<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Tue, 26 May 2015 22:58:34 -0700 Tue, 26 May 2015 22:58:34 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[No Explosives Found on Plane at LAX: FBI]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 19:56:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150526-lax-threat-eva-auir.jpg

The FBI has given the all-clear after inspecting an EVA Air plane at Los Angeles International Airport for explosives.

The agency and local law enforcement began investigating the flight from Taipei after a threat was made before it landed safely at the airport.

The aircraft was parked at the remote west end of the airfield. NewsChopper4 footage showed firefighters and multiple law enforcement vehicles at the scene.

"The aircraft and passenger luggage were inspected by officials with the LAPD and LAXPD, as well as canines trained to detect explosives. No threat to the aircraft was identified," the FBI said in a statement.

Passengers were escorted off the plane and transported to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

No passengers were detained in connection with the threat.

"An investigation to determine individual or group responsible for the threat is ongoing," the FBI statement said.

In January, at least 20 different U.S. passenger planes were targeted by bomb threats on Twitter, NBC News reported. Federal authorities say even more threats were delivered via social media during that same period but were not publicized.

"All threats, regardless of known credibility, are taken seriously," the FBI said.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Negroni Week: Bars Serve Charitable Sips]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 18:10:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/negroniweek12345678.jpg

If you're into bespoke cocktails, and you need to sit at the bar while your bartender rubs a tangerine peel on the rim of your glass and lights sugar cubes on fire and mixes basil with lemon juice and performs the hundreds of intriguing rituals that are part of the show, then you know all about having that one signature sip you order wherever you go.

For some, it is a Manhattan. Others ask for a Sidecar. And a passionate bunch are all about a beverage that slightly more offbeat, or at least seen less than a Martini or Cosmpolitan.

Pity, really, given its full flavor and mysterious allure. It's the Negroni, a deep pink, nearly watermelon-hued cocktail that is not watermelon-flavored in the least. It has strong and slightly bitter overtones, and all sorts of depth, and Negroni mavens are mad for it, often claiming that it is among the king of cocktails.

But the born-in-Italy gin-Campari-vermouth rosso drink, which will soon mark its centennial, takes centerstage each late spring, even over the Martinis of the world, during Negroni Week, a charitable push backed by Imbibe Magazine and Campari.

The week-long fundraiser, which began in 2013, will be observed at over two thousand bars here and beyond from June 1 through 7.

Locally, the choices are plentiful, as are the organizations receiving the love. Harlowe is serving a quartet of Negronis, including a Frozen Chocolate Negroni, and its charity? Inspire Artistic Minds. Bigfoot West is sending support to Good Shepherd Los Angeles with its Ancho Negroni and Traditional Negroni, and the Blind Pig in Rancho Santa Margarita will be raising funds for Miracles for Kids.

For the full list of local-and-beyond bars taking part, and the organizations they're raising funds for, click. To see a bevy of takes on this venerable concoction, and try your own at home, click.

Photo Credit: Negroni Week]]>
<![CDATA[LAPD Officer Wanted on Murder Charge Arrested]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 22:45:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150526-ex-lapd-officer-fugitive-henry-solis-arrest.jpg

A former Los Angeles Police Department officer charged in the shooting death of a man in California was arrested by authorities in northern Mexico, the FBI confirmed Tuesday night.

Henry Solis, 27, was wanted in connection with the March 13 shooting death of 23-year-old Salome Rodriguez Jr., in Pomona. Solis' father, Victor, was arrested in late March for allegedly lying to the FBI after helping his son flee to Mexico.

Solis was deported to the United States and will be held in El Paso, the FBI said in a statement.

Solis is also charged in a federal criminal complaint with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, the FBI said.

Additional details were expected Wednesday.

Rodrigue's mother, Lidia Rodriguez, said she heard of the arrest from news reports.

"I felt blessed, like God is hearing us," Rodriguez said. "The only thing we kept on doing is praying and asking people on Facebook, friends and family, to keep on praying."

"I want him (Solis) to see who we are, who junior's family is," she added.

Details were sketchy and sources said that law enforcement was continuing to investigate in the Juarez area where Solis was arrested. Others were being looked at in connection with helping Solis avoid the law.

Solis was off-duty at the time of the shooting. A vehicle wanted in connection with the crime was found in a Pomona alley, several blocks from where Rodriguez Jr. was gunned down after what authorities described as a fistfight.

Solis’ father was arrested in Lancaster, California, and charged with making a false statement to law enforcement. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Solis was fired from the LAPD after he was initially charged with murder.

Tena Ezzeddine contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Courtesy: Fernando Mendez / El Diario]]>
<![CDATA[Fugitive in Standoff Kills Self, Police Say]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 21:36:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150526-la-barricade-fugitive.jpg

An hours-long standoff in Los Angeles between SWAT officers and a fugitive wanted for murder ended Tuesday night when the man took his own life, police said.

The man, whose name was not released, had been holed up in an apartment building in the 200 block of N. Kenmore Avenue (map), between Beverly Boulevard and 1st Street, Los Angeles Police department officials said.

The block was sealed off and a SWAT team was called in to take the fugitive into custody.

The man shot at officers during the standoff, police at the scene said.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Audit Reveals "Staggering" Overtime at DOT]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 20:11:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-los-angeles-city-controller-ron-galperin.jpg

City officials vowed Tuesday to control overtime hours in the Transportation Department in the wake of a city controller's audit that turned up unusually high overtime hours being reported by some employees.

Controller Ron Galperin received an anonymous tip that some transportation employees were claiming overtime hours that they did not actually work. Galperin said his audit found that four employees in the Traffic Paint and Sign division received at least $70,000 in overtime pay in fiscal year 2013-14, with one employee tripling his salary. The transportation employees logged "nearly super-human work schedules," Galperin said, with one claiming to have worked 261 hours in two weeks. That employee reported working 18-hour days on 10 occasions during that period, and at least 16 hours on four days, he said.

The division alone incurred $3.3 million in overtime costs in that year, with 93 percent of Traffic Paint and Sign employees reporting overtime, compared with 49 percent in most other city departments, excluding fire, police and other transportation employees. The average overtime pay of Traffic Paint and Sign employees was about $48,000, compared with $8,300 for many other city departments, the audit found.

"One might reasonably conclude that at least some of the employees in the Traffic Paint and Sign section were committing payroll fraud," Galperin wrote in his audit report. But because timesheets and other overtime records did not track whether work was performed, "there is less than sufficient evidence" to pass the findings onto "law enforcement, or to a criminal prosecutor ...," he wrote.

