<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News - South Bay]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/localen-usSun, 25 Jun 2017 12:11:28 -0700Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:11:28 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Police Confiscate 2,700 Pounds of Fireworks in San Jose]]>Sun, 25 Jun 2017 10:44:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-2114860.jpg

San Jose police confiscated 2,700 pounds of fireworks as part of an investigation earlier this year to address public concerns about the danger of fireworks, police said Friday.

Between April and earlier this month officers confiscated the 2,700 pounds of fireworks as well as 3-, 4- and 5-inch mortars, which are considered explosives.

Police said they have identified two people who were allegedly distributing fireworks. One person has a warrant out for their arrest and that person's name will not be released until they are arrested.

Police said they will continue to collaborate with other city agencies to suppress the use of fireworks in San Jose.

"We recognize and have heard the community's concerns over the dangers and nuisance that illegal fireworks cause, especially as we get closer to the Fourth of July," police Chief Eddie Garcia said in a statement.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call police Lt. Laurence Ryan at (408) 277-4631.

People wishing to be anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-7867.

Anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a suspect may be eligible for a cash reward from Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Hotline to Protect Immigrants From Deportation Launches]]>Sat, 24 Jun 2017 21:56:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/office+phone+generic+necn.PNG

The Rapid Response Network hotline, a community defense project designed to protect immigrant families from deportation threats, has launched in Santa Clara County, a labor council said.

Community members can call the hotline 24/7 to report any immigration operations in the community and get help, according to Dianna Zamora-Marroquin of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council.

When someone calls, the dispatcher who takes the call will support the community member in asserting his or her rights, check that they are safe and dispatch trained Rapid Responders to the impacted site, Zamora-Marroquin said.

If an operation is confirmed, the Rapid Responders will conduct legal observation to prevent any abuses from immigration agents, collect evidence that might support the impacted family's immigration case and provide moral support and accompaniment to the family, Zamora-Marroquin said.

The Rapid Response Network is a collaborative project led by Sacred Heart Community Service, Pangea Legal Services, the South Bay Labor Council, the City of San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations and other groups.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Single-Engine Skydiving Plane Crashes in San Martin]]>Sat, 24 Jun 2017 17:32:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SanMartinCrash.png

A single-engine plane used for skydiving crashed near the San Martin Airport Saturday evening, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

The Cessna 182 built in 1957 had just released four skydivers and was on its way back to the airport when it went down just before 5:15 p.m. near the southbound on-ramp from East San Martin Avenue to Highway 101, according to officials. The 30-year-old pilot, who was the only person inside the plane at the time of the crash, told the California Highway Patrol that he suffered cuts to his face and a black eye.

Dhar Mrityunjoy of San Jose was piloting the plane, which is operated by the San Jose Skydiving Center. Mrityunjoy said the plane's engine quit on the final approach to the airport. 

"His intention was to land the plane and he lost power on his approach to the runway," CHP Officer Jason Smith said.

Footage from the scene showed the plane come to rest next to the southbound on-ramp beneath highway metering lights. There were no flames, but the plane was damaged. 

A witness said the plane bounced on the shoulder of the on-ramp, sheared a traffic metering light and smashed into another pole.

The crash completely blocked the southbound on-ramp, but both directions of Highway 101 remained open while authorities investigated the incident.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash. There appears to be no questions about the plane's ability to fly safely, according to the FAA Registry.

San Martin is located just south of Morgan Hill and north of Gilroy.

Further information was not available.

Photo Credit: Chuck Coppola/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Florist Charged With Defrauding Customers: DA]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 23:31:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/JasminRivera.jpg

A San Jose florist has been charged with cheating people out of more than $26,000 after she didn't deliver flowers and other supplies to paying customers, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Jasmin Rivera, 37, from Gigi's Florist has been charged with six counts of grand theft in addition to two other unrelated charges, according to the district attorney's office. She pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

"These are events that are special and sentimental," prosecutor Garner Morris said. "They put their trust in her to provide these services and she failed them."

Multiple complaints have been flung at Rivera in the past, according to the district attorney's office. One victim, who did not want to be identified, says she shelled out more than $3,000 for bouquets, boutonnieres, church arrangements and table center pieces. She said only about one-third of her order made it to the church.

"When I go to the church, there’s nothing there," the victim said. "There isn’t the boutonniere, there isn’t the bridesmaid bouquets, there isn’t the decorations for the entire church."

Another family took out loans to host their daughter's Quinceañera, according to the district attorney's office. They paid Rivera roughly $10,000 to cover party necessities such as a DJ and limousine. Rivera failed to provide anything the family asked for, and she told the family to take her to court when they asked for a refund.

Last year, another victim paid Rivera approximately $8,000 for wedding decorations, according to the district attorney's office. No supplies were delivered on the wedding day, and the victim was only refunded $400.

Neighboring florist Sal Rosales was disturbed after learning about the charges.

"(Rivera) should pay for whatever she did," he said. "I'm sorry to hear about that for the other people that got their money stolen."

Rivera could end up behind bars if she is convicted. Prosecutors say they're still looking for more victims to strengthen their case.

Anyone with other information regarding Rivera is asked to contact criminal investigation Christine Macias at 408-792-2822.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Van Conversion Company Inspired by Steep Rental Prices]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:24:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Van+Start+Up.jpg

It’s no secret that living in the Bay Area is expensive, and the number of people living out of cars and vans in San Mateo County has reportedly spiked in recent years.

With stories of homeowners converting to mobile living popping up each week, we talked to one van conversion company about the #vanlife and its beginnings in a San Mateo employee parking lot. 

Q&A have been edited for brevity:

Where did the idea for The Advanture Co. come from?

"[Co-founder Brandon Nelson] was actually working at GoPro in San Mateo for a couple years and was unable to afford rent in the Bay Area," said Scott Nelson, co-founder of the Santa Cruz-based company. "Him and a couple of other people decided to live in Sprinter vans with mattresses."

His small business has been rolling out customized vans now for about a year-and-a-half and has evolved into a lifestyle brand, which advocates for what it says is a more affordable and flexible living option than home ownership.

"After four or five months of living on a mattress, we decided to take it to another level. We built out his van over eight months," Nelson said. "So that’s kind of how it started.”

The van conversion company has already converted and built vans for a folk band, physical therapist, photographers and more.

"The whole idea is basically allowing yourself the freedom to do anything you want," Nelson said. "That’s the bottom line." 

What’s the process like?

"Everything’s custom, totally varied," Nelson said.

The company works with each client to determine pricing and needs. Depending on the use of the van — whether for work, touring or leisure — can change the outfit of the van, according to Nelson.

Do you think the number of people living in vans is going to keep going up?

"I think it’s going to keep going up if housing keeps going up,” Nelson said. "We live in one of the most expensive places to live in the world."

Perhaps because of this, the perception of those living in cars has started to change.

"At first it was thought of as a weird homeless situation, but it’s now being viewed as more for mobility, to not throw away $2,000 plus dollars rent, to get rid of the mortgage,” Nelson said. "It’s really an investment if you do it right."

What is the biggest hurdle to joining the #VanLife?

"At the end of the day, to do the "vanlife," you do have to downsize your wardrobe," Nelson said.

But, he says, it isn’t a lifestyle restricted to couples and single people.

"You could have a family of four in there if you build it right," Nelson said. "Set up to live small. Don’t try to cram all your stuff into it. You don’t have to."

And, he says, it comes with a big payoff. 

"It simplifies everything," Nelson said. "There are all of these costs that you can eliminate. Every appliance in the vans runs on solar. The only thing you need is diesel fuel and new tires every five to 10,000 miles."

The Advanture Co. will be producing a series of short films with photographer Chris Burkard, after completing his own van. After that, the small team is looking at expanding their company into tiny homes, Airstream travel trailers as well as other cities that might be interested in van conversion services.

Photo Credit: The Advanture Co.
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<![CDATA[Google to Stop Reading Your Gmail to Help Sell Ads]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:13:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GmailGen.jpg

Google is going to stop reading your Gmail in search of opportunities to sell ads.

The change announced Friday will end a practice that Google has embraced since the company introduced Gmail in 2004. The practice has raised concerns among privacy watchdogs and creeped out some users.

To help finance the free service, Google has been scanning through what Gmail users were discussing and then showing ads connected to some of the topics. Someone writing about running, for instance, might see ads for Nike or Asics shoes.

Google still plans to show ads within Gmail. But instead of scanning through email content, the company's software will rely on other signals to determine which ads are most likely to appeal to each of its 1.2 billion Gmail users.

The Mountain View, California, company said it would stop the ad-driven scanning of Gmail later this year.

Google says it's changing course so its free Gmail service operates more like the subscription version that it has sold to more than 3 million companies. The paid Gmail doesn't include ads, so the company has never tried to scan the content of those users' emails for marketing purposes.

Yet some business customers might have believed incorrectly that Google was scanning those accounts as well. By ending all scanning, Google can put such concerns to rest as it tries to sell the service to even more businesses.

Gmail now ranks as the world's largest email service, an indication that most people didn't care about Google's scanning methods. Both Microsoft and Apple have publicly skewered Google for having the audacity to mine users' emails for ad sales, but those attacks didn't undercut Gmail's popularity.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Gmail.com]]>
<![CDATA[ Light-Rail Service Resumes in San Jose]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:20:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0209-2016-VTA.jpg

Light-rail service between the Karina and Bonaventura stations in North San Jose was briefly disrupted Friday after an incident involving a pedestrian in the crosswalk, according to Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority officials.

Initially, VTA reported that a train had struck someone 1st Street and Karina Court. The agency then clarified that it was unclear if the train had made contact with the pedestrian or the person had just fallen. 

The person was taken to a hospital in an unknown condition.

A bus bridge was provided to passengers on the Mountain View to Winchester and Alum Rock to Santa Teresa lines. 

The disruption was reported around 10:30 a.m. Service had resumed by 11:05 a.m.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Caltrain Strikes Man on Tracks in Sunnyvale]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:03:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/223*120/caltrain.jpg

A commuter train struck a man in Sunnyvale Friday morning, according to Caltrain.

The agency reported the incident on social media around 8:30 a.m., saying the victim was a trespasser.

Delays of 15 to 30 minutes were reported and VTA was accepting Caltrain fare. By 9:15 a.m., trains were single tracking through the Sunnyvale station, which is expected to remain closed for at least three hours, Caltrain said on Twitter.

Information about the victim's current condition was not immediately available. 

Here's what to expect during Caltrain incidents like this one: www.caltrain.com

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image
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<![CDATA[Man Killed, Another Injured in Two-Car Crash in San Jose]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:04:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-23-17-sj-deadly-car-crash.jpg

Two vehicles slammed into each other at a San Jose intersection late Thursday, killing one man and leaving another in critical condition.

The crash was reported at 10:26 p.m. near Monterey Highway and Bailey Road, police said. 

The driver of one of the cars was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The second driver was taken to an area hospital and treated for severe injuries.

The slain man's identity will not be revealed until his next of kin have been notified, according to police. The man's death marks San Jose's 24th fatal collision of 2017.

People with information about the crash are asked to contact Detective Troy Sirmons of the San Jose Police Department's Traffic Investigations Unit at 408-277-4654.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Hardest on Those Who Have to Work in It]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 23:56:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Heat_Hardest_on_Those_Who_Have_to_Work_in_It.jpg





The heat wave hit its peak Thursday, and perhaps nobody felt it more than those working at non-air-conditioned jobs, like a group of roofers in Los Gatos and a shift brewer at a local craft beer maker. Ian Cull reports.

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<![CDATA[BART Fare Goes Up to Help Close $31 Million Budget Deficit]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:27:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-25-17_BART_Warm_Springs.jpg

BART's board of directors at its Thursay meeting in Oakland passed a sanctuary resolution declaring the agency's commitment to being a secure and inclusive transit system for all passengers regardless of demographic or immigration status.

During public comment, numerous speakers urged the board to support the Safe Transit resolution.

"The Bay Area's success relies on the contributions of hard-working immigrants and refugees," said Linda Olvera with the California Sanctuary Campaign. "Many of these same people are now hiding and running scared."

Jane Martin with Service Employees International Union – United Service Workers West said people shouldn't have to be afraid when trying to go to work or school or to pick up their children.

"California has taken the lead to being part of the resistance," Martin said. "We're really excited that you're going to be a part of that resistance as well."

Just two speakers criticized the resolution, arguing that there may not be a demonstrated need for such a policy and asking how often people are detained in immigration-related cases on BART.

Director Debora Allen asked BART police Chief Carlos Rojas when the last time a BART rider was asked for immigration papers, and Rojas said he was not aware of any incidents of that nature.

Rojas said an individual was arrested on an immigration warrant, but said that arrest occurred more than five years ago.

Just before noon, the board voted 8-1 with Allen casting the sole dissenting vote.

"We will now be spending our resources keeping BART riders safe, not deporting them," said director Nick Josefowitz, who sponsored the bill along with director Lateefah Simon.

"Under Safe Transit, BART will focus its resources on our top priorities — transporting our riders with affordability, accessibility, and accountability — not harmful, wasteful anti-immigrant policies," Simon said. "I am proud that BART is the first transit system in the nation to pass a Safe Transit policy, and I hope other regions follow."

In an unrelated matter, the board passed an inflation-based fare increase of 2.7 percent as well as a 50-cent surcharge on fares paid for with paper tickets. They also reduced the discount for youth riders ages 5 to 12 from 62.5 percent to 50 percent, and established a new 50 percent discount for youth ages 13 to 18.

Those changes go into effect in January 2018.

"It's 2017, it's time to end the paper tickets," Allen said. "I'm happy to support that. This is a step in the right direction."

In a narrow 5-4 vote, the board also repealed the controversial "seat hog" ordinance, which would have prohibited riders from taking up more than one seat during commute hours with warnings for first-time offenders and a series of escalating fines of up to $500 for repeat violations.

Police had concerns the ordinance would cause delays, target the homeless and lead to unnecessary use of force incidents. It was never enforced.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[At Peak of Heat Wave, PG&E Cuts Power in SJ Neighborhood]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:55:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/06-22-2017-pge.jpg

A San Jose neighborhood is trying to understand why PG&E would intentially cut their power during the peak of the Bay Area heat wave, espcially considering that one of their neighbors was one of three people who died because of this week’s heat. Damian Trujillo reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Swelters Amid Dangerously High Temperatures]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:45:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-53263722.jpg

The Bay Area is in the grips of a dangerous heat wave that was expected to peak Thursday. 

A National Weather Service excessive heat warning is in effect until 9 p.m. The National Weather Service says they expect daily records for the Central Valley and the rest of the interior.

High temperatures across the Bay Area are expected to range between 90 and 105 degrees across most inland areas with locally hotter temperatures possible, forecasters said.

Caltrain posted on Twitter around 1:45 p.m. Thursday that a Level 1 heat restriction was in place on all main tracks that connect San Mateo and San Jose. That means trains will be running at slower speeds than normal. The restriction expired about 6:40 p.m.

Two people died this week due to the extreme heat wave. A 72-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman died in San Jose Monday, when temperatures reached 94 degrees. A third person died Tuesday, but the Santa Clara County coroner has yet to confirm that it was caused by the heat.

The soaring temperatures and stagnant air are also likely to create unhealthy levels of ozone, prompting the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to issue a Spare the Air alert for Thursday

Another major concern during the scorching temperatures is a growing strain on the local power grid, which could prompt widespread outages. 

All week, PG&E has been ramping up for Thursday.

Crews have combed through neighborhoods on the hunt for vulnerable tree limbs, which were taken care of before they could fall and potentially take down light poles.

The utility is using smart meters to identify outages faster than relying on customers calling in. PG&E meteorologists are also using outage prediction models to pinpoint where the heat could trigger power outages before they happen so crews can preemptively get in place.

For a list of Cooling Centers and information on heat-related illnesses and prevention, visit the County of Santa Clara Office of Emergency Services website or call 211.

People are being urged to take every possible precaution in the heat. Here are some ways to beat the heat:

Additional tips for those who must work or exercise outdoors:

  • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
  • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
  • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.

Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

  • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
  • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
  • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

Infants and Children:

  • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
  • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
  • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
  • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.


  • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked or open.
  • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
  • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
  • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Nelson, Astronomer Who Built Advanced Telescopes, Dies]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:51:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17173657490299.jpg

Jerry Nelson, an astronomer who designed advanced telescopes that help scientists glimpse far reaches of the universe, has died in California. He was 73.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, where Nelson was a professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics, said he died June 10 at his home. No cause was given.

Nelson's design using dozens of segmented mirrors rather than a single large one was the basis for the Keck Observatory's twin 10-meter telescopes on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii. Those telescopes, among the largest in use, have allowed scientists to measure the black hole at the center of the Milky Way and to spot planetary bodies outside our solar system.

"Jerry's impacts on the field of astronomy and astrophysics are legendary, and we will all benefit from his legacy for many years to come," said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories.

Nelson's concept has since been used for other large ground-based telescopes around the world. The space-based James Webb telescope, which is under construction, also has a segmented primary mirror design.

Nelson also played an important role in the development of adaptive optics technology, which sharpens the images from ground-based telescopes by correcting for the blurring effect of Earth's atmosphere, the university said.

Even after a stroke in 2011 that left him partly disabled, Nelson continued work for the Thirty Meter Telescope, a project to build the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere.

"His endless curiosity always pushed the scientists around him to think more deeply, and his persistence and continued excellence after his stroke were inspirational to everyone," said Michael Bolte, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.

Born near Los Angeles, Nelson earned an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in physics at UC Berkeley, where he taught for years before moving to Santa Cruz. He also worked for more than a decade at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Nelson is survived by his wife, sister, two children from his first marriage and three grandchildren. His first wife died in 1992.

Photo Credit: Don Harris/University of California Santa Cruz via AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Traffic Lights in Santa Clara Leave Drivers Baffled]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 23:52:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sc+lights-0621.jpg

Four new traffic lights have been installed along crosswalks in Santa Clara, and they're confusing drivers because they have no green lights.

"I drove by a couple times, and I just don't know what to do, stop or keep going," said Jose Soria, of Morgan Hill.

The lights are along El Camino Real. There are similar signals in parts of San Jose and San Francisco.

The signals have two red lights and a yellow light. The yellow is meant as a warning to drivers to prepare to stop because a pedestrian is waiting. Two reds means stop.

As pedestrians cross, a red light begins blinking, which means drivers are supposed to stop, but can continue if no one is in the crosswalk - even though walkers still have time to cross.

"There were cars still, if they see no pedestrian (in the crosswalk) just pass," said Jin Chen, of Santa Clara.

When the lights go off, drivers can go.

The city of Santa Clara and Caltrans split the $1 million cost for the four signals.

"This is a Caltrans standard," Santa Clara City Manager Rajeev Batra said. "It only becomes a standard when it's been tested and used elsewhere."

They're cheaper than typical traffic lights, the city says, and safer than typical crosswalks.

As for the flashing reds: "If there is a flashing bulb once the pedestrian has crossed the entire width of the street, then it's just like a yellow light," Batra said.

Confused drivers said they're glad cars are stopping the crosswalk now but added they'd prefer what they're used to.

More public education and lights may be on the way to Santa Clara. The city says a standard traffic light wouldn't be necessary at the four intersections, and the new signals keep traffic moving.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Brush Fire Burns 54 Acres in East San Jose Foothills]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:03:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0621-2017-SJFire.jpg

Firefighters on Wednesday night appeared to have the upper hand on containing a brush fire in the foothills of East San Jose.

The blaze late Wednesday on Quimby Road, south of Mount Hamilton Road, had charred 54 acres before fire crews stopped its forward progress, Cal Fire officials said.

The flames were seen coming fairly close to at least one home, but no structures had been damaged or destroyed, fire officials said.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the blaze was not yet determined, officials said.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Two Heat-Related Deaths Confirmed in South Bay: Coroner]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:48:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Flex_Alert_Issued_Statewide_For_Heat_Wave.jpg

Two heat-related deaths have occurred in San Jose since the start of the current heat wave, Santa Clara County officials said Wednesday.

The county coroner confirmed the deaths were caused by hyperthermia Monday, and a third death was confirmed Tuesday. The victims were identified as 72-year-old Dennis Young and 87-year-old Setsu Jordan. A third person's death was confirmed Tuesday, but the Santa Clara County coroner has not yet specified whether it was caused by the heat.  

"It is tragic when someone dies of hyperthermia since in most every case it could have been prevented," said Dr. Michelle Jorden, of the county Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office. "Hyperthermia and heat stress happen when a body’s heat-regulation system cannot handle the heat. It can happen to anyone, which it is why it is so important to be in a cool location, drink plenty of water and take a cool bath or shower if you are getting too hot."

A National Weather Service excessive heat warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Thursday. High temperatures are forecast to range from 90 to 100 degrees across most of Santa Clara County, with hotter temperatures possible, forecasters said.

For a list of Cooling Centers and information on heat-related illnesses and prevention, visit the County of Santa Clara Office of Emergency Services website or call 211.

Additional tips for those who must work or exercise outdoors:

  • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
  • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
  • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.

Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

  • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
  • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
  • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

Infants and Children:

  • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
  • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
  • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
  • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.


  • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows ‘cracked’ or open.
  • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
  • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
  • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation. 

<![CDATA[Four Teenagers Flee From Deputies, Crash Stolen Car]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 09:04:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Crash_and_Pursuit_in_San_Jose.jpg

A chase involving Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies early Wednesday ended in a crash and four teenagers being taken into custody in San Jose.

Deputies tried to stop a speeding 90s Honda Accord around 1:30 a.m., but its driver hit the gas and fled. The driver also ran a red light, but was forced to swerve to avoid hitting a large dog, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. 

The pursuit ended by the Highway 101 and Interstate 680 interchange, near the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, when the driver collided with a traffic light pole on Story Road. The vehicle was then propelled through bushes before it came to rest nearly 50 feet away after slamming into a car in a Walmart parking lot, just east of Roberts Avenue.

“They spun out of control and then they swerved and they did three flips and they crashed into the parking lot of Walmart," said Carolina Solorio, who watched the entire scene unfold from the window of a nearby drive-thru where she works.

Solorio thought she said, “Oh my god!” to herself, but “I actually screamed it out loud.” The customer she was serving at the time was equally shocked by the crash, she said.

"They were going pretty fast because they were out of control," Solorio recalled. "They hit a couple things." 

Four juveniles jumped out of the car and scattered, in an effort to run away. However, they were detained by deputies. The three boys and one girl ranged from 13 to 17 years old, deputies said.

"They got out (of the car) and actually ran. I couldn’t believe that they could run after that!" Solorio said.

The teenagers were treated at a hospital, cited and released to their parents. The car they were driving was stolen, deputies discovered. The foursome could face charges for stealing the car and felony evasion, but the matter will be handled through the juvenile court system, according to the sheriff's office.

At the scene, a traffic pole, which was sheared off at the base, lies in pieces while skid marks show the car’s trajectory before the crash. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Heat Wave Scorches Bay Area, Strains Power Grid]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 12:14:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-81651821.jpg

PG&E customers across California have been asked to conserve electricity through Wednesday before the statewide heat wave peaks.

The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the operation of the state's bulk electric system, transmission lines and electricity market, on Monday issued a statewide Flex Alert, asking people to voluntarily cut down on utility consumption.

The goal is to save 500 megawatts to avoid widespread blackouts, the agency said. And that means everyone must pitch in. Electric customers are urged to conserve electricity from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We find that 500 megawatts shaved off is enough to get us over the critical time," said Anne Gonzales, a CAISO spokeswoman. "If consumers can respond, that will take a lot of the stress off of the grid."

Conservation is especially recommended during the late afternoon, when air conditioners are typically at peak use, officials said.

According to CAISO officials, electric customers can help avoid power outages by turning off all unnecessary lights, using major appliances before 2 p.m. or after 9 p.m., and setting air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher.

Temperatures are expected to soar Thursday, forcing the National Weather Service for the Bay Area to upgrade a heat advisory to an excessive heat warning for some of the hotter inland areas of the North Bay mountains and the East Bay valleys and hills.

The heat advisory has also been extended until Thursday evening for most inland areas and expanded to the San Francisco Bay shoreline, including Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, Redwood City and San Mateo — but not San Francisco.

Coastal locations will be near normal, but inland weather is expected to be roughly 20 degrees hotter than usual.

Temperatures will rise an estimated two to five degrees from Tuesday to Wednesday, then another two to five degrees on Thursday — and some areas may exceed 110 degrees.

The weather will begin to cool off Friday, continuing into the weekend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Transformer Fire Causes Power Outage in Campbell]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 07:11:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/162*120/6-21-17-POWER-LINE-FIRE.jpg

A transformer fire early Wednesday sparked power outages in a Campbell neighborhood.

Firefighters were on scene at South Leigh Avenue and Dry Creek Road, putting out the flames.

While crews doused the flames, PG&E was forced to cut power to 6,000 homes in the area. Electricity was restored quickly, though. As of 7 a.m., 126 customers are without power, according to PG&E. Their service is expected to return within the hour.

The incident was caused by a bad cable. However, PG&E expects more rolling power outages later Wednesday – as was the case a day prior – as energy usage soars amid a heat wave.

Photo Credit: Matt Ulrich/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Google Tech Campus Plan Gets OK from San Jose City Council]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:25:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/google28.jpg

The San Jose City Council has agreed to enter into exclusive negotiations with Google for the sale of city property in the heart of the city to be used for the technology company's proposed transit village and mega tech campus.

The Mercury News reported the council voted 10-2 Tuesday to enter into the negotiations with Google for 16 city-owned parcels in downtown San Jose.

If the plan is approved, Google would build between 6 million and 8 million square feet of offices and other spaces in the area around Diridon Station, the central passenger rail depot for San Jose.

City officials say the campus would generate millions of dollars in tax revenue and add thousands of tech jobs.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC BAY AREA ]]>
<![CDATA[Milpitas City Leaders Consider Renter Protections]]>Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:14:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/milpitas-renters-0620.jpg

The Milpitas City Council on Tuesday night will consider two emergency measures that could impact the future of thousands of renters in the city.

The council will discuss a proposed moratorium on razing affordable housing complexes, which would slow down or stop evictions ato one complex, and a "just cause" ordinance that would protect tenants from eviction if they haven’t done anything wrong.

Many tenants groups are applauding Milpitas for even taking up the "just cause" issue so quickly after San Jose’s long, drawn-out fight. And a large group of tenants currently facing evictions plans to show up at the Tuesday meeting to let the council know they need that protection.

Hien La and her family have lived at the 171-unit Sunnyhills Apartments for 12 years. The family pays around $535 a month for a three-bedroom unit at the federally subsidized HUD housing complex. But in January, owner JMK Investments sent residents a required notice, saying it would not renew its HUD contract when it expires in February 2018. The owner has indicated it would like to replace the apartments with townhouses or convert to market rate rentals.

La said she can’t afford either option, and the prospect of leaving her community is traumatic.

"We go to the doctors, and we go to the church and the supermarket, and everything is very familiar for us," La said. "So it’s very hard for us to find another place."

The city responded with the two urgency measures. The temporary moratorium can be renewed every 45 days, and the "just cause" ordinance specifies under what circumstances landlords are able to evict tenants.

"It basically says landlords have the right to evict tenants who are not following the rules, breaking the law, not paying their rent," said Allysson McDonald, president of the Sunnyhills Neighborhood Association.

But the association says it’s hard to say how much the new rules would help Sunnyhills tenants. They really want the city, the building owner and HUD to work something out.

"Because once we have to move out of here, we become homeless," La said.

The Milpitas meeting is expected to add momentum for groups pushing to make "just cause" ordinances a Bay Area-wide issue. Santa Clara already is debating it, and Santa Clara County leaders have been discussing it.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Tree Falls, Knocking Out Power For 93 People in Los Gatos ]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 07:40:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-21-17-los-gatos-tree-down.jpg

A tree came crashing down in Los Gatos early Wednesday morning, causing a power outage in the neighborhood.

The tree is located on Bear Creek Road near Summit Road. An estimated 93 PG&E customers briefly lost electricity around 2:30 a.m. Power has since been restored to them.

The tree, however, has not been cleared. Public works crews are expected to come out later Wednesday morning.

Photo Credit: PG&E]]>
<![CDATA[Dangerous Heat Forcing Youth Camps to Be Wary, Improvise]]>Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:20:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/camps+heat-0620.jpg

Dangerously hot temperatures this week have prompted local summer camps to make a few changes and take some extra precautions.

Parents also are wary of the rising mercury for children who are scheduled to be outdoors for a good part of the day. Jeri Vasquez said she packed some extra water bottles for her son’s busy day of soccer in the morning and baseball in the afternoon.

"I keep checking the weather and see, oh 98! Great, that will be fun," Vazquez said.

On Monday in the South Bay, temperatures reached into the upper 90s and even triple digits in some areas for the second straight day. Tuesday provided a bit of relief as temperatures dropped 5-10 degrees, but there was still an excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service that is in effect until Thursday night.

Vazquez's son, 12-year-old Jameson, admitted he didn’t drink enough water at practice Monday and came home with a headache.

"It was hot, and I get really sweaty," he said. "We get a lot of water breaks."

Jameson's coaches at World Cup Soccer Camp in Santa Clara said they’re making sure all the kids stay as cool as possible and hydrated.

"During breaks, they are required to sit in the shade," coach Julianna Moura said. "If anyone is out in the sun, they are required to sit in the shade. It’s too hot."

Moura said when it’s hot, kids get water breaks at least every 10 minutes.

Other South Bay kids camps organizers say the heat is forcing them inside. Aby Ryan, founder and CEO of Athena Camps in Campbell, said any campers who need a break from the heat can enjoy the air conditioning in the teachers lounge. But for the most part, "it’s dance party business as usual."

"We adjust the art project to the afternoon and sports in the morning when it’s cooler," Ryan said. "We bring out the tents, spray bottles and the water balloons. We have extra water around all the time."

Athena Camps and World Cup said they hadn’t had any serious issues with children feeling sick or showing symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are likely, expert say. They advise people to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, if possible, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[100-Pound Pet Pig Snatched From San Jose Family's Home]]>Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:14:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0620-2017-SJMissingPig.jpg

The search is on for a 100-pound pig reportedly stolen in San Jose.

The animal's owners, Mark and Jeannie Ackerman, says someone stopped at their house at Ocala Avenue and White Road and took the female pig from the backyard.

In addition, the kennel for the pig is missing and surveillance cameras were ripped off from the front of the home.

Mark Ackerman posted the alleged incident in a Sunday evening Facebook post, including videos and pictures of the missing pig named "Pig Pig."

"She is definitely a member of our family," Jeannie Ackerman said. "We've had her since she was two months old."

The owners said this is the second time the 3-year-old pig has been stolen. Ackerman said Pig Pig was stolen two years ago and was later found after someone dumped her at Emma Prusch Farm Park in San Jose.

Mark and Jeannie Ackerman have been posting fliers around their neighborhood in hopes of finding Pig Pig.

"With this heat my big concern is that she is cared for properly," Jeannie Ackerman said.

A police report has been filed and the Ackermans are offering a $500 reward.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Ackerman at 408-679-5832.

Photo Credit: Mark Ackerman/Facebook
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<![CDATA[Apple Seeks to Void Patent Claims, Fees in Qualcomm Dispute]]>Tue, 20 Jun 2017 08:32:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple-mac-generic.jpg

Apple is seeking to void some of Qualcomm's patent claims and licensing agreements, intensifying its legal battle with the chip maker over the technology in iPhones and iPads.

In a federal court filing Tuesday, Apple cited a Supreme Court ruling last month that a printer-cartridge maker's patent rights end with the initial sale of the cartridges. Apple says that ruling strengthens its argument that Qualcomm cannot continue to demand royalties for the patents after selling its cellular chips.

The new court documents expand on a $1 billion lawsuit Apple filed in January in U.S. District Court in San Diego. Qualcomm has disputed Apple's claims that it is overcharging for patent-related license fees.

Apple is also seeking to narrow the list of Qualcomm patents covered by its products. In addition, it argues that licensing fees based on a percentage of iPhone and iPad prices are unfair because Qualcomm's technologies cover a small portion of what goes into those devices.

One argument working in Qualcomm's favor, however: Apple and its contractors signed agreements to pay licensing fees this way. Apple says it was coerced to do so because Qualcomm chips were essential to Apple's products. Apple is now less dependent on Qualcomm because Intel makes similar chips.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has also accused Qualcomm of imposing unfair licensing terms on manufacturers. Regulators in other countries also have been investigating, and South Korea's antitrust regulators have issued an $865 million fine against Qualcomm.

If Apple prevails and doesn't have to pay as much in licensing fees, it's not likely that those savings will be passed on directly to its customers, as Apple tends to keep retail prices consistent from year to year. But it could allow Apple to squeeze in more features while maintaining the same profit.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: AP, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Bike Sharing Program Expands in Bay Area]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 18:43:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bicycle+generic.jpg

A Bay Area bike share program rolled out an expansion this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Brooklyn-based Motivate runs the program and is operating under a 10-year contract with the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission, according to the Chronicle.

The bike share program is currently available in San Francisco and San Jose.

Motions to expand have already begun, with the company moving into three more cities with a total of 7,000 bikes. The new areas in the expansion include Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

With the increase of bikes and cities, here are some new paths to check out in each destination:


If looking for a scenic bike path, head to the Emeryville City Marina. This cove will give riders an opportunity to peddle a portion of the 500-mile San Francisco Bay Trail. The dock will provide paved roads and make for a great outing for the whole family.

