold ice cream, including shells, waffles and breads.



Photo Credit: Joshua Garcia
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<![CDATA[FedEx Preparing to Open Plano Headquarters]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:23:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fedex6.jpg

Another major company is about to open its corporate headquarters in Plano.

This fall, FedEx Office will relocate to Legacy Drive. The company is combining its south Plano and Galleria location into the 265,000 square foot facility.

Approximately 1,200 employees will now work under one roof.

"The efficiencies will be better. We'll be able to collaborate better and we'll be able to produce a better product for our managers out in the field," said Ari Spitzer, vice president of real estate & development.

The battle for business is big in Collin County.

With Frisco and McKinney booming, Plano city leaders are fighting back. Construction is now underway on headquarters for Toyota and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

"Plano is truly experiencing a renaissance," Plano Mayor LaRosiliere said.

LaRosiliere said the growth translates to Plano having the lowest property tax rate in the Metroplex.

"That's because a significant part of our revenue comes from corporate residents who do not put as much of a strain on our infrastructure and city services," he said.

LaRosiliere said the biggest challenge is managing the growth.

About 12,000 new jobs will be added as a result of the corporate relocations in the next few years.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Church Event Center Draws Concern from Ponder Neighbors]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:44:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboy+church.jpg

Church expansions seldom raise concerns, but the one going up in Ponder isn’t your average sanctuary.

The Denton County Cowboy Church is building a large indoor multipurpose arena and event center on acreage behind their current building.

The enclosed arena will supplement the church’s outdoor rodeo area to host rodeo and worship events, as well as community events for outside entities.

Pastor Jeff Tackett said the rodeo and cowboy lifestyle is an essential part of the church’s message and worship and has helped them grow into one of the larger of their kind in the area.

"In our ministry here, people love John Wayne, Johnny Cash, John Deere and Jesus,” said Tackett.

Tackett said Wednesday the response to the new arena has been fairly positive in the small community, but not everyone is onboard.

Neighbors living on Maddison Place back directly up to the land the church is building on.

While some said they’re fine with the addition, several others told NBC 5 that they had concerns about the large building going up, in some cases, 150 feet from backyards.

"It's just been loud already. I can't imagine a rodeo being any quieter, ya know?" said Ashley Pollock. "It's a residential area."

Pollock’s husband Sean said he questions if the arena should even fit into the current residential zoning of the area, and that he and other neighbors were meeting with an attorney to raise that point to the town.

"We're trying to help them out, not to give them a problem later on,” said Pollock.

Tackett said the church has been very mindful of going through the process to build the event center.

"We've purchased all the proper permits and the city council said we're doing everything right,” he said.

The church said they’ve even consulted the town attorney and an attorney of their own to make sure they are up to standards.

The Ponder Town Secretary and other leaders in touch with the issue were not available for comment Wednesday.

"We want to be good neighbors to everyone here,” said Tackett who hopes the issue can be resolved.

The Denton County Cowboy Church is still recovering from a 2012 fire that burnt down part of their building and forced them to rebuild.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Capitol Hill Takes Up Airport Security After DFW Breach]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:29:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dfw-airport-tower.jpg Tough questions about airport security on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Just days after a security breach at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Peter Neffenger, the director of the Transportation Security Administration testified in front of the House Homeland Security Committee.]]> <![CDATA[TSA Administrator Grilled Over D/FW Security Breach]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:31:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/470823295.jpg

After a man slipped past TSA agents and onto an aircraft at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Sunday without an ID or boarding pass, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said before the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday it's not clear to him how such a serious breach could happen.

Damarias Emmanuel Cockerham, 25, of Garland, was arrested Sunday after he told DFW Airport police he walked past a security checkpoint and onto a commercial airliner bound for Guatemala distraught that his girlfriend was traveling to that country to be with another man.

“The security barrier is meant to keep people from the not sterile area into the sterile area. All we’ve learned is a little about the individual himself, but I’m very interested in how that happened," said Neffenger. “I want to look at the system and understand, do we have an issue with security at our checkpoints? That again is the barrier between non-sterile and sterile areas and there has to be an expectation of that barrier working."

