<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Mon, 22 Sep 2014 01:16:46 -0700 Mon, 22 Sep 2014 01:16:46 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Fatal Shooting Reportedly Involves Motorcycle Gangs]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 19:04:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/140920-15-freeway-shooting-traffic.jpg

A fatal shooting on the 15 Freeway in the Corona area reportedly involving two rival motorcycle gangs prompted an hours-long shut down of the roadway near El Cerrito Road.

Gunfire broke out on the freeway at Cajalco Road just south of the 91 Freeway, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said. The incident was reported about 6:30 p.m. on the CHP's traffic incident information website.

Responding officers found two males suffering from gunshot wounds. Both were taken to a hospital where one was pronounced dead and another was admitted for his injuries, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

A third person was treated for similar injuries and released.

According to the CHP traffic incident information website, the shooting involved two rival motorcycle gangs. Those reports have not been confirmed by authorities.

Traffic was backed up for miles on the freeway and surrounding streets as drivers were diverted at Ontario Avenue. Southbound lanes of the freeway were reopened before 7 a.m. Sunday. The El Cerrito onramp and offramp were still closed Sunday morning.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Kate Larsen (@KateNBCLA via Twitter)]]>
<![CDATA[Authorities Arrest Boyfriend of Woman Fatally Stabbed]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 11:40:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/031011+crime+scene+generic.jpg

The boyfriend of a woman who was found stabbed to death in Palmdale Saturday afternoon has been arrested.

Jose Martinez was booked on $1 million bail and was sechduled to appear in court on Sept. 23.

Deputies responded around 1:30 p.m. Saturday to reports of “person not breathing” in the 38000 block of 3rd Street East, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

A woman with stab wounds to her upper torso was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

Witnesses told investigators that the woman was arguing with her boyfriend earlier in the day. By the time deputies arrived on scene, the boyfriend was gone, officials said.

Martinez was identified as a person of interest Saturday. Martinez was described as a 37-year-old man from the Palmdale area.

Officials believe he is driving a blue 2008 4-door Nissan Altima with California license plate #6FFP144.

Anyone with information is asked to call the LASD Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Anonymous callers can use (800) 222-8477.

<![CDATA[Woman, 93, Gets High School Diploma]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 11:40:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007925420_1200x675_331726403774.jpg

A northern Virginia woman has received her high school diploma this weekend after waiting 75 years for the honor.

Jane Pickett, who lives in Burke, Virginia, also turned 93, and celebrated the milestones with her family and friends.

She was supposed to graduate in 1939 from her high school in the New York area. But Pickett fell in love with her high school sweetheart.

“I got married the same day I would have graduated from high school,” Pickett said.

Her daughter surprised her with an honorary diploma from the school this weekend after reaching out to the school.

“All the neighbors came over and she had absolutely no idea,” said Sharon Mills, Pickett's daughter. “Cousins came into town. Kids came home from college. But she had absolutely no idea this is what we were doing for her."

The school sent the diploma with a graduation sash and other gifts.


<![CDATA[Halloween Horror Nights 101: Dracula, Terror Tram, Clowns...]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:17:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/halloweenhorrornights12_1.jpg

How people jumpstart the jumpiest season of the year in other places likely runs the ghosty gamut. It can be as simple as purchasing that first bag of candy corn or sniffing a pumpkin-scented candle in the grocery checkout line.

But in LA? We tend to go for state-of-the-art mazes rocking movie-style special effects and marquee creative collaborators. Such is the creepy case with Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, which pushed open the door, creeeeeeakily, to the new season of scares.

The scares are scaring, scarily, on select nights through Sunday, Nov. 2.

So what's new? A new partner in musician Slash, who scored the brightly hued, deeply devious Clowns 3D maze. There are fresh plot points from the last season of "The Walking Dead" (if you're thinking of the most frightening couple of moments, you're right on tunnel -- we mean, track). And does the still-to-be-released film "Dracula Untold" get a vampiric spin within the park? Best grab your bestie and clutch tight.

John Murdy, the macabre 'n mirthful overseer of all things Horror Nights, says this is the biggest year yet, in terms of the number of mazes, original touches, classic revisits, and, of course, the Terror Tram, where a visit to the exterior of the "Psycho" house is on the knee-quaky schedule.

We're not going to bag on bags of candy corn or the purchasing of apple-scented room sprays or anything else that people do to get fall moving forward; they're part of the atmospheric whole. But it is hard to top a dark-night visit to the actual Norman Bates home or a walk-through -- or a wail-through -- the "From Dusk Till Dawn" maze or a ride on the Jurassic Park attraction by night.

Could you do it all in one night? You could come darn near close, if you don your tennies and pick your must-sees. Will you soak in the street action, from the wandering undead to the monsters who dash up to you, the better to elicit screams and/or giggles? You will.

Will you feel Universal's long, monstery past? It is, after all, the cradle of the creep, the nursery where movie werewolves and vampires first flourished.

Yep, we'll go candy corn, and candle, too, to get our Halloween going, but an evening at Halloween Horror Nights, makes for a shrieky, cinematic start to the holiday.

Photo Credit: Halloween Horror Nights]]>
<![CDATA[Search for Robber Underway Near USC Campus]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 22:48:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/lagenerics+lapd.jpg

A search was underway near the USC campus Sunday night for a person wanted in connection with a robbery, police said.

