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Hartford police criticize chief over protest march

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Hartford Police Union leaders are criticizing Police Chief James Rovella for walking with protesters during a demonstration against a city officer's use of a stun gun on a teenager.

The union president, Sgt. Richard Holton, said Thursday that Rovella sent the wrong message to the police force and conveyed anti-police sentiments by being in the march Wednesday evening.

Rovella said he wanted to assure protesters that there would be a thorough investigation of the use of force against 18-year-old Luis Anglero on Aug. 19.

Holton also criticized Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for saying he was ``momentarily sickened'' by a surveillance video showing the incident. A Malloy spokesman says the governor reacted the way any parent would.

Police are investigating Detective Shawn Ware's use of a stun gun on Anglero.

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Pelto fails to earn spot on Connecticut ballot

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Former Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Pelto's name will not appear on the November ballot for governor.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill's office announced Friday that Pelto, a petitioning candidate, did not submit the required 7,500 signatures of registered voters. While Pelto originally believed about 9,000 signatures had been submitted on his behalf, election officials determined 4,318 of the signatures were valid.

Pelto was running as a candidate with the newly formed Education and Democracy Party. He's been a vocal critic of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's education reforms.

Pelto apologized to his supporters for not making it onto the ballot. He called the process ``primitive and burdensome,'' saying it creates an unfair barrier to those seeking another choice at the polls.

Conservative petitioning candidate Joe Visconti has already qualified.

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Board rejects dentist's request to lift suspension

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's dental commission has turned down a request to lift the suspension of a dentist accused of providing inadequate care to a patient who died after being treated in his office.

Dr. Rashmi Patel, who has offices in Enfield and Torrington, was seeking to have his license reinstated during the hearing process, which resumes next week. He denies his actions led to the February death of 64-year-old Judith Gan.

Gan was having 20 teeth extracted and implants performed Feb. 17 when she became unresponsive. She later was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The state alleges Patel failed to respond appropriately when the woman's oxygen levels dropped, and improperly attempted to extract the teeth in a single visit.

Patel is expected to testify at the hearing, which resumes on Sept. 3.

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Cops: Navy seaman assaulted baby in Connecticut

GROTON, Conn. (AP) A 24-year-old Navy seaman in southeastern Connecticut has been charged with inflicting life-threatening injuries on his 2-month-old son.

Groton police arrested town resident Jordan Rittenhouse on Thursday on charges including first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor. He's detained on $300,000 bail and is to be arraigned Friday in New London Superior Court.

The baby is being treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital. His condition hasn't been released.

Police say the baby was first treated at a local hospital, where staff members reported the assault to authorities Tuesday after determining his injuries weren't consistent to Rittenhouse's explanation.

Navy officials say Rittenhouse is a student at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton and is originally from Rockwell, North Carolina.

It's not clear if Rittenhouse has a lawyer.

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Crash victim was taking pregnant woman to hospital

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Relatives of a woman seriously injured in a fatal crash on Interstate 95 in New Haven say she was pregnant and being taken to a hospital at the time by a friend who died in the wreck.

Beverly Owens told WTNH-TV that her sister, Vera Mercer, remains in very serious condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and her baby daughter was delivered by an emergency cesarean section after the accident Wednesday morning. Owens says the baby is healthy.

State police say Mercer's friend, 53-year-old Gwendolyn Buskey of New Haven, was killed when a tractor-trailer rear-ended her car and smashed it into another tractor-trailer that was stopped in construction-related traffic. The crash snarled traffic for several hours during the morning commute.

No charges have been filed. State police are still investigating.

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Officials: school bus driver had prior DUI arrest

FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials examined a school bus company's records, after one of its drivers was charged with driving drunk with 20 children on her bus and authorities learned she had been arrested before on a DUI charge.

Department of Motor Vehicles inspectors went to the M J Bus Co. Thursday. The New Britain Herald reports ( ) the DMV questions whether there was a proper background check on the driver.

Police say they arrested 44-year-old Tammy Costello on Wednesday morning after she dropped the children off at a Farmington school.

M J officials say Costello's 2004 DUI arrest wasn't on her driving record.

DMV officials say records show Costello entered an education program that results in charges being erased after the 2004 arrest.

Costello didn't return a phone message Friday.

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Police: suspect in cabbie killing in custody

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) Stamford police say they have a suspect in custody in connection with the fatal stabbing of a taxi driver in what appeared to be a robbery.

