<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area https://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usFri, 23 Mar 2018 19:47:06 -0700Fri, 23 Mar 2018 19:47:06 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Protests Continue After Fatal Sacramento Police Shooting]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:37:26 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/sacramento4.JPG

Hundreds of people protesting a fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in California’s capital city marched into City Hall, disrupted rush-hour traffic on a freeway and then joined hands to block thousands of NBA fans from entering the arena where the Sacramento Kings were playing.

Protesters shouting “Shut it down” formed a human chain outside Golden 1 Center Thursday evening while dozens of police initially attempted to clear entrances before fans were told to go home. The game between the Kings and Atlanta Hawks started about 20 minutes late and was played before about 2,000 fans in the 17,000-seat arena.

The protesters eventually dispersed and no arrests were made.

After the game, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive addressed the small crowd from center court, surrounded by Sacramento’s players and coaches. He expressed sympathy for the family of Stephon Clark, 22, who was shot Sunday in the backyard of his grandparents’ home.

“We are so very sorry for your loss,” Ranadive said. “We at the Kings recognize people’s abilities to protest peacefully and we respect that. We here at the Kings realize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously and we stand here before you, old, young, black, white, brown, and we are all united in our commitment.”

Clark was suspected of breaking into cars in a South Sacramento neighborhood. Police were called and as a helicopter hovered overhead, Clark ran. Officers on the ground cornered him and, believing he had a gun in his hand, fired 20 rounds.

Afterward, police found no weapon, only a cellphone.

“We are at a place of deep pain” because of recent violence directed at black people in Sacramento and elsewhere, said the Rev. Les Simmons, a community leader who joined the protest. He commended the city’s first black police chief, Daniel Hahn, for doing the best he could in the aftermath but criticized officers for their actions.

Clinton Primm said he was friends with Clark, who was nicknamed “Zoe.”

“He was a great dad,” he said of Clark, the father of sons ages 1 and 3. “He loved both of them to death.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he was horrified by Clark’s death but won’t second-guess the “split-second decisions” of the officers.

He praised Hahn for quickly releasing videos of the shooting and said the department has improved its policies since the fatal shooting of a mentally ill black man in 2016.

Independent experts said the footage from body cameras and the police helicopter raise more questions than they answer.

The officers appeared to believe they were in danger, they said, and if so the shooting was likely legally justified.

One officer is heard “doing a mental inventory to make sure there’s no holes in his body” because the officers appear to think Clark shot at them, said Peter Moskos, a former police officer and assistant professor in the Department of Law and Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina and an expert on police use of force, said the officers may have a tough time explaining why they jumped to the conclusion that Clark had a gun.

He also questioned why an arriving backup officer had the two original officers turn off the microphones on their body cameras, eliminating what he called “important evidence.”

In an ideal world, the two officers should have immediately provided first aid instead of waiting five minutes for backup, said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“But that could be more the product of hope than reality,” he said, with the officers still in shock and worried about their own safety.

The Sacramento Police Department said officers were responding to reports of a man seen breaking into at least three vehicles and later into a neighbor’s home. The police said deputies in the helicopter saw Clark break a neighbor’s sliding glass door before jumping a fence.

As a result, “their threat radar is really high,” said Plumas County sheriff’s deputy and special prosecutor Ed Obayashi, who trains officers and testifies in court on police use of force.

“They have to assume that their lives are in danger at that very second,” he said.

<![CDATA[Student Details Previous Encounter With SJSU Assault Suspect]]> Thu, 22 Mar 2018 23:58:02 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sjsu_assaults_0322_2137345.JPG

New developments in the case of the San Jose State University student accused of sexually assaulting male schoolmates.

Court documents show there was a pattern to Luis Venegas' behavior with his alleged victims. On Thursday, another student says he saw those signs firsthand because the same thing almost happened to him.

Campus police arrested Venegas on March 5, charging him with five felonies, including sexual battery and false imprisonment.

Student Hugo Vera, who said he considered Venegas a friend, told NBC Bay Area that four years ago, he saw all the same signs that were detailed in court documents, and now he regrets not saying anything about it then.

Vera said Venegas once asked if Vera wanted Venegas to perform oral sex on him.

"A little bit of shock," Vera said, recalling his reaction. "I was hoping he’d say it was a joke and we’d laugh about it."

It turns out it wasn’t a joke, Vera said.

Court documents obtained by NBC Bay Area allege that over a three-year span on separate occasions, Venegas’ MO was consistent. He made sexual advances to male schoolmates, grabbing their genitals and offering them sex in his dorm room, documents show.

When the victims rejected his advances, Venegas allegedly choked them. The victims believe Venegas was trying to make them pass out so he could rape them, documents show.

"It’s terrible and unsettling," Vera said.

In both cases detailed in the court documents, the victims allegedly fought off Venegas. Vera said he regrets not speaking up about his encounter four years ago, when he believes Venegas demonstrated predatory behavior.

"Perhaps, if I’d shared my situation with a different party, there may have been a different outcome," Vera said.

Vera said he's willing to go to court and testify for the prosecution in the case against Venegas. "It needs to be out there," he said.

Venegas’ public defender declined to comment.

Police believe there may be a third victim in the case. Vera said there may be a lot more.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Up Against NRA’s Might, Students Fight to Change Gun Laws]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 14:02:29 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_18073602468778.jpg

Student Chris Grady was in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School the day a gunman killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida. On Saturday, less than two months later, Grady and his classmates will rally in Washington, D.C., to demand change to the nation's gun laws.

The March 24 rally in Washington, D.C., called March for Our Lives, has more than 800 sister marches around the world in a movement that is asking that public safety be considered an issue that transcends politics.

"People are trying to spin what we’re doing, saying we’re out to take away their Second Amendment rights," said Grady, 19. "Our main goal is to save kids' lives, people's lives. This is a public safety issue that takes place in concerts, churches, airports, not just schools."

As they march and organize, the students are up against the National Rifle Association, a powerful, well-funded organization that has many decades of experience repelling proposed changes to gun laws.

But this time may be different, experts say, because of the mobilized outrage and mounting pressure on the NRA.

"It is only in moments like this when the country is roused that NRA activism can be overwhelmed, but it doesn't happen often," said Dr. Robert Spitzer, a professor at SUNY Cortland who has written extensively about gun policy.

The NRA was founded in 1871 by former Union soldiers with the intention of promoting accurate marksmanship. In 1934, the group founded a legislative division due to growing debates over gun laws. But it wasn't until 1975 that the NRA founded its lobby division, the Institute for Legislative Action, to be a direct influence on policy.