NBC 5 Investigates has been investigating lapses in airport security for several months. The most recent lapse, at D/FW Airport, is raising concerns nationwide about the security of our airports and was the topic of discussion on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

There were also questions Wednesday about the recent arrests of airline workers at D/FW where were busted in a drug smuggling sting.

One congressman revealed those employees monitored and avoided TSA teams that randomly screen airport workers by using cell phones to notify colleagues.

Earlier this year, NBC 5 Investigates revealed major concerns about how workers with airport badges can bypass the regular screening checkpoints. The investigation found hundreds of employee IDs have been lost and stolen at major airports.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Convicted in DWI Crash Sentenced to 50 Years]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:48:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/richardson-trial.jpg

A judge sentenced the man who was behind the wheel in a 2009 drunk driving crash the left a young child with severe brain damage to 50 years in prison Wednesday.

The child, Abdallah Khader, died in January from injuries suffered when Stewart Richardson crashed into his family's vehicle.

Stewart Richardson, 50, will be eligible for parole after 25 years.

Richardson's defense called witnesses Wednesday that testified that Richardson is sorry for what happened, such as Tarrant County Sheriff's deputy LaShondra Taylor.

"He's always polite," she said. "I've never seen him do anything out of order around anybody."

Chaplains who work at the Tarrant County Jail testified that Richardson has shown a drastic change. Five testified on Richardson’s behalf.

"I think he changed. I could see a lot of remorse with him in his past behavior," said Martin Marks.

The chaplains also said that Richardson prayed for Abdallah.

Richardson faced life in prison after police said he crashed into Khader's family's vehicle as it was stopped at a red light. Doctors said Khader's body and skull were crushed, destroying 80 percent of his brain.

After the crash, Abdallah was unable to see and walk because of the brain damage.

Richardson had eight previous DWI charges.

Following the judge's sentence, Abdallah's mother, Loubna Elharazin, got on the stand and spoke directly to Richardson.

"Today your lawyers and the chaplains did a really good job and said how good you are in jail and how well you behaved. And I think we all agree here jail is the best thing for you, because you got better. If you stayed on the road you would have hurt other people," said Elharazin.

NBC 5's Ellen Bryan and Julie Fine contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[5 Dozen Seized Dogs Soon Available for Adoption]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:53:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dogs-in-cages-puddin-hill-maximum-k-9.jpg

More than five dozen animals seized in Ellis County earlier this month are being placed up for adoption, according to the SPCA of Texas.

Maura Davies, spokesperson for the SPCA Texas, said they were awarded custody of 68 dogs, three cats and a macaw after the woman who previously had custody, Gayle Justice, waived any claim to the animals.

Justice ran a dog training and boarding facility, Maximum K-9 Dog Training, out of her Ellis County home.

The SPCA said six of the dogs have been returned to their owners and that the rest will be offered up for adoption to individuals and rescue groups. Officials will try to find the owners of dogs who are microchipped before they are allowed to be adopted out.

When the animals were seized, Ellis County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Lt. James Saulter said Justice was facing a charge of animal cruelty after dozens of animals were found dead on her property in bags.

In an interview with NBC 5, Justice said the deputies were misrepresenting her and that she had done nothing wrong. When asked about the deceased animals Justice would only reply that she was "overloaded" and "totally exhausted."

NBC 5's Johnny Archer contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Man Walking With Infant Robbed, Two Arrested: Police]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:50:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dallas-police-car-generic-12.jpg

Two men who robbed another man at gunpoint as walked with his 1-year-old son near Lochwood Park Monday evening have been arrested, Dallas police say.

According to investigators, the victim was approached at about 7:35 p.m. by two men in a dark-colored 4-door sedan along the 10900 block of Clearbrook Lane.

One of the men pulled out a gun and demanded the victim's belongings, police said.

Wednesday morning police said two arrests had been made in the case, but that further information on the suspects and their mugshots were not being released until a photo lineup was complete.

