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    As the holidays near, many people decorate their homes with festive trees and ornaments — reminders of the celebrations to come. But for some, these cheerful adornments are reminders of what has been lost. 

    Joshua McKerrow is a photojournalist for the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland. He visited Gov. Larry Hogan’s residence on Thursday to take pictures for the paper of Hogan's holiday decorations. McKerrow said he’s done this “every year, for years” and called it “a very light but very fun story.” 

    However, McKerrow said his annual assignment was different this time. 

    “Every year my reporting partner was Wendi Winters,” McKerrow wrote in a series of tweets Thursday that came as a response to President Donald Trump again calling fake news the enemy of the people. “This year, it was Selene. Wendi was murdered in June.” 

    Winters, a community writer, was one of five people killed when a gunman stormed the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis and opened fired on June 28. Editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, editor Gerald Fischman, sports writer John McNamara and sales assistant Rebecca Smith also died in the mass shooting, what one reporter described as a “war zone.” 

    The shooter had an ongoing dispute with the paper after a July 2011 story detailed a criminal harassment case against him. He sued the paper’s writer and publisher for defamation, but the case was thrown out after a judge ruled that the story was based on public record and there was no evidence suggesting it was inaccurate. The publisher later told police that the man began harassing newspaper staff, and he also posted tweets attacking the paper. Police said the gunman sent threatening letters in the days before the shooting as well. 

    On Thursday, nearly six months after the deadly attack, McKerrow said he took his camera through the rooms of the governor’s brightly lit and colorful home, “focusing on the trees and the ornaments.” But there was something — or someone — missing. 

    “All I could think about was Wendi,” McKerrow wrote in his Twitter thread. “I felt like she was with me, that she was actually present.” 

    McKerrow said he could feel Winters in his mind and could “almost hear her voice echoing through the empty rooms.” 

    “How many cookies are you making this year?” was her favorite question to ask for the holiday report, McKerrow said. 

    Despite Winters’ noticeable absence for McKerrow, he said he managed to keep himself together for the photoshoot. That is, he said, “till the very end.” 

    “Interviewed the butler, like I have every year, and when we were done she took me aside and whispered, ‘I really miss Wendi. Next Year I’m going to name a cookie for her,’” McKerrow wrote. “And that was it. The tears started, and I’m standing in the Maryland Governors home weeping to myself about my dead friend, … shot by a man who wanted to kill every journalist he could.” 

    McKerrow shared his story in a response to a tweet from President Donald Trump the same day. That one-line tweet repeated a phrase the president commonly uses to attack journalists and media organizations: “FAKE NEWS - THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

    “Wendi was no ones enemy,” McKerrow wrote in a single tweet in his thread.

    The day after the shooting, Trump condemned the gunman's actions as "horrific" and said that journalists "should be free from fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs." However, he continued his attacks on the "fake news" less than a month later.

    Hundreds of newsrooms across the country pushed back against Trump in the aftermath of the shooting by publishing a coordinated series of editorials. The pieces argued for a free press and said newspapers are not the enemy.

    After crying "on and off" on Thursday, McKerrow said he is "comforted that in a way she's still with me, when I do the work that she loved to do." That work, he said, is "Journalism. Patriotic, truth telling, American."

    McKerrow concluded: "We'll keep on doing the work. And if we die for it, someone else will pick up the threads, and report on the holiday decorations at the Governor's house. Its what we do."

    Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun Media Group
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    A file photo of Wendi WintersA file photo of Wendi Winters

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    Elian González Brotóns, the man who was once at the center of an international custody battle which involved the U.S. and Cuban governments, has joined Twitter.

    González Brotóns posted his first tweet on Thursday, the same day Cuba announced that they would be allowing its citizens full internet access for mobile phones. His Twitter handle, @BrotonElian, appears to pay tribute to his deceased mother, Elizabeth Bronton, who drowned in 2000 while fleeing Cuba with González.

    In his tweet, he says he joined Twitter on his 25th birthday. He goes on to thank Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel for wishing him well on his birthday, and will continue to support him. He then says that his goal is to not disappoint “Cubans with dignity.”

