<![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 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:08:57 -0700 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:08:57 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Watch Live: NBC4 News at 5 and 6 P.M.]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:52:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chuck+and+colleen+two+shot.jpg

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And as always, we want to hear from you. If you have a story idea or feedback, email us at tips@nbcla.com.

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<![CDATA["Django" Actress, Boyfriend Charged With Lewd Conduct]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:03:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/actress+daniele+watts+detained+lapd.jpg

"Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts and her boyfriend Brian James Lucas have each been charged with one count of lewd conduct for allegedly having sex in public moments before they were involved in an altercation with LAPD officers.

Each faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted on the misdemeanor charges, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's office.

Watts, 28, and Lucas made headlines when they claimed Watts' brief detention outside the CBS Studio Center in Studio City last month was the result of racial profiling. Watts is black and Lucas is white.

Sgt. Jim Parker, the LAPD officer who responded to the scene in the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard after nearby workers and residents reported a couple engaging in lewd behavior, later released an audio recording of his version of the incident.

The recorded version differed substantially from Watts' account.

Photos showing the couple in compromising positions in the passenger seat of a silver Mercedes were also released by witnesses. They were posted to the website TMZ.

Activists who initially called on the department to apologize to the couple later backtracked and called on Watts and Lucas to retract their statements, after the audiotape and photographs surfaced.

They are both slated to be arraigned Nov. 13.



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Gunman Opens Fire on Metro Bus in South LA]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:51:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/141021-metro-bus-shooting-south-la.jpg

A gunman shot at a passenger on a bus in South Los Angeles on Tuesday, Metro officials said. No one was hurt.

The shooting was reported about 3:40 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, Metro spokesman Paul Gonzales said.

A passenger on the 40 line was the target of someone who opened fire on the bus as it was driving by, Gonzales said. The bus came to a halt a few blocks east at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Figueroa Street.

Witnesses on the bus reported seeing a male shooting at bus from the street, Gonzales said.

A window on the bus was struck but the glass didn't shatter.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

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<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Fuel Station Awning Collapse]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:20:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/10-21-2014-fuel-gas-collapse-awning.jpg

Surveillance cameras captured a San Bernardino County fuel station awning collapse on video after a sheared hydrant sprayed water on top of the structure and caused it to buckle under the weight.

The chain of destruction began early Tuesday when a work truck driver backed into a hydrant outside the Chevron fuel station on Holt Boulevard in Ontario. The sheared hydrant sent a powerful stream of water that collected on the awning's roof, which gave way and crashed down onto fuel pumps.

"It just sounded like twisting metal," said witness Mario Alvarez. "Finally, it just went down the middle, started bending, and it went down."

No injuries were reported.

Workers were trying to remove the awning to begin repairs Tuesday at midday. It was not immediately clear whether the truck driver who struck the hydrant will be cited.
 



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Editor Ben Bradlee Dies at 93]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:02:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/450818457.jpg

One of the great figures in American journalism has died.

Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Washington Post, passed away at the age of 93.

The family says he had been in hospice care suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

His death was reported by The Washington Post Tuesday.

Bradlee skyrocketed to fame in the early 1970s when he allowed the Post to look deeper into the burglary at the Watergate Hotel. His collaboration with young reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein eventually brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency and established the Washington Post as one of the world's top newspapers.

Bradlee's Watergate fame was sealed with the movie "All the President's Men," in which he was portrayed by actor Jason Robards.

Bradlee lived a life as rich as his family name. Born into privilege in Boston, he graduated from Harvard. As a young man he lived in Paris for a time, working for the American embassy. He then joined Newsweek and eventually the Washington Post, where he served as the executive editor from 1968 until his retirement in 1991.

A prominent figure in the glamorous days of the Kennedy Administration, he was a close friend of both John and Jackie Kennedy.

Bradlee was a major player in those heady days when Georgetown dinner parties probably shaped government policy more than Congress.

He added to his stature in 1978 when he married the young style section reporter, Sally Quinn, who was 20 years his junior.

Since retiring, Bradlee wrote a memoir entitled "A Good Life" in 1995 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama last year.

As for journalism, Bradlee once said, "I don't mean to sound arrogant, but we are in a holy profession.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[La Verne Student Reports Assault By Four Men: Police]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:56:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

A female student at the University of La Verne reported she was assaulted by four men while walking on campus early Tuesday morning, according to an alert issued by the school.

The student said she was able to get away from the men, who attacked her while she was walking to her car.

The assault happened while walking between the Vista La Verne and the Oaks area, according to the alert.

No other information about the assault was immediately available.

The student is being offered counseling and other services, a university spokeswoman said.

La Verne police and campus safety officers are investigating the incident, according to Lt. Tom Toth of the La Verne Police Department.

Anyone with information is asked to contact LVPD or the Campus Safety office.

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<![CDATA[Man Sentenced to Prison in Death of Diving Partner]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:03:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/LAgenerics+prison+bars+jail.jpg

A man who provided unsafe equipment and failed to train his scuba diving partner prior to a dive off the coast of Catalina Island last year was sentenced to four years in state prison Monday.

Craig Lightner, 50, of San Pedro, pleaded guilty in July to one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 47-year-old Mark Rascon.

The two men were visiting the island to capture Blue-banded Goby fish, which is illegal, when kelp likely became entangled in Rascon’s breathing apparatus. Instead of helping him, Lightner called the Coast Guard to report a missing diver, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Rascon was found dead in 80 feet of water. He drowned as a result of an embolism.

Lightner, who supplied the air hoses and breathing regulators the two men used on the dive, was arrested two months later.

Lightner is expected back in court for a restitution hearing in December.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["Gentle Giant": Former Harlem Globetrotter Goes Missing]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:49:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-rico-omarr-harris.jpg

A former member of the Harlem Globetrotters has gone missing after leaving Southern California on a road trip to Washington state, sheriff’s officials and family members said.

Rico Omarr Harris, 37, left about 1 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 from a home he shares with his mother in Alhambra to see his girlfriend in Seattle, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

Harris' Nissan was found by a deputy in Yolo County Regional Parks near Rumsey three days later, the sheriff’s department said. Investigators found his backpack and cellphone near the car.

"I'm shocked, I was totally shocked," Harris' mother Margaret Hernandez told NBC4 on Tuesday. "He's 6 foot 9, but people are evil and you never know."

Harris' mother said she last spoke with her son by phone on 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 10 when Harris said he was driving through the Sacramento area. Deputies checked in with Harris’ girlfriend, who said he had not arrived. She said she last spoke to Harris on the phone at 10:45 a.m.

"He never had disappeared like this, and there's nothing going on in his life that would cause him to do something like that," stepfather Charles Taylor said. "He's like the glue to our family. His girlfriend calls him a gentle giant, and really thats what he is."

Searches for Harris in Yolo County have been unsuccessful, investigators said.

Harris is described as a 6-foot-9-inch black man weighing about 280 pounds.

"My son is a wonderful person," Hernandez said. "He has touched many, many lives, so I'm very hopeful that he's going to come out of this and we're going to find him."



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA["We Are Broken in Sorrow": Chaplain at Pilot Funeral]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:14:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/firefuneral.jpg

Almost 700 mourners came to say goodbye to a longtime pilot who died this month fighting the Dog Rock Fire in Yosemite when his air tanker crashed into a mountainside.

"We are broken in sorrow and in grief," said volunteer police and fire Chaplain Lupe Phillips as the service for Geoffrey "Craig" Hunt, 62, of San Jose began on Tuesday at the Chapel of the Hill Church on Sands Road.