Police said Wednesday it's too early to tell if the two men arrested are responsible for the separate robberies of two joggers on July 20.

The investigation into the robbery is ongoing.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Dispatcher Who Hung Up on 911 Caller Before Friend Died Resigns]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:15:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/201*120/150728-jaydon-chavez-silver-plane-314p.jpeg

An Albuquerque Fire Department dispatcher who allegedly hung up on a distressed 911 caller seeking help as her friend was dying from a gunshot wound has resigned, officials said. 

"Driver Matthew Sanchez tendered his resignation of employment from the Albuquerque Fire Department effective immediately," fire department Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry said in a statement.

Sanchez allegedly hung up on a distraught women who was tending to a 17-year-old who was shot after the woman used explicit language.

"OK, you kow what, ma'am? you can deal with yourself, I'm not going to deal with this, OK?" Sanchez supposedly said before the line disconnects. 



Photo Credit: Courtesy Nicole Chavez]]>
<![CDATA[Cecil the Lion's Death May Result in 10 Cubs Killed: Experts]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:59:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_463227356214.jpg

The American dentist who hunted and killed a well-known lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe may have jeopardized the livelihood of 10 cubs in the animal's family, experts told NBC News.

"Because lions have such complicated social lives, when one male from a coalition of males is killed, that can destabilize the whole coalition," said Professor David MacDonald, whose team at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, have been tracking Cecil by GPS since 2008. 

This cascade could lead to "the deaths of his brothers and the overthrow of his weakened coalition, and subsequently the death of his cubs," said MacDonald, who is the founding director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at the university.

]]>
<![CDATA[Fort Worth PD Helps One of Their Own]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:01:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/annalynne1.JPG

Police in Fort Worth are putting out a call to help one of their own.

Officer Brandon Magallon's newborn daughter, Annalynne, has been hospitalized after having a series of strokes.

So far, doctors cannot determine what's causing them.

A fund has been set up to help pay for the two-week-old girl's care.

Anyone interested in donating, click here.



Photo Credit: gofundme
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<![CDATA[Experts Say Dispatchers Need More Training]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:35:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2015-07-29-at-4.18.23-PM.jpg

 An investigation into the Alburquerque dispatcher who allegedly hung up on a 911 caller has brought up the importance training practices when it comes to important emergency job.

"You have to be the one to provide assistance in a calm, cool and professional way," Chris Carver, an operations director for the National Emergency Number Association, told NBC News.

Dispatchers have to handle difficult situations and it's critical to not become emotionally involved in what's happening on the other end, Carver said. 

While training on policy, technology, and operations is integral for the job, hiring the right people can sometimes be more important than the training, Carver notes.

"The unfortunate truth is that for the vast majority, the amount of training required [for dispatchers] is no where near being close to what you need to cut hair," Carver said. "That requires much more training."

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<![CDATA[Video of Attack Posted to Social Media Lands Teen in Jail]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:50:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Duncanville-attack.jpg

A teenager has been arrested after video of an attack surfaced on social media.

Duncanville police discovered the video which showed two teens being assaulted by another teenager at Armstrong Park. After one of the victims is struck in the face, he falls to the ground.

WARNING: The video below contains graphic violence and profanity. Viewer discretion is advised.

Detective Jeff Pollock identified the attacker as 18-year-old Cameron Mikal Hendrix. Pollock said one of the two victims was 14-years-old.

Hendrix was taken into custody on Tuesday and is currently in the Duncanville City Jail on charges of felony injury to a child and assault.



Photo Credit: Duncanville Police Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Lifeguard Lying in Sand on Duty]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:02:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/217*120/gary+lifeguard+video.jpg

A Gary, Indiana lifeguard has been fired after she was caught on video lying in the shade while on duty over the weekend.

The three-minute video, which was taken at Marquette Park Beach, was posted to YouTube Saturday and shows a lifeguard lying in the sand below her chair at the beach. The woman is seen still wearing pants and socks in the footage.