Transportation Department General Manager Seleta Reynolds said at least two supervisors were removed or rotated from their positions after the audit.

"From my perspective, it's management's responsibility -- we're the one that's responsible," she said. "I took a look around me and wanted to make sure that I had the best team in place to make those kinds of responsible decisions."

Reynolds said the Transportation Department once "had an excellent system in place for tracking and reporting out on overtime," but "somewhere along the way, that disappeared ..."

She said she looked at "who was sitting in the seat of approving overtime and how overtime was being approved" while also "going back and bringing that system back to life so that inside the department, everyone can see how overtime is being sort of approved, accrued and spent and what it's being spent on."

Galperin recommended that the Transportation Department keep more accurate and simplified record-keeping of overtime, update overtime policies, cap the amount of overtime for employees and create an overtime plan for each fiscal year.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw, Gonzalez KO Braves 8-0 ]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 22:14:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/Screen+Shot+2015-05-26+at+9.44.44+PM.png

Clayton Kershaw returned to his Cy Young award-winning form and Adrian Gonzalez reached an RBI milestone as the Los Angeles Dodgers knocked out the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, 8-0.

Kershaw (3-3) was dominant on the day retiring the first 12 batters he faced before allowing a leadoff single to Nick Markakis in the fifth inning. Kershaw allowed no runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts in seven shutout innings.

The Dodgers blew the roof off the barn in the bottom of the fourth inning. Howie Kendrick, Justin Turner, Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis all hit RBI doubles as the Boys in Blue batted around in the inning.

Los Angeles has lived by the long ball for most of the season, but they were able to manufacture a big inning thanks to singles, doubles and walks. In all, nine consecutive batters reached base safely in the inning.

The Dodgers six runs in the fourth inning were the most they scored in any inning this season.

Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer to opposite field in the bottom half of the inning. With the blast, Gonzalez picked up his 1000th career RBI making him just the 12th active player to reach the milestone.

Julio Teheran (4-2) was knocked out in the loss allowing eight runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings of work.

Game Notes:
The Dodgers agreed to trade third baseman Juan Uribe to the Braves in exchange for Alberto Callaspo and a starting pitcher. Callaspo was scratched from the Atlanta lineup minutes before the first pitch was recorded.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Trade Juan Uribe to Braves]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 19:49:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-05-26+at+7.31.13+PM.png

For weeks we've known that the Dodgers had a logjam at the hot corner. With the emergence of Alex Guerrero, the Dodgers essentially have had three starting third baseman and not enough playing time for each of them.

Something had to give, and on Tuesday it appears it did.

According to multiple reports, the Dodgers have agreed to trade veteran third baseman, Juan Uribe to the Atlanta Braves who currently occupy the visitor's clubhouse in a projected six-player deal. Callaspo was scratched from the Atlanta lineup just minutes before the start of Tuesday's game.

The Dodgers originally reached an agreement to trade Uribe to the Braves on Monday evening. Atlanta would be sending a veteran infielder of their own in Alberto Callaspo to Los Angeles as part of the trade, but the deal fell apart on Tuesday morning when Callaspo reportedly refused to waive his no-trade clause.

However, Callaspo's no-trade clause expires on June 15 and it appears that the Braves told the struggling star that he would either be traded or released outright after that date. With that in mind, Callaspo has changed his mind.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Callaspo has reversed course about going to Los Angeles after speaking with several former teammates. Rosenthal reports that the deal would involve six other players and the Dodgers would be getting starting pitching back in return with either Trevor Cahill or Eric Stults.

The deal makes sense for the Dodgers who are in need of pitching depth after season-ending injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Also, with Cuban third baseman, Hector Olivera, signed, sealed and delivered as of last week, the Dodgers could presumably have four different third baseman by the start of June.

Uribe batted .311 last season and was the runner-up for the Golden Glove award at his position. He's struggled to start the season and has just one home run with six RBIs in 81 at-bats in 2015. Uribe's downfall might have been when he entered for an injured Justin Turner during the second series of the season in Arizona. Uribe did not warm up properly, and tweaked his hamstring on the very next play.

Uribe and Turner's injury made room for Guerrero who immediately went on a tear. He's hit back-to-back homers in two consecutive games as of the writing of this story, and has eight home runs, 20 RBIs and is batting .309 on the season.

Callaspo has also struggled to start the season and plays third base. But the Venezuelan can also play second base, a position the Dodgers might use him at to give Howie Kendrick an occasional day off.

It's also possible that the Dodgers could drop Callaspo down to the minor leagues, or designate him for assignment. The deal is done, pending approval by the Commissioner's office, which is expected to approve the deal on Wednesday morning. If that were the case, both players would simply change locker rooms when they arrive at Dodger Stadium. We will have more information for you as the story develops.

Follow us on Twitter: @SoCalSports4You and @MichaelJDuarte

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Drugs Found at Calif. Crash Site]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 19:48:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/carly+ramirez.jpg

Bottles of methadone were found in the car that crashed into a power pole last month, killing a 3-year-old girl, a San Diego County Medical Examiner’s report reveals.

The toddler, Carlee Ramirez, was not buckled in properly before the deadly crash on April 4 in El Cajon, a city in east San Diego County, the ME said. Her mother Brandy Teague was behind the wheel and now faces a number of felony charges in the girl’s death.

Carlee was sitting in a booster seat in the left rear passenger side of the Hyundai Elantra when Teague veered off Broadway and into the pole. While Carlee’s lap belt was secure, the shoulder belt was behind the back of the seat, according to the report.

Although emergency crews performed CPR on Carlee and took her to Rady Children’s Hospital, she died soon after. Her cause of death was blunt force injuries to her head and a neck fracture, the ME said, and her manner of death is an accident.

When ME investigators examined the scene of the crash, they found a bottle of methadone behind the driver’s seat and another on the ground beside the car, placed there by officers.

Teague’s sons, 1 and 10 years old, both survived the crash with minor to moderate injuries. El Cajon police believe Teague fell asleep at the wheel before she crashed.

She is now in jail, charged with gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injury, driving on a suspended license and other felonies. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and her next court appearance is scheduled for June 16.

Carlee’s father, Carlos Ramirez, spoke with NBC 7 not long after he lost his daughter. He said he did not want Carlee to go with Teague because he suspected she was under the influence of drugs, but he did not have full custody of her. According to the ME’s report, Carlee’s maternal grandmother was her legal guardian.

