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    Frosty, frigid temperatures continued to sweep San Diego County Thursday, with rain and big waves expected to move in this weekend.

    NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said a freeze warning was in effect for San Diego’s inland valleys and deserts through 8 a.m., as those regions saw temperatures around 30 degrees.

    “Through the day we’ll be sunny and very dry, and still unseasonably cool,” Parveen explained.

    On NBC 7 News Today, anchor Marianne Kushi posed a question other locals may have also been thinking: “Is this really San Diego?”

    “It is so cold outside, you have to wear your warmest coat this morning,” Parveen added.

    According to NBC 7’s First Alert Forecast, temperatures along the coast and inland would be in the low 60s Thursday, mid-40s in the mountains, and near 60 degrees in the deserts.

    The National Weather Service (NWS) warned that pets should be brought inside during these types of chilly conditions, and sensitive plants and crops should be covered to prevent frost damage.

    The winter weather that kicked of 2019 in San Diego County will continue through the weekend. Parveen said a storm system is approaching Southern California, so locals can expect clouds and high surf starting Saturday.

    The NWS said a beach hazards statement will be in effect from Saturday afternoon through late Sunday night, bringing waves and surf ranging from 7 to 12 feet in San Diego County. Strong rip currents, dangerous swimming conditions and coastal flooding are also possible, per the NWS. Those who visit local beaches over the weekend should obey all posted signs and flags and talk to a lifeguard before attempting to get into the water.

    Parveen said rain is expected to move in early Sunday morning and taper off through that afternoon. There’s a chance of rain once more in the middle of the following week.

    For the latest weather updates, check NBC 7's First Alert Forecast.



    Photo Credit: Monica Garske
    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 first week of 2019 was off to a very chilly start in San Diego County. Frost, frigid temperatures and even some snow swept parts of the county leaving some locals to wonder, "Is this really San Diego?"

    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    Frost covers a car window in Grantville on Jan. 3, 2019.Frost covers a car window in Grantville on Jan. 3, 2019.

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    "Snowflakes," "phone zombies," "binge gamers" and "me me me millennials" are the focus of the British army's latest recruitment campaign, NBC News reported

    Posters and billboards reminiscent of the famous World War I "Your Country Needs You" ads have been given a 21st-century twist, sending the message: "The army spots potential. Even if others don't."

    The U.K. has struggled to maintain its target of 82,000 troops in recent years due to a declining number of recruits. The new ads appear to attempt to engage millennials by connecting the stereotype of the screen-addicted generation with desirable skills. "Phone zombies" are wanted for their focus and "binge gamers" for their drive.

    "We are trying to show that we are unlocking potential — potential that many elements of society may not see in young people, but we do," Col. Ben Wilde, head of recruiting for the British Army, told journalists at a press briefing on the initiative Thursday.



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

    This composite photo shows three of the British army's new recruitment ads targeting millennials.This composite photo shows three of the British army's new recruitment ads targeting millennials.

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    A couple of years ago, Jay Ruskey, a seasoned California farmer, tapped San Diego to grow high-end coffee that he and his team believe will sell for around $15 a cup.

    Today, there are approximately 30,000 coffee trees planted in Oceanside, Fallbrook and Bonsall, to list a few locations, with full harvest becoming available in early 2019.

    Through his Frinj Coffee Inc., located in Goleta on the Central California Coast, Ruskey offered a full-service operation for growing coffee that begins with selling pest-free, locally-grown specialty coffee plants to interested growers for $20 each.

    Experts believe this experimental crop can be the next revenue-driving agricultural sector for San Diego. This discovery is timely for the local agriculture scene, as the avocado market, which produced $122 million in 2017, according to the county’s annual crop report, continues to slow down.

    Fifteen varietals of Arabica, considered the better-tasting, higher-quality coffee compared with robusta, are growing in regions up and down San Diego County.

    Part of what is opening the coffee market up to avocado-growing regions like San Diego is the shift in specialty market on the consumer side, according to Lindsey Mesta, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Frinj.

