<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 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 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:43:49 -0700 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:43:49 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Feeling the Pain of Lightning Strikes, Again and Again]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:36:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/72814+Lightning.jpg

Jeryll Hadley and a friend were trying to set up a tent over a campfire along California’s Gualala River 25 years ago, their hands on the metal center pole, when lightning struck the tree next to them, throwing them about 30 feet apart.

Both still standing, they looked at each other and he said, “’I think we’ve been zapped,’” she said. “The only thing I remembered during the event was my left hand, the one on the pole, was neon blue.”

“Of course I heard the loud noise, but it just felt like an implosion, very strange,” she said. “But other than that I didn’t feel anything and we went on through our camping trip.” 

Hadley, 67, of Ukiah, California, was left with burn marks on her throat and forehead, she said. Only later did she start having terrible pains in her shoulders, short-term memory loss, and a new anger that once led her to throw a wooden salt shaker at her first husband.

“That is not me,” she said.

On Sunday, a 20-year-old man from Los Angeles, Nick Fagnano, was killed and eight others hospitalized after a rare lightning storm on the beach in Venice.

“Those people that got hit, their life is going to be much different, I hate to say,” said Sandra Hardy, another California woman who survived a lightning strike. “It isn’t a one-time event.”

Sixteen people have been killed by lightning across the United States this year, according to the National Weather Service. Six of the deaths were in Florida, two in Colorado, and the others in Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia.

About 10 percent of those who are struck die. Survivors, who primarily suffer from an injury to the nervous system, can have symptoms ranging from mild confusion and dizziness to long-term problems processing new information, chronic pain form nerve damage and depression.

Hadley did not start attributing her symptoms to the lightning strike until attending a conference with survivors. She is now on medication for her anger, sometimes garbles her speech and said that a doctor once compared her experience to an electric lobotomy. On the other hand, all symptoms of polycystic kidney disease that she had have disappeared, she said.

“For the most part I’m living a normal life,” she said.

Last year was a record low for lightning fatalities. Twenty-three people died, fewer than in any other year on record, data from the National Weather Service showed. That contrasted with the 432 people killed in 1943, the deadliest year.

Officials attribute the drop to a variety of factors, from better lightning protection to fewer corded phones to more awareness among emergency medical providers and advances in medical treatment. CPR and defibrillators are keeping people alive, said John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service.

"We feel very glad that we've brought the number down but there's still many people out there that are unnecessarily either killed or injured by lightning," Jensenius said. "If they would just simply follow the simple guidelines, if you hear thunder you need to be inside, the simple saying, 'When thunder roars, go indoors,' there would be many more lives that would be saved and fewer injuries."

More than 9,200 people have been killed by lightning in the United States since 1940, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keeping records. In the last 30 years, there have been 51 deaths on average each year.

The ground current is what kills or injures most people,Jensenius said.

"When lightning strikes a point, it doesn't disappear deep into the ground, it spreads out along the ground surface," he said.

That compares with about 7,400 deaths from tornadoes, 7,500 from floods and 3,300 from hurricanes.

Hardy, now 70, was driving home from California’s Mammoth Mountain in June 1998, when she got caught in a heavy rainstorm in Owens Valley.

“I could see the lightning strikes coming down on the ground, coming straight down, it was a heavy, heavy rainstorm, so I took off my watch, took off my glasses, I took the collar off my dog,” she said.

A lightning strike hit power lines at the side of the road and her car, she said.

“It just paralyzed me,” she said. “It killed the engine to the car and the car just rolled off to the side and I couldn’t really move or anything and a motorist came up behind me right away and he’s pounding on my door to open up the door.”

Hardy, who was a facilities manager for the Los Angeles County schools, could barely talk or remember how to get home and her kidneys were hurting her, she said.

“From that day on my body started to deteriorate,” she said.

Hardy, of Manhattan Beach, developed problems with her hearing, her vision, her bladder, her memory and by October of 2002, had acute symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Her dog survived a year, but died after developing tumors, she said.

“The myth that you’re safe in a car, it should be corrected,” she said. “It’s not going to kill you but you’re not safe.”

The conference that Hadley attended was organized by Steve Marshburn, who was himself struck in 1969 in Swansboro, North Carolina, when lightning hit the drive-through window of the bank where he worked. He was sitting inside and it broke his back, he said. Other injuries became evident over the years, he said.

At the time there was little information for lightning strike survivors, but since then he has formed a group, Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors.

“There is help out there,” he said.


Photo Credit: Joey]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Gives Prizes for Dirty Cars]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:11:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/203*120/Dirty+Car.jpg

Ventura County water officials may have a prize for drivers who skip the car wash this month.

Over the month of July, Ventura County water is hosting a dirty car contest to send a messy message about water usage across the state.

California is currently in the midst of a withering drought, resulting in state officials urging citizens to cut back on their water usage. But in May, water usage actually went up by one percent, prompting state water officials to approve fines of up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses.

Drivers are encouraged to post a picture of their car on Ventura Water's Facebook page, and the three vehicles with the most dirt, and the most likes, at the end of the month will be rewarded by a complete car detail.

A free car wash is also being offered to the top two dirty car pictures every week.

Water conservation officials in the county have branded July "Don’'t Wash Your Car" month to educate car owners on the way to save water while keeping your car clean.

Officials say taking a car to a professional car washing operation can save up to 100 gallons of water over home washing.

Additionally, officials say commercial car washers often recycle the water they use.

While spring rains helped increase water levels, those gains have been limited by some of the warmest summer months on record, officials said.

Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann has gotten into her ride grimy, she said she hasn't washed her car since June.

"Here in Ventura this is exactly the right kind of community to do this, people get engaged in what we're doing and really want to help," she said.

The dirty car contest ends on July 30, the same night as a planned community forum to teach residents how they can better conserve.

John Cádiz Klemack contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Island Off-Limits Over Bombs]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:05:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/222*120/San+Miguel+Island.jpg

An island off the Southern California coast could be closed for a year as the U.S. Navy investigates whether unexploded bombs remain on the the island.

The island, owned by the U.S. Department of Defense, has been closed to the public since April.

The last record of unexploded ordnance found on the island was in the 1980s, but recent discoveries of metal objects in public areas were a concern, Kimberly Gearhart, a spokeswoman for Naval Base Ventura County.

"We don’t know exactly what things were done over there and we don’t know what was cleaned up," Gearhart said. "The responsible thing to do is to asses the risk before we let the public enjoy the island."

San Miguel was in an active bomb testing range from World War II through to the 1970s, and officials are concerned that unexploded ordnance still remains on some parts of the island.

Gearhart said the island’s closure was prompted by incomplete records indicating clean-up efforts after weapons testing ended.

Officials started looking into the records after a request by the National Park Service to expand recreational opportunities on the island.

Gearhart said the Navy is currently securing funds for the first phase of risk assessment, which involves going through archival records and photography. This $400,000 effort will be funded through the Navy, Gearhart said.

This initial overview will take up to 15 months. If no live ordnance is found, Gearhart said the Navy will reopen the island for limited public use. San Miguel is part of the Channel Island chain about 70 miles west of Ventura.

If officials find dangerous material, the island could be closed for another year.

"The Navy is dedicated to the conservation of our national resources, of which the Channel Islands are a unique and critical piece," said Capt. Larry Vasquez, the base’s commanding officer, in a statement. "But the safety and wellbeing of (park service) personnel and those who visit San Miguel Island are our highest concern."

The news comes as at least two politicians are pushing for the Navy to complete their review quickly.

"The anticipated 1,500 visitors and 500 campers who visit the island each year are losing out on a cherished experience of the natural and cultural beauty unique to our National Park system," said Congresswomen Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Julia Brownley, D-Oak Park, sent a letter to Vasquez. "Reduced visitation to (San Miguel) is also harming our local economy by taking away business from local touring companies."

Photo Credit: Kevin Moore/National Park Service]]>
<![CDATA[Barkley to Pay for 3 Kids' Funeral]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:17:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Carjacking+run+down+Victims+tioga.jpg

NBA legend and former Philadelphia 76er Charles Barkley has offered to pay for the funerals of three young siblings killed after a carjacking went awry in the city last week, according to District Attorney Seth Williams.

Ten-year-old Thomas Reed, his 15-year-old sister Keiearra Williams and their 7-year-old brother Terrence Moore were struck and killed Friday when a carjacked SUV plowed into the church-run fruit stand where they were volunteering on a street corner in the Tioga section of the city.

The children's mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, was critically injured, and their 65-year-old neighbor Thelma Brown broke an ankle.