A perimeter was set up at Vermont Avenue and Exposition Boulevard, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

The university’s TrojansAlert system sent out a message at 10:17 p.m. telling students that gates 1, 5 and 6 were temporarily closed due to police activity. The alert said the activity was not USC-related. Students were being warned to stay away from the area.

Refresh this page for updates on the developing story.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[3 Afghan Soldiers Missing in Mass.]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 20:28:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372563.jpg

Police are looking for three Afghanistan National Army soldiers who went missing on Cape Cod, Massachusetts National Guard confirms.

Major Jan Mohammad Arash, Captain Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Captain Noorullah Aminyar were last seen Saturday night. They were last seen at Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis.

State police and local officials are searching.

According to officials, the soldiers have been at Joint Base Cape Cod since Sept. 11. They are in Massachusetts for Regional Cooperation, a training exercise designed to promote cooperation between regional and foreign forces around the world.

Twelve other Afghan soldiers were at the event.

Massachusetts National Guard says there is no threat to the public at the time.

NECN will have more as this story develops.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[70-Pound Turtle Found Near Country Club]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:15:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/140921-la-canada-turtle.jpg

A turtle weighing a whopping 70 pounds was found wandering the streets near a Southern California country club, officials said Sunday.

Sheriff’s deputies found the common snapping turtle Thursday on the corner of Angeles Crest Highway and Starlight Crest Drive near the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club (map), where it had apparently stopped to rest several feet from a pond.

It was taken to Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan.

“The turtle appears healthy – maybe too healthy, quite obese, and it’s probably eaten everything that’s been in the pond with it,” said Joel Almquist of Forever Wild.

The turtle’s appetite can be a danger, as common snapping turtles are known to eat anything and everything in sight.

“They’re very detrimental to the native wildlife here,” Almquist said. “They eat everything that they can fit in their mouths, and apparently by the size of this one, it has.”

“If he grabbed onto a finger, you would be one digit less,” he added.

It is unclear where the turtle came from, since it is not native to the area. Almquist said it may be someone’s lost pet.

Forever Wild will likely build a special pond where the hulking turtle will be housed, Almquist said.

<![CDATA[Boyfriend Detained After Woman Found Dead in Car in Monrovia]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 23:59:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/140921-monrovia-woman-death.jpg

Sheriff's deputies have detained the boyfriend of a woman who was found dead inside a parked car at a Monrovia home Sunday.

Deputies received a call just before 4 p.m. from family members who were concerned about the welfare of their son and his girlfriend.

When deputies arrived to the home in the 200 block of Mauna Loa Drive, they found the man in the backyard of the home and the body of his girlfriend inside the car, which was parked in the backyard.

The man was detained. Sheriff’s officials initially said the man had been arrested. They also reported that the woman had been strangled, but later said it was a premature conclusion.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives were assisting Monrovia police with the investigation.

A neighbor, who did not want to identify herself, said she heard the boyfriend yelling on the sidewalk,"I just lost it, I just lost it," as police arrived.

<![CDATA[Son Arrested in Father's Stabbing Death]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 18:48:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Pico+Rivera+Fatal+Stabbing.PNG

A teenager was arrested Sunday in connection with the fatal stabbing of his 50-year-old father in Pico Rivera a day earlier, sheriff’s officials said.

Another teen, identified as 18-year-old Jesus Adame, was also arrested, but officials did not say how he was connected to the case.

The son was not identified because he is a minor.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators had been searching for the 17-year-old boy after he took off in the family’s 2000 Infiniti at the time of the incident.

The stabbing took place at a home in the 3700 block of Oaklawn Lane. Responding deputies found the father suffering from wounds early Saturday morning. He was taken to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.

A motive for the attack was unknown. Detectives said family members were inside the home at the time.

A woman who rents a room from the family told NBC4 she heard the homeowner screaming.

“I heard a man yelling in Spanish, ‘Me quiere matar,’ means ‘He wants to kill me,’” Mila Gutierrez said.

<![CDATA[LL Coach Killed by Baseball]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 19:23:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_12161325.jpg

A 50-year-old little league coach died on Long Island after he was struck in the head with a baseball, authorities said.

Richard Becher, of Holbrook, was hit with the baseball during warm-ups before a game Saturday afternoon at Baseball Heaven, a baseball facility in Yaphank.

According to police, bystanders were performing CPR on Becher, who was unconscious, when officers and paramedics arrived.

Becher was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived, police said.

Newsday reports that Becher was hit while pitching batting practice to his 12-year-old son's team.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[WWII-Era Ship Spills Oil]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:00:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/0921141059.jpg

A cleanup effort by multiple agencies is underway for an oil spill from a World War II-era ship that now serves as a tourist attraction in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf.

The United States Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are investigating the fuel spill that occurred Saturday near Pier 45.

Coast Guard personnel received a report at 10:56 a.m. that an undetermined amount of oil spilled into the bay from the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, a fully functional World War II Liberty Ship. The Coast Guard said that it immediately dispatched a pollution response crew to assess the spill and recover the discharged fuel.

The Coast Guard told NBC Bay Area that a barrel of crude oil ruptured causing the fuel to go overboard. No more than 50 gallons made it into the bay, officials said. The ship is currently closed to tourists. There is currently 6,000 feet of boom around the ship, the Coast Guard said.

According to the Coast Guard, the fuel spill's source has been secured. A Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter and a small boat investigating the spill found a 100-by-150-yard sheen in the area of the spill. Vaccum trucks and skimming vessels carried out recovery operations Sunday, officials said.

