<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Sat, 23 May 2015 03:34:38 -0700 Sat, 23 May 2015 03:34:38 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Vets Rescuing Oil-Soaked Pelicans]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 02:48:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/228*120/5-22-15-Pelican.JPG

There's no guarantee they will survive, but this could be their only shot.

Eight brown pelicans soaked in sludgy crude oil have arrived at the Oiled Bird Care and International Bird Rescue Center in San Pedro, California, where veterinarians and expert are scrambling to help the seabirds survive.

"They have been very heavily oiled," said Dr. Christine Fiorello of the Oiliced Wildlife Care Network based out of UC Davis. "Anywhere from 90 to 100 percent oiled."

So far, eight brown pelicans have been saved, but the bodies of five oil-soaked bodies of pelicans have been recovered, officials told Reuters Friday. Those being cleaned up and washed in San Pedro are expected to have a good prognosis, "based on the fact that they were captured promptly and getting care right away," according to Fiorello. "We’re lucky for that."

Rescuers also saved two sea lions and one elephant seal from the spill zone since the pipeline ruptured on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for the cleanup and recovery operations.

The cleanup process is tedious. At first, the birds sit for 48 hours, so they can adapt to the stress of being removed from their environment, Fiorello said.

The team then uses various cleaning chemicals to first loosen the oil from the birds’ feathers before using Dawn dishwashing detergent to finally wash out the oil.

The Oiled Bird Care and International Bird Rescue Center is part of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's "Oiled Wildlife Care Network," and the closest to the spill near Santa Barbara.

"We have drills, we are getting ready for a spill every day of the year," said Eric Laughlin of Fish and Wildlife. But he said the whole process will take time.

Once the birds are cleaned, they are cared for medically for up two weeks before they are expected to be released back into the wild.

The release is expected to happen in San Pedro, because pelicans are migratory birds and could be released anywhere along the coast, Laughlin said.

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<![CDATA["Victory Parade" Police Pursuit]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 00:16:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/5-22-15_Citizen_Arrest.JPG

A bizarre slow-speed chase of a man in a convertible Ford Mustang ended peacefully Friday when a man stepped into traffic and in front of the car and stopped it, forcing the driver to surrender.

The man in the Mustang had a sign on the driver's side door reading, "Victory Parade," as he led police on pursuit at 10 mph with his hazard lights on in the western San Fernando Valley.

The man flashed victory signs, and waved and saluted at bystanders on sidewalks as he wove in and out of traffic while police followed along the main Valley drag, Ventura Boulevard.

The man had a beard and was wearing a newsboy cap. In addition to the sign on the driver's side door, a sign on the passenger-side door read: "victory" and below that "war over we win."

The pursuit began at 5:45 p.m. in Northridge after an off-duty firefighter called police to report an erratic driver, said LAPD Lt. John Jenal.

The pursuit ended about an hour later when an onlooker stepped into the path of the car. The Mustang driver appeared to try to wave the man away, but he didn't budge.

The driver got out of the car with his hands up and surrendered. He faces a less serious misdemeanor charge of evading arrest. Police said he has a history of mental illness and they believe he was having a "crisis."

The man who stopped the chase was intially detained by police but later released.

Witnesses were shocked to see him handcuffed at the scene.

"A slow-speed pursuit and then the guy that stopped the car got arrested?" said witness Kelsey Savoie. "I don't understand why that happened."

William Renaud said he thinks the man should get a reward.

"He was brave," he said.

Jenal said police do not condone someone "endangering themselves, impeding the road."

Rosa Ordaz contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Chicago Cops Escort Girls to Dance]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 00:50:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/daddy-daughter-dance.jpg

Dozens of girls being raised without fathers weren't left out Friday night when the Chicago Police Department held its first-ever "Daddy Daughter Dance."

The event at the South Shore Cultural Center wasn't intended for officers and their daughters, but rather as a way for all dads to spend a formal evening with their little girls. Still, many of the girls who come from neighborhoods where poverty and violence leave little for celebration got a very special escort: a commander, sergeant or officer who was happy to stand in for their dads.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing because some people don't really associate with their fathers," said 13-year-old Brejay Payne. "So once you come out, dressed up, and dance, eat, and play with your father, it's kind of a nice day."

Girls, dads, and officers were dressed to the nines for the free, formal event. While the girls got an opportunity to enjoy food and refreshments and be the center of attention, officers got a chance to connect with community members and show that policing is more than just walking a beat.

"They actually get to see us to find out that that the police are nothing but people. We just happen to have uniforms on," said Cmdr. Larry Watson.

Chicago police districts 5, 7, and 9, as well as the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, planned the dance. They said they hope to make it an annual event.



Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Man Convicted in '70 Murder Free]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:49:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/052215+prince+johnson.jpg

A man convicted in a fatal robbery of a ice cream truck driver in Coconut Grove, Florida, more than 40 years ago when he was just a teen is a free man.

Prince Johnson has been in prison since he was 16, following his 1971 trial for first-degree murder in the death of Marta Roman.

At a hearing Friday, a Miami-Dade judge furloughed the sentence. Johnson thanked his family after he was set free.

"My family, for all the moral support they gave me, standing by me," he said.

Prosecutors accused Johnson and another teenager of shooting Roman during a robbery of her ice cream truck in July 1970. Two 6-year-old girls told investigators they heard the shots and saw the teens running away from the ice-cream truck.

At first, prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Johnson, but a judge sentence him to life in prison instead.

"The State knew that there was another person involved, they couldn't connect it. Prince was never alleged to be the shooter in this case, he was a kid who possibly got swept into this incident," public defender Gail Lewis said.

"I'm so happy and I want everybody to know there is a God up above," family member Olive Johnson-Coley said. "He missed his whole life, he was only 16."

"He wouldn't take anything from people, he was different but today is my day, I can't wait to kiss him," aunt Kathleen Basten said.

Three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all juvenile offenders sentenced to death or to life in prison must be re-sentenced. The court deemed it a cruel and unusual punishment otherwise, and now the courts are seeing more cases like Johnson's.

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<![CDATA[2 Allegedly Tried to Join ISIS]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 22:10:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/231*120/nader+elhuzayel+arrest+fbi+isis.JPG

Two men from Orange County, California, arrested Thursday allegedly hoped to help or join the Islamic State, a terrorist group, according to Department of Justice officials.

Anaheim residents Muhanad Badawi and Nader Elhuzayel, both 24, were charged Friday in U.S. District Court of Central California with conspiring to support ISIS. The pair arranged for one of the men to fly to Turkey so he could join ISIS, according to a DOJ news release.

Badawi and Elhuzayel were arrested by a joint terrorism task force that included FBI agents Thursday night; Elhuzayel was taken into custody at Los Angeles International Airport, while Badawi was arrested at an inn in Anaheim.

Elhuzayel allegedly admitted to FBI agents after he was arrested and read his Miranda rights that he planned to join ISIS after flying to Turkey, according to an affidavit filed in court. The ticket was allegedly purchased with Badawi's credit card, and both spoke of supporting ISIS online, according to the affidavit.

While the men awaited a court appeareance Friday, Elhuzayel's parents said he was not a terrorist.

"I don't believe my son is like that," said his mother, Falak Elhuzayel. "I know my son is a good kid."

His parents told NBC4 that they dropped Elhuzayel off at LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal Thursday afternoon on a flight to Israel. Falak Elhuzayel said it was a one-way ticket, but that he only planned to visit family for the summer.

However, Elhuzayel planned to "pledge allegiance to (ISIS), and defend (ISIS) against attackers" after getting off the Tel Aviv-bound plane at its layover in Turkey, the affidavit said.

An affidavit in support of a criminal complaint, filed today in Santa Ana federal court, outlines an alleged scheme in which Badawi and Elhuzayel used social media to discuss ISIS and terrorist attacks, expressed a desire to die as martyrs and made arrangements for Elhuzayel to leave the United States to join ISIS, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

During an initial court appearance this afternoon in Santa Ana federal court, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Block found that Badawi posed both a flight risk and a danger to the community. He will be held without bond pending trial.

Elhuzayel will be held pending a detention hearing set for Wednesday.

The defendants were not asked to enter pleas.

Block set a preliminary hearing for June 5, which will take place unless an indictment is issued prior to that date. Arraignment scheduled for June 8.

According to the affidavit, on May 3, Elhuzayel saw a Twitter post from Elton Simpson, one of the two gunmen who were killed trying to attack a conference in Garland, Texas. In the tweet, Simpson stated that he and his "bro" had pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS, prosecutors said.

In response, Elhuzayel tweeted his support for the attempted attack and praised Simpson as a "martyr," according to federal prosecutors.

In recorded conversations last month, Badawi and Elhuzayel "discussed how it would be a blessing to fight for the cause of Allah, and to die in the battlefield," and they referred to ISIS as "we," according to the affidavit.

Prosecutors allege that when Badawi expressed concerns about ISIS struggling due to airstrikes by coalition forces, Elhuzayel responded that they had to be patient, and "can you imagine when al-Qaida joins with Islamic State?"