Photo Credit: GoFundMe]]>
<![CDATA[In-Custody Death Trial Continues for Officer]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 20:05:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/224*120/incustody+1.jpg

Emotions ran high in a Los Angeles Tuesday where a former police officer is on trial in the death of a woman she was arresting.

The last moments of Alesia Thomas' life were captured by a camera mounted inside an LAPD patrol car. They are moments which were played over and over in court.

"It hurts ... it really hurts," said Sandra Thomas, the victim's mother.

Added her grandmother, Ada Moses:

"It is pretty difficult because it shouldn't have been that way."

Thomas' family members sat inside a downtown LA courtroom as testimony continued in the trial of former LAPD Officer Mary O'Callaghan. She's charged with assault under color of authority stemming from the 2012 arrest of Thomas, whose mother recalls their last conversation.

"It made me feel good because I thought I lift her spirits, I heard her laugh but the next morning I got a phone call at 5 in the morning," Sandra Thomas said.

That phone call notified her Thomas died while in police custody.

O'Callaghan can be seen on the in car video shoving Thomas in the throat and kicking or shoving her in the groin and stomach several times. O'Callaghan's attorney has said her actions were reasonable because Thomas was resisting arrest and struggled with three officers.

O'Callaghan is also heard using vulgar language and profanity to describe Thomas, but once again a LAPD officer who was on scene testified he didn't see or hear any of it.

O'Callaghan lost her job after the LAPD investigated the arrest of Thomas, who was under the influence of cocaine.

"They want to say she was affected by drugs or drug induced, however you want to say it," said A.C. Moses, the victim's uncle. "If they worked within protocol my niece would still be here today,"

<![CDATA[ MWD Increases Budget for Conservation Programs]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 22:08:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/drought-lawn-sprinkler-2015.jpg

The board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District added $350 million Tuesday to its budget to provide rebates and incentives for Southland residents to remove water-guzzling turf and install low-water-use fixtures.

"This is an investment in our future, it’s an investment in the culture of what we think landscapes should look like in California," said chairman of the board Randy Record.

The increase brings the MWD's two-year conservation budget to $450 million. According to an MWD staff report, there has been an "unprecedented increase in additional requests for turf-removal projects" since Gov. Jerry Brown called for 25 percent reduction in water use across the state. In the three weeks following Brown's order, turf-removal requests increased above $10 million, including between 2,500 and 3,000 residential removal requests per week.

"In the recent two weeks, additional requests for turf removal more than tripled to above $32.8 million for the week ending on May 3 and more than quadrupled to $48.2 (million) for the week ending on May 10," according to the MWD report.

MWD staff also noted that rebate requests have also been "robust" for installation of water-saving devices. Through May 17, the agency has paid $24.7 million for rebates for 2014-15. Last month, the MWD board ordered a 15 percent cut in the amount of water it supplies to its 26 member agencies across Southern California. It was only the fourth time in the agency's history that it has taken such an action.

The amount of the cut to each city or agency is based on reliance on MWD supplies while also taking into consideration conservation actions already being implemented. Cities and agencies that use more than their MWD allocation would have to pay punitive costs ranging from $1,480 to $2,960 per acre-foot of water. An acre-foot is roughly the amount of water needed to serve two households for a year.

In a partnership with the MWD, the LADWP pays $3.75 per every square foot of grass its customers remove. But the process has been slow, with people still waiting for approval and funds.

"You just have to wait on it but it’s a good idea," said Sherman Oaks homeowner Andrea Gaskin, who is considering applying for a rebate.

<![CDATA[Kitten Escapes Hawk Attack]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 16:51:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/5-26-15-Kitten+Hawk+Rescue.jpg

A little white kitten narrowly missed having to dig into her nine lives on Tuesday after escaping the mouth of a hawk in a Southern California neighborhood.

The kitten's ordeal was already underway in Jurupa Valley when Lindsey Gage saw a large hawk perched on top of a neighbor's basketball hoop on Mountain Shadow Drive, Riverside County Animal Services spokesman John Welsh said.

Gage was in her car with her 6-year-old daughter about to leave for the grocery store when she noticed something inside the hawk's mouth: a white kitten.

The hawk took off and flew down the street, but it lost its grasp on the 5-week-old female kitten and dropped the feline from the sky, Welsh said.

A man watching nearby saw where the kitten landed and pointed Gage in its direction, where she scooped up the baby animal and took her to the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley.

The kitten has a wound on its chest, but it doesn't appear to be life-threatening, Welsh said.

Shelter officials said there is no timetable on when the kitten could be put up for adoption, because she is very young and possibly must be bottle-fed. The kitten will likely go through rehabilitation before the shelter makes any final decisions, officials said.

Photo Credit: Riverside County Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Scouting for 2015 NBA Draft]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:53:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Julius-Randle-LA-Lakers-Future.jpg

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers will call in a selection of players for pre-draft workouts at their practice facility in El Segundo, California.

With a stroke of luck that resulted in Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak popping open a bottle of champagne, the Lakers landed the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Along with that pick, the Lakers also hold a late first round pick that arrived in the trade for Jeremy Lin last summer and the team's early second round draft pick.

On Tuesday, the Lakers will begin to work out prospective draftees, and another round of workouts follow on Thursday. Kupchak also expects to speak to the collective LA sports media for the first time since acquiring the No. 2 overall pick, though the G.M. will likely keep his detailed thoughts on the Lakers' top selection closely guarded.

After a couple seasons with limited tradable assets and even less salary cap space, Kupchak and the Lakers have options in 2015. According to Kupchak in a recent internet radio interview, the No. 7 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Julius Randle, looks back to being healthy following a broken leg suffered in his first official game as a professional. Add in a promising rookie season for Jordan Clarkson that resulted in the combo-guard becoming the first Lakers player to make the All-Rookie First Team in 20 years, and the Lakers have attractive young players and attractive draft picks.

In short, the Lakers have a future.

The more patient approach would involve using the three picks in the draft, developing Randle and Clarkson while building around the No. 2 pick, which should end up being Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns or D'Angelo Russell. More than likely, the Lakers will take either Okafor or Towns, depending on which big man Minnesota picks with the no. 1 overall pick.

With the patient approach, the Lakers will likely miss out on the playoffs for the third straight season. However, Kobe Bryant's weighty contract will come off the books in the summer of 2016, so a year of developing young talent combined with a big enough budget to attract three big time stars could quickly propel the Lakers back into being contenders for the long-term.

