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    A suspicious package was located on the famous intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in Hollywood on Tuesday afternoon.

    One corner of the famous intersection was blocked off by police tape.

    Newschopper4 Alpha and Eliana Moreno flew over the scene to investigate at approximately 4:40 p.m.

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    An employee was tied up and pistol-whipped by a group of robbers while he slept in a bed at a Fontana pallet yard Monday morning, with the frightening encounter caught on surveillance video according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

    The victim of the assault was able to provide detailed descriptions of the suspects with the assistance of surveillance video at Garcia's Woodworks Yard on the 8600 block of Beech Avenue in Fontana, where the robbery and assault occurred.

    The worker told NBC4 that he got into a scuffle with the intruders, who broke his finger and taped his mouth shut while tying him up. Then, he says, they struck him in the head with a gun and knocked him out.

    The worker told NBC4 that he thought the robbers were going to kill him.

    Surveillance video shows the robbers stole two semitrailers loaded with pallets and used one of the trucks to ram the gate open before leaving.

    The injured employee eventually regained consciousness, freed himself and called the owner of the business.

    Soon after, investigators located a pallet yard in Riverside County, where the SBSD described "suspicious subjects" unloading pallets from semitrailers in darkness.

    San Bernardino Sheriff's deputies travelled to Riverside County and located five subjects, who allegedly attempted to flee, and captured all five suspects without further incident.

    The SBSD said that 1,400 stolen pallets and a stolen semitrailer were recovered from the five suspects. 

    The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department identified the suspects as 44-year-old Dolores Garcia of Bloomington, 37-year-old Nicolas Mora of Fontana, 24-year-old Anthony Lopez of Fontana, 51-year-old Jesse Jimenez of Fontana and 37-year-old Carlos Ocampo of Fontana.

    As a note, the initial robbery and assault only involved three men per SBSD.

    Photo Credit: KNBC

    A semitrailer is stolen from a pallet yard following an assault in Fontana.A semitrailer is stolen from a pallet yard following an assault in Fontana.

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    Say the word "brew" during the month of October and many people will start conjuring up the ideal supper, the kind of fall feasting that has long paired well with a well-made beer.

    And, yes, because it is October, that's going to be a bratwurst, or a schnitzel, or one of the other edible icons of Oktoberfest, a falltime festivity that has rather cornered the craft beer scene, at least as far as this time of year goes.

    But other parties, parties that may not have Chicken Dances but do have plenty of fantastic attributes and offerings, also dot the October calendar, with an especially satisfying, tummy-filling, pairable-perfection one just ahead, on Thursday, Oct. 4.

    It's the San Gabriel Dumpling & Beer Fest, and the very name may have you tucking a napkin into your collar.

    Why? Because few hearty foodstuffs go as well with a hopsy libation, and given the dumpling's ability to incorporate all manners of meaty fillings, the pair-up taste combos are pretty darn extensive.

    And from the "pretty" category, there is the fact that this all takes place in San Gabriel's Mission District, a most delightful area for dining about.

    A ticket? They start at $23, and end at $29, and a beer-tasting wristband is $40.

    By the by, this is billed as "A Local Twist on Oktoberfest," if you're still sensing some of the Oktober-savory vittles-foamy drinks character, which the festival very much has, oh yeah.

    It also boasts a Dumpling Eating Contest, as well as a contest for Best Dumpling, and prize money for Most Original Dumpling, too.

    So, can you picture the idea of Oktoberfest with a dash of dumpling deliciousness? That's sweet San Gabriel-style enjoyment, for sure. Enjoy all of that, and the easy-breezy, four-hour to-do, on Oct. 4 in the Mission District.

    Donning your lederhosen? Not necessary, but these fall nights are taking a turn for the brisker. Best find a few dumplings to warm up the tum, pronto.

    Photo Credit: Candice Nguyen/AP

    Are you a dumpling devotee? Love a nice crafty cold one alongside your pot stickers? Best make for the Mission District on Oct. 4.Are you a dumpling devotee? Love a nice crafty cold one alongside your pot stickers? Best make for the Mission District on Oct. 4.

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    Local business and members of the community chipped in to create a healing garden in downtown Las Vegas. The garden was created to help those affected by the shooting massacre that took place last October.

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    President Donald Trump on Tuesday mocked allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford that Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party more than 30 years ago.