According to the affidavit, Badawi responded: "We will be huge."

The two men also discussed local Muslim leaders, with Elhuzayel complaining that these leaders were not "legitimate" because they believed in democracy and were not fighting for an Islamic State, prosecutors contend.

The men discussed where in the Middle East they would rather be, and Elhuzayel said he wanted to fight and did not want to be in the United States, according to the conversations recounted in the affidavit.

On May 7, Badawi allowed Elhuzayel to use his credit card to purchase a one-way airline ticket for travel from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, Israel, via Istanbul, Turkey, on a Turkish Airlines flight scheduled to depart Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Badawi indicated that he would be traveling to the Middle East in the future, according to the affidavit.

According to the allegations in the complaint, Elhuzayel admitted after being read his Miranda rights that he planned to disembark in Istanbul to join ISIS and did not intend to travel on to Israel.

If convicted of the charge in the criminal complaint, Badawi and Elhuzayel each would face up to 15 years in federal prison for conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, prosecutors noted.

Elhuzayel's parents said their son was traveling to spend the summer with relatives, not to join a terrorist group.

"Completely beyond any sensible thoughts,'' his father, Salem Elhuzayel, said. "He is not the type. He is a good kid."

His mother, Falak Elhuzayel, said the FBI kicked in the door of their room at the Crystal Inn motel, 2123 W. Lincoln Ave. in Anaheim, and ransacked it.

"They stole my computers from the car,'' she siad. "They took my checkbooks, my credit cards, everything was gone."

Elhuzayel's parents said their son and Badawi were classmates together at Cypress College.

Kate Corrigan, attorney for Badawi, said her client had done nothing wrong.

"My client did not make any steps, according to what I've seen from the government so far, to leave the United States,'' she said. "He's a young man. He's a college student. He's lived here for many years. He's somebody that is very concerned about his family at this point, and he's obviously scared. He understands the severity of the charges and he's, you know, we're planning to address them as we get the evidence."

The Muslim Public Affairs Council issued a statement saying the arrests were based on the two suspects' social media comments, in which they expressed support for ISIS. Both men had purchased plane tickets, with Elhuzayel bound for Turkey, according to MPAC.

"ISIS uses social media to prey on impressionable people," according to MPAC. "According to law enforcement, ISIS puts out close to 100,000 tweets per day and there are at least 50,000 ISIS-related Twitter accounts."

The group said it is "working to bridge the relationship between law enforcement and communities to ensure that communities are safe and are treated as partners rather than suspects."

Toni Guinyard and City News Service contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Family photo provided to NBC4]]>
<![CDATA[How to Help Victims of Nepal Earthquakes]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 12:41:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/471414010_Nepal.jpg

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on Tuesday, killing dozens of people, less than three weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake rocked the Himalayan country, killing 8,000 people. 

Nepal's National Emergency Operation Centre confirmed that Tuesday's quake killed 37 people and injured 1,117 others.

The U.S. Geological Survey said that the estimated damage from the April 25 quake and strong aftershocks that devastated Nepal could cost between $100 million and $10 billion.

The quake flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings, injuring at least 17,860 people. World leaders and global charities offered emergency aid and the United States was sending a disaster response teams and $10 million to help the people of Nepal, The Associated Press reported.

Here are ways you can donate:

WORLD VISION

The humanitarian aid group had staff on the ground when the earthquake hit. Members of the organization said survivors need food, water and shelter, spokeswoman Laura Blank told NBC News.

“Infrastructure is down all over the city,” World Vision’s operations director in Kathmandu Philip Ewert also said. “Power is out with limited internet access. Walls and water tanks are damaged. We are also getting reports that people are trapped in temples and other public buildings as there was a large festival here Saturday.”

To make a donation to the organization to address these needs, you can visit their Nepal page or text NEPAL to 777444 to donate $10.

RED CROSS

Volunteers and staff at the Nepal Red Cross Society are providing aid, but they have limited stocks of emergency relief items available in the country, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a statement.

"We are extremely concerned about the fate of communities in towns and villages in rural areas closer to the epicenter," said Jagan Chapagain, the IFRC's Director for Asia Pacific. “We anticipate that there will be considerable destruction and loss of life.”

For information on how to donate, visit the IFRC website.

SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES

In addition to the physical damage, Nepal's earthquake has left children scared and traumatized. This NGO plans to create 14 child-friendly spaces to provide "psychological and medical support" for children so adults can focus on rebuilding efforts. 

SOS Children's Villages has worked in the country for more than 40 years to give "loving, stable homes to orphaned and abandoned children," they said in a statement. "Our presence and permanence in the country allows us to quickly respond and support the local community in times of crisis."

You can donate to the organization's Nepal Emergency Children's Care Fund here.

GLOBALGIVING

The organization hopes to raise 1 million dollars and has created a Nepal-specific page outlining specific issues they hope to address with the funds.

“Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors' immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter,” the organization said on its page. “Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted local organizations.”

GlobalGiving says it will provide updates about how the funds are being used. You can donate here.

AMERICARES

An emergency team from the AmeriCares India office is preparing shipments of medical aid and relief supplies for survivors. The organization stocks emergency medicine and relieft supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in time of crisis, and launches comprehensive recovery programs.

"Our emergency response team is en route to Nepal and we are prepared to help any way that we can," AmeriCares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis said in a statement. "This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the families suffereing."

To donate to AmeriCares International Disaster Relief Fund, you can click here.

UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in Nepal providing critical emergency aid to children and families.

"UNICEF expects children, an estimated 40 percent of Nepal's poplulation, to be among the worst affected by the earthquake. The first priorities are lifesaving interventions—getting essential medicines, nutrition, and safe water to children and families in immediate need," the organization's website said.

To support the UNICEF relief efforts in Nepal, you can donate here.

MERCY CORPS

Mercy Corps' team is on the ground in Nepal working to get a better understanding of the conditions. The team is focused on delivering lifesaving aid to hard-hit communities. Mercy Corps will be helping communities immediately start to rebuild homes, schools, help people return to work and process the trauma.

To support Mercy Corps' earthquake response team, you can donate here.

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES 

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has emergency personnel in Kathmandu that say weather conditions following the deadly quake have made life for survivors even harder.

“The situation is getting critical with the rain and cold winds,” Kushal Neogy, a member of the CRS India staff, said in a statement. “It slows down the rescue and relief operation and makes life difficult for those living on the street or in open fields.”

The CRS plans to give out tarpaulins and other shelter materials with donations they are now collecting. To help out, click here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cops Trained to Interact With Vets]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 20:09:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vets+training+white+plains.jpg

Behind a humble facade in the middle of White Plains, New York, lives are being changed for returning combat veterans, thanks to one idea hatched by a former first responder six years ago. 

"Education has been my best weapon, I think, to help veterans coming home fight their way back," said veteran readjustment counselor Liz Ianelli, who has developed a program teaching police how to interact with veterans.

"It's encouraging them to think differently and have a raised level of awareness that veterans are a special population, and they do have distinct needs," she said. 

From traffic stops to chance meetings, the training equips police with tools to recognize if a veteran is struggling with readjustment, depression and even PTSD.

White Plains Police Commissioner David Chong heard about Ianelli's program and immediately had her teach his entire department.

"We can't forget the service that these young men and women have done for our country," he said. "We're a service department. We're out there to help them." 

It's not just about lectures in a classroom. Ianelli and the officers take the classroom out into the field. At a traffic stop training demonstration, an officer practiced telling the driver: "I see on here you're actually a vet." 

The driver said she'd just returned from deployment, and the officers offered to escort her back to the Vet Center in that training session. 

"For that officer reaching out in that moment, it can profoundly change the direction of someone's life," said Ianelli.

The officers can identify how to problem-solve, defuse a situation, or even direct vets to the Vet Center for more help. 

"Veterans want to know that you care," said White Plains police officer Michael Cheeks, who was a Marine serving in the Persian Gulf before he joined the police department. He has seen the positive impact the First Responder Initiative is making.

"It actually helps us do our job better," he said. 

In just six years, Ianelli's idea has spread across Westchester with dozens of police departments receiving the training, and every new recruit going through the class.

Now first responders across the country are starting to take notice of what began in a humble office in White Plains, and on this Memorial Day weekend, Ianelli says listening and offering help is the least we can do for veterans.

"This country is big on the phrase, 'We'll never forget,' but I'd say, we'll never stop learning," said Ianelli. "If you see a need, what are you going to do about it?" 

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<![CDATA[Letter Urges Black Family to Leave]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 20:10:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hate+letter+li.jpg

Police on Long Island say their hate crimes unit is investigating an anonymous note sent to a black resident asking her and her family to leave the town, which the letter said is "84 percent white."

"ATTN: AFRICAN-AMERICAN FAMILY," the all-caps note read. "THIS IS COMING FROM LINDENHURST COMMUNITY."

"YOU DON'T BELONG HERE," the letter continued. "PLEASE LEAVE LINDENHURST AS SOON AS YOU CAN. IT WILL BE BETTER FOR ALL OF US."