Police are expected to release the suspect's name and the charges against him Thursday.

Authorities say 47-year-old Mahomed Kamal was stabbed multiple times in his torso area and was found on the front lawn of a home Wednesday morning. Officers found his taxi crashed into some trees down the street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say they believe there was a violent struggle both inside and outside the cab. Officials believe Kamal was stabbed with a knife, but the weapon hasn't been recovered.

Police say Kamal was a native of Bangladesh and was married with children.

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Farmington school bus driver charged with DUI

FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) A school bus driver in Farmington has been charged with driving drunk with 20 students on her bus.

Farmington police say 44-year-old Tammy Costello of Bristol was arrested Wednesday morning after an officer saw the school bus swerve partially off a road. Students also told police the bus hit some curbs. No one was hurt.

Authorities say Costello's blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit for commercial drivers.

Costello was released on bail and is to appear Tuesday in Hartford Superior Court.

Costello didn't immediately return a phone message Thursday. It's not clear if she has a lawyer.

M J Bus Co. says it suspended Costello and all its drivers are subjected to random drug and alcohol testing. School officials notified parents about the incident.

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Man arrested after 'Russian roulette' death of friend

VERNON, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut man has been arrested on weapons and drugs charges after police say his friend died during an apparent game of ``Russian roulette.''

An arrest warrant affidavit released this week and obtained by the Journal Inquirer disclosed details about the death of 38-year-old Armand Cyr in Vernon July 13 and the arrest of his friend, 26-year-old John Dybowski.

The warrant says a friend of Cyr who was video-chatting with him saw Cyr shoot himself in the head in Dybowski's apartment. The friend told police that Dybowski put the revolver to his head and pulled the trigger without incident before handing the gun to Cyr.

Police say they found drugs and guns in Dybowski's apartment.

Dybowski is detained on $100,000 bail. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.

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Guns found near Hamden playground

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) Hamden police say they're trying to determine who hid two handguns near a playground at a child care center a discovery that scared local parents.

Police say a .22-caliber handgun and a 9 mm handgun were found hidden near the Keefe Center Playground as officers worked what they called a ``crime suppression detail'' on Sunday.

Parents of children who attend the day care say they're shocked. They say children could have found the guns and hurt someone.

The discovery came after police say they arrested a New Haven man on weapons charges after they stopped his car and found a loaded .357 Magnum handgun in the engine compartment.

It's not clear if the arrest and the guns at the playground are related.

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Raccoon that attacked Connecticut woman had rabies

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut authorities say a raccoon has tested positive for rabies after attacking an 88-year-old woman who mistook it for her cat.

Police say the raccoon attacked the woman at her Hamden home Sunday after following her cat inside the house when she opened a sliding glass door. Officials say the raccoon bit the woman in the face and arm when it climbed onto her couch and she tried to pet it.

The woman was treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital and was discharged. Her name hasn't been released. Relatives say she's expected to be OK.

Police responded to the home and killed the raccoon when it charged two officers, who weren't bit.

Authorities say the carcass tested positive for rabies Tuesday at a state Department of Public Health lab.

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Man charged in gun thefts in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (AP) Old Saybrook police say they charged a 25-year-old local man with stealing a dozen firearms from a gun shop in town, after an hour-long standoff at his home.

Authorities allege Thomas Russo stole 10 handguns and two high-powered rifles from the Grouse Perch gun shop, whose owner discovered the break-in Tuesday morning.

Police say evidence in the gun shop led them to Russo's home. Police say they found numerous firearms and heroin inside Russo's house after the standoff, which ended without incident.

Russo was charged with burglary, larceny and stealing firearms. He's detained on $750,000 bail. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.

Police say they're investigating and more arrests are possible.

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Man struck, killed by train in Connecticut

PLAINFIELD, Conn. (AP) Police say a Rhode Island man has been struck and killed by a privately-owned train in Plainfield.

Authorities tell WFSB-TV that 39-year-old James A. Hawkins III of Coventry, Rhode Island, died Monday afternoon after being struck by the train on privately-owned railroad tracks around Norwich Road.

They say train is owned and was being operated by 44-year-old Donald Hopkins of Plainfield.

Further details were not available. An investigation is continuing.