In 2016, the NRA's political arm took in $366 million, according to a the group's Internal Revenue Service filing obtained by Mother Jones. It was a fundraising record for the group.

The NRA is America's most powerful gun lobby, funding politicians who will vote to maintain loose gun measures on its behalf. And beyond financial power, the NRA has strengthened its base by ingraining the notion that guns represent American values.

The NRA says it supports the Constitution and gun rights for all Americans. But it only truly represents its base members -- nearly 5 million, according to the NRA’s website, on top of another 10 million who identify with the the group, Spitzer said.  

Spitzer said the NRA maintains power through a small, highly motivated minority that wins over a "larger, but relatively apathetic majority."

"There is a general sense among some gun owners that the NRA champions their values -- not just gun ownership, but how they view the world," he said. 

The organization has been thrown in a harsh spotlight after the the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz was charged with killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, using a semiautomatic rifle. The NRA was silent for a week after the shooting before going on the offensive; NRA leader Wayne LaPierre called for President Donald Trump to arm teachers and "harden our schools" as a defense against shootings.

The group has already increased its influence in schools in recent years-- the NRA has given more than $7 million to about 500 schools across the U.S. from 2010 to 2016, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Most of the money was given through competitive grants used to promote shooting sports, including the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, rifle teams, hunting safety courses and agriculture clubs.

Although it’s a small portion of the $61 million the NRA has given to local groups in the same time frame, The Associated Press analysis revealed the $7.3 million was a rapid increase from previous years, nearly four-fold from 2010 to 2014. Some opponents call it a thinly veiled attempt to recruit the next generation of NRA members.

But the attempt may not inspire a generation of students who have been entrenched in an era of deadly gun use. Each year from 2000 to 2013 there was an increase in shootings, and casualties per shooting, according to a study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Of the 160 situations examined by the FBI in that span, there were only four instances in which an armed civilian ended the shooting. Twenty-one of them ended after an unarmed civilian restrained the shooter -- eleven of them were principals, teachers, other school staff and students.

"[Arming teachers] won’t have a significant effect on public safety," Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor, told NBC's "Nightly News." "Measures like this could actually make schools less safe.”

After the Parkland shooting, LaPierre said the NRA is happy to work with schools to make them safer. But the sentiment echoes his assertion after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, when he said, "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun."

The NRA did not return NBC’s request for comment. 

Immediately after the shooting in Parkland, Trump took a hard line on guns and showed signs of supporting stricter gun measures. He attacked members of Congress who he said were “afraid of the NRA.” But shortly after that, the president waffled on his stance, withdrawing support for a raised minimum gun age and instead backing LaPierre’s call for armed teachers.

Aashish Kumar, the co-director at the Center for Civic Engagement at Hofstra University, said the NRA has tapped into a cultural underpinning to the gun rights movement, successfully exploiting and heightening people’s sense of urgency to own weapons. He said the increase in political engagement by young Americans can be attributed, in part, to the Trump administration.

"We're seeing students take on these leadership roles, which shows us very clearly that they’re not waiting for others to do the things they feel need to be done," Kumar said. "Parkland was a rupture in 'Politics as usual.'"

After the shooting in Parkland, public support for gun control reached its highest point in 25 years, with two-thirds of Americans wanting stricter measures, according to a Gallup Poll released in mid March. But even with a changing public opinion, the NRA has political clout to keep its agenda afloat -- during the 2016 election cycle, the group spent an unprecedented $54.4 million on key Republican candidates, including more than $30 million on Trump.

And stricter gun legislation faces an uphill battle in most states, according to a review by The Associated Press. The review deemed in unlikely for Republican lawmakers to defy the NRA to pass new regulations -- and Republicans have sponsored over 80 percent of bills to expand gun rights. The GOP controls most statehouses nationwide.

The review brings reality to the student-led gun control movement. Survivors of the Parkland shooting have been calling out the NRA on social media, on television, and pressuring politicians like Sen. Marco Rubio who have accepted donations from the gun group.

LaPierre said the Parkland students "exploit tragedy for political gain."

Grady said the NRA's attempts to discredit Parkland students is how they know they're getting to the gun group. 

"It’s good to be a nuisance," he said. "We’re pissing them off."

Several companies have cut ties with the NRA and some have raised the age limit to purchase a rifle to 21. Spitzer noted that it isn't the first time companies have distanced themselves from the gun group, but called the current round of severed ties "a bigger step" by damaging the NRA's image with the potential for "long-term business consequences."

While the movement was started by students, the expectation of students to change the status quo of gun policy is unrealistic without the support of the larger public against groups like the NRA, Kumar said.

"Students can only initiate that voice, show that outrage," he said. "They have been direct, honest, vulnerable -- a reminder of what it is really about."

Grady said the NRA is fully within its right to keep promoting its agenda, but doesn't believe it'll withstand the growing opposition.

"It’s their right to do what they want to do, but they’re just choosing the wrong side of history if they’re gonna continue to fight against these bills we want to see passed," he said. "It’s just a matter of choosing the right side of history."

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
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<![CDATA[Grenades Found During San Jose Estate Sale]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 19:22:10 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/03232018GrenadeSJ_2148580.JPG

It would be strange, if not absolutely bizarre to find live grenades stored at your house. But that's exactly what happened to a San Jose woman on Monday during an estate sale. Robert Handa reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Never-Before-Seen Photo of Winchester Mystery House Found]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 18:49:35 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/HistoryofSanJose-03.png

A never-before-seen photo of the South Bay’s famous Winchester Mystery House has been discovered.

The photo was found by a Winchester Mystery House employee in a local archive showing the home with similar features of home's foundation today. 

The house first started as an eight-room unfinished farmhouse and has been continuously built on by Sarah Winchester’s carpenters for 38 years.

One of the other exciting things about the discovery is it’s only the second-ever photo showing Sarah Winchester at her San Jose mansion.

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<![CDATA[Reported Student With Gun Detained in San Lorenzo: Sheriff]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 15:07:51 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/03232018ArroyoHighSchool_2146544.JPG

Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo was placed on lockdown Friday afternoon after a student was reportedly armed with a gun, Alameda County Sheriff's Office authorities said.

Deputies located the student in class and detained the teen, Sgt. Ray Kelly said, adding a firearm was also located.