    From a grower’s perspective, the climate change in tropic regions that normally grow coffee is also allowing San Diego to step in the coffee scene. Lastly, most San Diego avocado trees are reaching the end of their lifespan of 30 to 50 years, which means they are not producing like before or not producing at all.



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

    Farmer and consultant Scott Murray, who works with singer/songwriter Jason Mraz at his Oceanside farm, Mraz Family Farms, stands next to a coffee tree.Farmer and consultant Scott Murray, who works with singer/songwriter Jason Mraz at his Oceanside farm, Mraz Family Farms, stands next to a coffee tree.

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    The partial government shutdown has forced closures and reductions in staffing and services at some of the iconic national parks in California.

    From the rugged Santa Monica Mountains to the dramatic landscape of Yosemite National Park and the towering trees of Redwood National Park, visitors are likely to notice the changes. The parks have been left without most of the rangers and staff members who help maintain and protect the state's natural wonders.

    "We're afraid that we're going to start seeing significant damage to the natural resources in parks and potentially to historic and other cultural artifacts," John Garder, senior budget director of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, told The Associated Press. "We're concerned there'll be impacts to visitors' safety.

    "It's really a nightmare scenario." 

    Minimally supervised campgrounds, reduced visitor services and the elimination of maintenance services at restrooms are some of the ways the shutdown has taken a toll. At Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks, overflowing trashed and human waste forced a complete closure Thursday.

    Below, a look at how the parks have been affected by the shutdown as it continues for nearly two weeks. 

    Note: Information below is updated as of Thursday Jan. 3, 2019. 

    Cabrillo National Monument

    Access is closed to all visitors, including pedestrians and cyclists. Click here for updates.

    Channel Islands National Park

    The park islands, with the exception of San Miguel Island, are open to visitors. Park concessions are operating. Mainland and island visitor contact stations are closed. Restrooms are open, but they won't be maintained during the shutdown. Click here for updates. 

    Death Valley National Park

    Some roads are closed due to flooding, damage or construction. Salt Creek Road and Natural Bridge Road are closed during the shutdown for resource protection. All ranger programs are cancelled. Privately-operated resort remain open. The NPS will not pick up trash during the shutdown. Click here for updates.

    Golden Gate National Recreation Area

    Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, Lands End, the Marin Headlands, Alcatraz Island and Muir Woods area open. Fort Point is closed. Visitor services will not operate, and parking lots and restrooms may be closed.

    Joshua Tree National Park

    Joshua Tree National Park is open, but no visitor service will be provided. All campgrounds were closed Jan. 2. Lost Horse Mine Road, Keys View Road, and Rattlesnake Canyon are closed. Click here for updates. 

    Lassen Volcanic National Park

    The Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center is closed. Park entrances are open, but NPS-provided services will be unavailable.

    Pinnacles National Park

    The west entrance is open. The east entrance is open to campers only. No visitor services will be provided. Click here for updates.

    Redwood National Park

    There will be no visitor services, and the NPS warned that dangerous conditions might exist in the park. Restrooms and parking lots may be closed.No permits will be issued for Tall Trees Access Road.  Click here for updates.  

    Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation

    Open trails include Paramount Ranch, Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa and Cheeseboro/Palo Comado canyons. The visitor center is closed, and other sites are closed due to damage from the Woolsey Fire. Click here for updates.

    Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

    Sequoia and Kings Canyon closed Jan. 2. There are NPS services. Call 559-565-3341 for closure updates and road conditions.

    Yosemite National Park

    The park is open and concessions are operating. Orientation and information programs provided by the NPS will not be available. Visitor centers and the Yosemite Museum are closed. Restrooms at or near concession areas remain open, but others are closed. The NPS will not pick up trash during the shutdown. Click here for updates.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Visitors look out at Yosemite National Park from Glacier Point on July 21, 2014 in Yosemite National Park, California.Visitors look out at Yosemite National Park from Glacier Point on July 21, 2014 in Yosemite National Park, California.