Being in a marina, visitors will be able to take in the fresh Bay water as well as admire the boats inhabiting the harbor. Bikers can also pull over after their trip to shop or grab something to eat on Bay Street in Emeryville.


While the marina will provide views of the ocean, Butters Canyon will lead your through untouched greenery. As reported by the East Bay Express, this bike route will temporarily alleviate city stress and replace it with nature’s serenity. To begin, cycle over to the Oakland Hills and enter from Mountain Boulevard.


Another route praised by the East Bay Express is the Layfayette-Moraga Regional Trail. Another ride great for families, this path takes cyclists for a tour of Bay Area neighborhoods. There are side paths as well, allowing riders to spice up the route with intermediate hills. East Bay Express warns enthusiast to head there early to beat the heat.

<![CDATA[Cyber Security Startup Finds Unprotected Voter Data]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 21:34:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/voter+hack-0619.jpg

A Silicon Valley cyber security startup came across some sensitive voting records left unprotected by a political consultant hired by the Republican National Committee to research voters.

Mountain View-based Upguard found personal information for about 200 million voters that had been exposed for nearly two weeks.

"This isn't something that anyone wants out in the public," Upguard CEO Mike Baukes said.

Whether Democrat, Republican or Independent, the personal data was left out in the open for 12 days, Upguard said. Date of birth, email addresses, locations, data modeling ethnicity and religious behaviors were some of the data left open, the firm said.

"Break of our trust to the voter registration process, break of our trust to our party, and now anybody within the 12 days can grab our information and do anything with that," said Melody Moh, a cyber security professor at San Jose State University.

The most shocking part, perhaps, is how easy it was to get the information if someone wished to.

"The reality is anyone could have done this," Baukes said.

Even scarier: The consultant said some of the data related to voting preferences were found by scouring social media.

Upguard wasn't sure whether anyone accessed the data before the mistake was discovered.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Officials: Doctor in Abuse Case Wanted to Impregnate Women]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 22:56:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KohutBrandon.jpg

A brain surgeon charged with sexually abusing children sought to impregnate women to create more victims and had been suspected of molesting youngsters for two decades, Northern California prosecutors said Monday.

Prosecutors made the allegations in court as they unsuccessfully sought to deny Dr. James Kohut bail while he awaits trial on 11 charges related to child sex abuse.

Several women who had relationships with Kohut said he wanted to have children with them to create "taboo families where the parents raise their children sexually," Assistant District Attorney Steven Moore said in court documents.

Moore said women identified in the documents only by their initials said Kohut "has a specific desire to have sex with a mother and a daughter." Moore also wrote that Kohut pressured the women to find children for him to abuse.

There's no suggestion in the court papers filed last week that Kohut sexually abused his children or that he actually did impregnate women to create more possible victims.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel first reported on the filings.

A judge ruled Monday that Kohut was entitled to bail and ordered a report about his finances to help determine an amount. Kohut was ordered back to court June 28 to set a bail figure.

Kohut has said he will voluntary surrender his California medical license if granted bail. His California medical license remains active, though the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported May 24 that state officials asked a court to temporarily suspend Kohut's license until the California medical board can take up his case.

Board spokeswoman Cassandra Hockenson did not respond to phone and email inquiries.

Moore also said that the FBI, Australian federal police, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's department and Seaside Police Department had previously investigated Kohut since 1997, but he has never been charged.

Moore declined to discuss the allegations in more detail on Monday. FBI spokeswoman Katherine Zackel said the FBI is assisting Watsonville police investigation and declined to discuss the agency's previous involvement with Kohut.

Officials with the sheriff's department and Seaside police did not immediately respond to phone messages left Monday seeking more details on their investigations of Kohut.

The case began last month when Rashel Brandon's husband gave a video to Watsonville police allegedly showing his wife and another nurse, Emily Johnson, sexually abusing children.

Kohut and Brandon worked together at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. Police arrested Brandon first and seized a cellphone with video allegedly showing abuse as well as three allegedly incriminating photos, according to court paperwork filed Thursday by Kohut's attorney Jay Rorty.

Rorty argued that Kohut does not pose a flight risk, does not represent a danger to the public and does not appear in video recordings or photos seized by police. In one recording, Rorty said, one of the alleged victims refers to a person named "James."

A man's voice can be heard off camera and police have said it was Kohut's voice.

Court documents also stated Kohut said nothing incriminating during a brief phone conversation with Brandon made at the request of police, who were recording them.

Johnson was arrested in Arizona, where she remains jailed pending transfer to California to face charges.

Rorty's court filings did not address the claim that Kohut wanted to impregnate women so he would have more victims. Rorty in a telephone interview declined to comment on the allegation.

Moore said in court documents that Kohut "has a sexual compulsion, and has solicited victims for decades."

Kohut previously pleaded not guilty to 10 felony charges. The district attorney's office added another felony charge last week after another alleged victim came forward.

Kohut was arrested shortly after he took a new job with a Fort Smith, Arkansas, hospital, which has since fired him. His medical license in Arkansas has been suspended.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: KSBW]]>
<![CDATA[Google's Plan to Transform Diridon Station Draws Criticism]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 18:10:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0706-2017-SJDiridonPlan.jpg

A plan to build a mega Google complex on 250 acres near the Diridon Station in San Jose is drawing sharp criticism from many community organizations.

On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council will decide whether to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement to develop at least 10 city-owned properties near the SAP Center.

A training facility for San Jose firefighters is one of the several properties the city is considering selling to Google.

City officials said the tech giant is interested in developing up to 8 million square feet of office space on 250 acres near Diridon Station. The project is expected to create 20,000 new jobs in downtown.

Several community groups on Monday said they fear Google will squeeze out low-income workers and drive rental prices up. The groups fear the project will do more harm than good and want to have a say before the city gets too cozy with Google.

"We are concerned this project will mean less affordable housing, fewer good quality jobs and the displacement of many who have affordable housing now," said Ben Field, executive officer of the South Bay Labor Council.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said regardless of any deal with Google, affordable housing is a big problem the city is already working on.

"If you consider this development would get built over a decade, there is no question the city plans to build more housing and build a lot of it at all income levels," Liccardo said. 

Community members from Silicon Rising and several other groups took a letter outlining their concerns directly to the mayor's office. The groups said they hope the city council will work to make sure the new development benefits the entire community and not just tech companies.

The groups also asked the city use local labor to build the new project.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fans Flying Off Store Shelves During Sweltering Heat ]]>Sun, 18 Jun 2017 23:51:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fans-0618.jpg

Record temperatures Sunday sent people scrambling to hardware stores and other retail outlets to buy fans and any other products that could provide relief from the sweltering heat.

And with more sizzling days ahead this week, demand is expected to grow.

One Ace Hardware store in Los Gatos sold 70 fans over the weekend. The manager said he hasn't seen demand for fans this high in 10 years.

"A whole lot of fans, and we sold a lot of portable AC units," General Manager Justin Rosgen said.

Seeking relief from 105-degree temperatures in Los Gatos, David Misson purchased two fans Sunday. Since he doesnt have air conditioning, he's hoping the fans will help keep his 3-week-old twins comfortable.

"It is suffocating, really hot, oppressive," Mission said. "It's hard to get them to sleep period, but when it's hot like this, it's even more difficult. So I want to keep them cool."

Beach umbrellas also were a hot ticket in the hot weather. And Ace Hardware sold nearly 20 kiddie pools. Some customers said they planned to use them to cool their pets.

The Walgreens store in Los Gatos sold out of fans Sunday and had to restock.

In the North Bay, Goodmans Building Supply employees said 85 percent of customers who entered the store Sunday bought fans.

It may well be a great investment with several more days of record-breaking temperatures ahead this week.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[People Flock to Stores for Fans, Umbrellas, Kiddie Pools]]>Sun, 18 Jun 2017 20:25:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fans-0618.jpg

The triple digit heat in many parts of the Bay Area had people heading to local hardware stores to pick up fans, beach umbrellas, kiddie pools and ice cream. Marianne Favro reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Three-Alarm Fire Ignites at San Jose Apartment Complex]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 00:23:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj+fire-0618.jpg

About 10 people were displaced from four apartments following a three-alarm fire Sunday in San Jose, a fire captain said.

Multiple people called the fire department at about 3:53 p.m. to report a fire at Central Park Apartments at 1750 Stokes St. When the first firefighters arrived at 3:59 p.m. two apartments were in flames, Capt. Brad Cloutier said.

Firefighters called for a second alarm at 4 p.m. and upgraded that to three alarms at 4:15 p.m. Cloutier said firefighters called for three alarms because of the amount of fire, the outside temperature and the possibility that the fire would spread.

The fire was under control at 4:37 p.m. Two upstairs units and two downstairs units sustained fire, smoke and water damage.

The residents displaced are getting help with temporary housing from the property manager and the American Red Cross.

Cloutier said the heat complicated firefighters' efforts.

"As a department we have been extremely busy because of the heat," Cloutier said.

Firefighters were busy with other emergencies such as medical calls, grass fires and power outages.

The location of the burning apartments also complicated firefighters' efforts because they had to drive down narrow streets to get to the back of the complex where the fire was.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[12-Year-Old Girl Missing in Santa Cruz Mountains Found]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 00:15:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1027-2016-SantaCruzMountains.jpg

A 12-year-old girl who went missing in the Santa Cruz Mountains Saturday afternoon was found Sunday morning, a sheriff's official said.

Laura Wells-Lucas was reported missing at 1:15 p.m. Saturday and was found around 8:30 a.m. Sunday, and "we're elated," said Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Lt. Fred Plageman.

Wells-Lucas was hiking with an adult Saturday in Zayante, a census-designated place in Santa Cruz County, and the two got separated, Plageman said. Neighbors who were preparing to join the search for the girl spotted her Sunday morning on a nearby property, he said.

"When it became daylight, she (Wells-Lucas) started walking, got lost a bunch of times, she got to a piece of property" and neighbors recognized her, he said.

"We had a huge search and rescue effort organized," Plageman said.

"We had 25 people looking for her Saturday and sent out a helicopter overnight," he said.

"This morning we had about 50 searchers" and were about to begin looking when they learned the girl had been found, Plageman said. He said about 50 more volunteers were on their way Sunday morning.

Marin County Search & Rescue from the Marin County Sheriff's office, as well as representatives from the Santa Clara County, Solano County and Monterey County sheriff's offices, were recruited for the search effort, he said.

Plageman said a medical team was sent to the girl's home to perform a medical exam after the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office learned she had been located.

"She was a little weary," he said of the girl's condition. "It was 62 degrees at night, she wasn't that cold. She was a little thirsty."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Triple-Digits Blanket Inland Locations, Set Records]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 16:41:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-18-17_Heat_Santa_Cruz.jpg

Triple-digit temperatures once again blanketed portions of the Bay Area Sunday, provoking some to flock to pools and ice cream shops in hopes of escaping the dangerous heat.

A heat advisory, which kicked into effect Saturday morning for most of the Bay Area, has been extended to Thursday night. Temperatures away from the coast and immediate locations surrounding the San Francisco Bay are expected to top out anywhere from the upper-90s to mid-100s during that time period, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday, which is likely to be the hottest day during the lengthy heat wave, featured a slew of unofficial record-breaking high temperatures across the Bay Area.

Temperatures in San Francisco were forecasted to range anywhere between the high-70s to low-80s, but San Francisco by 12 p.m. reached 88 degrees, breaking a record previously set in 1993, according to the NWS. Nearby San Francisco International Airport reached 96 degrees, shattering the previous record-high of 88 degrees established in 1981.

The thermometer at the Oakland International Airport also eclipsed a new high of 96 degrees, breaking a previous high of 93 degrees set in 1962. In San Jose, the mercury rose to 100 degrees, breaking the previous high mark of 99 degrees cemented in 1945.

Other records broken Sunday were in San Rafael with a high of 105 degrees (previous record 98 in 1962); Livermore with 106 (previous record 105 in 1918); and Moffett Field with 100 (previous record 95 in 1993).

The coast, for the most part, is the spot for those looking to cool down. A light on-shore flow of air is bringing cool conditions to areas such as Half Moon Bay, which was only forecasted to reach a high of 67 degrees Sunday. Santa Cruz, on the other hand, was forecasted to top out at 88 degrees.

The sweltering heat is bringing even higher temperatures to Arizona, Nevada and California's Central Valley, which is under an excessive heat warning. Neighborhoods in and around areas such as Sacramento and Fresno are flirting with 110 degree temperatures. Death Valley on Sunday will check in just below a sizzling 120 degrees. 

High temperatures reach new records in nine Bay Area locations:

  • In San Rafael, the temperature reached 105 degrees, breaking the record of 98 degrees set in 1962.
  • At Moffett Field the temperature reached 100 degrees, which broke the record of 95 degrees set in 1993.
  • It was 106 degrees in Livermore where the previous record was 105 in 1918.
  • It was 103 degrees in Kentfield, one degree higher than the previous record set in 1945.
  • The temperature in Richmond reached 92 degrees, breaking the old record of 85 in 1957.
  • In San Francisco, the temperature rose to 88 degrees, which broke the record of 86 degrees set in 1993.
  • At San Francisco International Airport the temperature reached 97 degrees, breaking the previous record of 88 in 1981. At Oakland International Airport, the temperature also reached 97 degrees, breaking the record of 93 degrees set in 1962.
  • In San Jose, the temperature reached 103 degrees, breaking the old record of 99 in 1945.

Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
  • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas 
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Rest in shady areas
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[CHP Officer Allegedly Assaulted by San Jose Man]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 23:44:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/000ggdgdcms1.jpg

A California Highway Patrol officer was allegedly assaulted by an alleged reckless driver Saturday morning in American Canyon, CHP officials said.

Dispatchers had received many calls about a driver who had allegedly caused a number of collisions on westbound Interstate Highway 80 near American Canyon.

CHP officials said at about 8:45 a.m. an officer caught up with the driver whose white Ford F-250 had become disabled on the highway.

The officer approached the truck when 49-year-old San Jose man Gary Coslovich jumped out of it and allegedly punched the officer.

CHP officials said the officer fell to the ground and Coslovich allegedly began kicking her while she was on the pavement.

Several passersby stopped and pulled Coslovich from the officer.

Another officer who arrived a short time later helped detain Coslovich and put him under arrest.

CHP officials said the allegedly punched and kicked officer was taken to a hospital with cuts, bruises and numbness.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Drives at Police in San Jose, Officer Opens Fire]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 20:13:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sjpd-02-07-17.jpg

A police officer shot at a suspect who drove at the officer early Saturday morning in a San Jose parking lot, police said.

Just after midnight two officers were patrolling in the 1700 block of Oakland Road when they saw a red Mazda Miata, which they had tried to stop for reckless driving.

As officers approached the vehicle, the driver of the Mazda put the car in reverse and accelerated toward one of the officers.

That officer opened fire on the suspect who escaped arrest and appears to have escaped injury.

Police said they checked area hospitals for anyone who walked in with a gunshot wound and no one had.

Neither officer was injured.

Police said the suspect appears to be a Hispanic man in his early 20s. The Mazda had a black convertible top and paper license plates.

The officer who opened fire was placed on paid administrative leave.

Police said the department's homicide unit is investigating the case.

The investigation is being monitored by the Police Department's internal affairs unit, the city attorney's office and the Office of the Independent Police Auditor.

Anyone with information about the case is being asked to call Detective Sgt. Raul Martinez or Detective Brian Meeker at (408) 277-5283.

People wishing to stay anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-7867. Anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect may receive a cash reward.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Beachgoers Continue to Use Closed Shortcut in Los Gatos]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 18:56:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-17-17_Los_Gatos_Traffic.jpg

Despite efforts to quell the behavior, Los Gatos residents continue to battle eager beachgoers wishing to cut through the South Bay city en route to Santa Cruz.

Amid the Bay Area's first heat wave of the summer season, drivers on Saturday tried to bypass a bottlenecked Highway 17 by meandering through Los Gatos city streets. Their efforts were thwarted by the city's choice to close the convenient shortcut via the Santa Cruz Avenue on-ramp to southbound Highway 17.

The on-ramp closure, which will continue every summer weekend moving forward, clogged typically quiet neighborhoods with impatient drivers.

"All these five streets here were completely bumper-to-bumper stopped," resident Debbie Moessinger, who struggled to back out of her own driveway, said. "Drivers were frustrated, weaving in and out of traffic, going the opposite direction, speeding around corners. There were emergency vehicles that couldn't get through."

Moessinger blames traffic apps that offer alternate routes via neighborhoods for causing the continued problem. She has since created a petition demanding the makers of the those traffic apps to only re-route drivers using major streets instead of residential neighbors. Moessinger says more than 800 people have signed the petition.

The traffic issue continues occur despite city officials placing warning signs about the on-ramp closure along nearby freeways and streets.

Photo Credit: Debbie Moessinger]]>
<![CDATA[Sweltering Heat Grips Bay Area]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 15:41:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-17-17_Santa_Cruz_Heat.jpg

Summer has not officially arrived, but summer-like temperatures sure did blanket most Bay Area cities with uncomfortable heat Saturday.

A heat advisory, which kicked into effect Saturday morning for most of the Bay Area, has been extended to Wednesday night. Temperatures away from the coast and immediate locations surrounding the San Francisco Bay are expected to top out anywhere from the upper-90s to mid-100s during that time period, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday is likely to be the hottest day during the lengthy heat wave. Antioch is expected to top the charts as the hottest Bay Area spot with a high temperature of 105 degrees on tap. Tri-Valley locations will hover around the low-100s. In the South Bay, San Jose will top out at 95 degrees while Gilroy will reach 101 degrees.

Somewhat more comfortable Sunday temperatures will be found around the bay. Oakland is expected to reach 87 degrees and San Mateo will sit at 86 degrees. Along the Embarcadero in San Francisco, highs will stretch to 80 degrees while the Outer Sunset will enjoy 75 degree weather.

The coast, for the most part, will be the spot for those looking to cool down thanks to a light on-shore flow of air. Half Moon Bay will only approach a high of 67 degrees. Santa Cruz, on the other hand, will top out at 88 degrees.

Fire personnel in the East Bay stocked up on extra water in the event that they would have to help in an emergency related to the heat. PG&E crews also beefed up staffing just in case they would have to manage heat-related power outages.

Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
  • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas 
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Rest in shady areas
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[34 Dogs Saved From 'Deplorable' Conditions in Bay Area Home]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 15:28:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-17-17_Dog_Seizure.jpg

Nearly three dozen dogs were rescued Thursday from woeful conditions in a Scotts Valley home, according to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

The rescue happened after someone reported that several dogs were suffering from "deplorable and inhumane" treatment at a residence. The animal shelter officers were familiar with the property since there have been similar complaints made in the past, the shelter wrote on Facebook. 

"The conditions were such that [the dogs] needed to be seized," Linda Puzziferro from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter said. "They were breeding the dogs, and there were many dogs. The conditions were not good."

With the help of warrants and assistance from the Scotts Valley Police Department, the animal shelter retrieved 34 dogs. Most of the canines were Boston terriers, as well as some Tibetan spaniels and one Chihuahua mix.

The pets were not being treated appropriately and will need to be examined by the veterinarians, according to the shelter.

The dogs' owner struggles with hoarding problems and recently suffered a stroke, a man who lives on the property where the dogs were seized told NBC Bay Area. The man added that he understands there were too many dogs in one location, but claimed the pups were healthy.

The shelter is stretched thin, officials said, and asked for donations.

People looking for more information can find it online.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Bay Area Braces For Heat Wave]]>Fri, 16 Jun 2017 19:39:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-71477253.jpg

It's about to get hot, hot, hot!

A potentially record-shattering heat wave has started enveloping the Southwest United States and is threatening to bring temperatures of more than 120 degrees to parts of Arizona and California next week. Strong high pressure building over Western states is behind the onslaught.

Officials warned of excessive heat throughout the 450-mile length of California's Central Valley. Almost the entire Golden State is predicted to simmer above normal temperatures.

In the Bay Area, temperatures are expected to hover around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coast will be much cooler.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for all of Northern California. Solano County will be under a heat warning. It will be in effect from 11 a.m. Saturday through 11 p.m. Monday.

Young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people with disabilities and animals are especially vulnerable to the heat.

Forecasters say prolonged heat will make snow melt faster in the Sierra Nevada, where massive winter storms coated towering peaks after years of drought. Waterways could flood, with vacationers warned to be cautious near water and avoid camping close to streams.

Camp counselor Sabrina Chu, 17, said she and others in San Francisco were having kids drink lots of water while playing outdoors. The city was expected to have a high of 82 Sunday, well above the normal upper 60s.

"Compared to other places in California, the Bay has pretty consistent weather, so this is unusually hot for the area," Chu said.

In Pleasanton, this weekend marks the start of the Alameda County Fair, and the threat of triple-digit temperatures doesn't seem to be scaring people away.

Even so, officials are urging people to be prepared.

"Drink plenty of water," said Angel Moore with the fair. "Make sure you wear your sunscreen, wear loose fitting clothing."

Fire and medical teams will also be scattered throughout the event as well as five misting stations. 

"We're expecting a lot of heat related emergencies," said Alameda County Fire Department Division Chief Eric Moore. "We're well prepared to deal with heat-related injuries."

Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
  • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas 
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Rest in shady areas

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Caltrans Working to Fence off SJ Homeless Encampment]]>Fri, 16 Jun 2017 18:06:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0616-2017-SJHomelessCamp.jpg

South Bay homeless advocates call it "The Wall."

Caltrans and San Jose have started a project to fence off what was one of the area's largest homeless encampments with a barrier workers say can't be cut or climbed.

Hundreds of people previously lived off Macredes Court under an Interstate 280 overpass even after the city conducted sweeps to remove them.

Homeless people who have lived in the area have been warned by crews the fence being installed cannot be penetrated.

Homeless advocates, including non-profit In Their Shoes, said they are sympathetic to the neighborhood concerns acknowledging there were incidents of violence and drug use. But they also call the fence The Wall, saying to them it symbolizes an attitude.

Advocates also said The Wall strategy just pushes homeless into neighborhoods.

Some residents said they are worried homeless people may now move into their areas. Caltrans is expected to section off a large area around the old encampment site, but no one knows how effective it will be until The Wall is up.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Fire Dept. Retaliated Against Firefighter: Jury]]>Fri, 16 Jun 2017 18:07:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/sjfd+lawsuit-0601.jpg

A South Bay firefighter is celebrating a win Friday after a jury found the San Jose Fire Department retaliated against her after she claimed she was passed over for promotions because she's a woman.

"It's overwhelming for someone to say we heard you," SJFD Battalion Chief Patricia Tapia said.

Tapia burst into tears when the jury announced its verdict, saying the fire department did retaliate against her.

"It's the leadership that needs to be held accountable for the way they treat the employees of the fire department," Tapia said.

Tapia said she applied for 10 promotions in the last five years and has been denied each time.

In 2012, Tapia and her colleague Debra Ward settled a discrimination lawsuit, but said following the case they were both punished for speaking up.

"Maybe it has changed something," Ward said. "Maybe they'll think twice before doing it again."

On Friday, the jury did not find that the city or fire department had discriminated or retaliated against Ward, who is now retired. She calls the verdict a dissapointment.

"We strive to make this a safe workplace for everyone," San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle said.

Doyle stopped short of saying the culture at the fire department needed to change, but did say "education, awareness and a little more sensitivity" will be looked at.

Those are things Ward and Tapia are hoping to see more of.

"I'll keep raising my hand and opening my mouth in doing whatever it takes and make sure others follow behind me," Tapia said. "It's important."

Tapia won about $800,000 in damages. Ward's lawyer said they will consider an appeal.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Admits to Fatally Beating Elderly Victim With Hammer]]>Wed, 14 Jun 2017 21:39:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-14-2017-cupertino-hammer-attack.jpg

A South Bay woman last week admitted to police that she beat an elderly Cupertino woman to death with a hammer, according to authorities.

Suzanne Hernandez, 39, on Wednesday was arraigned in a Palo Alto courthouse, but did not enter a plea.

Police said on Friday that the suspect was found while running naked down a busy street in Cupertino. She was initially sent to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation.

It was only later that investigators linked Hernandez to what police say was a random and exceptionally brutal attack on a 74-year-old woman, Mary Willson

"It looks like the suspect entered through the back door while the victim was awake. It doesn't look like they knew each other in any way," said Stacey Capps with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Hernandez confessed to the attack, which occurred in the living room of the victim's house.

Prosecutors believe the suspect could be suffering from mental health issues and expect her to plead guilty by reason of insanity.

Photo Credit: Cupertino Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Smart Street Lights in San Jose Spark Privacy Concerns]]>Wed, 14 Jun 2017 19:11:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0614-2017-SmartStreetLight.jpg

A fight is brewing over smart street lights that are about to be installed in San Jose.

The tech company that created the device promises they can boost WiFi and assist police in the case of an emergency. But critics fear the bright tech could create privacy issues.

Crews plan install about the new device on about 1,000 light poles throughout San Jose. The pilot program is essentially a trade: the city was looking to cover the multi-million dollar cost of upgrading thousands of street lights to LEDs and the creators of the smart LED controller box were looking for real estate to test their new technology.

"This is a brand new wireless hotspot for the entire city," said Rob Praske, the CEO of AnyCOMM Holdings Corp.

The San Jose City Council on Tuesday night approved a one-year partnership to see if some of the many features on the LED controllers will work.

Some of the features include detecting car crashes, gun shots and even serving as an earthquake sensor. The controller also has face recognition, cameras and audio recording capabilities. But the city has not decided if those features will be enabled.

"We will have the capability of monitoring the data, but what the city is allowed to do with the data is something I'm concerned about," San Jose City Councilman Johnny Khamis.

He believes the community should be able to decide what, if any surveillance tools will be implemented.

"If people know they're being watched, they don't do stupid things," San Jose-resident Audra Ades said.

Others fear the technology will give city officials too much power.

The city is not saying where the lights will be installed. Officials still must decide on which high-tech tools will get the green light.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Water District Moves Forward With Flood Control Project]]>Tue, 13 Jun 2017 21:32:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/03-20-2017-sj-flood.jpg

Help is on the way.

That's the message Tuesday from the Santa Clara Valley Water District to the February flood victims in San Jose.

On Tuesday, the water board voted on key items to help prevent future floods along Coyote Creek.

Things remain far from normal in the hard-hit Rocksprings neighborhood. Damaged furniture from the floods can still be seen sitting curbside.

The water district on Tuesday took the official first step necessary to try and prevent or minimize future floods. Board members at the meeting voted to extend the planned flood control project to Tully Road and allocated $600,000 to protect the flood zone next winter.

"It was pretty bad," flood victim Narin Seoung said of the February incident. "We moved around, lived with a friend."

The Seoung family was finally able to return home more than two months after the floods. Other homes remain under repair.

John Varela, chairman of the water district board, recently returned from Washington, D.C., where he and others lobbied the Army Corps of engineers for federal funds to build a flood control project along Coyote Creek.

The project was rejected by the Army Corps several years ago. Now the district hopes local congress members help them make their case after seeing images from the historic floods.

Flood district officials said a permanent fix will require the feds working with the local government to create more long-term flood control solutions.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[New Details Emerge in Alleged 'Kill List' at High School]]>Tue, 13 Jun 2017 21:26:39 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mv+kill+list-0612.jpg

New details Tuesday in the case of an alleged racial "kill list" at a South Bay high school show that despite a sheriff's office investigation, the threats didn't stop.

A day after it was revealed an African-American student at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino filed a civil complaint against the school district, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith released a statement saying her office launched a criminal investigation into the incident in September and recently submitted its findings to the county DA's Office.

But the threats have not stopped, according to the student's attorney, Richard Richardson. He said a Monta Vista student used a school computer on April 24 to post that his goal for the day was to kill black people. Richardson also revealed details on the alleged kill list post on Instagram in September.

"They talked about my client, who is a minor, and this is a specific credible threat, that they would blow her away with bullets," he said. "And they even said how many bullets it would take."

In the civil complaint, which accuses the Fremont Union High School District of negligence, the student said she feared for her life after seeing her name on the alleged kill list, and that fear forced her to transfer to another school. The complaint alleges the district knew about the threats and failed to take action.

At a community meeting Tuesday, parents, community leaders and officials were outraged at the incident and the response.

"I'm really wondering what happened, where's the disconnect," said David Kennedy of the Santa Clara County Office of Education. "This was a kill list, and if the situation was flipped and there was a black student accused of posting a kill list for white people, I doubt the response would be the same."

The school district issued a statement Monday, saying administrators immediately investigated the incident, took appropriate disciplinary action and notified the sheriff's office.

Smith said in her statement that hate crimes will not be tolerated.

"It is a failure of our community to allow racist, vile and misogynist discourse to flow freely within adolescent interactions," she said. "As community caretakers, we share in the responsibility of educating our youth that words matter, and we must conduct ourselves with deference, empathy and compassion. Such hateful rhetoric should not be allowed to grow in the minds of the impressionable."

The alleged kill list threatened to kill or shoot all black students at the school. The student suffered mental and emotional distress and was forced to transfer to another school out of fear for her life, the complaint said.

According to court documents, some students on the Monta Vista campus repeatedly harassed the student because of her race, frequently calling her the "n" word. The complaint, filed on behalf of the girl's mother last month, also alleged students labeled themselves kill spree masters on social media and named all African-American students at school.

The district also breached the education code by failing to investigate the allegations thoroughly and notify parents, the complaint said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Here's Where You Can Fly Drones in the Bay Area]]>Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:14:34 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NoDrones.jpg

Popular droning sites along the San Francisco Peninsula no longer allow the use of any unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) following a park superintendent order.

While drones are currently allowed in California State Parks, local district superintendents are allowed to ban them at any of its local sites. Christopher Spohrer, the Santa Cruz District Superintendent joined other regional park districts in May when he signed new restrictions on drone use at its parks.

Santa Cruz District's new order is not yet online, but a notice should be posted at all parks and beaches it is being enforced.

It includes restrictions on all use of model aircraft, UAS or gliders at any the state parks and beaches in its district, which encompasses the Santa Cruz Mountains as well as the parks along the coast from Watsonville to Half Moon Bay, including Half Moon Bay State Beach, New Brighton State BeachPescadero State Beach, Pomponio State Beach and San Gregorio State Beach.

The Bay Area District previously restricted model aircraft and UAS in September, which included Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, as well as all parks in the East Bay Regional Park District.

Where to Fly Your Drones in the Bay Area:

Know Before You Fly

Between the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) easing its unmanned aircraft guidelines last year and new drone models being released each year, more drones are in the air than ever. 

According to a FAA report, sales of consumer drones were expected to spike from 2.6 million drones in 2016 to 7 million in 2020 with some of the highest concentrated users in the Silicon Valley.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you fly:

  • NO NATIONAL PARKS: Currently, the National Park Service (NPS) prohibits drones at national parks which include the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties; Rosie the Riveter grounds in East Bay, Fort Point, Presidio, Alcatraz Island and the Maritime in San Francisco as well as Point Reyes and Muir Woods in North Bay. See all national park trails and parks where drone use is currently prohibited. National Park Service rangers may issue citations of $125 and additional fees to drone users who violate its policies.
  • SOME STATE PARKS: California State Parks allow drone use, with the exception of some regional districts have posted their own local rules. In the Bay Area, the local parks are currently prohibiting drone use at the majority of state parks. View some exceptions above.
  • SOME CITY AND COUNTY PARKS: There are currently no drones allowed at many local parks such as San Mateo County and Santa Clara County parks as well as the majority of city parks in the area. The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, which maintains parks throughout Santa Clara County as well as for the cities of Milpitas, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose and Morgan Hill also ban the use of drones unless granted a permit for use. The Port of San Francisco, which maintains Heron's Head Park, also bans all drones as part of its status as a wildlife protection area. Mission Bay Park, maintained by MJM Management Group, says they have added a park rule banning drone use as well. 
  • PRIVATE LAND Privately-owned fields, farms, and other spaces may be a good option with permission from the landowner. Santa Clara County Model Aircraft Skypark is a local nonprofit that allows its members to fly drones and aircraft if they follow Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) guidelines. 
    • REGISTER: Register your UAS online if it weighs more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds or file a paper request for drones more than 55 pounds. Registration costs $5 and is valid for 3 years.
    • FLY SAFE: Fly at or below 400 feet and keep it in sight. Never fly over groups of people, stadiums, sports events or near emergency response efforts such as fires. The FAA also mandates UAS users never operate under the influence. The FAA outlines several safe flying practices here. 
    • RESPECT NO FLY ZONES: Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports, and be aware of airspace requirements. In the Bay Area, this includes no flying zones surrounding three large airports (SFO, OAK and SJC) and smaller airports. You can download the FAA "Know Before You Fly" application to verify if you’re in a safe fly zone. B4UFLY is available for free download in the App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Greenway]]>
<![CDATA[Dub Nation Lines Up for Warriors Championship Gear]]>Tue, 13 Jun 2017 00:07:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dicks-warriors.jpg

Just moments after the Warriors captured the NBA title Monday night, members of Dub Nation were lined up outside Dick's Sports Goods in San Jose to get their hands on official championship gear.

The official hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts and signs all were must buys for the die-hard Warriors fans.

Dick's opened up for the occasion right after the victory Monday and was planning to stay open until the line was gone.

The store is scheduled to reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[South Bay High School Student Alleges 'Kill List' Posted]]>Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:25:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mv+kill+list-0612.jpg

The family of an African-American girl has taken steps to sue a South Bay school district, alleging she felt threatened after classmates posted a "kill list" on social media, court documents revealed Monday.