A large screen with a CalFire badge, marked with a black stripe - greeted mourners as they entered the San Jose church. Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" played in the background as a slideshow of Hunt's life played. The images showed his wedding to his wife, Sally, in 1975, and his daughters, Sarah Hunt Lauterbach and Nancy Hunt; holding a freshly caught fish in the river and a rifle at a separate hunting trip; smoking a cigar while boating; and several other family shots with an extended crew of relatives. Hunt worked for Dyncorp and had flown for CalFire for 13 years.

Hunt Lauterbach got emotional as she described her father as a man who loved to teach her about steelhead trout and to ponder what the Earth looked like from 10,000 feet above the ground.

Hunt was killed Oct. 7 when his 1950s-era Cal Fire Tanker 81 had crashed into a mountainside near Arch Rock. Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board investigators said in preliminary findings that the tanker likely clipped a tree, which caused its wing to separate from the plane.

Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott described what firefighters do by air is a dangerous job.

"Aerial firefighting is not simply flying from one airport to another. The wildland firefighting environment  is a challenging one, both on the ground and in the air," he said earlier. "We look forward to the final NTSB report to see if we can use the findings to help mitigate the inherent dangers of the job. We owe that to Craig, who traded his life in an effort to protect the lives of others."

A native of Indiana, Hunt served as a U.S. Navy P3 Pilot from 1975 to 1984 and was in the reserves for 20 years. He earned a masters in business from the University of Southern California and a masters in biochemistry from the University of Santa Cruz, and served as a chemistry teacher in the off-season at the University of Santa Cruz.

According to his Cal Fire family, Hunt loved flying, golfing, fishing, hiking, bird watching, scuba diving, math and sciences, teaching and dogs.

"Craig Hunt made a difference," said longtime friend Dave Bayley. "Craig Hunt made the world a better place."

Expressions of sympathy or condolences for the family or the local can be sent to The Hunt Family, c/o CAL FIRE Firefighters Local 2881, 1731 J St., Ste. 200, Sacramento, CA 95816. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to G. Craig Hunt Memorial Fund, Ashville School, 360 Ashville School Road, Ashville, NC 28806.

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



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[“A Living Science Experiment": Nursing School Reflects on Ebola Cases]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:01:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola_funerario_duncan.jpg

Just before Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, students in a microbiology class at Texas Christian University read the medical thriller "The Hot Zone."

The 1994 best-selling chronicle introduced them to virus hunters desperately battling outbreaks of Ebola and other deadly viral hemorrhagic fevers in Africa, the dangers the scientists faced and the stringent safety procedures they followed, from the biohazard clothing they wore to chemical showers and ultraviolet scans they used to keep from infecting themselves.

It was enthralling and far away.

And then Ebola arrived in Dallas — sickening a Texas Christian University graduate, Nina Pham, one of the two nurses who became ill after they cared for Duncan, the Liberian man who died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

When the Ebola scare began unfolding three weeks ago, 19-year-old nursing student Andrea Jumper thought about what she had read, particularly the protective steps the researchers took in "The Hot Zone.”

"It was all decontamination," the sophomore from Keller, Texas, said. "They had so much protection and they were just dealing with little samples of Ebola.”

She wondered why Duncan’s specimens were sent through the hospital’s tube delivery system during Duncan first visit to the hospital, when he arrived at the emergency room with a fever and complaining of nausea, abdominal pain and other symptoms. That changed when, after initially being sent home, he returned on Sept. 28 and was hospitalized.

“It was really mind-boggling to me that here they sent in the samples with all the other blood samples,” she said. “And they didn't have nearly as much of the protection as they use in the book.”

The hospital just did not know what to expect, she said.

It’s an assessment that Texas Health Presbyterian shares. It has acknowledged that its nurses had not received full training for such a deadly, contagious illness and that it made mistakes.

“On that visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola,” Barclay Berdan, the CEO of Texas Health Resources, the hospital’s parent company, wrote in a letter to the community. “For this, we are deeply sorry.”

At Texas Christian University's Fort Worth campus of yellow brick buildings, green quads and purple depictions of the school's mascot, a horned frog, the nursing students are keeping up with the latest developments on Ebola and here, their discussions have an added urgency. They will soon be on medicine's front lines, battling Ebola and other illnesses.

Kristie Tinh, a 21-year-old junior, said she and classmates are following the news reports and trying to make sure they have the correct information.

"We understand why it's a big deal, but we really just want people to calm down and look at the facts," she said.

Tinh said she was inspired by her father, a survivor of the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s who volunteered at a clinic where the injured were cared for. His work was dangerous, she said.

“He would tell me stories of what he would do and it just seemed really fascinating to me,” she said. “And that's what really pushed me to go into a health profession.”

She and other students said they thought that they were being prepared to protect themselves and that, panic aside, the disease in the United States was being controlled.

“You just need to be smart about it and take the proper steps and just think about what you're going in to,” said Jumper, who plans to work in neonatal care after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Clark A. Jones, Jumper’s microbiology professor, said that each year he began his course with “The Hot Zone,” reading an excerpt at the start of the first class. It provides an excellent description of epidemiology and shows how agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control Prevention in Atlanta and the U.S. Army work together in public health emergencies, he said.

“It’s been an amazing book to always use,” Jones said. “Did I ever foresee that we would see something like this? Well, we talk about it a lot, especially as the book ends with HIV …a major virus that has affected our world.”

His students have asked about droplet transmission — when a virus is transmitted through fluids as Ebola is — as opposed to airborne transmission, and they understand why the nurses were so much more at risk of infection than Duncan’s fiancee and her family, he said. After reading “The Hot Zone,” they knew the danger of a “Level 4 hot agent” like Ebola and questioned why the protection gear being worn by the Dallas health-care workers as recommended by the CDC in Atlanta seemed inadequate, he said.

“Our students were really surprised,” he said.

Since Pham and the other nurse, Amber Joy Vinson, became infected, the CDC has announced a series of measures to better protect health-care workers, the most recent change coming on Monday, when it issued stricter guidelines for protective equipment worn by the workers. The CDC is now calling for gear that covers the workers’ bodies completely, with face shields, hoods and boot covers, and for trained monitors to supervise them as they put it on and remove it.

Also, on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that the state would create two new biocontainment facilities for treating patients with Ebola and other contagious diseases. Pham and Vinson are now hospitalized at two of the country’s four biocontainment hospitals specially equipped to handle infectious diseases, Pham at the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, and Vinson at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Suzy Lockwood, the director of undergraduate nursing studies at Texas Christian University’s Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said the school’s students have always been made aware of the need to guard against infectious diseases.

She poined out that the Dallas nurses, in trying to better protect themselves, taped their gear closed, perhaps putting themselves at greater risk as they removed the tape. Some of the protective gear was too large for the nurses. Lockwood noted that Pham, whom she taught and described as very caring, thoughtful and smart, is also small. The CDC recommendation for monitors to watch health-care workers remove their gear is key, Lockwood said.

“We’re all in a living science experiment,” she said. “We’re learning so much. Unfortunately, Presbyterian, the hospital here, ended up being the hospital that got the patient. Any other hospital would have had the same, probably would have had the same experience — just a little bit different but would have had the same struggles that this hospital had. They wouldn’t have had any different equipment.”

Maddy Robinson, a 19-year-old former nursing student at Texas Christian University, said the Ebola cases at Texas Health Presbyterian showed how the importance of nurses, something she had learned from her father, a plastic surgeon in Atlanta.

“We're not prepared for something like Ebola,” said Robinson, who is now studying education instead.

She had the passion but not the aptitude for nursing, she said.