More than likely, though, the Lakers will look to trade at least one of their three draft picks and hope to sign a big time free agent or two this summer. Former UCLA Bruin Kevin Love is likely a target for the Lakers on a maximum contract, and the Cleveland Cavaliers star appeared unsettled alongside LeBron James for most of the season. With the Cavs on the cusp of the NBA Finals and Love out due to injury, the Lakers' chances of landing the rangy forward would appear to be higher than before the forward sustained a shoulder injury in a first-round series against the Boston Celtics.

Rajon Rondo is another free agent linked with the Lakers. Rondo's recent injury history combined with a flame out in Dallas should provide the Lakers the opportunity to sign the veteran at a discount. In a perfect world, Rondo would be on a discounted short-term contract to partner with Bryant, who has openly recruited the former Boston Celtics point guard to the purple and gold.

Starting July 1, the Lakers can begin to negotiate with current free agents, but actual contracts cannot be signed until the second week of July.

Until the NBA Finals wrap up, though, the Lakers can do little more than work out draft prospects for the June 25 NBA Draft. Expect a great deal of draft workouts in the near future, and Tuesday is simply the first day in what promises to be a rather eventful summer for the purple and gold. Stay tuned.

<![CDATA[Praying For a Miracle: Hope For Teen on Life Support]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 14:49:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/5-26-15+Dana+Housley.JPG

Family and friends continue to hold out hope and pray for a miracle 72 hours after a Southern California teen collapsed while up to bat during a softball game.

Dana Housley suffered a suspected brain aneurysm during the last inning of her travel softball team’s tournament in Fontana Saturday, according to a GoFundMe page setup by one of her coaches to help her family cover medical expenses.

The Etiwanda High School student was unresponsive and rushed to a hospital.

Unable to breath on her own and without brain activity, Dana was placed on life support.

Her chance of survival was slim, according to her GoFundMe page.“The softball community throughout the country has prayed for her, thanks to social media. However, we only have until Monday morning for God to answer our prayers before she is going to be taken off of life support.”

As of Tuesday, Dana was still on life support. Using the hashtags #DanasMiracle and #PrayForDana, friends showed their support for The California Thunder first baseman on social media. 

One post that was shared nearly 1,000 times over read, "Please pray for Dana...We need a miracle. If we all come together, God just might answer our prayers."


The circumstances surrounding Dana’s life support were unclear but an update posted on her GoFundMe page Monday stated, "we are still fighting for hope."

Photo Credit: Courtesy: CalThunder]]>
<![CDATA[Compton Protesters Get Sprinklers Turned on Them]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 21:27:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/5-25-15-Chen_Compton_Web_1200x675_451123267729.jpg

A group of teachers in Compton are suing the school district, accusing it of failing to help students who have suffered from violence, and a confrontation erupted Monday when some of those teachers and some parents took their complaints to the home of a school board member.

These teachers and parents say everything they’ve tried so far hasn’t worked. So Tuesday morning they went straight to the house of a board member, and picketed outside, hoping to get his attention. Their message, they say, is that the district needs to do more to help students in crisis.

"We don’t have enough security on campus. We know that there is gang violence, drugs and we need more security to protect students and teachers," said teacher Patrick Sullivan.

The protest is part of a federal lawsuit filed by three Compton teachers. It includes stories of students traumatized by sexual abuse and shootings in their homes and neighborhoods. The district is accused of kicking the students out of several schools, and doing nothing to help them.

Jessica Escobar says the district failed in its duty to help her daughter with her learning disabilities.

"They take things too lightly when a parent comes and is asking for some help that they are federally and statutorily entitled to and for them to just say 'there’s no proof she needs it,'"Escobar said.

During the protest, a woman came out of the home and confronted the protesters turning on the sprinklers on the protesters, and accusing them of being misguided.

"The teachers need to be educated," the woman said. "They’re not, just because they have the degree. They’re just there for the paycheck."

There was a brief argument, but the woman went back into the house.

The district has not yet commented on the lawsuit, but the superintendent says it is committed to providing a quality education and will continue to do so.

<![CDATA[Animals in the News]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 16:28:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/wolf+warriors+veterans+memorial+day.JPG Animals making headlines in SoCal

Photo Credit: Tom Bravo]]>
<![CDATA[Injured Sea Lion Found Off California Coast]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 21:23:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/5-26-15+Injured+Sea+Lion.JPG

A sea lion found with a large metal-looking spear piercing through his body at the Peninsula Marina in Oxnard was captured and being taken to SeaWorld veterniary hospital for treatment Tuesday.

Lovingly nicknamed Bubba by locals, the sea mammal is in dire need of medical attention.

"I've seen him about three days ago, it was the first time it was here," Kenny Knoll said. "He stayed on the dock for about 48 hours straight."

The 500 to 600 pound sea mammal had been hard to spot since. Many boaters were stunned and angry anyone would attack the animal.

"But this was vicious, this was," Tony Raimondo said. "I think someone must have gashed the thing because when you look at that gash, it was continuous, it didn't happen by accident."

A group comprised of a vet, volunteers and Sea World San Diego employees went out Tuesday morning looking for Bubba.

"It's basically a pole, a pole with a metal knife attached to it, could be a gaff of some type and clearly it was done intentionally by some human," said Dr. Samuel Dover with the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute. "Our job is to catch this animal, fix it, release it and hopefully make it better."
If caught, because of his size, Bubba would be taking to Sea World San Diego.

"The animal will do what it's going to do. It was here this morning and then it left," Dover said. "Chances are he'll come back and whether it's today or tomorrow, we'll be around and we'll be available."

Photo Credit: Courtesy: NBC4 Viewer]]>
<![CDATA[Off-Duty Cop Charged in Shooting]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 18:17:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MCDONALDS+SHOOTING+SUSPECTS+CONWAY.jpg

An off-duty police officer and his mother have been charged with murder in connection with a deadly double shooting in the parking lot of a McDonald's in Waldorf, Maryland, that authorities say stemmed from a custody dispute involving the officer's children. The victims were the children's mother and her new husband.

Richard Conway, 26, a Prince George's County police officer, was arrested at his mother's home Monday night. He has been charged with murder of 25-year-old Robert Michael Mange and the shooting of Mange's 24-year-old wife, Prince George's County Police Chief Mark Magaw said in a statement Tuesday.