Following an investigation, one student was arrested and two others were detained, according to the Sheriff's Office.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Gather for "March For Our Lives"]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:59:16 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_march160323_1920x1080.jpg

The march is part of an ongoing grass roots movemnt started by students from Parkland, Florida after a gunman killed 17 people during an attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They're calling on lawmakers to change gun laws as part of their promise to help keep schools safe. 

<![CDATA[San Francisco Prepares for March For Our Lives Rally]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 17:43:38 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MarchForOurLives.jpg

Student activists and gun control advocates across the nation will take to the streets Saturday for March For Our Lives, rallies formed in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida shooting.

As the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors planned to march in Washington, the campaign gained nation-wide popularity.

One of the cities in the Bay Area expecting big crowds is San Francisco, where organizers and students prepare.

"The poise and composure of the parkland students standing up and saying to the country enough is enough," said San Francisco resident Shoshana Ungerleider.

Ungerleider is the organizer of the San Francisco rally, she put the event together on Facebook after she didn’t see one planned.

"Within three days, 25,000 people had RSVPd," she said. "We never intended to be the organizers."

One of the participants is Lowell High School freshman Jason Chen, who partook in the school walkouts on Mar. 14 to bring attention to school safety and gun violence.

"We’re going to have a big front line of diverse passionate and loud student," Chen said. "I want lawmakers to actually pass common-sense gun reforms. This doesn’t mean they should arm teachers, this doesn’t mean they just overlook it and stay silent."

Organizers of the San Francisco march say Senator Dianne Feinstein, other elected officials and advocates are expected to attend along with students as featured speakers.

"I'm so heartened by the fact that people around the country and people in the Bay Area are getting behind the student-led effort to make change," Ungerleider said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bumgarner Fractures Pitching Hand Before Season]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:30:02 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/jennphoto.jpg

A day after the Giants got good news about their No. 3 starter, they got bad news about their No. 1.

Madison Bumgarner left Friday's spring training game against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning after a Whit Merrifield line drive hit his pitching hand. That left hand is fractured, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman.

There is no prognosis yet on Bumgarner's return, according to Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

"Horrible news for us," Bochy told reporters (via Schulman). "That's all you can say about it. There's nothing you can do but push on."

Bumgarner, who's scheduled to start Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Mar. 29, was making his final start before the regular season. He was off to a strong start this spring. In five appearances, Bumgarner posted a 2.84 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 19.0 innings pitched.

The 28-year-old missed nearly three months last season after injuring his left shoulder in a dirtbike accident.

This story is being updated.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Spending Plan Protects Medical Marijuana Laws From Feds]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:41:05 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/nuevas-leyes-2018-015.jpg

The massive spending plan signed by President Donald Trump Friday includes language barring the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute medical marijuana programs in states where they are legal, defying Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Sessions had made personal pleas to lawmakers not to renew the  Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which bars the Justice Department from using money allocated by Congress to prevent states from "implementing their own sate laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

But the language was in the version approved by Congress, and signed by the president.

"Patients across the country will be relieved to hear that Congress has maintained the current policy of allowing states to make their own decisions on medical marijuana policy," said Matthew Schweich, executive director for the advocay group Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement to NBC. He added "It is imperative that Congress continue to include these temporary protections in the federal budget until comprehensive marijuana policy reforms are passed."

Because the provision was originally approved in 2014 as a budgetary amendment, Congress must explicitly reauthorized it in each new fiscal year spending bill in order for it to remain in effect.

Sessions pleaded in a letter to congressional leaders not to include the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment in the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018.

"I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of a historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime," Sessions wrote in a May 2017 letter obtained by MassRoots. "The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives."

Marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug and illegal under federal law. However, the Justice Department during the Obama administration had issued guidance — which Session revoked in January — directing federal prosecutors not to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that had legalized the substance.

Adding to the concerns of marijuana law advocates, when Trump signed the Fiscal Year 2017 omnibus appropriations bill, he issued a signing statement indicating he could undermine the policy.

"I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," he wrote.

The move was contrary to statements then-candidate Trump made during the presidential campaign. He repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws if elected, and said that he supports medical cannabis "100 percent," going so far as to note that he personally knows people who have benefited from it, according to Politifact.

But while a bipartisan group of lawmakers support protecting states’ medical marijuana laws, the House GOP blocked an amendment on Wednesday that would have extended the same protections to state-legal recreational programs.

"While I’m glad that our medical marijuana protections are included, there is nothing to celebrate since Congress only maintained the status quo," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in a statement. "These protections have been law since 2014. This matter should be settled once and for all. Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans, across every party, strongly favor the right to use medical marijuana."

Marijuana is currently legal for medical or adult use in 28 states, accounting for more than 60 percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), an advocacy group that lobbies for federal marijuana reform.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Former 49er, Raider Aldon Smith Arrested Again in SF]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 09:54:44 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/AldonSmithGeneric.JPG

Former San Francisco 49er and Oakland Raiders player Aldon Smith was arrested again in San Francisco on Friday. 

Smith allegedly violated a court order by contacting the victim of a March 3 domestic violence incident.

Smith turned himself in after San Francisco police issued a warrant.

According to SFPD, the agency's Special Victims Unit investigators obtained information that Smith violated a domestic violence restraining order stemming from the March incident. A warrant was issued and the department worked with Smith's legal counsel to arrange a date for Smith surrender himself. "Smith surrendered himself to SVU investigators and will be processed for the warrant and three counts of misdemeanor violation of a protective/stay away order," SFPD said.

The Raiders released the troubled edge rusher after an alleged domestic violence incident in a San Francisco residence earlier this month, according to police.

Smith previously cooperated with a reported domestic violence incident in February 2017, NBC Sports Bay Area reported.

One month later, Smith told reporters he had "done nothing wrong" after being released from San Francisco Police Department headquarters where he was temporarily detained for public intoxication. Smith was a passenger in an SUV that crashed into an unmarked police car. Smith's girlfriend, who was driving the SUV, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, police said.

He previously played with the San Francisco 49ers before being released in 2015 following an arrest. One day before his dismissal, police said Smith hit a parked car while under the influence of alcohol in Santa Clara.

Smith didn't play in the first nine games of the 2014 season because he was found to be in violation of the league's substance abuse policy and personal conduct policy, according to NBC Sports Bay Area.

Smith also "pleaded no contest to counts of possessing illegal assault weapons and for driving under the influence from a 2013 incident," NBC Sports Bay Area reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Backup QB EJ Manuel Re-Signs With Raiders]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 12:25:48 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ejback.jpg

Quarterback EJ Manuel got just what he wanted Thursday: a new deal with the Oakland Raiders.