“It was something I just really wanted to do,” she said. “It's something to help people -- exactly why you see so many nurses do it today.”

With Pham still hospitalized, students and staff at the Harris School of Nursing have started wearing purple and apricot ribbons as a show of support, purple for the university, apricot because it is the academic color for nursing. After homecoming this past weekend, alumni have been calling asking for them, Lockwood said.

“We’ve been sending ribbons all over the country,” she said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images / File Photo
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<![CDATA[Flu Vaccine Urged Over Ebola Worries]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:06:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/LAgenerics+health+medical+doctor+01.jpg

With all the news and worry about Ebola, doctors say many people are ignoring a much greater health threat in the U.S. - the flu.

Flu season has arrived in Southern California, and it kills far more Americans each year than Ebola. It's also preventable.

Many local emergency rooms are testing for the flu because of the Ebola fears, and the hospitals are seeing more cases of flu than expected.

But unlike the deadly virus, the simple fact is that the flu can be prevented by vaccine, which can be given by shot or by the inhaled mist. The treatment can prevent 60 to 90 percent of flu cases.

There are only eight known Ebola cases in the U.S., and most of those cases were contracted in West Africa.

Those eight cases have spurred fears across the country, yet 5 to 20 percent of all Americans get the flu every year, or 15 million to 6o million people.

And although reporting is not mandatory, the CDC estimates that between 3,000 and 49,000 flu deaths in America each year are preventable. Yet less than 50 percent of Americans get the flu vaccine.

People choose to avoid the vaccine, arguing that it causes aches and pains, isn’t worth it, they never get the flu or that they already got it last year.

The vaccine only lasts one year, however. It prevents the flu 60 percent of the time and it may cause a few aches and pains, but it never causes the flu itself.

The CDC suggests everyone get the vaccine unless they have an egg vaccine, due to the vaccine’s egg base.

It is most important for pregnant women and young children, the elderly, people with medicla problems and health workers.

The shot contains dead virus, so it can be given to everyone who is not allergic to eggs

The mist contains live virus it is only for people aged 2 to 49 years old

This years vaccine contains protection against h1n1 and a number of influenza viruses, and health professionals are encouraging everyone to take advantage of the vaccination.

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<![CDATA[1st Dallas Ebola Nurse Upgraded]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:22:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nina-pham-nih.jpg

Dallas nurse and Ebola patient Nina Pham's condition was upgraded from fair to good Tuesday at the National Instites of Health in Maryland, where she has been in isolation with the potentially deadly virus since Thursday.

She had been in fair condition since Friday, a day after her transfer to the taxpayer-funded Bethesda hospital -- home to one of the nation's top-level biocontainment facilities -- from Dallas.

Pham contracted Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with the potentially deadly virus in the United States, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Pham had been listed in good condition in Dallas before her transfer, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Laboratory of Immunoregulation, had said the change to fair shouldn't be understood as meaning that her condition had worsened.

"She's not deteriorating," he had said Friday. "She is quite stable now and resting comfortably."

Last week Fauci said they fully intend to have Pham walk out of their hospital and will do everything they can to make sure that happens.



Photo Credit: AP / Texas Christian University
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<![CDATA[Judge Backs Woman in Mauling Case]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:33:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Cat+controversy+1020-PIC_0.jpg

A judge has ruled in favor of a San Diego woman who was sued by a cat rescue group after her cat was mauled to death by an errant dog.

The rescue group, The Rescue House, sued Margaret McLean for $1,000 because the group claimed McLean violated terms of the adoption contract.

The Rescue House wanted the cat to remain indoors, which they said was laid out in the contract.

But McLean started letting her cat outside and a dog across the street escaped its leash and attacked and killed the cat, Malik.

On Monday, McLean said she was pleased about the judge’s decision, saying the lawsuit had been “punitive.”

“I feel vindicated. The judge recognized that the Rescue House’s contract was punitive,” she said. “I wish that instead of suing me they would’ve reached out and supported me or expressed their sympathy for my loss, rather than attack my judgment as a pet owner.”

The rescue group’s founder, Joan Star, said she was “shocked” by the judge’s decision. She saw the matter as simply a breach in a contractual agreement.

“It’s very sad when animals aren’t protected and the people aren’t held accountable for the promises they have made,” Star said. “The terms of condition were violated.”

In the signed ruling, the judge did not give reasoning for the decision.

The Rescue House is unable to appeal this decision.

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<![CDATA[Shooting at Burbank RV Lot Was Domestic Violence: Police]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:33:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

A man shot and wounded his wife before killing himself in an attempted murder-suicide during a case of domestic violence at a Burbank RV storage lot, police said Tuesday.

Police responded to the suspicious circumstances call on Monday just before 1 p.m. at the Affordable Storage RV lot, at 3615 North San Fernando Boulevard.

When police arrived, they found a 47-year-old woman suffering from a gunshot wound. Officers also found the body of a 50-year-old man in the cab of a tractor-trailer.

The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment. She is expected to survive, police said. Neither person was identified.

"The evidence and circumstances indicated that the husband attempted to murder his wife by shooting her, and then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide," Burbank police said in a statement.

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<![CDATA[Drought Spurs Pasadena to Tighten Water Restrictions]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:43:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP223500730484.jpg

Pasadena city officials are upping their efforts to stifle California's record drought by restricting property owners to water outdoors only one day a week starting next month.

The city's Level 1 Water Supply Shortage Plan that took effect in July restricted outdoor irrigation, such as watering landscape with sprinklers or any automated water system, to three days a week.

Starting on Nov. 1, outdoor irrigation will be limited to one day a week, either on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays.

"The community has been really receptive, and you can see that with the amount of water we’ve saved," said Wendy De Leon, Pasadena Water and Power spokeswoman.

Residents will still be able to wash their cars, but only if using a handheld container or a hose with a shut-off nozzle, officials said. No outdoor irrigation will be allowed between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and all water leaks must also be fixed within 72 hours.

The biggest usage of water is landscape watering, De Leon. By regulating this, the city hopes to move closer to the 20 percent water use reduction goal the state has asked cities to reach.

Pasadena has so far reached a 10 percent reduction of water use in the few months the water savings plan took effect, said De Leon.

Once-a-week watering will only be enforced during the fall and winter months. Property owners will be able to water three days a week again starting April 1 through Oct. 31.

People can flag water waste through the Pasadena Citizen Service Center. Fines can reach up to $500 per violation for residential customers, while business owners can be fined up to $1,000 for each offense.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Southern California Crimes Caught on Camera]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:46:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/10-13-14-Target+Vacuum+Theft+Murrieta.jpg A collection of images reveal caught-on-camera crimes across Southern California.

Photo Credit: Murrieta Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged With Arson in OC Blaze]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:25:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/10-21-14_Santiago-Canyon-Arson.JPG

A man already in sheriff's custody to face a vandalism charge has been linked to an arson fire set across the street from Santiago Equestrian Center in Orange County during the late summer, the Orange County Fire Authority said Tuesday.

Martin David Weel, 39, of Modjeska Canyon, was in custody of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department facing an unrelated vandalism charge when he was interviewed by investigators who now believe he was solely responsible for the fire on Santiago Canyon Road, the Fire Authority said in a statement.

He has been charged with one count of arson of a forest or wildland area. Investigators believe Weel acted alone.

Early in the morning Aug. 27, multiple witnesses reported the blaze, and said they had seen a car fleeing the scene.

The fire was quickly contained and no one was injured.