The civil complaint says the Fremont Union High School District was negligent because it didn't do enough to stop a Monta Vista High School student from being threatened. The alleged kill list threatened to kill or shoot all black students at the Cupertino school. The student suffered mental and emotional distress and was forced to transfer to another school out of fear for her life, the complaint says.

According to court documents, the girl was targeted in September of last year when some students on the Monta Vista campus repeatedly harassed her because of her race, frequently calling her the "n" word. The complaint, filed on behalf of the girl's mother last month, also alleges students labeled themselves kill spree masters on social media and named all AfricanAmerican students at school.

The lawsuit alleges the school district failed to prevent the bullying and cyberbullying at school even though it was aware of the problem. The district also breached the education code by failing to investigate the allegations thoroughly and notify parents, the complaint says.

The school district released a statement Monday, saying in part: "The district is aware of the incident of racist, misogynist, and inappropriate speech, which occurred on social media and involved several Monta Vista High School students in September of last year. When it was first brought to the attention of administrators, staff immediately investigated and took appropriate disciplinary action."

The school district also said it notified the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, which investigated the issue.

On Tuesday, community members and parents will come together for a news conference to talk about what they're calling a lack of action and to discuss ways to prevent such bullying in the future.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Los Gatos Woman Arrested in Cupertino Slaying]]>Tue, 13 Jun 2017 00:30:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hernandez-0612.jpg

A Los Gatos woman was arrested Saturday night on suspicion of the murder of a 74-year-old woman who was found dead in her Cupertino home about 12 hours earlier, Santa Clara County sheriff's officials said Monday.

Suzanne Hernandez, 39, was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose, where she is being held without bail.

Around 9:50 a.m. Saturday, sheriff's deputies responded to the dead woman's home in the 10200 block of South Tantau Avenue, off of Stevens Creek Boulevard, after the woman's friends found her body.

The woman lived alone and had lived in Cupertino for a long time, sheriff's officials said.

Sheriff's investigators determined the woman's manner of death to be a homicide based on visible injuries and proceeded to interview neighbors and search the area for evidence with the help of K-9s.

Around 10 p.m., investigators arrested Hernandez, who they do not believe knew the victim. Sheriff's investigators believe Hernandez was the only suspect in the woman's death.

Hernandez is scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday afternoon.

Anyone with information about the case has been asked to call sheriff's officials at (408) 808-5400. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call (408) 808-4431.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Sunnyvale Residents Up in Arms Over Plan to Remove Redwoods]]>Mon, 12 Jun 2017 18:04:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sunnyvale+trees-0612.jpg

More than two dozen healthy Redwood trees are being removed in the South Bay.

PG&E says 30 trees along California Avenue in Sunnyvale create a safety hazard. Crews with the utility began the process of cutting down the trees on Monday. The trees have been growing above a transmission line for decades.

PG&E officials said so far the trees have not caused any damage to the line, but need to be removed as a precaution.

"In the event of an emergency, should there be some type of a break in the line that firefighters and first responders can quickly access the gas transmission lines in order to stop the leak in order to make the neighborhood safe as quickly as possible," PG&E spokesperson Jeff Smith said.

Evelyn Dubocq said she has been fighting to save the trees for the last five years.

"It's wrong and should not be done," Dubocq said.

When PG&E completes the removal process, her current view of the 30-foot Redwoods will become a view of the sound wall and the Central Expressway behind it.

"The noise is a major issue," Dubocq said. "The aesthetics is a major issue. Looking at a six-foot sound wall is not going to be appealing."

Duboq and some other neighbors fear their home property values will drop.

"Hopefully graffiti won't start," resident Barry Pequita said.

PG&E plans to replace the Redwoods with smaller trees and shrubs. But on Monday many neighbors are calling the removal harmful and unnecessary.

"We're fighting to build this neighborhood and they're tearing it down," Dubocq said.

The tree-removal process is part of a statewide PG&E initiative to make transmission lines safer.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Package Thief Caught on Camera in Campbell]]>Sun, 11 Jun 2017 23:45:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PORCH+THIEF-0611.jpg

A woman was caught on camera stealing a package from a porch in Campbell just minutes after it was delivered over the weekend.

On Saturday, just after noon in a neighborhood near the Westgate and El Paseo shopping centers, FedEx delivered a parcel to the home, and moments later a woman is seen walking up to the doorstep, picking up the package and stuffing it into her bag.

The homeowner had a security camera mounted at her front door, recording the entire episode. She provided the video footage to the Campbell Police Department, but it was not clear whether police had identified the suspect or made an arrest.

Last December, a woman known as the "Porch Pirate" was arrested after surveillance footage caught her stealing a package from a porch in Campbell. She later admitted to several other thefts in the area.

<![CDATA[Man Who Attacked Gas Station Employee Arrested]]>Sun, 11 Jun 2017 14:32:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-10-17_Morgan_Hill_Gas_Station_Attack_Camera.jpg

Morgan Hill police have arrested a suspect in an attempted sexual assault of a gas station employee that happened early Saturday morning.

The woman reported the attack at 6:30 a.m. and told officers the suspect walked into the Shell Gas Station at 810 East Dunne Ave. acting nervous and asking for free goods.

She told the man he needed to leave because he was asking for free things and he allegedly grabbed the woman around the arms and dragged her toward a back room, according to police.

The woman allegedly fought off the man by hitting him in the face.

Police said the suspect suffered injuries to his face and ran away from the business east through the parking lot of Home Depot.

At about 5 p.m., with the public's help, officers were able to identify the suspect as 27-year-old Richard Dollarhide of Morgan Hill.

He was arrested on suspicion of attempted sexual assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment and a parole violation, according to Morgan Hill police.

Photo Credit: Morgan Hill Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Body Pulled From Almaden Lake in San Jose: Report]]>Sun, 11 Jun 2017 22:31:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-11-17_Almaden_Lake_Body.jpg

A person's body was plucked from Almaden Lake in San Jose on Saturday morning, fire officials told The Mercury News.

Fire crews responded to Almaden Lake Regional Park at Almaden Expressway and Coleman Road on reports of a body in the water. They removed the body before letting the San Jose Police Department take over the investigation, according to the newspaper.

A cause of death or information about the person was not immediately known, the newspaper reported.

Swimming and personal boating is not permitted at the lake, but other seasonal activities such as fishing and pedal boats are allowed, according to the city of San Jose website. 

Further information was not available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[In-N-Out Proposes Location in Campbell]]>Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:09:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/in+n+out-0411-2017.jpg

In-N-Out Burger wants to add another location in the South Bay, but Campbell city officials want to hear from the public about the proposal.

The popular burger chain is seeking to replace the existing Elephant Bar restaurant located at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Almarida Drive, according to the city. Before reacting to the plan, officials have asked the public to pen their opinions about the idea on a forum posted on the city's website.

As of Sunday morning, the forum had close to 90 statements. A handful of those comments decried the idea because of the potential traffic headaches the In-N-Out might create. Others like the idea because they wouldn't have to drive as far to dine at In-N-Out, and it would bring jobs and revenue to the city.

In addition to listening to public feedback, Campbell city officials will also review the proposed plan and analyze the restaurant's impacts on traffic, parking, public safety, noise, lighting and air quality, according to the city.

In-N-Out has three locations in San Jose, one location in Sunnyvale and one location in Santa Clara, but the company does not have an establishment in Campbell at this time.

Anyone with questions regarding the proposal can contact Senior Planner Daniel Fama at danielf@cityofcampbell.com or 408-866-2193.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Equality March for Unity and Pride Takes Over San Jose]]>Sun, 11 Jun 2017 12:25:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/IMG_2234_crop.jpg

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Equality March Celebrates Pride Month, Fights for Unity]]>Sun, 11 Jun 2017 22:36:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-10-17_SJ_Equality.jpg

Celebrating equality and inclusion, droves of people on Sunday flocked to San Jose for the Equality March for Unity and Pride.

While participants rejoice in the strides made to benefit the LGBTQ community in recent years, they are also making sure to preach a message of battling complacency in the ongoing fight for acceptance.

Sunday's march in San Jose began at 11 a.m. at City Hall. After strolling through the streets, participants gathered at Plaza de César Chávez for a rally at 1 p.m.

"We are here to stand in solidarity against the bigotry and hatred that attempts to divide the nation, especially as it relates to the LGBTQ community," marcher Bryan Aubineau said from San Jose City Hall. 

Taking part in the festivities were a number of politicians, including Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who said strides have been made, but there still is a lot at stake.

"There are still barriers across the country, and in a lot of states people can be fired from their jobs because of their orientation; that's not right," Lofgren said. "Especially with Trump in the White House, I think it's important for all of us to stand together for civil rights."

A number of similar marches took over city streets across the country, highlighted by the centerpiece event, the Equality March in Washington.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Act for America, CAIR Square Off Near Santana Row]]>Sat, 10 Jun 2017 11:43:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-10-17_Santana_Row_Protests.jpg

Two battling political groups on Saturday converged on Santa Clara to hold demonstrations right across the street from each other, and despite competing interests, the scene remained fairly peaceful.

NBC Bay Area was first to report about the protest march, which was held near the Santana Row Shopping Center and focused on a debated Muslim law.

Act for America — one of the sides on display at the event — has been labeled an anti-Muslim hate group, a description the group emphatically denies.

The group said it was protesting parts of Muslim law known as Sharia law, which it said leads to abuse of women. But the nation's largest Muslim American group, CAIR, said the march was really to promote hate. CAIR, along with 75 other community groups, staged a counter-protest against Act for America.

"They're saying that they're marching against Sharia, but that is code for marching against Muslims," Zahra Billoo, Executive Director for the San Francisco Bay Area CAIR Chapter, said. "No one is attempting to implement Sharia law in the United States, let alone in Santa Clara or San Jose. For folks that don't know, Sharia is code of conduct, a guide for life that comes from the Quran."

Opponents such as Morgan Jones, who says he isn't against Muslims and voiced frustration with people calling Act for America anti-Muslim, is worried about the Muslim law.

"I know it's not here yet, but if you look at Europe, it is there, big time," Jones said. "I mean, it really is there. You got Sharia courts, you got parallel societies, you have "no-go" zones."

More than 100 organizations sent letters to the mayors of the 29 cities around the country where marches were planned. The letters requested mayors to "disavow" the marches.

Santa Clara and San Jose police boosted staff and said they would monitor the events to prevent confrontations and violence.

Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor provided the following statement before the event:

In the wake of recent events happening locally, nationally, and internationally, we, at the City of Santa Clara, would like to reassure our community that we stand in solidarity with those who have been the targets of discrimination and bigotry.

The City of Santa Clara strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and will not tolerate hate crimes. It is the commitment of the City of Santa Clara that it does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.

The City of Santa Clara is devoted to promoting the public health and welfare of all who live and work in our city, and has policies in place to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all persons to be free from arbitrary discrimination. The Santa Clara Police Department is dedicated to the highest professional standards when investigating hate crimes to ensure that offenders are held fully responsible for their actions.

Our community is stronger and united when each person is treated equitably, and we will remain committed to ensure that everyone will be accorded with equal civil rights and civil liberties.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Gas Station Employee in Morgan Hill Fights Off Attacker]]>Sat, 10 Jun 2017 13:26:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-10-17_Morgan_Hill_Gas_Station_Attack_Camera.jpg

A female gas station employee in Morgan Hill fought off a man who dragged her toward a storage room and tried to sexually assault her Saturday morning, according to police.

The violent altercation was reported around 6:30 a.m. at the Shell Gas Station located at 810 East Dunne Ave., according to police. Despite being grabbed around the arms and pulled in the direction of the storage area, the woman punched the man in the face before be fled the scene.

The woman told police that the man entered the gas station lobby, began acting nervous and started asking for free stuff, according to police. When the woman asked him to leave, he attacked her.

A shot to the face eventually caused the man to leave the gas station on foot through the nearby Home Depot parking lot, according to police.

The suspect is described as being 25 to 35 years in age, approximately 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 1 inches tall and around 170 to 185 pounds, according to police. He was last seen wearing a black, zipped-up hooded jacket, blue-colored under shirt and dark blue jeans. He is also believed to have a tattoo under his left eye, a tattoo on the front of his neck and a tattoo of brass knuckles on his left hand.

News of the attack left one Morgan Hill resident in a state of worry.

"I'm definitely concerned," John Covas said. "I have a family here. I have three child so yes this definitely concerns us as far as this area. I hope they get him soon."

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Detective Del Moral at 669-253-4964. Those wishing to remain anonymous can also leave a tip at 408-947-7867.

Photo Credit: Morgan Hill Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Desperate Owners in SJ Reach Out to Find Missing Service Dog]]>Sat, 10 Jun 2017 11:36:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ServiceDogKhloe.jpg

Worrisome San Jose resident Michelle Aguilar is searching for her service dog who went missing May 30.

The black Chihuahua named Khloe was hit by a blue SUV that morning, according to Aguilar. After the collision, the dog went missing. The last known location of Khloe was in South San Jose, near the Capitol Expressway Auto Mall.

"I just want her home safe, no questions asked," Aguilar wrote on a flyer for the missing pup.

Khloe provides emotional support for Aguilar, who has been reaching out in an effort to retrieve her dog, according to the owner. Aguilar is offering a cash reward for the return of her pet.

Other identifying factors of the dog include white patches on the chin and chest.

If seen, it should be known that Khloe may have some injuries, as well as be malnourished. Khloe should be approached with caution, as she may be frightened, Aguilar stated.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Aguilar at 408-841-0841.

<![CDATA[Protests Scheduled to Take Place at Santana Row]]>Fri, 09 Jun 2017 16:45:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj-sc+protest-0608.jpg

Attention and tension is building as two battling political groups plan to converge on Santa Clara Saturday and hold demonstrations right across the street from each other.

NBC Bay Area was first to report about the protest march by the group Act for America, scheduled near the Santana Row Shopping Center.

Act for America has been labeled an anti-Muslim hate group, a description the group emphatically denies.

The group said it is protesting parts of Muslim law, which it said leads to abuse of women. But the nation's largest Muslim American group, CAIR, said the march is really to promote hate. CAIR, along with 75 other community groups, will stage a counter protest against Act for America.

More than 100 organizations sent letters to the mayors of the 29 cities where marches are planned. The letters request mayors to "disavow" the marches.

Santa Clara and San Jose police are boosting staff and said they will monitor the events to prevent confrontations and violence.

Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor provided the following statement:

In the wake of recent events happening locally, nationally, and internationally, we, at the City of Santa Clara, would like to reassure our community that we stand in solidarity with those who have been the targets of discrimination and bigotry.

The City of Santa Clara strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and will not tolerate hate crimes. It is the commitment of the City of Santa Clara that it does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.

The City of Santa Clara is devoted to promoting the public health and welfare of all who live and work in our city, and has policies in place to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all persons to be free from arbitrary discrimination. The Santa Clara Police Department is dedicated to the highest professional standards when investigating hate crimes to ensure that offenders are held fully responsible for their actions.

Our community is stronger and united when each person is treated equitably, and we will remain committed to ensure that everyone will be accorded with equal civil rights and civil liberties.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Audit Finds Possible Fraud, Misspending at School District]]>Sun, 11 Jun 2017 09:06:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0609-2017-FischerMiddleSchool.jpg

An audit of San Jose's Alum Rock School District indicate evidence of possible fraud and misspending on construction projects.

The audit was released Friday by the state's Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team. The case is now being reviewed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for possible criminal charges.

The audit is part of a culmination of problems that have been talked about in the district since last fall. Parents have been complaining for months about proposed school improvement projects that were not getting done.

District officials had big plans for Fischer Middle School, where a new, modern multipurpose facility was to be built by the contracted construction and management company Del Terra Group. School bond money paid for the project.

According to the state audit, Del Terra was paid about $330,000 for four projects last year, which have yet to start.

School Board Member Andres Quintero began raising questions long before the state agency audit.

"The findings in the report are incredibly troubling," Quintero said. "Since September, I've asked for audits because I wanted more information because I had concerns."

The Santa Clara County Office of Education said there is a lot at stake.

"School construction bonds are generally around $100 million," Santa Clara County Office of Education spokesman Peter Daniels said. "Some can be even higher, depending on the size and needs of the district. And the public places a great deal of faith in the schools to use these monies wisely."

The school district and District Attorney's Office said they are still reviewing the audit findings.

The school board will address the audit at its July 13 meeting, where Quintero said he will move to terminate the construction contracts.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Search for Woman Posing as Substitute Teacher in South Bay]]>Fri, 09 Jun 2017 17:03:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0609-2017-FakeSub.jpg

Police are searching for a woman posing as a substitute teacher and stealing purses and other items from schools in the South Bay.

The thefts have occurred in at least two schools, police said, adding the suspect may have been arrested earlier this year for similar crimes.

In the Santa Clara Unified School District, they call her the Birkenstock bandit. Police said earlier this year a woman was arrested for posing as a substitute teacher, walking into schools in Santa Clara and stealing various items.

Now police in San Jose are trying to figure out if surveillance images show the same suspect committing the same crime recently at Montgomery Elementary.

"We had a woman show up at Montgomery School and she was claiming to be a sub, and she sat in the office for a short time," Evergreen School District spokesman Charles Crosby said.

The district said the woman stole a staff member's purse with cell phone and credit cards inside. The school called police, who labeled the alleged crime a petty theft.

"It's unfortunate, but you look at how much more it could have been," Crosby said. "And we're glad protocols are in place to make sure it was limited to a minor theft."

A similar incident also recently occur ed at Dorsa Elementary in the Alum Rock School District.

Teachers said images of the so-called Birkenstock bandit appear to fit the description of the suspect in the new thefts.

Teachers at Dorsa Elementary said they did figure out something was wrong and escorted the woman off campus. The district said the suspect did not take anything, but sources tell NBC Bay Area the woman did manage to get a hold of a set of school keys.

Parents question why it appears to be so easy for an unknown woman to get onto at least four school campuses.

The district said they do have protocols in place. Specifically, all staff are told that anytime anyone shows up on campus who is not a known staff member, they are escorted to the office immediately.

It is unclear if the schools are re-examining the policy in the wake of these incidents.

Photo Credit: SJPD]]>
<![CDATA[Illegal Drone Crash Sparks Power Outage in Mountain View]]>Fri, 09 Jun 2017 12:56:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/drone-generic-silhouette.jpg

A power outage affecting about 1,600 PG&E customers between Mountain View's Shoreline West and Old Mountain View neighborhoods Thursday night may have been caused by a drone hitting a high-voltage wire, police said.

Officers responding to reports of a power outage around 8:15 p.m. were told by witnesses on Polaris Avenue, in the Rex Manor neighborhood, that a white-haired white man had been flying a drone in the area, which is not permitted, and that the drone had hit a high-voltage wire.

The Federal Aviation Administration does not allow drones to be flown within 5 miles of an airport such as Moffett Field, which is about 3 miles from Polaris Avenue, without notification.

Drones are also not to be flown near people and must be kept clear of obstacles, according to the FAA.

The outage lasted until after 11 p.m. and impacted City Hall and the Mountain View Public Library, which are both about a mile from the reported drone crash.

The library, which is normally open until 9 p.m. Thursdays, was evacuated out of an abundance of caution, city officials said.

Repair work on the damage, which city officials said totaled tens of thousands of dollars, was completed early this morning.

Police are seeking help identifying the man who was flying the drone, who witnesses said drove away in a white hatchback.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Police Brace for Tense Political Protests in South Bay ]]>Thu, 08 Jun 2017 21:21:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj-sc+protest-0608.jpg

South Bay police agencies are ramping up for possible trouble this weekend as an organization that many consider a hate group prepares for a demonstration in Santa Clara, and a large counter-protest is expected.

Act for America has been described as the largest anti-Muslim organization in the country, a description its leaders dispute. The nation's largest Muslim-American group, CAIR, is preparing to lead the counter-protest consisting of about 75 Bay Area community groups.

The groups are expected to converge at Stevens Creek and Winchester boulevards, an intersection that borders San Jose and Santa Clara. It's a strategic move because when one city's police show up, the protesters move across the street into another jurisdiction.

But Saturday will be different, as both San Jose and Santa Clara police plan to be on hand with extra staffing.

The Act for America march is one of several across the nation taking place Saturday, according to its website. Organizers have emphatically denied being an anti-Muslim hate group, as it has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Officials say its members are a mix of race, faith and political affiliations, and their march is actually a protest against "sharia law," a part of Muslim law that they say promotes abuse toward women.

The counter-protesting groups, however, say they're not fooled and have organized a vigil across the street.

"There has not exactly been an outbreak of sharia law in the area," said Rev. Diana c. Gibson of the Multifaith Voice for Peace and Justice. "The reason they chose Santa Clara is pretty clear to me because we have a strong, rich, vibrant and respected Muslim community here."

About 75 other groups signed on to co-sponsor the counter-protest. CAIR says it's important the event isn't perceived simply as a Muslims vs. anti-Muslims encounter.

"Act for America is a vitriolic hate group that wants to deprive Muslims and others of their human and civil rights," said Zahra Billoo, CAIR's Bay Area director. "Our partners, rightfully so, didn't think it was OK for these hate mongers to come into our city and not have their message challenged."

Act for America organizers did not return calls requesting comment about the Saturday protest.

Santa Clara and San Jose police met to discuss strategy, NBC Bay Area learned, and both agencies plan to beef up staffing and coordinate any enforcement action, if needed.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SJFD Investigating String of Suspicious Fires]]>Thu, 08 Jun 2017 23:59:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-19-2014-sjfd-fire-truck.jpg

San Jose firefighters are investigating a string of suspicious fires early Thursday, and they've obtained surveillance video that could be helpful in finding the person responsible.

Fire officials say crews responded to at least six fires between 2 and 6 a.m. Arson investigators are also looking into the incidents, which include several dumpster fires and debris fires.

Authorities said the fires are considered suspicious because they ignited 15 minutes apart from each other. One of the fires turned into a two-alarm structure fire and damaged a liquor store at the intersection of Willow and Vine streets.

Grainy surveillance video released by investigators late Thursday shows a person on a bicycle that could be connected to the fires, police said. The person's face cannot be seen in the footage.

Investigators said they will continue studying surveillance video from several of the fire scenes for evidence.

NBC Bay Area's Sergio Quintana contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Arrest Made in Hit-Run That Left Woman in Critical Condition]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 23:55:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/milpitas+hit-run-0607.jpg

A woman remained in critical condition Wednesday night, two days after she was the victim of a hit and run in Milpitas, and the suspect was behind bars, police said.

Through surveillance camera footage, investigators were able to determine the make and model of the suspect car and tracked it to Lorelay Robles-Partida, who was subsequently arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Jail for felony hit and run, driving without a license and destruction of evidence, police said.

Police located the vehicle, a white 2011 Dodge Avenger, in the area of Alum Rock Avenue and North Jackson Avenue in San Jose on Tuesday. The windshield had been recently replaced and the passenger side mirror had been repaired, but there was still damage on the car consistent with being involved in the collision, police said.

The victim, who had been walking in a crosswalk on South Main Street, north of West Curtis Avenue on MOnday, suffered major injuries and was in critical condition at a local hospital, police said.

The investigation is still active, and anyone with information about the collision or about the vehicle being repaired should call the Milpitas Police Department at 408-586-2400. Information can also be provided through the Milpitas Crime Tip web page.

Photo Credit: Milpitas PD]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose RV Fire Affects VTA Service From Diridon Station]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 07:35:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-7-17-sj-rv-fire1.jpg

A Winnebago caught fire early Wednesday morning, affecting VTA service from the San Jose Diridon Station.

Firefighters made quick work of the fire at West San Carlos and McEvoy streets, but the recreational vehicle was a total loss. It was parked in a lot along with another Winnebago right next to an apartment construction site.

No buildings caught fire and no one was hurt, but a column of thick black smoke could be easily seen from the nearby Highway 280 and 87 interchange.

Meanwhile, VTA officials were forced to provide a bus bridge between the Fruitdale and Diridon stations. The lightrail service is said to be recovering from the earlier delays. 

The fire department is investigating the cause of the fire.

No further details were immediately available.

Photo Credit: Henry Mulak/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Terminally Ill Man Arrested in Attempted Killings of Doctors]]>Tue, 06 Jun 2017 23:41:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/yu+chen-0606.jpg

A terminally ill Central Valley man was arrested last week in the attempted killings of three of his doctors in the Bay Area, Palo Alto police said Tuesday.

Multiple law enforcement agencies teamed up to track down 58-year-old Yue Chen of Visalia before he was able to do harm to the doctors. Investigators believe Chen intended to shoot his doctors at their homes because he was upset about treatment he'd received.

Chen is suffering from Stage 4 cancer.

The arrest occurred on May 31 on Highway 101, near Hellyer Avenue, in San Jose. Arresting officers found two loaded semi-automatic handguns with high-capacity magazines and a mask in Chen's vehicle, police said. Investigators said they feel confident Chen intended to commit multiple homicides.

"If we hadn't been able to, in a time sensitive way, coordinate our efforts, we would be investigating at least one homicide if not multiple homicides," Palo Alto police Lt. James Reifschneider said. "Really just a lot of hard work by different agencies prevented a lot of bloodshed here."

On the morning of May 31, the Visalia Police Department determined that Chen had rented a car and was missing, as were his two legally-owned handguns. Officers from Visalia developed information that Chen was driving to the Bay Area that day.

Police said they found notes at his home telling his family he planned to kill his Bay Area doctors.

"In this case, this person made a very concerted effort to carry out the threats," Visalia police Sgt. Damon Maurice said.

They contacted multiple police agencies in the Bay Area that had jurisdiction over the work locations of the targeted doctors, as well as other doctors who had treated the suspect. Out of caution, police also identified the private residences of the doctors.

The California Highway Patrol's San Jose office and the Palo Alto Police Department jointly coordinated the investigation in the Bay Area, working in conjunction with Visalia police and leading to the arrest.

Chen remains in custody at the Santa Clara County Main Jail. He faces three felony counts of attempted murder, police said.

Photo Credit: Palo Alto PD]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Girl Frightened by Suspicious Car Following Her Home]]>Tue, 06 Jun 2017 20:48:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj+suspect+car-0606.jpg

A seventh-grade girl in the South Bay was back at school Tuesday, a day after a suspicious person may have been following her as she walked through her neighborhood.

Surveillance cameras caught footage of what San Jose police are calling a suspicious circumstance. The video shows a Piedmont Middle School student on her cellphone, calling her mother to tell her the driver of a nearby car was following her.

"He followed me halfway, then parked his car and didn’t stop staring at me," the student, which NBC Bay Area is not naming, said. "Opens his window and started reaching for something on the side of his seat."

Neighborhood surveillance footage showed the frightening moments, and the student's father had a stern warning for the suspicious driver: He messed with the wrong neighborhood.

"Yeah, I would say think twice about coming here for sure," Carlos Quezada said about the driver.

Neighbors have banded together to fortify the area with cameras on streetlights, warning signs and vigilant neighbors who immediately got on the Nextdoor app to spread the word while checking their own surveillance video for a better look at the car.

Fighting back tears, the girl's mother said she was at the grocery store and wanted to jump through the phone to help her daughter when she got the call.

"She was really scared," Teresa Quezada said. "She can understand a little more dangerous to be outside."

Carlos Quezada said he had a talk with his 13-year-old about what she can do if there is a next time.

"You have a cellphone; take a picture of the license plate. Pretend you’re on the phone and record what’s going on. Do Facetime Live if you have to so everyone can see what’s going on," he said he told his daughter. "It's really good having a conversation with your kid."

The student said while she's OK, she won't be walking home alone anytime soon.

"If I walk in a group, I’ll be fine," she said. "But by myself, I don’t feel comfortable walking by myself."

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Quezada family]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose, Google Working to Transform Diridon Station]]>Tue, 06 Jun 2017 18:07:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0706-2017-SJDiridonPlan.jpg

San Jose and Google are working together to transform 250 acres near the city's Diridon station into a new retail and office space development.

Further details on the project near the SAP Center calls for a park along Los Gatos Creek. The project is expected to create plenty of jobs.

A developer is already working to build offices near SAP Center, but city officials will not say if Google will be moving in.

The projected 6 million square feet of new office space is expected to create as many as 20,000 new jobs.

“In partnership with Google, we can reimagine Silicon Valley’s landscape, by creating a vibrant, architecturally iconic, transit-focused village that provides a model for a more sustainable future, and a sharp departure from the sprawling, auto-oriented tilt-up tech campuses of the valley’s past,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement. “The time has come for us to think boldly about the future of our city’s center. Silicon Valley’s center of gravity is shifting southward. As we build Diridon to become the busiest multi-modal station in the west, the tens of thousands who will commute here daily will know that they have arrived in Silicon Valley’s urban center, and that Downtown San Jose has arrived.”

Others applaud the fact the development is near the Diridon station and could help ease traffic on highways by offering jobs near mass transit.

But not everyone is rolling out the red carpet. Some fear the huge development will lead to the gentrification of downtown.

The city council is scheduled to consider entering an exclusive negotiating agreement with Google at a meeting on June 20.

Google released the following a statement Tuesday: "We are excited to have the support of the San Jose City Council as we evaluate our options at Diridon station."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Authorities Thwart Man's Attempt to Kill 3 Bay Area Doctors]]>Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:08:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-6-17-dr-yue-chen.jpg

Authorities across the state of California last week thwarted a would-be killer from slaying three Bay Area doctors, the Palo Alto Police Department announced Tuesday.

Yue Chen of Visalia was arrested last Wednesday after officers determined the 58-year-old drove from Central California to the Bay Area with the intent to shoot and kill his doctors because he was upset about his medical condition and medical treatment performed by the physicians, according to police.

"We feel pretty confident of what his intent was and that if we hadn't been able to, in a sort of a time sensitive way, coordinate our efforts, that we would be investigating at least one homicide, if not multiple homicides at this point," Lt. James Reifschneider from the Palo Alto Police Department said.

Visalia police first notified Palo Alto police about Chen's proposed hit attempt last Wednesday, according to police. Officers in Visalia found that Chen had been reported missing, along with his two legally-owned handguns. Turns out Chen rented a car and began his journey to the Bay Area.

A host of law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area were notified about Chen's movement as well as the work and home locations of the doctors believed to be in harm's way, according to Palo Alto police.

Later Wednesday, the California Highway Patrol spotted Chen driving in the rental car on Highway 101 near Hellyer Avenue in San Jose, according to Palo Alto police. Chen was detained without incident, and officers found two guns with loaded, high-capacity magazines in the car.

Chen was transported to a local hospital to receive treatment for his condition, according to police. When he was released later that evening, Chen was transported to the Santa Clara County Jail and booked for attempted murder and carrying a loaded firearm.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Officer later filed three felony counts of attempted murder against Chen, according to Palo Alto police.

Police are still gathering information at this time. Anyone with information is asked to call Palo Alto police at 650-329-2413. Those wishing to remain anonymous can email paloalto@tipnow.com or text 650-383-8984. People can also leave an anonymous voice mail at that number.

Photo Credit: Palo Alto Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Addresses Crowd at Apple Conference]]>Tue, 06 Jun 2017 15:22:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MichelleObamaWWDC17.jpg

Former first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday stopped by Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference for a "fireside chat" with CEO Tim Cook.

Cook announced the surprise visit Monday at the end of his keynote address to the crowd in San Jose.  

Obama, accompanied by Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, took to the stage to chat with developers about the role technology can play in "empowering people from all walks of life to make the world a better place."

The former first lady talked about life after the White House and delivered some comforting advice on how to deal with fear.

"If we let [fear] consume us, then we don't move," she said.

Attendees walking out of the discussion also noted feeling a sense of inspiration.

"I'm a woman in technology, so she's inspiring in that sense," Leila Navon said. "She keeps telling us to keep working and keep doing what we should do and keep striving to be awesome pillars in our economy and our communities."

During her time as first lady, Obama launched several initiatives that focused on themes of empowerment. Her Let's Move! campaign worked to address childhood obesity, Reach Higher encouraged young people in the U.S. to enroll in higher education and Let Girls Learn helped young girls around the world go to school. 

The conversation with Obama and Jackson began at 9 a.m. PT. The talk was closed to the public and was not be live streamed or broadcast, according to Apple.

During the first day of Apple's conference, the tech giant on Monday unveiled its new "HomePod" speaker, virtual reality technology and software developments for its line of products.

Photo Credit: Mic Capota
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[10 LGBT Pride Events Around the Bay Area in June]]>Mon, 05 Jun 2017 18:14:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SMC+Pride+Thumbnail.jpg

Following the opening of its first LGBTQ Pride Center, San Mateo County is set to celebrate LGBT Pride Month with festivities Saturday in Central Park.

While Silicon Valley Pride is set for late August, several cities will be hosting their annual pride events over the next three weeks:

Love Our Island's LGBTQ Pride Celebration in Alameda

  • DATE: Tuesday, June 6
  • TIME: 7 p.m.
  • LOCATION: Alameda City Hall 2263 Santa Clara Ave #320 in Alameda
  • DESCRIPTION: Community members are invited to eat free ice cream and take a photograph with the city mayor and council members before the weekly city council meeting (view event). 

Pride Cruise in San Francisco

  • DATE: Saturday, June 10
  • TIME: 3 to 6 p.m. 
  • LOCATION: USS Potomac, San Francisco Ferry Building Gate E, 1 Ferry Building in San Francisco
  • DESCRIPTION: The Pride Law Fund's annual fundraiser to fund fellowships for law students focusing on LGBT civil rights issues takes off from the San Francisco Ferry Building on Saturday. Tickets cost between $100 to $150 (view event).