“Today has been a very good day,” he tweeted.

Manuel, 28, could have departed as an unrestricted free agent, but signed a new deal with the team to remain as the No. 1 backup to Derek Carr. He’s now one of four QBs on the roster, with Connor Cook and Josh Johnson – who signed this week – also competing for jobs next season behind Carr.

Manuel, once a first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills, came to the Raiders last year. The 6-foot-5, 237-pounder from Florida State, the 16th overall pick in the 2013 draft, started one game for the Raiders in 2017 and appeared in another – both when Carr was hurt – and completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Terms of the deal with Manuel were not announced.

Recently, new Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said he believes in Manuel and knows how important it is to have a No. 2 quarterback who can step into the lineup and win, pointing to what Nick Foles did for the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

“I like EJ Manuel, honestly,” Gruden told Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. “I had him (on his ESPN Show “QB Camp”) as well (as Connor Cook). I think EJ’s a young, talented guy. He’s been in the facility down there on his own, working out every day. There’s a bright, I think, upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with.”

<![CDATA['60s Activists Praise Today's 'Creative' Student Protesters]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 14:02:56 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tinker-gonzales.jpg

Students furious about school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and confronting the National Rifle Association and its political allies as they demand gun control laws with new urgency, are impressing an earlier generation of protesters who took to the streets 50 years ago.

As survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prepare to lead a march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, veterans of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests of the 1960s are praising them for their quick mobilization and their fearlessness.

"I think they're focused, and I think they're creative," said Abe Peck, an editor at the underground newspaper, the Chicago Seed, in the 1960s and the author of "Uncovering the ‘60s: The Life and Times of the Underground Press." "They've also done something which all movements have to do, they've identified an enemy."

"They're osmosing certain previous movements," he said.

Saturday's March for Our Lives, in Washington, D.C., and smaller marches in every state in the nation come a little more than a month after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, returned to the school and opened fire. As students and teachers hid in closets and huddled under desks, he killed 17 of his former schoolmates.

Almost immediately, the students upended what had become the accepted response to bloody school shootings: thoughts and prayers from politicians and others but no action on curbing the prevalence on guns in the United States. They debated the NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch at a televised town hall on CNN. One student, Cameron Kasky, 17, demanded Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio stop taking donations from the NRA. Another, David Hogg, also 17, told Bill Maher that he had hung up on the White House asking him to attend President Donald Trump's listening session on gun violence. Trump needs to the screams of the students, Hogg said.

At a gun-control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, days after the shooting, 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez, a senior at the school, vowed: "We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we're going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because … we are going to be the last mass shooting. Just like Tinker v. Des Moines, we are going to change the law."

Gonzalez was referring to Mary Beth Tinker and her older brother John, who when they were 13 and 15 in 1965 wore black armbands to school in Des Moines, Iowa, to protest the Vietnam War. They and other students were suspended when they refused to remove them.

With the help of the ACLU, they sued and the U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled 7-2 that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gates."

Mary Beth Tinker, now 65, said that she and the others were ordinary people living in extraordinary times just as the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are. She predicted that their protests would be turning point in what the former nurse called an epidemic of gun violence.

"This issue has been percolating for awhile," said Tinker, who now speaks to students about the First Amendment and visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 2013 as part of a tour of schools. "It really started with Black Lives Matter and it's just the mistreatment of young people has gotten to the breaking point. And it’s good that young people are turning their grief into action and they're also joining together across racial divides and economic divides and that’s very exciting to see."

Their activism isn't coming in a vacuum, said Angus Johnston, a history professor at the City University of New York who specializes in student activism.

"We're seeing a tremendous upsurge of student protest and youth activism and generally lots of people in the streets and organizing and running for office and taking action in all sorts of ways," he said.

Many of the Florida students are in Jeff Foster's AP government class and had been studying the NRA even before the shooting. They consciously used the protests of the 1960s as a model, they say.

The junior-class president, 17-year-old Jaclyn Corin, told the liberal political podcast "Pod Save America" this week that they were following the example of students from the Vietnam War era and especially Martin Luther King Jr.'s principles of nonviolence.

"We are peacefully protesting," she said. "That's what the school walkout encompassed. That's what the march is going to be like. And we're just not fighting fire with fire, we're fighting the NRA with the hopeful voices of the generation that's going to soon be the core power of America."

Sixty-six percent of Americans want stricter gun laws, a Quinnipiac University poll released Feb. 20 found, the highest level since it started asking about the topic after the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Support jumped almost 20 points since 2015. Sixty-seven percent polled wanted a ban on assault-style weapons.

The students want assault weapons banned, the sale of high-capacity magazines prohibited and background checks to be required for all sales at gun shows and online.

They are prominent on Twitter and Facebook and other social media, and it’s where they take on the NRA and call out trolls who try to falsely label them actors not survivors.

When the NRA posted a video featuring Loesch flipping an hourglass and warning "every lying member of the media" and "every Hollywood phony" that their time was running out, 16-year-old Sarah Chadwick struck back with a spoof. She mocked Loesch in her own video, with her own hourglass. "To every spokeswoman with an hourglass who uses their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents," Chadwick said, "your time is running out."

Peck chronicled the earlier decade of upheaval, from the Summer of Love in San Francisco and the Pentagon demonstration in 1967, to the Democratic Convention in Chicago the following year, when police outside clashed violently with protesters. These students are non-violent and "just so smart and so organized," he said. The question will be whether they can keep it up.

"The war was a root canal for us, year after year," Peck said. "What happens when the seniors graduate? What happens when ordinary life takes over? Obviously this was a life changing event for many of these kids but can they sustain it?"

Bill Zimmerman, an anti-war activist who helped lead the Indochina Peace Campaign and Medical Aid for Indochina, said both groups were motivated by public policies that put their lives at risk.

The earliest anti-war demonstrators were driven by moral objections, but young people joined in massive numbers after the number of men drafted into military service surged in 1966 to more than 380,000, he said. 

"And it helped create a movement that eventually had a major impact on the public policy that before had only been addressed by people concerned with morality," he said. "So there may be a parallel today, because these kids are not dealing with gun control as an abstract issue. They’re dealing with it in terms of their own safety."

The students successfully organized a school walkout on March 14, a month to the day of the shooting, when students left their classrooms by thousands in cities across the country, sometimes defying authorities as they did. They pushed Florida lawmakers to pass modest but unprecedented new gun control laws, the first in the state in two decades, raising the age to buy all firearms to 21 and restricting gun access to people who show signs of mental illness or violence, among them.