The letter urged the woman to find a town "WHERE THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE LIKE YOU," and ended with, "SORRY IF THIS IS RUDE, BUT IT'S THE TRUTH."

Darcell Copes lives in the home with her three grown children and five young grandchildren. 

"I went from being fearful, protecting my family, to being totally confused, and wanted to know who and why," she told NBC 4 New York Friday. "Today, it becomes even deeper: is it someone in the school district, is it the guy at the corner store, is it my neighbor down the street? Where?" 

Daughter Ronica Copes uploaded a photo of the menacing, hateful letter to Facebook, and the image has since been shared more than 1,500 times. Dozens of Facebook commenters expressed outrage about the letter, postmarked May 19.

"Sooooo, I'm checking my mail and when I come across this I can't help but laugh... wait, it's not funny though," Ronica Copes wrote on her Facebook page. "Where they do that at? Oh yeah Lindenhurst. Unbelievable but then it's not ... our daily reality, I've just never seen it in this form."

The Copes said they've been receiving support from the community. The family has lived in the home for two years and say they hadn't experienced overt racism in the past since moving there -- but the letter is proof that alive and well in 2015, and they're not shocked. 

Babylon Town and Lindenhurst Village condemned the letter for its "racist hateful views" in a joint statement obtained by Lindenhurst Patch Friday.

“The best way to fight bias is with solidarity and we stand with all of our residents in declaring that there is no place for this type of intolerance and hatred in the Village of Lindenhurst, the Town of Babylon, or anywhere in our community,” the statement said, according to Path. “We are, and always will be, a strong diverse community that does not cede ground to hostility, ignorance, or hatred, wherever it may appear.” 

Darcell Copes called the letter writer a "coward" but will pray for the person, she said. The family won't be intimidated and plan on staying, she added



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Ronica Copes]]>
<![CDATA[More Than 1 Involved in DC Murders]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 20:53:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/wint+mugshot.jpg

Three members of a D.C. family — and their housekeeper — were held overnight by more than one person before they were slain in their home last week, according to new court documents filed Friday afternoon.

The youngest of the victims, 10-year-old Philip Savopoulos, died from "thermal injuries" and stab wounds. He was found in a bedroom consumed by fire, the documents say.

There was a strong smell of gasoline permeating the house, and a K-9 officer detected an "ignitable liquid." A matchbox and several matches were found at the top of the stairs.

The court documents reveal new details in the murders of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57, on May 14. 

Quadruple+murder+suspect+Darron+Wint+in+custody+May+21%2C+2015Darron Dellon Dennis Wint, 34, is the only person charged in the murders so far, though the documents say Wint "and others" held the family hostage until $40,000 in cash was delivered Thursday. The deed “required the presence and assistance of more than one person," the documents say.

Wint's name was spelled "Daron Dylon Wint" in previous filings in the case, though today's filing says Darron Dellon Dennis Wint is his "true name." He has also used his brother's name: Steffon. 

Court documents also indicate more than one person knew of the delivery of the $40,000 to the Savopoulos family's home in the hours before the victims died.

In fact, one of those witnesses changed his story about critical details of the case while police were interviewing him, changing his claims of when the request to deliver money was made, how he received the package and where it was left.

The person the documents call "W-1" said that he received a text from Savvas Savopoulos Wednesday evening, instructing Savopoulos' assistant to meet another employee Thursday morning to pick up a package.

Initially, W-1 said the request to pick up a package was made Thursday morning.

The employee took four bundles out of his or her pockets and put the cash in a red bag belonging to W-1.

W-1 drove the assistant to the Savopoulos home, and called Savopoulos 10 minutes before arriving. According to the witness, Savopoulos instructed W-1 to leave the money in a red car inside the garage.

The assistant put the money inside a manila envelope and left it on the driver's seat. Police did not find the envelope in the car during their search of the home.

Police said at Wint's court hearing Friday that they are still looking for a red car missing from the mansion's garage. It was not immediately clear whether this was the same vehicle.

Wint appeared in court Friday afternoon in a prison jumpsuit, his hands and legs shackled. He is charged with first-degree murder while armed. 

In court Friday, Wint was ordered held without bond and ordered to submit to a DNA swab. He did not enter a plea, and is due back in court June 23.

Police said during the hearing that they are looking at a plastic water bottle with fingerprints on it that was found at the crime scene.

On Friday, D.C. and Prince George's County authorities searched a motel in College Park where Wint and and others were seen the previous night. Investigators carried bags of evidence from the motel shortly after 4 p.m. Friday.

Wint was arrested late Thursday while in a two-vehicle caravan including a box truck in northeast D.C.

The white Chevrolet Cruze Wint was in was followed from the Howard Johnson motel in College Park by members of the fugitive task force. A Prince George’s County Police helicopter also Tracked the car for several miles as it headed south on Route 1 into the district, providing the exact location to officers on the ground.

Officers at the scene described Wint as stoic.

A court document said U.S. marshals saw "a large stack" of what appeared to be $100 bills in the truck. This denomination is consistent with what was delivered to the victims' home.

NBC News has confirmed that at least $10,000 was found in the truck.

The marshals also saw several money orders.

An occupant of Wint's vehicle admitted to authorities that he or she had purchased money orders "under the direction of an identified person who was providing [him or her] with money," according to the document. The person providing the money was not named in the document.

The occupant of the vehicle also told authorities he or she believed the total amount of money orders exceeded $10,000.

He had once worked for the company run by one of the victims, and was identified as a suspect after authorities made a DNA match on a partially eaten slice of pizza left behind in the Savopoulos' home.

Investigators found two Domino's pizza boxes in the bedroom where the three adult victims were found, according to the court documents obtained Friday.

The pizza boxes were time-stamped May 13 at 9:14 p.m. — the night before the killings — and paid for with the Savopoulos' credit card.

A Domino's employee who took the order told detectives that the caller, believed to be Amy Savopoulos, gave some unusual instructions. She told the Domino's employee that she was caring for a sick child and couldn't come to the door, so the delivery person should leave the pizzas on the front porch, ring the bell and then leave.

The delivery person told detectives that all the lights in the house were off, with just the front porch light illuminated. The delivery person placed the food on the porch as instructed and left.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[4.8 Nevada Quake Shuts Vegas Freeway Ramps]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:22:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/199*120/5-22-15-nevada+quake+shake+map+2.JPG

A magnitude-4.8 earthquake struck Nevada Friday afternoon, damaging part of a Las Vegas freeway, officials said.

The quake hit at 11:47 a.m. about 24 miles south-southwest of Caliente, Nevada, according to the US Geological Survey.

Nearly 2,000 responses were listed on the USGS Did You Feel It? survey. The quake was downgraded from a magnitude 5.4 to 4.8

The Nevada Department of Transportation reported the ramps from US-95 southbound to 1-15 northbound and southbound are closed, as well as the MLK on ramp to I-15 southbound, due to possible structural damage.



Photo Credit: USGS]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Indicted in Mattress Murder]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 16:30:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hotel+garden+inn+death.jpg

A 31-year-old woman was indicted Friday on murder and robbery charges in the death of a 28-year-old man found bloodied and unconscious under a mattress at a midtown Manhattan hotel blocks from the Empire State Building earlier this week, according to court documents and authorities.

Christine O'Brien had been with victim Roderick Goodwin, of Bridgeton, New Jersey, in his hotel room at the Hilton Garden Inn early Monday before going down to the lobby and bringing five people -- four men and another woman -- up to Goodwin's hotel room with the intent to rob him, a criminal complaint alleges.

Surveillance video shows O'Brien, the four men and other woman, getting onto an elevator from the lobby around 3:30 a.m., then leaving the hotel sometime later, the complaint says. Two of the men were seen walking down the stairs carrying a large object hidden in a sheet, which is believed to have been a hotel safe stolen from Goodwin's room at the 298-room hotel near Herald Square.

According to court documents, hotel security alerted police after getting a number of complaints around 3:45 a.m. about noise and yelling coming from Goodwin's room. Officers responding to a 911 call found him face down on the floor under the mattress, authorities have said. Blood and broken glass littered the floor of the room, the criminal complaint said. Goodwin was pronounced dead at a hospital. The medical examiner ruled he died of blunt force trauma and asphyxiation,

According to the criminal complaint, one of the men O'Brien allegedly brought up to Goodwin's room smashed him in the head with a bottle, causing some of the traumatic injuries detectives observed. All five suspects then proceeded to beat up Goodwin, kicking and punching him while they repeatedly demanded he give them the combination of the hotel room safe, the complaint said.

O'Brien allegedly told investigators she hit Goodwin in the torso. At one point during the beating, when Goodwin said something that sounded like a number, O'Brien allegedly told investigators she went to the room safe and tried to open it using the number she heard. It didn't work.

Ultimately, O'Brien and the other four suspects left the room together and pulled the safe off the wall so they could take it with them, the criminal complaint says. It wasn't clear what might have been in the safe, and there was no word on the whereabouts of the group O'Brien allegedly involved.

O'Brien was remanded to jail after arraignment Wednesday. She was not in court when the grand jury indictment was announced Friday and is due back in court next month.