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    Los Angeles City Hall, the LAX pylons, and other landmarks throughout the city, including Grand Park and the Microsoft Theater, lit up pink at sunset to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo partnered with the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Los Angeles, and other organizations, pushing for the pink landmarks to honor of his late wife, Ruby Oliva Cedillo, who died of breast cancer in 2002. 

    LA landmarks often pay tribute by changing colors for causes.

    Residents were encouraged to capture the iconic buildings using the hashtag #PinkLA.

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    Much festive fuss is made over the making of Sunday lunch, and dinner, and rightly so, for preparing a nice, linger-awhile meal on that day is a pleasure for both cook and cook's guest.

    But Saturday lunch, teatime, and dinner also have their places in the pantheon of weekend dining, and even if you're an avowed eat-outer on that day, you probably find a way to stay in now and then, especially following the frenzied busyness of another run of weekdays.

    A Saturday morning farmers market has a lovely way of calming the mind and helping put plate-oriented plans in place, especially if you do want to make a supper later in the day for friends or family.

    And if you're in the La Brea, Hancock Park, or Mid-City area, or even beyond, there's the La Brea Farmers' Market, an every-Saturday-morning happening in the parking lot of Sweetgreen La Brea. 

    The restaurant, which debuted in March 2018, thought the area could use a lovely, produce-laden farmers market, and bingo: That came to pass, through organization and hard work, in the summertime.

    But the market isn't a summer-only to-do; rather, it is keeping to its Saturday schedule, even as fall and winter roll out.

    California Certified Farmers Markets Inc. helped Sweetgreen La Brea make this fresh-market'd dream a delicious reality, and visitors on a Saturday can now find "local fruit and vegetables, fresh eggs, flowers, food stalls, and more!"

    Running errands along La Brea? Hitting a clothes store, a furniture outlet, or simply out to see what may be seen along the shop-lined thoroughfare?

    Make an early start, on a Saturday, and call upon this still-new market, one that's making lunch and dinner on the first weekend day as vital as the meals that arrive as the weekend ends.

    Photo Credit: Sweetgreen La Brea

    Stock up on greens, berries and more every Saturday morning, right into the late summer of 2019, at the pop-up market in the Sweetgreen La Brea parking lot.Stock up on greens, berries and more every Saturday morning, right into the late summer of 2019, at the pop-up market in the Sweetgreen La Brea parking lot.

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    The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued a public warning Tuesday about websites that are charging fees to complete electronic driver license and ID card applications, for DMV appointments and for other online transactions.

    The DMV says it is investigating member via its Investigation Division.

    The DMV issued the warning and provided a reminder that there are no addition fees to complete electronic applications or any other services and that there is only one official website for all DMV business:

    The DMV reminded Californians that using third party sites may compromise data, in addition to adding fraudulent fees. The government organization also said that these websites often include user agreements that allow them to sell user information to other businesses.

    The DMV advises all customers to directly type in into their web browsers, rather than using search engines to avoid potentially being funneled to sites that charges extra fees and/or sell personal customer data.

    If you believe that you have encountered a fraudulent website, please e-mail the DMV's Investigative Division at

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    A sign is posted in front of a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office on May 9, 2017 in Corte Madera, California. The California Department of Motor Vehicles is being accused in a federal lawsuit of violating voter federal A sign is posted in front of a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office on May 9, 2017 in Corte Madera, California. The California Department of Motor Vehicles is being accused in a federal lawsuit of violating voter federal "motor voter" law with a requirement for over one million residents who renew their license by mail to fill out a seperate form with their renewal. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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    Walter the Staffordshire bull terrier loves to go for walks around his Studio City neighborhood and, like most dogs, he'll go where his nose leads him.

    But something unusual and alarming happened after Walter checked out a discarded item under a bush. His reaction would make any dog owner's heart skip a beat. 

    "All of a sudden he got something to eat from under the bush that I didn’t see," said owner Steve Hofstetter. "The next morning, he was a different dog. He was stumbling a lot. He was bumping into things."

    Hofstetter brought Walter to a veterinarian whose first question was whether Walter had ingested THC, an ingredient found in marijuana. Walter's tests showed he had THC poisoning.

    "I never thought about it before. I don't smoke," Hostetter said. "And, I was thinking, 'Well, how the hell is that possible?'"