"On-scene coordinators are working diligently with Wish and Wildlife to ensure the SS Jeremiah O'Brien is taking every action necessary to achieve a prompt and satisfactory cleanup effort," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The cause of the fuel spill remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: Norbert Lee]]>
<![CDATA[Person of Interest in UVa. Case]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:29:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/0917-hannah-graham-.jpg

Charlottesville, Virginia, police have issued an arrest warrant on charges of reckless driving for a man they call a "person of interest" in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Police have not charged Jesse Matthew in Graham's disappearance, but Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he believes Matthew was the last person to see Graham.

“I believe Jesse Matthew is the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face off the earth,” Longo said at a media briefing on Sunday. "But somebody knows where she is. And we want to know who that person or persons are.”

Longo said Matthew arrived at police headquarters on Saturday and asked for a lawyer. After speaking to the lawyer, Matthew left the station without talking to detectives.

Longo said after Matthew left, he was being overtly followed by state and federal officials. Matthew then sped away from police at a high rate of speed.

Longo said the speed was so great that police disengaged from the pursuit.

Hannah’s father, John Graham, spoke publicly for the first time Sunday, appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

“Who saw Hannah?” asked John Graham, during the press conference, with his wife, Sue, standing next to him. “Somebody knows what happened to Hannah.”

The father expressed gratitude to more than 1,000 volunteers who combed Charlottesville where Graham was last seen, on Saturday and Sunday.

“We have been utterly overwhelmed by the generosity of the spirit of all the people we’ve met,” he said. “This is every parent’s worst nightmare. We need to find out what happened to her so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Graham expressed hope that his daughter would be found alive.

"'Hannah is brilliant, resilient, determined and loves life more than anybody else I know."

He read an email from Hannah's former teacher, who wrotte: “If anybody could get through this, it is Hannah."

The chief, in an emotional statement, said Sunday that Matthew was the person seen in surveillance video walking with Graham before she disappeared more than a week ago.

He wants anyone who saw Graham or Matthew that evening to contact police as soon as possible.

Longo thanked people who were involved in the search this weekend as well as those who emailed him from all over the country, saying “you rose to the occasion, you stepped up to the plate.”

Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s Mark Eggeman said nearly 2,000 people searched for clues into Graham’s disappearance. Eggeman said he spent his daughter’s birthday with searchers, saying, “No place I’d rather be.”

Hannah Graham has been missing since early on September 13. She was seen in surveillance video along the city's Downtown Mall.

A man, who police believe is Matthew, is later seen wrapping his arm around Graham's waist. Police say the two then entered a Charlottesville restaurant during the early morning hours of September 13, where the man bought alcohol and later left in a burnt-orange car.

"We have every reason to believe Ms. Graham was in that vehicle," said Detective Sgt. Jim Mooney of Charlotteville police.

Police searched the man's apartment and car and even talked to him -- but stopped short at calling him a suspect. When asked if the man had a criminal history, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he has "had contact with police."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

<![CDATA[Truck Drops 50 Ft. off Freeway]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 18:27:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dave+and+busters.jpeg

A truck drove off the freeway and landed in a restaurant parking lot Sunday afternoon, a drop of at least 50 feet.

The crash happened around 3 p.m. on northbound Interstate 805 in Mission Valley.

A tan vehicle tapped the back of a yellow Ford pickup truck, forcing the truck to spin out and flip over the guardrail, according to the California Highway Patrol. The truck fell at least 50 feet into the parking lot of Dave and Buster's at 2931 Camino Del Rio North.

Emergency crews pulled a man from the wreckage and rushed him to Sharp Memorial Hospital with major traumatic injuries, according to CHP. However, officials said he was alert and talking to firefighters.

“He’s lucky he landed the way he did, and he’s fortunate to be alive,” said Capt. Chad Willenberg with the San Diego Fire Department.

Officials did not release the victim’s name, but said he is in his mid-30s. He was the only person inside the truck.

The truck hit Dave and Buster's on the way down, leaving a gaping hole in the building. It did not cause any structural damage, according to the fire department. Broken glass and debris filled the back parking lot.

Julie Melia was inside the restaurant-arcade at the time of the accident. She said she didn’t know anything had happened until she saw the mangled truck.

“It looked very bad. You don’t know how somebody could survive that,” Melia said.

No one at Dave and Buster’s was injured.

Witnesses told CHP the tan vehicle was driving erratically before forcing the truck off the road.

“The SUV continued northbound on the 805. We don’t have a license plate or description of the driver,” said CHP Officer Jose Meza.

CHP is now looking for a tan SUV or truck with a camper shell and damage to the left side. The driver could face felony hit and run charges.

CHP issued a Sig Alert for the area. The transition ramp from westbound Interstate 8 to I-805 was closed for hours.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[2 Dead, Nearly 48 Hurt in Bus Crash]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 23:29:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Delaware-Bus-Crash-Twitter.jpg

Two women were killed and nearly 50 people were injured after a tour bus overturned in Delaware late Sunday afternoon.

The first woman, 54-year-old Hua'y Chen of New York City, died at the scene of the crash. The second woman, 30-year-old Idil Bahsi of Istanbul, Turkey, died Sunday night at the hospital.

The 1996 Setra Touring Coach bus, which had a driver and 49 passengers on board, was traveling southbound on state Route 1 and exiting onto the off-ramp to US-13 northbound in New Castle around 4:20 p.m.