Daniel Scott, an attorney for O'Brien, said the criminal complaint has some inaccuracies.

"What they claim she said she did is not true," Scott said. "You have very persuasive detectives putting words in people's mouths."

Scott said detectives obtained the information after a lengthy interrogation that lasted "many hours." He said he met with his client after the indictment was handed down Friday, and that she's doing OK, given the circumstances. Scott said he and his client were looking forward to litigating the case.

The Hilton Garden Inn did not return AP calls earlier this week seeking comment on the murder.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sleeping Cop Suspended Without Pay]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:17:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sleeping-cop-1.jpg

A Chicago police officer seen in a viral video apparently sleeping inside a squad car was suspended for five days without pay, a department spokesperson confirmed.

"This incident is unacceptable and not in keeping with the high expectations placed on our officers by this department and the residents of Chicago," the department said in a statement to NBC Chicago.

The penalty was handed down after the officer in seen in the video came forward, the department said. 

The video was posted online last week after being recorded at an intersection on the city's Southwest Side. A man narrating in the footage claims a number of shootings have happened in the area, and suggests a parked squad car is there to patrol.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel reacted to the video on Wednesday and implored the media and the public to keep the incident in context with the other positive things the city's public servants do.

"The video, I think, is there for all to see and make a judgment," he said after a meeting of the Chicago City Council. "You have to look at what the men and women in uniform throughout the city do all day," he said. "There are a lot of videos of officers, and a lot of them do exactly what you’d want them to do, both on duty and off duty, consistent with the responsibilities of being a police officer, which means we put a lot of trust in you."

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<![CDATA[Military Aircraft Goes Off Runway ]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 21:41:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP431552280467.jpg

A military plane has gone off the runway at Naval Air Station North Island into the San Diego Bay, officials confirmed Friday.

A Navy pilot, flying in a T-45C aircraft, overshot the runway while landing during a training exercise at 2 p.m. (5 p.m. ET) a Navy spokesman said.

The pilot was able to eject from the aircraft before it ran into the water. According to Harbor Police, a civilian boater pulled the crew member out of the water.

After being evaluated at UC San Diego Medical Center, the pilot was released and is in stable condition, Navy officials said. When a pilot ejects from a plane, Lt. Reagan Lauritzen told NBC 7 that he or she must have more thorough medical evaluations than a standard checkup.

According to Naval Air Forces, the pilot was training to undergo aircraft carrier landing qualifications before the crash.

The T-45C plane, assigned to Training Squadron 9 in Mississippi, is a two-seat jet used specifically for Navy training. The $17 million aircraft is made by Boeing and BAE Systems, according to a Naval technology website.

The incident happened off the Coronado base's runway 29, near downtown San Diego. For hours, the aircraft sat floating in shallow water against a sea wall.

By Friday evening, crews stationed a crane on the shore and hooked lines underneath the submerged aircraft. They were able to hoist it onto land as night started to fall.

While most of the plane appears intact, the canopy did fly off.

The crash grabbed witness Sean Brady's attention when he heard a large boom.

"So we came around the corner and looked outside and I saw a parachute landing in the water," he said.

His first thoughts went to the pilot. "It was good to see the parachute, and you're just hoping he's OK," said Brady.

The Naval Air Forces said a safety investigation has been launched to find out why the pilot went off the runway.

In 2004, the base experienced a similar crash when an F-18 pilot was unable to stop the jet and rolled it past the airfield, into the bay. According to the U-T San Diego, the pilot was pulled from the water unhurt.

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<![CDATA[WATCH: Dramatic Cockpit Video]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:27:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/2015-05-22_1415.jpg

Stunning cockpit video has been released showing the emergency landing of a World War II-era plane during a historic flyover above D.C. earlier this month.

On May 8, the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, the planes flew in formations to represent the major battles of WWII -- but about 30 minutes into the flyover, a Curtiss Helldiver was forced to make an emergency landing at Ronald Reagan National Airport because of mechanical problems.

This week, a YouTube video was posted showing the heart-stopping moments after smoke appears to waft into the cockpit, growing steadily thicker.

"Are we on fire?" a passenger shouts from the back seat as they fly over the Lincoln Memorial. The pilot quickly assesses the situtation and radios for an emergency landing.

Then, moments later, he radios, "We're landing at Reagan. We're on fire."

Information on an available runway quickly comes over the radio as the plane descends, flying low over the Potomac River.

By that point, the pilot believed his passenger was unconscious, according to text superimposed on the video. "Gut wrenching," he said.

In actuality, the passenger had simply removed his headset to look for what they believed to be a fire. 

The plane was on the ground just a minute after the smoky substance was first spotted.

"It was an overwhelming sense of relief to see [the passenger] was conscious," the pilot wrote.

The pilot and his passenger later learned fire wasn't to blame. Instead, a pinhole hydraulic leak had vaporized in the cockpit, appearing like smoke.

"It moved and acted like smoke, [and] combined with fluid heat on the legs of my passenger, it was mistaken for fire," the pilot wrote on the video's YouTube page.

The pilot said they had trained on what to do in case of an emergency during the flyover, and Reagan National Airport officials had been cautioned that they were the alternate airport in case of a problem.

The Curtiss Helldiver was taken off the runway quickly, was repaired and flew out later that afternoon, causing no delays at Reagan.

But the pilot said there was a bigger message behind what happened: "This event, especially on this day, gave a somber reminder to all those who didn't have a runway conveniently aligned," he wrote. "To those who were hundreds of miles away from the nearest carrier, in enemy waters. To those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We remember."


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<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Visits NH Brewery]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:21:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/228*120/Hillary+Clinton+smuttynose+2.jpg

Hillary Clinton received information on her private email server about the deadly attack on US Diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that has now been classified.

It's new information that came to light about the former Secretary of State as she campaigned at the Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton, New Hampshire, her second visit to the state as a presidential candidate.

Clinton says she wants people to be able to see all of the nearly 300 emails that have been released

"I'm aware that the FBI has asked that portion of one email be held back - that happens in the process of FOI responses," she said. "But that doesn't change the fact that all of the information i the emails was handled appropriately."

No laws were violated. But Friday's redaction shows that Clinton received information considered sensitive on her unsecured personal server, which came to light just as she was beginning her presidential campaign.

Clinton also seemed to give a more definitive answer when asked about her views on the future of US Policy in Iraq.

"This has to be fought by and won by Iraqis," said Clinton. "There is no role whatsoever for American soldiers on the ground to go back other than as trainers and advisers."

The candidate got an earful from small business as she spoke in defense of the Export Import Bank which guarantees loans to help U.S. exporters - opposed by some Republicans.

On the subject of the controversial Trans Pacific Trade Partnership, Clinton says she is still deciding her position.

"I do have concerns," she said. "I have concerns that the standards will not be tough enough. They will not be enforceable."

The Clinton Campaign has announced that her official announcement rally will be June 13. The location has not yet been announced.



Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Quarry Blast Damages Homes, Cars]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 11:00:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/brokenglassquarry.jpg

A blast at a Loudoun County, Virginia, quarry sent rocks and debris smashing into nearby homes and cars, leaving one person injured Thursday morning.

Dwight Brooks said a huge rock from the quarry tore through the roof of his parents' house a half mile away and landed in a bedroom several feet from his brother's bed. Brooks said his brother, who was sleeping in the room, was cut by debris that fell from the ceiling and needed eight stitches. 

"If that had hit him, damage could have been much worse," Brooks said.

The debris came from a scheduled quarry blast, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue said. Falling debris damaged several structures and cars.

Security camera video shows a rock flying through the air and shattering glass in the nearby Fairfax Auto Parts store. Three large windows at the store were shattered when a rock went through the front of the store. 

Employees said they are used to the building shaking from nearby quarry blasts, but the size of these rocks was unprecedented.

Mike Quinn of Fairfax Auto Parts said he had "never in my wildest dreams" seen "the size rocks that we saw that came through the window."

At least a half dozen cars were damaged in the store's parking lot.

First-responders arrived in the area near the intersection of Old Ox Road and Oakgrove Road in Sterling shortly before 11 a.m.

County officials said only one person was injured in the blast.

Inspectors from the blasting company, Winchester Building Supply, surveyed the scene to try to determine what went wrong.

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy were also called to the scene.

Residents who were affected can call the Virginia DMME at 434-951-6310.



Photo Credit: Loudoun Fire Rescue
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<![CDATA[Yearbooks Recalled Over Mean Quotes]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 14:11:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/yearbook-split-screen.jpg

Dallas' W.T. White High School is recalling hundreds of yearbooks after someone removed the personal quotes beneath the photos of some seniors and replaced them with insulting remarks.

Senior Juanita Cedillo, the school's prom queen, has cerebral palsy. She uses a wheelchair to get around school because the neurological disorder has affected her muscle coordination and makes using her legs difficult.

Under her senior picture is an insult where a personal quote should be.

"'Want to hear the most annoying noise in the world?'" Cedillo said, reading the quote. "I questioned myself. I was like, 'What could be that annoying noise? Was it my voice?'"