Looking forward, they plan another walkout for April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, and will try to vote out opponents to gun control in the midterm elections.

Dawson Barrett is an assistant professor of U.S. history at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the author of "Teenage Rebels: Successful High School Activists, from the Little Rock Nine to the Class of Tomorrow." High school students have been a part of every one of the country's movements, but what is new now is the size of the protests.

"I think we are very likely witnessing what are almost certainly the largest protests by high school students in U.S. history," he said.

To be effective, he said, students have to recruit adult allies, which this group has done from organizations urging gun control.

"If they want to play a role in the fall elections, they’re going to have to maintain momentum after this weekend and after the April 20 walkout and how they do that, I don’t have those answers," he said. "But that’s going to be so important.

Zimmerman, now a partner in Zimmerman & Markman, a national political consulting firm based in Santa Monica, said that to keep attention on their issue, the students will have to address the public policy questions seriously but also take actions that could involve civil disobedience and offend some people.

"The stakes for some kids are going to be life and death so the kids of action they take need to comparatively militant and dramatic and forceful," he said.

It is hard to know whether their protests will explode into a national movement or fizzle, he said. The gun control laws they convinced Florida lawmakers to pass, though limited, were enormous symbolically, he said.

"So the elements are there," he said. "It hasn’t happened yet but the elements are definitely there for this thing to turn into a major national mass movement."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Shanahan Wanted Cousins, Not Garoppolo]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 12:24:50 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/kilengimie.jpg

The trade for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last year could turn out to be a turning point of the 49ers franchise, the moment when the dark days of the post-Jim Harbaugh era came to an end.

Once Garoppolo took command of the offense late last season, he was brilliant. He led the Niners to five straight wins to close the season and now appears to be the franchise quarterback of the present and future.

But as general manager John Lynch said this week, Garoppolo wasn’t the first choice of head coach Kyle Shanahan. On ESPN’s” Golic and Wingo” radio show Wednesday, Lynch said Shanahan’s hope when coming to the Niners was to lure Kirk Cousins of Washington to the Bay Area.

“For Kyle, I think the thing I would tell people is we made the trade and then there were some days that Kyle Shanahan was like in mourning, because I think everybody knows his master plan was to have Kirk Cousins come in eventually,” Lynch said. “I was proud of Kyle. Because I think he knew that this was the right thing for our franchise, and he didn’t hesitate. But even then, Jimmy had to really prove himself. I think it was really smart. (Kyle) didn’t play him right away. He waited until he had some semblance of an understanding of our scheme when he did put him in. And he put him in a position to succeed. And then I would tell you that Jimmy really impressed Kyle to the point that he said, ‘This is our guy.’ ”

Shanahan had worked with Cousins in Washington. The two had a good relationship and Shanahan admired the way Cousins – who now has left Washington for Minnesota – played the game. But Shanahan said he quickly came to be a big fan of Garoppolo.

“Everyone knows how I feel about Kirk,” Shanahan told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback. “And for anybody who knows how I feel about Kirk, I think this shows how I feel about Jimmy, the fact that we ended up doing this. I’m not a guy who’s going to get excited and just go with the momentum, at all. I usually do the opposite, question it to make sure I’m absolutely confident, and not go with the momentum or the excitement.

“Talking about Kirk, understanding where we could be in the next year, for me to feel this way about Jimmy? It says a lot about Jimmy.”

Shanahan said Garoppolo showed over the five-game winning streak that he’s a special quarterback and one he believes can be the centerpiece to the 49ers offense for a long time.

“I knew he was making some plays that just came very natural to him,” Shanahan told Breer. “He showed that he had a natural feel that you can’t really coach. He was born with it.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Legal Pot Business Owners Ponder Possibility of Death Row]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 12:01:07 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AdobeStock_99027642_a.jpg

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions move to urge federal prosecutors to seek death for drug traffickers "dealing in extremely large quantities" this week has some in the legal cannabis community worried, NBC News reported.

The guidelines for capital punishment include selling 60,000 kilograms of marijuana product annually or $20 million in gross receipts, said Tom Angell, who founded the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Marijuana Majority, and that could apply to producers and growers of state-approved recreational pot.

"Regardless of one's feelings about the death penalty, it's completely unacceptable to be applied to a consensual crime like providing marijuana," Angell said.

Experts say that it's almost legally impossible to institute the death penalty for dealing pot, but they were also astonished that the country's top law enforcement official would open the door to it.

Photo Credit: Adobe ]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Dies Following Fiery Tesla Model X Crash on Hwy. 101]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 15:02:57 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SOCIALTESLA_2148515.JPEG

An accident caused a Tesla to catch fire Friday morning, closing all four lanes of southbound U.S. Highway 101 in Mountain View, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Two lanes were later reopened but the crash caused major delays during rush hour.

According to CHP of Redwood City, a blue Tesla Model X was driving southbound on US-101, when the driver ran into a median barrier and the car caught fire. The Tesla was then hit by a Mazda as it landed on a lane and then hit by an Audi. A total of three vehicles were involved.

The driver of the Tesla was taken to Stanford hospital and succumbed to his injuries. No other injuries were reported. Images from the scene showed the front of the Tesla completely destroyed as firefighters tried to get the fire out. Crews were still on the scene cleaning up as of noon.

Tesla sent an employee over to investigate the crash and the subsequent fire. An exposed battery was visible inside the car.

CHP officers said the accident was just south of the junction where Highway 101 meets state Highway 85.

Officials are investigating what caused the Tesla to catch fire.

A Tesla Model X is a mid-sized, all-electric, luxury crossover SUV made by Tesla with falcon wing doors. It starts at $79,500.

Visit our traffic page for the latest information.

<![CDATA[Memorial Honors Marin Sheriff's Deputy Who Died in Crash]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:36:32 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RyanZirkle.jpg

Marin County Sheriff's Office honored a 24-year-old deputy who died last week after a crash on Highway 1 in the North Bay.

A memorial service for Deputy Sheriff Ryan Zirkle took place on Friday at the Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael.

Zirkle was responding to a 911 hang-up call around 12 a.m. when he apparently lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a tree just north of Point Reyes Station, according to Marin County Sheriff Bob Doyle and the California Highway Patrol.

It took first responders roughly 35 minutes to free Zirkle from his vehicle, Doyle said. Once he was extricated, he was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he later passed away.