    On Thursday, President Díaz-Canel wished González Brotóns a happy birthday on Twitter, and referred to him as the son and grandson of “Cubans with dignity,” and all of Cuba. The tweet went on to say that the battle for his freedom, led by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, showed how they can overcome challenges together.

    In 2000, González Brotóns was just shy of his sixth birthday when the small boat carrying him, his mother and a dozen others went down near Florida. González Brotóns’s mother was among those who perished. Elian was found floating in an inner tube and rescued by a fisherman who then turned the small boy over to U.S. officials.

    González Brotóns would then become the center of a bitter custody battle between his relatives in Miami who wished to keep him in the United States and his father, Juan Miguel González, who wanted him returned to Cuba. The international custody battle became a hot button issue during the 2000 U.S. presidential campaign and a central focus for the U.S. and Cuban governments.

    The months-long saga culminated with a dramatic raid on the Miami house, where U.S. federal agents retrieved Gonzalez at gunpoint in the early morning hours and he was flown back to the island in June of 2000, where he rejoined his father.

    The iconic photo of that historic moment, taken by Alan Diaz for The Associated Press, won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: AP
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    FILE - In this April 4, 2010 file photo, Elian Gonzalez holds a Cuban flag during the Union of Young Communists congress in Havana, Cuba. Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle nearly 20 years ago in April 2000, has joined Twitter after Cuba announced 3G internet access for cell phone users.FILE - In this April 4, 2010 file photo, Elian Gonzalez holds a Cuban flag during the Union of Young Communists congress in Havana, Cuba. Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle nearly 20 years ago in April 2000, has joined Twitter after Cuba announced 3G internet access for cell phone users.

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    An estimated $70 million worth of cocaine seized by the United States Coast Guard in international waters was offloaded at the U.S. Navy pier in San Diego Friday.

    The 5,100 pounds of drugs were seized during a 49-day counterdrug mission in eastern Pacific waters in partnership with the Royal Canadian Navy aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS). 

    Crew members with both agencies patrolled international waters off the coast of central and South America for a month-and-a-half into intercept drug smuggling operations. 

    During their patrols, the crews stopped two go-fast boats, with 3,500 pounds of cocaine seized in one and 1,600 pounds were seized in the other.  

    U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Linda Fagan praised the international effort and said their Canadian partners have been "critical" to the operation.

    "It takes a network to defeat a network," she said.  

    The drugs will be turned over the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency who will investigate the product and destroy it. 

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    Four businesses in Moreana were flooded Friday morning when an eight-inch concrete pipe burst, sending water flowing down an alleyway. 

    The concrete water main break broke on Naples Street, just east of Morena Boulevard sometime Friday morning, according to the city of San Diego. 

    Water department crews were called to shut off the water to two dozen customers, which would likely remain without water until at least 7 p.m., according to a city spokesperson. 

    The owner of Kitchen boutique Design was on her way into work at 9 a.m. when she was told about the water main break. She arrived to find her business flooded. 

    "Everything is full of water," Hlai Ghaci said. "I’ve got computers in the water all the cabinets are installed, so all the wood is probably going to get damaged, all the furniture. So it's kind of tough."

    Crews were in an alleyway behind the business making repairs to the concrete main. The city said crews were working to cut through concrete to get to the pipe itself, which they would replace with PVC pipe. 

    It could take crews up to eight hours to repair, clean and restore water to customers, the city spokesperson said. 

    It was not clear what caused the pipe to burst in the first place. 

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    A power outage downtown forced San Diego City College (SDCC) to cancel the majority of its classes for the second week in a row.

    The power outage temporarily left more than 1,650 San Diego Gas & Electric customers Friday afternoon but the utility service had power restored to most customers in less than an hour. 

    Despite the restoration, the college said classes would be canceled at all buildings except a few that did not lose power. 

    A power outage affecting nearly 8,500 customers forced SDCC to cancel classes last Friday. 

    No other information was available.

    Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    Gaslamp Quarter in San DiegoGaslamp Quarter in San Diego

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    A man pleaded not guilty Friday to stealing a car with a 6-month-old baby inside from an Escondido shopping center Tuesday.