Below other students' pictures are sexual innuendos. Under one picture is written, "The only negativity around here should be a pregnancy test."

"I went in there Monday, thinking, 'Yay, it's here. The thing that I've been waiting for is here,'" explained Cedillo. "For them to taint it, it's not OK. It really isn't. Don't taint something that's important."

Parent Monty Walker, who attended White High School and whose son will soon graduate from there, talked with the principal.

"You know, somebody had to proof it, and proof it again, proof it 10 times. You don't make this mistake," said Walker. "I'm a graduate of W.T. White, and it tarnished the reputation of my high school and alma mater."

The principal is listed in the yearbook as its adviser. The staff even thanks her for proofreading the book and for stepping in to help after the they lost their original adviser halfway through the school year.

The Dallas Independent School District has recovered about 90 percent of the yearbooks and said they are working to determine who made the changes to the book and how it happened.

In a statement, the district said: The district is in the process of reviewing the complete contents of the yearbook, as well as determining the individuals responsible for the unfortunate quotations. Distribution of the yearbook has been ceased until corrections can be made and new yearbooks are printed. Individuals who were responsible will be held accountable. This will be an unfortunate but valuable lesson for all involved."

An email was sent to parents late Thursday, and we are told a note will go home with students as well.

Cedillo said when the book is reprinted she wishes she could have a different quote under her name.

"Be the change you wish the see in the world," Cedillo said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[New Charges in Wesleyan ODs]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 18:05:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/wesleyan+web.jpg

Two former Wesleyan University students, one from Maryland and the other from Brazil, have been arrested on federal charges in a spate of overdoses on what they believed was "Molly" earlier this year, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

The drug actually contained  "Spice" or "K2," U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly announced during a news conference on Friday morning and Zachary Kramer, 21, of Bethesda, Maryland, and Eric Lonergan, 22, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are due in court in New Haven to answer to several drug charges.

Eleven people, including 10 Wesleyan students became ill, and some were hospitalized one weekend in late February after taking a drug that was presented as Molly, a popular name for the euphoria-inducing stimulant MDMA. Two of the students were in critical condition, including one who had to be revived when his heart stopped beating.

Each of the students obtained what they thought was "Molly" from people who got it from Kramer, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

On Friday morning, federal officials said this was not the first time the students became sick after buying synthetic drugs. The symptoms reported were similar to symptom students reported in September after taking drugs from the students, officials said.

After the February overdoses, one student presented Middletown police with a capsule she had bought from Lonergan in September. Test results showed it did not contain "Molly" and instead contained "Spice" or "K2," according to Daly.

"Our hope is that this prosecution puts to bed the misperception that synthetic drugs are harmless party drugs," Daly said in a statement Friday. "As the allegations in this indictment clearly show, these drugs are highly dangerous. Many of the Wesleyan students who overdosed were seriously ill and one student nearly died. The growth and evolution of synthetic drugs is a serious public health concern."

Lonergan and Kramer are accused of distributing the controlled substances that caused the overdoses.

"Wesleyan remains deeply concerned about the events that occurred this past February as well as the broader problem of drug abuse. All of the students arrested in the February incident were promptly expelled from the University," a spokesperson for Wesleyan said in a statement Friday. "The University has fully and comprehensively cooperated with local, State and Federal authorities at each step of their investigation and it will continue to do so."

In November 2013, Lonergan started buying Molly and selling it to students from his dorm for around $200 per gram between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. most evenings, and counseling students on how to use it, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Officials started receiving calls for medical help from the Butterfield and Foss Hill dorms, as well as 200 High Street at 7:30 a.m., 8:21 a.m., 12:26 p.m., 1:21 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22, according to Middletown Fire Battalion Chief David Anderson said.

After school administrators sent out a campus-wide communication warning of the dangers of ingesting controlled substances like Molly, Lonergan responded by distributing a pamphlet instructing students on the use of psychedelic drugs, federal officials said. 

Kramer is accused of beginning to buy Molly from Lonergan and selling it to students at Wesleyan in 2014.

In early 2015, Kramer took over for Lonergan as the primary supplier of what he claimed to be "Molly," a Wesleyan and sold it to friends to sell, Daly said.

Several students were transported to Middlesex Hospital. LifeStar then transported two students to Hartford Hospital and an ambulance transported two more, according to police. Two of the four students were listed in critical condition, and two others were listed in serious condition.

Lonergan and Kramer, along with three other Wesleyan students, were arrested earlier this year on local charges in connection with the case.

Kramer and Lonergan have been charged with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute MDMA and AB Fubinaca. They are also charged with attempting to distribute MDMA and distributing AB Fubinaca, as well as distributing MDMA near a private college.

Both appeared in court Friday. Lonergan was held on $250,000 cash bond and is inn custody at his mother's house in Washington, D.C.

Kramer's bond was set at $250,000. He's in custody at his parents' house in Maryland and has been ordered to have no contact with the victims, witnesses or other defendants in the case.

Lonergan and Kramer are due back in federal court in Hartford the morning of July 7.

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<![CDATA[D.C. Mansion Murder Suspect Caught]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 10:46:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/wint+mugshot.jpg

The man suspected of brutally killing a family of three and their housekeeper in a northwest Washington, D.C., mansion last week was arrested late Thursday night in a traffic stop across town, capping a manhunt that had expanded to New York.

Daron Dylon Wint, 34, who had once worked for the company run by one of the victims, is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday afternoon. 

In a statement released through a spokesperson Friday, the Savopoulos family thanked the law enforcement agencies involved in Wint's arrest.

"While it does not abate our pain, we hope that it begins to restore a sense of calm and security to our neighborhood and to our city," the statement read in part.

Wint showed little emotion when he was captured, Robert Fernandez, commander of the U.S. Marshal Service's Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force told The Associated Press on Friday.

"He was stoic," Fernandez said.

Investigators had tracked Wint to the Brooklyn area of New York City, where they barely missed him Wednesday night, Fernandez said. Sources tell NBC New York that Wint paid someone in cash, likely the money he allegedly stole from the murdered family, to drive him from New York back to Maryland

"We believe he saw himself on the news and just took off," Fernandez said. Investigators then tracked Wint to a Howard Johnson Express Inn in College Park, Maryland, on Thursday night, he said.

A team realized Wint was probably in one of two vehicles in the motel parking lot: a car or a moving truck. The vehicles left together and the team followed as they took a U-turn and a strange route.

"We thought they were either trying to throw off a trail or see if anyone was following them," Fernandez said. 

Fernandez says at one point, the team had about 20 undercover vehicles following Wint. His team then had to figure out how to stop both vehicles at once. 

"Stopping two vehicles at once with a pinning maneuver is difficult. We had never done it with two vehicles, and we had never done it with a box truck," Fernandez explained. 

Officers eventually got between the two vehicles in 1000 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE at about 11 p.m. and took Wint into custody, along with several men and women, Fernandez said. The men and woman taken into custody along with Wint have not been formally charged or arrested.

"We had overwhelming numbers and force," Fernandez said. "They completely submitted immediately."

Fernandez said he noticed a big wad of cash in the moving truck, but he didn't know how much was there. NBC News has confirmed that at least $10,000 was found in the moving truck.

It was not clear whether that money might have been connected to the Savopoulos family. Fernandez said he did not know whether any weapons were found as the group was taken into custody.

Wint is charged with first-degree murder while armed in the deaths of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57.

Their bodies were found in the Savopoulos family's burning mansion early in the afternoon of May 14.

Authorities had searched several locations in Maryland for Wint on Wednesday night and Thursday. Law enforcement sources said Thursday afternoon they believed Wint took a bus to New York City and arrived in Brooklyn in the previous 24 hours, before returning to the D.C. area.

A law enforcement official told NBC 4 New York's Jonathan Dienst that they tracked Wint to Brooklyn in part through his phone, which his girlfriend had when they interviewed her Thursday.

Wint's girlfriend, a Brooklyn resident, talked to NYPD officers at the 69th Precinct in Brooklyn for hours after being picked up at her apartment Thursday. She told police Wint was going back to D.C., possibly to surrender. She is not under arrest, NBC 4 New York reports.

Police believe the victims were kept bound and threatened overnight the night before they were killed.

Sometime that night, someone called Domino's from their house and ordered pizza. Sources say Wint's DNA was found on a pizza crust

The next morning, someone delivered $40,000 in cash to the multimillion-dollar house. The cash was withdrawn from an account at American Iron Works, where Savvas Savopoulos served as CEO. 

Sometime after the cash arrived, the home was set on fire, leading to the discovery of the bodies.

Three of the victims had been beaten and stabbed to death, and some of the bodies smelled of gasoline, police said.

Philip's body was so badly burned that investigators aren't sure if he was injured before the fire was set, and he still hasn't been officially identified, sources close to the investigation said.

His body was found in his room; three other bodies were found on the floor in another bedroom.

Later on the afternoon of May 14, the family's Porsche was found burning in a church parking lot in suburban Maryland. Police had circulated the grainy image of a person leaving the scene of the car fire, wearing black clothing.

Police said Thursday that they haven't ruled out the possibility that other people were involved in the slayings, but no other suspects have been identified.