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    Pope Francis told American bishops in a letter Thursday to stop "playing the victim or the scold" and do something about a "culture of abuse" in the Church, NBC News reported.

    The bishops are at a retreat in a seminary near Chicago. The U.S. Roman Catholic Church has been rocked by sexual abuse allegations, which Francis referred to in the letter.

    "The Church's credibility has been seriously undercut and diminished by these sins and crimes, but even more by the efforts to deny or conceal them," he said.

    The letter is a "big deal" for specifically addressing the U.S. church, with its many divisions and its credibility crisis amid cover-ups, according to Jesuit priest and author Rev. James Martin.



    Photo Credit: Andrew Medichini/AP, File

    This Dec. 1, 2018, file photo shows Pope Francis walk during an audience for members of the diocesis of Molfetta and Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca, at the Vatican.This Dec. 1, 2018, file photo shows Pope Francis walk during an audience for members of the diocesis of Molfetta and Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca, at the Vatican.

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    Photo Credit: Direccion de Bomberos Tijuana

    The Tijuana Fire Department shared this photo of the factory fire on Thursday.The Tijuana Fire Department shared this photo of the factory fire on Thursday.

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    A tri-county pursuit and standoff finally came to an end in the San Diego area after the man behind the wheel of a mangled Honda allegedly struck a person on a scooter amid the chase in the LA area Wednesday afternoon. 

    The driver, identified by officials as Karl Flores, left the dilapidated 2002 Honda following a 45-minute standoff on the side of the 5 Freeway in the Camp Pendleton area. 

    Flores, who officials said has a military background, was taken into custody with the help of a K-9 officer, and given medical care for an apparent injury to his face. 

    Traffic was backed up for miles on the southbound 5 Freeway in the San Diego region following the standoff. 

    The Los Angeles Police Department and Culver City police initially began pursuing the car in the Culver City area around 11:15 a.m. Shortly thereafter, Flores allegedly struck a person on a scooter in Playa del Rey.

    Despite a damaged windshield from that crash, and four PIT maneuver attempts that sent car parts flying, the driver kept going. The person riding the scooter was taken to the hospital for treatment, and suffered non-life threatening injuries, officials said. 

    He crossed into San Diego County on the 5 Freeway early Thursday afternoon.

    People lined on overpasses appeared to be snapping photos and taking video of the chase. 

    Along with the damage to the Honda's windshield, the rear view window was completely knocked out. 

    California Highway Patrol officers were blocking some freeway entrance ramps, reducing traffic on what is usually a busy stretch of Southern California freeway.

    "That is our goal, to keep other drivers away from this driver so in the event they do a PIT maneuver or the driver decides to stop... we can keep other vehicles as safe as possible," said CHP Officer Paul Fox.

    By 12:40 p.m., the driver had entered the Westminster area, still traveling on the 405 Freeway. Meanwhile, police in the Playa del Rey area were investigating the scene of the hit-and-run, which showed a scooter laying damaged on the ground. 

    Flores ultimately ended up on the 5 Freeway in San Diego County. 

    He was expected to be arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run charges.


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    After years of fundraising and planning, the walls of a new Salvation Army community center in San Diego’s East County were raised Thursday, marking a milestone in the construction of the site that will soon serve tens of thousands of people per year.

    The Salvation Army’s El Cajon Corps celebrated the “tilt-up” of the walls on its nearly 30,000-square-foot community center located at 1011 E. Main St. The center will be home to a food pantry, social services center, gym, youth center and meeting spaces for senior nutrition and youth classes – including after-school, recreation and character development programs.

    The Salvation Army has been raising millions of dollars for this project for the past five years. Now, the old lot along Main and North First streets will be transformed into a hub for locals in need, ultimately offering a different approach on a food pantry.

    “What it means is, instead of just giving them a box of food, they’ll actually be able to come and shop – assisted by our staff and volunteers – and pick out the food that’s best for them,” Colonel Lt. Lee Lescano with the Salvation Army told NBC 7.