    Escondido police say Anthony Guerrero, 31, stole a Mercedes-Benz outside the 99 Cents Only Store, 385 N. Escondido Blvd., around 10 p.m.

    Guerrero dumped the car less than 2 miles away at 1204 N. Escondido Blvd. with the infant inside unharmed and ran from the scene, police said.

    The mother had left her keys in the car while it was running, police said.

    Guerrero was taken into custody and booked on charges of felony vehicle theft, felony possession of stolen vehicle and felony parole violation.

    The unharmed baby was reunited with its family.

    The judge, on Friday, ordered Guerrero to remain in jail.

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    Images of smuggling attempts at their finest.

    Photo Credit: CBP

    Border Patrol agents seized 38.58 pounds of meth at the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint just after midnight Monday morning. Thirty-five vacuum-sealed bags were found in the vehicle's gas tank. The drugs have an estimated street value of $102,237. Teh 26-year-old driver was arrested.Border Patrol agents seized 38.58 pounds of meth at the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint just after midnight Monday morning. Thirty-five vacuum-sealed bags were found in the vehicle's gas tank. The drugs have an estimated street value of $102,237. Teh 26-year-old driver was arrested.

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    The first deadline to sign up for health insurance for 2019 through California's health insurance exchange is quickly approaching.

    Those want to have their health insurance coverage to start on Jan. 1, 2019, must sign up on Covered California by Dec. 15, which is next Saturday.

    Unlike the federal open-enrollment period, which also ends Dec. 15, California's open enrollment continues through Jan. 15.

    So far, roughly 1.2 million people have renewed their insurance through Covered California, though the numbers are slightly lower than last year's. The agency said the reason could be a lack of awareness.

    While the open enrollment period started on Oct. 15, the agency, however, decided to wait until after the mid-term election to start advertising. Another reason is the removal of the individual mandate penalty. 

    The original Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," required everyone to have insurance or pay a penalty. The Republican Congress, in December 2017, removed the penalty effective Jan. 1, 2019.

    "While we know that the financial help offered through Covered California is the big motivator for many people to enroll, with the penalty removed we do expect some consumers to roll the dice and go without health coverage," Covered California executive director Peter V. Lee said.

    The agency said enrollment is expected to drop between 7 to 18 percent because of removal of the mandate.

    The high cost was another reason why some are forgoing health insurance. Trey Barkley, 32, went without insurance last year after his company stopped providing health insurance for its employees.

    "I could not afford it," he said. "The cost was too much for me per month because I ended making just enough money that it was going to cost way out of my range."

    Barkley was referring to subsidies offered by Covered Calfornia. About 90 percent of people enrolled through Covered California qualify for some sort of subsidy, which covered an average of 80 percent of their monthly premium, the agency said.

    According to its research, 82 percent of uninsured people do not know that they qualify for financial assistance. 

    "Being covered means you are protected from medical bills that can range from tens of thousands of dollars into the millions," Lee said. "That's why it is so important to take a look their options and find out if they are eligible for financial assistance to help bring that coverage within reach."

    Nearly 250,000 people are uninsured in the San Diego-Carlsbad area, of that more than 102,000 are eligible for coverage through Covered California. Statewide, an estimated 1.1 million uninsured people are eligible to enroll in Covered California or Medi-Cal, the agency said.

    Barkley said he plans to look at Covered California's site again this year to see if he qualifies for any subsidies now that his girlfriend has health coverage through her work.

    Covered California has a Shop and Compare tool for people to see if they qualify for any assistance.

    Photo Credit: CoveredCA

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    A man suspected of illegally crossing into the United States on Wednesday drowned in a canal near the U.S.-Mexico border in Calexico, U.S. Customs Border Patrol said Friday.

    CBP said Border Patrol agents saw the man and two others illegally entered the U.S. about two miles west of the Gran Plaza Outlet around 9 p.m. Wednesday.

    The two men were quickly caught after swimming across the All-American Canal, which runs parallel to the Mexico-California border. The victim, however, was struggling to stay afloat in the canal.