    It turns out pet marijuana poisoning reports have increased since recreational marijuana use became legal in California. The NBC4 I-Team looked at data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals poison control center that shows there were 132 marijuana-related calls to the agency in 2015.

    So far in 2018, that figure has jumped to more than 186. Most cases go unreported, according to the ASPCA.

    "We're seeing at least a case a week, usually," said Julio Lopez, a veterinarian at Santa Monica Pet Medical Center. "There are some times during the weekends where we may even see two or three pets within the same day."

    Many dog owners might not be familiar with the symptoms. Jolene the French bulldog, for example, was fine one day, but take a look at what happened after she accidentally ate marijuana she found on a downtown Los Angeles sidewalk.

    Common symptoms include difficulty standing, wobbly legs, bladder control problems, vomiting and hyper-sensitivity.

    Then there are more severe reactions, like Walter's. He's still having regular seizures. Marijuana ingestion is not fatal for most dogs, but they usually require supportive care for 12 to 24 hours.

    It's a problem that can easily be prevented.

    "I'm very pro-legalization," Hofstetter said. "I just think people need to be careful with it."

    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    Jolene suffered marijuana poisoning after ingesting pot she found during a walk in Studio City.Jolene suffered marijuana poisoning after ingesting pot she found during a walk in Studio City.

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    Burglars used sledgehammers to break through plate glass windows, then swarmed two Melrose Avenue shops to scoop up pricey urban street wear and accessories.

    The Cool by Cool Kicks shop near Fairfax Avenue was targeted early Monday morning. Early Tuesday, it was the Bape boutique farther to the west, near Doheny Drive.

    These were only the latest incidents in a trend of burglars breaking in through the fronts of fashionable westside shops, deploying crews to gather merchandise quickly, and then departing in multiple vehicles before law enforcement summoned by burglar alarm can arrive.

    The Golden Triangle shopping district of Beverly Hills has also been targeted the past year by swarm break-ins. They are appealing to criminal crews because they offer the potential for large returns, but as property offenses, carry lesser punishment than crimes that involve confrontation with people.

    Owners of The Cool, which features stylish athletic shoes and street apparel by such brands as Supreme and Bape, estimated their loss at as much as $250,000.

    A staffer at Bape, which is based in Japan, said he was not authorized to comment on how much merchandise was stolen.

    Security camera video at The Cool reveals it took a man with a portable powered grinding wheel several minutes to cut through the padlock on the security gates. Then, another man brought a sledgehammer to smash a plate glass window, clearing the way for six others who suddenly appeared from down the block. The crew squeezed into the store through the gaping hole and grabbed merchandise before leaving in at least four vehicles.

    "I believe these guys been here before," said "Mook," one of the store owners. "So, they scoped out the place...because they only went to the expensive items."

    Some of the clothing items in the shop retail for more than $1,000 apiece. The owners lamented the loss but said the bigger challenge for them is re-stocking the collectible and hard-to-find items that date back as much as 10 years.

    "What makes us unique is we had these items," said Adeel Shams, another of the store owners victimized by the burglaries. "They're where we got our credibility. So, it's kind of tough now."

    The owners had met in grad school in Virginia and brought their business concept west, starting with a store offering collectible athletic shoes called Cool Kicks. The Cool was a recent offshoot, adding apparel.

    It had been burglarized once before since opening last spring.

    Shams added, "We've done our best with security cameras, with gates, with anything, everything that we could do, and it's just like 'What else can we do?' Do we have to sleep here?"

    One measure being discussed with other merchants is hiring overnight security guards.

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    A tactical team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department searched the hills near Malibu Creek State Park Tuesday morning for an armed burglar who detectives want to question about the murder of a camper in June.

    Deputies rode on four-wheel-drive utility vehicles into the hills covered in deep brush, north of Mulholland Highway, in an area less than a quarter-mile from the state park.

    They said they were searching for a masked burglar who broke into an office nearby early Sunday morning and stole food, the Sheriff’s Department said.

    "A video system at the location showed one person who was carrying a rifle," the Department said. "The suspect pried open a window to enter the location."

    The break-in was similar to several others at homes in the area, and investigators not authorized to discuss the case publicly told NBC4 they believed the burglar could be living in the wilderness area nearby to avoid detection by residents or law enforcement.