As the driver, identified as 56-year-old Jinli Zhao of Flushing, New York, tried to turn on the ramp, the vehicle went off the roadway and overturned onto its roof, according to investigators.

The bus slid on its roof and traveled down a grassy embankment and rotated on its left side until it came to a final rest, according to police.

Chen, who was a passenger on the bus, was ejected from the vehicle and then pinned underneath it. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I guess she was trapped underneath the bus," said Elvis D'cruz, a 19-year-old college student from New Castle, Delaware. "One man was saying, 'my wife, my wife, my life.' That keeps replaying in my mind."

D'cruz tells NBC10 he was driving home with a friend when he spotted the overturned bus. The two quickly got out of their vehicle to help the victims.

"It must've been within five minutes of the crash," D'cruz said. "There were about two to three other civilians there helping out. The bus had flipped over onto its side and some people were still underneath it. The bus was completely in a ditch. We tried to help them get out, as much as we could. We went to the car, got first aid equipment and passed out gauze and bandages, whatever we could to comfort people." 

D'cruz described the crash scene as total chaos.

"It just made me feel how fragile life is at times," D'cruz said while in tears. "It was hard seeing that little boy in the middle of the crash scene. What I really can't forget is all of the screaming and the smell of blood in the air. People didn't know what to do. There was no one else at the scene. Within 15 minutes, State Police arrived."

Zhao and the 48 other passengers were all injured in the crash. They were transported by a Delaware State Police helicopter to several local hospitals, including the Christiana Hospital Trauma Center, Wilmington Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital, Middletown Emergency Department and the Alfred I DuPont Hospital for Children.

Of the dozens of people who were hurt, at least three of them were critically injured, including Bahsi. She died from her injuries at Christiana Hospital around 10:45 p.m. Sunday. Investigators also say two of the injured victims are children though they have not yet revealed their conditions.

"The injuries vary widely," said Dr. Rob Rosenbaum, an Emergency Room physician at Christiana Care. "Some patients have head injuries. Some have injuries to their torso, ribs, abdomen and fractures."

Zhao, who was properly restrained, suffered minor injuries.

Officials say the bus is owned by Am USA Express Incorporated, a regional bus transportation company based in Chinatown, New York. The passengers were part of a sightseeing group sponsored by E World Travel and Tours based in New York City, according to police. Investigators say their three-day trip began Friday when they traveled from New York to Washington, DC. The group was traveling from DC back to New York at the time of the crash.

D'cruz says the passengers appeared to be foreigners.

"They were mixed in race," he said. "There were a few people speaking Mandarin and a few people speaking Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish."

According to D'cruz, the Route 13 off-ramp has a history of accidents.

"They're used to be a guard rail," he said. "People would go highway speeds on it even though you're supposed to slow down. People kept on slamming into the guard rail but it would stop them from flipping. They later on removed the guard rail and put flags up." 

The ramp from Route 1 southbound to US-13 northbound was closed for approximately six hours before it was finally reopened.

The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit continue to investigate the accident.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

Photo Credit: Elvis D'cruz]]>
<![CDATA[Limbo Party During Traffic]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:54:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/steel_drum_interstate_party.JPG

WATCH: Steel Drum Party on I-76

A group of motorists stranded on I-76 in Pennsylvania turned the headache of the standstill traffic into a communal steel drum and limbo party on the highway. A car flipped over in the I-76 eastbound lanes about a mile from the King of Prussia exit Saturday afternoon.

Motorists emerged from their bumper-to-bumper parked vehicles and gave new meaning to a traffic jam.

"It was better than being stuck in a snowstorm," said Justin Berk of Baltimore, who was en route to the Philadelphia Half Marathon. "I've been stuck in a lot of traffic jams and got out and people started talking to each other."

The result was a chance meeting of Berk and David Gettes of Trinidad North Steel Drum Band & Company. Gettes and percussionist Paul Downie were traveling from the Muhlenberg International Festival in Reading to Media when they got stuck.

Just after 2 p.m., Gettes pulled out his steel drum and played a pop-up set of island sounds for 15 minutes as motorists danced in a limbo line.

"We were struck in the traffic. We saw people around us frustrated. I know the magic of the (steel drum) instrument. It was not taking any toll on me to do that so why not," said Gettes.

Berk pulled out his camera to record the fun. He said the stranded motorists worked together to make the best of a bad situation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

<![CDATA[Man Killed in Shooting Near Koreatown]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:22:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

A man was shot to death while at a bus stop near Koreatown early Sunday, officials said.

The coroner's office identified him as 28-year-old Bryan Rubio of Los Angeles.

The shooting was reported around 1 a.m. at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue.

According to reports, two men approached the victim who was with other people at the bus stop. After an exchange of words, a gun was brandished and the victim was shot several times.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The shooters were last seen fleeing in a black pickup truck, officials said.

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD at 213-382-9102.

<![CDATA[1,600 Pot Plants Found Inside Corona Home]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 11:30:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/136b6c3946e449e29dd25d30dff69ba1.jpg

A Corona man was arrested after an investigation into a marijuana-growing operation at his home led to the discovery of pot with an estimated street value of more than $2 million, police said Saturday.

YongTing Yan was arrested for cultivation and sales of marijuana, according to a Corona Police Department news release.

On Thursday night, detectives were investigating Yan’s home in the 300 block of Villafranca Street (map) and allegedly found more than 1,600 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. More than 5 pounds of packaged pot intended for sale were also discovered at the residence, officials said.