The children had all been selling fruit as church volunteers to raise money for a community park at the corner of Germantown and Allegheny Avenues. Eagles Wings Evangelistic Church used the fruit stand on that corner to raise money for the park.

The image of the children's bodies flying into the air scarred witnesses.

"I heard the bang," said church member Jesse Bridges, who described just barely escaping being hit and seeing the three children lying on the ground. "I was spared, but I'm still affected by it. I'm just broken up by it."

At the time of the crash, Bridges swept sidewalk garbage just feet away from the impact.

The Eagles Wings church has just 12 members, but Pastor Lola Blount considers the deceased children members of the congregation because they are regular volunteers, according to Bridges.

The close-knit church family, which worships out of a row home in the 3400 block of 17th Street, plans to open a bank account later this week to help the family.

"People are afraid to collect money in this neighborhood. They are afraid they may get robbed if the word gets out -- that's how the neighborhood is," said Bridges.

Funeral arrangements have not been set. Bridges says the church is focused on Williams' recovery first.

The two suspects in the deadly carjacking and crash – Cornelius Crawford, 23, and Jonathan Rosa, 19 – were charged Monday with second-degree murder, robbery, carjacking, sexual assault and other counts.

Williams praised Philadelphia police for bringing "these bastards to justice" in the deadly carjacking.

Both suspects lived in the same neighborhood where they are accused of tragically plowing into the crowd, and they had met just a week before the carjacking.

An attorney for Rosa said his teen client wanted to atone for his involvement.

Contact Sarah Glover at 610-668-5580, sarah.glover@nbcuni.com or follow @skyphoto on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Mom: Cops Used Chokehold on Me]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:11:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nypd-bk-alleged-choke.jpg

An expectant mom enjoying a front stoop barbecue with her family says a cop placed her in a chokehold outside her Brooklyn home.

Rosan Miller, 27, of East New York, made her accusation just nine days after the death of Eric Garner, who died after an apparent chokehold following an altercation with police.

Miller says officers from the 75th Precinct confronted her and husband Moses Miller on Saturday afternoon about their grill. Police said they would have to move the barbecue to the backyard. When she asked why, her attorney says one officer placed her in a chokehold.

"Right now I'm in pain, a lot of pain," she told reporters in front of the precinct station house on Sutter Avenue.

Her husband said one officer used a racial epithet while arresting him.

Former city council member Charles Barron, who is serving as a spokesman for the family, would not allow reporters to ask specific questions about the alleged incident, citing pending litigation.

But Barron blamed Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's "broken windows" philosophy of targeting lesser crimes to keep major crimes down.

"Nobody on the block complained about loud music or barbecuing at all," said Barron. "This is disgusting. Despicable."

A spokesman for the NYPD said the incident is under review by the Internal Affairs Bureau.

Asked about the alleged incident, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he'd been briefed on the accusation but hadn't seen the still photographs or video circulated by the family.

"We have made clear what our view is on the use of chokeholds," said the mayor. "It is not acceptable under any normal circumstances, but I don't want to rush to judgment."

The couple is due back in court in September on charges of obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.


<![CDATA[Arrest in 500 White Powder Letters]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:43:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Hung+Truong.jpg

A North Texas man who once told police the federal government was "beaming radar" into him was arrested Monday, after federal prosecutors say he sent hundreds of envelopes containing white powder to schools, U.S. embassies and businesses over the years.

Hong Minh Truong, 66, of Rowlett, was arrested Monday by FBI special agents and investigators for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

He is charged in a federal criminal complaint with false information and hoaxes, and a U.S. magistrate ordered Monday afternoon that he remain in federal custody.

Truong is suspected of mailing more than 500 hoax letters from North Texas to cities across the U.S., including to preschools and elementary schools, and to U.S. embassies around the world, beginning in December 2008, the United States Attorney's office said.

The letters were also mailed to numerous hotels and prominent business offices in the New York area in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII in northern New Jersey, NBC News has learned.

Investigators said the language used in the letters as well as the method of sending the letters led them to believe one person was responsible for sending them all.

One such letter, allegedly sent from North Texas in May 2012, included the following statement:

"Al Qaeda back! Special thing for you
What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Counter Intelligence, CIA, you do not know how to catch the triple dealer spy in your law enforcement. What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Internal Affairs, FBI, you don't know how to arrest the bad cop in your law enforcement.
You all flaming idiot, ignorant and arrogant, know nothing! How to protect this country! U.S.A
We are Al Qaeda, U.B.L FBI, Al Qaeda, SS Nazi FBI, working in your agency. We claim everything."

In 2002, Truong told Dallas police he heard "voices" that the federal government was "beaming radar into his body," according to the complaint against him.

Federal prosecutors have 30 days to present the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know About the Immigration Crisis]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:35:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/450883216.jpg

The news that thousands of unaccompanied children are crossing the U.S. border is just making headlines, but the surge has been happening for months, even years. President Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion to tackle the issue, which has become a flashpoint in the debate over immigration.

The number of children has overwhelmed the U.S. immigration system, which faces a backlog of hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants, according to The Associated Press.

President Barack Obama says that violent crime is driving migrants north, while Republicans blame Obama’s policies, saying they have given migrants an incentive to come.

Here’s what you should know about the crisis.

How Many Kids Are Trying to Cross the Border Alone

Since October, more than 57,000 children have been caught traversing the U.S.-Mexico border without an adult. That’s more than double the number in 2012 and triple the number in 2011, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Border Patrol was already noticing an increase in children coming up from Central America in the fall of 2011. Most of the apprehended children are between 14 and 18-years-old, according to the Women's Refugee Commission.

Three-fourths of the kids caught since October have traveled over 1,000 miles — by car, train, raft and foot — from the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The rest are from neighboring Mexico, according to Border Patrol data.

Making the trek is uncertain and dangerous. Smugglers, or coyotes, charge up to $10,000 for each child, according to The Associated Press. These smugglers may take the children’s money and run, or worse, assault or traffic them. The journey is also physically challenging, with dense forests, dry deserts and rugged mountains along the way. One stretch of land in Texas is referred to as the "killing fields."

Migrant children aren't just traveling to the U.S. All of Central America is seeing an increase. Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize jointly documented a 712 percent increase in the number of people seeking asylum from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, according to the Washington Office on Latin America.

Why They Left Central America

The mass migration is chiefly caused by three things: gang-related violence, poverty and rumors that migrant children will be welcomed to the U.S. if they make it to the border.

Violence. A good portion of the drug trade is now in Central America and plenty of gangs capitalize on this. Incompetent police forces do little to stop them. Children are actively recruited as "foot soldiers" for cartels. These gangs give children an ultimatum: work in the drug trade or face death. Honduras’ homicide rate was 90 killed per 100,000 people in 2012. That’s the worst in the world and six times the global average. Guatemala and El Salvador aren't far behind.

Gangs run rampant in these countries, and many children find themselves in the crossfire. It is not uncommon for children to arrive at hospitals riddled with bullets. Fifty-eight percent of children migrating north are motivated by violent conditions in their home country, according to a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Trust in the police is low in the children's countries of origin. In many places, gangs and police are intertwined. "You never know who is who," several migrant children told the Immigration Policy Center.

Poverty. Nearly two-thirds of the Honduran population lives below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. One in three infants is malnourished, and most kids in rural areas will only get four years of schooling on average. Guatemala's poverty rate is 26 percent. In El Salvador 17 percent of the population is living on less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank.

Rumors. The recent surge may have its roots in rumors that a change in U.S. immigration policy means any child who crosses the border can stay. This is a false belief, according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Children who arrived after 2007 are not eligible for deferred deportations or a path to citizenship. A Border Patrol report that was leaked in June says families' misconception that they will obtain "permisos" when they arrive in the U.S. is driving most migration, according to Vox.com. They believe "permisos" means work permit, but it's actually a notice to appear in immigration court.

• Family. Over a third of Central American children who traveled to the U.S. alone were looking to reunite with one or both parents. It is common for relatives to send children north to reunite with family members, who also have questionable legal status, according to a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

What Caused the Crisis

In addition to the violence and poverty in Central America, some have said the U.S. government is at the root of the influx, particularly policies put forth by the last two presidents.

Obama's order. Republicans have blamed the Obama administration for the rumors, saying that poor policy and communication has led migrants to believe they can stay, according to the Los Angeles Times. They say the president has been weak at enforcing border policy and that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was authored by the Obama administration in 2012 and gives some undocumented migrants temporary legal status, has given Central American families a false hope.