Pride Parade at San Mateo Central Park

  • DATE: Saturday, June 10
  • TIME: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • LOCATION: San Mateo Central Park, 50 E 5th Ave in San Mateo
  • DESCRIPTION: San Mateo celebrates its 5th annual pride parade with this year's theme as "Still We Rise" (view event).

Equality March for Unity and Pride in San Jose

  • DATE: Sunday, June 11
  • TIME: The march begins at 11 a.m and the rally begins at 1 p.m.
  • LOCATION: San Jose City Hall to Plaza de César Chávez Park
  • DESCRIPTION: Participants in San Jose are expected to join cities across the nation marching during the annual Equality March for Unity & Pride (view event).

Raise A Glass Pride Fundraiser

  • DATE: June 15
  • TIME: 5 to 10 p.m.
  • LOCATION: Laughing Monk Brewing, 1439 Egbert Ave, Unit A San Francisco, CA
  • DESCRIPTION: There will be an early pride celebration and fundraiser at Laughing Monk Brewing where event organizers say $1 dollar for every beer sold will be donated to the Lyric Center for LGBTQQ Youth and the AIDS Family and Youth Foundation as well as another dollar for every image posted on social media with people raising a glass with the Laughing Monk page tagged and the hashtag#RaiseAGlass. (view event).

Pride Party and Fundraiser at the TAYLOR/MONROE in San Francisco

  • DATE: June 17
  • TIME: 8 to 11 p.m.
  • LOCATION: TAYLOR / MONROE, 448 Grove St. San Francisco, CA 94102
  • DESCRIPTION: This annual fundraiser is an option for those 21 and up with all proceeds from event tickets, raffles and auction items benefiting the SF LGBT Center (view event).

Pink Triangle Installation & Commemoration

  • DATE: June 24
  • TIME: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • LOCATION: Twin Peaks in San Francisco
  • DESCRIPTION: The north side of Twin Peaks facing the Castro District is turned into a memorial annually to remember the gay victims who were persecuted and killed in concentration camps in Nazi Germany starting in 1933 through the end of WWII (view website).

Pride Brunch at the Hotel Whitcomb in San Francisco

  • DATE: June 24
  • TIME: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • LOCATION: Hotel Whitcomb, 1231 Market St. in San Francisco
  • DESCRIPTION: Wells Fargo is sponsoring the Gary Virginia and Donna Sachet's 19th Annual Pride Brunch which benefits the Positive Resource Center and honors the parade's grand marshals. Tickets cost $75 for balcony seating, $100 for general admission and up to $10,000 for sponsoring tables (view event).

Pride Party at the Mezzanine in San Francisco

  • DATE: June 24
  • TIME: 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
  • LOCATION: 444 Jessie St. Mezzanine in San Francisco
  • DESCRIPTION: The Mezzanine's annual event is an option for those 21 and up with a portion of its proceeds from the night donated to the San Francisco City Clinic (view website).

Pride Parade in San Francisco

  • DATE: June 24 to 25
  • TIME: Festivities on June 24 are between 12 and 6 p.m. with the parade the following day on June 25 at 10:30 a.m.
  • LOCATION: Festivities on June 24 are on Civic Center Plaza with the parade on June 25 taking place on Market Street (view map).
  • DESCRIPTION: Tens of thousands flood the city blocks annually for the pride festival and parade in San Francisco. The theme for the 47th Annual San Francisco Pride Parade is a "Celebration of Diversity" (view website).

Photo Credit: Rebecca Greenway]]>
<![CDATA[Garcia Torres Sentencing is Not the End of Sierra LaMar Case]]>Mon, 05 Jun 2017 22:12:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/sierra-agt-0605.jpg

The months-long Sierra LaMar murder trial came to a close Monday with a life-without-parole term for convicted killer Antolin Garcia Torres. But the case is not quite over.

Garcia Torres' defense team filed a motion for a new trial, and a hearing is scheduled for September.

One significance about Monday's decision is even if a new trial is granted, Garcia Torres will never again face the death penalty.

Legal analyst Steven Clark says the fact Sierra's body has never been found and Garcia Torres himself has young children likely played a role in the jury's decision.

"I think the impact of his relationship with his children, even if it is behind bars, weighed on them," Clark said. "They consider those kids victims in this case, and it's likely another reason they spared his life."

The new trial motion is based on a precedent case, where a judge recently overturned a murder conviction based largely on false statistical evidence given by Sgt. Herman Leon, who also testified during the Sierra LaMar trial.

"The first order is for the court to consider the new trial," Clark said. "If that happens, they will have to start from scratch."

Clark said even if another jury convicts Garcia Torres again, he wont face the same potential punishment.

"If there was a new trial, it would only be for life in prison," he said. "The death penalty wound not be reinstated since the jury said today it is not a death case."

Clark said a new trial likely would be held in another county given all the media coverage of the case.

If a new trial is not granted, then Sierra's family will get to address Garcia Torres directly during formal sentencing with a victim impact statement.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Jury Recommends Life Without Parole for Sierra LaMar Killer]]>Mon, 05 Jun 2017 23:23:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

The jury in the Sierra LaMar murder trial on Monday recommended to penalize convicted killer Antolin Garcia Torres with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The decision came less than one month after the jury unanimously found Garcia Torres guilty of kidnapping and killing the 15-year-old girl, who disappeared March 16, 2012 on her way to a bus stop near her mother's Morgan Hill home. The teenager's body has never been found.

Immediately after the penalty decision was read, Steve LaMar, Sierra's father, hid his face in his hands and shook his head.

"I would be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed in the verdict," Steve LaMar said. "(Garcia Torres will) be able to live. Sierra won't. He'll able to breathe. Sierra doesn't. He'll be able to eat every day, see his family, and we don't have that. His family doesn't grieve. We'll grieve for the rest of our lives."

Marlene LaMar, Sierra's mother, expressed mixed feelings.

"I feel at peace that (Garcia Torres) will not be on the streets and harm another a child, but the angst will be in our lives forever," she said. "Nothing will ever take that away."

With the penalty phase over, Sierra’s family says they now hope Garcia Torres will reveal where her body is, so everyone can finally be at peace.

"Yeah, that’s always the hope," Steve LaMar said. "That’s something that would help us in the grieving."

The jurors declined to comment on the penalty decision.

In response to the jury's sentencing choice, Garcia Torres' defense team filed a motion for a new trial. That hearing is scheduled for September.

Following last month's guilty verdict, which also found Garcia Torres guilty of attempting to kidnap three other women in Morgan Hill Safeway parking lots back in 2009, a roughly two-week long penalty phase began. During that time, prosecutors argued that Garcia Torres deserved the death penalty for not showing any mercy to Sierra LaMar and her family.

Garcia Torres' defense team countered by highlighting the defendant's tumultous childhood filled with instances of violence, poverty and abuse in hopes of generating compassion.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Unveils New HomePod Speaker]]>Mon, 05 Jun 2017 23:30:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17156696797215.jpg

Apple nodded to several up-and-coming technology trends, unveiling a new "smart" home speaker and device features touching on virtual reality, online privacy and a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning.

The "HomePod" speaker unveiled Monday is similar to devices from rivals, some of which have been on the market for years. Like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the HomePod will play music while also helping people to manage their lives and homes. Siri will be voice activated to respond to requests for information and other help around the house.

It is the first new device Apple has announced in almost three years. It unveiled the Apple Watch in September 2014.

Apple "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others," said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight. That's especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more "pervasive" way that's less dependent on smarthphones, he said.

The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180; Google's Home speaker goes for $130.

The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released last year, were the first entrants in a promising market. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the U.S. are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year.

New iMacs unveiled Monday at Apple's annual conference for software programmers are getting better displays and graphics capabilities. Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for development virtual-reality "experiences."

But Apple is late to the game on VR. Samsung and Google already have VR systems centered on their smartphones. Facebook, HTC and Sony have high-end VR systems, too.

Virtual reality has been described as the next big thing for decades. But so far, interest has been strongest among gamers, developers and hardware makers rather than everyday users.

Apple's entry into the market could change this. Its entry into digital-music sales with iTunes, and into the smartphone market with the iPhone, upended those industries and gave them mass appeal.

New features coming to iPhones and iPads include messages that sync to Apple servers in the cloud. iPhones will only keep the most recent messages on the device to save storage.

For photos, Apple is turning to a "high efficiency" format to replace the widely used JPEG standard. Although the format is not exclusive to Apple, it's not yet clear how well the photos will work with non-Apple software and devices, which mostly use JPEG.

Apple is also bringing the ability to pay back a friend or other individual through its payment service, Apple Pay. Before, transactions had been limited to products and services from businesses and institutions.

The free software update for mobile devices, iOS 11, is expected in September when Apple typically releases new iPhones.

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the latest operating system for Mac computers. Called High Sierra, it recognizes more faces automatically, which should make it easier to organize photos, and will offer more photo editing tools.

Safari, Apple's web browser, seeks to make users' online experience smoother and less annoying. It will allow users to automatically block auto-play videos by detecting videos that shouldn't be playing when you open a webpage to read an article, for example.

The browser's new "intelligent tracking prevention," meanwhile, will use machine learning to identify and block digital-ad trackers in order to keep advertisers from following and profiling users. It will not block the ads themselves, though.

Apple is introducing an iPad Pro in a new size in an attempt to revive interest in its once hot-selling line of tablets. The new 10.5-inch model offers room for a full-size keyboard, something the 9.7 inch model couldn't. Yet it isn't as bulky as the 12.9-inch model.

With consumers less interested in buying new tablets, Apple has increased its focus on designing tablets for professionals to do much of the same work that they usually perform on a laptop computer. It's also what Microsoft is targeting with the Surface Pro; a new model comes out on June 15.

The new iPad Pro also comes with a better camera — the same one found in the iPhone 7 — along with more storage, a better display and faster refreshing of moving images. The new model starts at $649 and will start shipping next week.

Apple is also updating the operating software for its Apple Watch, including new watch faces, more personalized alerts that use machine learning to tailor information to you based on your routines and tastes.

It also enhanced its workout app to, for instance, support high intensity interval training. It will also be possible to exchange data between gym equipment and the watch.

In a nod to Amazon streaming fans, Apple is also bringing Amazon Prime to its Apple TV app.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez]]>
<![CDATA[Man Suffers Life-Threatening Injures After Stabbing in SJ]]>Sat, 03 Jun 2017 22:18:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

San Jose police are looking for a suspect in a knife attack that sent one man to the hospital Saturday, according to police officials.

At about 5:45 p.m., officers were sent to East St. John and North Fourth streets and found the victim suffering from at least one stab wound, police said.

The man was taken to the hospital with injuries that are considered life-threatening.

Police are still trying to identify and locate a possible suspect.

No additional information about the attack was immediately available.

Anyone with information is asked to contact San Jose police by dialing 911. Anonymous callers can call Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-7867.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Losing Thousands of Residents to Seattle Job Boom]]>Sat, 03 Jun 2017 21:09:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-539768278-cropped.jpg

It’s no secret that the Bay Area has been losing people over the past few years, but where are they going? A LinkedIn Workforce Report has revealed that many are moving to Seattle.

Based on the data, for every 10,000 LinkedIn members in Seattle, 48.29 workers migrated to the city in the past year from the Bay Area, making it the top city that Seattle has gained the most workers from, followed by New York City and Chicago.

The rise in migration may be due to the 90 companies – many coming from the Bay Area – that have opened engineering centers in Seattle.

The Bay Area has become complicit in the past year when it comes to gaining workers, adding approximately 8.98 per every 10,000 LinkedIn members, according to the study.

Despite the loss, based on LinkedIn’s Workforce study, the Bay Area has gained most of its workers from New York City, Boston and Chicago. Approximately 5.67 workers moved to Bay Area in the last year from the Big Apple.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Multi-Vehicle Crash Reported Along Highway 101 in San Jose]]>Sat, 03 Jun 2017 15:40:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/6-3-17_101_Crash.jpg

California Highway Patrol officers said they are responding to a major injury traffic collision in San Jose Saturday afternoon.

The multi-vehicle crash occurred around 3 p.m. along U.S. Highway 101 near Oakland Road, according to the CHP.

Photos from the scene captured at least five cars involved.

Further information was not available.

Stay tuned for details on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Telemundo 48]]>
<![CDATA[SJSU Basketball Player Arrested for Beating, Robbing Man]]>Fri, 02 Jun 2017 18:30:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TerrellBrown.jpg

A San Jose State freshman basketball player was arrested Saturday for his role in a violent attack that left a man in Union City beaten and robbed in what police are describing as a targeted attack.

Terrell Brown, a graduate of Hayward's Moreau Catholic High School and now ex-member of the Spartans' basketball team, was among a group of five teenagers who attacked the victim near Mariner Park and fled the scene with the victim's cell phone and wallet.

"They knocked him down and were punching and kicking him in the face," Lt. Jeff Snell from the Union City Police Department said.

Officers said the victim was driving with his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Sanchez, when she stopped the car at the park, according to police. When the two stepped out of the car, Brown and four other men attacked the victim and stole his belongings.

"It's possible that the motive was a robbery and to obtain (the victim's) property, but it also sounds like there may have been some past dealings with (Sanchez and the victim)," Snell said. "There may have been some personal score that she felt needed to be settled."

While police talked with the victim, he noticed that his credit card had been charged at a nearby In-N-Out, according to police. Officers drove to the restaurant and found two cars matching the suspect vehicles. Five teenage suspects were arrested and charged with robbery, criminal threats, possession of stolen property and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Brown, who was dismissed from the team Friday for violating team rules, is no longer in custody, according to records.

Photo Credit: Union City Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Texts Improve Relationships Between Neighbors, Police in SJ]]>Fri, 02 Jun 2017 19:37:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PicMonkey+Collage52.jpg

The relationship between police officers and community members in one San Jose neighborhood used to be plagued with distrust, but that's slowly changing thanks to a new communication tactic.

Neighbors and officers are now texting each other thanks to TextMy90.com, a platform created by Stanford graduates that allows residents to anonymously communicate their concerns with police. The simple act is helping lower reports of crime, and it's also creating friendships between law enforcement officials and Hoffman-Via Monte neighbors.

Community members once complained about graffiti, vandalism, domestic violence, and questions about police friendliness.

Folks from my90 stepped in and started going door-to-door, introducing neighbors to their startup, which collects text messages from the public and shares that information with police. Officers review that data and subsequently try to figure out ways to appease residents' concerns.

Officers patrolling the Hoffman-Via Monte neighborhood realized that they had some work to do after a survey filled out by residents found that there was a lack of trust between both parties. Police realized a change was in need.

"Can we improve that particular area?" San Jose Police Cap. Johnson Fong asked. "Can we build trust?"

Police started showing up to neighborhood meetings and even ditched their squad cars to make their presence felt.

"Walking the areas," Jorge Mercado, a neighborhood association board member, said. "Playing basketball and soccer with some of these kids here."

Neighbors who signed up for text messages from police, via the TextMy90.com platform, now receive information about crime prevention practices and neighborhood cleanup efforts.

Crime has not completely disappeared, but neighbors are welcoming the positive changes coming to their community.

The service is available in English and Spanish, according to the company. Folks don't need a smart phone to participate. They simply need to have access to text messaging.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Young Great White Sharks Spotted in Monterey Bay Near Aptos]]>Fri, 02 Jun 2017 00:45:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sharks-sc-0601.jpg

For a third straight summer, nearly a dozen young great white sharks returned to a spot in Monterey Bay near the cement ship in Aptos, according to a report from NBC affiliate KSBW in Salinas.

A shark expert says the current movement and warmer temperatures in the ocean are bringing them up from Southern California.

"It's one of the warmest, calmest areas in the bay," Sean Van Sommeran, of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, told KSBW. "They don't seem to be in the hunting mode when we're observing them here, they really are just lounging around."

Van Sommeran said there are 22 shark species in the Monterey Bay, but the larger sharks leave the area for the summer, so the pups, as he calls them, feel safe while they're gone.

"They have for the past three years shown up as early as March," he said. "They start showing up in numbers in April. Then by May, June, July, we find them right here."

He and his team with the research foundation have been studying them for years using underwater GoPros and drone cameras. 

Photo Credit: KSBW]]>
<![CDATA[Police Cruiser Slams Into Car in Downtown San Jose]]>Fri, 02 Jun 2017 10:39:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/web+raw+social+sjpd+ax+-+00000000.jpg

A police cruiser on Thursday night crashed into a car in downtown San Jose.

The crash happened just before midnight on N. 4th Street, near Casino Matrix.

Footage from the scene shows that the police SUV took the brunt of the damage. It remains unknown how many officers were inside the vehicle, but no injuries were reported.

The cause of the collision is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[VTA, San Jose Consider Flex Lanes to Ease South Bay Traffic]]>Fri, 02 Jun 2017 07:50:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6A+SETUP+SHARON+HIGHWAY+87+LANES+VO+-+00000629.jpg

Could flex lanes combat traffic congestion in the South Bay?

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Jose officials hope so.

To that end, they signed off on a $225,000 study that will explore the potential of adding flex lanes along Highway 87, according to the Mercury News.

The proposed lanes would run between highways 85 and 280, officials say. One extra lane would be created on each side of the roadway, the newspaper reported.

Officials are also looking into the possibility of converting the existing emergency lanes that line the highways into traffic lanes. Also on the table is a bike lane to provide commuters with an alternate way of getting around.

San Jose will be requesting proposals from consultants during the summer.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Police Check Up on Registered Sex Offenders]]>Thu, 01 Jun 2017 23:58:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sjpd-offender-0601.jpg

There are roughly 2,700 registered sex offenders living in San Jose, some child molesters, some rapists.

On Thursday, five teams of police officers worked overtime to check out 25 of those men and women offenders, making sure they were complying with the law while living in the community. One of them has the most dangerous designation given by the Department of Justice: a sexual violent predator.

"People we'll be targeting tonight, we have multiuple child molesters, rapings, kidnappings, as well as incest, so we're going to talk to the worst of the worst," Sgt. John Marfia said.

Detective John Moutzourdis added: "A lot of them have violence in their background, so we'll use all appropriate officer safety."

Because of staffing issues, the San Jose Police Department has not conducted such an operation in more than a year.

Officers Gary Buhay and Chau Pham made their first stop at the home of Dean Pacini, a sexual violent predator, meaning he's very likely to reoffend. He's one of only two offenders in San Jose with such a designation.

After finding no one at home, the officers moved toward the next target before spotting Pacini cruising the streets in a convertible. They followed closely for a couple of miles then pulled him over.

"Let's have a conversation, please," Pham says to Pacini.

After a series of questions, the officers found Pacini is in compliance. They warned him to keep following the rules before they let him go.

San Jose's sex offender compliance unit is down from five detectives at one point to only one today because hundreds of officers left the department in a staffing exodus. But even with fewer officers, the department says it wants every sex offender to see the operation as a warning that officers are keeping an eye on them all the time.

"Let them know that we're around" is the objective, Pham said. "Part of our responsibility is to conduct these compliance checks."

Of the 25 targets Thursday, 15 were in compliance. One was not, and police will obtain a warrant to arrest him.

Nine offenders were not home and will be revisited soon.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Two Women Firefighters Sue SJ for Gender Discrimination]]>Thu, 01 Jun 2017 19:00:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/sjfd+lawsuit-0601.jpg

Two San Jose firefighters are suing the city for gender discrimination, retaliation and harassment saying they were passed up for promotions because they are women.

Battalion Chief Patricia Tapia and retired Battalion Chief Debra Ward say they are fighting to change the culture of exclusion at the fire department.

"This fight is for every little girl that wants to be a firefighter," Tapia said.

Tapia said she’s applied for 10 promotions in the past five years and has been denied each time.

"People have been selected with less experience, less training," she said.

Two former fire chiefs also have been named in the lawsuit. Ward and Tapia are seeking wage compensation and pension benefits that would have been provided if they had been promoted.

The suit is not the first for the women. In 2012, they settled a discrimination lawsuit. But, they said, after that case concluded, the harassment from leaders in the department got even worse.

"No matter how high I come out on the test, I come out number one, they still find some reason not to promote," Ward said.

City Attorney Rick Doyle said he's unable to comment on pending litigation, but in January, he said San Jose has a zero-tolerance policy for gender discrimination.

"When you hear those allegations, it stings because we take this seriously," Doyle said. "In this case, we don’t think it exists, and we’ll defend this case."

In the past four years, the fire department has hired four women among more than 100 candidates.

The lawsuit is headed for trial and is expected to last about a week or so.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mavericks Organizer Cancels Auction, Citing No Bidders]]>Thu, 01 Jun 2017 06:21:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/surfing+.jpg

The future of the famed Mavericks big-wave surf contest has hit more turbulence.

Contest organizers, Cartel Management of Los Angeles, canceled an auction planned for Thursday to sell its assets, including a contest permit issued by the San Mateo County Harbor District. The company said there were no actual bidders, despite what they initially called widespread interest.

Cartel filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, eventually sinking this year's event.

The cancellation creates more confusion on how a future contest will be put together.

Harbor commissioner Sabrina Brennan said she had no confidence Cartel will salvage the situation, saying, "This is a strategic retreat because no one bid on what appears to be a worthless asset."

While Cartel scrambles for new options, it still faces other legal challenges by the Harbor District, sponsor Red Bull and contest founder Jeff Clark.

Mavericks is an international contest held when top surfers are given 48 hours to get to Pillar Point when organizers deem the waves big enough for a top level competition.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Morgan Hill Man Arrested on Suspicion of Molesting Child]]>Wed, 31 May 2017 20:14:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mh+molest-0531.jpg

A Morgan Hill man was arrested Monday night after his friend told police he had allegedly touched her child inappropriately, police said Wednesday.

Ronn Williams, 59, was arrested after 10 p.m. at a home in the 15200 block of Monterey Road near the Maple Leaf RV Park.

Williams was booked into San Jose's Main Jail on suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. He is being held on $350,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday afternoon.

Anyone with information about the case has been asked to call Morgan Hill police Detective Pevehouse at (669) 253-4914. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call (408) 947-7867.

Photo Credit: Morgan Hill PD]]>
<![CDATA[Local Construction Workers Protest South Bay Developers]]>Thu, 01 Jun 2017 13:58:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj+labor-0531.jpg

The construction boom in San Jose is a boon for developers but many South Bay workers say they're being left out of the prosperity.

On Wednesday, some of those workers laid down their tools to carry picket signs in a protest against developers who don't hire local laborers.

Labor groups, joined by community activists, say all the building taking place in downtown San Jose and other parts of the South Bay, is happening at the expense of local workers.

The picketers marched in front of what they called a "non-worksite," where a banner depicted a luxury condominium high-rise called the Silvery Towers. The development is a privately funded project on private property, which means the developer is free to hire workers from any area and not have to pay the local prevailing wage.

"They'd rather bring in people from out of the area and pay them substandard wages to come here and develop their project," electrician Will Smith said. "And all these people are going to do is take their money and go back home."

Labor groups on hand such as the South Bay Labor Council announced they were planning a ballot initiative that would require South Bay commercial and residential developers to hire local workers and pay them what they called a "family sustainable wage."

The group is pointing to a poll by EMC Research, which it paid for, that shows 76 percent of South Bay voters side with the local laborers.

"We are not going to be afraid to confront the powerful when they hoard wealth for themselves and do not share in the prosperity," said Derecka Mehrens, CEO of Working Partnerships USA.

The coalition said it is now drafting the initiative before it begins gathering the 22,277 signatures needed. But San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said requiring developers to use local workers and pay prevailing wages on private projects could be complicated.

"The problem is the devil is in the details, and we don't know what those details are," Liccardo said. "We want to be able to study them and understand how they impact housing affordability and comparable issues."

Project officials at the protest site had no comment on the issue. In the past, developers have said a local-hire policy would increase costs and make it difficult to find enough skilled workers.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Jury to Deliberate in Penalty Phase of Sierra LaMar Trial]]>Wed, 31 May 2017 07:09:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Test_Clip_Sierra_Lamar.jpg

Jurors in the four-month Sierra LaMar murder trial are expected to begin penalty phase deliberations Wednesday morning, in which they will decide whether the missing teen's killer should face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Antolin Garcia-Torres, 26, was convicted May 9 of the first-degree murder of the 15-year-old in 2012 and of the attempted kidnappings of three women in two dark Morgan Hill Safeway parking lots in 2009.

In his closing argument on Tuesday afternoon, defense attorney Brian Matthews responded to prosecutor David Boyd's remark that Garcia-Torres did not deserve the mercy or compassion of a life sentence.

"I am asking you to exercise mercy, and I'm proud to say that," Matthews said. "Mercy's a good thing. Mercy's an important thing. It ennobles the giver."

Matthews reiterated the poverty, abuse, neglect, incest and loss that characterized Garcia-Torres' home life growing up in ramshackle homes in San Martin, where his parents, who married in Michoacan, Mexico when his mother was 13, picked strawberries.

Garcia-Torres father, Genaro Garcia Fernandez, an alcoholic who the defendant's mother testified was physically and emotionally abusive to her, is serving a life sentence for the sexual abuse of a young female relative.

The defendant's mother, Laura Torres, testified last week that Garcia Fernandez hit her on three occasions when she was pregnant with Garcia-Torres and threatened to kill Torres and the children after Garcia-Torres was born.

But the horrors that Garcia-Torres' family faced during his childhood did not all affect him directly, Boyd argued this morning. The defense has not claimed that the defendant himself was abused.

Additionally, the defense cannot present information about Garcia-Torres' childhood as an explanation for the crimes committed. It is simply presented as sympathetic evidence.

"Antolin's story is not that of a person who was given all the advantages in life and then did something horrible," Matthews said.

He continued: "He was exposed to abuse. That's a reason for life. He was exposed to violence. That's a reason for life."

While the jury's guilty verdict indicates that prosecutors proved Garcia-Torres involvement in Sierra's death beyond a reasonable doubt, Matthews emphasized that any lingering doubt should be cause for a life sentence.

"The prosecution talks about what could have happened to Sierra, about unmentionable things that happened to Sierra," Matthews said. "They're asking you to speculate, to guess."

"Was her death a tragic accident? If it was, that certainly would be a reason to vote for life," Matthews said.

Legal analyst Steven Clark weighed in on the defense's attempt to paint Garcia Torries as a man shaped by poverty and violence, while the prosecutor focused on a family in pain.

"I think what the DA tried to stress here is the fact that there is no body makes this crime especially cruel for the family, and Antolin Garcia Torres does not deserve mercy because he did not show that to Sierra or her family," Clark said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Dance Group From San Jose Competes on 'World of Dance']]>Wed, 31 May 2017 00:21:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj+dance-0530.jpg

A girls dance group from San Jose is stepping onto one of the biggest stages in dance and a chance at a million-dollar prize.

A group of seven girls, ranging in age from 13 to 16 and calling themselves The Posse, will be competing against some of the top dancers from around the world in front of celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and Neyo on NBC's new "World of Dance."

The group, which hails from NorCal Dance Arts in San Jose, got the call-back after two auditions.

"When we first got (the call) saying 'You're on the show,' I was like, 'Are you sure?' I was so happy," dancer Kina Siu said. "I was making snow angels on the floor in my house."

The girls said they were amazed by the competition on the show.

"We shared the stage with so many phenomenal dancers," Jadyn Hernandez said. "We usually just see them on Instagram and YouTube, but actually seeing them in real life was just crazy."

The Posse rehearses five hours a day, five days a week. But nothing could prepare them for the moment they walked on stage in front of the world.

"It was exhilirating," Kina said. "My hands and feet were sweating. I was so nervous."

Dancer Sydney Centeno added: "Going through my head was first of all, we had J-Lo watching us, so I was super excited."

Tawnya Kuzia, the dance group's artistic instructor, was beaming.

"I have to say I was very proud of them," she said. "They have made it very far for us. It was just insane."

The girls said the experience of finishing that first performance was life-changing.

"We just started crying because ... after all the hard work, we knew we did it," Kina said.

"World of Dance" premiered Tuesday night on NBC.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SJSU Student Admits to Fabricating Abduction: Police]]>Wed, 31 May 2017 15:18:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/260*120/05-30-2017-sj-state-student-abducted.JPG

A San Jose State University student who claimed she was abducted by a knife-wielding man and forced to drive him to Oregon admitted Tuesday she fabricated the entire incident, police said.

The 22-year-old woman's story prompted a police investigation in San Jose and in Oregon.

San Jose police detectives on Tuesday interviewed the student.

"During the interview, the victim recanted the allegations and stated she fabricated the entire incident," police said in a statement. "The community is not at risk, and no suspects are wanted in connection with this investigation."

The woman initially said a suspect she did not know kidnapped her late Thursday from her off-campus apartment complex, according to the Coos County Sheriff's Office in Oregon.

Investigators said the woman claimed the suspect then took her north on Highway 101 through Eureka into Oregon, and then through Brookings and Gold Beach to Bandon.

The woman then told authorities she managed to escape and flagged down a passing motorist. The Coos County Sheriff's Office, with help from Bandon police, found the woman and located her car.

Student on campus Tuesday were both releived and puzzled by the turn of events.

"This campus is a community and for all of us to stick together, so I feel like everyone felt that hurt," said graduate student Meha Gupta. "Then when it turned out not to be true, everyone felt a little betrayed."

San Jose police, who are leading the investigation, did not know about the incident until they were contacted by sheriff's deputies. It was not clear whether the woman would be charged with a crime.

NBC Bay Area's Ian Cull contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Prosecutors Make Closing Arguments in Sierra LaMar Case]]>Tue, 30 May 2017 19:31:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

After a four-day break, jurors on Tuesday returned to a San Jose courtroom to hear closing arguments from the prosecution in the Sierra LaMar murder case.

Life in prison or the death penalty is on the table for convicted killer Antolin Garcia Torres as jurors proceed in the penalty phase of the lengthy and emotional case. LaMar disappeared March 16, 2012 on her way to a bus stop near her mother's Morgan Hill home, but she hasn't been found since.

Garcia Torres was found guilty of killing the 15-year-old earlier this month. Since then, emotional family members and friends of LaMar have testified during the case's penalty phase, pushing home the point that Garcia Torres deserves the death penalty for not showing any mercy for the teenager.

A tearful Laura Torres — Garcia Torres' mother — also testified. She spoke to the episodes of violence, poverty and abuse that her son was faced to deal with growing up. Garcia Torres himself will not testify during the penalty phase.

If Garcia Torres reveals where LaMar's body is, he could avoid the death penalty.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Prosecutors to Make Closing Arguments in Sierra LaMar Case]]>Tue, 30 May 2017 06:18:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Test_Clip_Sierra_Lamar.jpg

Prosecutors are gearing up to make closing arguments in the penalty phase of the Sierra LaMar murder trial. The fate of convicted killer Antolin Garcia Torres is on the line. Kris Sanchez reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Faster Southwest Deplaning Experiment Underway at SJC]]>Tue, 30 May 2017 06:53:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_southwest_airlines_new_livery_01.jpg

Southwest passengers flying into Mineta San Jose International Airport may notice a speedier deplaning process for the next two weeks.

That's because the airline is allowing San Jose-bound passengers to exit planes from both the front and rear exits, according to the airline.

The two-week experiment, which is also being tested in Sacramento, was supposed to kick off June 1, but Southwest has already allowed select flights to try out dual-door deplaning.

Southwest said is already uses the exit strategy for flights landing at Burbank's Bob Hope Airport.

Photo Credit: Southwest]]>
<![CDATA[Water Safety Warnings After Three Recent Kite Surfing Scares]]>Tue, 30 May 2017 21:19:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/219*120/coast-guard-generic.jpg

The U.S. Coast Guard is reminding adventurers to keep an eye on safety after a recent string of water rescues around the Bay Area.

The latest rescue happened around 4 p.m. Monday when a helicopter team saved a kite surfer stranded on a rocky shore near Santa Cruz, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Two days before that rescue, a kite surfer and instructor clinging to a buoy without any life jackets were plucked from the water near Oyster Point Marina in South San Francisco.

No major injuries were reported in either incident, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials are using both rescues as teaching moments. The U.S. Coast Guard urges people to be aware of their surroundings, monitor weather conditions, carry a communication device and never enter the water alone.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Penalty Phase of Sierra LaMar Murder Trial Continues]]>Tue, 30 May 2017 01:04:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Closing_Arguments_Continue_in_Penalty_Phase_of_Sierra_LaMar.jpg

Closing arguments in the penalty phase of the Sierra LaMar murder trial are set to continue Tuesday, with prosecutors taking their turn. The jury then will decide whether killer Antolin Garcia Torres gets the death penalty or life in prison without parole.]]>
<![CDATA[Los Gatos High Student Uses Blackface for Prom Proposal]]>Mon, 29 May 2017 23:57:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lghs-prom-0529.jpg

A student at Los Gatos High School wore blackface depicting an emoji on social media to ask for a date to the prom, and now the school is stepping in to address what some deem as racist behavior.

The incident stems from two separate posts on social media, and on Monday, the student at the center of one of the posts says it was taken out of context.

"My intentions were to just ask a girl to prom, not to be racist," the unidentified student said Monday.

The student said it all started when he asked a girl to the prom with his bitmoji on Snapchat. When that didn't work, he showed up at her house dressed as the bitmoji, including putting on black face, he said.