"As you can imagine, today is a sad and difficult day for not only Ryan Zirkle's family but the men and women of the Marin County Sheriff's Office," Doyle said.

Zirkle was described as an "always happy" and "enthusiastic" person who "always had a smile on his face," according to Doyle. He grew up in Novato and graduated from San Marin High School.

"He wanted to serve his community that he grew up in," Doyle said.

Zirkle, who had been serving with the Marin County Sheriff's Office for about 2 1/2 years, was living in Petaluma before the crash. He had just purchased a house with his fiancée.

"This is a tough time," Doyle said. "This is a tough time for all of us. We're grieving."

Zirkle is survived by his mother, father, two older brothers and his fiancée. A memorial fund has been created for Zirkle's family, according to the CHP.

Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Large Fire Near Fourth St. in Berkeley Under Control]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 11:34:30 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBStillBerkeleyFire3232018_2144867.JPEG

A two-alarm fire at 699 Virginia St. in Berkeley, near Fourth Street, that was reported at 9:41 a.m. today was controlled by 10:30 a.m., a fire official said.

Berkeley Assistant Fire Chief Keith May said no one was injured in the fire at the Hanson Aggregates Berkeley Asphalt and Ready Mix Building.

May said authorities temporarily shut down railroad tracks near the building for safety reasons.

May said authorities also have closed some nearby streets but the nearby busy Fourth Street shopping area wasn't affected by the fire.

He said authorities are still advising people to avoid the area bounded by Cedar Street, Fourth Street, Virginia Street and the Eastshore Highway.

The cause of the fire hasn't yet been determined, May said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Elon Musk Deletes His Own, Tesla and SpaceX Pages From Facebook]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 12:58:34 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/elonmuskchinatrade_1200x675.jpg

Piling on to the backlash against Facebook in the wake of its user data crisis, Elon Musk deleted the official Facebook pages of his two companies Tesla and SpaceX -- after an exchange on Twitter.

Musk was responding to WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton's call to join the growing #DeleteFacebook movement in light of revelations that data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly lifted the data of millions of users without their consent.

"It is time. #deletefacebook," Acton tweeted on March 20.

"What's Facebook?" Musk replied on Friday.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 before Acton left the messaging app in 2017.

Another Twitter user upped the stakes, writing, “Delete SpaceX page on Facebook if you're the man?"

A seemingly out-of-the-loop Musk accepted the challenge. "I didn’t realize there was one. Will do,” he wrote, later adding that he had "literally never seen" a SpaceX Facebook page.

Continuing his candor, Musk said the Tesla page "looks lame" but that the SpaceX page "looks official." After being shown a screenshot of what appeared to be his personal page, Musk claimed it was the first time he'd seen it.

Moments later, the Facebook pages for Tesla and SpaceX, as well as Musk’s own page, gave an error that read: "Sorry, this content isn't available right now."

SpaceX confirmed the swift action, telling NBC News that Musk did in fact permanently delete the SpaceX and Tesla pages, as well as his own. The company didn't offer any other details.

While Musk may have surprised Twitter users with his willingness to follow through, he was quick to downplay the move and even weighed in on Facebook rival Instagram.

"Instagram’s probably ok imo [in my opinion], so long as it stays fairly independent. I don’t use FB & never have, so don’t think I’m some kind of martyr or my companies are taking a huge blow. Also, we don’t advertise or pay for endorsements, so … don’t care."

Facebook did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images File
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<![CDATA[SFO Plans to Rename Terminal for Harvey Milk]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 09:22:14 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFO_Plans_to_Rename_Terminal_for_Harvey_Milk.jpg

San Francisco International Airport is one step closer to having Terminal One after LGBT rights icon Harvey Milk.

<![CDATA[Bay Area Cities Participating in March for Our Lives 2018]]> Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:54:15 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-935374340.jpg

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to participate in the nation-wide March For Our Lives event, demanding the federal government take immediate action to pass gun safety laws.

On Saturday, people all over the country will take to the streets to have their voices heard. According to the campaign website, “March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar.”

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The campaign comes a couple of months after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 lives were lost.

“In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns,” the website read. “March For Our Lives believes the time is now.”

Though the main march will take place in Washington D.C., many other cities in the nation are doing their part, with more than 838 events confirmed on their website, including Bay Area cities.

Here is a list of participating cities in the area:

San Francisco

Time: 1 p.m.

Location: Civic Center Plaza, 335 McAllister, San Francisco


Time: 10 a.m.

Location: 850 Burlingame Avenue, Burlingame


Time: 9:30 a.m.

Location: 5000 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacifica

Redwood City

Time: 1 p.m.

Location: 2200 Broadway, Redwood City

San Jose

Time: 11 a.m.

Location: 200 E Santa Clara Street, San Jose

San Mateo

Time: 12 p.m.

Location: 2720 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo


Time: 12 p.m.

Location: 1500 Park Street, Alameda


Time: 10 a.m.

Location: 1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland

Richmond/West County

Time: 11 a.m.

Location: 1300 Nevin Avenue, Richmond

San Leandro

Time: 9 a.m.

Location: 250 Dutton Avenue, San Leandro


Time: 9 a.m.

Location: 2425 Jefferson, Napa


Time: 11 a.m.

Location: 901 Sherman Avenue, Novato

Santa Rosa

Time: 10 a.m.

Location: 600-636 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa

Sonoma Valley

Time: 12 pm. 

Location: 453 First Street East, Sonoma

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Six Juvenile Suspects Arrested in Carjacking: SJPD]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:48:10 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/198*120/sanjose+edgestone+cir.JPG

Six juvenile suspects were arrested early Friday morning after police said they stole a car in San Jose.

One male suspect, armed with a gun, took the victim's vehicle on Edgestone Circle and drove off with five other suspects, police said. 

Police later located the stolen vehicle in the area of Coe and Bird Avenue, where they initiated a pursuit. California Highway Patrol took over the pursuit from SJPD after the vehicle entired Highway 280 at Bird Avenue.

The vehicle later took the Hacienda exit and ran off the road way where the vehicle crashed. It was unclear whether any of the six suspects were injured.

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA['Imminent Dam Failure' Prompts Evacuations in Tuolumne Co.]]> Thu, 22 Mar 2018 23:48:51 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0322-2018-MoccasinDam.jpg

A dam that was reportedly on the verge of failing prompted evacuations and a flash flood warning Thursday for parts of Tuolumne County, officials said.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office said operators at the Moccasin Creek Dam reported the "imminent failure" of the dam on Moccasin Creek. Flood waters will move down the creek to Don Pedro Reservoir.