    Volunteers told NBC 7 they are looking forward to the new center which will help alleviate space at the current Salvation Army center in that area, which helps feed 1,500 families in the East County every month.

    Construction on the center is expected to be completed by late July or early August 2019.



    Photo Credit: Melissa Adan

    The construction site of what will soon become a new Salvation Army community center in El Cajon.The construction site of what will soon become a new Salvation Army community center in El Cajon.

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    Women who are victims of domestic assault, stalking, rape or other forms of sexual violence are among the people who could be affected if the partial shutdown of the federal government stretches on, NBC News reported

    Amid the budget impasse between President Donald Trump and Congress over his demand for border-wall funding, lawmakers failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, a landmark 1994 law that allots federal money to organizations that serve female victims of violence across the country.

    As the shutdown drags on, money for these nonprofits, many of them on a shoestring budget, could run dry.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Members of the The National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Task Force to End Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Against Women and other groups hold a rally in support of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Capitol Hill June 26, 2012 in Washington, DC.Members of the The National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Task Force to End Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Against Women and other groups hold a rally in support of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Capitol Hill June 26, 2012 in Washington, DC.

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    With the introduction of dockless bikes and scooters in San Diego, their docked counterparts have hit a bump in the road.

    Discover Bike, formerly known as DecoBike, has been in contract with the city for five years, but a spokesperson for the company said the dockless options have made a considerable impact on them.

    “Biking sharing and mobility sharing now is a thing everywhere. It’s not just us,” said Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Association. “It’s getting better. It’s made a lot of improvements.”

    A family from Ohio was visiting San Diego when they opted to try the much-talked-about dockless scooters, passing over the docked bikes.

    “Because I don’t have to walk,” Darlene Weaver said on why she made the dockless decision. “This is my first time, I love it. I’m going to ride all over this place.”

    Her family echoed her choice, saying they liked the dockless options because you don’t have to pedal on the some of them.

    “I would prefer this,” Weaver told NBC 7. “This is small, and I can maneuver it much better.”

    In addition, being able to drop off the dockless bikes and scooters anywhere was a plus for Weaver and her family.

    “You could drop this off at any corner,” Weaver said.

    The docked bikes, however, as their name suggests, are limited in where they can be dropped off. They can only be picked up or returned at existing stations.

    “It was meant to be a citywide system where stations were selected … for commuting and getting around,” Hanshaw told NBC 7.

    But the docked bikes are now seemingly sparse in some parts of San Diego. According to the Discover Bike’s station map, North Park and University Heights only had six bikes between them, across their eight stations, on Thursday morning.

    In Hillcrest, there were zero bikes across its own eight stations, on Thursday morning.

    The program initially promised 1,800 bikes across the city, according to David Silverman with Discover Bike. He said only 800 bikes are currently operational.

    “Could be how they’re managing their inventory or where they’re putting the bikes to get more rides out of them,” said Hanshaw.

    Silverman told NBC 7 the company had to do a lot of maintenance on its docked bikes because of reported vandalism and theft.

    Though, Hanshaw said there’s a movement toward dockless options, a docked system can still work.

    “If the inventory’s managed correctly, and the stations are placed in the right places,” he said.

    A representative with the city said its partnership with Discover Bike will continue. The contract, now half complete, promised the program for 10 years.


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    A man was arrested Thursday after he attempted to rob a bank in Solana Beach, ordering several staffers and customers to get on the floor.

    The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) said Clint Gray, 35, entered a Wells Fargo bank located at 245 Santa Helena just after 9 a.m., yelling at the people inside, telling them he intended on robbing the bank.

    Officials said three customers and several employees were in the bank when Gray walked in. The suspect told everyone to get on the ground; the customers and staffers did as they were told.

    Gray then told the group to call the sheriff’s department. The SDSO received several 911 calls from the people inside the bank.