Conway is the second person charged in the case. Last week, authorities charged his mother, 51-year-old Caroline Conway, with the murder of Mange, and the attempted murder of Mange's wife. The wife had a prior relationship with Richard Conway.

The Charles County Sheriff's Office says that although it was Caroline Conway who fired the weapon, her son participated in the crime before and after the shootings. Investigators say the motive appears to be an ongoing child custody dispute between Richard Conway and the female victim. 

On the evening of May 20, the victims drove from Virginia to the McDonald's in the 11000 block of Mall Circle to pick up the wife's two young children. The children had been staying with Caroline Conway, who is the grandmother of one of the children.

Caroline Conway allegedly got into the couple's car and shot Mange, according to the Charles County Sheriff's Office. Her son took her there but stayed in the car with his children, News4's Chris Gordon reported.

"Miss Conway produced a handgun and shot the male victim, Mr. Mange," Charles County Sheriff's Office Capt. Stephen Slavas said. "The female victim tried to flee the vehicle. As a result, Miss Conway, the shooter, shot the female victim in the back."

Both victims were taken to an area hospital, where Mange died. The woman is expected to survive, authorities said.

After the shooting, investigators found ammunition consistent with a .40 caliber handgun, the same weapon issued to Prince George's County Police officers.

The gun used in the shooting has not been recovered. Detectives are looking into the possibility that Conway's service weapon was used in the crime.

The charging document against Officer Conway says his mother told a witness she shot the mother of Conway's children with his service weapon and that he sent text messages to Mange's wife as if nothing had happened though he knew she was shot.

Richard Conway has been with the Prince George's County Police Department for three years. He has been suspended without pay, Magaw said.

<![CDATA[Today in LA's 4 in Forty: Historic Floods Wash Through Texas]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:57:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/flood2.PNG Catastrophic floods washed through Texas with 11 inches of rain falling in five hours, an update from an anorexic OC woman shows her crowd fund site raised $185,000, a mysterious car fire breaks out at an Anaheim McDonald’s as a man stops for a snack, fan’s one-handed catch leaves Minnesota ballpark attendees speechless – all of these stories were featured in Tuesday’s edition of Today in LA's 4 in Forty. Catch Today in LA every morning with Whit Johnson, Daniella Guzman, Crystal Egger and Holly Hannula 4:30-7 a.m. You wake up, we'll open your eyes. (Aired May 26, 2015.)

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Hurt in Bounce House Incident]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 20:45:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/052615+bounce+house+survivor.jpg

A young girl who was injured after the bounce house she was in was sent flying by a waterspout at Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida, was released from the hospital Tuesday.

"I thought I was gonna die," Shamoya Ferguson said.

Ferguson spent the night at Broward Health Medical Center under observation after the Memorial Day incident that left the 6-year-old and two other children injured.

"I'm stressed, I'm really stressed, I never expected something like this, I was so shocked," mother Tameka Liscombe said at the hospital Tuesday. "When I went home last night I can't sleep, all night, I wake up with nightmares."

The frightening incident, which was caught on video, showed the bounce house spinning as it lifted off the ground and dropped the children onto the sand below.

"I was in the bounce house, then I fell," Ferguson said, adding it felt like she was in "a tornado.'

Shadaja Bryant, 5, was left with a broken arm after the violent ride. Shamoya's 11-year-old step-brother, AJ, was also injured.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman issued a statement Tuesday calling the incident a "freak act of nature" that was unpredictable.

"The change in weather was sudden and severe. An intense water spout came ashore rapidly and without warning bringing forceful winds that meteorologists have estimated were between 65 and 85 miles per hour," Feldman said. "Its powerful unpredictable path knocked down street lights and destroyed a cement basketball support structure."

Feldman said the city has put the bounce house vendor, All Star Events, on notice of their responsibility as they investigate the incident.

"It's just an accident, things happen, the greatest thing is that she's here," father Omar Ferguson said.

Photo Credit: Ari Odzer/NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Southern California Images in the News]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 14:13:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/elsinore-veteran-cemetery-flag-memorial-day.jpg Southern California images in the news during 2015.

Photo Credit: Tony Shin]]>
<![CDATA[Backlash Sees PacSun Withdraw U.S Flag Shirt]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 05:05:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/171*120/5-26-2015-PacSun.JPG

A Southern California clothing firm has removed a T-shirt bearing an upside-down American flag from its shelves after it stirred a Memorial Day backlash.

In a Facebook statement Monday, apparel giant PacSun said it had decided to immediately stop selling the garment "out of respect" for members of the armed forces.

The announcement came after images of the garment were repeatedly posted to the Anaheim company's page on the social networking website, with people calling it "disgusting" and "disrespectful." It also trended on Twitter due to the  #BoycottPacSun hashtag.

"Out of respect for those who have put their lives on the line for our country, we have decided to stop selling the licensed flag t-shirt and are removing it from our stores and website immediately," the statement said. "We thank the men and women in uniform for their extraordinary service."

However, reaction to the decision was split, with some saying the company should not have sold the t-shirt in the first place.

"You put this shirt in your window on Memorial day? Shame on you for not having better sense than this," a customer named Amy Hudgins Wisdom wrote. "This is trashy, thoughtless behavior which insults the veterans who have given their all to protect this great country."

"Dear Pac Sun, go f-yourself, As a long time customer… I will more than gladly stop shopping at your anti-American store," Huntington Beach resident Rich Avila said.

"As a young United States Marine. I'm disgusted that it was put up for sale in your stores and website in the first place, " Californian Angel Robles wrote. "You've lost all my respect as a brand and retail store. What were you thinking?"

Casino star James Woods was also angry about the T-shirt, and urged his 227,000 Twitter followers to boycott the store.

"Please, every follower of mine, please #BoycottPacSun. Disgusting trashing of American Flag on Memorial Day," he tweeted.

Others were unhappy the company withdrew the item, complaining the decision violated free speech.

"PacSun has the right to sell whatever it believes will make it money," Eric Gang wrote. "Our Bill of Rights protects this t-shirt as much as it protects my right to disagree. Pulling the shirt protects no one. Not even veterans."

It is widely considered that flags are flown upside down in instances of immediate danger to life or property.

Photo Credit: Rachel Zawacki-Kuss
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies After Being Stabbed at Bus Stop]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 14:17:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/crime-stock-police-scene-tape-car-2.jpg

A man who was found stabbed in the chest and lying on the ground next to a bus stop on Memorial Day died Tuesday morning, and police asking for help to find his attacker.