"To dress up like my bitmoji, I had no racist intentions. I didn't mock the African-American community at any point," the student said.

The prom proposal isn't sitting well with school parents.

"I was shocked; I was horrified," said Pilar Crawford. "But then it also shows me that he doesn't think that's wrong, he doesn't understand, or maybe he does, how black people feel about black face."

It wasn't the only incident of concern. A second post from a different student shows someone asking if they "want to be like a 'n-word' and hang at prom."

The posts were brought to light in an editorial in the school newspaper, prompting the school to take action days after prom. In a letter to parents, the principal calls the posts "racially offensive and contrary to the values of inclusion and belonging that are integral to the school culture at Los Gatos High School."

The letter added that the school will conduct equity training for students and staff starting in the fall.

The school sent the student to see a counselor for one session. It was not clear whether he would face further discipline, but he did express remorse.

"I just want to say I'm sorry if I offended anyone. That wasn't my intention," he said. "I'm not a racist kid, and I just want to say this is a big misunderstanding."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA['Best Cities for Young Professionals': SF, SJ and Oakland]]>Mon, 29 May 2017 18:20:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/-SF-OLYMPICS-BID-VO---00001914.jpg

The Bay Area is well represented in Forbes' annual list of America's best cities for young professionals.

Forbes ranked San Francisco No. 3 on the list, which was followed by San Jose, No. 9, and Oakland, No. 11. Salt Lake City topped the list and Boise, Idaho came in at No. 2.

The publication compiled the list by ranking the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas and divisions by "metrics crucial to recent graduates": salary, rent, employment prospects, networking opportunities and social outlook.

View the full report and list on Forbes.com.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Elderly Man Detains Intruder Who Attacked His Wife]]>Tue, 30 May 2017 00:04:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/elderly+man-0529.jpg

An elderly man fended off and detained an intruder who attacked his wife in their San Jose home Monday, and the suspect is now behind bars.

Yusef Youkhaneh, 82, said when he found his wife of 53 years bleeding on their back porch, he sprang into action, determined not to let the attacker get away.

"I hear the scream of my wife; I see my wife is bloody, her head is bloody," Youkhaneh said.

Christina Youkhaneh had gone out to tend to her garden when a woman, believed to be a transient, attacked her with a stick.

"She hit two times in my head; I run from her," Christina Youkhaneh said.

Yusef said the woman in her 30s or 40s was especially strong.

"Oh, like a tiger," he said. "She tried to bite me.

Yusef said he grabbed the suspect's leg and held her. As the brawl moved to the front of the house and then onto McKee Road, he said he tried to get neighbors to help.

"A lot of people were standing around," he said. "I said, 'Please help me hold her, I am tired.' But nobody helped me."

Yusef said he held on for more than 10 minutes while the suspect scratched and fought. He was able to keep her from running away until sheriff's deputies arrived.

Christina was taken to a hospital to be treated for head injuries and an injured hand.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Couple and Pet Dogs Escape House Fire in San Jose]]>Sun, 28 May 2017 22:55:57 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj+house+fire-0528.jpg

A couple and their two dogs were able to escape their burning home Sunday in San Jose's Cambrian Park area, according to the San Jose Fire Department.

Fire crews responded about 4:35 p.m. to reports of fire and smoke in the 14000 block of Nelson Way, near Ross Avenue, down from Camden Avenue, fire officials said. The flames started in an attached garage and spread to the second floor and attic of the home, prompting a second alarm, they said.

No injuries were reported, and there were no estimates on the damage to the home. It was not clear whether the home was still inhabitable.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, fire officials said. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man With Ax Shot, Killed by Police in San Jose]]>Sun, 28 May 2017 23:30:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-28-17_SJPD_Officer_Shooting.jpg

A 35-year-old ax-wielding man with a history of mental illness was shot and killed by a police officer in a downtown San Jose apartment early Sunday, according to police.

San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said responding officers took all non-lethal forms of action to try to diffuse the situation. After refusing commands and advancing toward police with the ax in hand, the man was shot by at least one officer. Garcia called the tense confrontation an "almost impossible situation" to handle.

"The officer was given no other choice than to discharge his firearm in defense of his life and in defense of others' lives in the immediate area," Garcia said.

It was the San Jose Police Department's fourth officer-involved shooting this month and the sixth this year.

Officers were originally dispatched to a report of a disturbance in an apartment along the 100 block of E. St. John Street around 12:35 a.m., according to Garcia. Arriving officers asked the man to open his apartment door, but he refused. After seeing flames and smoke coming from underneath the door, officers barged into the residence.

Another person in the room was immediately taken into custody, Garcia said. The 35-year-old man dropped the ax, but he did not obey police orders.

Police deployed a taser, but it did not help officers gain control of the man, according to Garcia. The man responded by grabbing the ax once more and threatening officers. When he advanced toward police, at least one officer, who has two years of experience with the force and is trained to handle crises involving people dealing with mental illness, fired his weapon.

The man was transported to a hospital, but he was later pronounced dead, Garcia said. No officers were hurt.

After a preliminary investigation, officers determined that the man had a criminal history centered around violence, weapons and drugs, according to Garcia. He was also previously admitted to mental health institutions.

"This is tragic for the suspect and the suspect's family," Garcia said. "But what often gets lost in these cases is the impact on the officers who seemingly have the deck stacked against them in these types of incidents. Officers who are tasked to perform the incredibly difficult task of diffusing a critical situation when someone is already in mental crisis, and when their attempts to diffuse a situation fail, I can assure you they are affected."

All six San Jose police shootings involved people with mental illness.

"That is concerning to me," Garcia said.

Resident Nick Moore, a Marine veteran, said living at the Donner Lofts is like sleeping in a war zone.

"Unfortunately, there's gunfire all the time, so it was just like any other night," he said.

The officer who opened fire has been placed on routine administrative leave, according to Garcia.

A joint investigation is being conducted by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office and the San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit is ongoing, Garcia said.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Mike Montonye or Detective Jason Tanner of the San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit at 408-277-5283.

NBC Bay Area's Thom Jensen contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Events Honor U.S. Military Members]]>Sun, 28 May 2017 14:58:53 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/052515+memorial+day+flags+generic.jpg

Joining the rest of the nation Monday, folks in the Bay Area will take time to pay their respects to past, present and future U.S. military service men and women at a variety of Memorial Day events.

Here is a list of just some of the local events dedicated to veterans and their families:

San Francisco

San Francisco's 149th Memorial Day Commemoration: Event begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Presidio Officers' Club. A 21-gun salute and a grand march with veterans will highlight the event. Ret. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and poet laureate Dana Gioia will also speak.

San Jose

Memorial Day Ceremony: Event begins at 11 a.m. at Oak Hill Memorial Park. Medal of Honor recipient James Livingston is slated to speak.

South San Francisco

Vietnam Veterans Procession & Memorial Day Ceremony: Event beings at 9:30 a.m. at Fire Station 61. Vietnam veterans will march from the fire station to the eternal flame sculpture at Orange Memorial Park.


Memorial Day Ceremony Aboard the USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum: Events begins at 11 a.m. at the USS Horney Museum. A wreath casting ceremony will highlight the event.

San Rafael

Memorial Day Program: Event begins at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. A keynote address by Tom Tarantino, a Balkan and Middle Eastern conflict veteran, will highlight the event.


Memorial Day Ceremony: Event begins at 10:30 a.m. at Oak Hill Park. Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Maj. James Taylor will deliver a keynote address.


"Wings of Freedom" Tour: Event begins at 10 a.m. at Livermore Airport. World War II aircraft will be on display.


Memorial Day Parade and Music Festival: Event begins at 10:30 a.m. at town hall. The parade will continue to Hillsborough North School.

Aside from these events, members of the military and veterans are eligible for additional discounts at stores and restaurants.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Officials Urge Caution During Memorial Day Weekend]]>Sun, 28 May 2017 13:31:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-590713310_master.jpg

Cal Fire officials are urging the public to be cautious about the increased fire danger during Memorial Day weekend.

In a statement, Cal Fire officials said that while holiday weekends are a great time to gather and enjoy the outdoors, the public is asked to be aware of fire danger and risks posed in the outdoors.

"We urge safety and preparedness when in wildland areas," Cal Fire Director Chief Ken Pimlott said. "California's extremely dry conditions are primed for wildfires, and it takes diligence from everyone to avoid sparking a fire."

According to fire officials, despite heavy rainfall during the winter season, drought conditions continue across much of California and wildfires can spark easily if caution is not followed.

Anyone who is camping is asked to check local fire restrictions in their area, to clear away grass, leaves and other debris within a 10-foot perimeter of any campfire, and to completely extinguish it before leaving.

Campers are also reminded not to leave a barbecue grill unattended.

Anyone traveling by car is reminded to properly maintain their vehicles, make sure nothing is dragging on the ground and to never drive or pull over onto dry grass. When towing, drivers are urged to make sure trailer chains are properly secured.

According to fire officials, since Jan. 1, Cal Fire crews have responded to over 1,000 wildfires that have burned nearly 15,000 acres.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SJPD Responds to Domestic Assault Call, Deems it Unfounded]]>Sat, 27 May 2017 16:53:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sjpd-generic-2015-2.jpg

A possible standoff prompted heavy police activity in a San Jose neighborhood on Saturday, but investigators quickly determined that no crime had been committed. 

Officers around 12 p.m. surrounded a house at Hastings Avenue and Hallbrook Drive, near Ross Creek, based on a report of domestic assault on a woman. They tried to make contact with the man inside the house and were successful after several attempts.

Investigators found that a woman wasn't at the house and the report had been unfounded.

Streets in the area that had been blocked off were reopened around 1:30 p.m.

Further details were not immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[AAA to Offer Free Tows to Tipsy Drivers on Memorial Day]]>Sat, 27 May 2017 20:23:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Craft-Beer-Generic-Getty-1.jpg

AAA is offering free "Tipsy Tow" services to celebrants this Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.

The service will run from 6 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday and is available to anyone, not just AAA members.

"If your plans involve alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home," AAA Northern California spokesman Mike Blasky said in a statement. "If those plans fall through, please don't get behind the wheel. Call AAA and we'll get you home safely."

Drivers, passengers, party hosts, bartenders and restaurant managers can call (800) AAA-HELP (222-4357) and provide the driver's name, home address, phone number and their pick-up location.

AAA will send out a tow truck and give the driver, the driver's vehicle and one passenger a free 10-mile tow and ride home. For distances beyond 10 miles, a standard towing rate will apply.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Los Gatos Slams Door on Popular Beach Shortcut]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 19:24:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-26-17_Highway_17_Los_Gatos.jpg

Santa Cruz beachgoers with an eye on cutting their drive time will hit a roadblock in Los Gatos this Memorial Day Weekend and beyond.

A popular and convenient shortcut via Santa Cruz Avenue that used to allow drivers to bypass a portion of the typically clogged Highway 17 will be closed starting Saturday morning and every summer weekend moving forward.

In years past, beachgoers took advantage of the southbound on-ramp at Santa Cruz Avenue to skirt pass bottlenecked highway traffic, but that stunt infuriated many Los Gatos residents and store owners.

"It's awful," store owner Tim Nelson said. "People could not get through town. They could not reach this end of town. Every street was backed up."

This time last year, the city of Los Gatos did close the on-ramp for Memorial Day Weekend and other summer weekends. It took some time to actually make a dent in the headaches.

"It just made for a lot of U-turns, but as the summer wore on and people figured it out and they got word out, it definitely did help," Nelson said.

The hope is that the word continues to spread, but not every store owner is convinced that change is possible.

"People are creatures of habit and they're going to do what they want to do anywhere, and they'll come through here like this weekend and it'll get blocked up," Lisa Lischka said.

Signs warning drivers about the closed on-ramp will be posted along Interstate 880 and Highway 17 leading up to Los Gatos.

Los Gatos leaders are spending roughly $300,000 to fix the traffic issues and collect traffic data.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[$2 Billion High-Speed Rail Project Gets Green Light]]>Sat, 27 May 2017 22:42:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/train+gif_18289473.gif

California's High Speed Rail Authority has been cleared to proceed with a $2 billion plan to electrify Caltrain tracks between San Francisco and San Jose.

The state Department of Finance on Friday approved the expenditure of $600 million in voter-approved bond money. The approval follows the Trump administration's decision to fully fund a $650 million grant for the project.

The peninsula section is the northernmost piece of the $64 billion bullet train that will link San Francisco and Los Angeles.

High-speed rail opponents filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the electrification project. They argue that state legislation unconstitutionally allows high-speed rail bonds to be spent on Caltrain, violating promises made to voters in 2008.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: High Speed Rail Authority]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Bee Keepers in High Demand Following Winter Rains]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 19:29:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/KNSD_Bee_Keepers_in_Demand_061710_27_mezzn_640x480.jpg

The year has been buzzing for bee keepers who are trying to keep up with the rise in demand.

Bee keepers say the spike in calls to remove hives from homes and trees are partly due to El Nino rains this year.

Tim, a bee keeper, tells NBC Bay Area his business is up over 400 percent when compared to last year. He refused to provide his last name or company name because he cannot handle any requests for service.

"The valley has more nectar pouring out of it because of the rain," Tim said. "We have way more bloom on trees, many more wildflowers."

For years, farmers have been talking about the colony collapse, bees dying off and the possible catastrophic consequences.

Tim says fungicides have been partly to blame. The drop in pollination has hurt crop production.

This year might be the exception in the Santa Clara Valley.

"Everything is rebounding right," Tim said. "The bees are rebounding. We're seeing a huge increase in nectar flow and that allows bees to reproduce at a very high rate."

<![CDATA[Gas Leak Prompts Evacuations at Apple Campus in Cupertino]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 15:56:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GAS+LEAK+CHOPPER+-+15180818.jpg

A gas leak near Apple's new spaceship campus briefly prompted the evacuation of two older Apple office buildings in Cupertino Friday.

Santa Clara County fire officials said the leak at the campus on North Wolfe Road was reported just after 2 p.m. Fire officials said a backhoe hit a one-inch gas line. PG&E arrived quickly and pinched it. 

According to sources, the gas leak took place on the sidewalk next to the older Apple campus. Employees in two nearby older buildings were asked to evacuate, but that was quickly lifted, they said.

No other information was immediately available.

<![CDATA[Gilroy Man Interrupts Auto Burglary Only to Be Shot in Leg]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 11:56:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-26-17-swat-team-gilroy.jpg

A man who interrupted an auto burglary in Gilroy early Friday was shot in the leg, prompting an hours-long standoff between and police and who they considered at the time persons of interest.

Suspicious people near Hyde Park and Victoria drives were reported to police around 2:55 a.m. The caller was worried because of a recent rash of burglaries in the area, police said.

While traveling to the scene, officers learned that shots had been fired and a man had been wounded. His injuries were non-life threatening, according to police.

The man told police that he confronted two alleged car burglars when a third allegedly said, "I'll show you what I'm doing!" before shooting at him several times. A bullet hit the victim's leg, police said.

The group of suspects fled the area, but officers were able to arrest one of them. Investigators quickly found that the three remaining suspects were hiding in one of their homes on Ervin Court.

Police and SWAT teams from Gilroy and Morgna Hill swarmed the neighborhood and surrounded the house for several hours.

Video from the scene showed police speaking over a PA system, ordering the trio to surrender peacefully. 

Officers detained two people at the house, police said. It remains unclear how the standoff de-escalated.

Detectives then found the third person of interest walking on nearby Princevalle Street.

Police on Thursday said it has been determined the residents and people associated to the home were not involved in the crime.

"There were certain facts that gave us probably cause to believe that the residence was related to at least one of the suspects," Sgt. Jason Smith said. "The police department has been in contact with the residents and our reasoning has been explained in great detail."

People with information about the case are asked to call Gilroy police at 408-846-0350.

NBC Bay Area's Bob Redell contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Release Images of Suspects in Stabbing of SJSU Player]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 23:34:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sjsu+stabbing-0525.jpg

Police released descriptions and surveillance footage Thursday of two men who allegedly stabbed a San Jose State University football player early Sunday morning in downtown San Jose.

The stabbing was reported around 1 a.m. Sunday at Post and South First streets.

The victim, identified by SJSU officials as Vallejo native Chad Miller, was taken to a hospital.

The junior safety and communications major was expected to recover as of Monday, but hospital officials did not immediately return a request for his updated condition Thursday evening.

According to investigators, a Hispanic man in his 20s brandished a knife at Miller during an argument.

A fight then broke out between two groups of people, police said. Between 15 and 20 people were involved in the fight.

A short, heavyset man described as either Asian or Hispanic stabbed Miller with a knife during the fight, police said.

The man who stabbed Miller was described as being between 21 and 28 years old and standing 5 feet, 6 inches tall. He appears to weigh about 175 pounds, and to have tattoos on both arms.

The stabbing suspect had a mustache, beard and ponytail or Mongolian hairstyle and was wearing an oversized white shirt, black beanie, dark jeans and white shoes.

The brandishing suspect had hair that was long on top and shaved on the sides and wore a gray snapback hat with a black bill.

He was wearing a white oversized shirt, dark pants and black shoes and appeared to have tattoos on both arms, police said.

Anyone with information about the stabbing has been asked to call San Jose police Detective Emilio Perez at (408) 537-1352.

Photo Credit: San Jose PD
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<![CDATA[End in Sight for Repairs to Santa Cruz Mountains Highway]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 21:10:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hwy+35+repair-0525.jpg

The repair work to a collapsed section of Highway 35 in the Santa Cruz Mountains has been a massive undertaking for Caltrans, but there is finally a target date for completion.

In terms of sheer tonnage, the landslide that took out a section of the highway during heavy storms in February is bigger than the more recent slide near Big Sur. The collapse, at Las Cumbres Road near Los Gatos and Saratoga, prompted closure of crucial sections of the road indefinitely, leaving residents in the area only one way in and out via Black Road.

For some, the long, twisting road means being cut off in one direction or another.

"I don't get downtown now more than three times a week, where I used to go every day," homeowner Henry Hardy said. "It's a pain to go down Black Road every day."

Changes are coming soon, Caltrans said.

Crews were at work with heavy equipment on Thursday, dwarfed by the collapsed section. Caltrans says the slide ended up 280 feet long, with more than 2 million yards of dirt, trees and debris. Workers say the old road sat on soil on top of bedrock, creating pockets or "voids."

"Water starts working its way through the voids, and then you have a slide," structure foreman Ethan Cornell said, adding that the drought prevented it from happening previously.

Crews have removed about 65 large trees in order to start carving 30 feet into the mountainside for a new road. They'll set up walls fortified by beams and cables to shore up a 22-foot-wide road and protect it from future slides.

"We're going to be using concrete backfill, base rock, all materials, you know, that are calculated so it doesn't happen again," Cornell said.

CalTrans is still working to finalize plans on the repair project but estimate it will cost around $30 million. The target date for completion is Sept. 30.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Never-Before-Seen Parts of Winchester Mystery House Unveiled]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 08:12:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-25-17-winchester-house-sneak+peek1.jpg

A famous San Jose haunt is lifting the curtain on new mysteries.

A new section of the Winchester Mystery House on Thursday will be unveiled to the public. As part of the Explore More Tours, people can access the areas for the first time in the mansion’s 94-year history.

The new tour will be offered for a limited time only.

Sarah Winchester and the Winchester Mystery House are being immortalized on celluloid in a period paranormal thriller starring Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren. The movie is expected to hit theaters next February.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Man Dressed as Creepy Machete-Wielding Clown Scares Drivers]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 12:47:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5252017clownimage.jpg

A menacing clown holding a machete over his head on Wednesday terrified drivers on Highway 101 in Monterey County.

A slew of motorists called 911 in a panic after noticing the clown – who was dressed in a colorful suit and had red and white makeup on his face – staring at them in Aromas, NBC-affiliate KSBW reported.

The clown held out a thumb, as if seeking a ride, and grasped a fake blood-covered machete in his other hand.

Sheriff’s deputies drew their weapons when approaching the man, who stood roughly 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 230 pounds, around 3:20 p.m., KSBW said. The scary clown was subsequently identified as Larry Allen Tovey, 61, of Gilroy.

Tovey was handcuffed and questioned, but sheriff’s deputies let him go because he hadn’t committed a crime. They determined that the machete was real, but the blood wasn’t, according to KSBW.

"He didn't actually threaten anybody,” Monterey County Sheriff's Cmdr. John Thornburg told KSWBW. “He just had a sick sense of humor.”

Upon being freed, Tovey simply headed to his car, which was parked nearby, and drove away, according to KSBW.

Photo Credit: KSBW]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Clara County Slams President Trump's Proposed Budget]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 22:45:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17143334773765-trump-palestinians-meeting.jpg

The bitter political and legal fight between Santa Clara County and President Donald Trump is escalating.

The county filed a federal lawsuit that numerous cities and counties joined to fight the president's so-called Muslim ban. On Wednesday, Santa Clara County publicly slammed Trump's proposed budget.

"It really is a cruel and vicious attack on those in need in our country," Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith said.

The county is evaluating Trump's $4.1 trillion budget and plans a point-by-point response and possible legal actions.

County officials were also annoyed the president included a section that would make it illegal for local law enforcement to deny requests from federal immigration agents. The county agreed with critics who called it a new attempt to punish sanctuary cities.

"When he slips something in like that it just tells us we're dealing with an administration that's not being up front," Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese said.

The county said it is also ready to respond to the administration request for a federal judge to reconsider a ruling blocking the president's executive order wittholding funds from cities not cooperating with U.S. immigration.

"They are basically trying to rewrite the executive order to save it," said James Williams with the County Counsel. "They know they can't defend it on its merits."

Cortese said the county will issue an official response to the budget. The fight over possible reconsideration of the executive order could be back in federal court within two weeks.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci]]>
<![CDATA[Jury to Start Deliberating Thursday in Jail Guards' Trial]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 05:50:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tyree+trial-0320-2017.jpg

Jury deliberations are expected to begin Thursday morning in the murder trial of three Santa Clara County jail guards.

A prosecutor seeking to convict the correctional deputies for the beating death of mentally ill inmate Michael Tyree at San Jose's Main Jail in 2015. Closing arguments wrapped up Wednesday.

Jereh Lubrin, 30, and Rafael Rodriguez and Matthew Farris, both 28, could face life in prison if convicted in the beating of bipolar 31-year-old Tyree on Aug. 26, 2015, the night before he was found dead in his cell with his spleen ruptured nearly in two.

The three are also charged with the assault under color of authority of 48-year-old Juan Villa, a second mentally ill inmate, the same night.

The defense has claimed that Tyree's death was not a homicide, suggesting that he died by suicide by jumping onto the corner of the sink in his cell, rupturing his organs.

The prosecution said the jail guards thrived on the abuse of their power over inmates.

According to witness testimony, the assault on Tyree began after he mouthed off to a nurse during "pill call," when medication is distributed to inmates.

Some former inmates said they saw all three deputies in Tyree's cell and that one of the deputies turned off the cell light when they left, which would have been unusual.

The defense has attacked the inmates' testimony as inconsistent and accused some of them of being "professional witnesses" who believe their testimony could be rewarded with legal or immigration-related benefits, a claim that prosecutors have refuted.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area file]]>
<![CDATA[Paralyzed Cal Rugby Player Focused on Recovery, Future]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 21:32:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jeff+paylor-0524.jpg

A Cal rugby player paralyzed during a match earlier this month is focused on fighting for his future, according to his father.

Robert Paylor, 20, is recovering at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center after being partially paralyzed from the chest down during the national championship match May 6.

On Wednesday, Paylor’s father and doctor talked about his prognosis.

"He's taking it like a warrior," Jeff Paylor said.

Robert Paylor's father said his son has never dwelled on what he's lost and instead is focused on his future. And now there's a sign of hope Robert could possibly regain feeling and mobility. His doctor said Robert has sensation in his toes, and he's expected to transfer from critical care to rehabilitation later this week.

"If Robert's strength is regained in both his hands and feet then the sky's the limit," said Dr. Steve McKenna, chief of the rehabilitation trauma center. "But we won't know until his rehabilitation."

Jeff Paylor said his son is also battling pneumonia but still gives his all to his recovery.

"He gives me hope," he said. "Whatever his challenges, he is facing them, and I just don’t know many people who could do that, let alone a 20-year-old kid."

Last weekend, Robert's former rugby team at Jesuit High School, near Sacramento won the national championship. They had dedicated the tournament to Robert before bringing home the trophy. Jeff Paylor said his son was blown away by the tribute.

"Jesuit's motto is be a man for others, and he saw that had come to life," Jeff said. "He was beaming."

Many of the Jesuit High players came down with the flu during the championship game. They said it was Robert's strength dealing with his injuries that motivated them to push through to victory. They called it being "Paylor Strong" and even wore wristbands donning that very phrase.

Doctors say Robert still has months of rehabilitation ahead.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Identify Man Shot Dead at San Jose Wienerschnitzel]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 12:32:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-19-17-SAN-JOSE+ACTIVITY-WEINERSCHINTZL.jpg

Police on Wednesday identified a man who was shot dead at a Wienerschnitzel restaurant last week as a 38-year-old San Jose resident.

Officers who responded to the eatery on the 900 block of S. First Street around 10:10 p.m. Thursday found George Garza suffering from at least one gunshot wound, police said.

Garza was taken to Valley Medical Center, but was pronounced dead. 

Further details about a motive or suspect information were not immediately available.

Thursday night's death marks San Jose's 12th homicide of 2017.

For more information, call the San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit at 408-277-5283. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 408-947-7867. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Emergency Repairs Needed on Hwy. 85 in San Jose]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 21:25:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0523-2017-Hwy85Dips.jpg

Drivers say a stretch of road along Highway 85 in South San Jose features a dangerous dip that has been getting progressively worse over the last few weeks.

Caltrans in response will be shutting the stretch of roadway overnight until mid-June to make emergency repairs.

"I'm more of a one-hand kind of girl," driver Bertha Valenzuela said of gripping her steering wheel. "But during that time I'm more of a two-hand kind of girl."

The dip drivers are referring to on Highway 85 is actually several dips along northbound and southbound directions of the freeway and near the Highway 101 interchange.

"It's something that's going to back up traffic more, and possibly more accidents," driver Wayne Richelle said.

Workers say the winter storms seem to be the cause of the dips, but Caltrans says it is unclear how the dips started to pop up on the highway.

Engineers will investigate this week to see if it's a construction issue or if it is weather related.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Closing Arguments Begin in Murder Trial of Jail Guards]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 16:42:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tyree+trial-0320-2017.jpg

A prosecutor seeking to convict three Santa Clara County correctional deputies for the beating death of a mentally ill inmate at San Jose's Main Jail in 2015 began his closing argument Tuesday morning, two months after the trial began.

Jereh Lubrin, 30, and Rafael Rodriguez and Matthew Farris, both 28, could face life in prison if convicted of murder for the beating of bipolar 31-year-old Michael Tyree on Aug. 26, 2015, the night before he was found dead in his cell with his spleen ruptured nearly in two.

The three are also charged with the assault under color of authority of 48-year-old Juan Villa, a second mentally ill inmate, the same night.

Villa, who suffers from schizophrenia and manic episodes, testified about the assault last month as well as about a prior assault on July 25, 2015, in which Lubrin is also charged.

The defense has claimed that Tyree's death was not a homicide, suggesting that he died by suicide by jumping onto the corner of the sink in his cell, rupturing his organs.

"Power and the abuse of power: that is what this case is about and that is why this happened," prosecutor Matt Braker began, echoing the opening statement he gave on March 21.

"These three defendants, they thrived on the power they had as guards over the inmates," Braker said.

The defendants are said to have targeted mentally ill inmates, known in jail as J-cats, an allegation supported by text messages shown to the jury earlier in the trial in which some of the deputies bragged about the assaults.

At 8:36 a.m. on Aug. 27, 2015, the morning Tyree's vomit- and feces-covered body was removed from his cell, Rodriguez's Google search history shows search queries of "can you die from punches to you," "can you die if someone punches you in the armpit" and "can you die if someone punches you in the rib."

According to witness testimony, the assault on Tyree began after he mouthed off to a nurse during "pill call," when medication is distributed to inmates.

"They treated Michael Tyree with complete contempt and disdain. But in this courtroom, in here, he is entitled to all of the same respect and dignity as any victim," Braker said.

Braker went over the testimony given by 11 current and former inmates who said they heard Tyree and Villa "begging and screaming" or the dull thud of Tyree's body.

Some said they saw all three deputies in Tyree's cell and that one of the deputies turned off the cell light when they left, which would have been unusual.

One witness, Joshua Mauricio, testified that he had heard Lubrin say, "I don't want to hear a word from you" when he left Tyree's cell.

The defense has attacked the inmates' testimony as inconsistent and accused some of them of being "professional witnesses" who believe their testimony could be rewarded with legal or immigration-related benefits, a claim that prosecutors have refuted.

"Of course there are discrepancies," Braker said. "Just because there's a discrepancy between two people's testimony doesn't mean it should be thrown out."

Jurors have heard recorded calls inmates made from the jail phone the morning after Tyree's death, telling alarmed girlfriends and mothers that the deputies had beaten an inmate to death.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area file]]>
<![CDATA[Saratoga High Student Arrested for Threatening Violence]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 23:29:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-23-2017-saratoga-hs-threats.jpg

A South Bay student is behind bars for allegedly making a criminal threat against his school, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

Students at Saratoga High School are in the midst of final exams, but now, along with graduation and summer plans, a classmate's arrest is on everyone's minds. 

The suspect’s name will not be released because he is not yet 18 years old, sheriff's officials said. Students say he is a senior.

“I think he just wants attention,” said a student identified only as Matt.

Matt said he noticed that the student -- who has since been arrested -- began dressing differently about two weeks ago. His clothing resembled that of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, who gunned down their classmates and teachers at Columbine High School in 1999, Matt said.

A school resource officer on Monday arrested the student after several school-goers reported hearing him say he intended to cause violence on campus during finals week. School administrators suspended him, but the exact nature of his threats remains unknown.

"I was surprised. This school is not known at all for any violence," Matt said. 

In the meantime, security at Saratoga High School has been beefed up. Parents said they are happy to see Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies conducting extra patrols at the Herriman Avenue campus. Investigators are also trying to figure out whether the student really planned to people at the school.

“Students being safe is more important than anything else," parent Prashanthi Ravi said.

Principal Paul Robinson sent an email to parents, alerting them of the goings-on. He also praised students who brought their classmates’ alleged threats to a teacher’s attention.

NBC Bay Area has reached out to Robinson and Bob Mistele, the superintendent of the Los Gatos-Saratoga High School District, but have yet to hear back.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Fleeing Police Hops Center Divider, Struck by Car ]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 10:28:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-22-17_Sunnyvale_Fatal.jpg

A male driver being chased by authorities late Monday in Sunnyvale was struck by a car after he hopped out of his sedan, jumped the center-divider and ran into oncoming traffic, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

Officers administered first aid, but the driver, who has yet to be identified, was later pronounced dead at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, the sheriff's office said.

The pursuit originally began around 9:50 p.m. when sheriff's deputies spotted a suspicious vehicle at a gas station in San Jose, according to the sheriff's office. Officers approached the vehicle before the driver suddenly backed up, hit a cruiser and fled the scene.

A roughly 16-minute chase ensued, according to the sheriff's office. The driver, who managed to damage and flatten two of his tires during the pursuit, tried to hit a patrol car on multiple occasions. Deputies did not reciprocate. 

Just before CHP officers arrived to assist, the driver stopped his car next to the center divider near the Fair Oaks Avenue exit, according to the sheriff's office. He hopped the wall and ran across southbound lanes of traffic before being hit by a Toyota Prius driving in a slow lane.

The driver was pronounced dead at the hospital around 10:45 p.m., according to the sheriff's department. No one else was injured during the chase and collision.

An investigation is ongoing at this time. Authorities will not release the driver's name until his next of kin are notified.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area on Heightened Alert Following Manchester Bombing]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 23:55:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/as-security-0523.jpg

In the wake of the deadly concert explosion in Manchester, England on Monday night, some security agencies around the Bay Area are stepping up enforcement.

Understanding that the blast occurred outside security checkpoints at a large social event, the Oakland Athletics added more police officers to keep an eye on areas outside of the ballpark during Tuesday night's home game. The security procedure will become standard for future games.

A’s season ticket holders Ami and Chris Low attend almost every game. On Tuesday night, they noticed a change at the gate.

"I see the effort of the security," Ami Low said. "The lines seem to be longer."

Vice President of Stadium Operations David Rinetti said earlier Tuesday that Oakland police officers would be patrolling the stadium as an additional layer of security, especially on the outskirts of the Coliseum, where they'll be looking for any suspicious activity and checking to make sure nothing dangerous is planted or brought inside.

Stadium workers also would be on extra alert, he said.

"We'll talk to our staff to be a little more observant about who's coming in," Rinetti said. "Tonight, we'll continue to do that with our screening and our metal detector, and in addition, we'll be adding some more officers to be roaming around the perimeter outside to ensure that things are going well.

"You have to adapt to what’s going on in society, and you got to do what you can to make the place safe," he added.

Most A's fans said they understand and don't mind the extra officers.

"That all has to be under control, and that's good if somebody's taking care of things and making sure we're all safe, we all feel better," said Ricky Ricardo, owner of Ricky's sports bar in San Leandro. "People should just learn that's the way life is, unfortunately, these days."