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<![CDATA[Vets Test Nina Pham's Dog for Ebola Virus]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:37:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Bentley-Thumb-102114.jpg

A team of specially-trained veterinarians started testing Ebola patient Nina Pham's dog, Bentley, for the virus.

Dallas Animal Services has been carrying for Bentley in isolation. To date he has been healthy and still shows no symptoms of the virus.

The City of Dallas tweeted new pictures Tuesday of Bentley playing with the vet.

The veterinarians started testing Bentley's waste for signs of Ebola virus Monday.

Bentley will remain in isolation until Nov. 1. He's being monitored for a full 21-day period, similar to humans who've been exposed.

No word on when Pham will be released from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

In response to the outpouring of support around the world for Bentley, the City of Dallas partnered with Dallas Companion Animal Project to establish the Dallas Pet Emergency Transition Services (PETS) fund. The donations will help Bentley and other pets in similar emergency situations in the future.

To donate visit DallasAnimals.org and click "You Can Help" or CLICK HERE to donate to the Dallas PETS (Pet Emergency Transition Services) Fund.



Photo Credit: City of Dallas via Twitter
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<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Thieves Smash Store Window, Cut Gate]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:04:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/10-21-2014-cell-phone-store-robbery-surveillance.jpg

Tens of thousands of dollars in electronics, including iPads, iPhones and laptops, were stolen after three men smashed a window and cut through a gate at a cell phone store Tuesday morning in Garden Grove.

The "smash and grab" robbery, which police said might be related to other similar crimes, took place at Oztek Wireless in the 10700 block of Westminster Boulevard just after 2 a.m.

After using a large tool to shatter the glass entrance, burglars dressed in what appeared to be hooded sweatshirts used a bolt cutter to break through the iron fence sliding doors to steal about 100 unlocked iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus devices, approximately 10 to 20 iPad, high-end laptops and some LG and Samsung phones, officials said.

Police estimate that the total loss was between $50,000 and a $100,000.

Vu Bui has owned the store for about three months. He received a call from the alarm company and watched the crime as it occurred because he had access to the store's surveillance cameras on his phone.

"They knew exactly what to get," Bui said. 

Bui believes the men responsible had been in the store before and knew where he had stored items. 

Garden Grove Police told NBC4 that this robbery could be the work of a network of "smash and grab" crews linked to a string of similar crimes. Police said thieves recently hit five Target stores in just one night.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Shot During Altercation With Officer in Signal Hill]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:19:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/187062332.jpg

A woman was shot in an officer-involved incident in Signal Hill Tuesday morning, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide division.

"There were numerous calls to Long Beach Police Department regarding a female with a gun," said Lt. Holly Francisco.

She said the callers reported a woman with a gun and a sign standing on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Chery Avenue, near the border of Long Beach and Signal Hill, and acting "irrationally."

The incident was reported at 8:15 a.m., a Signal Hill police officer responed to the scene, and encountered the woman in an alleyway behind a motel in the 1800 block of Cherry Avenue.

Jake Heflin, spokesman for Long Beach Fire Department, said both his agency and Long Beach Police also responded.

The woman was taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital in unknown condition. The sheriff's department will investigate the shooting.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA["Don't Touch My Girlfriend" ]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:54:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/obama-vote-girlfriend-1.jpg

While taking part in Early Voting in Chicago on Monday, President Barack Obama was interrupted at his electronic polling station by a man with a lighthearted word-of-caution.

"Mr. President, don't touch my girlfriend," the man, later identified as Mike, quipped as he crossed the room.

Standing beside Obama at her own polling station was Mike's clearly embarrassed girlfriend, Aia Cooper.

"You know, I really wasn't really planning on it," Obama replied with a chuckle. "There's an example of a brother just embarrassing me for no reason."

Obama added: "Now you'll be going back home and talking to your friends about this. ... I can't believe Mike, he is such a fool."

After a moment the pair finished with their ballots and the president went toward Cooper for a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

"Now you're really jealous," Obama said, smiling and pointing at Mike.

The president was in Chicago on Sunday and Monday attending fundraisers and offering support to Gov. Pat Quinn, who is in a challenging campaign against Republican Bruce Rauner.



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<![CDATA[Lawsuit: Wife of Bell Gardens Mayor Is "Cold Blooded Killer"]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 04:53:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Capture8.JPG

The brother of slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo has filed a wrongful death suit seeking $50 million in punitive damages against Crespo's wife, who allegedly shot her husband during an argument.

The 45-year-old mayor was shot Sept. 30 at the family's condominium in the small Los Angeles County city. Authorities say Crespo's wife, Lyvette, 43, shot him multiple times after he punched their 19-year-old son, Daniel Jr.

Crespo's brother, William Crespo, filed the lawsuit on behalf of his mother, and said at a news conference Monday he thought the killing was planned.

He claimed Lyvette Crespo would frequently provoke her husband and threaten to kill him, because she was jealous that he was unfaithful.

"She said she was going to divorce my brother when the kids turned 18," William Crespo said. "The kids turned 18. My brother went and he got himself another girlfriend, and she got jealous and she was holding it all inside. I guess she just let it all out and killed him."

The night of the shooting, Daniel Jr. called 911 and told the dispatcher his mother "was defending herself" when she fatally shot her husband, according to a recording of the call obtained by NBC4.

"My parents got in an argument, and there were shots fired," he tells the dispatcher, later saying "It wasn't my mom's fault...She was defending herself."

The suit, filed on behalf of Crespo's mother in LA County Superior Court, alleges that Lyvette Crespo had threatened to kill her husband many times and used an unwarranted amount of force to kill her husband, concluding that she "is a cold blooded killer."

Lyvette Crespo should have called 911 before shooting her husband, and breached her fiduciary duty to him by killing him, the suit alleges.

William Crespo's attorney, James Devitt, called the mayor's relationship "turbulent," showing a text message at the news conference that supposedly showed the Bell Gardens mayor demanding his wife stop threatening to "shoot me in d head!!!"

"Daniel was no angel…obviously he had a bit of a zipper problem," Devitt said at the news conference, held in front of Bell Gardens City Hall.

He continued: "In California, you cannot use deadly force against non-deadly force. You can’t just shoot people five times because they’re having a bad day."

After the shooting, Daniel Jr. and Lyvette Crespo were questioned by police for several hours, but both were released that night. Lyvette Crespo remains free as authorities investigate the shooting.

Lyvette Crespo's lawyer told NBC4 he would respond to the new allegations made in the lawsuit Tuesday morning. He has described Lyvette Crespo as a longtime victim of domestic violence, but her brother-in-law says the allegations shocked him and he feels conflicted about what happened.

"He loved (his family) more than life. He loved his wife a lot, he always loved his wife," William Crespo told NBC4 earlier this month.

"If it was that, she should've called 911. She shouldn't take matters into her own hands. She's not the cops," Crespo said in a separate interview. "I love her; I still love her. She's still my sister-in-law; I'm always going to love her."



Photo Credit: Sean Browning]]>
<![CDATA[Grandson Arrested in Stabbing Death of East LA Woman]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:38:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/121020-east-la-killing.jpg

A 23-year-old man is suspected of killing his grandmother, who was found face down at a home in East Los Angeles Monday, according to sheriff’s deputies.

The woman suffered multiple stab wounds in her upper torso, deputies said. She was found at a home on the 100 block of North Gage Avenue at 11:45 a.m. by deputies who were responding to a family-requested welfare check on the woman.

The suspect, Armando Sepulveda, was booked at East Los Angeles Station is being held on $1 million bail.

Neighbors told NBC4 that they saw a a person living at the home taken away by deputies.