“I used to be a lifeguard for five years,” a beachgoer says in the video. “I just want to know why you’re lying down on the job. Aren’t you supposed to be watching the water?”

The woman in the video says she was resting there because it was in the shade.

LaLosa Bent Burns, the director of communications for Gary, told NBC Chicago that the lifeguard’s actions “inexcusable” and said she has been fired.

"It's inexcusable conduct and we addressed the situation as soon as we became aware of it,” he said.  

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<![CDATA[Only 4 Northern White Rhinos Left]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:28:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_760306698482.jpg

One of the last five northern white rhinoceroses in the world has died.

Nabiré, a 31-year-old female northern white rhino, died of a ruptured cyst, authorities at the Dvůr Králové Zoo announced. Nabiré's death leaves only three females and one male left of her species.

Because of poaching and habitat loss, northern white rhinos have been on the brink of extinction for years. 

Out of the only three female northern whites left behind, none are able to carry babies due to uterine conditions or being past the reproductive age. 

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<![CDATA[Dallas Zoo's World-Famous Giraffe Kipenzi Dies]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:00:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Kipenzi.jpg

Dallas Zoo said its world-famous baby giraffe, Kipenzi, has died after running into the perimeter edge of her habitat Tuesday.

The zoo said the results of a necropsy confirmed she suffered two broken vertebrae in her neck, possibly a third, and died immediately.

In a statement released to NBC 5, zoo officials said keepers were routinely moving the giraffes into their night barn just after 5:30 p.m. when Kipenzi began to scamper in the feed yard, made a sharp turn and collided with the wall.

"Running is a typical behavior for giraffes of all ages, especially young ones like Kipenzi," Harrison Edell, the zoo's senior director of living collections, said in a statement. "We've been very cautious with where we've allowed Kipenzi to roam, as we were with her siblings Kopano and Jamie when they were small. It's heartbreaking that this happened where it did despite our precautions."

Zoo officials said Kipenzi's mother, Katie, was allowed to visit her calf's body before veterinarians and keepers removed it.

"We have animals that are closely knit socially," Edell said. "We often times will give them a few moments to help them understand what has transpired."

Edell said the zoo staff need time to grieve too.

"Keepers work with their animals every single day," he said. "They come in and they're extended family, so it's devastating to lose any of them."

Kipenzi made headlines around the world in April when her birth was broadcast live on Animal Planet and streamed live on the Internet.

The zoo then held a popular naming contest that settled on Kipenzi, which translates to "loved one" in Swahili.

Zoo officials recommend The Giraffe Conservation Foundation — an organization it says helps protect giraffes in Africa — for those interested in making a donation in Kipenzi's memory.

NBC 5 Investigates has been looking at the zoo's inspection history.

Records show the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service just inspected the Dallas Zoo on June 15. There were no violations found during that inspection. The report says 13 giraffes were in the zoo's inventory as of last month.

The last time USDA inspectors found a violation at the Dallas Zoo was on Aug. 29, 2014. That inspection followed an incident in which a lion escaped from an enclosure.

The inspection report states, "Keeper error allowed a female lion to escape her enclosure on August 23, 2014. The animal was contained within a hallway however sedation was required to move her back into her primary enclosure."

The inspector writes, "A sedation performed in this type of situation is deemed to be an unnecessary and stressful event. This facility needs to ensure these types of events do not happen in the future."

The Dallas Morning News reported a zoo keeper was bitten on his shoulder and scratched on his chest during that August 2014 incident.

A Nov. 21, 2013, inspection report says USDA inspectors visited to conduct "a focused inspection" to evaluate the death of the lion Johan, but no violations were found.

NBC 5 Investigative Reporter Scott Friedman contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: The Dallas Zoo
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<![CDATA[Texas Thunder Truck Tracks #DFWFlooding]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 10:59:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Texas+THunder+Truck+New+Image+Storms.jpg

Watch video from NBC 5's Texas Thunder Truck, in the player above.

If you do not see video in the player above, the truck is not currently streaming live video.