    "It should be noted there have been four or five reported burglaries of unoccupied offices and other buildings at night in the general area in the past two years," the Department said. "It is unknown if those burglaries are related to this incident, but there are some similarities."

    One resident says deputies told her the burglar was spotted wearing a mask or hood and wearing what was described as 'tactical-style' clothing.

    Law enforcement officials said it was far too soon to know if there was a link between the burglar and the murder of Tristan Beaudette, who was shot to death while camping with his two young daughters.

    The Sheriff's Department said it’s also investigating whether that murder is connected with several other shooting incidents reported in the same area, including one in which a hiker was injured.

    Residents told NBC4 Tuesday another shooting was reported to the Sheriff's Department Thursday night close to the search area. A number of people said they heard four shots around 9:00 p.m. and Sheriff's helicopter was sent to check the area.

    No arrests have been made.

    The search was done about four months after the murder. A reward for information on the killing was offered in July.

    Sheriff's detectives again appealed for the public's assistance in solving the murder, shootings, and break-ins. Anyone with information was asked to call the Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff's Station detective bureau of (818) 878-1808.

    Photo Credit: KNBC

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    Landmarks across Los Angeles went pink Tuesday at sundown in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    The pink color covered the city like a blanket of support.

    People landing at Los Angeles International Airport could see the pylons outside LAX emanating a pink glow. In downtown Los Angeles, the famous US Bank building and City Hall, along with with the Grand Fountains out front, had a noticeable pink coloring to them.

    Other local attractions that turned pink at sunset on Tuesday at sunset included LADWP John Ferraro Building, LA Live, Microsoft Theatre, Wilshire Grand Center, Intercontinental Hotel, UCLA Royce Hall, UCLA Powell Library, USC Memorial Coliseum Torch and the Banc of California Stadium.

    October is designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the pink color is meant to bring attention to the disease and encourage early screening.

    Photo Credit: KNBC

    LA City Hall goes pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness on Oct. 2, 2018.LA City Hall goes pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness on Oct. 2, 2018.

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    A golden retriever found inside a trash bag in a dumpster has been named American Humane's 2018 American Hero Dog for overcoming her severe injuries and becoming a certified therapy dog, "Today" reported.

    Chi Chi lost all four legs after being bound and left for dead in the dumpster in South Korea. But animal workers found her and revived her, and her story caught the eye of a family in Arizona. The Howells adopted Chi Chi, who learned how to walk and eventually got two sets of prosthetic legs.

    She's since become a therapy dog and had cancerous tumors removed, making her a cancer survivor as well. 

    "When people meet Chi Chi, they are inspired by her courage, perseverance, ability to overcome adversity and her never-give-up attitude," Elizabeth Howell said in a statement released by American Humane.

    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Robert Fugate
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    Chi Chi, American Humane's 2018 American Hero DogChi Chi, American Humane's 2018 American Hero Dog

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    California communities faced some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in the state's history in October 2017. Fanned by strong wind gusts, flames raced through parts of several North Bay counties during the October Fire Seige, a deadly complex of wildfires fanned by strong winds.

    It is a tragic reminder of the potential for devastation in a state where dry conditions, powerful October winds and heat combine to increase the threat of rapidly spreading wildfires.

    Below, a look at some of the state's deadliest fires.

    Griffith Park Fire, October 1933

    What started as a debris pile fire in Los Angeles' 4,300-acre park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains became California's deadliest wildfire. On Oct. 3, 1933, Depression-era workers were taking care of other projects in the park when they were dispatched to fight the fire. Not trained in firefighting, they were unable to contain the flames and the fire spread to nearly 50 acres. Fanned by shifting winds, the fire raced up a canyon and overwhelmed workers. Twenty-nine were killed.

    Oakland Hills (Tunnel) Fire, October 1991

    Also called the Tunnel fire, the firestorm scorched hillsides in northern Oakland and southeastern Berkeley during an October weekend. The fire, rekindled from an earlier grass fire, burned only 1,600 acres — not large when compared to other wildfires on the list. But it was located in a densely populated area with houses and other buildings in its path. Fanned by powerful wind gusts, the flare-up grew into a wall of fire that left some residents trapped in an inferno that resulted in 25 deaths. Nearly 3,000 structures were destroyed.