    Gray waited inside the bank until deputies arrived; he was arrested at the scene.

    Deputies said Gray did not have a weapon and did not end up stealing anything from the bank. No one was hurt, the SDSO confirmed.

    Gray faces one charge of attempted robbery. He was booked into the Vista Detention Facility.

    No further details were released.



    Photo Credit: Google Maps

    The Wells Fargo on Santa Helena in Solana Beach.The Wells Fargo on Santa Helena in Solana Beach.

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    The North County Transit District is one of only four rail systems nationwide to meet the federal government’s New Year’s Eve deadline to install a new computerized safety system in all of its locomotives.

    The system is called Positive Train Control (PTC). It’s a computer on board every locomotive entering San Diego County on an NCTD railway that alerts train engineers about unsafe conditions and, if needed, will stop the train automatically.

    “We know the grade, the curvature, the elevation, speed restrictions for all of those locations,” said the North County Transit District’s Chief Operating Officer for Rail Eric Roe.

    Roe said the PTC will help avoid derailments, train-to-train collisions, trains moving through misaligned track switches, and trains accidentally entering work zones.

    “We had 17 pieces of equipment (locomotives) to equip, Amtrak has in the order of 300, and BNSF has in the order of 5,000,” Roe said.

    If a problem presents itself, Roe said, “The computer would take over and bring the train to a stop.”

    “The one thing that’s hard about that is that it’s something nobody will see and hopefully nobody will know that’s there,” Roe added.

    There are 41 railroad districts throughout the United States. The 37 that did not meet the deadline liked the NTCD filed for extensions.

    “It’s a monumental achievement for NCTD to reach this milestone,” he said.


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    A fast-moving fire ripped through a factory in Tijuana, Mexico, near a major border crossing Thursday afternoon, sending thick smoke into the air visible from the San Diego side of the border.

    Crews with the Tijuana Fire Department, also known as the Direccion de Bomberos Tijuana, rushed to the B&B Plastics factory at around 11:30 a.m. to investigates reports of a fire burning at the business.

    The factory is located on Calle 12 Norte in CD Industrial area, less than a mile away from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

    Plumes of thick, black smoke quickly filled the air around the factory. San Diegans reported seeing the smoke from the United States side of the border.

    An NBC 7 viewer in the Eastlake area snapped a photo of the smoke, taken more than a dozen miles away from the site of the fire.

    The smoke was also captured by SDG&E cameras and UC San Diego's cameras overlooking areas such as Otay Mountain West.

    In a message posted to Twitter just after 12 p.m., Cal Fire San Diego confirmed the blaze was not a threat to the U.S.-Mexico border.

    By 2:10 p.m., the fire had been knocked out.

    Preliminary reports from the Tijuana Fire Department said scrap on the factory's patio may have caused the fire.

    The official cause of the blaze remains under investigation; no injuries were reported.

    To see more images from the fire, scroll through the gallery below.

    No other information was available.

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



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

    Another look at the factory fire, captured by the Tijuana Fire Department.Another look at the factory fire, captured by the Tijuana Fire Department.

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    “Alea iacta est.” (The die is cast). – Julius Caesar, 49 B.C.

    Julius Caesar knew taking his army across the Rubicon into Northern Italy was a move that would change history. Fast-forward a couple of thousand years and Caesar is making another bold move.

    OK, it’s Caesars Entertainment Corporation and not the legendary leader but still, the actions announced on Thursday will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects on life as sports fans know it.

    The National Football League announced a partnership making Caesars, the parent company for dozens of casinos and hotels across the country, the league’s first official casino sponsor.

    The deal is worth a reported $30 million a year over the next three years and gives Caesars properties the exclusive rights to NFL trademarks in the U.S. and United Kingdom. There are already plans for the gambling giant to promote the partnership during the upcoming NFL playoffs. It will host elements of the 2020 NFL Draft at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

    On the surface it seems this is an inevitable wedding: the nation’s largest casino operator and the nation’s most popular sports league getting together to create a money-generating behemoth.