Bush's law. A bipartisan law that President George W. Bush signed in 2008, known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, seeks to combat sex trafficking by granting protections to children traveling alone from countries that are not Mexico or Canada. Under the law, unaccompanied children can’t be hastily sent back and are instead allowed an immigration hearing and must be handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services. The Obama administration said the law is partly to blame for the crisis, according to The New York Times. The White House and Republicans are both looking for ways to adjust the law's requirements to make it easier for children to be returned to their home countries.

Where the Migrants Arrive and What Happens When They Get Here

The crisis is happening all along the United States’ Southwest border. The greatest number of migrants are entering through southern Texas, where there has been a 178 percent change in the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border from 2013 to 2014, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Border patrol agents in Texas are overwhelmed and facilities are brimming with migrant children.

The city of Murrieta, California, made national headlines after protesters blocked buses carrying undocumented children and families to immigration processing facilities in Southern California. Overcrowded facilities in Texas looked to ease the burden by sending some migrants there. About 140 migrants ended up in San Diego.

More recently demonstrators on both sides were out in Oracle, Arizona, waiting for unaccompanied children they thought were about to be transferred to a camp there. The children never arrived though anti-immigration protestors briefly halted a bus carrying other children from a YMCA, according to The Associated Press. The Sycamore Canyon Academy in Oracle told NBC News that it had been asked by the federal government to provide shelter temporarily for a small number of children.

When migrant children are apprehended by Customs and Border Protection they are held in a detention center — usually a sterile place that resembles a warehouse. They will remain there until they are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement's Division of Children Services (ORR/DCS). These facilities range from group homes to juvenile detention centers that are locked and surrounded by barbed wire.

Children stay at ORR/DCS facilities for an average of 55 days while authorities attempt to locate a parent or guardian. If none can be found, the child remains in DCS custody for the entirety of her immigration case. Ultimately, she will either end up with her parents or foster parents in the U.S. or be sent back to the country she came from.

What's Being Done About the Influx of People

More cash. The White House is asking Congress for more than $3.7 billion to address the wave of migration. Most of that cash would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection would also get a share. Almost $300 million would go towards efforts to “repatriate and reintegrate migrants to Central America.” The request must pass both houses of Congress, though, and it's not clear how, or whether, the GOP-led House will vote.

More shelters. Immigration officials are scrambling to find more shelter space for new arrivals. Dallas County in Texas agreed to shelter 2,000 children if the federal government foots the bill. Hospitals and schools no longer in use are among the buildings that could possibly house the children.

Foster care. Organizations and families in parts of Texas and the Southwest are taking up kids, particularly those who have no family in the U.S. or no safe places to return to in their home countries.

Programs in Central America. The Obama administration has earmarked $300 million for programs in Central America to boost the quality of life of people and address the underlying root causes that are driving migration. It hopes to do this by improving economic and security conditions and helping migrants reintegrate into their communities instead of returning north.

Ad campaigns. U.S. officials are trying to counter the flow of migrants with a Spanish-language ad campaign that looks to frighten them from coming in the first place. The ads warn that smugglers are criminals who could subject migrants to violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking or forced labor.

Border security. Some in Congress, especially Republicans, have said the focus should be on strengthening border security. Texas Gov. Rick Perry told a congressional committee that unaccompanied kids should be deported immediately to show the U.S. is serious about enforcement. Advocates for migrants have criticized the Obama administration, saying that future funding should go to ensuring migrant children with legitimate claims of asylum see their day in court, not border security.

What's Next

As protests continue and politicians try to figure out the best way to tackle the crisis, migrant children keep pouring in. The Obama administration expects the number of migrant children arriving in the U.S. to rise to 90,000 by September 2014. While visiting Texas, President Obama urged Congress to approve the $3.7 billion he asked for to help deal with the surge.

A first group of about 40 undocumented immigrants, including children, were returned to Honduras from New Mexico, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The group had been staying at a temporary detention center. Homeland Security officials told NBC News that the flight was just the start of deportations. "We expect additional migrants will be returned to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in the coming days and weeks," one official said.

Meanwhile Las Vegas became the latest city to announce that its police department would no longer honor requests from federal officials to detain undocumented immigrants without a court order or arrest warrant. It joins Philadelphia, Chicago, Newark, N.J., and nearly all major urban centers in California.

Officials at the United Nations want many of the people fleeing Central America to be treated as refugees displaced by armed conflict. This designation would increase pressure on the U.S. and Mexico to accept tens of thousands of people currently ineligible for asylum, according to The Associated Press.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Murder Charges in Philly Carjacking]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:11:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Tioga+Carjacking-Suspects.jpg

Two "bastards," bent on robbing a realtor, are facing murder charges for carjacking and sexually assaulting the woman before running down a family selling fruit on a Philadelphia sidewalk, city law enforcement officials say. Three children, all siblings, were killed.

Jonathan Rosa, 19, and Cornelius Crawford, 23, face 15 charges each including three counts of 2nd Degree Murder, Carjacking, Kidnapping and Involuntary Deviant Sexual Assault for the alleged Friday morning crime.

“I want to personally thank Commissioner Ramsey, Captain Clark, all the men and women of the Philadelphia Police Department for their exceptional work in bringing these two bastards to justice," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said. "All Philadelphians were moved to tears by this crime."

Homicide Capt. James Clark said Crawford and Rosa wanted to commit a robbery when they forced the real estate agent into her white Toyota SUV at gunpoint at 6th and Cumberland Streets around 11 a.m. on Friday. They then took off. Inside the truck, the realtor was sexually assaulted as the suspects sped through the streets of the Tioga section of North Philadelphia.

(Officials have identified the agent, but it is NBC10's policy not to name the victims of sexual assault.)

Then about 10 minutes later, one of the SUV's tires blew, causing vehicle to careen out of control at the busy intersection of Germantown and Allegheny Avenues, Clark said. The vehicle jumped the curb and slammed directly into the family as they stood at their fruit stand.

Thomas Reed, 10, died on the sidewalk. His sister Keiearra Williams, 15, and brother Terrence Moore, 7, passed away at area hospitals, police said. Their mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, suffered severe injuries and remains hospitalized -- unaware her children have died.

A family friend, 65-year-old Thelma Brown, was also hit and broke her ankle, officials said.

The group were selling the fruit to help their church raise money to build a playground at the site where the crash happened.

The SUV then skidded across the grass and slammed into a tree. Clark said Crawford and Rosa then jumped out and ran. Inside the SUV, remained the carjacking victim. She was also critically hurt, police said.

A witness to the crash found Rosa's cell phone at the crash scene and turned it over to detectives. Clark said that evidence helped lead investigators to the men.

Both men were taken into custody on Sunday. Crawford has a long criminal history and was recently released from prison following a robbery conviction, prosecutors said. He was found hiding behind a home along the 2900 block of N. 6th Street by U.S. Marshals and detectives. Rosa turned himself in to the Homicide Unit alongside his mother and pastor.

Rosa's attorney, Christopher Warren, says his client is cooperating with detectives to try and "atone" for the crash, the attorney said.

"He turned himself in, and he is doing everything in his power to try and atone for what happened last Friday," Warren said. "Quite frankly, he's having an extremely difficult time getting over the image of that 15-year-old girl coming over the hood of the car."

A post on Rosa's Facebook page from 8:15 a.m. on Friday said "Good and evil two sides fighting for dominance." Later that evening, at 9:42 p.m., Rosa's mother Amanda wrote on his page: "Please pray for Jonathan my son."

Josue Rosa, the man's uncle, tells NBC10.com his nephew is a good kid, without a criminal record, who had just taken a test to join the U.S. Marines. He believes the 19-year-old was pressured by the other suspect to take part in the carjacking.

"I don’t want my nephew to do life in prison. If he was involved, alright. Don’t give my nephew life in prison. He’s not a bad kid. He's not the one who was driving," he said.

Clark had less empathy for the teen and his alleged co-conspirator.

"What they did was indefensible and unforgivable, so whatever remorse they might have does not bring back the children," he said.

City officials thanked the public for helping to find the two men and for offering support to the victims. DA Williams said former NBA and Philadelphia 76ers star Charles Barkley called him to say he wanted to pay for the three children's funeral.

Should the two men be found guilty of the accused crimes at the maximum sentencing, they face three consecutive life terms in prison plus another 89 years.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police]]>
<![CDATA[2 U.S. Marshals, NYPD Officer Shot in NYC]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:19:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP618772093219+copy+charles+mozdir+mug.jpg

Two U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were shot Monday afternoon when a gun battle erupted in a Greenwich Village smokeshop as the officers tried to apprehend an accused child molester, authorities said. The suspect was killed in the shootout.