The sheriff's office at 4:38 p.m. reported dam "failure is no longer imminent, but potential."

The rising waters did, however, damage a local roadway and the reservoir. Nearby Highway 49 was damaged and shut down indefinitely, and the lake was filled with trees that were taken down by the force of the rushing water. 

California Department of Fish and Wildlife crews were evacuating the Moccasin Fish Hatchery. Fish and Wildlife officials reported on Twitter all nine state employees and their families who live and work in the area were evacuated safely.

Tuolumne County is about 40 miles west of Yosemite National Park. The flash flood warning is in effect until 2:15 p.m. Friday.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said it is monitoring the situation and reports no threat to the Bay Area's water supply at this time.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Toys R Us Liquidation Marks End of an Era for Shoppers]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 10:27:18 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Toys+R+Us+Liquidation+Sales.jpg

Friday marked the beginning of the end for toy seller Toys R Us as the toy retailer began liquidation sales on March 23 at hundreds of stores around the country.

The going-out-of-business sales are the latest in a series of sad news for the 70-year-old company. On Thursday, Toys R Us founder, Charles Lazarus died at the age of 94. Lazurus, who began his retail career selling children's furniture, pioneered the creation of what was one of the nation's biggest superstore chains in 1948.

His death comes a week after the company announced it would be shuttering its U.S. operation after unsuccessfully reorganizing following a bankruptcy protection filing in September 2017.

The company also revealed that it planned to start liquidation sales. But sales planned for Thursday were postponed due to "unforeseen circumstances," signs posted outside stores around the country and a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday. 

The mass liquidation event at 740 stores will join the ongoing going-out-of-business sales at 182 stores that began last month. Those locations should be shuttered for good by mid-April.

Toys R Us promised "deep discounts and promotions." But workers at a Toys R Us in New York City's Times Square, where most merchandise had only been discounted 10 percent with a few items on sale at 30 percent off, said Friday that it could be a month before deep discounts come.

Shoppers from around the New York City area visiting the Times Square and Manhattan Mall stores looking for deals found themselves reminiscing about the impact that the store had on their lives.

Chris Rohr, a shopper at a store on Broadway in Times Square, grew up riding the 60-foot-Ferris Wheel inside of the company's flagship store in the area, which closed in 2015. For Rohr, the end of Toys R Us meant the end of an era for a generation of children who viewed it as more than just a place to sell toys.   

"I was in and out of there all the time. There used to be trips and excursions with my mom just taking me out," he said. "She wouldn't even buy me anything but we'd go around, play and look at everything." 

He added that it's "hard to get inspiration from an online posting."   

The liquidation marks a generational shift in kids' interest in toys, according to Ben Bartholomew, a shopper at the Manhattan Mall. 

"The demographics are shifting and it's pretty scary to think about toy stores not doing well," Bartholomew said. "Because there's less kids and I think that will have cascading effects on a lot of industries."

"For a lot of people in my generation, Toys R Us was kind of a place where you would want to go and hang out and toy manufactures would use it as a showroom for a really long time," Bartholomew said.

Toys R Us said on its website that customers can continue to shop online for products "for a limited of time," but it was unclear when the retailer's online store would stop accepting orders. All online orders are expected to be fulfilled and customers should expect to receive them.

The retailer said customers can continue to use their Toys R Us credit cards through the end of the liquidation sales, and will honor Toys R Us gift cards until April 20. However, rewards or discounts associated with the card will no longer be accepted. It has also stopped accepting coupons, including from the Geoffrey Birthday Club, on March 22. 

Stores will accept returns on products purchased before the liquidation for the next 30 days. All purchases made after liquidation sales begin are final, which means they cannot be returned or exchanged.

Victor Valez, a shopper at the Manhattan Mall, used Toys R Us stores as more than just a place to buy his children toys, but baby supplies as well. 

"I used to go in there and buy my daughter's milk and diapers," Valez said. "I used to get them by the case because they had good prices."

Formula would cost more at his neighborhood bodega, he said. 

At Babies R Us stores, no new registrants will be accepted, but existing registrants can still continue to access their registries while the online store is still open. They encourage shoppers to save or write down products on their registries as soon as possible to list what they want before the option is turned off. 

The company has been posting job openings recently for temporary positions to help during the liquidation process. But the store closings mean that around 31,000 employees will ultimately be laid off.

"It's sad for the employees," said Rohr, the shopper in Times Square. "I mean think about how many people are losing their jobs because they can't maintain a brick and mortar store."

For additional questions about products, warranties or rewards, customers in the U.S. can contact the Customer Service Department at 1(800) TOYSRUS or 1 (800) 869-7787 between the hours of 8 AM and 11 PM ET. The company also shared customer FAQ information here. 

Photo Credit: James Best]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Users and Shareholders File Suits Over Data Scandal]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 07:07:04 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_18076683902265-Facebook-Headquarters.jpg

Facebook Inc. has been hit with four lawsuits in federal court in San Francisco and San Jose thus far this week in the wake of revelations that a political data firm obtained information about 50 million Facebook users.

One lawsuit was filed by a Facebook user who claims the Menlo Park company acted with "absolute disregard" for her personal information after allegedly representing that it wouldn't disclose the data without permission or notice.

That lawsuit, filed by Lauren Price of Maryland in San Jose on Tuesday, seeks to be a class action on behalf of up to 50 million people whose data was allegedly collected from Facebook by London-based Cambridge Analytica.

The lawsuit says that during the 2016 election, Price was "frequently targeted with political ads while using Facebook."

It seeks financial restitution for claims of unfair business practices and negligence. Both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are named as defendants.

Two other lawsuits were filed in San Francisco Tuesday and San Jose on Thursday by individual shareholders Fan Yuan and Robert Casey against Facebook, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Financial Officer David Wehner.

Yuan and Casey also each seek make their cases class actions. They claim the company and the officers are responsible for the financial losses they incurred when the stock price dropped this week following news reports of the data harvesting. The price drop caused Facebook to lose $50 billion of its market value, or nearly 10 percent of its total market value, in two days.

The fourth lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Jose Thursday by San Francisco attorney Jeremiah Hallisey, is a shareholder derivative suit filed on behalf of the company against Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Office Sheryl Sandberg and board members.

Hallisey claims the officers and directors violated their fiduciary duty and also unjustly profited from previous sales of their own shares by failing to prevent, remedy or disclose the exploitation of Facebook users' personal profiles.