    Agents were not able to reach the man before he drowned, according to the CBP. Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) were called and quickly arrived on the scene to recover the man's body but had to call the operation off because of heavy rain and low visibility.

    The man's body, which was found submerged about 150 yards from where he crossed, was recovered 10 a.m. Thursday, the CBP said.

    “This incident tragically illustrates how human smuggling organizations place migrants in perilous situations,” Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said. “This man put his trust in human smugglers and it cost him his life.”

    All-American Canal is federally owned but is managed by the Imperial Irrigation District. The water in the canal can move a quickly as 30 mph, which can be a challenge for migrants who aren't strong swimmers.

    The district installed buoy lines along the 23-mile concrete-line portioned of the canal in 2011, according to the Associated Press. More than 500 migrants have died trying to cross into the U.S. through the canal. 

    Neither the identity of the man nor his national origin has been released. The two men traveling with the victim were El Salvadorans, the CBP said.

    Photo Credit: CBP

    Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) recovers the body of a man suspected of illegally crossing into the United States.Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) recovers the body of a man suspected of illegally crossing into the United States.

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    The Ventura County Sheriff's sergeant who was slain during a gun battle with the Borderline Bar mass shooter was fatally struck by a California Highway Patrol officer's bullet and not the suspect, the department announced Friday.

    Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the department, was struck 5 times by the suspect's gunfire. Although those bullets caused serious injury, they were "potentially survivable," said Christopher Young, chief medical examiner for Ventura County.

    The sixth bullet was fired by a CHP officer, according to forensic analysis conducted by the FBI's crime laboratory. That gunshot was targeted toward the suspect, but struck Helus in the chest. The wound proved to be fatal. 

    "We believe that Sgt. Helus was clearly not the intended target of the CHP officer which further illustrates the extreme situation both men faced," Sheriff Bill Ayub  said.

    Ayub said that the development "in no way diminishes the heroic actions both men exhibited" at Borderline. 

    Helus and two California Highway Patrols officers arrived at the Western-style bar on Nov. 7 minutes after the mass shooting was reported. 

    The suspect Ian David Long attacked the law enforcement officers "almost immediately," Ayub said. Long, a former Marine, fired multiple rounds at the officers in a "brief, but furious gun battle." 

    Ayub described the scene as "chaotic" and "confusing," adding that the sequence of events are still being analyzed.

    "The mere thought of something like this happening is devastating to all of us and underscores the difficult and dangerous circumstances law enforcement faces, often with only mere seconds to react," California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a statement. 

    He added that the department was "profoundly saddened" to learn the new details. 

    The Borderline Bar shooting ended with 13 people dead, including the gunman. Twenty-two others were injured. 

    Photo Credit: Santa Barbara County Sheriff

    Sergeant Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran, was one of the first responders on scene of the Thousand Oaks bar shooting.Sergeant Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran, was one of the first responders on scene of the Thousand Oaks bar shooting.

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    Days after a man had his toolbox stolen on a job site in broad daylight, an NBC 7 viewer's generosity is helping him get back to work.

    "There's no words to describe how I feel. I'm happy," Alfredo Medina said Friday after he received $1,000 in cash from an anonymous donor.

    The donor saw his story on NBC 7 and decided to help him replace his tools, which Medina valued at between $600 and $800.

    The story first aired on Wednesday after NBC 7 obtained home surveillance video of the thief walking up to the driveway, grabbing the toolbox, and fleeing in an SUV while Medina was inside working on a kitchen remodel.

    “I was really, really sad and mad at the same time,” Medina told NBC 7 after the theft. “I was trying to keep calm, because, you know, you can’t give a bad expression with the clients, the owners of the house, at the place that you’re working on.”

    Medina said the man who took his tools looked Hispanic, which made him feel even worse about the crime.

    “What makes me more sad is that it’s a Hispanic, you know? And all these things that is happening now, and, you know, it’s a really bad image for us,” Medina said.

    The man in the surveillance video still hasn't been caught. At least now Medina doesn't have to worry about his tools veer being recovered.