The officers were shot shortly after 1 p.m. in Smoking Culture, a smokeshop on West Fourth Street, where officers were acting on tip that the fugitive was working there. The NYPD detective entered the store between Jones and Cornelia streets and confirmed that suspect was alone.  When the detective returned with U.S. Marshals to make an arrest, the suspect, Charles Mozdir, immediately opened fire with a. 32-caliber revolver. 

"Mozdir fired upon the officers are very close range and the officers returned fire," Police Commissioner William Bratton said during an update from Bellevue Hospital.

The NYPD detective was shot twice in the stomach below his bulletproof vest. The detective was in critical but stable condition. One marshal was shot in the leg and the other was hit in the elbow, the official said. All of the officers were in good spirits, Bratton said.

Bratton said the vest may have saved the officer's life, preventing a bullet that would have struck his torso. 

Mozdir is accused of sexually assaulting a boy while babysitting him in Coronado, California, near San Diego. The 32-year-old was recently profiled on "The Hunt with John Walsh," an "America's Most Wanted"-type show on CNN. 

Mozdir was wanted on a $1 million warrant. He was charged with multiple counts of committing forcible lewd acts on a child and attempting to dissuade a witness. He skipped an April court appearance in California and his car was found in Georgia two months later. The trail went cold after that until officers acted on information that he might be in New York City.

His weapon was recovered at the scene. Mozdir had 20 more rounds in his pockets, police said. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chaos After Calif. Lightning Strike]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:05:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/venice-lightning-rescue.jpg

Beachgoers reported seeing a bright flash, hearing the sound of a loud explosion and witnessing the chaos that ensued along the coast during a fatal lightning strike in Venice on Sunday afternoon.

"It was the loudest thunder I've ever heard," said witness Joe Doro. "It was like a scene out of 'Jaws,' all the mothers were going in to grab their kids to drag them out of the water."

The lightning bolts touched down about 2:20 p.m. near the pier, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Eight people who were in and near the water were taken to the hospital, the LAFD tweeted, including a 20-year-old man who was later pronounced dead. Five other people were treated and released at the scene.

"You heard this crackle, this giant bolt up in the sky that I've never seen like that - and I'm from the Midwest, and we see lots of lightning," Doro said.

People who were on the sand as far as 50 yards away from the pier reported being shocked.

"I felt heat pressure on top of my head and just kind of an electric buzz through my body," said another witness.

Eric Amparan, who was playing volleyball when the lightning bolts touched down, said he saw a woman calling for her father, who had been pulled out of the water by rescuers and was apparently unconscious.

"She was crying and saying, 'Daddy, daddy, daddy,'" he said. When she overheard that her father was breathing, she said, "'Daddy, I love you,'" he added.

Alexandria Thompson, who tweets news on her Twitter account @Venice311, was at home near the beach when she inadvertently recorded the thunder.

"It actually sounded like there was debris falling," she said. "I mean it was the craziest thing I've ever heard."

Thompson headed for the beach, where county lifeguards and Los Angeles city firefighters were treating more than a dozen people.

<![CDATA[Colleagues Talk Texas Doc's Ebola]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:34:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/072714+Brantly+family.jpg

A relief group official says two American aid workers have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia.

Ken Isaacs, a vice president of Samaritan's Purse, told The Associated Press on Sunday that 33-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly was stable and in very serious condition.

Brantly is the medical director for the group's Ebola care center on the outskirts of the Liberian capital of Monrovia and has been diagnosed with the very disease he was trying to help fight.

Isaacs identified the second American, Nancy Writebol, as a worker with an allied aid group SIM, or Serving in Mission, which runs the hospital. He said she was in stable and serious condition.

He said both Americans have since been isolated and are under intensive treatment.

Friends of Brantly told NBC 5 he is not only  a great person but is also a great doctor.

“Kent is a humble family man, soft-spoken yet deep thoughts and very intelligent,” said Jason Brewington, a friend and colleague from John Peter Smith Hospital.

Brewington helped supervise Brantly during his four–year residency in maternal health and family medicine at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth. But, their story doesn’t start there. The men’s wives were friends years before the Brantlys moved to North Texas. Brewington describes his friend as man devoted to the Lord.

“In this case when you’re called to do something, to go somewhere, you have two options — either to answer that call or not,” Brewington said.

Brantly, a father of two, answered. Brewington said he worked on various missions all across the world but most recently worked in Haiti, Nigeria and Tanzania.  

“He and his wife, I think before they even met, knew they wanted to do missions, and they have always lived their lives with that in mind at some point they would be on the mission field in a hospital doing what no one else wants to do,” Brewington said.

“That’s a calling not everyone has — it’s a passion that not everyone has and I’m glad to be a part of Kent and Amber’s family in that regard.”

At the Southside Church of Christ where the Brantly Family are members, Brantly has been added to the prayer list.

“When we heard about the fact that he had come down with the virus we were all very touched, and one of the first things that we do is get him on a prayer list because we believe the avenue for this healing of this particular virus, which there is no cure for, is God," said Keith Crow, member of Southside Church of Christ.

"God is going to have to pull him through it."

<![CDATA[Dad Whose Baby Died in SUV "Made a Terrible Mistake": DA]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:11:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-17-2014-baby-in-backseat.jpg

Three months after a 9-month-old boy died after being left in his father's SUV, the Santa Clara County District Attorney ruled on Monday that the dad will not be charged with the baby's death.

The father was extremely fatigued and mistakenly believed that he had dropped off the child, Giovanni Hernandez of Los Gatos, at a babysitter’s home on his way to work, the prosecutors' review concluded.

Giovanni's official cause of death on April 16 was hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner. The DA did not identify the father by his full name, only as "Mr. Hernandez."

“Like most parents, I know how fatigue can sometimes rob us of common sense and good judgment,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “While we have prosecuted child endangerment cases in the past, this tragedy does not rise to the level of recklessness that both the law and justice require.”

Rosen added that to have criminally charged the father with child endangerment or involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors would have needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed an "aggravated, flagrantly negligent or reckless act rather than one resulting from inattention or mistaken judgment," Rosen said.

Rosen's decision is markedly different that what prosecutors decided near suburban Atlanta. Justin Ross Harris was charged with murder after the Cobb County District Attorney alleged he intentionally left his 22-month-old toddler in the back of the family SUV because he wanted a "child free life." Harris' friends and family, however, have countered that prosecutors made a "terrible mistake."

In the Santa Clara County case, the prosecutors' review concluded the tragedy was not caused by the negligence of a reckless parent but rather was an error by a "normally conscientious, exhausted father."

"That is the best news we have gotten all day," Kids and Cars president and founder Janette Janette said in phone interview from Philadelphia. "Those poor parents. Now, they can finally grieve."

In April, the day after Giovanni's body was found, Yousif Njimeh told NBC Bay Area that the father worked for his brother at his vending machine company, Star Vending. The father's usual routine was to park his silver Honda SUV on Payne Avenue in San Jose and then take off in the company vending machine truck. The father, who had two other children, worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Njimeh said. Njimen said sister-in-law was supposed to babysit the boy, but there was some "miscommunication."

The prosecutors' report released on Monday outlined a little more detail about what led up to Giovanni's death.

On the day his son died, Hernandez woke up about 6 a.m. to get his two other children ready for school, and the baby ready for daycare at his relative's home. He had gone to bed just four hours earlier at 2 a.m. because he was up with the baby while his wife was at work at a new job delivering pizza. His wife returned at 3 a.m.

Usually, it was Hernandez's wife's job to take the two older children to school and drop the baby off three days a week. But because of her new delivery job, there was a change in her routine.

Shortly after 8 a.m. that day, Hernandez piled his three children in his SUV. His oldest daughter sat in front. His older son sat in the back seat next to the sleeping baby.

He dropped off his older children, and drove off toward his work.

He told prosecutors he was extremely tired and dropped off his personal car to pick up his employer's truck, forgetting that the baby was in the back.

At the end of his shift, Hernandez asked a co-worker at 6:30 p.m. if they could stop at the babysitter's to get his son, but he realized that he had never taken Giovanni there.

He called 911, but it was too late.

On average, 38 children die from heat stroke every year after being left in a car nationwide, according to Kids and Cars. Last year, however, the heat stroke car death toll hit 44. Giovanni's death was the first in the country in 2014. On Monday, Kids and Cars had documented a total of 18 nationwide.

The dangers of parents leaving their children in hot cars was highlighted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2009 article "Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?" The magazine piece, by Eugene Weingarten of the Washington Post, showed that anyone can forget a baby in a car, and that the most likely reasons are a change in schedule and sheer exhausation. Rosen and senior prosecutors read that article and were very "moved" by it, according to public communications officer Sean Webby.