Public transporation agencies across the Bay Area such as BART, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Caltrain and SamTrans are not necessarily increasing the amount of security officers patrolling their systems, but they are reminding officers to maintain routine vigilance. Transporation agencies are also staying in contact with federal authorities to monitor any security threats. 

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Two-Alarm Commercial Fire Breaks Out in Sunnyvale]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 06:18:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-23-17_Sunnyvale_Fire_Commercial.jpg

A two-alarm commercial fire broke out in Sunnyvale early Tuesday, according to fire officials.

The blaze, which ignited just before 3:30 a.m., burned in the 500 block of Lakeside Drive and Titan Way, according to Battalion Chief Craig Anderson. Flames initially ignited inside one of the building's suites before spreading to the business next door.

The fire, which is believed to have started in an attic space, does not appear to be suspicious at this time, Anderson said.

Firefighters tried to fight the flames on the ground, but they forced to assume a defensive strategy and use suspended ladders, according to Anderson.

Further information was not available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Mother of Sierra LaMar's Killer Testifies in Penalty Phase]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 19:43:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

The mother of convicted murderer Antolin Garcia Torres testified through tears in a San Jose courtroom Monday, describing through two Spanish-English interpreters the horrors of poverty, abuse and loss that have ravaged her family for decades.

Garcia Torres, 26, was convicted earlier this month of the first-degree murder of 15-year-old Sierra LaMar in 2012 and the attempted kidnappings of three women in 2009. The jury is set to decide in the coming weeks whether to impose the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Defense attorney Brian Matthews called Laura Torres as his team's first witness in the penalty phase, in which the defense will present sympathetic evidence about the myriad traumas and disadvantages Garcia Torres and his family faced prior to the murder of the missing teen.

Torres spoke of the physical and emotional abuse she endured from her alcoholic ex-husband Genaro Garcia Fernandez, who she married in a small Mexican town when she was just 13.

Showing photos of a younger Torres with a sheet of ankle-length brown hair, Matthews asked the woman about the time Garcia Fernandez wrapped her long braid around her neck and pulled.

"Were you very afraid?" Matthews asked.

"So much that I cut my hair," Torres, who now has shoulder-length black hair, said through an interpreter.

Garcia Fernandez sometimes drank an entire 12-pack of beer and called her names and hit her when he was drunk, including at least three times during her pregnancy with Garcia Torres.

During that pregnancy, Garcia Fernandez threatened to kill Torres and the children, she said, recalling an incident in which he lit a fire under the family car.

At night, Torres said, "He would tell us, 'You know you're going to bed but you don't know if you're going to get up.'"

During that pregnancy, Torres took her older children and moved in with Garcia Fernandez's parents in Saint Helena to escape her husband for a few months, she said.

When asked why she chose to stay with her in-laws and not her own family, Torres said, "Because I wanted to show everyone that it wasn't my fault."

Matthews made no mention of the fact that Garcia Fernandez is serving a life sentence for the sexual abuse of a female relative from age 5 to 14, while Garcia Torres was a child. He was convicted in 2012.

Describing Garcia Torres as a "loving, responsible" son who took on a protective role in the family after his older brother Benny was lost to drugs, jail, deportation and eventually death, Torres said, "Even now, as he is, he supports me."

"What the defense is trying to do is set the stage for a psychologist to come in and say this is the impact this kind of childhood can have on a person," legal analyst Steven Clark said. "This was also a mother's plea not to be ignored."

Torres brings Garcia Torres' two young daughters every time she visits him in San Jose's Main Jail, she said, describing the visits as "happy" and noting that the two talk to their father on the phone every weekend, which is as often as he is allowed.

"What they are saying through his mom's testimony is that he could still have a relevant impact on his children's lives if the jury decides not to execute him," Clark said.

Torres wept as Matthews repeatedly asked her whether she wanted Garcia Torres to be executed or to receive a life sentence.

"What mother would be asked if she wants her son to be killed or not?" Torres asked. "My other son has already died. He's my only son."

NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Third Person Arrested in Connection With Death of 'Miss Flo']]>Mon, 22 May 2017 13:09:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PerlaArreola.jpg

A third person has been arrested in connection with the death of a beloved San Jose woman commonly known "Miss Flo," according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

Perla Arreola was arrested Friday as an accessory to murder and for conspiracy to obstruct justice following the violent home invasion and robbery in September that ultimately led to the death of 88-year-old Flo Douglas, according to the authorities.

Zachary Cuen has already been charged with murder, according to the sherrif's department. Jennifer Hernandez Jimenez has also been arrested for concealing the elderly woman's death.

Following the home invasion on Sept. 12, 2016, Cuen returned to Douglas' home with her car. He was carrying stolen possessions belonging to Douglas, and Arreola is accused of getting rid of those items, according to the sheriff's department.

Arreola then lied to investigators "in attempts to obstruct the discovery of evidence of the murder," according to the sheriff's department.

Arreola is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested in Stabbing Attack of Woman, 2 Kids and a Baby]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 06:05:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mh+stab+suspect.jpg

A man faces multiple charges for his alleged role in a Morgan Hill stabbing attack that injured a woman, two children under the age of 14 and a baby, according to police.

The suspect, who has been identified as 36-year-old Eduardo Ramirez, faces four counts of attempted murder, child endangerment, domestic violence and resisting/delaying arrest following the Saturday incident that occurred inside a residence on Bisceglia Way, according to police.

After receiving reports about a man and woman yelling at each other inside an apartment, an officer arrived to find Ramirez in the apartment complex's parking lot. Ramirez, who was holding a pocket knife, was spotted stabbing himself in the neck and shoulder area, police said.

The officer demanded that Ramirez put down the knife, but the man refused, according to police. The officer responded by using a taser to subdue Ramirez.

A search of the residence followed and four people were found to be suffering from "injuries consistent from being attacked with a knife," police said.

The victims, along with Ramirez, were transported to be treated for their injuries, according to police. The exent of the injuries was not clear.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detecive Fernando Del Moral of the Morgan Hill Police Department at 669-253-4964. Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact 408-947-STOP.

Photo Credit: Morgan Hill PD]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose State Football Player Stabbed During Downtown Fight]]>Sun, 21 May 2017 23:37:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sjsu7.jpg

A San Jose State University football player is expected to recover after suffering from a stab wound during a fight overnight Sunday, according to the university.

Chad Miller, a safety with the Spartans, was in downtown San Jose enjoying a night out with friends when the stabbing occurred, the university said. He was stabbed at least once during the altercation and taken to a hospital with major injuries.

The university confirmed Miller was injured during a fight on Post Street, where one business owner said the brawl involved at least 12 people. The merchant was not certain how the brawl started.

Some SJSU students said they weren't entirely shocked by the violence because they've seen people carrying weapons in downtown San Jose.

"To be honest, I'm not surprised," student Fadi B. said. "Downtown is not known for its safety. I've seen a lot of people carrying huge knives on their side, things of that nature."

Student Lauren Fisher said there was a shooting at one of the bars on Second Street recently. She and other students said they generally feel safe at San Jose State, but once they set foot off campus, they're not as confident.

"It's just dangerous," Fisher said. "You never know what's going to happen."

The stabbing is not the first time Miller has landed in the hospital after a fight. In 2015, he suffered injuries after a fight in a dorm with a teammate, who was later suspended.

Miller, a junior, is from Vallejo, where he played football at Bethel High School, according to his bio on the SJSU website.. 

NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Unable to Find Possibly Barricaded Suspects in SJ]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 07:15:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-21-17_SJ_Search.jpg

Police in San Jose were unable to locate two suspects who were believed to be holed up in a house next to Oak Grove High School for several hours Saturday, according to police.

The search for the suspects, who were wanted for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, was called off early Sunday, according to police.

The hours-long search kicked off Saturday evening around 5:45 p.m. when police tried to pull the over near Senter Road and Seven Trees Boulevard, according to police. The suspects, who were riding in a stolen vehicle, refused to stop.

A pursuit followed before the suspects fled on foot in the area of Bodie Court and Blossom Hill Road, according to police. That is where police set up a perimeter to help locate the suspects, who were believed to be hiding in a home.

People living in the area were instructed to shelter in place.

"It's scary," resident Chris Alexander said. "I hope that no one is hurt. That's the first thing that I ever think about is like, you know, if any families are in (the house), hopefully they're not going to be like collateral damage or something."

It is unclear if the two suspects were still in a home in the area as of 11 p.m. Units cleared the area early Sunday, according to police.

Further information was not available at the time.

Photo Credit: Telemundo 48]]>
<![CDATA[Spare the Air Alert Issued For Monday]]>Sun, 21 May 2017 14:02:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-24-2013-spare-the-air.jpg

A Spare the Air alert for smog in the San Francisco Bay Area has been issued for Monday, officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said Sunday.

Smog is expected in parts of the East Bay and the Santa Clara Valley because of light winds and a weak and delayed afternoon sea breeze, according to air district officials.

This is the second Spare the Air alert for smog in 2017.

Commuters who drive to work alone are encouraged to use other ways to get to work.

Smog is especially harmful to children, seniors and people with respiratory and heart conditions, air district officials said.

People who decide to exercise outdoors should do so in the early morning hours when smog levels are lower.

Transit will not be free on Monday and air district officials have not issued a wood-burning ban.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Unemployment in Bay Area Counties Below 5 Percent in April]]>Sun, 21 May 2017 10:02:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/165*120/141970054.jpg

Unemployment in all nine Bay Area counties was below five percent last month, officials with California's Employment Development Department said Friday.

Unemployment in San Mateo County was the lowest in the Bay Area at 2.5 percent. In Marin and San Francisco counties the unemployment rate was 2.7 percent.

Except for Solano County, unemployment in the other Bay Area counties was between 3.1 and 3.6 percent.

In Solano County the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Two-Alarm Fire Breaks Out at Concrete Plant Near Gilroy]]>Sat, 20 May 2017 23:26:39 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-20-17_Gilroy_Fire.jpg

A two-alarm fire broke out a concrete plant in unincorporated Gilroy Saturday evening, according to CalFire officials.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was reported just after 9:30 p.m. near Monterey Highway and Buena Vista Avenue, according to officials.

The cause of the blaze, which was still burning as of 10:30 p.m., is still under investigation, according to CalFire.

Multiple agencies responded to battle the flames.

Further information was not available at the time.

Photo Credit: Abraham Berin/Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Police Search For Possibly Barricaded Suspects in San Jose]]>Sat, 20 May 2017 21:27:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-20-17_SJ_Suspect_Search.jpg

Police in San Jose on Saturday are searching for two possibly barricaded suspects accused of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, according to police.

Officers originally tried to pull the suspects over near Senter Road and Seven Trees Boulevard just before 5:45 p.m., according to police. The suspects, who were riding in a stolen vehicle, refused to stop.

A pursuit followed before the suspects fled on foot in the area of Bodie Court and Blossom Hill Road, according to police. That is where police set up a perimeter to help locate the suspects, who are believed to be hiding in a home.

People living in the area were instructed to shelter in place.

"It's scary," resident Chris Alexander said. "I hope that no one is hurt. That's the first thing that I ever think about is like, you know, if any families are in (the house), hopefully they're not going to be like collateral damage or something."

It is unclear if the two suspects are still in a home in the area as of 11 p.m.

Further information was not available at the time.

Photo Credit: Telemundo 48/David Gonzalez]]>
<![CDATA[421 Students Sickened by Stomach Bug in San Jose]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 22:21:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Classroom-School-GettyImages-470622795.jpg

A stomach bug outbreak has continued to spread in elementary and middle schools as well as one high school in the San Jose Unified School District, district officials said Friday.

The bug is described as a relatively mild stomach virus similar to norovirus, featuring symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

Most students recover within a day or two, but district officials are encouraging parents to keep students out of school until they have had no symptoms for at least 48 hours.

Since May 4, 421 cases have been reported at 17 schools in the district, including 53 new cases on Thursday.

Almost 100 students at Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet School had caught the bug by Thursday, up from 80 on Monday.

River Glen K-8 School and Reed and Almaden elementary schools saw their first cases on Thursday, with 13 cases suddenly cropping up at Almaden, according to district officials.

The district has no plans to close schools in response to the outbreak, though in some cases schools are canceling or postponing student performances and art shows.

Crews have been cleaning and sanitizing affected schools every day, including cafeterias, play structures, classrooms and computer labs and school nurses have been instructing students in every classroom on good hygiene practices.

At least 28 cases have been reported by children and staff at a camp in Boulder Creek, according to Santa Cruz County officials.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images RM]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Companies Lead 'Best Places to Work' Ranking]]>Sat, 20 May 2017 16:57:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/New+Image20.JPG

The Bay Area is well represented on a recent LinkedIn list of the United States' best places to work. 

Top Companies Where the World Wants to Work Now” ranks 50 of the country's biggest businesses. Collectively, they span 21 industries and employ over three million workers, according to LinkedIn. The list is based on employee retention and interest in not only a company's available jobs, but also its overall brand.

With 72,000 employees globally, Alphabet, the parent company of Mountain View-based Google, came in first place. The tech behemoth set out in 2012 to rely only on renewable energy, and is on track to do exactly that this year.  

In second place was Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle. The company boasts over 340,000 employees across the world and has picked up three Oscars in the last 12 months, LinkedIn said.

Local companies earned the next five spots on LinkedIn's list. Facebook, of Menlo Park, came in third and was followed by Salesforce and Uber, both of San Francisco; Tesla, which is headquartered in Palo Alto; and Apple, a tech giant located in Cupertino. 

Three media organizations — Time Warner, the Walt Disney Company and Comcast NBCUniversal — rounded out the top 10 positions on the list. 

Other familiar names that made the cut include Airbnb, Netflix and Twitter.

LinkedIn, which is also based in Mountain View, excluded itself from the list.

Here are this year's top 20 companies in the U.S.:

  1. Alphabet
  2. Amazon
  3. Facebook
  4. Salesforce
  5. Uber
  6. Tesla
  7. Apple
  8. Time Warner
  9. The Walt Disney Company
  10. Comcast NBCUniversal
  11. Airbnb
  12. Netflix
  13. McKinsey & Company
  14. Dell Technologies
  15. Workday
  16. Under Armour
  17. Twitter
  18. CBRE
  19. Visa
  20. JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[SJPD Investigates Man's Shooting Death at Wienerschnitzel]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 08:10:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-19-17-SAN-JOSE+ACTIVITY-WEINERSCHINTZL.jpg

San Jose police are investigating a man's shooting death late Thursday at a Wienerschnitzel restaurant.

Police responded to the eatery on the 900 block of S. First Street around 10:10 p.m. A man believed to be in his 30s had sustained at least one gunshot wound, police said.

The victim was taken to Valley Medical Center, but was pronounced dead. He will not be identified until his next of kin have been notified of his death, according to police.

Further details about a motive or suspect information were not immediately available.

Thursday night's death marks San Jose's 12th homicide of 2017.

For more information, call the San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit at 408-277-5283. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 408-947-7867. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[School Evacuated After Bottle Labeled 'Nitroglycerin' Found]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 11:33:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DANI5_hUIAAIbCZ.jpg

Bridges Academy in San Jose was evacuated Friday after a backpack was found to contain a 750-milliliter bottle of liquid labeled "Nitroglycerin," police say.

School staff called police around 8:20 a.m. after making the scary discovery. A bomb squad and fire crews were also dispatched to the McLaughlin Avenue campus. People in the vicinity were urged to shelter in place. 

The bomb squad placed the bag in a safety container and will test the liquid before disposing of it. It remains unclear whether it is in fact the chemical, which is well known as an explosive material. 

Franklin-McKinley School District officials said on Twitter that police told them the bomb scare was a hoax. Police have yet to independently confirm that information.

Police officers finished a sweep of the middle school before clearing the scene around 11 a.m. Students went home and traffic was once again permitted on McLaughlin Avenue, which had been closed between Bacchus and Audubon drives to make room for emergency vehicles.

Police activity forced VTA line 72 to be rerouted in both directions.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Robert Handa
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<![CDATA[Caltrans Fixes Misspelled Sign on I-280 in San Jose]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 18:36:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fixed+280+sign-0518.jpg

A freeway sign along Interstate 280 in San Jose that inadvertently renamed Saratoga Avenue, making it "Saratogo Ave," has been fixed, Caltrans said.

Caltrans crews unveiled the corrected sign Thursday.

Caltrans said a contractor made the mistake and would be charged for the repair.

A similar situation made headlines back in 2013, when a Caltrans sign misspelled Milpitas. It's unclear if the mistake was made by the same contractor.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Firefighters Douse 2-Alarm Fire Threatening Pair of SJ Homes]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 12:06:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-19-17-house-fire-summer+street.jpg

San Jose firefighters on Friday doused a two-alarm fire that damaged a pair of homes.

Multiple people reported around 11 a.m. that they could see a column of smoke above Summer Street. Fire officials called for a second alarm while units were still en routem they said.

A shed was ablaze and the flames were beginning to spread to the nearby homes.

A water main break during crews' efforts to extinguish the fire, so people from the city's water department were called to the scene. There are some reports of flooding. 

The homeowner of one of the residences that is partially gutted said that no one was injured. 

Fire officials are investigating the cause of the fire, which was put out by about 11:20 a.m.

No further details were immediately available.

Photo Credit: Robert Handa/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Restaurateur Named in Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ ]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 17:58:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Profile1.jpg

A South Bay man recognized in Forbes' '30 Under 30 list' is behind the popular and growing Indian-fusion street food hitting cities around the Bay Area.

From Naughty Naan to Curry Up Now's signature tikka masala burrito, you wouldn't find co-founder Amir Hosseini's creations at most traditional Indian restaurants.

"What’s different about the Bay Area is the acceptance towards creativity," Hosseini said.

His originality — as well as a killer team according to Hosseini — has won him praise from fans that continue chowing down at his expanding chain of restaurants. 

"We might be opening one to two… to three more," he said with a smile. "It’s fun watching it grow. It’s exciting." 

But getting to this point wasn't always that easy.

The idea of starting just a single food truck came up in conversation over lunch with his former boss, Akash Kapoor, just eight years ago. Then 22-year-old Hosseini was a salesperson for a mortgage lender – with no culinary experience.

"That was like a lifetime ago," Hosseini recalls. "Two weeks later, we drove 120 miles to go pick up this truck not having any food experience or any idea of what to do."

Fondly speaking of 18 to 19-hour days, the young restaurateur laughs about his early days starting up the Indian-fusion chain with Kapoor.

"There's no money, obviously in the first year, and you’re just trying to figure out how to make it work."

However, taking that leap of faith eventually had a big payoff.

"I basically know all of San Francisco," Hosseini said. "From day one, I was always in this little food truck driving around and going from city to city, [but] my day-to-day now is very different than when I started this company."

Hosseini now spends a lot less time behind the wheel and much more time on his computer.

His original food truck has expanded to include several trucks driving around San Francisco, as well as restaurants in downtown San Mateo, Palo Alto, Santa Clara and most recently, Oakland.

And as for advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, Hosseini said if you have a good idea, a support system and you feel ready to "just go for it!"

It might just have a big payoff.

"My day to day now is very different than when I started this company," Hosseini said.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Greenway]]>
<![CDATA[Six Injured in Fire During Google I/O Conference]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 20:30:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/shoreline-0518.jpg

A fire during the Google I/O Conference in Mountain View on Thursday sent three people to the hospital, one with critical injuries, according to fire officials.

Firefighters responded to Shoreline Amphitheatre on reports of a fire inside one of the venue's food service buildings that was contained to the one building, fire officials said.

A total of six people were injured in the blaze, fire officials said. Three were transported to a hospital, one with life-threatening injuries. The other three were treated at the scene.

The developer conference was interrupted only briefly and continued Thursday evening. No evacuations were ordered, and no other injuries were reported, fire officials said.

Fire officials said the flames were caused by a grease fire in the kitchen of one of the food service buildings.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Saratoga High Students Forced to Retake AP Tests]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 19:24:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/saratoga+hs-0518.jpg

Studying for and taking advanced placement tests is usually the last big hurdle for high school students before thinking about graduation or summer vacation.

But hundreds of students at Saratoga High School in the South Bay were being forced to retake the tests starting Thursday because of a crucial technical error by the school.

It's a mistake that has precedence in the Bay Area.

According to some upset parents, about 300 students found out last Friday they would have to retake the tests that help them garner early college credits. The Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District acknowledged the College Board invalidated the original tests because the school used 6-foot desks with partitions instead of the required 8-foot desks.

Some students who had taken the AP tests were sympathetic to those going through it again.

"Well it's probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, and I would probably not take it again," one student said. "If I had to take it over again, I would not."

The district and school issued statements. Principal Paul Robinson said, "We will continue to challenge the decision made by the College Board and sincerely apologize for the disruption this has caused our students."

Parents said they're upset but don't won't to speak negatively about the school since their children are still in class.

Marin Catholic High School had a similar situation involving tables the college board considered too short to prevent cheating.

In 2013, about 300 students at Mills High School in Millbrae also had to retake AP tests for using round tables.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Toxicologist May Testify Garcia Torres Exposed to Pesticides]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 17:49:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

Growing up in a shack in the middle of the San Martin strawberry fields where his Mexican-born parents picked fruit, convicted murderer Antolin Garcia Torres may have been exposed to harmful pesticides, perchlorates and "possibly" mercury, a toxicologist will likely testify in the coming weeks.

Garcia Torres, 26, was convicted May 9 of the 2012 murder of 15-year-old Sierra LaMar as well as the attempted kidnappings of three women in 2009.

Along with details of Garcia Torres' impoverished and domestic abuse-riddled upbringing, the testimony would likely be presented to the jury to elicit sympathy as his defense attorneys fight for a life sentence without parole, rather than the death penalty.

Prosecutors filed a motion Monday to preclude Florida-based toxicologist Andres Lugo's testimony on the grounds that it is "based upon speculative inferences" and runs the risk of misleading the jury or confusing the issues.

In a hearing outside the presence of the jury Thursday afternoon, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Vanessa Zecher did not issue a definitive ruling, but said she was inclined to allow the testimony.

Prosecutors asked that the defense exercise particular caution with any testimony about "possible" mercury exposure, citing a lack of evidence.

"[Lugo] can't even say, and the defense can't produce, anyone saying anything about mercury," prosecutor David Boyd said. "Not even Dr. Lugo can find the source in this... When he says 'possible,' what he's saying is 'I don't have it.'"

Zecher expressed doubt as to the issue's weight, considering that, as with testimony from a psychologist who met with the defendant last year, Lugo would testify "under the same parameters that there's no connection being made" between the alleged exposure and any particular impact on Garcia-Torres.

The Berkeley-based psychologist, Gretchen White, met with an uncooperative Garcia Torres in November and has interviewed his ex-girlfriend, his parents and dozens of other relatives to compile a "psychosocial history" of the murderer's life.

Boyd and defense attorney Brian Matthews questioned White at a hearing outside the presence of the jury on Wednesday morning about her conclusions, which she said were not based on anything Garcia-Torres said to her in their 40-minute meeting or on the statements made by any of Garcia Torres' friends or family members in a 34-page sealed report compiled by an investigator.

"It's common sense. That's common sense," Zecher said today of White's assessment that the poverty, violence, abuse, addiction, neglect and incest present in Garcia Torres' childhood home would have had an effect on him. "You may not need an expert for that."

The defense maintains Garcia-Torres' innocence, so any evidence about his background cannot be presented as an excuse or explanation for his crimes.

"This is really about humanizing [Matthews'] client, for lack of a better word," Zecher said.

The defense will call its first witness when the penalty phase of the trial resumes Monday morning.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Two-Alarm Fire Damages Abandoned Building in East San Jose]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 10:46:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-18-17-san-jose-east-fire-commercial.jpg

Firefighters early Thursday battled a two-alarm blaze that damaged an abandoned building in East San Jose,  fire officials said.

Fire crews were dispatched to a commercial building at 1064 S. White Road around 3 a.m., according to San Jose fire Capt. Mike Van Elgort. The blaze burned for about two hours after a security guard reported it.

Van Elgort said the fire appears to have sparked in a dumpster outside the building, but doesn't look like arson. 

The damaged and now partially collapsed building is the former location of an O'Reilly Auto Parts store. However, it is now empty so fire officials are not concerned about chemicals, oil or any other flammable material that might have been inside otherwise. 

According to Van Elgort, the fire was fully involved with heavy flames when crews got to the scene. Firefighters are expected to stay at the building until later in the morning, monitoring hot spots.

The fire at the popular strip mall had been extinguished around 5:15 a.m., Van Elgort said. There were no reports of injuries and the cause is under investigation. 

VTA bus lines 25 and 71 were rerouted temporarily. Service has since returned to normal.

This is the site of a four-alarm fire that broke out last June. At that time, a vegetation fire behind the O'Reilly store spread to the building. 

Bystanders told NBC Bay Area that homeless people used to take shelter in the now scorched space, but it’s not clear whether squatters living there was a factor in Thursday’s or last year's fire.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[3 Arrests in Child Abuse Case Involving Neurosurgeon, Nurses]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 09:32:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KohutBrandon.jpg

The third suspect arrested in a Northern California child abuse case involving a brain surgeon and a nurse has been identified as a 29-year-old Arizona nurse.

Court documents show Emily Joy Stephens was arrested May 12 in Tucson, Arizona on six felony child sex abuse charges involving three children under the age of 10 and three children under 14, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported Wednesday.

Stephens is accused along with Dr. James Kohut, who was arrested Sunday at his home in Santa Cruz, and nurse Rashel Brandon, arrested May 9 in nearby Watsonville.

Court documents show the child abuse happened on May 9, 2017.

Stephens, who works as a nurse in Pima County, Arizona, and Brandon also face charges for allegedly capturing the abuse on video.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: KSBW]]>
<![CDATA[Women to Protest Tech Exec's Domestic Violence Sentencing]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 00:15:30 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tech+exec-0517.jpg

A high-profile domestic violence case involving a Silicon Valley tech executive has sparked outrage among women activists who say the alleged abuser is getting off too easy.

Papiha Nandy started a petition on Change.org in the criminal case of Abhishek Gattani, former CEO of startup Cuberon. Gattani initially was charged with felony domestic violence but plea bargained with prosecutors for a lesser charge. The resulting sentence - for his second offense - would be 15 days in jail and weekend community service for five months. Sentencing originally was scheduled for Thursday but has been pushed back to June.

Nandy believes Gattani's wife, engineer Neha Rastogi, like other victims, is suffering in silence,and the outcome of the case will send a message to victims everywhere.

"As a woman I'm gonna stand up raise my voice, speak up," Nandy said. "There will be pressure on judge. The community is together and following this case."

Nandy also is organizing a rally at noon Thursday outside the Santa Clara County courthouse in Palo Alto, where the sentencing will take place. She expects a large group to gather demanding justice.

For Nandy, it's personal.

"I will go and stand in front of court with sign," she said. "I will ask for justice for Neha Rastogi. Somehow inside me, I'm doing it for my mother."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Twist in Sierra LaMar Trial: Previous Overturned Murder Case]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 00:07:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

A new development in the Sierra LaMar murder trial was revealed Wednesday, and it could get convicted killer Antolin Garcia Torres a new trial or help him in appeal, a legal expert says.

A judge recently overturned a murder verdict in another case after determining the lead detective gave false testimony. That same detective was a key witness and investigator in the Sierra LaMar trial.

The previous murder case in question involved defendants David Pilipina and Eddie Rivera, who were convicted last year in the murder of Kristina Harris Perkins in San Jose.

Just last week, the judge in that case overturned the verdict, partially because it was determined that Santa Clara County Sheriff's detective Sgt. Herman Leon gave false statistical evidence.

Leon also testified in the Sierra LaMar trial.

The defense team for Garcia Torres pounced on the new information Wednesday, bringing it up before a judge during the penalty phase proceedings at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. They asked for more information on the overturned case.

"I think it will be a centerpiece of a motion for a new trial or on appeal," legal analyst Steven Clark said.

The defense attorneys declined to comment on the details of their request. The specifics of Leon's testimony will be key, Clark said.

"The fact the officer's testimony was the basis for overturning a murder conviction is significant," he said. "Now the question is what exactly did he testify in the Sierra LaMar case, and would the defense have tried it differently if they'd known of the credibility issue."

Sierra, 15, disappeared in March 2012 while walking to a school bus stop in Morgan Hill, and her body has not been found.

On Wednesday, during the penalty phase for Garcia Torres, the jury heard tearful testimony from two of Sierra's friends and her sister Danielle.

The same jury that convicted Garcia Torres of first-degree murder last week must decide whether he gets the death penalty or serves life in prison without parole.

Sierra's parents are expected to testify Thursday.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[U2's Concert at Levi's Stadium Ruffles Feathers]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 19:30:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/u2band.jpg

One of the world’s most popular bands is coming to Santa Clara on Wednesday, but the event is garnering mixed reactions due to traffic and logistical concerns.

U2 is scheduled to perform at Levi’s Stadium at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The performance is part of “The Joshua Tree Tour 2017” — named after the Irish rock band’s fifth album — and will feature Mumford and Sons. Roughly 50,000 fans are expected to pack the South Bay arena to watch the legendary musicians' live show.

Of the attendees, about 6,000 will turn to public transportation, VTA estimates. Toward that end, VTA trains will be running till later at night to accommodate concertgoers. But the additional service will cost about $50,000

"We kind of had to scramble a little bit to get our extra service going to make sure there wasn’t a public safety issue and people were left at the stadium stranded," VTA spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said.

At a Santa Clara City Council meeting on Tuesday, incensed city leaders decided that the San Francisco 49ers, who manage the stadium, will have to shell out that money.

In January, the 49ers approached the City Council, asking for a curfew extension from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. A council majority denied the request.

“It’s asking too much of the community to support late-night events weeknights at the stadium,’’ Mayor Lisa Gillmore said at the time, according to the Mercury News.

Nonetheless, it appears that the show will go on – at least until its intended 11 p.m.

In response, the Santa Clara City Council – at the recommendation of Interim City Attorney Brian Doyle – approved a motion on Tuesday to have the Stadium Authority notify the 49ers of a potential breach of contract. The show lasting past the 10 p.m. curfew — despite the city’s clear instructions otherwise — is what they view as a violation.

To accommodate the influx of concertgoers, Tasman Drive will be closed all day from Convention Center Drive to Centennial/Marie P DeBartolo Way. Fairway Glen Drive and Eisenhower Drive will be closed on the east side of Lafayette Street. Bassett, Davis and Fillmore streets and Lake Santa Clara Drive will be closed to the west of Lafayette Street.

Checkpoints will also be set up at the intersections of Lafayette Street and Calle de Primavera; Bassett Street and Wyatt Drive; Agnew Road and Lafayette Street; and Agnew Road and Mission College Boulevard.

Caltrain will also run a single northbound train after the concern. It will leave either 75 minutes after the concert or when the train is full.

More information about the event can be found online.

NBC Bay Area's Michelle Roberts contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[Norovirus Outbreak Sickens Over 350 South Bay Students]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 04:11:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DublinNorovirus.jpg

Santa Clara County health officials confirmed Wednesday that more than 350 South Bay students have contracted norovirus, adding to the thousands of cases reported at other Northern California schools this week.

Of the 13 San Jose schools that have been affected, Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet School seems to have been hit hardest, with between 80 and 90 students having called in sick so far.

No classes have been canceled, but the San Jose Unified School District has stopped all extracurricular activities, including after-school programs, this week. It remains unclear when the programs will resume.

District officials say they notified the Santa Clara County Public Health Department after the first case was reported on May 4. The department hasn't confirmed norovirus through lab testing, but officials are confident in their diagnosis since the children have specific symptoms of the viral gastroenteritis.

The most common norovirus symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus spreads through contact, such as eating food after an infected person, touching a contaminated surface and then putting your fingers in your mouth, or having direct contact with an infected person.

Anne Darling and Horace Mann Elementary schools each have reported 27 cases; Olinder Elementary has 26; Washington Elementary has 11; Grant Elementary has 10; Terrell Elementary has nine; Willow Glen Elementary has eight; Carson Elementary has four; John Muir Middle School has three; and Empire Gardens Elementary has an unknown number.

Health officials put the total number of affected San Jose students at 242.

Two other schools outside the San Jose Unified School District also were affected by norovirus, the health department said: Rosemary School in Campbell and Jackson Elementary School in Morgan Hill. Those two schools reported a combined 129 sick students, health officials said, the vast majority of which occurred in April.

The cases reported in Santa Clara County add to the cases reported in nearby Yolo County. In a Friday statement, the county said 952 students, teachers and staff from 32 schools contracted the virus. The statement said the number of sick people was "increasing every day at a very alarming rate."

A Yolo County spokeswoman then said Wednesday the number of sick cases had risen to at least 2,091, NBC affiliate KCRA reported.

Crews in San Jose on Wednesday used bleach to disinfect desks, chairs and countertops at several schools. Playground equipment, some of which is still off-limits, is also being wiped down. Officials in Yolo County advised that the same precautions be taken there.

Nurses went to Hacienda to teach students how to properly wash their hands. 

"We really encourage parents, if their kids are experiencing symptoms, to keep them home 48 hours symptom-free after they've stopped showing symptoms without medication that's sort of the baseline we're using on when it's safe to send their kids back to school,” said Peter Allen with the San Jose Unified School District.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Google Rolling Out Arsenal of Services, Gadgets ]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 12:25:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17137642949516.jpg

Google provided a look at its latest digital offerings, with a heavy focus on its efforts to extend artificial intelligence features into more of its apps and services.

CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled Google Lens, a set of vision-based computing capabilities that can understand what you are looking at. It will first be available as part of Google's voice-controlled digital assistant — which bears the straightforward name "Google Assistant" — and Photos app. In the real world, that means you could, for instance, point your phone camera at a restaurant and get reviews for it.

Pinterest has a similar tool. Also called Lens, it lets people point their cameras at real-world items and find out where to buy them, or find similar things online.

Another tool in Google Photos will prompt you to share photos you take with people you know. For instance, Photos will notice when you take a shot of a friend and nudge you to send it to her, so you don't forget. Google will also let you share whole photo libraries with others. Facebook has its own version of this feature in its Moments app.

One potentially unsettling new feature in Photos will let you automatically share some or all of your photos with other people. Google claims the feature will be smart enough so that you could auto-share only specific photos — say, of your kids — to your partner or a friend.

The company is also giving the crowd a look at new twists in its Android software for mobile devices, which powers more than 80 percent of the world's smartphones. The next version of Android, available to the mass market later this year, aims to gauge and control how much battery life your apps are using. A feature called Google Play Protect, meanwhile, will scan all your apps for malicious software.

As part of a years-old tradition, Google will name the next Android version after a dessert or sweet-tasting snack beginning with the letter "O." (The current version of Android is the N version, Nougat.) It often takes years for a new version of the software to make it to older phones, and never arrives at all for some.

Rival Apple plans to provide unveil changes to the operating system for its popular iPhone next month. Many of Google's products are also vying against similar offerings from other tech conglomerates like Amazon and Microsoft.

Google is also planning a slimmed down version of Android for low-end phones, primarily used in the developing world. Called Android Go, this software will automatically enable data-saving features and will steer users toward apps designed specifically for inexpensive hardware. Phones with less than one gigabyte of memory will automatically get Android Go.

The overview came Wednesday during Google's annual conference for thousands of computer programmers.

Wednesday's keynote took place at an outdoor theater near the company's Mountain View, California, headquarters.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Eric Risberg]]>
<![CDATA[Inmate Nearly Kills Cellmate at Elmwood Jail in Milpitas]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 20:14:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/joshua+carter-0516.jpg

A jail inmate in custody at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas on a misdemeanor offense nearly killed his cellmate early Tuesday morning, Santa Clara County sheriff's officials said.

Deputies stopped an alleged assault at about 1:10 a.m. in the M-5 housing unit of the jail at 701 S. Abel St.

Before they stopped the alleged assault, deputies heard a disturbance in a lower-tier cell and responded immediately, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies allegedly saw 28-year-old San Jose resident Joshua Carter attacking his cellmate inside their cell and deputies stopped it.

Carter obeyed deputies' commands and was taken to another part of the jail, sheriff's officials said.

Inside the cell, deputies found Carter's cellmate unconscious but breathing. The cellmate was taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries that are considered life-threatening.

Sheriff's officials said they are following standard procedures for an in-custody assault with great bodily injury.

Sheriff's investigators and lawyers with the District Attorney's Office are working together on the case.

Crime scene investigators are collecting evidence. Sheriff's officials said no weapons were used in the attack and it was not captured on video.

Carter was in the jail waiting to be transferred to another county on a misdemeanor DUI warrant.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Caltrans Takes Some Heat for 'Saratogo Ave.' Sign on I-280 ]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 23:48:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/I-280-sign-0516.jpg

It appears everyone could benefit from spell check, including those who make road signs.

A freeway sign along Interstate 280 in San Jose inadvertently renamed Saratoga Avenue, making it "Saratogo Ave."

Caltrans says it was a mistake that might not be obvious to those who alreeady know their way around the area.

"I take 280 all the time," commuter Sophia Ramirez said. "It’s funny, I’m not even paying attention to that."

Thousands of drivers speed past the mileage sign every day. Those heading to Saratoga Avenue may have noticed the sign doesn't match the name in their GPS.

"Someone needs to learn how to spell Saratoga," said Tony Perez.

The mileage to the Saratoga Ave. exit is accurate.

Caltrans says the contractor made the mistake, and a fix is coming. The agency will add a plate to the sign to cover the "o" on Thursday night. The contractor will pay for the repair.

"No! No go, Saratogo," said Karen Pesher. "Sounds like a sandwich place, ha ha. Who didn’t catch that? It’s a city that’s not brand new. It absolutely should be spelled correctly and taken down and fixed."

A similar situation made headlines back in 2013, when a Caltrans sign misspelled Milpitas. It's unclear if the mistake was made by the same contractor.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mountain View Leaders Discuss 'Missing Middle Housing']]>Tue, 16 May 2017 23:48:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mv-rvs-0516.jpg

Mountain View city leaders came together Tuesday to address what they called "missing middle housing," a growing problem in which people earning six figures still can't afford a place to live.

"New units coming online are asking for rents of $3,700 to $4,200," said Wayne Chen, the city's Housing and Neighborhood Services manager.

Skyrocketing rents are driving some of those people to dwell in cars, vans and recreational vehicles. They can be seen lining city streets.

City officials said they spent more than $1 million last year supporting vehicle dwellers, with two dedicated social workers, a mobile shower unit and other support services.

"The city has taken a humanitarian approach first, and we're trying to get help and services to the people who need it," Mayor Ken Rosenberg said.

But the mayor wants to be clear: He said many of the RV residents are service professionals who work full time.

"Many of the people are living in their vehicles by choice; many of them work," Rosenberg said. "We refer to them as the working homeless."

One of the solutions being considered is building micropads, 110-square-foot homes that can be stacked like Legos.

"Micropads and the developers that are looking at that could really address a wide range of needs," Chen said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Penalty Phase Kicks Off in Sierra LaMar Trial]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 18:14:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

One week since finding Antolin Garcia Torres guilty of killing 15-year-old Sierra LaMar, jurors returned to a South Bay courtroom Tuesday to contemplate the convicted killer's fate.

Life in prison or the death penalty is on the line, and both sides of the courtroom kicked off proceedings with an emphasis on playing at the jurors' emotions.

During a 21-minute opening statement, prosecutors pushed home the point that Garcia Torres deserves death for not showing any mercy for the teenager, who has yet to be found since disappearing on her way to a Morgan Hill bus stop back in 2012.

On the other hand, Garcia Torres' legal team stated that they were disappointed with the guilty verdict, but they do accept it and will do what they can to secure life without parole for their client. They stated that Garcia-Torres' life has value regardless of the verdict and should not be ended prematurely.

The defense also attempted to evoke sympathy for their client by addressing his tumultuous family history that includes instances of domestic violence and sexual abuse. For example, they stated that their client witnessed his alcoholic father abuse his mother while growing up.

Following opening statements, three of LaMar's friends wiped back tears as they took to the stand to deliver their recollections of the teenager. One girl described LaMar as "a bubbly ray of sunshine" while another read a letter stating that she, like the LaMar family, will never have closure.

The penalty phase began just after 8:30 a.m. A total of four documents were submitted to the court before Tuesday's session. One asked for a separate psychological evaluation of Garcia Torres to be conducted by the district attorney's office. A second document rebuked that request, stating that it violated the convicted killer's rights to stay silent during the trial. 

Another motion filed by the district attorney's office opposed a doctor's testimony regarding the impact that pesticides had on Garcia Torres during his childhood. The final motion made jurors aware that if they decide on a death sentence, that decision must be unanimous.

The penalty phase of the trial could last several days, if not weeks.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Homeless Woman Arrested on Suspicion of Burglarizing School]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 23:49:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/molina-0515-2017.jpg

Police have arrested a homeless woman suspected of burglarizing a South San Jose preschool last week, officials said Monday evening.

Leticia Tavares Molina, 34, was arrested early Friday morning on suspicion of breaking a window at Tomorrow Montessori at 2466 Almaden Road around 6:10 a.m. on May 4.

Police believe Molina vandalized the property and stole items from inside, causing about $10,000 in damage and forcing the school to shut down for repairs.

Police arrested Molina around 1:10 a.m. Friday in the area of South First Street and East Alma Avenue. She was booked into the county jail on suspicion of burglary, felony vandalism and drug possession.

Molina is being held on $25,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: San Jose PD]]>
<![CDATA[Doctor, Nurse in Santa Cruz Arrested For Child Molestation]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 23:37:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KohutBrandon.jpg

A total of three people, including a doctor and a nurse based out of the Santa Cruz area, have been arrested on suspicion of child molestation, according to officials.

Dr. James Joel Kohut was arrested Sunday morning and charged with three felony counts including lewd acts with a child under the age of 10 and 14 as well as forcible lewd acts with a child under the age of 10, according to the Santa Cruz District Attorney's Office. Rashel Melinda Brandon, a nurse who works with Kohut, was arrested last Tuesday, and she has since pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts.

The case, which has crossed state lines, has been investigated for "some time," according to Watsonsville Police Department Cap. George Zamora.

The FBI and Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force are assisting with the investigation.

Authorities are expected to release more information regarding the case during a Thursday press conference.

Further information was not available at the time.

Photo Credit: Watsonville Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Amgen Tour of California Bike Race to Stop in San Jose]]>Mon, 15 May 2017 06:20:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/amgen-stage+1.jpg

The Amgen Tour of California, the nation’s largest pro cycling race, returns to San Jose for its Stage 2 finish Monday.

The seven-day race, which has trekked through San Jose in 11 of its 12 years, more than any other city, started on Sunday with a 104-mile round trip out of and back into Sacramento.

Stage 2 will start in Modesto a little after noon Monday and finish in South San Jose about four to five hours later, covering about 90 miles.

The racers will head south out of Modesto, ride through Patterson, cross Interstate 5 and take Highway 130 up the eastern slope of Mount Hamilton. Once they summit the 4,300-foot peak, the cyclists will descend quickly into East San Jose on Mount Hamilton Road before veering south on Quimby, Yerba Buena and San Felipe roads in the Evergreen Valley area of San Jose.

The stage finishes on Metcalf Road at Motorcycle County Park. (See a Stage 2 map from the official race website)

This year, the race will cover more than 575 miles of California’s most scenic roadways and coastlines. It will end Saturday in Pasadena.

The race features numerous Olympic, world and national champion cyclists.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Psychologists at Center of Garcia Torres' Sentencing Phase]]>Sun, 14 May 2017 23:44:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

Life in prison or death?

That's what Antolin Garcia Torres faces starting this week after he was found guilty of kidnapping and murdering Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar.

Sierra disappeared in March 2012, and her body has never been found.

Garcia Torres' defense team is trying to spare him from execution during the sentencing phase of his first-degree murder conviction. Proceedings begin Monday, with both sides facing off in a special hearing in front of the same jury that brought the fateful verdict.

New court documents indicate it will be a battle of psychologists, with the defense bringing in a forensic psychologist to help make the case to spare Garcia Torres' life. The prosecution aims to counter with its own psychologist to interview and evaluate Garcia Torres to determine whether he has any known mental impairment from his childhood.

The psychologists will offer scientific data and insight but will not advocate for a certain penalty, documents show.

Garcia Torres' childhood inevitably will be discussed, and the subject likely will turn to a well-documented case of a father convicted on 17 counts of child molestation, the documents show.

On Sunday, volunteers who have helped search for Sierra over the past five years say that Garcia Torres' troubled past is no excuse for what what he did to the 15-year-old.

"Everybody has rough childhoods, but we are all still walking around, and we are still law-abiding citizens. We are not out committing crimes," said Renee Figueira, a search volunteer.

During the sentencing phase, legal experts say, Sierra's parents will be the primary witnesses for the prosecution and will be asked to talk about what it's like losing a child and not knowing where she is.

If the prosecution does get to have a psychological expert evaluate Garcia Torres, that evaluation could include eight hours of clinical interviews.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian With Walker Struck, Killed by Car in San Jose]]>Sat, 13 May 2017 18:17:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-12-17_SJ_Fatal.jpg

A pedestrian with a walker was struck and killed by a car in San Jose Friday night, but the victim "may have been at fault," according to the California Highway Patrol.

The fatal crash happened around 9:20 p.m. near South Bascom Avenue and Scott Street, and a preliminary investigation revealed that the pedestrian "may have been at fault in this situation for stepping into traffic and crossing at a place other than where it is safe for a pedestrian to cross," CHP Officer Daniel Hill said.

When officers responded to the scene, firefighters had already pronounced that the victim had died, but the driver was not present, according to Hill.

The driver eventually returned to the scene and admitted that he hit the pedestrian, Hill said. He was cooperative with authorities, but he was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and arrested.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[BART Tracks to Milpitas, Berryessa Electrified]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 22:30:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2015-generic-bart.jpg

Transit officials are going door to door this week warning residents who live along the 10-mile BART extension to Milpitas and Berryessa not to touch the tracks, now that lethal amounts of electricity are set to course through them.

Trespassing on the tracks has not been a major problem, but officials have launched an advisory campaign through mail, email, social media and radio in addition to knocking on doors, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said.

"Even though we have fences and warning signs protecting the whole corridor, we're taking every precaution," Ross said.

VTA workers spent three and a half hours knocking on dozens of doors in the Berryessa neighborhood Friday, starting at Hostetter Road and Silvertree Drive.

The door-to-door campaign is set to continue on Saturday, Ross said. Outreach workers are also distributing printed warnings to residents in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Hindi and Tagalog.

"Santa Clara County has never had a ground-based, electrified track before," Ross said, explaining that South Bay residents who may have safely stepped across Caltrain and VTA light-rail tracks in the past could underestimate the danger of an electrified third rail.

The traction power network will carry 1,000 volts of direct current to the contact rails. Contact with just 42 volts can be lethal, Ross said.

"You can't see the current, you can't smell the current, but if you touch the current, it will be too late," VTA's BART project manager John Engstrom said in a statement.

The tracks run parallel to, and in between, Interstate Highway 680 and Interstate Highway 880 from Warm Springs in Fremont through Milpitas to Berryessa in North San Jose.

Intermittent system testing and electrification started in September. Now that the 2018 deadline of opening the Milpitas and Berryessa stations to commuters looms closer, the tracks have been fully electrified.

"Now that we are in the system testing phase, the site becomes extremely dangerous," Engstrom said. "Every person in the public needs to understand that the BART right of way is not a shortcut. It is not accessible for a reason: for people's protection."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bones Identified Belong to Woman Who Went Missing in 2012]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 20:18:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Herum.jpg

Bones discovered last year have been identified as the remains of a woman who disappeared in 2012 after giving birth in a Santa Cruz maternity ward, Santa Cruz County sheriff's officials said Friday afternoon.

Santa Cruz resident Jeanette Susan Herum, who was 29 at the time, walked out of the Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center on Nov. 22, 2012, leaving her newborn son in the care of the hospital. Last year, a couple found Herum's bones while out on a walk and notified the sheriff's office, officials said.

Herum's disappearance and death have baffled authorities, and an investigation remains ongoing.

"Ms. Herum is 29 years old," Chris Clark with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department said. "29-year-old people generally don't just pass away."

Herum was not reported missing until 2014 because she had a history of going long periods without contacting her family, sheriff's officials said.

The woman did not have any medical conditions that would have placed her at risk and was classified by sheriff's investigators as a voluntarily missing adult, Santa Cruz County sheriff's Lt. Kelly Kent said.

Herum's son was living with his father's parents as of 2015. According to the sheriff's office, Herum's parents died before her remains were found.

Sheriff's officials are investigating the suspicious circumstances of her disappearance and death and have asked anyone with information about the case to call (831) 454-7635.

"We're hoping that someone may tell us, 'Hey, yeah, we saw Ms. Herum in and around this area,'" Clark said. "And we might be able to match that up with what information we know which could then tell us again whether or not this information is credible."

Photo Credit: Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Psychologist Expected in Sierra LaMar Murder Case: Documents]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 17:57:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

The man convicted of murdering Sierra LaMar is now battling to try and escape execution.

Antolin Garcia Torres on Tuesday was found guilty of first-degree murder. The legal fight has already started over whether he will get the death penalty.

Garcia Torres must now convince a jury that his life worth sparing. It is the same jury that already sees him as a murderer.

New court documents show the defense will bring in a forensic psychologist to help make Garcia Torres' case. And documents also show the prosecution wants its own psychologist to interview and evaluate Garcia Torres.

Santa Clara University professor Thomas Plante, an expert on psychologist testimony, said their role is to offer scientific data and insight, and not to advocate.

"No one is perfect in terms of predicting about future behavior or what was going on in the mind of the perpetrator in the moment, during the moments of this crime," Plante said. "But what they can do potentially is look at his psychological functioning in general and look at his background."

Legal analyst Steven Clark said that background could be helpful for Garcia Torres, who has a well-documented case of a father convicted on 17 counts of child molestation.

But Clark points out the prosecution has more than just Garcia Torres' psychological evaluation to use.

Many court observers are also watching if Garcia Torres will say where Sierra's body is to possibly avoid the death penalty.

A hearing is set for Monday to decide about the prosecution's psychologist. The sentencing phase is expected to follow on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Paralyzed Cal Rugby Player Makes Progress as Family Prays]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 23:36:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Cal+Robert+Paylor.jpg

A Cal rugby player who was partially paralyzed last weekend during a match in Santa Clara, was making progress and was moved to the rehab trauma center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

A GoFundMe page for Robert Paylor posted the news of his transfer Thursday while about a hundred people gathered for a prayer service in Berkeley to show their support.

Paylor was injured early in the national championship match Saturday at Santa Clara University. The injury left him paralyzed from the chest down.

His Cal teammates on Thursday night huddled together outside the private prayer service, wearing their blue cardigans with gold stripes.

Those in attendance at the service talked about the sense of family inside.

"Our sons played rugby; we're a rugby family," team friend Bob Wilson said. "We know how the game goes. Some people get injured, but always have great support."

The GoFundMe page has raised about $400,000 for the Paylor family's medical expenses.

Cal students were still stunned by the news.

"I'm getting emotional," said Steve Burstin. "He's at the best school. He needs all the support he can get."

Even as UC Berkeley students remember the weekend's championship victory and deal with finals this week, their thoughts are with Paylor.

"I think everybody has hope," Wilson said. "With the grace of God, he'll come through."

Photo Credit: ABFlyer]]>
<![CDATA[Nurses Rally at Valley Medical Center for Higher Pay ]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 21:43:57 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0722-2016-TurnerVMC.jpg

Dozens of nurses rallied for more competitive wages and benefits packages outside Santa Clara Valley Medical Center on Thursday, claiming that too many newly graduated nurses use the county hospital as taxpayer-funded training before leaving for higher-paying private hospitals.

"We're spending a lot of money training these new grads, and after six months to a year, they're going to another hospital because they get a better package," said Holly Smith of the Registered Nurses Professional Association.

Comparing the "revolving door" issue to the staffing crisis experienced by the San Jose police over the last few years, Dustin DeRollo, a lobbyist contracting with the nurse union, asserted that the county has the funds to pay nurses more competitively.

A wage realignment study commissioned by the RNPA last year compared VMC nurses' salaries to those at private hospitals in the county, including El Camino, Stanford Children's, Stanford Health Care, Kaiser Permanente, Good Samaritan, Regional Medical Center and O'Connor.

That study found big differences among newer nurses, showing that nurses with four years of experience make as much as 17 percent less at VMC than they would at the private hospitals.

But the public-private wage gap shrinks among nurses with more seniority. Nurses with 15 to 25 years of experience make between 5 and 7 percent less at VMC than they would at private hospitals in the area, the study shows.

Russell Cobb said he was trained in a group of 13 new nurses six years ago. Today, only three of them remain at VMC, he said.

"What we have now is a reverse of a bell curve. We have all these nurses with a lot of experience, and we have all these nurses with a little bit of experience," Cobb said.

"Experienced nurses need to want to come to this hospital, and right now they're like, 'No way, I'm not going there,'" Smith said.

Smith said VMC not only pays less, but also is a more demanding job because of what she called a "hard population" in trauma, burn and pediatric units.

"As they retire, we're not replacing them with experienced nurses. It's only new grads coming in, which is creating a dangerous environment for our patients," Smith said.

Dylan Buckingham, who has worked as a registered nurse at VMC for a decade, said he sees safety issues resulting from high patient to nurse ratios "on a regular basis."

"During undesirable shifts like night shift, it can be almost the blind leading blind," Buckingham said. "We have nurses with two, three years' experience in charge, and all the nurses taking care of the patients have one to two years' experience."

Nurses at the county hospital did not receive a raise in 2011 or 2012 and had their benefits cut in 2013, according to DeRollo. In 2014, the county raised nurse wages by 3.75 percent.

"We know the valuable role that the nurses play," Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said, noting that the hospital would "continue to work" with the nurses' union, which is not currently in contract negotiations.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area file]]>
<![CDATA[Community Mourns Death of High School Basketball Player]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 19:33:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nuestro+death+1-0511.jpg

A South Bay community has been in mourning this week after a high school girls basketball player collapsed and died during a game last weekend.

Kimberly Nuestro, 16, was a rising star on the junior varsity team at Homestead High School in Cupertino. She collapsed while playing in a tournament in Santa Clara and later died at a hospital. The cause of her death is not yet known.

Kimberly was remembered as a huge Golden State Warriors fan, and a social media tribute to the teen included many students urging Warriors star Steph Curry to sign her shoes. On Monday, Homestead High students wore Warriors blue and gold, and Kim's father started the hashtag #SignForHer on Twitter. It quickly started trending, as thousands retweeted the plea.

Many students said having Curry sign her shoes would have been a dream come true for the teen.

"It was nice to see, even though it was a sad occasion," Homestead Principal Greg Giglio said. "It brought people some joy and comfort to know everyone was thinking about it and participating."

And it worked. On Tuesday, Kim's father Ramir shared a photo of his daughter's shoes and a Warriors jersey signed by Curry. In the caption, he thanked Curry and included a new hashtag: #WeCanDoAllThings.

Curry also spoke with a reporter from the campus newspaper.

"It’s a small token for her family to know there’s a lot of people thinking about them and what they’re going through," Curry told the newspaper. "Hopefully, (we) honor her life with those shoes."

The interview offered a little boost to the heartbroken Homestead community.

"He cares about people who love the game," said Lindsey Takahashi. "That’s what Kim loved."

Student Allison Hampton added: "It might have been a small thing for him, but it was a really big thing for her and her family. I thought that was really great."

Officials say they’re awaiting an autopsy to determine why Kim died. Students are planning a candlelight vigil for the teen sometime next week.

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<![CDATA[South Bay Residents Urged to Prepare for Fire Season]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 15:59:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16272739889665.jpg

The wet and windy winter may have brought California more water, but it is also creating new fire hazards.

Firefighters said defensible space played a critical role in protecting homes during last year's Loma Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Fire officials are urging residents to start clearing brush at least 30 feet away from their homes.

"Having defensible space around your home allows it to better withstand the embers flying through the air with the wind so they don't catch on dry leaves," Santa Clara County Fire Department Capt. Bill Murphy said.

Clearing brush and weeds may be even more critical after heavy winter rains.

"Some of the weeds are 8 feet tall," said Patty Ciesla with the Santa Clara County Fire Safety Council. "They used to be 3 feet, so when that dries out that's all fuel that will drive wildfires."

The wind that came with the heavy winter storms has also toppled trees, providing even more fuel.

Residents in Santa Clara County who cut away limbs and grass from around their homes can just leave it outside. A chipper service will chop it up and haul it off for free thanks to a PG&E grant the Santa Clara County Fire Safety Council received.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[DA May Offer Garcia Torres a Deal For Location of Sierra]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 00:01:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Antolin-Garcia-Torres-crop.jpg

The same jury that convicted Antolin Garcia Torres of murdering Sierra LaMar will decide whether he is sentenced to death or spends the rest of his life in prison without the benefit of parole.

The penalty phase for Garcia Torres, 26, begins May 16 after he was found guilty of first-degree murder, with a kidnapping enhancement. Sierra, 15, disappeared in March 2012 on her way to a school bus stop in Morgan Hill. Her body has never been found.

Dean Johnson, a defense attorney and former San Mateo County prosecutor, says the DA may offer the killer the following deal:

"Show us you still have some decency left inside of you and give these parents closure and tell us where Sierra LaMar is, and we'll take the death penalty off the table," Johnson predicted the DA would say to Garcia Torres.

Johnson said Garcia Torres will be told death row inmates have it very rough in prison, their movement and privileges greatly restricted.

"People who have life sentences are in the prison population with the prisoners with whom they are compatible," he said.

Johnson said the state and federal appeals in the case could take decades, but if the death penalty is imposed, the young convicted killer could live long enough to be put to death. 

<![CDATA[2017 Mother's Day Events in the Bay Area ]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 16:10:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mothersdaygen.jpg

If you forgot to make Mother's Day plans this year, don't fret. It's not too late to plan a memorable day for the mom in your life. 

Here are some of NBC Bay Area's favorite events happening this weekend: 

Free Day at the Exploratorium:

Families are invited to celebrate Mother's Day at the Exploratorium in San Francisco for free on Sunday. Spend the morning making crafty flowers, or immerse yourself in some of the interactive activities the museum offers. The area is packed with brunch places nearby, too. Visit the Exploratorium's website for more details. Free tickets are first come, first served. 

Mother's Day at the Zoo:

Mom and her cubs might enjoy a docent-led cycling tour through the San Francisco Zoo. You have to bring your own bike, and pre-registration is required. But there's a free continental breakfast at the end of the tour, so there's no need to make additional lunch plans. Visit the San Francisco Zoo website for more details. Tickets are $35 for non-members. 

Downtown Alameda's annual Spring Festival:

One of Alameda's most popular hubs will transform into a large-scale festival, complete with live music, arts and crafts booths, bounce houses, and more. A lot of pop-up shops will be selling artisanal goods, so this activity could also double as a leisurely shopping trip. Visit the Spring Festival's website for more information: 

Stanford Powwow:

The 46th annual Mother's Day Weekend Powow will bring Native American music, dancing and cuisine to the prestigious university's scenic campus. The event runs Friday through Sunday, and families are invited to camp overnight. The event is free, but donations are accepted. Check the Powwow's website for more information. 

Urban Tilth's Festival of Flowers:

The community farm in Richmond on Saturday will host its inaugural Annual Festival of Flowers, complete with live music, a brunch buffet and a raffle. Prizes include tickets to the Oakland symphony, a professional manicure and pedicure, and gift baskets. Families will also have the opportunity to make unique flower arrangements, flower crowns and Mother's Day cards. The best part? The event is completely free! Check out the website for more information. 

Wine and painting: 

If you and mom are looking for something more low-key, consider one of the many Paint-and-Sip classes that have popped up in recent years. There are dozens of shops scattered around the Bay Area that offer attendees the chance to sip wine, listen to relaxing music and get a painting lesson straight from the professionals! Check out the Canvas and Cabernet website to see what the classes entail and find price information. 

Plan your own adventure: 

Visit one of the Bay Area's many beaches, or scour parts of your neighborhood that you've never been to before — maybe start a new tradition. Ultimately, you can't go wrong on Mother's Day so long as you and mom have quality time together. 

Is there an event missing from this list? Email Gillian.Edevane@nbcuni.com with details for possible inclusion. 

<![CDATA[Community Connected to Sierra LaMar Reacts With Relief]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 00:04:26 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mh+sierra+reax-0509.jpg

Relief, sadness and anger were a few of the emotions expressed Tuesday in Morgan Hill after those who knew Sierra LaMar and even those who didn't heard her accused killer was found guilty.

Five long years after the 15-year-old Sobrato High School student vanished on her way to a school bus stop, residents of the city connected to a case that made national headlines were able to see justice served.

"It shook our town; it still does," resident Sara Salinas said. "You still see the signs all around town."

A Santa Clara County jury on Tuesday morning found Antolin Garcia Torres guilty of first degree murder with a kidnapping enhancement in the death of Sierra, even though her body has never been found. He now faces the death penalty.

"Everything he gets coming to him he deserves," Salinas said.

At the Morgan Hill Safeway supermarket where Garcia Torres once worked and attempted to abduct other young women in 2009, neighbors said they remain angry.

"She was just a baby, just a baby, a beautiful girl," Elena Miranda, of San Martin, said. "Hanging him wouldn’t be enough because it’s not going to bring her back."

One neighbor who lived down the street from Sierra said he drives through the very intersection at Dougherty and Palm avenues where she was abducted. Each time, he said, he’s reminded of Sierra.

"Oh yeah. All the time," Matt Bonior said. "And if they would’ve given me 10 minutes in a cell with him, I would’ve found where the body was."

The penalty phase in the case, during which the jury will decide between the death penalty or life in prison without parole for Garcia Torres, begins next Tuesday.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Ties the Knot in Dramatic Mount Everest Wedding]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 12:27:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Charleton_Churchill_Everest.jpgA shared love of adventure has transformed a Sacramento couple and their wedding photographer into viral sensations.

Photo Credit: Adventure wedding photographer Charleton Churchill]]>
<![CDATA[Sierra LaMar's Family Relieved Jury Found Killer Guilty]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 23:47:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

Parents of Sierra LaMar, the Morgan Hill teen who went missing while on her way to school more than five years ago, said they left the Santa Clara County Superior Court with a semblance of peace Tuesday after a jury unanimously found their daughter's killer guilty.

The jury will meet May 16 to consider whether to recommend the death penalty for Antolin Garcia-Torres for killing and kidnapping 15-year-old Sierra who disappeared March 16, 2012 on her way to the bus stop near her mother's Morgan Hill house. Her body was never found.

Pin-drop silence gave way to a collective gasp and then tears as the jury held Garcia-Torres responsible for Sierra's murder. "Justice has been served," a volunteer who searched for Sierra — one of the more than 750 who have spent hundreds of hours looking for any sign of her — whispered inside an emotionally-charged courtroom once the verdict was read. The jury also found Gracia-Torres guilty of attempting to kidnap and carjack three women in Safeway parking lots in 2009. 

“Nothing will take away the pain and the sorrow that we experience every day and we will continue to experience for the rest of our lives,” said Marlene LaMar, Sierra’s mother. “But truly we’ve been praying for the chapter to have this type of ending: justice.”

Marlene LaMar commended the 12-person jury for making the "right decision."

"It gives us peace as a family, knowing that this is not going to happen to another child and that they can't get away with something like this," she said. 

Marlene LaMar and her husband, Steve, wept in the Hall of Justice courtroom when the jury's decision was read aloud. Outside the court, flanked by a bevy of reporters, they fought back tears.

"This is a long time coming," Steve LaMar said. "It's bittersweet. We don’t have Sierra and that’s the bitter part."

When asked if the verdict provided the family closure, Sierra's father said it would help them heal, but "there's no closure."

Danielle LaMar, Sierra's sister, agreed.

"We'll obviously never get Sierra back so it's not closure, but it is a good first step," she said.

Friends, family, volunteers and curious San Jose residents lined up as early as 7 a.m. to get into the courtroom for the verdict to be read two hours later in Department 40. The courtroom in which Judge Vanessa Zecher presided was packed — with tissues being handed out to those who needed them — as was an overflow room.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen was in the courtroom alongside members of Garcia-Torres’ family and volunteers who helped search for Sierra, some of whom were strangers to the family when the teenager went missing, but have now become part of their support system.

“DNA is DNA and it’s everywhere, pointing at him," Kelli Wilkins said before the verdict was announced. "There is no doubt in my mind and I don’t believe in any of the other searchers’ minds that he’s guilty of this and he needs to pay the price."

The volunteers, who Steve LaMar thanked for investing "200 percent" in trying to find Sierra, said they don't plan to halt their efforts just because Garcia-Torres has been deemed guilty.

"Our purpose is to bring Sierra home," Douglas Tollis stressed.

The jury deliberated for about 10 hours before reaching a verdict, following a 13-week long trial.

Sierra's family and friends sobbed when Garcia-Torres was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder. 

For his part, Garcia-Torres — clad in a light blue dress shirt, pants, and a tie — displayed no emotion, briefly talking to his lawyer before the verdict was handed out. He sat calmly, a courtroom sketch artist noticed. A handful of bailiffs are typically present during such court proceedings, but on Tuesday, six were stationed throughout the room, with one standing right behind Garcia-Torres.

When the jury's decision was revealed, a member of Garcia-Torres' family shook his head, seemingly in disagreement. The group left the courthouse without offering any comment, even after being chased by reporters, while Sierra's family and friends hugged each other, prosecutors and volunteer searchers, and made public statements in front of dozens of cameras.

"It gives us some form of relief," Steve LaMar said. "It’ll never take away our grief. That’ll be with us forever. But today is what we wanted, and we’re happy."

LaMar's school books, purse and clothing were found near a shed in a field about two miles from her home a couple of days after her disappearance.

Police arrested Garcia-Torres, 26, two months later after investigators found his DNA — taken during a previous assault arrest — in her handbag. They also found Sierra's DNA in his red Volkswagen Jetta and one of her hairs on a rope found in the trunk of his car.

Prosecutors said they believe Garcia-Torres is a predator and that his kidnapping attempts of other women helped him prepare for Sierra's abduction and murder. Garcia-Torres pleaded not guilty to charges of trying to kidnap and carjack three women in 2009 as they returned to their cars late at night in Morgan Hill parking lots.

The jury on Tuesday unanimously found him guilty of trying to kidnap Annette Walters, Cynthia Lundy and Eva Orozco. 

Sheriff's officials have said Sierra and Garcia-Torres did not know each other and that they believe her abduction was a random act of violence. Garcia-Torres lived about 7 miles from LaMar in a trailer he shared with his mother, girlfriend and young daughter.