Yan also faces charges of theft of a public utility. Police said electrical lines at the home had been tampered with.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

<![CDATA["Obama's Blaster" Gun Barrel Is a Joke: Store Owner]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:09:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Obamas+blaster+gun+barrel.JPG

An Oceanside-based gun parts store has incited nationwide controversy over an item dubbed “The Obama’s Blaster” – controversy the store’s owner welcomes.

Ares Armor owner Dimitrios Karras told NBC 7 he has received a slew of death threats after naming a $550 AR-15 gun barrel “The Obama’s Blaster” as a joke.\

"I mean, we had one guy who literally said he wished he had a rocket launcher to shoot rockets at us because we named a product after the president,” said Karras. “He's so anti-gun that he's become pro-rocket.”

In a YouTube video and description dripping with sarcasm, Ares Armor thanks President “Barrack” Obama for being “the distinguished firearms industry spokesman and salesman of all time.”

The video’s description compares the president to Marvin the Martian from the cartoon Looney Tunes, whose goal is to destroy Earth to get a better view of Venus. It says the United States is blocking Obama’s social and political views of our “pesky Constitution.”

Although the post includes a disclaimer saying it’s a parody for the purpose of symbolic speech, many people aren’t laughing.

“So you're making not so subtle hints at killing the President. Congrats! You're right up there with ISIS, you unpatriotic pieces of s***,” one viewer commented.

Karras defended the name, explaining the apostrophe means it’s not a threat.

"It is 'The Obama's Blaster.' It's a singular possessive, which means it's a blaster that would be used by Obama,” he said.

The former Marine said he knew the name would make people talk, but he was surprised with the amount of pushback it has caused. Across the country, The Washington Times recently caught wind of the controversy and called Karras.

He told NBC 7 the store is considering an entire presidential line so our current commander-in-chief isn’t the only one singled out. Karras threw out names like “Bush’s Revenge” or “Slick Willy” for follow-up parts.

In San Diego, opinions are split on the gun barrel.

"I feel like that crosses a line on a whole bunch of different levels,” said Neal Carlson, who works for a marketing firm. “I'm not really too into politics that much but to have a barrel attachment for an AR-15 named after our president is very intense. I don't think that that's at all OK.”

But others see it as a nod to Obama’s position as the leader of our military.

“He gave the order to take out Osama Bin Laden. I mean, he's just showing him some honor. What's wrong with that?" said Job Seth Davidson, a former Marine.

Clearly Ares Armor customers don’t object. “The Obama’s Blaster” is completely sold out.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[MCRD Graduates New Mascot, Smedley the Bulldog]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 10:42:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Smedley09193.jpg

The Marine Corps’ most recent graduate is a bit shorter than the other Marines.

And a little furrier. But he’s most certainly the cutest.

Smedley Butler, San Diego’s Marine Corps Recruit Depot’s mascot, graduated on Friday from recruit training. He now assumes the mascot duties from Cpl. Belleau Wood, who retired in April to a loving family in Temecula.

The English bulldog, born in San Diego in February, is the latest in a long MCRD tradition of English bulldog mascots. The first mascot was James Jolly Plum Duff, who was recruited in 1939.

He is named after Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, who at the time of his death was the most decorated Marine in Marine Corps history.

So what does a MCRD mascot do? He’ll participate in events, such as family day, motivational runs, graduation ceremonies and recruiting events.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

<![CDATA[Son Sought in Father's Stabbing Death in Pico Rivera]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 23:20:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Pico+Rivera+Fatal+Stabbing.PNG

A 50-year-old man was fatally stabbed at his home in Pico Rivera early Saturday, authorities said.

Authorities responded around 1:30 a.m. to a robbery call at a home inside a gated community in the 3700 block of Oaklawn Lane, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Detectives found the man suffering from stab wounds to his body. He was taken to a hospital where he died of his injuries.

Family members were inside the home at the time of the stabbing, and detectives had detained them for questioning.

Holly Francisco of the LASD said there was no sign of forced entry and investigators were trying to find the man's 17-year-old son, who took off in the family car at the time of the stabbing. Francisco said the son was a person of interest in the case.

The car was described as a silver 2000 Infiniti with license plate number 4MAB667.

A woman who rents a room from the family told NBC4 she heard the homeowner screaming.

“I heard a man yelling in Spanish, ‘Me quiere matar,’ means ‘He wants to kill me,’” Mila Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said she hadn’t heard of any problems between the man and the son since she has lived there in the last three months.

A gate around the neighborhood was not working at the time of the stabbing. Repair crews were out Saturday morning fixing the fence.

Initial reports indicated that the stabbing occurred during a home-invasion robbery.

Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[FAA Investigates Possible Plane Part That Fell From Sky]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 10:12:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/long+beach+airport+shut+down+jetblue+disabled+engine.jpg

An airplane part, apparently from a JetBlue flight that experienced engine trouble, was turned over to a Federal Aviation Administration official today by a Fountain Valley woman who found it in Huntington Beach.

The FAA official who collected the 36-inch-long rectangular metal part, called a C duct, said it would be turned over the the National Transportation Safety Board.

It was found by Cindy Gilbert, who said she saw the roughly three-pound part drop from the sky while riding her bicycle Thursday near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia Street and took it home in the basket of her bicycle.

Flight 1416 bound for Austin, Texas, with 147 people aboard, took off from Long Beach Airport around 9:05 a.m. Thursday, and 10 minutes later the pilot reported an "overheat warning" on its No. 2 engine, officials said.