Fennell said that many of these deaths can be avoided if parents remember little tricks to remind them that their child may be sleeping quietly in the back seat. Two of those tips including having the babysitter call if the child does not show up in a timely manner, and leaving something necessary, like a purse, key card or phone, with the baby in the back seat so the driver will need to retrieve that item before heading into work.

Hernandez has no history of child abuse or neglect, according to prosecutors. And by all accounts, the DA's office concluded, he is an "attentive" father.

"He didn't commit a crime; he made a terrible mistake," Rosen said.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED: More tips can be found at KidsAndCars.org. The organization is also hoping that a petition will force the Obama Administration to provide more funding to the Department of Transportation to create innovative technology and require that technology be installed in cars.

NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Female World War II Pilot Turns 100]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:28:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/female-WASP-WWII-pilots.jpg

Mayme Tanner, one of the last surviving female pilots from World War II, turned 100 years old on July 25th, KPRC reported.

Tanner is one of 1,000 women who was part of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) which allowed women to fly military aircraft for the first time during the second great war.

Out of 25,000 women that applied for the opportunity, Tanner made the cut.

"It was thrilling I enjoyed it, I enjoyed my life very much," she told NBC affiliate KPRC.

For her birthday, her family and nursing home created a mobile museum full of pictures, uniforms and articles with details from Tanner's past.

Tanner reflected on her time as one of the first female military pilots: "The freedom it offered, getting in an airplane taking off flying anywhere you wanted to go. I just enjoyed flying around and looking at the scenery."

Charlotte Mendes, Tanner's niece, told KPRC reporters that her aunt is a humble inspiration.

"She didn't think she'd ever make it to her hundredth and I told her 'oh yes you will' because she has persevered through everything," Mendes said. "I don't think she realizes at all what she has done for all the women of the country."

For the next generation of female pilots, Tanner said, "Any girl can do it if they're determined to. Just stay with it."

The 100-year-old veteran received a letter from President Barak Obama on Friday thanking her for her service, KPRC reported.


Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Mother of Missing New Hampshire Teen "Haunted" by Daughter's Eyes]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:44:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2014-07-21-21h17m31s196.jpg

A mother who was recently reunited with her missing teen daughter after nine months says she was overcome with emotion when the 15-year-old returned home just over a week ago.

“We just stood there, looking at each other, and then we hugged and I just said ‘thank God you’re home. Thank God you’re home',” Zenya Hernandez said in an exclusive interview with “Today."

Abigail Hernandez was returning home from school when she disappeared last October. Her family believes she was abducted by a stranger.

While the Hernandez family and the police are still searching for answers to what led to the teen's disappearance, her mother dispelled rumors that her daughter was pregnant or ran away. Zenya Hernandez said that when Abigail returned home on July 20, she had lost a significant amount of weight and appeared pale. 

“She had a look in her eyes I have never ever seen before. And that’s something that’s haunting me, and I think it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Hernandez said.

The Hernandez family released a statement Monday morning on their web site BringAbbyHome.com with more details about their daughter's recovery.

"Right now, Abby is resting, extremely tired and in deteriorated health, and has lost a lot of weight. She is working to build her strength back and we hope soon she will be back on solid foods," the family said.
According to "Today," Abigail released a statement thanking those who aided in the search for her.

“My gratitude is beyond words. It’s an incredible feeling to be home, and I believe in my heart that your hopes and prayers played a major role in my release," the statement read.

Details remain confidential during the investigation into Abigail’s disappearance and nine-month absence, but New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster said in a statement that law enforcement officers are working to obtain satisfactory answers. Authorities have issued a call for help in identifying a man they believe may have been connected to the disappearance.

“I feel like they just took and ripped something out of our souls.” Abigail’s mother said. “And just as I swore I’ll find her, I’ll find the person, I’ll find out what happened.”

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Left Child in 140-Degree Car: Police]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:35:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Rasheena+Francis1200.jpg

East Hartford police arrested a woman who is accused of leaving a child in a 140-degree car for hours while she was getting her nails done.

Police said Rasheena Francis, 28, of Hartford, left a 6-year-old child in the car for an hour or two on Friday while getting her nails done at Lena’s Nails II 205 Burnside Ave.

The car was off and the windows were rolled up when police arrived, police said. It was not immediately clear if Francis is the child's mother.


The child was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and is expected to be fine, according to police.

Francis was charged with one count risk of injury and one count of reckless endangerment.

She posted $75,000 bond and is due in court on Aug. 13.

The arrest is not listed on the online court docket and it's not clear if she has an attorney.

Photo Credit: East Hartford Police]]>
<![CDATA[Dramatic Photos: The Conflict in Gaza]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:41:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/452832800.jpg The violence in Gaza between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate despite international calls for a cease-fire.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man 'Atoning' for Carjacking That Killed 3 Kids: Attorney]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:22:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Tioga+Carjacking+Killing+Rosa.jpg

Homicide detectives are questioning two men in connection with a carjacking that ended with the running down of a crowd of five people along a Philadelphia street. Three children, all siblings, who were in the group were killed.

The persons of interest, one 19-years-old and the other in his 20s, were taken into police custody on Sunday. The younger man, identified by his attorney as Jonathan Rosa, turned himself into detectives alongside his mother and their pastor. U.S. Marshals and city police took the older man into custody later that evening, officials said.

Rosa's attorney, Christopher Warren, says his client was in the stolen vehicle that crashed into the group on Friday morning. Rosa is cooperating with detectives to try and "atone" for the crash, the attorney said.

"He turned himself in and he is doing everything in his power to try and atone for what happened last Friday," Warren said. "Quite frankly, he's having an extremely difficult time getting over the image of that 15-year-old girl coming over the hood of the car."

It was around 11:15 a.m. on Friday when a speeding white Toyota 4Runner lost control at Germantown and Allegheny Avenues in the Tioga section of North Philadelphia and ran into the sidewalk. The large SUV, which had been stolen at gunpoint a short time earlier, plowed into five people selling fruit on the corner, police said. They were helping their church raise money to build a playground at the site.

Thomas Reed, 10, his 15-year-old sister, Keiearra Williams, and their 7-year-old brother Terrence Moore were killed, according to police. Their mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, and their 65-year-old neighbor Thelma Brown were also hurt.

Keisha Williams has remained in extremely critical condition since the crash. Family and neighbors say she has not been told that her three children are dead. She has two other children who were not at the crash scene. Brown suffered a broken ankle, but should be released from the hospital on Monday.

After running down the group, the SUV then slammed into a tree. The two suspects ran from the scene, but inside the car was its owner. That woman, who police haven't identified, is a realtor who was carjacked at 6th and Cumberland streets before the crash, officials said.

The carjacking victim was also critically hurt, but has been able to speak with police. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said she has been a great help to the investigation.

Sources say detectives have also been relying on forensic evidence -- fingerprints on the the stolen vehicle and a bloody shirt located nearby -- to help narrow down their manhunt.

Rosa told detectives the driver of the stolen SUV swerved to avoid hitting a police officer and lost control, according to Warren.

A post on Rosa's Facebook page from 8:15 a.m. on Friday said "Good and evil two sides fighting for dominance." Later that evening, at 9:42 p.m., Rosa's mother Amanda wrote on his page: "Please pray for Jonathan my son."

Josue Rosa, the man's uncle, tells NBC10.com his nephew is a good kid, without a criminal record, who had just taken a test to join the U.S. Marines. He believes the 19-year-old was pressured by the other suspect to take part in the carjacking.

"I don’t want my nephew to do life in prison. If he was involved, alright. Don’t give my nephew life in prison. He’s not a bad kid. He's not the one who was driving," he said.

Despite Rosa's attorney and family identifying him, police have yet to name either man since they have not been charged. Warren, however, says he expects both men to be charged with second-degree murder.

Ramsey said his investigators are speaking with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office about filing charges and expect to deliver an announcement at 3:30 p.m. on Monday.

NBC10.com will carry any news conferences live right here. This story will also be updated as we obtain new information.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:21:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP698239008441.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Anti-Semitic Vandalism Hits Synagogue]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:32:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/synagogue+vandalized.jpg

More anti-Semitic messages were found Monday in South Florida, this time at a synagogue.

Neighborhood watch volunteers found swastikas and the word "Hamas" spray painted in red outside the doors to Torah V'Emunah Congregation at 1000 N.E. 175th Street in Northeast Miami-Dade.