    "I wasn't expecting my tools to be stolen and I wasn't expecting somebody to help me out and buy them again," he said.

    With the $1,000 Medina will be able to replace essential tools, like grinders, a Skil saw, batteries, and more.

    Holding back tears, Medina thanked the donor for their unexpected kindness and generosity.

    "First things first, thank you. I really appreciate it. If you were here I'd give you a big hug," he said.

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    Nelly Velez knows the meaning of perseverance and generosity.

    The grandmother of nine has survived some of life’s greatest challenges, including homelessness, breast cancer and the loss of her husband. She says God’s grace helped her through affliction, so now she’s paying it forward.

    There was a time in the early 1980s when Velez was a young wife and mother without a home. She remembers cold East Coast winters, huddled with her husband in a van doing everything they could to care for their infant son.

    “When he was a baby, I would open up my shirt and hold him close to keep him warm at night,” she said.

    The couple eventually escaped homelessness, but found themselves bouncing between rental apartments and working hard to try and shelter their family.

    The hardship continued for decades until 2004 when a miracle happened that changed the course of her family’s lives.

    That was the year Habitat For Humanity in Connecticut selected her family to receive a home there.

    "That is a blessing because you work hard for it, it’s not given to you,” she said.

    Velez had the opportunity to make choices she'd never had before, like picking out cabinets and carpet.

    "It was amazing,” she said. “It was like, oh my God, you get to go to this lottery store and you pick whatever you want and it's really exciting."

    Velez says she and her husband put hours of “sweat equity” into their new home.

    Ten years later, in 2014, Velez beat breast cancer. In the spring of that year she nearly lost her life during a medical procedure and just months after that, she lost her passed away.

    She said she made a promise to honor her late husband's dying request.

    "We didn't have much. He said, ‘Whatever you do, you keep this house. We worked hard for it,” Velez said.

    Velez's daughter and several of her grandchildren now live in that home in Connecticut. Between her son and daughter, she's a grandmother to nine kids.

    In 2017 Velez moved from Connecticut to San Diego with her grown son and went back to school at Concorde Career College and graduated a year later.

    Bill Kilby with Concorde Career College said Velez is proof you can be a star student at any age.

    "She has a unique blend of being tender and tough," he said. “I mean, it's so cliché to say, but she's really an inspiration. And her story, you don't even have to hear it in great detail to be affected."

    Realizing what the gift of a home did for her and her family, Velez decided to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity’s San Diego chapter this year. She’s currently working on a home for a family in Sherman Heights.

    "The joy that I had received was a blessing and an honor to receive,” she said. “I wanted to pay it forward.”

    Lori Pfeiler, CEO for San Diego Habitat for Humanity, said Velez is living the Habitat for Humanity mission.

    "Nelly is absolutely the essence of what we believe safe and decent housing brings to people,” Pfeiler said. “When you have a home that you can call your own, you can take care of everything else.”

    Velez said now she often comes to a specific spot in Imperial Beach overlooking the marina to reflect and pray.

    “The only reason why I'm here today, breathing here today, is because of God. Because of his love," she said.

    Velez started her new job shortly after her graduation and says she's still grateful to this day for how the gift of a home changed her life early on. She’s hoping to inspire the same sense of hope and purpose in another family.

    “You just keep doing the best that you can. You know there's always stumbling blocks but when you keep getting back up you keep going," she said.

    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

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    The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department will not change its initial finding about the controversial 2011 death of Rebecca Zahau at Spreckels Mansion, announcing today that a thorough review of the evidence confirms that Zahau hanged herself from a balcony at the oceanfront mansion.

    Sheriff Bill Gore opened a review in April of his department's initial investigation, which determined Zahau death was a suicide. The review was launched after a jury ruled in a 2018 civil trial that Zahau's boyfriend's brother, Adam Shachnai, was responsible for her death. 

    "After conducting this review, the case team found no evidence that led us to believe that Rebecca Zahau died at the hands of another," Gore said. 