    “There is no sports entity in the world that’s better at creating sponsorable, brandable inventory than the NFL,” said Steve Gera, a San Diego State University Sports MBA Lecturer who also spent a decade as a coach and analyst for the San Diego Chargers and Cleveland Browns. “They’re always looking for brand new ways to engage corporate partners.”

    Of course this development comes with a whole lot of questions, not the least of which is how far the partnership extends into Caesars Entertainment’s operations. In a press release the NFL stated the partnership is for the casino only and does not include sports betting or daily fantasy games.

    Yet.

    Logic would dictate this is a step in that direction, the NFL being directly involved with legalized sports betting. According to the American Gaming Association the most popular North American sports entity could make $2.3 billion a year from such an agreement.

    Another potential issue is something NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has talked about many times himself: the integrity of the game.

    Many fans, especially those who throw down a few dollars on games, likely think a professional sports league being involved with legalized sports gambling opens an even greater possibility for impropriety or “rigged” games so this agreement may well diminish the NFL’s ability to claim its product is as clean as can be. Or, maybe it has the opposite effect.

    “I don’t think it diminishes it. I just think it makes it more transparent,” said Gera. “At the end of the day they are changing with the times. I mean let’s be honest; at some point most corporations at some point in time take a hard stance on something and then later on, as times change, they soften their stance to a certain degree.”

    A 2018 ruling by New Jersey’s Supreme Court legalized sports betting in that state and helped accelerate the spread of the practice. As of this writing eight states allow legalized sports betting … two more (New York and Arkansas) are close to joining them … and 17 more, including California, have introduced bills to do the same.

    As sports gambling becomes more mainstream the NFL is positioning itself to get a huge slice of the revenue pie.

    “The underlying economics basically dictate that if the NFL doesn’t get into it they’re going to be leaving money on the table and they’re not in the habit of leaving money on the table,” said Gera or a league who has stated publicly that its goal is to reach $25 billion in annual revenue by the year 2027. “None of these sports leagues are. At the end of the day they’re profit-driven businesses and they’re going to have the change and innovate and keep up with the times if they’re going to continue to grow and continue to try and put a quality product out on the field.”

    Caesars is already a partner on the new stadium for the Raiders near the Las Vegas strip and has a deal with seven individual NFL teams … the Falcons, Ravens, Bears, Colts, Saints, Raiders, and Eagles. All of those teams except Atlanta are located in states that have legalized sports gambling or introduced a bill working towards it.


    Caesars Palace in Las Vegas will now have the ability to use NFL trademarks after a historic deal with the league. (Getty Images)Caesars Palace in Las Vegas will now have the ability to use NFL trademarks after a historic deal with the league. (Getty Images)

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    The General Attorney's Office of Baja California, Mexico announced the arrests of three men in the November killing of three teenagers in Tijuana, including two from San Diego.

    Seventeen-year-old Christopher Alexis Gomez, a high school senior at O'Farrell Charter School in Encanto, and Juan Suarez Ojeda, 18, a recent graduate from Ingenuity Charter School in Skyline, and a Mexican teenager were killed Nov. 25, 2018, in an apartment in the Loma Verdes neighborhood.

    Angel Said Robles Ibbara, 17, was identified as the third victim.

    The GA's Office said the three teenagers were assaulted by three men who entered the apartment unexpectedly. The victims were physically assaulted for about two hours before they were shot in the head and killed.

    According to the GA's Office, Alejandro N., nicknamed "El Orejas," Fabricio N., and Esteban Manuel N. were named as suspects in the case and arrested.

    Johnathan Dean, the superintendent of O'Farrell and Ingenuity charter schools, confirmed the deaths to NBC 7 in November and said the schools created a GoFundMe page to assist Gomez' and Ojeda's families with funeral arrangements. 

    Both Ojeda and Gomez had attended the charter schools since they were in middle school. Dean said the weeks following their deaths were trying time for their schools. 