This is the second act of anti-Semitic vandalism in South Florida in the last few days. On Saturday, vandals egged two cars at a Miami Beach home and smeared cream cheese on the cars, spelling out the words "Jew" and "Hamas."

The acts coincided with an ongoing three-week-long conflict between Israel and Hamas. As of Sunday, the fighting had killed more than 1,000 people -- 1,030 Palestinians, 43 Israeli soldiers, two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker, according to NBC News.

Yona Lungerm who he found the latest messages around 1 a.m. during his neighborhood watch shift, said vandalism isn't an answer to the conflict. He said the graffiti is “very uncomfortable and it’s unprofessional.”

"We understand you're angry, but that's not the way to resolve it," Lunger said. "Best way is to get out there and pray for peace and let's all get along."

Police have not yet identified any suspects in either case, and have not yet determined if there is a connection.

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement that condemned the act and said in part:

"It is our hope that local South Florida community leaders will join the Anti-Defamation League to condemn the local expression of anti-Semitic hate right her in our backyard."

Anyone with information is urged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Tow Truck Driver Gunned Down After Car Repo]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:41:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/south+gate+shooting+copy.jpg

A tow truck driver who had just repossessed a car was shot and killed in the street after being chased by a vehicle across several cities in Los Angeles County early Sunday morning, sheriff's officials said.

The incident began when a shooting erupted around 3:30 a.m. near a 7-Eleven at Rosecrans and Atlantic avenues in the Compton area, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators believe the tow truck driver, who was towing a white Dodger Caliber that had been repossessed, was the target in the shooting.

"We think it’s a repossession that has gone bad," said sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson.

The driver made it to Firestone Boulevard and Rayo Avenue in South Gate before slamming into a vehicle going through the intersection, officials told NBC4.

When the tow truck driver got out of his vehicle, at least one person from a car chasing him shot at and killed him, officials said.

Witnesses reported hearing 10 to 12 rounds.

The victim was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, Dolson said.

The tow truck driver was identified by friends as Steve Lawson of Bellflower. He was in his 40s. Friends said he was a husband and father.

Friends also said Lawson had recently started working at a new repossession company.

Authorities detained two people but it was unclear if they were connected to the case.

Homicide detectives were still on scene around 11 a.m. searching for clues of what led to the shooting.

The victim's daughter showed up at the crime scene at 7-Eleven. She said her father knew the dangers of his job.

Photo Credit: Jane Yamamoto]]>
<![CDATA[People Hit by Car at Zombie Walk]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:00:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/zombie+walk+video+still.jpg

Passersby were hit by a car Saturday evening while the annual Comic-Con Zombie Walk took over downtown San Diego, the San Diego Police Department confirmed, and the whole incident was caught on cell phone video.

Police said a deaf family with small children in the black Honda Accord was stopped near 2nd and Island avenues just after 5:30 p.m., waiting for participants of the Zombie Walk to cross.

After several minutes the 48-year-old father slowly rolled forward, trying to get out of the area.

According to the SDPD, several people from the crowd of zombies allegedly surrounded the car and began punching it. Police said the car windshield was shattered by the crowd.

The family was frightened, police said, so the father drove forward again. As he drove, he struck a 64-year-old woman with the side of his car.

In a video posted to YouTube, you can see the woman in a pink shirt -- who was not part of the zombie march -- falling under the car and sustaining a serious arm injury.

The zombie crowd then chased the driver on foot as the family drove toward a police officer down the street, officials said. The driver stopped when he arrived at the location of the police officers.

Officials said the victim was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. She’s expected to recover.

Two other people were also left with minor injuries. 

The car's driver has been cited, but he will not be criminally charged. The incident remains under investigation by police. 

However, witnesses in the crowd give a very different account. 

After watching the scene, Sean Foley told NBC 7 the Honda driver started honking incessantly as he was stuck behind the several pedicabs and vehicles leading up to the parade on 2nd Avenue. 

When he started inching forward, a parade watcher sat on his hood, Foley said. As the driver continued to accelerate, others stood in front of the car. 

"People began shouting for him to stop so as not to run through a parade that included [sic] children and babies in strollers at which point he floored his car through the crowd," Foley wrote in an email.

Diana Jackson, who said she was about 10 people away, told NBC 7 on Facebook that the driver took off with such aggression "that his tires squealed."

Counter to police information, Foley said the driver's window was broken after he hit people in the crowd, not before. 

"The only reason he was surrounded by a crowd who was angry was because he was pushing his car through a crowd that was trying to watch the parade," said Foley.

Foley said the woman who suffered the arm injury was run over by both the front and back wheels.

Jen Foley, a physician who was in the crowd, rushed to help the victim, whose arm had been flayed, she said. 

Foley believes the whole incident could have been avoided if the Honda driver had followed the example of other drivers and made a U-turn away. 

"So if his children were scared by traffic and his honking, he could've turned around and driven away," said Jen. "He did not need to literally floor his engine through a crowd of people."

According to the Twitter page for the SDZombieWalk, participants of the event had nothing to do with the incident. Many tweeted that they were stunned by the turn of events at the walk and wished a speedy recovery to woman injured in the incident.

Organizers released another video that shows "no zombies touching the car that we can see" and nobody beating the car, according to Zombie Walk's post on its Facebook page.

<![CDATA[Synthetic Pot Hospitalizations]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:25:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Synthetic-Pot-NYC.jpg

More than a dozen people in New York City were hospitalized after using synthetic marijuana in the last few days, officials said.

The city’s health department said that 15 people were hospitalized since Thursday with “severe adverse reactions” to the drugs, which are known by names like "K2" and "Spice." All of the victims hospitalized in that span lived in Harlem and Chelsea.

The agency warned people to steer clear of the group of drugs, which can cause hallucinations and seizures.

“K2, Spice, Green Giant – no matter what you call it, synthetic cannabinoids are dangerous and illegal,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said. “I urge people not to use these products, which have caused a huge spike in emergency room visits this year.”

The Health Department says ER visits for drug reactions have more than doubled so far this year.

Synthetic marijuana products, designed to mimic the effects of real pot, were sold legally in stores earlier this decade labeled as incense or potpourri, but they were banned by the federal government in 2012.

Health officials are asking anyone with information on the sale of the designer drugs to call 311.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[22 Wounded, Boy Killed in Chicago Weekend Shootings]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:50:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/23_SHOOTINGS_7-77-14.jpg

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

Shootings Saturday and Sunday increased the total number of people shot in Chicago over the weekend to 23.

Casualties over the weekend include a 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed at about 6 p.m. Friday in the 700 block of South California Avenue. Six others were also wounded in a shooting that witnesses say was a drive-by.

"As a result again of guns being introduced into what otherwise would have been a fist fight, we have seven kids shot ... and one of theme dead," Chicago Police superintendent Garry McCarthy said Sunday.

"At the end of the day if we stem the flow of guns coming in and we put people in jail for possession of firearms, we'll see the murder rate and violent in this city plummet."

A 3-year-old was also critically wounded Friday night when he was shot at about 10:15 p.m. in the 4400 block of South Sacramento Avenue. The bullet struck the young boy in his abdomen and exited through his hip, officials said. Police say the child's mother's boyfriend was the intended target.

Alger Sanchez, 19, and Anton Aseves, 22, were charged Sunday night with aggravated battery-discharge of a firearm and two felony counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

Nine shootings were reported Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning.

A 32-year-old man was grazed in the neck by a bullet 8 a.m. Sunday on the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue. The victim told police that he was shot by an unknown person in a grey vehicle. He took himself to an area hospital where he was listed in good condition. Police say the victim has documented gang ties. No one is in custody.

At about 3:50 a.m. Sunday, a man was shot while sitting in the back of a car outside a party at 58th and Wolcott. Police say two people began arguing outside of the car, and one of them fired a gun, striking the individual inside the car. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Police say a woman and her boyfriend were walking out of a nightclub in the 100 block of West Huron when they became involved in an altercation with another man. The boyfriend produced a gun, which he dropped during the struggle, according to police. The woman picked up the gun and place it in her purse, but was shot in the leg when her boyfriend reached for it. She's listed in stable condition at a local hospital.

At about 4:40 a.m., police say a man walked into Christ Hospital with a bullet wound to his right ankle. The victim says he was walking down the street in the 5600 block of South Emerald Street when he was approached by two males who asked if he was from the neighborhood. He said he kept walking, heard shots, and felt the pain in his ankle. Nobody is in custody for the shooting.