    Adam Shacknai, brother of Zahau's former boyfriend, millionaire Jonah Shacknai, was the last person to see Rebecca alive. Adam Shacknai found the 32-year-old woman hanging from a balcony in Jonah Shacknai's historic home that fronts the Pacific Ocean, north of the Hotel del Coronado.

    The Zahau family's attorney, Keith Greer, said the department told him about the review's findings by phone Friday morning. Greer denounced those findings as a "sad" reflection on the department.

    "We gave them another opportunity to do the right thing," Greer told NBC 7. "Instead, they continue to support an improper and biased decision."

    At Friday's news conference, Gore told reporters he knows some observers are skeptical of his department's conclusions. But he defended his homicide team, calling them "as good as any in the state or the county."

    "They've got 100 years of experience," he said. "We have no reason not to follow the facts, follow the evidence, and follow the interviews where they lead us."

    Greer, the Zahau family attorney, told reporters that the sheriff's department had barred him from the news conference. Speaking outside the department's conference room, he claimed it is "impossible" that fair, thorough review of the evidence could again conclude that Zahau killed herself.

    "That tells me there's something corrupt in the (Sheriff's) process," Greer said. "I don't know if we'll ever know that (that corruption) is, but it's not a logical conclusion. There's something here that is motivating (the Sheriff's department) to do the wrong thing."

    Before the news conference, Greer told NBC 7 that it's possible that Sheriff Gore and other department executives were influenced by Jonah Shacknai's wealth.

    Gore responded with a measured but forceful denial.

    "I never took any money from Jonah Shacknai in my election or re-election campaigns. That's just not the way we operate," he said. "And to be quite honest, I take personal offense at that, at impugning the reputation of this department, one of the best in the country."

    SDSO homicide Lt. Rich Williams earlier told reporters that he and the four members of his review team were chosen to bring a fresh perspective to the evidence. Williams said none of the team members was involved in the initial investigation.

    "There are many theories out there (about Zahau's death), but all the evidence points to one logical conclusion, and that's a suicide," Williams said.

    Gore, who has long stood by the determination that Zahau's death was a suicide, said he was at first surprised by the civil verdict and found the theory presented by the Zahau family attorney, Keith Greer, "not logical."

    In a live TV interview with KSWB a day after the verdict, Gore said: 

    "There’s just no physical evidence or eyewitness evidence to tie Adam Shacknai to this murder. There’s no DNA, there’s no fingerprints," he said. "It’s interesting the attorney Mr. Greer managed to turn that into a theory that the crime scene had been wiped clean which is really difficult to do in this scientific age we live in."

    Greer said that was "the most significant part"

    "If you look at things associated with the crime, not even Rebecca's DNA or prints are on them," he said.

    Greer said he cooperated with the sheriff's department's review by sending the department numerous documents, including transcripts and other material from the 28-day civil trial.

    Jurors in the wrongful death lawsuit voted 9-3 that Shacknai battered Zahau and that his actions caused her death. They determined Shacknai owed Zahau's mother, Pari Zahau, approximately $5.167 million in damages.

    Adam Shacknai issued a statement through his attorney shortly after Sheriff Gore made his department's initial finding public.

    "I was in no way involved with Rebecca's death, which was part of a tragic sequence of events, that also involved the loss of my 6-year-old nephew Max. I will be pleased to assist the investigation in any way requested, as I have all along."

    When he announced the review following the April verdict, Gore promised a thorough examination of all relevant evidence from the trial.

    "In the spirit of transparency and open-mindedness, we have agreed to undertake a fresh review of the case, by investigators who have had no prior involvement with the case, to evaluate the new information," Gore said at the time. 

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    Every year, the U.S. Marine Corps teams up with Toys For Tots to bring children holiday cheer. 

    Toys For Tots is a charity that gives kids in need gifts during the holiday season. Volunteers collect toy and cash donations, which are then wrapped and given to children. 

    It's an organization that is very important to local Marine, Lieutenant Colonel Trey Chairsell. 

    "When I was a young child about 30 years ago, it didn't look like Christmas was going to come for me and my younger brother," LtCol Chairsell said Friday. "It was a pretty rough divorce between my parents, a lot of animosity." 