Follow @TXThunderTruck on Twitter for the latest on location.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Charges in Maddy Middleton Death]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:53:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/T5A+VIGILIA+MADDY+SANTA+CRUZ+KATHERINE+VO+-+00002316.jpg

The Santa Cruz County District Attorney on Wednesday charged a 15-year-old boy with murder and kidnapping in the death of an 8-year-old girl who vanished while riding her scooter near her apartment on Sunday afternoon.

The decision to charge Adrian Jerry Gonzalez as an adult in the death of Madyson "Maddy" Middleton was announced by Jeffrey Rosell at a news conference on the county courthouse steps.

Rosell said he couldn't remember any similar cases in recent history.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday. He is being housed at a juvenile detention facility.  Gonzalez, a minor, is being named publicly because he is charged as an adult.

Rosell would not go into the specifics of the case. But he said the charges are: one count of murder that includes special circumstances of lying in wait, kidnap and sexual assault, and other counts related to sexual offenses and kidnapping. The maximum penalty for the crimes is life in prison, Rosell said, as the death penalty is not applicable to minors.

Because of his age, authorities have declined to say whether the teen had a record.

A motive in the case has never been offered.

"People do things things for all sorts of reasons," Rosell said. "Sometimes we understand them and sometimes we don't."

A call to the Santa Cruz County Office of the Public Defender for comment on the case wasn't immediately returned. Gonzalez could be assigned a public defender at an upcoming court appearance.

Attempts to speak to the teen and his mother have not been successful. A woman who appeared to be his mother wailed in front of a bank of TV cameras on Monday night as the boy was led off in a patrol car calmly.

Some neighbors who know the boy, however, said that he is a good kid who comes from a loving family. Even the boyfriend of Maddy's mother, Kirby Scudder, told NBC Bay Area that Gonzalez is a "great kid." Others knew him for throwing a yo-yo around the complex.

On Tuesday, Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said that Gonzalez “lured” Maddy up to his apartment on Sunday afternoon or evening, and killed her, before carrying her body down to a recycling bin at the apartment complex where both lived. Police didn't find her body until about 8 p.m. Monday.

Vogel also said that evidence, including the girl’s belongings, witness statements and video surveillance, links Gonzalez to Maddy's death. He also said the “suspect went to great lengths” to disguise and conceal the body left in the dumpster.

The 8-year-old's death has left many near and far in shock and disbelief. Santa Cruz residents held a vigil for her on Tuesday night and the Rio Theatre dedicated its marquee to her.

Neighbors at the Tannery Arts Center said they were stunned by the death. The center is a public-private nonprofit that includes 100 affordable loft apartments for artists and their families. About 250 people live in the complex, including about 50 children.

A memorial has been set up in Madyson's honor, overflowing with dozens of bouquets, stuffed animals, balloons, candles and notes.

On Wednesday, a group of girls about Madyson's age were crying at the memorial. One girl was walking Madyson's dog, Lucy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Telemundo
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<![CDATA[Taliban Chief Mullah Omar Is Dead: Afghan Official]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:07:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP120428025635.jpg

The Afghan government announced Wednesday that longtime Taliban leader Mullah Omar was dead.

"I can confirm that Mullah Omar is dead," the spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security Abdul Hassib Sediqi told NBC News. "According to our intelligence Mullah Omar has died in a hospital in Pakistan a couple years ago."

Rumors have circulated for years that the leader of the militant group that ruled Afghanistan until being toppled by U.S.-backed forces in 2001 had died.

Afghan intelligence officials told NBC News earlier that the government came to the conclusion Omar had died about two years earlier during a high-level national security meeting Wednesday morning.

The government had sufficient information to conclude that Omar died of hepatitis B about two years ago, and his death was kept secret to keep the group together, a second intelligence source told NBC News. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Wait, Mark Cuban and Donald Trump Are Playing Nice?! ]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:59:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cuban-trump-side-by-side.jpg

In the latest round of “Never Say Never”, I present as evidence:

Mark Cuban may vote for Donald Trump. And the Republican presidential candidate is becoming a Mavs fan.

