ST. LOUIS MO July 31 2010 – A cashier in the St. Louis collector of revenue’s office is accused of stealing $1,800 in cash from her office.
Pamela Dimercurio, 47, was charged last week with felony theft. The St. Louis Police Department’s intelligence division investigated the case.
The collector’s office notified police about the missing money, and investigators zeroed in on Dimercurio.
Police say $1,000 of the missing money actually belonged to the Missouri Department of Revenue. Detective Lawrence Pleimann said in court records that the cash was scheduled to be deposited with the state Revenue Department when the theft was discovered.
Pleimann alleged that it wasn’t the first time Dimercurio stole money from the collector’s office. Pleimann said his investigation found that she previously had taken $800 in cash that belonged to the office.
Dimercurio was hired by the collector’s office in March 2007.
Court files give a wide timeframe for when the thefts happened: sometime between Dec. 1, 2008, and June 29, 2010.
But Tom Vollmer, deputy chief with the collector’s office, indicated that the actual amount missing — and the time period in which it was stolen — may end up being quite different.
He said he believes the theft happened on just one day — June 29 — and that the amount stolen is far less than $1,800.
Vollmer said the office has tight accounting procedures that detected the missing money right away. They called police, and detectives began interviewing everyone in the office who handles the money.
After the arrest, the collector’s office began an internal audit. Results of that audit won’t be complete for about two weeks. The last audit, conducted in March, found nothing missing. That outside auditor, he said, “verified every nickel.”
“Because of the checks and balances in my office internally, this happened on one specific day,” Vollmer said. “The system would have caught it. The checks and balances worked.”
Every year, about $600 million in cash and checks flows through the collector’s office. Vollmer said the office is heavily audited — about a dozen times a year.
Dimercurio was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with the felony that covers the crime of stealing more than $500 but less than $25,000. She is free on $2,500 bond.
Dimercurio lives in the 1400 block of South 13th Street in St. Louis. She could not be reached for comment.
Andrew W. Gaskell, 32, of 67 Ethan St., Apt. 1, Providence, and Trevor W. Krous Gaskell, 30, of 15 Touisset Road, Warren, were both charged in the investigation that involved several departments, said Det. Lt. William F. McGovern.
Andrew Gaskell was arrested by Bristol Police on three felony shoplifting charges from the Narragansett, North Kingstown and Barrington police departments. North Kingstown Police also arrested Gaskell on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident with personal injuries.
Trevor Krous Gaskell was arrested by Warren Police on a Narragansett Police charge of felony shoplifting.
McGovern said the charges were a result of an investigation of four incidents in which two men entered the Stop & Shop at 91 Point Judith Road to steal formula between June 21 and 28. After a multi-department investigation, North Kingstown Police were able to identify Andrew Gaskell as one of the two men involved, which led to Trevor Krous Gaskell being identified, McGovern said.
The men’s identities were posted on the R.I. Most Wanted list, McGovern said. Andrew Gaskell also was found to be part of a “Bonnie and Clyde” couple involved in a crime spree in 2008 in Florida that included 16 car thefts, burglaries and shopliftings, McGovern said.
Both men were arraigned in Fourth Division District Court in Wakefield before Judge Stephen P. Erickson on Thursday and bail was set at $10,000 each on the Narragansett police charges. The men also were arraigned in Washington County Superior Court this week and are being held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston, until a felony screening on Aug. 17.
SHERWOOD, Ore. July 31 2010 — Video surveillance captured a man taking photos up the skirts of unsuspecting women at a Target store last week, police said.
Sherwood police officers arrested 22-year-old Matthew Navaie on Wednesday night.
Security at the Target store in Sherwood notified police last week that a man had been spotted on store surveillance cameras trying to take photos from under women’s skirts as they shopped, police said.
When the man returned Wednesday, Target security alerted police again, said Capt. Jim Reed, of the Sherwood Police Department.
Police said they stopped Navaie and arrested him on four counts of invasion of personal privacy, a misdemeanor crime.
Officers seized Navaie’s cell phone and his home computer.
Detectives said they found child pornography on the computer, and he is now facing additional charges of encouraging child sex abuse.
Reed said it’s likely that Navaie has other victims who may not know they are victims. Anyone with information is asked to call local law enforcement.
On Thursday at 3:50 a.m., county officers responded to the 6000 block of Winterhaven Drive in the Reserve at Forest Gate Apartments, for two suspects (Ayers and Fisher) who were acting suspiciously as they were running through the parking lot. A security officer for the complex observed the men and yelled for the subjects to stop. Ayers and Fisher complied and were detained.
When officers arrived they found Ayers and Fisher were in possession of a bag that contained 37 dvd’s and five credit cards. It was discovered they also had a screw driver, flashlight, back pack and Ayers had a hypodermic needle in his possession. Further investigation revealed that Ayers had given officers a false name and the dvd’s and credit cards were taken from a vehicle parked in the complex. Ayers and Fisher were charged with criminal trespass in the third degree, theft, possession of burglar tools, conspiracy in the second degree, and loitering. Ayers was also charged with criminal impersonation and possession of a hypodermic needle.
Ayers was arraigned and committed to the Howard Young Prison after failing to post $5,000 secured bail. Fisher was arraigned and committed to the Howard Young Prison after failing to post $4,000 secured bail.