An autopsy will be performed by the coroner's office to determine the cause of death. The victim was in her late 50s, according to City News Service.

NBC4 reporter Gadi Schwartz and City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Gallery: Cell Phone Store Burglary]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:40:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/garden+grove+US+Bank+robbery+suspect.gif Discarded boxes and other items were all that remained after three thieves broke into a Garden Grove cell phone store.

Photo Credit: Garden Grove Police Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Man Extradited on Terror Charge]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:12:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/terror+suspect+extradite.jpg

Haroon Rashid Aswat, a British man charged with conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, is being flown to New York from London Tuesday by U.S. officials after nine years of fighting extradition, law enforcement officials tell NBC New York.

Aswat faces federal charges of conspiring with radical cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, to establish a terrorist training camp in Bly 15 years ago.

Mustafa was convicted in New York in May of being involved in the Oregon terror plan. He was also convicted of helping to plot the 1998 kidnappings of tourists, including 16 Americans, in Yemem. Mustafa told the jury that he lost both hands and an eye in an accident in Pakistan while working with explosives.

A third man, James Ujaama, pleaded guilty in 2007 to being the American contact for Mustafa and Aswat in their alleged bid to build a terror camp in the United States. The fourth man to be named in the plot, Oussama Abdullah Kassir, a Swede born in Lebanon, was convicted of terror charges in 2009.

Aswat, who is being treated for paranoid schizophrenia, has been fighting extradition to America since his 2005 arrest in London on a U.S. warrant. Last month, Britain’s high court ruled Aswat could be extradited after receiving assurances from U.S. authorities that his mental illness would still be treated.

Media reports in London Tuesday say the Metropolitan Police confirm that Aswat was taken from Broadmoor psychiatric hospital and escorted onto a plane by U.S. officials.

Officials from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office in New York declined to comment.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[LA Teachers Highlight Growing Class Size Concerns]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:12:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/lagenerics+classroom.jpg

Teachers and students at North Hollywood High School shared stories of overwhelming class sizes Tuesday morning to call attention to what their union has said is a harmful situation for students throughout Los Angeles Unified School District.

United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents most of the district’s educators, said in a statement its tens of thousands of members also wore stickers Tuesday at all campuses showing their class sizes, as the union puts pressure on LAUSD administrators during negotiations to ease the registration numbers.

"UTLA has presented bargaining proposals to LAUSD to lower class sizes and reduce the student/HHS ratio," the statement reads.

"We will be back at the bargaining table on Wednesday and we are sticking to our demands because students deserve smaller class sizes and more counselors, school nurses, librarians, school psychologists, psychiatric social workers and other HHS professionals."

North Hollywood High has struggled with overcrowded physical education classes and senior English classes.

The union had an often contentious relationship with John Deasy, who stepped down as district superintendent last week after a three-and-a-half year tenure.

Former Superintendent Ramon Cortines has stepped into the role as district chief on an interim basis.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Unveils New Ebola Gear Guidelines]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:55:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP377346880200.jpg

Health officials have released long-awaited new guidelines for how health workers should gear up to treat Ebola patients, calling for protective garb that covers their bodies entirely and for trained monitors to supervise them as they put on and remove it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the long-anticipated updates Monday evening. Health workers have been pushing for new standards since two Dallas hospital nurses were diagnosed with the disease this month after treating an Ebola patient.

The guidelines call for face shields, hoods, boot covers and other garb that leave no part of the body exposed. They also call for a trained monitor to supervise the donning and doffing of protective wear. And they call for repeated training and practice.

The CDC guidance was expected as early as Saturday, but its release has been pushed back while it continues to go through review by experts and government officials.

Health workers had been pushing for the guidance since the nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were infected. They had treated an Ebola-infected patient named Thomas Eric Duncan — the first person diagnosed with the virus in the U.S.

Exactly how the two nurses were infected is not clear, said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden during a Monday night teleconference with reporters.

"We may never know exactly how that happened, but the bottom line is, the guidelines didn't work for that hospital," Frieden said.

The new guidelines include:

—Use of protective garments, hoods, face shields, double gloves, face masks or respirators and other protective equipment to cover every square inch of a health worker's body.

—A call for health workers who may be involved in an Ebola patient's care to practice repeatedly and demonstrate proficiency in donning and doffing gear before ever being allowed near a patient.

—Placement of a trained hospital employee to supervise all aspects of care in an Ebola patient's room and watch that all health workers put on and take off gear correctly.

Duncan's infection and subsequent death led to the monitoring of about 50 people who came in contact with him before he entered the hospital and dozens of health care workers who cared for him after his admission.

Some good news this week: The 50 in the initial contact group have passed a 21-day observation period and no longer are deemed at risk for coming down with the dreaded disease.

Youngor Jallah spent the past three weeks confined to her small apartment with her children and boyfriend, fearing they had contracted the deadly Ebola virus from her mother's fiance.

But with the household emerging symptom-free from the incubation period, Jallah's family members are now trying to resume their lives - replacing the personal belongings incinerated in a cleanup at her mother's home, and overcoming the stigma of the Ebola scare that has gripped Dallas.

On Monday, Jallah beamed as she sent her children back to school with clearance from the Dallas County health department tucked into their backpacks. Her mother emerged from her own confinement and started looking for a new place to live.

"We were sitting here traumatized," Jallah told The Associated Press on Monday. "We just thank God we never came down with the virus."

Jallah's mother's fiance, Thomas Eric Duncan, was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. He died Oct. 8.

Health officials said Monday about 50 people have passed the incubation period safely. Others who are still being monitored include health care workers who treated Duncan as well as those who cared for two nurses who had treated Duncan and also became infected.

There are now about 120 people in Texas being monitored for symptoms, with their wait period ending Nov. 7, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He said the number may fluctuate.

There are also about 140 people being monitored in Ohio because of contact or potential contact with nurse Amber Vinson, Ohio officials said. Vinson, who cared for Duncan in Texas, flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and flew back Oct. 13.

An Ebola patient who was being treated in Atlanta since early September was released from Emory University Hospital on Sunday after he was determined to be free of the virus and no threat to the public. Hospital and health officials never released his name, in keeping with his family's wish for privacy.

Health officials said they were relieved as the monitoring period ended for many, and after a cruise ship scare ended with the boat returning to port in Texas and a lab worker on board testing negative for the virus.

After Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan's nephew and a family friend were ordered by a Dallas court to stay inside the apartment among Duncan's used linens. Five days later they were evacuated to a four-bedroom home in an isolated corner of a 13-acre gated property owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, southwest of downtown.

Except for a few plastic bins filled with personal documents, photographs, trophies and a Bible, the apartment was stripped down to the carpeting and the contents were incinerated.

The city of Dallas announced Monday it is coordinating with a local church and donors to provide Jallah's mother, Louise Troh, with funds to pay for six months of housing. Once she chooses a location, nonprofits will assist the family with furniture, linens and other household items, the city said.

"We want to restore what's lost but more than that, we want to give her a running start on her new life," said Troh's pastor, George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.

While health workers cleared Jallah of having Ebola, the disease's stigma lingers — including among fellow Liberians, she said.

"If they see me at the store, they run away," she said.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SDSU Student With Meningitis Off Life Support]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:15:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SDSU-Sara-Stelzer-1017.jpg

A San Diego State University student who contracted meningococcal meningitis has been taken off life support, university officials said Monday.

Her family had given SDSU officials permission to release a statement Friday morning saying they have told their daughter farewell. However, Sara Stelzer's body was kept on life support while the hospital looked for recipients of some of her vital organs.

School officials said 18-year-old Stelzer was taken off life support on Saturday.