    Luckily, the community and the Marines stepped up to bring the two boys presents. 

    He and his younger brother received toy cars, sports equipment and other gifts. But one donation in particular shaped the rest of his life. 

    "One of the things I got was a book about the Marine Corps," LtCol Chairsell said. "At that time, I had no intention of joining. Obviously, I think it had a little bit of an impact on my life. Here I am twenty plus years in the service." 

    This year at the NBC 7 Toys For Tots drive in the Walmart parking lot at Murphy Canyon Road, LtCol Chairsell was collecting thousands of gifts for children and cash donations. 

    After the toys are collected, he will help to sort them by gender and age to make sure the right toys get to the right children. 

    NBC 7 and Toys For Tots raised over $90,000 and more than 11,000 toys Friday. 

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    Three people were arrested on drug charges after sheriff’s department investigators recovered large amounts of ecstasy, Xanax, cocaine, meth and mushrooms from a home in Poway earlier this week.

    The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said deputies pulled over a car for a vehicle code violation on Wednesday and seized illegal drugs.

    Detectives then obtained search warrants they served at a home on Choctaw Way where “large quantities” of the aforementioned drugs were found along with evidence of illegal drug sales and over $20,000 in cash.

    Kyle Cookson, 24 of San Diego, was arrested and charged with possession and transportation of a controlled substance. Victoria Lin, 34, and Luan Quach, 44, both Poway residents, were also arrested and charged with possession and sales of a controlled substance.

    Neighbors were shocked to learn that Quach was arrested, telling NBC 7 he had lived in the neighborhood for nearly a decade and was the treasurer of their HOA. Neighbors also say Lin was Quach’s fiancé.

    "This person is on our board," neighbor Lydia Rose said. "I have worked with him closely."

    Rose said Quach never displayed suspicious behavior and that she and other neighbors are in "total shock."

    "He is a smart man, helps us make decisions for our community and for our planning here," she said.

    The Poway Criminal Apprehension Team assisted in the investigation, the SDSO said.

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    A big rig swept away by heavy flood waters Thursday night came to rest at the bottom of a creek in Grantville and is now stuck.

    It’s a bit of a crazy sight that we’ve seen before with smaller cars, but the truck’s owner says he’s never seen anything quite like this in his 12-year trucking career.

    Ibarra said he had every intention of moving his two big rigs Thursday, but the one that’s now at the bottom of a ditch wouldn’t start. He figured he could wait until Friday, but the second wave a furious storm that pounded the county with rain and lightning happened.

    Jeff Barr works for a mechanical company right next door to the creek. He’s seen plenty of cars get swept into the creek. He says when it rains, “it turns this area into a lake.”

    While the fact that Ibarra’s trailer was empty saved him from having to recover items that could have spilled across the neighborhood, Barr says a full trailer could have kept the rig grounded.

    “So this semi was parked right here, the water came up, it was empty and floated it up and it just pulled it right down the stream,” he said.

    Ibarra hopes that once he's able to get this truck out, he'll be able to clean it, and eventually sell it. He said he hopes he’ll be able to drive the truck out over the weekend after the ground has dried a little more.

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    Scientists have known for decades how the vast and barren landscapes of Mars look. Now, researchers are getting their first taste of what the Red Planet sounds like, NBC News reports.

    NASA’s InSight lander, which touched down on Mars less than two weeks ago, has recorded vibrations — low-pitched, guttural rumblings — caused by wind blowing across the science instruments on the spacecraft’s deck.

    “Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat,” Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a written statement.

    Unaltered, these vibrations are barely audible, because they were recorded at a frequency of 50 hertz, at the low end of what the human ear can detect, according to Thomas Pike, the lead scientist for InSight’s Short Period Seismometer, one of two instruments that picked up the subtle movements.

    Photo Credit: Time Life Pictures/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

    View of rocky surface of Mars from NASA's Viking 2.View of rocky surface of Mars from NASA's Viking 2.

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    Video of a man surfing a flooded Oceanside street in tow behind a friend’s SUV during Thursday’s rainstorm has gone viral.