Passengers reported hearing a loud bang before the plane's cabin began filling with smoke.

The plane landed safely back at the airport around 9:30 a.m., and passengers slid down emergency slides onto the tarmac. They were eventually loaded into buses and returned to the terminal. Four people were treated by paramedics, one of whom was taken to a hospital after reporting breathing difficulties, but none of them were seriously injured.

Passengers had to use the slides to evacuate the jet because there was smoke inside the cabin, according to Jake Heflin of the Long Beach Fire Department.

"That's why the pilots ordered the slides to be used," Heflin said. "The pilots also deployed fire extinguishing agents on the No. 2 engine and those agents also caused some smoke."

Heflin said it didn't appear there was an explosion in the damaged engine, and it was unclear if there was an actual fire because of the smoke caused by the fire extinguishing agents.

The jet landed on the airport's main runway and for a time the airport was closed to commercial traffic, according to Jessica Felipe of JetBlue and Long Beach Airport officials. Inbound flights were temporarily redirected to nearby airports and travelers were urged to call their airlines concerning delays in their flights, Felipe said.

The airport reopened by about 11:30 a.m. when the JetBlue plane was towed off the main runway.

The plane had 142 passengers and five crew members aboard, according to the airport.

Actor Jackson Rathbone, 29, best known for his role in the "Twilight" films, was among the passengers and described the harrowing ordeal on his Twitter page and the website whosay.com.

Photo Credit: Dave Boyle/Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 09:37:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CheetahCubs0919.JPG

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has welcomed two new cheetah cubs that are being raised by zoo staff.

The three-week-old cubs are providing quite the adorable show at the Safari Park, as they are often swatting each other, wrestling and playing in their enclosure.

The cubs are being raised by zoo staff, who provide bottle feedings and around-the-clock care, because their mother, Allie, was unsuccessful raising her previous litters.

The cubs, which currently weigh 3 pounds each, will be partnered with a dog when they get older.

Cheetahs not reared by their mothers are partnered with dogs at the zoo because dogs’ body language is known to calm and relax the cheetahs.

Park visitors can see the cubs at the animal care center for a few hours daily starting at 9 a.m.

<![CDATA[Woman Fatally Struck by Hit-and-Run Driver]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 06:03:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Littlerock+hit-and-run+fatal.PNG

A woman in her 40s was found dead in Littlerock early Saturday morning, California Highway Patrol officials said.

According to CHP Officer Peter Bishop, the woman was walking westbound on Pearblossom Highway when she was fatally struck by a vehicle that fled the scene.

A passing motorist noticed the body on the side of the road and notified authorities.

The woman was wearing a pink blouse, black jeans and white tennis shoes.

There are no known witnesses and officials do not have any description of the vehicle involved in the crash, but said that the vehicle should have heavy front damage with a busted windshield.

<![CDATA[San Diego Police Chase Bank Bandit]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:36:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Bandit-Pursuit-2.jpg

After robbing a bank in the Clairemont area, a bandit led San Diego police on a pursuit Saturday afternoon that ended with the suspect crashing into a police car, officials said.

The robbery happened around 1:40 p.m. at a Wells Fargo Bank in the 5500 block of Balboa Avenue. The suspect made a verbal demand for cash, but did not brandish a weapon, police said.

After getting some money, the suspect fled the scene in a silver Nissan truck, leading officers on a chase along several streets including Mount Acadia and Clairemont Mesa boulevards, as well as Field Street.

The pursuit lasted about 10 minutes, police said. A helicopter was launched to help spot the suspect by air.

After making his way to westbound Interstate 8 and the Sports Arena Boulevard off-ramp, the suspected bank robber struck a police car. He then kept driving and hit a bystander's car, police said.

The driver fled the crash scene on foot, but was ultimately arrested moments later.

Officials have not released the suspect's name, but he seems to match the description of the notorious "El Chaparrito." The bank robber nicknamed for his short stature has struck more than a dozen banks in the San Diego area since last November.

Bank robberies are on the rise in San Diego, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI said there were 61 bank robberies by this time last year, but there have already been more than 80 this year.

Police said no one was injured Saturday's bank heist or pursuit.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

Photo Credit: Marina Provenca Novo]]>
<![CDATA[Attorney Faces Suspension for Photos]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:57:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/250*120/lawyer_photos.JPG

A Los Angeles-based attorney faces six months of suspension for false advertising after she allegedly posted doctored photos of herself with dozens of celebrities including the Clintons and George Clooney.

Under the publicity portion of her website, Svitlana Sangary displayed more than 50 photos of herself with various famous figures, from Hollywood and political spheres. Many, if not all, were doctored by "taking original celebrity photos and then overlaying (Sangary's) image," according to court documents.

The portion has since been taken off her site, but remains intact as a direct link.

She is charged with one count of deceptive advertising for posting and maintaining the photos for promotional purposes, and three counts related to failure to comply with the State Bar’s investigation.

The investigation found that many or all of the photos posted were manipulated, and her use of them as an “advertisement or solicitation directed to the general public” violated the State Bar’s code.

Sangary also kept up the photos even after being notified by officials. She also refused to cooperate with or respond to investigators, according to court documents.

In her responses filed with the court, Sangary, representing herself, denied allegations against her and “wrote a 16-page soliloquy with little to no rational connection to the charges at hand.”

State Bar Court Judge Donald Miles recommended a six-month suspension to be extended to two years should Sangary violate the terms of her probation. The case now awaits approval from the state Supreme Court.