Indeed, sweaty souls are breaking out the ice skates in Hades.

The Mavs owner and The Donald have waged a public, petty feud for almost a decade. Trump eye-rolling at Cuban’s failed Benefactor reality show. Cuban firing back that Trump couldn’t afford to buy the Buffalo Bills. Trump calling Cuban a “lightweight.” Celebrity Apprentice vs. Shark Tank. And on and on and on …

Entertaining stuff, from two of America’s most successful and boastful entrepreneurs.

But suddenly the icy relationship may be thawing.

Just a week after calling Trump a “paper tiger” and disparaging his net worth as a “play number,” Cuban actually flooded him with praise via his Cyber Dust app.

“I have to honestly say he is probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time,” Cuban wrote. “I don’t care what his actual positions are. I don’t care if he says the wrong thing. He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.”

Yeah, I was waiting for the “But … “ zinger, too. It has yet too arrive. Instead, more flattery from Cuban toward his (former?) rival.

“We need new ideas,” Cuban continued on Cyber Dust. “We need candor. That only comes when the candidate getting all the attention is candid and open. I don’t have to agree with everything any candidate says. I don’t have to decide who to vote for now. What I do like is that we finally have a candidate that says what is on his or her mind and is leading the polls. That could change the way things are done and I’m a huge fan of Trump for getting that ball rolling.”

These two are nothing if not savvy and conniving and, well, brilliant.

Bottom line: Cuban’s Cyber Dust app is getting tons of play in the national media. Trump’s welcoming of the support from one of his harshest critics. And, about to embark on what should be a lousy season, the Mavs may have won another fan.

Tweeted Trump in response to Cuban’s praise:

Never. Say. Never.

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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.


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<![CDATA[4 Wanted After Thousands in Clothing Stolen]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:12:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/gp-clothing-theft-suspects.jpg

Four people are wanted by police after stealing clothing worth thousands of dollars from a store at Grand Prairie's Premium Outlets.

According to police, two men and two women entered the True Religion store at the outlet mall near Interstate 20 and Texas 360 and grabbed the jeans and shirts nearest to them before turning and running from the store.

The foursome left the mall in a black Honda sedan.

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to their arrest. Tipsters, who may remain anonymous, should call 972-988-TIPS (8477) or visit www.gpcrimestoppers.org.



Photo Credit: Grand Prairie Police Department
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<![CDATA[2 Dead, 31 Sick Amid 'Unusual' Legionnaires' Outbreak in NYC]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:58:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/legionnaires+outbreak.jpg

Nearly three dozen cases of Legionnaires' disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the Bronx over the last two weeks in what the Health Department is calling a concerning "unusual increase" in cases.

Thirty-one cases have been reported in south Bronx neighborhoods, primarily in High Bridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point and Mott Haven, since July 10, the Health Department said. Two of the people stricken with the condition died.

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

Officials are testing water from cooling towers and other potential sources in the area to determine the source of the outbreak.

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

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

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

"We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaires' disease cases in the south Bronx," Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a statement. "We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases."

At a news briefing on hot weather Wednesday afternoon, Bassett said the investigation was in its early stages, and reiterated early treatment was crucial.

"We have our disease detectives out in the field, scanning the environment and looking for places to take samples," Bassett said.

"We know a lot about Legionnaires', we know a lot about outbreaks -- this particular outbreak is still under investigation. We have an evolving situation," she added. "This is a common and readily treated pneumonia and we want to make sure people get care."

Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx confirmed it had received Legionnaires' patients, but declined to say how many and referred questions to the Health Department.

 

John Dudley, district manager of Bronx Community Board 3, said the Health Department hadn't notified him about the outbreak and he wanted more information to spread to residents in his neighborhoods.

"I'm shocked," Dudley said, adding he was at least glad to know the disease couldn't be spread through person-to-person contact.

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



Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Image Library]]>
<![CDATA[Trump: I'd 'Love' to Pick Palin for Cabinet Spot]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:58:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/114965052_10.jpg

Donald Trump said he'd "love" to have former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as a member of his cabinet if he is elected president. 