The lawsuit asks for financial restitution to the company as well as a court order requiring Facebook to improve its corporate governance and internal procedures.

The data disclosure allegedly came about when a researcher invited Facebook users to sign up for a psychological survey in 2014, was able to collect data from the friends of 270,000 participants and then provided the data on 50 million people to Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide, had no immediate comment on the lawsuits.

But in a statement posted in its online newsroom on Wednesday, the company said, "Protecting people's information is the most important thing we do at Facebook.

"What happened with Cambridge Analytica was a breach of Facebook's trust. More importantly, it was a breach of the trust people place in Facebook to protect their data when they share it," the company said.

Facebook said it is "taking action on potential past abuse and putting stronger protections in place to prevent future abuse."

Mark Molumphy, a lawyer for Hallisey, said in a statement, "Facebook's apology doesn't do much for the millions of Americans impacted by this conduct.

"It also doesn't explain why Facebook executives waited three years to inform their loyal users and shareholders of the massive breach," Molumphy said.

Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Girl Shot Inside Md. School Has Died: Sheriff]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 07:22:17 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jaelynn+willey+web+thumb.jpg

The teenage girl who was shot in the halls of her Maryland high school has died, the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office announced Friday. 

Jaelynn Rose Willey, 16, was surrounded by her family when she died at 11:34 p.m. Thursday, the sheriff's office says. Her parents announced that they had decided to take her off of life support hours earlier. 

Willey was in the hallway of Great Mills High School in Maryland Tuesday morning when police say Austin Rollins pointed a semi-automatic handgun at her and fired.

Authorities say Willey and Rollins had a previous relationship.

"My daughter was hurt by a boy who shot her in the head...and took everything from our lives," Willey's mother, Melissa Willey, said at a news conference Thursday evening.

Willey, a dedicated student, beach-lover and swim team member, had been in the intensive care unit at UM Prince George's Hospital Center.

"Jaelynn is an amazing young lady whose peaceful presence and love of her fellow students and family is known throughout her Maryland-based school,” her family said in a statement on a Youcaring Fundraiser page set up to help pay her medical bills.

Willey had eight siblings, one older and seven younger. She was a role model to her brothers and sisters, her family said, and helped to take care of them every day.

“It is hard for us not to see her shining, smiling face right now, and to see her light up the room with her presence,” the family’s statement said. “Please keep Jaelynn and our family in your prayers.”

Willey was shot about five minutes before the first period bell was set to ring. Another student, 14-year-old Desmond Barnes, was shot in the leg. He has been released from the hospital.

"Our entire family is eternally grateful that Desmond is alive, doing well and in good spirits. He is an amazing testimony," Barnes' family said in a statement Thursday night. "We remain deeply saddened and shocked by this shooting incident and continue to pray for the other victim and her family during this difficult time. We are also praying for the entire Great Mills High School family and young people around this country."

The nature of Willey’s relationship with Rollins is still unclear. Rollins died after an exchange of gunfire with a school resource officer. It's not clear if the officer's shot killed the teen boy.

The attack is the 12th school shooting that has ended in injury or death this year, according to Everytown For Gun Safety research.

Willey's death comes one day before thousands of young people were expected to rally in the streets of Washington, D.C., to demand stronger gun control laws. "March for Our Lives" was organized by the teen survivors of a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Willey family]]>
<![CDATA[Tree Falls Onto Cars in Pleasant Hill After Days of Rain]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 07:19:06 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEBStillFallenTreeSplit_2143853.JPEG

A huge tree crashed onto two cars in Pleasant Hill overnight Friday after the area experienced days of rain.

The 4 to 5 feet wide and almost 80 feet tall tree fell onto the Lovett's family cars parked outside their home on Keats Circle, just off of Oak Park. No one was injured.

Lauren Lovett said she "heard what sounded like raccoons fighting and then a really loud crash." She heard the car alarms go off and that's when she realized the tree had fallen over.

NBC Bay Area's meteorologist Kari Hall said the area picked up about two inches of rain in latest storm. The Lovetts said they believe that's what caused the tree to fall down.

"It's a shame. It really is because the tree's been here a long, long time," Matt Lovett said.

The rain was much worse elsewhere in California. 

The three-day storm had spared communities a repeat of the deadly debris flows following a deluge earlier this year, it dumped record rainfall in some parts and unleashed flooding that led to dramatic rescues Thursday from Los Angeles in Southern California all the way to Folsom, some 400 miles to the north.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

<![CDATA[Protesters Flood Sacramento After Deadly Police Shooting]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:47:15 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sacramento-protest.jpg Protesters decrying the death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark swarmed Sacramento Thursday, forming a human chain to block fans from attending a professional basketball game at the Golden 1 Center. They also gathered at Sacramento City Hall and flooded Interstate 5. Clark, a black man, was unarmed when he was fatally shot Sunday by police, who feared he had a gun. However, investigators found only a cellphone.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[United Gives DC Woman $10K Voucher to Give Up Her Seat]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:48:30 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/United+Plane1.jpg

A D.C. woman will be flying for free for the next year after getting a $10,000 voucher from United Airlines. But she said the experience leading up to the voucher was not a pleasant one.

Allison Preiss said she was getting ready to board her flight from Washington Dulles International Airport to Austin, Texas, Thursday morning when ticketing agents said the flight was overbooked and they were looking for volunteers to take the next flight.

When no one volunteered, they told Preiss she had to give up her spot on the flight because she had paid the lowest fare.

Preiss started tweeting her frustration with the airline. She said she didn't want to give up her spot because she was flying to a friend's bachelorette party.

The gate agent told her the plane had a broken seat and that’s why she had to get bumped, according to Preiss.

The gate agents offered her a $2,000 voucher, but Preiss told them she would rather have a check.

They were about to write her a check for $650, when an agent offered her a $10,000 voucher and a seat on the next plane.

"I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty pumped," Preiss said of the voucher.

Preiss made it to Austin in time for her friend's bachelorette weekend.

The airline announced in April 2017 that it would raise its cap for those who voluntarily gave up their seat to $10,000. The move came amid fallout over a passenger who was injured while being dragged off a plane for refusing to give up his seat. Dr. David Dao suffered a concussion, broken nose and other injuries. 

Delta had previously raised its cap to passengers who gave up their seats to $9,950, The New York Times reported.

United Airlines is still dealing with fallout after a French bulldog puppy died on a flight. A flight attendant had insisted the dog's owners put it in an overhead bin.

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