    The street surfer, Oceanside native Lukas Soelberg, said that turning chaos into fun was the motivation behind his decision to carve Coast Highway.

    “I was just hitting the tail,” he said. “It was grinding on the ground the whole time. Oh, no keep moving but it ended up pretty good.”

    It's safe to say that Soelberg and his dad are a pair of daredevils. “He's a crazy guy. Paragliding, surfing, he does it all, dirt biking,” his dad said.

    But Thursday's heavy rain presented a rare opportunity for the duo.

    The 19-year-old says they jumped into the family beach cruiser and decided to try out an extreme sport of their own.

    "Jumped in the Suburban, grabbed some rope and the paddle board. It was all clogged up all the roads, the back streets, everything, so we popped out the back, grabbed the board -- Go go go!"

    This video of Solberg surfing the streets quickly went viral. NBC 7 posted the video on the station’s Instagram account and it had close to 40,000 views in 24 hours. It’s probably impossible to count how many other accounts posted a similar video across all the social media platforms.

    Soelberg told NBC 7 the family beach cruiser has also gained some new found fame.

    Soelberg says he never thought what was only meant to be a little fun would be caught on camera.

    “No one tried to stop us. We waved by the lifeguards, they were like yay, and we were like yay, no one's stopping us,” he said.

    No one was hurt or injured during the stunt.

    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

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    To help make sure you stay informed on the most shared and talked about stories in San Diego County, each Saturday we'll revisit five stories from the previous week and capsulize them in this digest with the most recent updates.

    Brightwood College Permanently Closes 3 Local Campuses

    Brightwood College closed its doors Wednesday after new requirements from the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) became “challenging,” according to the president and CEO of Education Corporation of America. There are 74 campuses of the private, for-profit school across the nation. The Kearny Mesa campus was one of three Brightwood College locations in the San Diego area. The other schools were in Vista and Chula Vista.

    Former Employees Allege San Diego County Migrant Youth Shelters Put 'Profits Over Care'

    Southwest Key Programs has received millions of dollars in federal funding to house migrant youth but former employees say while the funding has increased over the last few years, resources at the San Diego County shelters were sub-par. Five former employees for Southwest Key told NBC 7 Investigates that recently, it appears those contracts are not centered around care, they center around profits.

    Child Born in San Diego Day After Migrant Mother Crosses Border Illegally

    A young woman who spent weeks traveling with a caravan of Central American migrants while pregnant gave birth in San Diego after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to request asylum. The family trekked across the countries of Guatemala and Mexico, traveling north by foot and by bus until they reached Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. "He was born here in San Diego," the baby's mother said holding her 8-day-old son -- a United States citizen by birth -- in an interview with NBC 7's sister station, Telemundo 20. Read the article here.

    Video of Overcrowded GUHSD Bus Sparks Outrage, Changes

    Video showing students sitting in the aisle of an overcrowded Grossmont Union High School District school bus sparked outrage earlier this week. The video shared with NBC 7 showed students packed in a school bus aisle traveling from Granite Hills High School with some sitting three to a seat and others sitting on the floor. At one point, a student hops over another to move within the cabin.

    Swastika Painted on Poway Home Hours After Hanukkah Decorations Put Up

    Hours after Debbie Seibert put up decorations to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah on Sunday, the Poway resident found a swastika spray-painted on her home and a liquid that smelled like kerosene on her son’s car. San Diego County Sheriff’s Department investigators say the vandalism, which they classify as a hate crime, occurred sometime after 11 p.m. on Sunday. On the following day, NBC 7's Artie Ojeda reported that Seibert's neighbors held an impromptu vigil to show support for the family.

    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

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  • 12/08/18--09:01: NBC 7/T20 at Jingle Bell Run

  • Did you attend an NBC 7 and Telemundo 20 event in the community? Find photos from the events here.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7 Community

    It’s been a cold morning, but everyone here at Liberty Station for the Jingle Bell Run is warming up nicely! Come down to visit the street team and help end arthritis.It’s been a cold morning, but everyone here at Liberty Station for the Jingle Bell Run is warming up nicely! Come down to visit the street team and help end arthritis.

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