    Gomez was on his school's football team and had relatives that attend the school with him, Dean said.

    Dean described him as “Real lighthearted, never a discipline problem, just a really good kid."

    Dean said Ojeda was visiting one of his parents, who lives in Tijuana, when the shooting occurred.

    He said Ojeda was never in trouble as a student and had frequent conversations with his teachers about planning his future. Dean said Ojeda's mother pushed him to earn his high school diploma, part of the reason he enrolled at Ingenuity.

    “That’s what’s so tragic. Their lives ended so young," Dean said.

    No other information was available.

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


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    A man accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a woman in San Diego's Mount Hope area has a lengthy criminal record that includes a similar kidnapping case in 2002, a prosecutor said Thursday.

    Phillip McLeod, 47, allegedly attacked a woman on Dec. 20, at around 11:30 p.m., as the victim walked along Delta Street near Balboa Elementary School.

    According to the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), McLeod pulled up to the woman in his white, two-door pickup truck, got out and threatened to use a Taser on her. He then allegedly forced the victim into his truck and drove her to a secluded area near 39th Street and Broadway where he sexually assaulted her.

    At McLeod’s arraignment Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza said the 27-year-old victim fought back after the first attack.

    Following the struggle, McLeod drove the victim to the Logan Heights area where he tried to rape her again. The woman pleaded with him to let her go, and McLeod eventually released the victim near 32nd Street and National Avenue, police said.

    McLeod was arrested on Dec. 29 in connection with the crime.

    Espinoza asked a judge to set McLeod’s bail at $2 million and called him a danger to the community.

    The prosecutor said McLeod has a rap sheet that includes a 1990 burglary, a 1992 robbery and a 2002 kidnapping involving similar circumstances as the recent Mount Hope attack. Espinoza said McLeod was also charged with sexual crimes in that 2002 case but it was ultimately "resolved as a kidnapping."

    In 2009, McLeod had another felony conviction, for which he spent time in prison, the prosecutor said.

    Based on the suspect’s prior criminal history, a judge agreed to set McLeod’s bail at $2 million. He was also told to stay away from his victim.

    McLeod, who stood behind a glass window during court proceedings, pleaded not guilty to the charges. He only spoke to confirm his name and date of birth to the judge.

    He is scheduled to appear in court again on Jan. 14.



    Photo Credit: SDPD

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    A 44-year-old man who was found shot in a Pacific Beach home Saturday and later died at the hospital has been identified by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. 

    In a criminal complaint, the District Attorney's Office identified MarcAnthony Mendivil as the murder victim. 

    The suspects, Freddy Sosa, 37 and Paul Charles Weinberger, 50, both face charges of murder and assault with a firearm. 

    Police said the shooting happened Saturday, December 29 around 1:45 a.m. at a home in the 2300 block of Wilbur Avenue. The typically quiet neighborhood is located just off Soledad Mountain Road.

    When officers arrived at the home, they discovered Mendivil lying on the floor suffering from a gunshot wound. He was rushed to a local hospital but died at 2:30 a.m., police said.

    According to the San Diego Police Department, three suspects fled the scene in a white 2015 Lexus SUV that belonged to the Mendivil. 

    The third suspect is still outstanding.

    As residents woke up Saturday morning in the Pacific Beach neighborhood, many were shocked to see officers all over the street and even more surprised to learn what had happened at one of the homes along Wilbur Avenue.

    “This is really new to me — it’s not like our neighborhood for something like this to happen,” resident Irene Jernegan told NBC 7.

    If convicted, both men face 25 years to life in prison on the felony murder charge and 2-4 years in prison for the felony assault with a firearm charge. 

    Weinberger and Sosa are expected to appear in court Friday afternoon. 



    Photo Credit: OnScene.TV

    The scene of the deadly shooting in Pacific Beach on Dec. 29, 2018.The scene of the deadly shooting in Pacific Beach on Dec. 29, 2018.

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    One of San Diego's oldest restaurant is closing.