    Tubbs Fire, October 2017

    The Tubbs fire part of a complex of wildfires known as the October Fire Siege in California's Wine Country. The fire, fanned by unrelenting winds in Sonoma and Napa counties, resulted in 21 deaths and destroyed 5,643 buildings, according to CAL FIRE.The fire started in the Calistoga area on the night of Oct. 8, spreading at a stunning rate and burning through entire neighborhoods, forcing some residents to run from their homes in search of shelter. The official cause remains under investigation.

    Cedar Fire, October 2003

    The catastrophic San Diego County Cedar fire remains the largest fire in California history. It also is one of the deadliest. The 273,000-acre firestorm wiped out 2,820 structures and resulted in 15 deaths. The fire, started by a lost hunter who set a signal fire in Cleveland National Forest near Julian, stormed through wilderness areas and rural communities.

    Rattlesnake Fire, July 1953

    In the summer of 1953, an arsonist set two fires in Mendocino National Forest in Northern California, setting off a chain of tragic events that would become a textbook case in studies of firefighting. Firefighters quickly got a handle on the first, but spot fires developed during the evening when winds fanned the second fire. Most were extinguished, but one flared up and quickly spread as firefighters sat down for a meal. Some of them ran uphill to a firefighter who warned them about the fire, but 15 who tried to escape down the canyon were overtaken and killed. A boulder at the Grindstone Overlook on Forest Highway 7 has a plaque with the victims' names. 

    Loop Fire, November 1966

    On Nov. 1, 1966, 12 members of the El Cariso Hotshots -- specially trained firefighters who ranged in age from 18 to 26 -- were killed. Again, a firefight turned deadly because of shifting winds. Some crewmembers were trapped when gusts carried spot fire flames up steep Pacioma Canyon in Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles. Many of the 19 Hotshots who escaped suffered critical burns. El Cariso Park in Sylmar stands as a memorial to the victims.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    Fire crews light a controlled fire in an attempt to counteract the Cedar Fire October 27, 2003 near Lakeside in San Diego, California.Fire crews light a controlled fire in an attempt to counteract the Cedar Fire October 27, 2003 near Lakeside in San Diego, California.

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    A year can't seem to pass without a major movie involving some wide-eyed kids entering a fictional realm, a whimsical world seen inside a storybook, a video game, or, yes, another movie.

    But what of adults with wide eyes and dreams of participating in a colorful competition they've only seen on a screen?

    Such grown-ups exist, and many of them will be cruising in small go-kart racers when the Mushroom Rally comes to town in 2019.

    The started-in-Australia event is now going worldwide, or at least zooming into some major cities around the planet in the months ahead, with Los Angeles serving as a prominent stop. 

    Want to join?

    Sign up here, as fast as a go-kart goes, if you want to try for a chance to be one of the 600 people chosen to play.

    And if you're already fretting that you don't have the blocky, over-sized fashion seen in the wheel-fast video game, the clothes rocking bright primary colors, worry not: Organizers provide an outfit for you to wear during your race.

    So, yes: The teams says that "... you can pick your favourite Mario Kart character and race around a custom track and win prizes."

    Possibly even a thousand bucks, should you "... complete the track in 40 seconds!"

    Making it all the more thrilling for fans of "Super Mario Kart," an iconic Nintendo game that can trace its origins back to the early '90s, and, well, even earlier, thanks to the '80s favorite "Super Mario Bros."?

    The fact that one winner per city will be invited to Las Vegas to go for the grand prize.

    Feeling the go-kart zoom-zoom, the urge to don a giant hat, and to enter a world of a game you've spent hours excelling at over the last quarter century?

    Watch the Mushroom Rally's social media for more information on the Southern California event, which'll pedal-to-the-metal it into our region in 2019.

    Photo Credit: Mushroom Rally

    The Mushroom Rally is spinning for Southern California in 2019. Do you have the skills and speed to nab that $1000 cash prize?The Mushroom Rally is spinning for Southern California in 2019. Do you have the skills and speed to nab that $1000 cash prize?

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    A historic summer of wildfires left residents who live near burn areas facing another threat this fall and winter in California. The fires stripped vegetation from hillsides, leaving those ares more succeptible to flooding and debris flows during winter storms. 

    Use this link to see USGS maps of post-fire debris flow and flood hazard areas affected by wildfires in Southern California. The USGS uses factors live burn severity, soil properties and rainfall forecasts to estimate the probability and size of debris flows.