Sangary is an alumna of Pepperdine University. Her law office is located on Wilshire Boulevard.

<![CDATA[Police Arrest Man in Anaheim Armed Robbery]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 19:20:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_handcuffs11.jpg

Police have arrested a man in connection with an armed robbery and subsequent hit-and-run crash in Anaheim.

Anaheim police arrested Paul Marval III, 39, late Friday night for robbery, attempted burglary, probation violation and possession of a stolen vehicle, after he was positively identified by witnesses, officials said.

About 2 p.m. Friday, officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at Fry's Electronics in the 3300 block of E. La Palma Avenue, Anaheim Police Lt. Bob Dunn said. Upon arrival, the officers found out that two males had fled the scene in a dark-colored SUV.

A short time later, Anaheim police received word of a hit-and-run collision involving a dark SUV, and two males were seen running from the car.

One male who ran from the SUV was killed after an armed standoff with police, who found him inside a car parked in a dealership lot. He has not been identified.

Marval was detained after witnesses directed police to him, and was later arrested  and held on $100,000 bail. Detectives also learned through the investigation that the dark SUV had been stolen in Corona.

<![CDATA[Woman Gives Birth to 11-Pound Baby on Side of 91 Freeway]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:47:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/140920-baby-born-91-freeway.jpg

A woman gave birth to an 11-pound, 6-ounce baby girl in a car on the side of the 91 Freeway in Anaheim on Sunday with the help of her husband.

The couple and their three children were on their way to see the children's grandmother about 3 a.m. when the expecting mom had some of the telling signs that the baby might be on her way.

"All of sudden I get this horrible pain that I had felt before with the other ones," said Sandra Vilchez. "I told my husband, 'She's coming now,' and I yelled because her head was coming out."

A 911 operator helped the father, Bolivar Vilchez, deliver the baby.

"I was terrified," said the father. "Needless to say, I saw my baby she's blue, I didn't know anything. I mean, 18 years in the Marines Corps, you get all this training, but you're not trained to deliver babies on the side of the 91, especially your own."

Paramedics were called to the freeway near Kraemer Boulevard, but the baby had already arrived.

Paramedics took the mother and her newborn to Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center to be checked out. Mother and baby were resting comfortably at the hospital.

The couple's other children are ages 6, 4 and 3.

Photo Credit: Vilchez family]]>
<![CDATA[Insect in School Lunch Investigated]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:03:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/wrom+school+lunch.jpg

A New Jersey high school's food vendor says it's investigating after several students began circulating video purporting to show a live insect squirming inside a taco salad school lunch.

Video taken by North Bergen High School students show what appears to be a small worm on the lunch plate. One girl posted the video on Instagram, and another boy sent video to NBC 4 New York.

The authenticity of the videos could not be immediately confirmed Friday, but the lunch vendor for the school, Nu-Way Concessionaires, said it's investigating and that the health department was immediately called in. 

"This is an isolated incident. We've taken steps to discuss this with our food producers. We are very concerned about what we feed children," said Sal Valenze of Nu-Way Concessionaires.

One student, Luis Godreau, said "I would think they would make sure nothing like that would get inside it. It's crazy to see that inside it." 

Another junior student who wanted to remain anonymous said a freshman made the gross discovery and brought the video to the school's main office.

Nu-Way officials say they believe the insect was a small worm, and though rare, insects can get into produce during the agricultural process. 

As a precaution, the product batch has been pulled from distribution. The USDA is also expected back at the school Monday to continues its investigation, Nu-Way said.

Calls to the school district and the North Bergen Health Department were not returned Friday night. 

(WARNING: Instagram video below contains some explicit language) 

Follow Checkey Beckford on Twitter @Checkey4NY

<![CDATA[Mars Chocolate Issues Recall Over Undeclared Peanut Butter]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 16:46:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/452614600.jpg

Mars Chocolate North American has issued a voluntary recall of its M&M’s Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box because it may contain peanut butter that is not listed on the ingredient label on the outside box.

The company identified the issue after a consumer notified it of an M&M’s Brand Peanut Butter package containing peanut butter M&M’s inside a M&M’s Brand Milk Chocolate Theater Box.

People allergic to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if their theater box contains an inner M&Ms Brand Peanut Butter bag and they consume the product, the company said in a release.

There have been no reports of adverse reactions.

The recall affects M&M’S Brand Theater Box 3.40 oz UPC #40000294764 with various lot numbers. Click here for a full list of those numbers.

The specific lot codes were shipped between May 8 and July 1, 2014, to customers’ warehouses across the U.S., including Texas, Florida, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Virginia.

Mars Chocolate said it will work with retail customers to ensure that the recalled product is not being sold. Consumers who believe they have purchased the recalled item and have allergy concerns, should return this product to the store where they purchased it for a full refund. Consumers with questions or concerns may call 1-800-627-7852, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Girls Killed in Inland Empire Crash]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:44:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/Zavala+teen+crash.JPG

Instead of preparing for her daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party this weekend, the mother of a girl killed in a crash that also left another girl dead is planning for her funeral.

Alicia Zavala cant describe in words how badly her heart at the loss of her daughter, Valerie, killed in a crash in Ontario on Thursday night.

"No parent should ever go through this," Zavala said through tears. "Never in my life would I ever imagine...

"We are still in a state of shock that we don't know where to go from here, where to turn."

Valerie, a popular student at Chino High School was out with three friends, including a female classmate.