Stelzer, who was studying pre-communications as a freshman, was hospitalized last Tuesday after starting to experience flu-like symptoms two days prior. She was then diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis.

While Stelzer had been vaccinated for meningitis, she contracted th Type B bacteria, which isn't covered by standard vaccination. Currently, Type B vaccination is only allowed in Europe.

Type B meningococcal disease is extremely rare. Between 2004 and 2014, 127 people contracted meningoccal disease, and only 23 of those involved Type B bacteria, said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, child medical officer for the county's health department.

Sidelinger said the mortality rate for meningococcal disease is "quite high."

Attention has turned to preventing another meningitis-related tragedy. Over the weekend, the university’s student health services saw nearly 1,000 students for evaluation, providing antibiotics to some.

Some of these students had possible symptoms, but all turned out to be OK, school officials said.

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<![CDATA[IE Man Accused of Sex Crimes Against a Child]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 04:19:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/agustin+gamez-lopez+arrest.PNG

A 37-year-old San Bernardino man was arrested last month for sex crimes against a child and authorities believe there may be additional victims out there.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department responded to the 2300 block of West Ogden Avenue on Sept. 25 after a report of sex crimes against a child. After an initial investigation, authorities determined that Armando Gamez-Lopez was responsible for several related crime. They also discovered two more juvenile victims.

Gamez-Lopez was arrested on a charge of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 14 as well as sexual assault on an animal. His bail was set at $250,000.

Anyone with additional information about the crime or possible additional victims should contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

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<![CDATA["Heartbroken": 7 Bodies Found]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 04:30:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Afrika-Hardy.jpg

One of seven women whose bodies were discovered in Indiana over the weekend was remembered as a "fighter" Monday, as authorities continued to investigate a killing they now believe uncovered a string of slayings by a suspected serial killer.

“She left this world fighting,” Lori Townsend said of her daughter, 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy.

Officials said the bodies of seven women, including Hardy, were found in abandoned homes and in a motel in Northwest Indiana. Authorities believe they are the victims of a suspected serial killer, whose killings could go back as far as 20 years.

Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, was charged with one count of murder, as well as murder in the perpetration of a robbery and robbery resulting in serious bodily harm, all related to the death of Hardy. Police said Vann, a registered sex offender in Texas, gave authorities information that led them to the other bodies after he was taken into custody in connection with Hardy's death.

Hardy was strangled to death Friday in a Motel 6 in Hammond, Indiana. She was found naked in a bathtub with what appeared to be a black piece of clothing covering her arms and around her neck, according to a probable cause affidavit.

“She didn’t bother nobody,” said Hardy’s grandmother Debra Allen. “Everyone loved her. She wasn’t a bad person and didn’t deserve this at all.”

Police said all seven women were sex workers, and Hardy is believed to be the youngest victim.

Hardy’s mother said she had no idea her daughter had fallen into prostitution.

“I’m not grasping this,” said Townsend. “It’s not real to me.”

Aside from Hardy, three of the victims were publicly identified by midday Monday: 35-year-old Anith Jones, 28-year-old Teairra Batey, and 36-year-old Christine Williams.

Batey’s boyfriend, Marvin Clinton, says she had been missing since January.

“She was a good person,” said Clinton. “She would give you her last.”

He said the two have a 2-year-old son together.

"Now I've got to sit here and figure out how to tell a 2-year-old that mommy's never coming home again," said Clinton.

Jones’ family reported her missing on Oct. 8. They say she left Chicago for Indiana about 10 years ago.

Family members of the victims said no matter what the women did to earn a living, they were still loved.

“My heart breaks for these girls and their families,” said Townsend. “Some of them were missing for months.”
 


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Death Threat Made to Daughter of Prop 46. Co-Author]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:49:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-proposition-prop-46-bob-pack-carmen.jpg

The co-author of a California ballot proposition says he will continue to support the initiative despite receiving a death threat against his young daughter.

Bob Pack confirmed to NBC4 that he and his wife, Carmen, recently received a phone call at their San Francisco Bay Area home in which the caller warned the couple that if they didn't withdraw their support for Prop. 46 serious harm would come to their 8-year-old daughter.

Prop 46 would increase the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical negligence lawsuits from $250,000 to over $1 million.

The measure would also require California doctors to undergo drug and alcohol testing and would force health care practitioners to look at a state prescription drug history database before prescribing some controlled substances.

"I absolutely believe in Prop 46 and we will keep fighting right to the end for it despite these kinds of episodes taking place," Pack said. "The sheriff's and Attorney General's Office is currently handling it and we will go on with our march of Prop. 46 and do what we need to do."

The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department said they have identified the caller as a 41-year-old man from Concord. He has not been arrested, but sheriff's officials have sent their report to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution.

Pack and his wife got involved in Prop. 46 as a result of a crash that took place a decade ago, when a woman addicted to prescription drugs blacked out while driving and struck and killed the couple's two young children.

Among other provisions, Prop. 46 would require doctors to check a database before prescribing drugs to a patient.

The ballot measure has received the support of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California).

"There isn't one part of this initiative that isn't common sense," Boxer said.

Opponents of Prop. 46 argue that it will add millions of dollars in costs to health coverage in California.

"We join with the Pack family in condemning this act by clearly a troubled individual," said Michael Bustamante, the No on 46 campaign spokesman. "This has no place in any campaign, it certainly has nothing to do, no connection whatsoever with our campaign."

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<![CDATA[Free Tickets for All: AFI FEST]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:30:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/afihomesman123.jpg

Cinephiles across SoCalandia can be forgiven for going a bit slack-jawed, each October, when they again hear the news they recall from the year before: Tickets to AFI FEST are totally free.

AFI FEST, as in the film festival that premieres and spotlights and breaks-out big movie after big movie. The very festival marquee-level stars venture to, nightly, to Q&A and walk read carpets and wave from their seat in the theaters.

Whatever is small potatoes in this world, AFI FEST presented by Audi is on the opposite side of the small-potatodom spectrum, at least in terms of high-wattage works and above-the-title performers.

Tommy Lee Jones is one such actor in this year's crop; his hardscrabble Western "The Homesman" is the Centerpiece Gala film. Look for it at the Dolby Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

"The Gambler," starring Mark Wahlberg, gets its World Premiere during the festival, and the much-fawned-over (we're trying to allay "buzzy" for the time-being) film "Foxcatcher" closes the Nov. 6 through 13 festival out.

"A Most Violent Year" is the fest's World Premiere opener, and it, too, qualifies in the fawned-up, buzz-big departments. As does Ms. Sophia Loren, who shall be specially tributed.

The fest, by the by, spreads beyond the Dolby, to theaters up and down Hollywood Boulevard. So you and your free ticket may find your movie-lovin' self standing inside the TCL Chinese Theatres or the Egyptian or the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which is the glittery (we're trying to allay "see-and-be-seen" for the time-being) hub for the whole shebang.

And the whole shebang revs up on Friday, Oct. 24 when those free -- free free free hooray they're free* -- tickets go on sale online to the general public. It's year six for doing so, Audi is lending the free oomph, and if you haven't seen a caboodle of celebrities and cinephiles stir it up, Tinseltown-style over a fourth of November, well...

You've never done AFI. It's buzzy and see-and-be-seen, both, a big thing that makes one want to summon oft-used terms that really apply.

* you totally got that they're free, right? Aces.



Photo Credit: The Homesman]]>
<![CDATA[Couple to Stand Trial in Alleged Hit-and-Run Death of Judge's Son]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:21:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/01-pregerson1.jpg

A Palms area couple was ordered Monday to stand trial in the alleged hit-and-run that killed a federal judge's son in Pacific Palisades two days after Christmas.