    Even moderate rainfall can produce flooding in burn areas because they lack the vegetation that would normally absorb water. The fire-scarred hillsides have a repellent layer that blocks water absorption. If it's not absorbed by the soil, rainwater simply washes down the hillside, sometimes with enough force to move boulders, tear out trees and damage buildings and bridges.

    Photo Credit: USGS

    A USGS map shows wildfire burn areas in October 2018.A USGS map shows wildfire burn areas in October 2018.

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    The $7 billion 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund is running out of money, its administrator said Wednesday.

    NBC News reported that the fund's special master, Rupa Bhattacharyya, said in a statement in the Federal Register that the funds "may be insufficient to compensate all claims."

    The fund expects to receive more than 6,500 claims on top of the 32,689 it had received by last year, Bhattacharyya said. Five New York lawmakers, including both senators, called this week for more congressional funding to the fund.

    More than 2,000 people are estimated to have died from illnesses linked to the response to the Sept. 11 attacks. The Zadroga Act set aside $7.3 billion to compensate the victims and relatives of the dead.

    Photo Credit: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images, File

    This July 4, 2018, file photo shows American flags placed in the names on the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan.This July 4, 2018, file photo shows American flags placed in the names on the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan.

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    It has been almost 50 years since a Cook County jury convicted a Chicago police officer of first-degree murder. But when the eight women and four men who will decide the fate of Jason Van Dyke retire to the jury room and begin their deliberations, they will be left with few choices.

    The Charges
    Van Dyke now faces two counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct in connection with the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald. There are also 16 counts of aggravated battery, one for each shot fired at the 17-year-old on Oct. 20. 

    What the Jury Could Decide
    Jurors will have to make a possibly painful decision about whether Van Dyke’s actions rose to the level of murder, something other juries around the country have found difficult to do. If convicted, Van Dyke could face up to life in prison.

    If jurors find him not guilty on the first-degree murder charges, their next and more lenient option would be to convict the 13-year CPD veteran of the lesser charges of aggravated battery.

    They could also choose to convict on some charges and not on others. Such a choice relieves some of the burden on jurors, but still gives prosecutors a conviction that could result in significant jail time for Van Dyke.

    If the jury cannot agree on a verdict, they will tell the judge who will likely tell them to try again before he declares a mistrial. If that happens, the prosecution has the option to re-file some or all of the charges against Van Dyke. A new jury will be picked and a second trial will be held.

    The jury also could find Van Dyke not guilty on all charges - a complete acquittal. If that happens, he will walk free.

    The Trial So Far
    Defense attorney Dan Herbert is taking a risk by relying on 12 men and women to decide to Van Dyke’s fate. He could have bypassed a jury entirely and chosen a bench trial where only the judge hears the evidence and makes the ruling. That would have minimized the emotional impact of seeing the teenager shot 16 times on dash-cam video, images that have been repeated over and over again during the trial.

    Van Dyke’s defense relies on specific Illinois law that gives peace officers wide latitude on the use of deadly force. A bench trial would have left that legal decision solely in the hands of a judge.

    The decisions about a jury trial created much of the drama that preceded the first testimony. Judge Vincent Gaughan waited until the very last minute, after a Cook County jury had been selected, to rule on a defense motion to move the trial out of Chicago. His decision, based on the answers given during the jury selection process, set the stage for a high-profile trial in Chicago. While defense attorneys argued that Van Dyke deserved a fair trial by a jury of his peers, the prosecution said the "community also deserves" a fair trial that it could observe and monitor.

    Potential Reaction
    In preparation for the trial, the large parkways in front of the courthouse at 26th and California were fenced off and set aside for protesters. For the most part, those protests have failed to materialize. Trial observers say there may be good reason for that.

    In the wake of the McDonald shooting video being made public, protesters made a number of demands of the city. Much of what they called for has since come to pass. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has been replaced by Kim Foxx.

    In the days before the trial was set to begin, Emanuel announced he would not run for re-election. The justice department has investigated and issued a report on the Chicago Police Department. There is now a consent decree in place that will monitor the department’s behavior. McDonald’s great uncle said actions speak louder than words.

    "At the end of the day, show me," Rev. Marvin Hunter said Thursday.  "Show me. Let's make this happen for real. Let’s not make it a symbol to calm the people down. Let’s make it a reality."