Who is Daron Dylon Wint?

From 2003 to 2005, Wint worked as a welder at American Iron Works, where victim Savvas Savopoulos served as CEO, sources said. One of Wint's relatives was also fired from the company.

An American Iron Works welder -- who said he lost a great friend in Savopoulos -- told News4 that Wint couldn't get along with any of his coworkers when he worked there.

Attorney Robin Ficker, who has represented Wint in the past, told News4 he doesn't believe Wint did it.

"He is a gentle guy. He was a student at Prince George's Community College. He wouldn't hurt a fly," Ficker said. "He's the kind of guy that you wouldn't mind your grandmother going to lunch with."

At least one police record lists a home address that is less than a half-mile from where the Porsche was found burning.

Message From the Housekeeper

Savopoulos and his wife, Amy, were well known in the neighborhood, often hosting parties for neighbors and friends, according to The Washington Post; the family attended St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the neighborhood.

Philip was a fourth-grader at St. Albans, the private school near St. Sophia and the National Cathedral; two daughters were away at private boarding schools.

Neighbors who have been in the home said the family had an extensive and valuable art collection, which was on display a couple of years ago during the Christmas house tour put on by St. Albans.

The timeline of events that investigators are working from seems to match information from a longtime housekeeper for the Savopoulos family, who said she was a good friend of Veralicia Figueroa.

Neliy, who didn't want her full name used for security reasons, owns her own cleaning company and worked for the family for more than two decades. Neliy allowed Figueroa to work with her at the Savopoulos family's home.

On May 13, Figueroa texted Neliy to say she wanted to work at the home, and planned to finish by 3 p.m., Neliy told News4.

That evening, Neliy missed a call from Savvas Savopoulos, saying Figueroa was spending the night at the family's home. She heard the call on voice mail the next morning.

An Eerie Encounter

Neliy said Figueroa's husband went to the home the morning of May 14 to look for her and had an eerie encounter. No one answered the door when he knocked on it, but he told Neliy he had the feeling someone was standing just inside the closed door.

He went around the back of the house to knock again. As he did, Neliy said, Savopoulos called his cell phone. Savopoulos said Figueroa was OK and had spent the night, according to Neliy.

The fire at the home was reported about four hours later.

Neliy said Figueroa was hard-working and loved life. She'd come to the United States from El Salvador to earn money before planning to retire next year.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with her funeral costs.

Throughout the week, federal agents and D.C. police have continued to gather evidence at the Woodley Park home. Meanwhile, in New Carrollton, authorities used a bloodhound to try to track down the person who torched a 2008 blue Porsche 911 stolen from the home on the day of the fire.

The Porsche was found burning in the parking lot of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church. At a banquet hall nearby, surveillance video of a person of interest in the case was captured on a security camera.

Police say Wint is the person of interest seen in the video. While he is difficult to see, police say Wint was dressed in dark clothing, including a hoodie with the hood pulled up.

Meanwhile, neighbors and friends are mourning the family -- and left dreading the idea of what they endured in the hours they may have been held captive in their own home.

"This was a beautiful family, a wonderful family with children," said Coco Palomeque, a friend of Amy's. She described Amy as "beautiful, vibrant, full of life and full of energy -- ready to jump into any project to help others, to help her community."

"The community where they lived really loves them, and we are here to support them if they need us," she said.

Staff members Pat Collins, Meagan Fitzgerald, Mark Segraves, Jackie Bensen and Shomari Stone and the Associated Press are among those who contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Wallenda Finishes Tightrope Walk]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:02:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nikwallendaorlandoeye.jpg

A month after walking the 400-foot Orlando Eye untethered, renowned daredevil acrobat and Guinness Book of World Records holder Nik Wallenda completed another dangerous feat in Connecticut.

Wallenda, of the Flying Wallenders, traversed a 711-foot long tightrope, 75 to 80 feet in the air, in 13- to 14-mile per hour winds on Friday afternoon, as a crowd watched from below.

The tightrope was suspended between the fifth floor of the Rainmaker garage and the roof of Tanger Outlets mall, and Wallender stopped in the middle to do a ribbon cutting for the new mall.

Later during the tightrope walk, Wallenda even got down onto the rope and laid down.

“We like to leave our guests breathless with anticipation when visiting the Northeast’s largest resort casino destination, and nobody in the world leaves them quite as mesmerized as Nik Wallenda,” Felix Rappaport, president and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino. “He’s an amazing performer who has been leaving audiences astonished for decades. We’re thrilled to have him here during the grand opening weekend celebration for our new Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods. It will be thrilling as he walks high above the buildings of the 8.6 million square-feet of Foxwoods, North America’s largest resort.”

The stunt also benefits the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, with Foxwoods vowing to donate $7.11-worth of clothing from the Tanger Outlets to the organization for every foot Wallenda walked.

Wallenda is a seventh-generation Flying Wallenda's Family member, has multiple Guinness World Records and was the first person to walk over the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, according to a news release about the grand opening.

He set a Guinness World Record in 2010 for the longest and highest bike ride on a high wire in New Jersey and another one in 2011 for his "Wheel of Death" performance on on top of the Tropicana Casino and Resort, which is 23 stories high, according to the news release. He recently set two more Guinness world records doing a two-part tightrope walk in Chicago between two skyscrapers. 

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<![CDATA[Isla Vista Victim's Dad: "I’m Responsible Too. I Didn’t Do Anything"]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:52:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/VICTIM+FATHER.JPG

Since his son, Christopher, was killed during a shooting rampage in Isla Vista, California, a year ago Saturday, Richard Martinez has upended his life to advocate for gun control.

The former criminal defense lawyer who once gave little thought to the number of people shot in the United States now cares only about making sure others do not die as his 20-year-old son did.

"I feel a sense of urgency," he said this week. "I feel like the longer it takes us to get these things done, the more people are going to die for no good reason. It's that important. So for me, this is a matter of life and death."

Martinez is a senior outreach associate for Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group. He has traveled the country asking voters to back candidates in favor of what the group calls common-sense gun legislation. He worked to get gun control measures passed in California and Washington and to turn back other bills in Florida.

“The level of gun violence in this country is appalling,” he said. “We have lock-down drills now in elementary schools and we regard that as normal. When I was growing up in the '50s and '60s in this country, no little kid ever thought of being shot and killed in their elementary school."

Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara, was gunned down at a deli near the campus on May 23, 2014 when a troubled 22-year-old student of a local community college went on a shooting spree. 

Elliot Rodger had three guns in his BMW, a Glock 34 and two SIG Saur P226s. Firing out the window, he killed three people and injured seven others. He injured another seven people by driving over them with the car. Just before the shooting rampage, he killed three others at his apartment, stabbing to death two roommates and a guest.

Rodger, whose father, Peter, was an assistant director of the “The Hunger Games,” had earlier been visited by deputies from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office because his mother was worried. But the deputies failed to search his room or find his guns and left convinced of a misunderstanding.

Martinez’s activism began immediately after the shootings, at a sheriff’s office news conference where he emotionally denounced “craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA.” At his son’s memorial he challenged the mourners to send postcards to their political representatives with what was becoming his mantra, “Not One More.”

Afterward, Everytown for Gun Safety approached him about delivering some of the 2.4 million postcards created in response and he did. He hand-delivered postcards to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a strong supporter of gun rights, and to U.S. Rep. Marco Rubio, who opposed some gun control measures as ineffective and infringing on the constitutional right to bear arms.

He's been working full-time for Everytown for Gun Safety ever since.

"Mr. Martinez said he never expected this could happen to his family -- but gun violence can, and does, happen in every town," said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which merged with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to create Everytown for Gun Safety last year.

The National Rifle Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Martinez, 62, grew up on a farm in an extended family that hunted, and he served in the U.S. Army as a military police office in Heidelberg in what was then West Germany. Before his son was killed, he said he paid no attention to debates over gun control — not when 20 children were massacred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, nor when some of their parents pleaded unsuccessfully with the U.S. Congress to pass an expansion of background checks for firearms purchases.

“I blamed craven politicians,” he said. “The fact is I’m responsible too. I didn’t do anything.”

Everytown for Gun Safety has turned its attention to the states. In November, Washington voters approved universal background checks for gun buyers -- a law the NRA said would be ineffective. After the Isla Vista shootings, the California lawmakers approved allowing families to ask a judge to remove firearms temporarily from a relative who appears to pose a threat.

Martinez said he would never know whether the new legislation could have made a difference in his son's death.

"But it's a new tool that wasn't available to families or law enforcement before," he said. "And it's something that can save lives because we need to do a better job in this country about keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people and that means felons, domestic abusers and people who are mentally unstable."

No laws will protect everyone all the time, but gun controls can make Americans safer, Martinez said, just as seat belts, air bags and other measures cut the number of deaths from automobile accidents. There is no single answer to gun violence, but many, and they will make a difference over time, he said.

On average 32,514 people die from gun violence in the United States each year, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

"Why is it we have to accept such a high level of gun violence?" Martinez asked. "It's not necessary. These things are preventable. There are solutions."