Marguerite Dao Vuong, 67, was charged with allegedly leaving the scene after fatally striking David Pregerson, 23, on Dec. 27 around 3 a.m. at Chautauqua Boulevard and Borgos Place, officials said.

Vuong's husband, Michael, also 67, is charged with one count of being an accessory to hit-and-run causing death, officials said.

Pregerson had been walking home from a bar when he was hit, friends said. He died four days later, on New Year’s Eve.

Prosecutors said Marguerite Vuong was driving the car that hit Pregerson and that her husband tried to help his wife avoid prosecution.

Pregerson had recently graduated from UCLA and was a budding film student who aspired to be a director.

Pregerson’s grandfather, Harry, was a 9th Circuit Court judge. His father, Dean, was a U.S. District Court judge, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Marguerite Dao Vuong faces up to four years in prison if convicted. Michael Vuong faces three years behind bars.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[CSUN Student Met His Alleged Killer on Craigslist: LAPD ]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:37:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/10-20-14_Abdullah+Abdullatif+Alkadi.JPG

A man was charged with capital murder Monday after answering a Cal State Northridge student’s ad for a $36,500 Audi, stabbing the student and later dumping his body along a freeway, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Monday.

Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi, a 23-year-old international student from Saudi Arabia, was found dead alongside the 10 Freeway near the Cook Street overpass in Palm Desert about 11:50 p.m. Oct. 16, police said. Before his disappearance, he was last seen Sept. 17 at his Northridge home.

The day of his disappearance, Alkadi met Long Beach resident Agustin Rosendo Fernandez, 28, after posting his Audi for sale on Craigslist, Beck said, calling the death "a very sad case." Alkadi disappeared while showing the Audi to what he believed was a prospective buyer, Beck said.

Fernandez allegedly used a knife to kill Alkadi in an attempt to "keep both the Audi and the purchase price," and disposed of his body alongside the 10 Freeway in Palm Desert, Beck said. Alkadi's body had multiple stab wounds.

Jail records show Fernandez was arrested Oct. 16 at 10:15 a.m, more than 13 hours before police reported Alkadi's body was discovered.

Police did not say when during the last month Alkadi was killed.

"The message for the public here is that you have to beware when you're using online Internet sites when you're selling anything," Beck said. "Opportunities for sales are also opportunities to let unwanted people into your lives."

Alkadi's cousin Allison Alomair told NBC4 last month the Audi A6 was put up for sale at $36,500.

"There were several contacts, it took place over two or three days," Beck said, adding that the two met at Alkadi’s residence initially. Beck said he would not give any more details on the transaction.

LAPD Capt. William Hayes of the Robbery-Homicide Division said on Monday investigators spoke with Fernandez earlier in the investigation but did not arrest him right away.

"There was something early on in the investigation, but again this is an investigative strategy, it doesn't fall into place immediately and they're all parts of a jigsaw puzzle," Hayes said. "As I used the example before, you can get the outside pieces together but until you get the rest for the middle, you don't know where it is."

Police on Sunday announced two arrests in the case, but the second person was released from custody.

"The evidence supported and continues to support the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Fernandez," Beck said. "At this point, we are not going forward with the other one."

Prosecutors on Monday charged Fernandez with one count of murder with special circumstances of murder during a robbery and murder during a carjacking, according to a statement by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

The special circumstance allegations make Fernandez eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek death or life in state prison without the possibility of parole. He is being held without bail and is due back in court Nov. 17.



Photo Credit: Facebook/Alkadi]]>
<![CDATA[Murrieta Mayor Resigns After Arrest on Suspicion of DUI]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:23:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/10-17-2014-murrieta-mayor-book.jpg

Alan Long announced Monday that he will step down as mayor of Murrieta just days after his arrest on suspicion of DUI in a crash that injured four high school students.

Long made the announcement during a Monday afternoon news conference at which he expressed "concern" for the four teens injured in Thursday night's crash at Jefferson and Lily avenues in Murrieta in southwestern Riverside County. Long, 44, was booked on suspicion of DUI causing bodily injury, according to Riverside County jail records.

"I am well aware that being involved in such a high profile accident in my position as mayor and as a member of the City Council will be a distraction," Long said in a statement at the news conference.

The resignation is effective immediately, but Long said he plans to remain a candidate in the Nov. 4 election.

Long was arrested Thursday night after officers determined that a "full-size" truck had rear-ended a passenger vehicle carrying four Murrieta Valley High School students, ages 14 to 17. The students' injuries were described as "moderate to major," according to a police department statement.

"Officers contacted the driver of the truck who was the sole occupant of his vehicle," police said in a statement. "The driver had signs and symptoms consistent with alcohol impairment. The driver participated in some standardized field sobriety tests, and officers determined that the driver was in fact impaired."

Long's blood alcohol content was .07, just below the legal limit of .08, but investigators were also waiting for blood test results, police said.

The girls had just attended a pep rally ahead of Friday night's football game. Three of the four victims were released from a hospital Friday, but details regarding the fourth victim's condition were not immediately available.

Long was speeding and driving recklessly, according to an attorney for two of the victims, L Wallace Pate.

"I understand from the witnesses that I talked to that he ran a stop sign," Pate said

An attorney for Long, who is running for re-election on Nov. 4, said he helped the victims at the scene, talked to their parents and cooperated with police.

Long, also serves as a battalion chief for Anaheim Fire and Rescue, was booked into jail on $50,000 bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

A court date was scheduled for Dec. 11.

Supporters say they will still vote for Long in November's election, including some who have already voted for him by absentee ballot. 

"He showed respect for every individual," Murrieta resident Joan Padberg said. "That's the type of man he is."

Long was in the national spotlight earlier this year when a busload of undocumented immigrants, bound for the Murrieta Border Patrol Station for processing, was blocked by protesters.

Long criticized the federal government's handling of the immigrant transfer, part of a plan to alleviate what the Obama administration as a humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied minors in federal custody along the U.S.-Mexico border.



Photo Credit: Murrieta Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed, Woman Wounded in Burbank Shooting]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:59:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

A man was killed and a woman injured Monday in a shooting at a storage facility in Burbank.

The incident was reported at an RV storage lot just before 1 p.m. in the 3600 block of North San Fernando Road.

What appeared to be a bullet hole could be seen in a window of a big rig cab.

When the officers arrived, they found a woman with a gunshot wound, and the body of a man nearby.

The woman was taken to a hospital in an unknown condition.

Their names were not released.

Burbank police said in a press release "there is no information to suggest there are any
outstanding suspects."

The relationship, if any, between the man and woman was unclear, police said.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[LA Shoppers Not Sold on Apple Pay]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:19:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/516604997.jpg

Apple Pay failed to find immediate favor with LA shoppers when it launched Monday morning.

It is being billed as a game changer in the way people pay for things, but concerns about security have led to some holding off at the moment.

However, those that are using the system so far, in which a credit card’s information is stored on users’ iPhones and accessed by swiping it at the tills, have given it positive reviews.

But Carol Drake, who was shopping at Whole Foods market in Glendale, isn’t quite convinced.

"I'm just not comfortable yet," she said.

Fellow customer Robert Pruitt, who is unable to use the system because he has a Samsung phone, wasn’t as concerned about privacy.

"I’m more concerned about the convenience than I am about someone taking my ID," he said. “I think it’s a great idea.”

The store’s manager, Linda Gutierrez, also believed it would benefit customers and businesses.