Investigators said surveillance cameras and witnesses put Garcia-Torres' car near the area where authorities believe Sierra disappeared.

At a news conference Tuesday, prosecutor David Boyd succinctly said: "We felt very confident about the evidence that we had."

Garcia-Torres' attorney, Alfonso Lopez, disagreed.

He didn't speak publicly on Tuesday, but argued in a closing statement last week that the prosecution's case was built on "shame evidence," and that without a body, prosecutors could not prove Sierra is even dead. Lopez suggested the teen is a runaway.

He also tried to cast doubt on the physical evidence, arguing that the DNA and hair may have been corrupted by investigators and crime laboratory technicians.

Reflecting on the trial, Marlene LaMar said, "We had to relive this nightmare. It was pretty bad. It was actually more detailed and difficult to hear the details. It was horrific to hear it."

Toward the start of the trial, prosecutors played a recording of a distraught Marlene LaMar's 911 call when she realized Sierra was missing. 

"That just helped me realize the pain, the angst is still there," she said.

On the heels of this long and painful journey, Marlene LaMar said her family will never be the same again. "I'm glad to hear that he won't be released into the streets ever again," she said of Gracia-Torres. When asked if she wants the death penalty for him, she said; "No comment."

Sierra's sister Danielle, especially, is unable to move on from the loss of her sibling, she said.

"She suffers everyday, every minute. There's reminders everywhere of Sierra. It's been a hardship for us," she said.

"It's not closure, it's something," Danielle said.

Tatiana and Barbara, who like Sierra went to Washington High School in Fremont, remembered their friend as a happy, funny "ray of sunshine," who had cool taste in music. "She knew about The Weekend, before any of us knew about The Weekend," they said.

In the aftermath of losing Sierra, all her friends grew closer, the pair said. They've become each others' family.

On the flip side, though, Tatiana accused Garcia-Torres of robbing them of the innocence of childhood and "sense of safety." Even now, five years later, she refuses to leave home without pepper spray, and her mother and sister always know where she is, thanks to the Find My Friends app. Having seen the underbelly of the "real world" so young, Tatiana said she is constantly "terrified of what could happen."

"I look behind my shoulder a lot more than I would've," she admitted. "I think he took a lot away from us — more than people understand."

Waiting for the verdict to be read on Tuesday was "nerve-wracking," she said, and kept her awake all night. "It was pretty horrifying." 

But even after learning that Garcia-Torres was guilty of murdering Sierra, Tatiana said she can't "wish death upon anyone."

"I think the death penalty is too easy," she said. "I hope he rots in jail, but I don't think he should die for what he did."

To that, Barbara simply added: "I just want him to say something."

Channah Foreman also mourned the death of her best friend, who, like her, would have been 20 years old this year.

"I'm almost graduating college and I didn’t even get a chance to graduate high school with her," she said. "It is very hard to see my life without her. It would be so much better if she were here."

NBC Bay Area's Bob Redell, Marianne Favro and Michelle Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Sierra Lamar's Family Speaks After Guilty Verdict]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 11:20:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000022269697_1200x675_939715651955.jpg

The parents of Sierra Lamar speak outside the courtroom Tuesday morning after a jury found Antolin Garcia Torres guilty in the murder of the Morgan Hill teen.]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Passes Urgency Ordinance For Renters Protection]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 23:51:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0509-2017-SJLandlords.jpg

The San Jose City Council on Tuesday night voted 9-2 to pass an urgency ordinance protecting renters in the city.

The vote means an ordinance against no-cause evictions recently passed by the council goes into effect immediately instead of next month, preventing landlords from scrambling to force no-cause evictions before the originally set June 22 implementation date. 

Landlords in San Jose rallied earlier Tuesday against the city's "just cause" eviction ordinance. A group of landlords who participated in a demonstration in San Jose said they do not want restrictions on evicting tenants.

Meanwhile, renters who were asking for immediate implementation of the tenant protection ordinance recently approved by the city council got their wish.

Supporters of the ordinance claim a delay could have given unscrupulous landlords the opening to rush the no-cause evictions. Lawyers that handle reports of evictions without cause said they have already seen an increase in complaints in the past three weeks.

Rents are rising so fast in San Jose, tenants say they’re getting evicted because landlords want to raise the rent more than the 5 percent per year that they’re allowed under the current rent control rules.

"Just because they want to increase the price of the rent on the property, they give you a no-cause notice, and then the next thing you know, you’re in the streets," said resident Salvador Bustamante, who is a member of a Renters Rights Coalition.

Mayor Sam Liccarado said earlier Tuesday he supported the emergency implementation, and he believed the council would too.

"I expect the council will strongly support moving forward to ensure that we can avoid the spike in evictions that could result if this law were about to be in effect," he said before the vote.

Photo Credit: Mark Matthews/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[ 'We Had to Relive This Nightmare': Sierra LaMar's Mother]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 10:57:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/050917-marlene-lamar.png

Sierra LaMar's mother, Marlene LaMar, talks to NBC Bay Area's Kris Sanchez following the guilty verdict against her daughter's killer.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Tense, Emotional Moments During Garcia-Torres Verdict]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 11:01:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/050910-sierra-lamar-verdict-sketch.jpg

NBC Bay Area reporter Bob Redell describes the reaction in the courtroom as the guilty verdict iagainst Antolin Garcia-Torres was read.

Photo Credit: Courtroom sketch artist Vicki Behringer]]>
<![CDATA['Felt Very Confident About the Evidence We Had': Prosecutor]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 10:18:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/050917-david-boyd.jpg

Lead prosecutor David Boyd gives a brief statement and takes questions from reporters following the guilty verdict against Antolin Garcia-Torres for the murder of Sierra LaMar.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Penalty Phase in Sierra LaMar Case to Begin Tuesday]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 11:20:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/021314-Antolin-Garcia-Torres.jpg

Legal analyst Dean Johnson previews the penalty phase in the Sierra LaMar case, in which the court will decide whether Antolin Garcia-Torres will serve life in prison or get the death penalty.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Jury Reaches Verdict in Sierra LaMar Murder Trial]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 06:35:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

The jury in the Sierra LaMar murder trial has reached a verdict to be read at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Sierra, a 15-year-old from Morgan Hill, disappeared while walking to a school bus stop on March 16, 2012. Suspect Antolin Garcia Torres is charged with murdering the teen, even though her body has not been found.

Defense lawyers suggested the teen is a runaway and a missing person, while prosecutors have linked Garcia Torres to DNA evidence.

A Santa Clara County crime lab analyst testified in the trial that hair found on a rope recovered from the back of Garcia Torres' car contained Sierra's DNA.

Sierra's family and friends will be at the courthouse Tuesday, hooping they'll see justice for their loved one.

Channah Foreman has been waiting for a long time to see justice for her best friend. While she’s hoping for a guilty verdict, her ultimate wish is to find Sierra.

"It’s going to be that lingering question of what happened to her," Foreman said. "This could have happened, this possibility most likely did happen."

According to experts, the threshold question for the jury is whether Sierra possibly is still alive. In a homicide, if the jury felt she could still be out there, that could go in the defendant's favor, they said.

The trial started in January. The jury deliberated between 10 to 11 hours before reaching a verdict, a spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Court said.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[More Than 100,000 Expected to Bike to Work Day Thursday]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 06:03:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Biking_SiliconValley.jpg

The 23rd annual Bike to Work day kicks off with a weeklong commute challenge as well as events planned throughout the week to commemorate May as National Bike Month.

Official Bike to Work Day throughout the Bay Area is Thursday.

Tech companies including Google and Facebook, as well as cities and nonprofit organizations, have collaborated to host more than 150 stops around Bay Area communities including 26 stops in San Francisco.

According to San Mateo County's commuting report, its booming economy and low unemployment rates mean more commuters clogging up the roads.

"San Mateo County commuters are experiencing longer commutes, extended peak-hour traffic and crowded trains," the report stated. 

In response, organizers are hoping the event will bring more newcomers out to the streets to give commuting by bicycle a try.

Last year's weeklong commuter challenge on the Peninsula had a combined 789,000 miles logged from 1,306 participants and an additional 12,000 bicycle riders counted at the annual Bike to Work Day stations in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. 

National Bike to Work Day follows the local event on May 19.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Identified in Latest SJPD Officer-Involved Shooting]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 19:09:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kevin+riley1.jpg

Police have identified a 29-year-old man who allegedly exchanged gunfire with an officer in East San Jose on Sunday morning as Kevin Riley, of San Jose. It was the third officer-involved shooting by San Jose police in a week.

The 16-year veteran officer who shot at Riley, Thomas Barnard, was placed on paid administrative leave. No one was harmed in the incident, police said, but the number and frequency of such incidents are starting to take a toll on the department, according to police leaders.

Barnard was one of the officers who responded around 8 a.m. to a report of a suspicious person armed with a handgun in the 2200 block of Tully Road, near the Reid-Hillview Airport.

When police arrived and started giving Riley commands, the suspect allegedly pulled out a .45 caliber pistol and fired at the officers, so Barnard fired back, police said.

Riley allegedly ran away from the officers and hopped a fence into a nearby mobile home complex.

Police established a perimeter and found Riley and the gun, which was determined to have been stolen in 2013, shortly after.

Riley was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on suspicion of possession of a stolen firearm and three counts of attempted murder of a police officer.

The suspect is being held without bail and is scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday afternoon.

The incident comes days after two fatal officer-involved shootings by San Jose police, one of which took place in East San Jose. Chief Eddie Garcia said the surge in violence is taking a toll on his officers and the understaffed department as a whole.

"We, our officers, have been attacked by individuals; this is another example,' Garcia said. "Absolutely, it's weighing on the psyche of our officers."

Police Officers Association President Paul Kelly agreed that each incident, especially happening so close together, raises the stress level for officers.

"There's definitely an effect on whether they're married and how it affects their spouse and children, mom and dad," Kelly said. "So it's not just the officers. It's the officer and the entire family.

"God forbid we get into a shooting and we have to hurt someone or kill someone in order to save someone else's life," he continued. "We know we have to do that, but again, you have to live with that, something you do not want to live with."

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office will review the police homicide unit's criminal investigation once complete. The police internal affairs unit, the City Attorney's Office and the Office of the Independent Police Auditor are monitoring the case.

Anyone with information about Sunday's incident has been asked to call San Jose police Detective Sgt. John Barg or Detective Wayne Smith at (408) 277-5283. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call (408) 947-7867.

Informants providing details that lead to the arrest and conviction of the suspect may be eligible for a cash reward from the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers.

Photo Credit: San Jose PD]]>
<![CDATA[Spike in No-Cause Evictions in SJ Ahead of New Ordinance]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 06:37:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0508-2017-EvictionsRally.jpg

The San Jose City Council has already approved a tenant protection ordinance, but now supporters of the new law said it needs to get on the books faster.

Supporters claim a delay could give unscrupulous landlords the opening to rush the so-called no-cause evictions. Lawyers that handle reports of evictions without cause said they have already seen an increase in complaints in the past the three weeks.

San Jose-resident Robert Aguirre, who has been living for the past two years at a Willow Glen condominium, was surprised when his landlord gave him an eviction notice, citing no cause.

"We have been paying rent on time and in full every month," Aguirre said.

Aguirre is not alone. The Law Foundation Silicon Valley said ever since San Jose's new tenant protection ordinance was approved they have seen an increase in no-cause evictions.

"I received 13 cases that were no-cause evictions," said Melissa Morris with Law Foundation of Silicon Valley.

Renters rights advocates at city hall Monday stressed the need to make the new law an urgency ordinance that would go into effect immediately. If the law stalls, landlords would have at least 37 days to unjustly evict tenants, according to advocates.

A spokesman for the California Apartment Association, which opposed the new ordinance, said declaring this an urgency ordinance would not give landlords enough lead time to learn the full details of the new law.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[No Cause Evictions Rally in San Jose]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 08:45:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-8-17-san+jose-homes.jpg

A major vote scheduled for Tuesday in San Jose is expected to decide the fate of "no cause evictions." The practice refers to allowing landlords to evict tenants without offering a reason.]]>
<![CDATA[Jury Mulls Fate of Man in Sierra LaMar Trial]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 11:44:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

Jurors on Monday returned to the Santa Clara Hall of Justice to continue deliberations in the trial that accuses a Morgan Hill man of killing 15-year-old Sierra LaMar five years ago.

A verdict could be decided as soon as Monday or weeks away, and, if found guilty, accused killer Antolin Garcia-Torres could face the death penalty. If the jury decides that Garcia-Torres is not guilty, he can not be retried even if new evidence appears.

LaMar disappeared back in 2012 as she journeyed to a nearby school bus stop. Garcia-Torres is accused of snatching her and killing her, but the teenager's body has not been found.

Prosecutors point to LaMar's DNA being found in Garcia-Torres' car and his DNA being found on the teenager's clothes as clear links that pin him to her disappearance and possible murder. The defense team claims LaMar was a runaway teen who may still be alive.

Following a three month trial, deliberations officially kicked off last Thursday and continued Friday with a half-day session. Monday marked the first full day of deliberation.

Full-day deliberation will last from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with breaks in between.

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mangled Car Blocks Traffic in South San Jose]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 07:59:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-7-17_SJ_Crash.jpg

A grisly solo-vehicle crash on Monday blocked all lanes of westbound traffic of Branham Lane in San Jose, according to fire officials.

It is unclear when the crash occurred, but it was still blocking traffic as of 6:30 a.m. The crash is expected to block westbound lanes for several hours, according to fire officials.

The driver inside the mangled vehicle was transported to a local trauma center, fire officials said.

Photo Credit: San Jose Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Suspicious Fire at SJ Church Triggers Arson Investigation]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 22:56:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ACOE-Arson-San-Jose-CA.jpg

A portion of a church in San Jose went up in flames Sunday morning, and arson investigators are trying to figure out what triggered the blaze.

Flames ignited inside a plastic shed connected to the Assyrian Church of the East near Willow Glen around 1 a.m., but a neighbor caught a glimpse of the blaze and called it in to authorities before it could get out of hand, according to Alex Alexander, president of the volunteer church committee at the parish.

Surveillance footage from the scene showed a person wearing a hooded sweatshirt jump a fence and light the shed, which primarily contained tools, on fire, according to Alexander. The act was something Alexander never expected to see.

"We're all kind of surprised and perplexed because we've never had anything like this happen in this area, to the church," he said. "We don't know who would want to do something like that."

Aside from being surprised, Alexander noted that the fire was "scary," and he said the possibility that it may have been caused by an arsonist "was really, really disturbing."

"What's really scary is that whoever did this actually wanted to do damage," he said.

Fire crews were able to douse the flames before they spread into the sanctuary, according to Alexander.

"We're fairly fortunate," he said. "We're grateful for our neighbors that they called the fire department, and the fire department was able to get here in time to put out the fire."

An investigation with help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is ongoing.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Girl's Lemonade Stand Raises Funds For Diabetes Research]]>Sun, 07 May 2017 22:21:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-7-17_Lemonade_Stand_San_Jose.jpg

A traditional lemonade stand helps youngsters fill their piggy banks, but one such stand in the South Bay on Sunday helped raise funds to find a cure for a medical condition that hampers children across the world.

For the second straight year, Makoda Daszko of San Jose pitched together a booth, dished out cups of the sweet drink and collected dollars upon dollars all in the name of raising money to combat Type 1 diabetes, an ailment that she herself suffers from.

"We're celebrating the chance for a cure," Tim Daszko, Makoda's father, said.

Last year, Makoda Daszko raised roughly $5,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. That event wasn't publicized, but hundreds of lemonade drinkers took notice.

The goal Sunday was to surpass that number by leaps and bounds.

"Every little bit helps," Tim Daszko said. "We're just trying to focus on helping out JDRF the best that we can."

No word yet on much money the family was able to collect.

Anyone wishing to learn more about Type 1 diabetes or donating is encouraged to visit JDRF.org.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[How to Help San Jose Flood Victims]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 10:32:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-643917340.jpg

Support for victims of the historic San Jose floods is being organized through the San Jose Flood Victims Relief Fund, which will support non-profit organizations providing immediate and long-term relief and recovery assistance to those in need.

Organizations that will benefit from the fund include: American Red Cross, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, Sacred Heart Community Service and The Salvation Army.

>> Click here to donate directly to this fund

County officials are also offering a calamity property tax relief program. Property owners who have incurred damage that exceeds $10,000 have 12 months to file a claim with the County Assessor's office.

Once the applications are in, County Assessor Larry Stone's office may conduct assessments to determine the homes' condition.

"This tax relief is available for all properties including homes, commercial and industrial buildings, and mobile homes. However, damage to vehicles and the contents of a home such as personal effects and furniture are not eligible for this tax relief because they are not assessable property," Stone said.

Property owners interested in providing short- or intermediate-term housing options for flood victims should visit SCCHousingSearch.org or call 877-428-8844.

For more information on ways you can help flood victims, we’ve compiled some resources below:

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[High Surf Advisory in Effect For Bay Area Beaches]]>Sun, 07 May 2017 11:29:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Waves-generic-san-diego-091715.jpg

A high-surf advisory is in effect until Sunday afternoon for all of the San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey Bay Area coastlines, according to National Weather Service officials.

The advisory is in effect until 2 p.m. for the coastline from northern Sonoma County to southern Monterey County and the Big Sur coast.

Forecasters are expecting a northwest swell of 15 to 18 feet with 11-second swell periods.

Large waves will be capable of sweeping people into the water, which is cold and turbulent. The high surf will also produce rip currents, weather officials said.

People are urged to avoid coastline beaches, rocks, jetties and piers until the high surf subsides.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Police Chief Condemns Man Who Shot at Officers in San Jose]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 05:49:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-7-17_SJ_Police_Activity.jpg

San Jose police on Sunday shot at a man who opened fire at three officers near the Eastridge Center, and then arrested him.

No one was hurt, but the weekend's shootout marks the third officer-involved shooting in the South Bay city in the last seven days, according to police.

At a news conference late Sunday, police Chief Eddie Garcia denounced the suspect's display of violence.

"I will say, the actions of this suspect were apalling, and the continued violence toward law enforcement officers is also equally apalling," he said. "We're very lucky we did not lose an officer today."

The still unidentified man has been booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail and will be charged with three counts of attempted murder of a police officer and possession of a stolen firearm. The .45 caliber gun he was carrying was stolen in a 2013 burglary, Garcia said.  

Police originally received reports around 8 a.m. about a suspicious person armed with a gun on the 2200 block of Tully Road near a Big 5 Sporting Goods store. Officers suspect he may have been casing the shop.

When officers initially made contact with the man, he seemed cooperative. That changed, however, when they began giving him commands, Garcia said.

The suspect then pulled a handgun out of his waistband and shot at them. At least one officer returned fire, but the man managed to run in the opposite direction, hop a fence and flee into a mobile home park, Garcia said.

Officers set up a perimeter and managed to find the man roughly two hours later, according to police. He was taken into custody. The motive and circumstances leading up to the shooting are being investigated. Police are also looking into whether the man was involved in the burglary during which the weapon he was carrying was stolen.

Local law enforcement agencies are familiar with the suspect, who may have been a transient, Garcia said. He has a history of mental illness and has priors of robbery, assault and narcotics. 

The officer who returned fire has been a policeman for 16 years. He will be placed on routine paid administrative leave while an investigation is conducted, police said. All responding officers were wearing body-worn cameras, Garcia said.

Garcia commended San Jose police officers who "once again stood tall in the face of grave danger, maintained composure after their lives were threatened." They "did not back down and safely apprehended a violent individual who undoubtedly would have otherwise continued to terrorize our community," he stressed.

San Jose police on Wednesday night shot and killed a 24-year-old man after he gunned down his ex-girlfriend's parents in their Willow Glen home, and then pointed his firearm at officers through a window.

The night before, police shot and killed a man when responding to a family altercation in East San Jose. He charged toward officers clutching two kitchen knives, one of which was raised over his head.

It is mandatory for San Jose police officers to undergo crisis intervention training, but, Garcia noted, the program can't "really, truly assist in these types of situations where these individuals have immediately taken the fight to the officers."

"Absolutely, its weighing on the psyche of our officers,” he added. “Our officers have been attacked by individuals. This is another example."

The San Jose Police Department has long been plagued by understaffing. Recently, it began to bolster its numbers, but this is the third police officer who, due to his involvement in an officer-involved shooting, has been temporarily taken off the streets.

"We're stretched thin, there's no doubt about it," Garcia said. "This department is stablizing and we are growing again, but we are definitely not out of the woods with regards to staffing yet. So, yeah, we’re stretched thin."

Considering the hostility they are working amidst, it's imperative for police officers to remain vigilante and support each other, Garcia added.

"Incidents like this are an example to every police department in this country, quite frankly, that our officers need to be on watch," he stressed.

The San Jose Police Department will handle the investigation and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office will review their findings once its complete. It is not a joint investigation because no one was hurt, Garcia said.

The case is being monitored by the San Jose Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit, the City Attorney’s Office, and the Office of the Independent Police Auditor.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus lines 12, 22, 26 and 70 between King and Quimby roads were rerouted to avoid the area during the incident, according to the transportation agency.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to contact the San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit at 408-277-5283. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Police Gear Up for Cinco de Mayo Celebrations]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 18:59:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/05-05-2017-cinco-de-mayo.jpg

While folks in the South Bay celebrate Cinco de Mayo, police in San Jose are adding extra patrols to combat illegal side shows and other potentially dangerous behavior. Michelle Roberts reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Heiress Changed Millbrae Man's Life Then Plotted His Death]]>Sun, 07 May 2017 05:10:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0505-2016-KeithGreen.jpg

Keith Green was a popular but troubled Bay Area high school football star who had recently washed out of college when he met Tiffany Li.

Li was a pretty, jet-setting daughter of a rich and powerful Chinese family who was born in Beijing and grew up in Silicon Valley.

She changed his life.

Then, according to prosecutors, she orchestrated his murder last year when she fell in love with another man after more than six years with Green.

That man, his "bodyguard" and Li have all been charged with first-degree murder. The men are jailed pending a September trial.

Li, however, called on her wealthy family and friends to post $4 million in cash and put up more than $60 million in real estate to secure bail and set her free before trial. The district attorney called the amount unprecedented in the region.

Her release on bail shocked Green's family and friends and underscored just how wealthy and influential her family is.

Li's attorney Geoff Carr says she had nothing to do with the murder and that's why her family and friends took the financial risk they did to post her bail. Li and the two men have pleaded not guilty.

Court records show her mother and stepfather amassed a fortune through real estate investments and construction projects in China, including two Beijing skyscrapers. The documents show the family has properties in the Cayman Islands and St. Kitts, Caribbean island nations known for their lush beaches and strict financial privacy laws.

The couple's story began around 2009. Li and Green met when he was 21 and she was 23 and quickly decided to live together. They first moved into an apartment owned by her mother, who disapprovingly told homicide detectives that Green grew marijuana in one of the bedrooms.

They soon moved into a newly built $7 million mansion in the exclusive San Francisco suburb of Hillsborough owned by her mother. Li gave birth to a daughter in 2012 and to a second daughter two years later, and the home was staffed with nannies, housekeepers and landscapers. The couple had their pick of exotic sports cars and SUVs to drive.

He liked tattoos. She talked about plastic surgery, according to court records.

Li held a master's degree in business from the University of San Francisco, and her mother paid her $100,000 a year to help manage the family's real estate holdings. Green had trouble finding work after convictions for theft and fraud as a minor, court records show.

Li's mother told police she disapproved of Green because he drank and smoked marijuana, and he lost a construction job. She called him a "black hole" in the family. Still, she picked up the $40,000 annual tab for Green to attend Cordon Bleu Culinary School in San Francisco.

Those who knew him previously remember someone different.

Green grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in San Mateo, a high-tech, San Francisco Bay Area enclave. His parents divorced when he was young, and he was raised by his mother, family friend Angela Dunn said.

He ran into legal troubles, including a fraud case involving Macy's gift cards, when he was a juvenile, according to court records.

Nonetheless, he was a popular high school athlete, and he had many friends when he died. Dunn said about 50 people attended an April 28 vigil marking the one-year anniversary of his death.

Steve Sell, Green's high school football coach, said Green led the team to an undefeated season and a playoff win in 2005, earning a half-scholarship to Eastern Washington University. But he dropped out after a year and drifted from temporary job to unemployment.

"Tremendous athlete," said Sell, who noted Green also played baseball and basketball. "Popular and funny."

Li, meanwhile, was born in Beijing, and court records indicate her grandparents served in China's army. She moved to Silicon Valley in 1992 with her younger brother, mother and stepfather and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. She attended six different private schools, including the prestigious Santa Catalina boarding school in Monterey.

Sometime after they met, Green introduced Li to his friend and that's when the trouble began. Li and Kaveh Bayat soon began an affair.

Prosecutors say Li kicked Green out of the mansion in October 2015, closed their joint bank accounts and turned off his phone. Green went to live in the one-bedroom apartment of a family friend. Bayat moved into the mansion.

Green and Li began a legal battle over custody of their young daughters, eventually agreeing Green could gradually retain 50 percent, starting with unsupervised weekend visits.

The first weekend visit was to take place April 30, 2016, but Green disappeared two days before.

Prosecutors say Green agreed to meet Li in a restaurant parking lot in Millbrae, near San Mateo, the night of April 28, 2016.

Li told detectives they sat in her car for about an hour, discussing their children, then Green left after an amicable talk. But court records show investigators tracked both of their cellphones back to her mansion.

A walker found Green's body nearly two weeks later 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

A few days after that, using phone records, police arrested Olivier Adella, a 6-foot-5 (2-meter) French-born mixed martial arts professional who describes himself as Bayat's bodyguard. He has since opted to cooperate with police.

He said Li and Bayat showed up at his apartment the night of the restaurant meeting with Green's body in the front passenger seat of Li's SUV, blood coming from his mouth and ears.

Olivier told detectives Bayat showed him a handgun stuffed in his waistband and handed him gloves.

"I need you to take out the trash," Olivier says Bayat told him.

Geoff Carr, Li's attorney, says Olivier is lying about Li's involvement. Charles Smith and John Halley, lawyers for Bayat and Olivier, did not return phone calls from The Associated Press.

Bayat and Li were arrested at the mansion the day after Adella's arrest.

"This is all so stupid and sad, and all these lives are ruined," said Mitri Hanania, an attorney who once represented Green, after Li accused him of stealing a Range Rover. Those charges were dropped.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[VTA Board Approves Redesign Plan]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 18:15:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0209-2016-VTA.jpg

Big changes are coming for passengers using Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority trains and buses.

The VTA board unanimously approved Thursday a service redesign plan.

The new plan is expected to go into effect at the end of the year and calls for more light rail trains running from the Winchester station to Mountain View.

When the new Berryessa BART station opens up, likely at the end of the year, VTA buses and trains will begin operating under a new coverage plan.

"The transit redesign offers service to higher ridership areas like downtown San Jose, but will decrease ridership to lower ridership areas," said Linh Hoang with VTA.

That means all express bus routes in Fremont will be discontinued, and a bus route in Gilroy will also be eliminated.

Some passengers are concerned how they will get around when their routes are canceled.

VTA is adding service in other in-demand regions, including a new orange light rail line that will run from Mountain View to Milpitas, and then on to the Alum Rock Transit Station.

VTA says its goal is to increase service to the areas where they see the most passengers.

The board on June 1 will consider a proposal on the table to increase fares as much as 50 cents by the end of 2018.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Movie About Winchester Mystery House Begins Filming]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 21:06:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/winchester-0315-2017.jpg

The Winchester Mystery House will soon be immortalized on celluloid.

The popular San Jose haunt doesn't look at all scary in the bright sunshine. But some Australian filmmakers are turning Sarah Winchester's eccentric story into a psychological thriller for the big screen.

CBS Films announced that production on "Winchester" began Wednesday in Melbourne, Australia. The movie crew will begin shooting scenes at the mansion starting Friday, the production company said.

The plot of "Winchester" follows a psychologist who studies firearm heiress Sarah Winchester and concludes her obsession with constructing her mansion wasn't so crazy after all. Winchester was convinced that she was haunted by the souls killed at the hands of the Winchester rifle. After the sudden deaths of her husband and child, she threw herself 24/7 into the construction of the enormous mansion designed to keep the evil spirits at bay, according to the Winchester Mystery House website.

The title character is being portrayed by Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren. The film is written and directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Jury Deliberations Enter Second Day in Sierra LaMar Case]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 09:47:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

The fate of Antolin Garcia Torres, the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Sierra LaMar, is now in the hands of a jury.

Jurors began deliberating Thursday afternoon. They could take days or weeks to reach a verdict. If they find Garcia Torres guilty, the jurors must then decide whether or not to sentence him to death. If he is deemed not guilty, the suspect can never again be tried in connection with LaMar's death — even if new evidence surfaces. 

Sierra's father, Steve LaMar, spoke Thursday publicly and reluctantly for the first time since the trial started in January. He acknowledged the pain of having his daughter disappear on her way to school in Morgan Hill in March 2012. He also discussed the long delay in getting Garcia Torres to court.

"It's been a long trial, but it's just a blink of an eye compared to how much time we had Sierra with us," Steve LaMar said.

The defense suggested Sierra is a runaway and a missing person since her body has not been found. Defense attorneys also ridiculed the prosecution's case as a "bucket of shame" filled with flimsy evidence.

Legal analyst Steven Clark said prosecutor David Boyd was effective in his rebuttal.

"He kept bringing the jury back to the DNA -- regardless of the defense argument to the contrary," Clark said. "He kept focusing and saying there's no explanation for the DNA other than Garcia Torres killed Sierra LaMar."

Santa Clara University law professor Ellen Kreitzberg, who trains attorneys in death penalty cases, thinks there will be lengthy deliberations.

"There's no crime scene, there's no weapon. The jury has to put a lot of pieces together," Kreitzberg said. "It could take at a minimum several days, but it could even take longer for them to work through the evidence. And some of it depends on if there's any disagreement in the jury room."

Some volunteers who searched for Sierra said they will not give up even with the trial over.

"We're just working hard to return Sierra back to her family," said Roger Nelson, who has coordinated searches for Sierra.

Meanwhile, Sierra's family has expressed gratitude and hope.

"Now we wait and we pray," Steve LaMar said. "And hope for justice for Sierra. Thank you."

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Vandals Cause Nearly $10K in Damage at San Jose Montessori]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 11:47:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-5-17-montessori-vandalized-san+jose.jpg

The owners of a San Jose Montessori were forced to cancel their Star Wars Day celebration after vandals broke into the school and caused nearly $10,000 in damage.

John and Joyce Brown are now doing clean-up and repair work after Tomorrow Montessori’s rooms were trashed and windows were shattered. The school's office was littered with paper and elsewhere, furniture, supplies, diapers and toys had been tossed on the ground. 

The damage was done late Wednesday or early Thursday, and the school is closed until further notice, according to the Browns.

Recalling having to turn away families who would have been at the Montessori Thursday, Joyce Brown teared up. "It breaks my heart to put them in this position. It’s still really hard for me, to be the person who had to make those calls, regardless of who did this."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit Tomorrow Montessori. As of Friday morning, 65 people had raised $4,960 of a $10,000 goal.

“This was a huge event for the school with so much heart and time put into the planning – all of which was destroyed during this awful crime,” Robyn Janitz said on the GoFundMe page after the “May the 4th Be With You” party was canceled.

Others commented: “We can’t let the dark side prevail.”

Joyce Brown said she is "so, so thankful" to the community for rallying around her husband and her as they put their beloved school back together.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[San Jose Montessori School Vandalized ]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 12:51:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/5-5-17-MONTESSORI-WILLOW+GLEN2.jpg

Photo Credit: Kris Sanchez/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Jury Begins Deliberating in Sierra LaMar Murder Case]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 00:24:39 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sierra-torres.jpg

The fate of Antolin Garcia Torres, the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Sierra LaMar, is now in the hands of a jury.

Jurors began deliberating Thursday afternoon.

Sierra's father, Steve LaMar, spoke Thursday publicly and reluctantly for the first time since the trial started in January. He acknowledged the pain of having his daughter disappear on her way to school in Morgan Hill in March 2012. He also discussed the long delay in getting Garcia Torres to court.

"It's been a long trial, but it's just a blink of an eye compared to how much time we had Sierra with us," Steve LaMar said.

The defense suggested Sierra is a runaway and a missing person since her body has not been found. Defense attorneys also ridiculed the prosecution's case as a "bucket of shame" filled with flimsy evidence.

Legal analyst Steven Clark said prosecutor David Boyd was effective in his rebuttal.

"He kept bringing the jury back to the DNA -- regardless of the defense argument to the contrary," Clark said. "He kept focusing and saying there's no explanation for the DNA other than Garcia Torres killed Sierra LaMar."

Santa Clara University law professor Ellen Kreitzberg, who trains attorneys in death penalty cases, thinks there will be lengthy deliberations.

"There's no crime scene, there's no weapon. The jury has to put a lot of pieces together," Kreitzberg said. "It could take at a minimum several days, but it could even take longer for them to work through the evidence. And some of it depends on if there's any disagreement in the jury room."

Some volunteers who searched for Sierra said they will not give up even with the trial over.

"We're just working hard to return Sierra back to her family," said Roger Nelson, who has coordinated searches for Sierra.

Meanwhile, Sierra's family has expressed gratitude and hope.

"Now we wait and we pray," Steve LaMar said. "And hope for justice for Sierra. Thank you."

Photo Credit: LaMar Family; NBC Bay Area]]>