A 27-year-old man walking in the 2600 block of West Augusta at about 11:15 p.m. Saturday says he suddenly felt pain and discovered he was shot in the hip. He took himself to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition. Police say he is a documented gang member. Nobody is in custody for the shooting.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the 133rd block of South Eberhart at about 10 p.m. The victim says he was walking down the street, heard shots and felt pain in his neck. He was listed in stable condition.

A 36-year-old man is listed in stable condition after he was shot near the Eisenhower Expressway at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday. The victim was talking to a woman at a gas station in the 600 block of South Independence when he says an individual approached the pair with a gun and announced a robbery. The man says he tried to knock the gun away but it discharged, striking him in the stomach. The man drove to the highway ramp where the was met by EMS. Nobody is in custody for the shooting and attempted robbery.

A 24-year-old man is listed in stable condition after he was shot in the calf at about 1:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of West Farwell Avenue. Police say the victim is a documented gang member with a felony conviction. Nobody is in custody for the shooting.

Police say the victim of a shooting at about 12:45 p.m. Saturday is not cooperating with investigators. The 26-year-old man was sitting the driver's seat of a car at 52nd and Hoyne when he was shot. He's listed in serious condition with a wound to the chest after a friend drove him to a local hospital.

<![CDATA[3 Kids Killed After Carjacking]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:40:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Deadly-Carjacking-Crash-New.jpg

A memorial continues to grow for three siblings who were run down and killed by carjackers while they were helping their mother sell fruit along a North Philadelphia street. Their mother, another woman and the carjacking victim are fighting for their lives as police search for the men responsible.

"I'm gonna miss all three of them," said Ronnie, a neighbor of the victims. "They were very good, respectable children." 

The five pedestrians were working at the fruit cart on the corner of Germantown and Allegheny Avenues around 11:15 a.m. on Friday when a white Toyota 4Runner, stolen minutes earlier by two men, blew a tire and jumped the curb, Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. James Clark said.

The large SUV plowed into the group, skidded across a grassy lot and rammed head-on into a tree.

Thomas Reed, 10, drew his last breath on the street, Clark said. His 15-year-old sister Keiearra Williams was taken to Temple University Hospital where she died a short time later. Their 7-year-old brother, Terrence Moore, was rushed to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children where, despite doctor's efforts, he died.

"That's my son ya'll took away from me," said Terrence's father. "Whoever you all are, turn yourselves in!"

Officials said the children were helping their mother sell the fruit to raise money for their church.

"I've been in the homicide unit for six years and this is one of the saddest cases I've come across," Clark said. "You have three innocent children who had the rest of their lives in front of them that were taken in this fashion. It's very sad. It's very tragic and we will find the individuals that are responsible."

Keisha Williams, the children's 34-year-old mother, and 69-year-old family friend Thelma Brown were also seriously hurt. Clark said the mother is in extremely critical condition at Temple University Hospital.

A sixth victim, the woman who was carjacked, is also in critical, but stable condition at Temple. She was in the SUV when it crashed. Clark said she is a real estate agent and had just finished showing a home near 6th and Cumberland Streets when the men forced their way into her SUV at gunpoint. That's about a mile from the crash scene.

At first, the suspects had the real estate agent drive, but then forced her into the back seat as one of the men took the wheel, Clark said. Detectives believe the SUV was traveling at a very high rate of speed when the tire blew.

Both suspects fled the scene on foot after the crash. A manhunt is now underway. The suspect's descriptions are not fully clear, but one was wearing a white T-shirt and basketball shorts. Police say he was armed with a gun. The other suspect is wearing an orange shirt and basketball shorts.

Authorities say the men may be injured from the crash and they have alerted all area emergency rooms to be on the lookout for anyone who comes in with car crash injuries.

Homicide detectives have also obtained some surveillance video from both scenes and plan to look for any identifying photos of the suspects.

The city is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the men. The reward had begun at $20,000, but continued to rise as each child passed away and additional donors chipped in.

The Fraternal Order of Police added an additional $10,000 to the reward for the arrests of the men wanted in the fatal accident. To receive the $10,000, the men must be in police custody by noon Monday.

"There are really no words for how I feel right now, but we do need to find these people and that needs to be our focus right now," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. "Finding the people responsible for this crime and get them in custody as soon as possible before they harm anyone else."

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Lightning Kills 1, Injures 8]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:03:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/venice-beach-lightning-sand.jpg

A 20-year-old man who died in the hospital after being struck by lightning at Venice Beach on Sunday has been identified, officials said. Seven other beachgoers were also hospitalized, including one with critical injuries.

Nick Fagnano, of Los Angeles, died at Marina Del Rey Hospital, according to information provided from the hospital to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

The victims were in or near the water next to the pier when the bolts touched down about 2:20 p.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

"All of a sudden it was the loudest thunder I've ever heard. It was like a scene out of 'Jaws.' All the mothers were going into grab their kids to drag them out of the water," said witness Joe Doro.

Thirteen people who were all in or near the water when the bolts touched down were checked out by firefighters at the scene. Eight of them were taken to hospitals, including seven adults and a 15-year-old, the LAFD said.

A swimmer who was released from the hospital Sunday night said he doesn't remember the lightning strike, but recalls being rescued by friends from the water after suddenly losing consciousness.

"The next thing you know I was struggling to get my head back above the water," said the swimmer, who identified himself only as Paul. "Thank God they were brave enough to just jump in and not hesitate."

"I understand one person didn't make it. I just want to say that my thoughts go out to that person's family," Paul added.

A video taken at the scene shows the frantic moments when rescuers pulled another person who appeared to be unconscious out of the water.

A beachgoer who was about 50 yards away from the pier said he felt a jolt of electricity from his feet to the top of his head when the lightning struck.

"We all got up off the ground, and we were just amazed by what had happened," Eric Amparan said. "We saw some commotion by the waterline, and another person was struck by the lightning, and he was unconscious lying on the beach. The lifeguards were already there doing CPR on him."

Witnesses said the clap of thunder sounded like an explosion.

"A flash and simultaneously the loudest clap of thunder I’ve ever heard in my life, because it was so close. I thought it was like a bomb, almost," said witness Ned Walker.

On Santa Catalina Island, a 57-year-old man who was on an Avalon golf course was also struck by lightning. He was hospitalized in stable condition, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. He was expected to survive.

In Redondo Beach, a home and car parked in its driveway in the 1600 block of Haynes Lane were damaged by a bolt of lightning. No one there was hurt.

As of 11 p.m. Sunday, hundreds of Southern California Edison customers in Redondo Beach were without power. The utility said it hopes to have power restored by 6 a.m. Monday.

The lightning strikes occurred as a thunderstorm hit the island, causing minor flooding and setting two small fires in the brushy backcountry that were quickly doused.

Monsoon conditions moving in from Arizona were expected to bring small amounts of rain -- up to a quarter-inch -- all throughout Los Angeles County through the evening, according to David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“There is that potential for brief heavy amounts,” Sweet said of the rain. “In most places it will be small.”

In Avalon, about two-thirds of an inch was recorded in about 30 minutes, weather officials said. One man was apparently injured in a lightning strike and minor flooding reported in the area, according to wire reports.

After a cloudy night, the sun was expected to be out again Monday. Temperatures were expected in the mid to upper 70s inland areas and 80s and 90s inland.

Weather officials said the rainfall was too localized to make any dent in the state's ongoing drought crisis.

Kate Larsen and Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: @Venice311 via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Driver Arrested After Assault]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:31:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-night-shutterstock_54084688.jpg

Police arrested an Uber driver a woman accused of sexually assaulting her earlier this month.

Police charged 31-year-old Reshad Chakari of Alexandria, Virginia, with second-degree sexual abuse.

On July 20, police went to the 1400 block of Rhode Island Avenue NW where a 25-year-old woman reported that an Uber driver sexually assaulted her. She had several drinks at a nightclub while celebrating her birthday and passed out in the car, News4's Darcy Spencer reported. According to the police report, the woman said Chakari touched her while she was sleeping in the car.

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh said she wants to make sure these drivers are not preying on women. While Uber is required to perform background checks on drivers, that may not be enough, Cheh said. She said installing panic buttons in cars could help.

"Rider safety is Uber's #1 priority. We take reports like this seriously and are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and care," said Taylor Bennett, spokesperson for Uber Technologies. "It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following any serious allegations, which we have done. We stand ready to assist authorities in any investigation.”

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington for more on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Wedding Photos Lead to Rap Cameo]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 03:49:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/195*120/we+still+coming.jpg

After Amy and Ian said "I do," they never thought their wedding photo shoot would go viral.

"It just started taking on a life of its own," said the groom's mother, Suzanne Hicks. " It was like a domino effect."