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Man guilty of murder in killing at drive-through

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A state jury has convicted a 20-year-old man of murder for a fatal shooting at a Burger King drive-through window in New Haven.

The New Haven Register reports a Superior Court jury found Quavon Torres of New Haven guilty of murder and carrying a pistol without a permit Monday after three days of deliberations. He is scheduled to be sentenced to up to 65 years in prison Nov. 7.

Prosecutors say Torres shot 59-year-old Donald Bradley 10 times during an argument in Bradley's car in the drive-through lane in July 2012.

Bradley's widow and other relatives say they're glad the trial is over and justice was served.

Torres' lawyer had argued that there was no forensic evidence linking Torres to the shooting and others could have shot Bradley.

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Officials remain at scene of New Haven pub fire

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Firefighters are continuing to put out hot spots at a New Haven pub that went up in flames and has been declared a total loss.

Delaney's Restaurant Tap Room on Whalley Avenue caught fire Monday evening and emergency crews worked through the night into Tuesday morning to put out the blaze. Officials believe the fire started in the basement, but the cause remains under investigation.

Authorities say two firefighters were brought to hospitals with smoke inhalation. They're expected to be OK.

Delaney's owner Peter Gremse says he got everyone out of the century-old building after he discovered sparks in an electrical box. He says the fire wiped out 15 years of his life he spent running the pub.

Authorities say 10 residents of the building lost their homes.

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Delay in DMV website snags immigrant licenses

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A delayed start in a state motor vehicles website is causing confusion among some immigrants over how to seek Connecticut driver's licenses.

The Hearst Connecticut Media Group reports that the Department of Motor Vehicles was to launch a website in September where applicants could make applications.

The launch was delayed until December to make sure the website could handle the large number of anticipated applicants. DMV officials said as many as 200,000 immigrants may apply for licenses.

Immigrant groups are organizing to help avoid scams and prepare immigrant motorists to register for licenses.

The General Assembly and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy enacted legislation last year allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses. The idea was to make it easier to register cars and obtain insurance.

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Cops: Connecticut woman used kids to help shoplift

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut woman is accused of using her children to help her shoplift more than $450 worth of goods from a department store.

Norwalk police charged 40-year-old Shazia Zahid of Stamford on Saturday with misdemeanor larceny and felony risk of injury to minors. Bail was set at $5,000 and she was ordered to appear Sept. 3 in Norwalk Superior Court.

Police say Zahid went into a Kohl's store Saturday with her 2-year-old son and three daughters, ages 6, 7 and 8.

The Hour of Norwalk says a police report said Zahid stashed items in a baby stroller and placed adult-size shoes on the feet of her daughters in a shoplifting attempt.

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Conn. candidate seen falling short for ballot

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto says he likely has failed to collect enough signatures to get onto the ballot as a petitioning candidate for governor.

He said on his website Saturday that his campaign has identified a significant number of signatures that were inappropriately or illegally rejected by local officials. Still, he says he will probably fall short of the 7,500 valid signatures required for the ballot.

He said his campaign would not likely succeed even if it went to court to overrule local actions.

Pelto has been a critic of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, especially his education policies. He denies wanting to be a spoiler and help Malloy lose.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced last week that gun rights advocate Joseph Visconti has qualified for the ballot.

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Inmate at Connecticut women's prison dies

EAST LYME, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials say the death of an inmate at the state women's prison appears to have been a suicide.

Authorities say a guard found 40-year-old Sherri Clarke of New Britain in her cell with something tied around her neck Thursday morning at York Correctional Institution in East Lyme. Guards tried to revive her, but she was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Officials say she was the only inmate in the cell at the time.

Correction Department and state police officials are investigating. An autopsy is planned.

Clarke was serving 25 years for felony murder. She and her boyfriend, Michael Labarge, were convicted of killing a man to steal his drugs in 2009 in New Britain and cutting his body into 15 pieces. Labarge is serving life in prison.

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Sacred Heart student struck by car, injured

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Police are investigating an accident in which a university student was struck by a car and seriously injured while crossing a street in Bridgeport.

The female student from Sacred Heart University was struck around 1 p.m. on Friday across from a sorority house where she lives.

The university said the student, a junior, was being treated at St. Vincent's Hospital.

Bridgeport police spokesman William Kaempffer told the Connecticut Post the woman was in critical condition. The driver involved in the accident was cooperating with police.


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