The NRA in the 1950s and 1960s was a far different organization than it is today -- civic minded and safety conscious, he said.

"Their attitude towards gun safety was far different in that time period than it is now," he said. "They need to get back to their traditional values."

His son, whom he described as funny, kind, generous and gentle, was competitive in academics and athletics and wanted to follow his parents into law. His mother, Caryn Michaels, is a deputy district attorney in San Luis Obispo.

"He just enjoyed life," Richard Martinez said. "He was just an absolutely terrific kid."

Martinez himself has not been back in the courtroom since his son died. What is important to him now is trying to save the lives of other young people.

"That's why I get up in the morning," he said. "Otherwise -- my son was the center of my life. He meant everything to me."
 


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<![CDATA[Adorable Zoo Babies: Baby Beluga]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:11:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/beluga-whale-baby.gif See all the newest arrivals at zoos around the world. Baby lions, tigers and bears step into the spotlight.

Photo Credit: Georgia Aquarium]]>
<![CDATA[2 Arrested for Trying to Join ISIS]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 08:54:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP174818460670.jpg

Two men were arrested Thursday night, one at LAX and one in Orange County, by a Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI said.

While the sources would not elaborate on specifics, they said the case involved suspects who are trying to travel abroad to join ISIS. The men were expected to be charged Friday.

The unarmed suspects fit a pattern of individuals who had been recruited by ISIS as foreign fighters, particularly through social media propaganda, sources told NBC News.

The task force includes agents from the FBI, Anaheim police and the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

The men were identified Friday as Muhanad Badawi, 24, and Nader Elhuzayel, 24, both from Anaheim, according to U.S. attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek.

One was arrested at an Inn in the city, she said Friday, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

The FBI has served at least two search warrants in connection with the case, according to NBC News.

Law enforcement sources told NBC News that there was no local public safety threat.

Ryan Bougard and Asher Klein contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Woman Shoots Robot in LA Standoff]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 08:13:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5-21-15+Mobile+Home+Gun+Barricade.JPG

A 22 hour standoff with an armed 70-year-old woman at a mobile home park in Topanga finally ended peacefully early Friday.

She was taken into custody at around 3:30 a.m. without incident, then transported to a local hospital for treatment, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman said. Neighbors will finally be allowed to return to their homes.

The woman is said to have earlier shot a robot when officials sent it to make contact with her after alleged threats were made against residents at the park on the 4200 block of Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

The standoff was sparked after a call was made at 5:35 a.m. reporting someone in need of medical attention.

Upon arrival, emergency crews found the woman with a gun, a representative with the Woodland Park Mobile Estates said. She also allegedly pointed her weapon at deputies.

The representative said the woman ran through a neighbor’s backyard and threatened residents.

Late Thursday, residents were running out of patience after being shut out of their homes due to the standoff.

"I just want to get back home, this is kind of ridiculous," a neighbor named Theresa said. "I feel if I was in the bushes I would've been shot at about 12 hours ago."

"I've been out of my house since about 8:30 this morning," resident Kendall Childs said. "Fortunately I have a very nice neighbor who let me into her home... everybody's been really great on our street."

After a couple of hours, officials sent a robot to contact the woman, who then shot at it twice, deputies said.

A crisis negotiation team was working to safely defuse the barricade situation. Tear gas was used in an attempt to flush her out, but she remained indoors. Extra deputies and an rescue vehicle equipped with a forklift were also deployed.

The standoff was ongoing as of 1:30 a.m, an LA County Sheriff's Department spokesman said. 

Beverly White contributed to this report



Photo Credit: KNBC NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Goose Attacks NBC Photog]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:45:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/goose-attack.jpg

An NBC 5 photographer was just taking a gander at rising lake levels, but it was enough to ruffle the feathers of one Fort Worth goose.

Kerry Smith began unpacking his camera equipment and setting up for a live shot of Lake Worth for the morning broadcast when the goose spotted him.

"It started squawking at me as soon as I arrived," he said.

The goose circled Smith and voiced its displeasure for several minutes before losing its patience and asserting its dominance.

"I thought we had come to an understanding, but clearly the goose wasn't happy with the terms," Smith said. "I apparently wasn't getting the message that this was his territory."

After the attack, the goose — now sporting an inflated ego — refused to let Smith pack up and leave for a while. Smith said he was just ready for the incident to end.

"I am just a little embarrassed that I turned into Shirley Temple," he said. "Samantha [Davies] had just said when we were live that the goose looked harmless."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Marathon Victim's Family Grateful]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 06:38:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Lingzi.JPG

The Chinese family of Lingzi Lu, the 23-year-old Boston University graduate student who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings, have thanked Boston for the "unending river of love and kindness" they've received from the city and its "true heroes."

Lu's family thanked first responders, health care professionals and strangers who risked their lives to save others in an open letter in the Boston Globe.

"During the darkest days and nights since the passing of our dear daughter Lingzi, we have been gifted with an unending river of love and kindness from the Boston community and people from all over the world," the letter read, in part. "We are humbled and forever grateful for your continued generosity, support, and encouragement."

Over 260 people were injured and three people were killed, including Lu, in the April 15, 2013 bombings.

Lu's family also thanked the jurors who convicted and sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death in the bombings for their work during the trial.



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[11-Year-Old Youngest to Graduate Sacramento College]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 07:16:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TanishqAbraham.jpg

At age 11, Tanishq Abraham was the youngest this year to graduate from a Sacramento college with three degrees on Wednesday night, and possibly in the school's 60-year-history.

"The assumption is that he's the all-time youngest," American River College spokesman Scott Crow told NBC Bay Area on Thursday. "But we don't have all the archives to completely confirm. He was definitely the youngest this year."

Tanishq walked across the stage, complete with rainbow-colored scarf knit by his 82-year-old grandmother and decked-out cap with reference to "Toy Story's" mantra "To Infinity and Beyond."

Quite the overachiever, Tanishq didn't earn just one associates degree from the community college. He earned three. They are in math and physical science, general science and language studies.

Afterward, he told NBC affiliate KCRA that the entire ordeal, especially sitting next to classmates twice his age and size, wasn't "much of a big thing for me."

He said some of the roughly 1,800 or so graduates and other college classmates were "intimidated of me."

But others liked having his young spirit around.

"A lot were really happy that there was a kid in their class," he said.

As for his parents, they looked pretty low-key about their son's unsual accomplishments at such an young age.

"Even in kindergarten," his mother Taji Abraham said, "he was a few years ahead. It just went from there."

Tanishq made headlines last year as well, when he graduated from high school at age 10, eight years earlier than most Americans do. He was home-schooled because he got "bored" in regular school, and ended up graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

His mother, a veterinarian, put her own Ph.D studies on hold to teach him, though his studies were complemented by taking classes at American River College since he was 7 years old.

His father, Bijou, a software engineer and Cornell University graduate who himself earned a perfect SAT score in math, said in a previous interview: "He came out smart."

When he was 4, Tanishq joined Mensa International, a group for people whose IQ is in the top 2 percent of the population. His sister, Tiara, who is now 9 and quite a singer, also joined Mensa and also takes classes at American River College.

As for post college plans, Tanishq's summer plans include taking an eight-week Calculus II course and a family vacation.

And for the long-term future? He's toying with the ideas of becoming a doctor, medical researcher or president of the United States.



Photo Credit: KCRA]]>
<![CDATA[Va. Cop Resigns Over Use of Force]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 18:18:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/01generic-police-lights12.jpg

A police officer resigned after inappropriately using a Taser and pepper spraying a man who was driving recklessly while suffering from a health emergency May 4, according to the Fredericksburg Police.

About 5 p.m. that day, 34-year-old David Washington of Fredericksburg was driving southbound on the Jefferson Davis Highway when his car crossed over the median into the northbound lanes and struck a Jeep, police said.

After Washington attempted but failed to drive away, the driver of the Jeep called Fredericksburg Police, authorities said. Two officers arrived, held Washington at gunpoint and ordered him out of the car, police said. When Washington did not comply, a third officer, Officer Shaun Jurgens, arrived at the scene and promptly used his Taser on Washington, police said. But the Taser did not make a proper connection and was ineffective, so Jurgens pepper-sprayed Washington as well, police said. Washington was then removed from the car.

During transport to a local hospital, it was learned Washington was suffering a medical emergency that started hours earlier, police said.

The other officers at the scene reported the use of force to superiors, and the command staff reviewed the incident and determined it was inappropriate, according to Fredericksburg Police.

Jurgens subsequently resigned from the Fredericksburg Police Department May 14.

“The use of force demonstrated in the incident involving Mr. Washington was not in compliance with department policy or training,” Capt. Rick Pennock said. “We take matters such as these very seriously and require that officers at all times exercise appropriate restraint and good judgment in their dealings with citizens."

Washington faces several charges, including hit-and-run, reckless driving, property damage, and a third offense of driving on a revoked or suspended license. Washington has yet to be served these charges.

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<![CDATA[Calif. Oil Spill: How to Help]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 02:46:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Foto+Derrame+Santa+Barbara+15.jpg

Nine miles of a Southern California state beach are slicked in a major oil spill that California Governor Jerry Brown has declared an emergency.