The groom, originally from South Florida, and his bride from Michigan wed during Memorial Day weekend in Detroit. The couple and their bridal party quickly gained fame after a photo of them went viral, accompanied by a message snapshot where a woman texted a wedding photo shoot invite to the wrong person. The stranger then responded, "We Still Coming".

"The 'we still coming' text message was like a hoax, it was fake. Somebody somehow got a hold of this picture -- we don't know where or how -- and they put this fake text with it," said Hicks.

Although the text is fake, there is a real story behind the photo. The best man says they stopped at Michigan Central Station to take wedding pictures and upon arriving a rap group named 7262 was filming a music video at the same spot.

"We were in a good mood, we were all celebrating the wedding and we went over there to say what's up," said Mike Maloney, the best man. "They said they were filming. We said let's hear the song and then one thing led to another, we made friends with them, started dancing with them, and the next thing we know we're on all these internet sites."

Since its July 1st upload, 7262's "Anthem" video already has nearly 200,000 views. The best man says it was an unexpected collaboration; however, they were practicing their moves prior to the video anyway.

"I mean, we were definitely ready to dance cause we were there for a wedding. So we were ready to dance for the reception so we were already working on our moves before that," said Maloney.

Photo Credit: Adam Sparkes]]>
<![CDATA[Father Kills Son: Police]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:08:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/236*120/Styles.jpg

A Philadelphia man is dead after police say he shot and killed his son, critically injured his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself.

Investigators say 26-year-old Shyema Washington and her 5-year-old son were attending a family member's birthday party at an apartment complex on the 1100 block of Haverford Road in Ridley Township Saturday night.

Police say the boy's father and Washington's boyfriend Tyrell Styles, 26, of Philadelphia arrived at the party to pick up his son around 11:30 p.m. Washington went inside the apartment to get her son, according to investigators. When she came back outside, Styles allegedly pulled out a Ruger 9 mm and opened fire.

Washington was struck once in the mouth, twice in the buttocks and once in the midsection. Styles then allegedly pointed the gun at his own son and fired two shots. The boy was struck once in the forehead and once in the ankle. Styles then fled the scene in a white Pontiac Grand Prix, according to police.

Responding officers chased after Styles, leading to a collision on Chester Pike and Oak Avenue in which two other drivers suffered minor injuries. Police say Styles continued to drive off until he arrived at a dead end on the 300 block of Brainerd Boulevard in Sharon Hill. As officers got out of their cars to approach him, investigators say Styles turned the gun on himself and fired one shot.

The 5-year-old boy was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. Washington was also taken to Crozer-Chester where she is currently in critical condition.

Styles was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He died late Sunday into Monday.

According to police, Styles and Washington were undergoing domestic issues prior to the shooting. They also say Styles legally owned the gun he used in the shooting. 

<![CDATA[Florida Keys Webcam Captures Sea Turtle Hatching]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 12:06:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/174*120/seaturtlewebcam726.jpg

A live-streaming, high-definition "turtle webcam" positioned on a beach in the Florida Keys has recorded the hatch of about 100 baby loggerhead sea turtles.

The webcam has been focused on the nest in the Lower Keys for almost two weeks. Friday evening, the 3-inch-long babies erupted from a hole, came out en masse and headed to the Atlantic Ocean under dim moonlight.

The camera uses infrared lighting so hatchlings won't be confused by artificial light and will go to sea — guided by moonlight reflecting on the water -- instead of pushing further onto land.

"This webcam is high-definition, the first time ever used (to record a turtle hatch), and also an infrared IR-emitting light that is so important because it does not disturb any of the activities of the turtle trying to find the ambient light of the moon," said Harry Appel, president of the Keys-based Save-a-Turtle organization, that helped to coordinate the webcam in partnership with the Florida Keys tourism council that funded the effort.

The webcam is part of ongoing efforts in the Keys to raise awareness of sea turtles and the need to protect them.

"It's so important here in the Keys to protect these nests and these turtles," Appel said. "They've been around for millions, maybe hundreds of millions, of years."

Loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill and Kemp's ridley sea turtles nest on beaches in the Keys and other parts of Florida, and inhabit Florida and Keys waters. All five species are considered either threatened or endangered.

The webcam was approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

To view the webcam and recording of the turtles hatching, visit www.fla-keys.com/turtlecam.

Photo Credit: Florida Keys News Bureau]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Parkway Crash Kills Two]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:20:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Charter+Tech+GSP+Bus+Traffic+Backs+Up.jpg

A mother and her daughter are dead after their car slammed into a pickup truck on the Garden State Parkway Saturday afternoon.

Police say 45-year-old Naoma Johnson was driving a Saturn while her mother, 70-year-old Frances Hill, was in the front passenger seat. Police also say a 14-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl were sitting in the backseats.

The Saturn was traveling southbound in the right lane of the Parkway while a Ford Pickup truck was in the center lane near mile 63.6 in Stafford Township, Ocean County around 2:45 p.m. Suddenly Johnson somehow lost control of her vehicle and swerved into the center lane, crashing into the pickup truck, according to investigators.

Both Johnson and Hill were pronounced dead at the scene. Police also say six other people, including the two teens and two other children, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Authorities closed the southbound lanes for part of the afternoon to allow a medevac helicopter to land and transport the victims by air. They were transported to Southern Ocean County Hospital in Manahawkin, N.J. for observation, according to police.

One lane remained closed for several hours after the crash while police investigated, leading to major traffic delays throughout the evening. All lanes later reopened around midnight.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[Spider-Man Punches Cop: Police]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:21:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/costumed+characters+times+square.jpg

A man accused of punching a police officer in Times Square while dressed as Spider-Man was arraigned Sunday and ordered to be held on bail, prosecutors said.

The 25-year-old man was arraigned in Manhattan court on charges of assault, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, according to the office of the Manhattan District Attorney. His bail was set at $3,500.

Officials say the attack Saturday afternoon came after the officer told a woman posing for a photograph with the costumed man that she did not have to pay a specific amount of money for the photo opportunity. The costumed Spider-Man had allegedly told the woman, who had tried to give him $1, that he would only accept donations of $5, $10 or $20.

Prosecutors say the masked man began to curse and yell at the officer, and then punched him several times in the face and on the body once the officer tried to arrest him. The officer's glasses were broken, and he had swelling, bleeding and pain, a criminal complaint said.

Attorney information for the suspect wasn't immediately available. He did not enter a plea at the arraignment.

Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said the incident was troubling.

“This incident is yet another reminder that many -- though certainly not all -- of these so-called friendly characters are actually violent and aggressive and have troubling criminal records. A rigorous licensing scheme would address this," he said in a statement.

A city councilman has proposed a law that would require the costumed characters to be licensed. The alliance has been campaigning for the measure.

Some of the people dressed in costumes in Times Square the day after the alleged assault said they are being unfairly targeted.

"Think about Times Square with no characters right here, you have people walking right here, what about the kids?" said Jose Escalona-Martinez, who was wearing a Batman costume.

--Michael George contributed reporting


<![CDATA[DFW Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 08:17:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/072614+Dr+Kent+Brantly+Ebola.jpg

An American doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus, an aid organization said Saturday.

North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse issued a news release Saturday saying that Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, tested positive for the disease and was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Brantly is the medical director for the aid organization's case management center in the city.

Melissa Strickland is a spokeswoman for Samaritan's Purse. She said Sunday that Dr. Kent Brantly was in stable condition, talking with his doctors and working on his computer while receiving care.

She cautions that Brantly is "not out of the woods yet." She said patients have a better chance of survival if they receive treatment immediately after being infected, which Brantly did.

Brantly has been working with Samaritan's Purse in Liberia since October 2013 as part of the charity's post-residency program for doctors, said Strickland. The organization's website said he had worked as a family practice physician in Fort Worth, Texas.

The highly contagious virus is one of the most deadly diseases in the world. Photos of Brantly working in Liberia show him in white coveralls made of a synthetic material that he wore for hours a day while treating Ebola patients.

Brantly was quoted in a posting on the organization's website earlier this year about efforts to maintain an isolation ward for patients.

"The hospital is taking great effort to be prepared," Brantly said. "In past Ebola outbreaks, many of the casualties have been healthcare workers who contracted the disease through their work caring for infected individuals."

Strickland said that Brantly's wife and children had been living with him in Africa, but they are currently in the U.S.

A woman who identified herself as Brantly's mother answered a U.S. phone listing for him, but said family members are declining comment at this time.

The deadly disease has killed at least 672 in several African countries since the outbreak began earlier this year.

Photo Credit: Facebook - Samaritan's Purse]]>