Officers found the man on the sidewalk next to a bus stop in the 9100 block of Van Nuys Boulevard before 11 p.m. Monday, Los Angeles police said.

The man had stab wounds to the chest, and he died at a hospital about 1 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

Los Angeles police identified the man as 40-year-old Pablo Martinez, but the coroner's office has not yet released the victim's name and date of birth.

Anyone with information should call homicide detectives at 818-838-9810 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 818-838-9800 from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Man Tried to Join ISIS: Prosecutor]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 10:40:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ISIS-stock-breaking-AP44739478800.jpg

A Houston-area man has been charged with planning to travel to Syria to wage jihad on behalf of ISIS, NBC News' Pete Williams has learned.

Asher Abid Khan, 20, of Spring, was arrested Tuesday morning, Williams reported.

Prosecutors said and a friend devised a plan to travel to Turkey and then on into Syria. Court documents said he asked a "foreign terrorist fighter facilitator" in Turkey, "I wana join ISIS can you help?" and told someone else, "I wana die as a Shaheed [martyr]."

Prosecutors said his friend did make it from Texas to Syria with the help of Khan and the facilitator in Turkey.

Court documents said Khan, who was living in Australia, got as far as Turkey. But his family told him, falsely, that his mother's health was deteriorating, deceiving him into returning to Texas.

The FBI got onto the two after seeing Facebook postings by the friend, referred to in court documents only as SRG.

Earlier this month, a U.S. Magistrate ordered a Mesquite man who is accused of lying to the FBI about his allegiance to a terrorist group held without bond until his trial.

The judge decided Bilal Abood, 37, was a flight risk after an FBI agent testified that Abood was effectively a recruiter for the Islamic State because he sent graphic videos of beheadings and other atrocities to potential sympathizers.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Rower Going for Pacific 1st]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 10:48:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Sonya-Baumstein.jpg

Sonya Baumstein is about to attempt something no other woman has ever done: She is going to try and cross the Pacific Ocean – non-stop, from Japan to San Francisco – in a row boat.

NBC Bay Area’s Mark Matthews spoke with Baumstein on Monday via Skype. She's on Japan’s east coast, about to embark on her voyage, which she hopes will end with her rowing under the Golden Gate Bridge.

"I’m afraid of losing my boat because I spent three years creating this thing,” Baumstein said when asked what she fears most about the challenge. Her boat is a 23-foot floating data collector that every 30 minutes will beam back ocean temperatures, salinity, current and weather information to scientists studying the affects of global warming.

Baumstein, from Port Townsend, Washington, is only 30, but she’s got some expeditions already logged. She rowed across the Atlantic. She kayaked from Seattle to Juneau.

“I’ve also paddle boarded the Bering Strait prior to doing this,” she said.

The highlight reel Baumstein put together for the Pacific crossing shows off some of those earlier trips. But this one is four-to-six months long, spent alone on a boat with with only seven feet of deck space, crossing the world’s biggest ocean.

“It all depends on how you want to use the moments that you have in your life,” Baumstein said, “and this is the moment in my life right now.”

Baumstein said she intends to spend her free time at sea collecting data on global warming. 

All of the information will be beamed to a satellite and tracked by scientists at Earth & Space Research (ESR), a Seattle-based, nonprofit institute specializing in oceanographic research.

“And that’s all that I’m doing," Baumstein said. "I’m a community member that is helping to get data back.” She said she hopes to “contribute to the body of knowledge” so “we can help solve these major problems that we have on earth right now.”

There have been two solo crossings of the Pacific in a rowboat, according to Ocean Rowing Society records, but no woman has ever done it.

To follow Baumstein’s progress, and see the data she’s collecting, go to expeditionpacific.com.

<![CDATA[Shark Seen Off Oceanside Coast: Lifeguards]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:00:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Oceanside-Beach-Harbor.jpg

A shark sighting was reported Monday just off the coast of Oceanside Harbor Beach, Oceanside Lifeguards said.

Someone in a boat passed by a 6-foot shark and reported it to lifeguards who sent out their own boats to search for any signs of it.

They also searched from a helicopter above.

From Santa Barbara down to San Diego and through to Baja Mexico, more than a dozen great white sharks have been spotted recently, some even 50 feet from the shore in Huntington Beach.

Oceanside lifeguards say sightings are rare along our coastline. Even so, they normally don’t alert the local media or the public.

However, lifeguards in Huntington Beach recently put up warning signs for beachgoers due to sightings of more than a dozen young Great White Sharks feeding in the area.

The Oceanside shark sighting didn't stop hundreds of surfers from venturing out into the coastal waters.

Most of the people NBC 7 spoke with didn't seem too phased.

"If there was a shark approaching surfers or having some sort of curiosity of swimmers then that would concern me,” said surfer Dee Toombs. “Seeing sharks in the water doesn't concern me. They're out there."

Mike Price, the assistant curator of fishes at SeaWorld San Diego, said those sharks are not looking for people, but rather they're chasing sting rays and small fish.

“It's exactly where they're supposed to be, it's where they want to be, it's where all their food sources are,” Price said.

Lifeguards didn't specify whether the Oceanside shark sightiing was a great white shark. They say there just isn't enough information to know for sure.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Anaheim Ducks in the 2015 NHL Playoffs]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 08:16:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/173*120/474755812.jpg Images from the Anaheim Ducks 2015 NHL Playoffs run.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Relearning to Talk, Walk]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:54:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Turan+and+His+Mother.jpg

A Maryland teenager shot in the head by a friend in January over a video game argument is relearning how to walk, talk and understand his mother.

Doctors had to remove half of Turan Caudle’s skull after the shooting. The 17-year-old can only respond to questions with one-word answers.

“He was in ICU,” his mother Sherita Caudle said. “The doctors said he wouldn't make it through that night. If he did make it, he wouldn't be able to walk and talk.”

Delano Dunmore, 16, shot Turan and another friend inside Dunmore's house in Clinton, Maryland, over an argument about a video game, investigators said. He allegedly turned the gun on himself, as well. He and the other teen also survived.

“I never could imagine that could happen with them just playing a video game,” Turan’s mother said.

All three of the teens were on the Frederick Douglass High School football team and the won the Division II state championships a few weeks before the shooting.

Delano was facing attempted murder charges as an adult, but Sherita Caudle said the charge has been downgraded to assault. He's awaiting trial.