"She was always looking out for me, trying to tell me that we were going to be better because she was going to get a job and that she was going to help with the rest of the children," Zavala said at a Friday night vigil.

They were riding in an SUV when the driver, a 16-year-old boy who doesn't have a license, lost control on South Grove Avenue and struck a light pole.

Valerie and her female friend died. The driver and an 18-year-old man survived.

"I understand it was an accident, and I'm pretty sure he would've gave anything for this not to happen," Zavala said.

Friday morning at the high school, close friends of Valerie went home early to mourn the tragedy.

"She was the one to make me laugh," said Esmeralda Avila. "I couldn't believe it."

Jesse Duarte, a student, said she was just beautiful inside and out.

"She didn't deserve to die," he said.

Sarah Giambona said, "It's really scary. It's really sad."

Another friend said he saw the teen right before she died.

"I saw her seven hours before," Edgar Oceguera said at her Friday night vigil. "She was right and front of me, and the next...she's gone."

On Saturday, Valerie was supposed to celebrate her Sweet 16th birthday, along with her sister's quincinera.

"We were preparing for a big celebration and now it's a funeral," Zavala said.

At the vigil, Zavala said the family wasn't dropping the plans to celebrate the teens.

"We're still continuing with the party for tomorrow, because this is something that she truly wanted and she was looking forward to this, so I'm not going to cancel," Zavala said. "Celebrate Valerie's life as well as her sister's quinceanera."


A memorial fund was set up to help pay for the funeral.

Wells Fargo
Elizabeth Jimenez
FBO Valerie Zavala Memorial Services

Routing- 122000247
Checking- 8446973078

Samia Khan and Kevin LaBeach contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Residents Return From Storm-Ravaged Baja California]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 14:43:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/cabo.JPG

From the comfort of her San Diego home, UCLA global studies student Maia Ferdman says what was supposed to be a quick release before school turned into a nightmare.

Ferdman managed to get a chartered flight back home from Hurricane Odile-ravaged Los Cabos, Mexico, on Friday morning. Ferdman was among 40 others who were flown to Los Angeles International Airport on a U.S. Air Force C-130.

"I don't think anybody expected it," she said.

Authorities struggled Friday to restore services and calm residents days after Hurricane Odile knocked out power, water and phone service along the Baja Peninsula, sparking widespread looting in the resort area of Los Cabos.

An airlift involving military transport planes and commercial airliners evacuated more than 18,000 tourists in the last two days, Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, secretary of communications and transport, told the Associated Press.

"The State Department arranged four charter flights that evacuated more than 500 U.S. citizens over the past 24 hours. And so far, thousands of American citizens have departed the area on evacuation flights," U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told the AP.

Some LA residents stranded on a bus in the middle of Baja Thursday were in Tijuana and hoping to cross the border Friday evening.

Many people remain stuck at the airport in Cabo San Lucas, as commercial airlines such as American, Alaska and US Airways try to get them free flights out.

Ferdman thought her return ticket would secure her a seat on one of the flights.

"We were told we would have a guaranteed seat on it since we had tickets, but that's not happening for anybody," she said.

But Ferdman said that at the last-minute, the passengers on that plane found out the flight would cost $600 per person.

"There were people who decided to stay overnight in the pitch black to avoid paying for the chartered flight," she said.

<![CDATA[Exiled from SF, MonkeyParking App Appears in LA]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:10:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07-10-2014-monkey-parking-app.jpg

What better place to buy and sell parking spaces than Los Angeles? After its hasty exit from San Francisco, it is perhaps only natural than MonkeyParking would appear in Los Angeles.

The company that was so roughly removed from San Francisco, where the city attorney declared that buying and selling parking spaces was not something that could be done, is now trying to get a fresh start in Santa Monica, according to LA Weekly.

Though this may be tougher than trying to get to the 101 from the 10 on a Friday afternoon.

MonkeyParking is trying to set up in Santa Monica, but is already running afoul of city leaders like the parking administrator, who is saying that allowing parkers to auction off a space in the public right of way is not only illegal, but "immoral," the newspaper reported.

Spots are sold from anywhere from $5 to $7, the newspaper reported, of which MonkeyParking takes 20 percent.

Can what failed in SF fly in LA? So far, it's not seeming likely.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

<![CDATA[Weird News Photos: "Aggressive” Lizard in SoCal]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:45:37 -0700 Read more here.]]> Read more here.]]> http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/140915-huntington-park-lizard.jpg Check out these weird news photos from around the world.

Photo Credit: Huntington Park Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Saves Choking Driver: NYPD]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 10:19:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nypd+officer+saves+choking+driver.jpg

A police officer stationed on a Bronx highway saved a driver who started to slow down when she began choking on a piece of candy, the NYPD says, and the rescue was captured on the officer's dash cam.

The officer was conducting speed enforcement on the Bronx River Parkway Wednesday when he saw a 2014 Ford Taurus slow down in the right lane, according to the NYPD. 

He pulled up behind the car, got out of his vehicle and immediately noticed the driver was in distress, police said. She appeared be having difficulty breathing and was holding her throat. 

"Are you choking? You're choking?" the officer is heard saying in the video as he motions her out of the car. 

"Yes, sir," the 49-year-old woman says, gagging. 

The officer performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman, which dislodged the throat lozenge blocking her airway, police said. 

The woman appeared to be OK after the officer performed the Heimlich. He radioed for an ambulance to the scene.