Asked on Sarah Palin's Mama Grizz Radio's "The Palin Update with Kevin Scholla" whether he'd include Palin in his administration, Trump responded "I'd love that."

"She really is somebody that knows what's happening. She's a special person, she's really a special person," he said. "She's got a following that's unbelievable."

Trump said he's always admired the former Alaska governor's talent for taking criticism in stride.

"One of things I most admire so much about her is that she took so much nonsense, lies, disgusting lies," he said. "And she handles it so well. She's tough and smart and just a great woman."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[18-Year-Old Struck by Vehicle on I-30: Fort Worth Police]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:00:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_328107377.jpg

An 18-year-old man was running on Interstate 30 in Fort Worth when he was struck by a vehicle early Wednesday morning, police said.

Officers responded to call about the man running down I-30 near Summit Avenue at 3:37 a.m., according to Fort Worth Police Department spokesman Daniel Segura.

While en route, police said a driver called police and said he thought he struck a pedestrian who was on the interstate. The driver did not know where the pedestrian was.

Officers found the pedestrian in the 2400 block of West Freeway lying on the inside shoulder. Police said he was in grave condition and transported to a hospital. His condition is not known.

No further details were released.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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<![CDATA[1 Dead in Crash on Texas 161: Irving Police]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 05:47:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/irving-161-crash2.jpg

Police said a man died and a woman was injured in a crash that shut down Texas 161 in Irving overnight. [[319296791,C]]

Irving police said the woman and a man were in the vehicle that crashed on southbound Texas 161 just past Rochelle Boulevard after midnight Wednesday.

Both people were transported to a hospital following the crash. The man — who was driving — was later pronounced deceased.

Authorities shut down all southbound lanes of Texas 161. The road was reopened just before 4:30 a.m.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Greenpeace Protesters Dangle From Portland Bridge]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:24:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/150729-portland-bridge-greenpeace-1045a_560147613e0dbba71fcb0de19ea27d4a.nbcnews-ux-760-520.jpg

At least a dozen climbers with Greenpeace were dangling from a Portland, Oregon, bridge on Wednesday morning — and threatened to do so for days — in protest of Shell's scheduled launch of a ship for Arctic oil exploration, NBC News reported.

"The climbers have enough supplies to last several days, and are prepared to stay in Shell's way as long as possible," the environmental organization said in a blog post.

The stunt on the St. Johns Bridge comes after protesters gathered in a Portland park Tuesday evening, and planned to drop kayaks in the water in a bid to stop the Royal Dutch Shell from leaving port. The ship was scheduled Wednesday to depart for Alaskan waters.

Following the lead of protesters in Seattle who tried to block ships headed for Shell's planned oil exploration in the Chukchi Sea, the Portland "kayaktivists" also planned to conduct a vigil overnight Tuesday on the Willamette River, which runs through downtown Portland.



Photo Credit: Greenpeace]]>
<![CDATA[Feared 'Symbol of Terror' Killed in Pakistan Ambush, Gunbattle]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:13:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_110715143258.jpg

One of Pakistan's most-feared Islamist militant leaders and 13 of his associates were gunned down during an assault on a police convoy that was transporting him from prison on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

Malik Ishaq, who directed the operations of the Taliban- and al-Qaida-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, was so notorious in Pakistan that frightened judges hid their faces from him and even offered him tea and cookies in court. He is believed to be behind the killing of scores of minority Shiites.

Ishaq, who is believed to be either 55 or 56, had been detained by police two days earlier on suspicion of being involved in the slaying of two Shiites, police officer Bakhtiar Ahmed said.

Early Wednesday, as officers tried to transfer Ishaq from a prison in the eastern city of Multan, gunmen ambushed the convoy in an attempt to free him, Ahmed said. The ensuing gunbattle killed Ishaq and at least 13 of his associates, including two of his sons and his deputy, Ghulam Rasool, Ahmed said.



Photo Credit: AP]]>