Sherita Caudle drives her son from Upper Marlboro to a rehabilitation center in Baltimore every day. A GoFundMe page has been created to help with the medical expenses.

Photo Credit: Shomari Stone, NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Water Agencies Debate Continuing Rebate Plans]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 18:03:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/drought-lawn-sprinkler-2015.jpg

Water agencies do more than manage water — they also manage money.

So the question in cities across Southern California is just how much do they need to pay homeowners to entice them to do their part in a drought?

Retired telephone worker Debra Woods, who lives in Fullerton, says there was a time her grass lawn made neighbors jealous.

"It was so green, there were no blemishes. I had a fertilizing company come out once a month. It was perfect, and I was embarrassed for having such a perfect lawn,” Woods says, laughing.

But that lawn is dead now, as part of her effort to help conserve water.

Eventually, she wants to replace it with drought-resistant landscaping, and wouldn't mind some help with the cost.

"I sure could use it. I am retired and I'm really squeezing by (trying) to do this," she says.

This Orange County native is the kind of customer the Metropolitan Water District had in mind when it offered $2 per square foot to anyone who would rip out their lawn.

"The public’s interest in turf removal has been phenomenal,” says district spokesman Bob Muir.

So popular, Muir says, that the $100 million allocated for the turf removal program is about to dry up, with homeowners having applied for over $330 million in rebates.

The spike came after Gov. Jerry Brown's call for a 25 percent reduction in urban water use.

"Not only in residential areas, but commercial areas as well," Muir says.

The water agency will consider boosting the turf removal fund with an additional $350 million at Tuesday's board meeting, but not everyone is in favor.

Four board members from the San Diego County Water Authority, a member of MWD, led by board member Keith Lewinger, wrote recently that "we've reached the tipping point and we don't need $2 per square foot incentives to get people to do this any longer. We can't buy our way out of the drought by removing turf. We just can't afford it."

One proposal MWD will consider Tuesday is to increase the funding for the turf removal program with new restrictions. Only residential lawns under 3,000 square feet will qualify, and the commercial rebate will drop from $2 to $1 a square foot, under that proposal.

Debra Woods can't afford it either, but says the program is so particular on what she can plant, that she may not qualify for the rebate.

Still, she doesn't regret losing her once-flawless emerald lawn.

"No, I really don't,” she says. “It wasn't a source of pride anymore."

<![CDATA[Rescue Planned for Sea Lion With "Vicious" Wound]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 13:37:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/5-26-2015-Sealion.JPG

A sea lion with a "vicious" wound has been appearing at a Ventura County marina over the weekend, concerning some people who have seen it.

The large male sea lion first appeared at Oxnard's Peninsula Yacht Marina as late as Saturday, according to people in the marina, and has been coming and going since then. It appears to be stabbed with "a hook-shaped thing that's duct taped to a handle," according to boater Kenny Knoll, who sent pictures of the animal to NBC4.

"The wound is pretty vicious when you see it," said Knoll, who has seen it for the last three or four days.

NBC4 cameras captured  the sea lion at the marina late Monday night — injured, but very much alive.

Knoll said he's appalled that someone would hurt the sea lion.

"This was a malicious attack. It's unfair to him," he said. "If a human caused this a human should help rectify the situation."

A representative of the Channel Islands Harbor Patrol said they were made aware of the situation by a marine mammal rescue group, which would be picking up the sea lion, which could weigh around 600 pounds, Tuesday.

Messages left with the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute were not immediately returned.

A crew from the rescue group came to the harbor as soon as the wounded animal was reported Saturday night, but was unable to help it without the help of trained professionals, according to Peninsula Yacht Marina office manager Gary Auberry.

"We've had a couple of calls and concerned people and rightly so," Auberry said, but rescuers need to make sure that they and the animal are safe when they capture it.

Auberry said he was told a crew from SeaWorld San Diego was coming to safely tranquilize the sea lion, they would have come sooner, he said, but were tied up in wildlife rescue in nearby Santa Barbara County, where an oil spill endangered sea life.

"We're hoping they can tranquilize him, we guess," said Lori Volk. "Try and see if they can get that gaff out of him. I don't know how they're going to do it."

Neighbors said they are waiting for the sea lion to return so rescuers can scoop him up and assess his chance for recovery.

"They have people coming to investigate, too. Really horrifying for us. Been in this harbor 30 years and I've never seen this before," Volk said.

"I'm just so sad. We just want to get him some help," she said. "We just want to get it some help. We know it's coming. We just have to be patient."

Knoll said that he's frustrated at how long the sea lion has been left to suffer, as are others at the marina, where Knoll, a New Jersey resident, has stayed with his sailboat.

"People here realize that with the oil spill ... there's a lot going on, but it seems like they come, they look at him, and then they leave," Knoll said.

<![CDATA[Father Fought for Custody Before Son Found Dead in Playground Swing]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 20:36:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Wills+Memorial+Park+Swings+052215.jpg

The father of a 3-year-old boy found dead in a park swing last week, just days after the father filed for sole custody, wonders if the legal system is to blame.

James Lee said he went to court before his son Ji-Aire was found dead while being pushed in the swing by his mother. Lee was concerned the mother, Romechia Simms, was suffering from mental illness. He said he did not want to keep Ji-Aire’s mother out of his life forever; he just wanted her to get help. He believed he was the better parent at the time. A judge disagreed.

“He deemed her, at that moment, a fit parent,” Lee said. “I'm not saying she isn't, but in this situation, he just didn't pay attention to the signs."

Soon after, Simms took Ji-Aire to a motel in Waldorf, near where her mother lives. Two days before Ji-Aire was found dead, Simms called Lee, telling him he needed to pick her and their son up immediately. But by the time he was done with work, Simms stopped answering Lee’s calls. On Friday, Simms’ mother called Lee, telling him his son was dead.

“It came out of nowhere for me,” Lee said.

On Monday, an autopsy for Ji-Aire was completed, but no cause of death was determined. Police are working to establish a timeline of the days before Ji-Aire’s death, Charles County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Diane Richardson said. They believe Simms may have pushed Ji-Aire in the La Plata park swing for hours before they were discovered.

Lee thinks things could’ve turned out differently had the court granted him sole custody. But the system is designed to benefit mothers, not the fitter parent, he said.

“Women get slapped on the wrist,” he said. “Men get grinded into dog meat.”