But residents don't need to head to Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County to help clean up, or at least not yet. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is responding to the April 19 spill and is not requesting assistance from the public to clean up the thousands of gallons of oil that ended up in the water.

"We urge the public to stay out of the affected areas...closed because of health hazards (due to) the crude in the water," Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said. "Even the volunteers must be trained and wearing proper protective equipment."

Pre-trained volunteers are working with UC Davis's Oiled Wildlife care Network staff to clean and transport animals covered in oil from the spill, according to California's volunteer-organizing website.

Instead, the state says people can best assist by reporting wildlife that's covered in oil to 1-877-UCD-OWCN (1-877-823-6926).

Williams sought to manage the public's expectations of the water being quickly cleaned up -- a popular nearby beach, El Capitán State Beach, was closed indefinitely after the spill.

"Cleanup doesn't occur overnight. It's a long process," Williams said.

Officials say more than 7,700 gallons of oil has been raked, skimmed and vacuumed from the spill, a fraction of the crude that escaped from a broken pipeline.

Coast Guard Lt. Jonathan McCormick said additional crew members and boats will be added to the cleanup effort Thursday along the Santa Barbara coast. And Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Michelle Rogow said Thursday that the cleanup would be moved to a 24/7 operation.

About 21,000 gallons of crude oil were estimated to have made their way from the ruptured pipeline to the ocean, according to a fact sheet provided by the cleanup command. Up to 105,000 gallons of oil in total were released form the ruptured pipeline. Officials could update both estimates.

More than 300 federal, state and local first responders people were taking part in the cleanup at Refugio State Beach as of Thursday, along with environmental cleanup contractors, Williams said.

The U.S. Coast Guard is overseeing cleanup in connection with Plains All-American Pipeline, the company responsible for the pipeline to Southern California that ruptured Tuesday.

 

"We're going to be here until it's returned back to the way it was," a Plains All-American Pipeline spokesman said Thursday.

More on the oil spill:
PHOTOS: Oil-slicked coast
Plains All-American Pipeline's safety record
State of Emergency Declared

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pizza Spurs Mansion Murder Manhunt]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 20:26:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/wint+mugshot.jpg

The man accused in the brutal murder of three members of a Washington, D.C., family and their housekeeper was seen in Brooklyn Thursday morning and may already be back in Maryland.

Daron Dylon Wint, 34, is wanted for first-degree felony murder while armed.

Authorities searched several locations in Maryland for him Wednesday night and Thursday. Law enforcement sources said Thursday afternoon they believe Wint took a bus to New York City and arrived in Brooklyn sometime in the previous 24 hours. He also may be back in Maryland by now, they said.

Wint's girlfriend, a Brooklyn resident, talked to New York Police Department officers at the 69th Precinct in Brooklyn for hours Thursday after being picked up at her apartment. She is not under arrest, NBC New York reports.

Police believe victims Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57, were killed May 14, hours after someone delivered $40,000 in cash to the multimillion-dollar house.

Police publicly identified Wint as their suspect Wednesday night. Sources say DNA on a piece of Domino's pizza that was delivered the night of May 13 led investigators to Wint. The crust was analyzed at a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lab.

From 2003 to 2005, Wint worked as a welder at American Iron Works, where victim Savvas Savopoulos served as CEO, sources said. He also had a relative who was fired from the company.

An American Iron Works welder who said he lost a great friend in Savopoulos told News4 Wint couldn't get along with anybody when he worked there.

The family was likely kept bound and threatened overnight on the night of May 13, sources close to the investigation tell News4.

The cash was withdrawn from an account at American Iron Works, the sources said.

Sometime after the cash arrived the following day, the home was set on fire, leading to the discovery of the bodies.

Attorney Robin Ficker, who has represented Wint in the past, told News4 he doesn’t believe Wint did it.

“He is a gentle guy. He was a student at Prince George’s Community College. He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Ficker said. “He’s the kind of guy that you wouldn’t mind your grandmother going to lunch with.”

The case seems almost unimaginable in its brutality -- and in its location. It happened in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive NW in Woodley Park, a neighborhood of security systems and landscaped lawns just blocks from the vice president's home and near the National Cathedral.

Three of the victims had been beaten and stabbed to death, and some of the bodies smelled of gasoline, police said.

Philip's body was so badly burned that investigators aren't sure if he was injured before the fire was set, and he still hasn't been officially identified, sources close to the investigation said.

Philip's body was found in his room; three other bodies were found on the floor in another bedroom.

The family Porsche was found burning in a church parking lot in suburban Maryland. Police had circulated the grainy image of a person leaving the scene of the car fire, wearing black clothing.

Wint has a court record that includes charges of assault, carrying concealed weapons and theft. In a 2010 case, he was arrested after a Prince George's County Police officer found Wint with an open beer and a bookbag carrying a two-foot-long machete and a black BB gun near the trash bins at a Shell gas station.

At least one police record lists a home address that is less than a half-mile from where the Porsche was found burning.

Wint also had four previous arrests from Oswego, New York, including assault, harassment and violating an order of protection, a source familiar with the investigation told NBC New York.

Message From the Housekeeper

Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, which helped build major D.C. construction projects, including the Verizon Center and CityCenterDC. Savopoulos and his wife, Amy, were well known in the neighborhood, often hosting parties for neighbors and friends, according to The Washington Post; the family attended St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the neighborhood.

Philip was a fourth-grader at St. Albans, the private school near St. Sophia and the National Cathedral; two daughters were away at private boarding schools.

Neighbors who have been in the home said the family had an extensive and valuable art collection, which was on display a couple of years ago during the Christmas house tour put on by St. Albans.

The timeline of events that investigators are working from seems to match information from a longtime housekeeper for the Savopoulos family, who said she was a good friend of Veralicia Figueroa.

Neliy, who didn't want her full name used for security reasons, owns her own cleaning company and worked for the family for more than two decades. Neliy allowed Figueroa to work with her at the Savopoulos family's home.

On May 13, Figueroa texted Neliy to say she wanted to work at the home, and planned to finish by 3 p.m., Neliy told News4.

That evening, Neliy missed a call from Savvas Savopoulos, saying Figueroa was spending the night at the family's home. She heard the call on voice mail the next morning.

An Eerie Encounter

Neliy said Figueroa's husband went to the home the morning of May 14 to look for her and had an eerie encounter. No one answered the door when he knocked on it, but he told Neliy he had the feeling someone was standing just inside the closed door.

He went around the back of the house to knock again. As he did, Neliy said, Savopoulos called his cell phone. Savopoulos said Figueroa was OK and had spent the night, according to Neliy.

The fire at the home was reported about four hours later.

Neliy said Figueroa was hard-working and loved life. She'd come to the United States from El Salvador to earn money before planning to retire next year.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with her funeral costs.

Throughout the week, federal agents and D.C. police have continued to gather evidence at the Woodley Park home. Meanwhile, in New Carrollton, authorities used a bloodhound to try to track down the person who torched a 2008 blue Porsche 911 stolen from the home on the day of the fire.

The Porsche was found burning in the parking lot of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church. At a banquet hall nearby, surveillance video of a person of interest in the case was captured on a security camera.

Police say Wint is the person of interest seen in the video. While he is difficult to see, police say Wint was dressed in dark clothing, including a hoodie with the hood pulled up.

Meanwhile, neighbors and friends are mourning the family -- and left dreading the idea of what they endured in the hours they may have been held captive in their own home.

"This was a beautiful family, a wonderful family with children," said Coco Palomeque, a friend of Amy's. She described Amy as "beautiful, vibrant, full of life and full of energy -- ready to jump into any project to help others, to help her community."

"The community where they lived really loves them, and we are here to support them if they need us," she said.

Staff members Pat Collins, Meagan Fitzgerald, Mark Segraves, Jackie Bensen and Shomari Stone are among those who contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Biker Freed After Paying $1M Bond]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 16:42:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jeff-battey-inset.jpg

One of the 177 bikers arrested following a deadly shooting outside of a Waco, Texas, restaurant is free after paying a $1 million bond.

Nine people were killed and another 18 were injured after an altercation led to a shootout outside of the Twin Peaks restaurant on Waco's south side Sunday afternoon.

Afterward, the 177 bikers not killed or injured in the melee were arrested. Hundreds of weapons, motorcycles and other vehicles were seized by police and either impounded or taken into evidence.

Bond for each of the bikers was set at $1 million by McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. Peterson, who said the bond amount was appropriate given the level of violence that occurred at the restaurant.

Jeff Battey was among those arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime with relation to a capital murder. He is the first to have paid his $1 million bond and was released from the McLennan County Jail.

Three others, originally charged under a different case number, had been released earlier in the week on bond amounts between $20,000 and $50,000. Their charges were later matched to the Waco incident and new bond amounts were reissued and two of the three men had been re-arrested, police said.

The third man, police said, would be returned to police custody and held on $1 million bond. At this time, it is not known if he is currently in police custody.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/McLennan County Sheriff's Office
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