"Excited it’s a secure way for customers to pay for their purchases and we don’t have to deal with cards or cash or anything else," she said.

The new system got off to a bumpy start on the tech front, too. While stores were ready for it, iPhones weren't.

Apple Pay was only available with the iOS 8.1 download, and most did not get it until afternoon.

Once it is installed, users can swipe their phone at a vendor’s location and confirm transactions using a built-in fingerprint sensor.

The tech giant said it will take awhile before all users get the iOS rollout, and only iPhone 6 and 6-plus devices are equipped with the necessary communication system which makes transactions possible.

The Cupertino company also claims the system is one of the most secure out there, despite Google and Microsoft offering similar applications in their mobile operating systems.

When users pay in stores, the Device Account Number and a transaction security code are used to process the payment.

Neither Apple or the phone sends actual credit numbers to merchants.

They do say they receive anonymous transaction information like time and location of the transaction, which helps them improve Apple Pay.



Photo Credit: Moment Editorial/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Detail NH Festival Chaos]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:11:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Keene+State+incident+1.jpg

Eighty-four people were arrested during riots at a New Hampshire community's annual pumpkin festival that spilled over to a nearby college over the weekend, and authorities are asking for the public's help in identifying more rioters.

The violent parties in Keene led to the destruction of private and public property, resulting in the injuries of more than 30 people on Saturday.

Local police say they planned ahead, based off previous years riots, but say this year things were different when the rioters moved out onto public streets and neighborhoods.

"I think, unfortunately, we were caught by surprise when things started earlier than expected," said Keene Police Chief Kenneth Meola. "We thought we had it well in hand, to be quite honest, but we fell a little short."

The incident happened around Keene State College during the city's Pumpkin Festival, which is when the community tries to set a world record for the most carved and lighted jack-o-lanterns in one place. Police responded to the violence with riot gear, tear gas and pepper spray in an attempt to control the crowds.

The area was cleaned up by college students on Sunday.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan said the Granite State's higher education institutions must "take swift action to hold students involved accountable."

Keene State College President Anne Huot was a witness to Saturday's riot.

"I'm gravely concerned" about the unruly behavior, she said.

According Mayor Kendall Lane, between 55,000-60,000 people were attending the festival and were safe during the violent parties, adding that the future of the festival is uncertain at this time.

According to Keene city officials, the riots seem to have begun in several places, including Wilcox Terrace and Winchester Court, around 1 p.m. Saturday with more than 1,000 people in each location, with some throwing rocks, bottles, cans, even billard balls, injuring some.

Keene Police Chief Kenneth Meoloa said his department communicated with Keene State College students before the festival, adding that it was "outside forces" that was part of the "riotous behavior."

As police tried to disperse the crowds, the crowds turned their attention to law enforcement, according to the city; police say they used pepper spray, tear gas and fired "sponge rounds" at some of the rioters. The crowd then moved through the neighborhood to Butler Court, where the riots continued, the city said; another crowd moved from Winchester Street to Blake Street, where a fire was set in the middle of the road.

Keene officials say the riots continued for the next eight hours as the crowd moved to Keene State College property. Crowds damaged college, city and private property, including an overturned car, officials said.

Chief Meola said there was also riotous behavior last year, adding that this year the rioters entered public domain, but last year was an "organized party."

Click here to make an anonymous tip to the Keene Police Department regarding this incident.

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<![CDATA[One Dead in Big Bear Plane Crash]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:34:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/10-20-2014-plane-big-bear.jpg

The pilot of a small plane classified as "experimental" by the Federal Aviation Administration was killed in a crash near a Big Bear campsite Monday.

The report of an aircraft down was made around 10:45 a.m. near the Fawnskin area of the Grout Bay campground, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

Emergency personnel found the solo occupant of the plane dead on arrival, according to a tweet from the fire department. No fire was reported in the crash.

Records show that the plane's registration with the FAA had been expired since Dec. 2013.

Ian Gregor of the FAA said the crash, for unknown reasons, happened shortly after the plane departed from Big Bear City Airport. The FAA is investigating the incident.

Clear skies, good visibility and light winds were reported in Fawnskin near where the crash occurred.

The campground is located on the north shore of Big Bear Lake, according to the United States Forest Service.

The fatal crash comes less than a week after a man and two women survived a small plane crash in the rugged mountains nearby in Big Bear. Firefighters called their survival a "miracle."

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA["Saved My Life": Trusty Lab Serves Diabetic Football Kicker]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:28:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/10-20-14_astro+service+dog+challenge+spotlight.jpg

Pacing the sidelines of Upland High School’s football field, Astro keeps a close eye on kicker Luke Van Ginkel.

The Labrador retriever raises some eyebrows from the stands since trained rescue dogs are often accompanied by a vision-impaired handler, which the talented kicker is not.

“They always come up to me and say, ‘excuse me, what’s your dog for? Are you training it, or something, for someone else?’ Van Ginkel said. “I said, ‘No he’s for me, it’s a new thing. It’s for diabetes. He can alert me when my blood sugar is off.’”

Astro underwent two years of specialized training to sense when Van Ginkel’s blood sugar is at a dangerous level.

“They have a very low-key alert that is easily recognizable to the handler but not something maybe other people would notice,” said Johanna Reynolds, a trainer at Canine Hope for Diabetics.

The alerts can be as subtle as Astro picking up a specific toy, but he doesn’t always have to be close to sense something is amiss.

“My mom will tell me, ‘Astro is acting funny, can you check for me?’” Van Ginkel said. “He’s been right every time so I think it’s … spiritual, or something like that.”

Luke’s father and coach, Pete Van Ginkel, said having Astro around puts him at ease.

“It is an advantage just having him there. It’s one less thing we have to worry about,” Pete said.

Most days if Luke is in sight, Astro isn't far behind. The yellow lab even has a school ID card.

“I awake the day with him next to me, he sleeps with me at night,” Luke said. “The rest of day at school he’s with me, then he’ll come back up to the field with me at practice.”

"He's saved my life a couple of times," Luke added.


 



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Nurses Speak Out on Ebola]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:13:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cole-edmonson-presby-crop.jpg

Top nurses at the Dallas hospital where two nurses fell ill treating the nation's first Ebola patient spoke out for the first time Monday, affirming their pride in their hospital amid scrutiny and vowing to reaffirm the public's trust.

"The reason we're here today is to make sure people know that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is still a great hospital, an excellent hospital," chief nursing officer Cole Edmonson said at a brief news conference in front of the hospital Monday afternoon, flanked by nurses he called part of a "proud family."

"We're proud to tell people that we work here," he added."We will reaffirm your trust in Presbyterian."

"We are experts in our field, and we don't want to be judged by this one incident," emergency department nurse Julie Boling said, overcome by emotion. "This could happen to any hospital."

The nurses gave their well-wishes to their two coworkers who remain hospitalized in isolation for Ebola, after they contracted the disease treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed in the U.S. He died Oct. 8.

Amber Vinson is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the same hospital where Fort Worth's Dr. Kent Brantly and American aid worker Nancy Writebol were successfully treated, and her coworker Nina Pham is being treated at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

On Monday, health officials' efforts to contain Ebola's spread cleared a key hurdle when four dozen people were being cleared from the watch list.

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<![CDATA[DTLA Street Reopens After Bomb Squad Investigation]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

Figueroa Street between 2nd and 3rd streets in downtown Los Angeles was briefly shut down Monday morning as the bomb squad investigated a suspicious package.

The package was reported at 10:11 a.m., according to LAPD’s media relations section. Investigators cleared the scene just before noon, and said the bag contained personal items.

No other information was immediately available

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