Simms has been hospitalized since Friday. Ji-Aire’s death remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Carjacker Caught Hiding in Tree: LASD]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 04:22:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/5-26-2015-Carjacker.JPG

An armed carjacking suspect was caught hiding in a tree after he ran away from deputies in East Los Angeles early Tuesday.

The man was captured in a residential area near South Fickett Street before 3:25 a.m. after a perimeter was set up around 2nd and Soto streets, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman said. 

It was established after a man was carjacked at gunpoint at Hammel Street and McDonnell Avenue at around 11:53 p.m. Monday. Deputies found the vehicle 2nd and Soto streets, and when they approached a man jumped out and fled.

After setting up a perimeter, police dogs were called in as the lawmen conducted a search.

The man, who is in his 20s, was later found in the tree, and when he was taken into custody a gun was found in a backpack, which was found nearby, according to officials.

Investigators said the person caught has been identified as the carjacker, and he faces a carjacking charge.

Photo Credit: LoudLabs]]>
<![CDATA[Biker Collides With SUV, Dies in Sun Valley ]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 02:32:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

A biker died after his motorcycle collided with an SUV in Sun Valley late Monday.

The man died at the scene following the crash near the intersection of Glenoaks Boulevard and Nettleton Street just after 10 p.m, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said.

The driver of the Hummer SUV, who suffered minor injuries, stayed at the scene and was being questioned by investigators. 

It is still unknown what led up to the crash, and it remains under investigation.

The intersection of Glenoaks Boulevard and Nettleton Street has been closed off, and it not yet known when it will reopen.

<![CDATA[Beverly Hills Bringing Back Red Light Cameras]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 22:16:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/232*120/redlightcameras.JPG

While some cities have been putting the brakes on red light cameras, Beverly Hills is turning on cameras that had been idle and even adding a few new ones to the mix beginning next month.

Just as some cities decide red light cameras aren't bringing in the revenue they were expected to generate, and are just not worth the trouble, Beverly Hills wants to turn back on the cameras that have been turned off since January.

"I come by here every day to go to work and I am always afraid of getting hit,” Bernie Fliegelman said, referring to getting a ticket — not getting struck by another car.

Beverly Hills has a contract with a new vendor to update existing cameras and add cameras at three new intersections:

  • Crescent Drive and South Santa Monica Boulevard
  • Sunset Boulevard and Benedict Canyon Drive
  • Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Drive

While safety is a factor, some drivers said they are not looking forward to having the cameras back up and running.

"I question how much is for safety and how much is for revenue,” said Katt English.

English said she likes the idea of having working cameras in the neighborhood but wonders about privacy rights and just how well those cameras actually work.

"Sometimes I think it’s a little crazy because they are picturing the car that ran the light," English said. "You're coming behind it and you're on that camera."

The good news for drivers is that a new state law requires yellow lights to last longer, and for the first 30 days after the system goes back online, warning letters will be sent to violators instead of citations.

Intersections will existing cameras are set to be back online by June 1; the new intersections by June 15.

Photo Credit: Randy Mac/NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Activists Counter Violent Extremism]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 18:07:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/5-25-15-Terror+Act+Prevention+NBC.JPG

Predicting the next terrorist attack and who will be behind it is complicated, but a national program with deep roots in the city of Los Angeles is at the forefront of trying to find a way to stop acts of terror before they happen.

“It's just proven there's no predictor,” Salam Al-Marayati from the Muslim Public Affairs Council said.

He is among a local group who recently went to Washington D.C. for President Obama’s three day summit on Countering Violent Extremism, or CVE. The national strategy was developed to bring together local community groups, specifically but not limited to Muslim organizations, with law enforcement.

“It’s about having that open conversation, as we like to call it, safe place,” he said.

Islamic terrorists are actively recruiting young people using images in ISIS training videos and social media.

“The fact that they’re putting out 90,000 messages a day on things like Twitter, that resonates,” said Erroll Southers, Director of Transition & Research Deployment at the University of Southern California, or CREATE.

“ISIS is doing that. That’s how they’re getting to our kids,” added Anila Ali, community activist and schoolteacher.

Activists said the greatest resource in this fight may be happening at the neighborhood level.

“We do have to have a community that understands the change, and the risk reduction only happens if they do it,” Southers said.

Southers works with the CVE program and has done extensive research within Somali communities in Minnesota. He admits there is mistrust of strangers and law enforcement, but the community relationship is imperative.

“It’s the only element of this whole radicalization process that we can control,” Southers said.

Countries around the world are developing counterterrorism plans. The United Kingdom is looking to identify terrorist behavior in preschool. Here in the United States, a rating system would look at a person’s emotional state and other factors to predict extremist tendencies.

The Los Angeles Police Department pioneered CVE, the relationship building program, several years back. It is one that LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing admits began badly.

“It was kind of a failure with the mapping initiative that we have,” Downing said.

He adds the process involved mapping where people of certain backgrounds lived, targeting Arab and Muslim neighborhoods, and perhaps most offensive to local Muslims, sending informants into mosques. While informants are still used, the LAPD said it realized there was not enough trust in the community and reverted to grass roots outreach.

The revised dynamic to fight terror encourages communities to drive the conversation of how and when to intervene.

“It's about building trust and teaching communities about how to access government,” Downing said. “You cannot blend intelligence and CVE work together."

While reporting criminal activity is appropriate, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) believes some government programs are too broad and encourage anti-Muslim sentiment.

In a statement, CAIR said in part, “while we are united with the government in our desire to protect our nation’s security and liberties, we are not convinced that government-led Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs, such as the initiative announced in September 2014, are the most effective use of public resources.”

The statement adds, the White House’s strategic plan on CVE was released in December 2011.

“It’s not about people. It's about the behavior that people exhibits and that's what we want to profile,” Downing said.

Those behind CVE said there is a greater need to eliminate stereotypes of who is turning to terror.

“It can be a blue-eyed, blonde-haired teenage girl,” Downing added.

According to a study by Fordham Law School’s Center on National Security, most potential terrorists are Caucasian. After a review of people charged with supporting ISIS, they found that three of 40 were of Arab descent.

Still, perception is powerful, and misunderstanding can be detrimental.

That is why the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City has opened its doors to law enforcement.

Mahomed Khan invited the FBI to one Friday prayer to speak with the faithful. He said he has seen the benefits of a relationship with law enforcement: A plot to bomb the mosque was foiled several years ago.

“If they weren’t doing their jobs, this mosque would have been history,” Khan said. “That’s why the relationship has to be very straight forward and open."

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>