    There have also been repeated requests for calm and reason to prevail no matter what verdict the jury reaches.

    The family of Laquan McDonald and the faith community that supports them have called for prayers for justice. Van Dyke supporters and the Fraternal Order of Police have also called for prayers. Will Calloway, the activist who has been at the forefront of the McDonald case, has appealed to Chicago gang members to lay down their guns and pick up his call for social justice.

    Finally, the Attorney General’s office has scheduled a town hall meeting on the police department consent decree at the church of McDonald’s great uncle. Community activists and Cardinal Cupich have been invited to attend.

    To be safe, however, Chicago police and fire have been planning for the possibility of large protests following the jury’s verdict no matter what they decide.

    Photo Credit: Antonio Perez-Pool/Getty Images

    Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens during the presentation of his defense on murder charges at the Leighton Criminal Court Building September 24, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke is charged with shooting and killing black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was walking away from police down a street holding a knife four years ago.Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens during the presentation of his defense on murder charges at the Leighton Criminal Court Building September 24, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke is charged with shooting and killing black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was walking away from police down a street holding a knife four years ago.

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    The Imperial Western Beer Co. and The Streamliner are opening in the historic Fred Harvey restaurant space inside the landmark station.

    Photo Credit: Imperial Western Beer Co. and The Streamliner

    Imperial Western Beer Co. and The Streamliner open at Union Station on Thursday, Oct. 4.Imperial Western Beer Co. and The Streamliner open at Union Station on Thursday, Oct. 4.

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    A new species of mosquito going against the traditional modus operandi of attacking human flesh at dusk is tearing through Southern California, causing some residents to call it an "invasion."

    The Aedes mosquito, or "ankle biter" as it's not-so-affectionately being called, will aggressively nip at skin multiple times in one sitting, and will come out in the middle of the day -- atypical SoCal mosquito behavior -- to suck your blood. 

    Aedes mosquitoes are also notorious for bites below the knee, specifically around the ankle, and will get their fill inside or outside of homes. 

    The Aedes mosquito leaving its mark (literally) on Southern California residents is causing officials to take preventative action.

    "They are small and extremely aggressive. They will come out in the middle of the sun and attack you," Roy Alfred said. "Once they get established, they pretty much don’t disappear."

    The aggressive blood-suckers, which officials believe arrived on a container ship from Asia, are slowly colonizing Southern California.

    Robert Saviskas, the executive director of LA County West Vector Control, said while California already has a native mosquito population, ours are not like these new buzzing burdens.

    "Native mosquitoes bite at night. These bite in the daytime. While native mosquitoes need a large body of water, these can breed in a small bottle-cap of water," he said.

    And unlike the local mosquitoes, the Aedes enjoy breeding indoors. They also lay larva just below the water line.

    "Those eggs can last up to a year… and still be viable," Saviskas said.

    Vector officials have been trying to get the word out that the mosquito is more than just a nuisance.

    "Mosquitoes can transmit debilitating diseases such as zika, dengue and yellow fever," Saviskas said.

    They advise to get rid of standing water -- even keeping recyclables dry, since the Aedes mosquito can lay eggs in such a small amount of water.

    "Saucers, indoor plants or outdoor plants. Any kind of little container, anything that you are raising, you are planting," he said.

    Vector control said they are no overloaded with requests for inspections of the arrivals from overseas, which they believe have become the "new normal."

    "Once they get established, they pretty much don’t disappear," Saviskas said.

    Vector control has planned to spray pesticide beginning Tuesday night through Saturday in Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Fullerton and Orange County, according to a Facebook post.

    Treatment will begin in Huntington Beach at Bartlett Park on Tuesday and Wednesday night between 6:20 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

    Spraying in Orange County will begin on Thursday, Oct. 4, and Friday, Oct. 5 between 4:30 a.m. to 5:30 Grijalva Park.

    Anaheim will receive treatment on Oct. 4 and 5 between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. at Dad Miller Golf Course.

    Fullerton will receive neighborhood treatment between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Oct. 4 and 5. 

    NBC4's Conan Nolan contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Alice Barr

    Officials hope treatment spray will reduce mosquito population in Southern California.Officials hope treatment spray will reduce mosquito population in Southern California.

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