    Peking Cafe Chop Suey has become a fixture in North Park.

    Numerous local residents, many of whom have been dining at the restaurant for decades, said they're sad to see it go.

    In 1931, Chinese immigrant Leo Fong and two friends opened what would become the family-owned restaurant, with his wife Emily.

    Nearly nine decades later, the Fong family is still cooking and serving Cantonese dishes to loyal customers.

    "I'm 78 and I can remember as a small child coming here," said customer Gail Modert. "You feel welcomed. There's some places you walk in, you don't get that closeness."

    But that familiarity will come to a close in March, when the Fong family shuts down the restaurant, which is now operated by the Fong's son Kenneth, and his wife, Maria.

    "It's the beginning of my parents' retirement," explained Lesley Fong, the daughter of Kenneth and Emily Fong. "They've worked here over 40 years. It's time for them to enjoy the fruits of their labor, enjoy being grandparents."

    Fong and her two sisters, Jen and Steph Fong, grew up working at the restaurant, and now have careers in other fields.

    "We knew with so many people retiring that it was never going to be the same and we'd rather just go out and leave at the high quality it's been for the last 88 years," added Fong. "We're just ready to move on and lucky enough to make this change on our own terms."

    The restaurant's closure will be deeply felt by customers, who come to the restaurant as much for the food, as for the Fong family

    "I feel like I'm losing a relative or a very good friend that I've known for 70 years," said long-time customer Milt Keller. "It's just like home to me, knowing the Fongs, now the three daughters."

    Eric Garcia, 26, has been eating at the restaurant for about 20 years with his family as a young child, and now with his wife, Jessica.

    "We don't call it Chop Suey. We always call it Maria's, like we're going to see Maria," said Garcia. "We'll miss the place a lot."

    The Fongs say they will also miss the many people they've bonded with over the years.

    "We've been through everything with our customers. And they've been through everything with us: births, deaths, marriages, divorces, birthdays, graduations," said Fong. "People used to say to me, 'I remember you before you were born.' Now I have a 4-year-old daughter and she comes with me every once in a while and she sits in the same booth that I sat in when I was growing up."

    The Fongs haven't set an exact date for the closure. They wanted to wait until after Chinese New Year celebrations in February to serve their final meals. 

    The family plans to lease out the restaurant space to another business.


    0 0


    This week marks the first anniversary of California’s legalized recreational marijuana industry.

    And while recent reports suggest the sales aren't living up to the initial hype, local dispensaries and cannabis advocates are optimistic the infant industry will grow fast.

    Oz Rodriguez is the store manager and hype man at San Diego Recreational Cannabis (SDRC) in Mission Valley.

    Rodriguez says he's not deterred by lagging sales across California’s recreational marijuana industry. In fact, he says the industry is shifting.

    According to the cannabis business trackers BDS Analytics, legal recreational marijuana sales in California were expected to exceed $3 billion in 2018. But BDS now anticipates the final spending to be closer to $2.5 billion.

    “It’s possible those expectations were a bit too high,” said Jessica McElfresh, President of the Association of Cannabis Professionals. McElfresh advocates for licensed cannabis businesses in San Diego.

    While she says lack of retail stores, intense regulation and the competition of the black market have contributed to sluggish sales, it's no reason to worry.

    “When we saw the rollout of adult use cannabis in the state of Washington, in the state of Colorado and to some degree in the state of Oregon, we also saw a similar transition of people getting used to regulation, of consumers getting used to taxes,” she said.

    The City of San Diego brought in about $5.5 million from its cannabis business tax in 2018 and the city hopes to make $500 thousand more than expected in taxes for fiscal year 2019.

    For Rodriguez, the mission in 2019 is to continue to normalize stores like his.

    “People keep coming in and asking for gift cards. That's something that we don't have in place yet but believe me, soon enough we're gonna have gift cards,” he said.

    Another example of that growth comes with SDRC’s plans to open two more stores in San Diego in the coming year.


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