Boaz AL July 31 2010 A woman, two men and two men dressed as women were arrested Sunday at Walmart in Boaz with 19 cell phones still in their packaging. The arrests have led to the discovery of a theft ring spanning two states, Boaz Police Chief Terry Davis said.
Boaz police officers responded at the request of Walmart security and took the five people into custody.
The two men dressed as women usually dress that way and were not dressed that way as part of a disguise, Davis said.
During the investigation, it was discovered the group had been involved in thefts of cell phones worth more than $70,000 from Walmart stores in Alabama and Georgia.
It was determined that 19 cell phones also were taken from a Walmart in Snellville, Ga., on Sunday.
Boaz police investigators also have been working with police departments in Guntersville, Talladega, Snellville, Cullman, Marietta, Ga., and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
Those arrested also are charged with first-degree receiving stolen property and first-degree theft of property in thefts stemming from an incident at the Guntersville Walmart on July 13 in which cell phones worth $6,500 were taken.
Precious Darnika Humphrey, 19, and Terrell Marquae Jolly, 21, are charged with first-degree receiving stolen property and first-degree theft of property.
Jarquez Levell Dancy, 23, and Trevor Devante Baker, 18, are charged with first-degree theft of property. All are from Huntsville.
A juvenile also is in custody.
Jose L. Quesada Jr., of Elizabeth, N.J., allegedly left multiple voice mails at an NBA Properties Inc. office in Secaucus, N.J., the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark said in a statement Friday.
Mr. Quesada, 19 years old, worked as a guard for a private firm that the NBA contracted with to provide security, prosecutors said.
“A bomb threat is not a prank, it is a federal crime,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman in a statement. “There is nothing amusing about scaring people and wasting the valuable time and resources of those responsible for keeping us safe,” Mr. Fishman said.
Mr. Quesada has been charged with willfully making a false bomb threat. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Donald J. McCauley, Mr. Quesada’s lawyer, declined to comment Friday.
Mr. Quesada allegedly left a threatening voice mail on Monday morning, five more voice mails in a 16-minute period on Tuesday night and a seventh voice mail on Wednesday afternoon, according to a criminal complaint.
In one voice mail Tuesday night, Mr. Quesada allegedly said, “Leave the building. It’s gonna blow up. Leave the building. No where to go. It’s gonna go up. It’s gonna go ‘Boom!’ “
The NBA Properties offices were evacuated and searched as a result of Monday’s threat, according to the complaint. Other security measures, including adding four armed guards, also were taken as a result of the threat, prosecutors said.
Mr. Quesada allegedly admitted to making the threats and to not having any bomb-making materials when interviewed by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Thursday, according to the complaint.
The NBA didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment Friday.
EAST ST. LOUIS July 31 2010 The Rev. Joseph Tracy said he’s tired of going to funerals. And now, he suspects he’ll be going to more of them.
“It’s open field day now,” said Tracy, the pastor of Straightway Baptist Church here. “The criminals are going to run wild.”
The pastor voiced his fear of a spike in crime on Friday at a raucous special City Council meeting at which East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks announced that the city will lay off 37 employees, including about one-third of its police officers.
In total, 19 of the city’s 62 police officers, 11 firefighters, four public works employees and three administrators will lose their job in the layoffs that take effect Sunday.
Parks said the weak economy has robbed the city of badly need money. For example, revenue from the Casino Queen alone was $900,000 below budget expectations last year.
There are no signs of improvement, Parks said.
“I want our citizens to know we have some of the bravest police officers and firefighters in the country,” Parks said. “But we don’t have the money to pay them. We have to have fiscal responsibility.”
City officials wanted police and fire unions to accept a furlough program that would have required employees to take two unpaid days in each twice-monthly pay period. If accepted, emergency responders would have seen a pay cut of about 20 percent for the rest of the year.
But Parks said the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.
On Friday, he stared at a standing-room only crowd and told his emergency response chiefs words they didn’t want to hear: “Tell your workers to start packing their things.”
The news spurred shouts from the crowd.
“The blood is on your hands,” yelled police Officer Michael Hubbard.
Hubbard said he will be the lone patrolman for East St. Louis’ midnight shift when the cuts take effect.
“This is devastating,” Hubbard said after the meeting.
Police officials say the cuts will mean fewer officers for patrols, investigations and juvenile cases in a city that has been crippled by crime and poverty for decades.
Fire officials said the region should be upset because the department will have fewer people at the ready to fight fires on some of the region’s major highways and bridges.
The police already rely on other agencies to handle some of the heavy case load. For example, the Illinois State Police routinely work on the city’s homicide investigations.
Capt. Steve Johnson of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department said his agency has no plans to step up its work in East St. Louis.
“We don’t do calls for service in East St. Louis,” Johnson said. “But, if we’re called for assistance, we will help when we can.”
Worries about East St. Louis’ crime rate got little sympathy from Councilman Roy Mosley, who gave a 10-minute speech on Friday blasting the city’s police officers.
“We don’t have the money,” Mosley said. “You lay off when you don’t have the money. The money’s gone.”
Mosley complained that police officers take patrol cars home, park them in other jurisdictions and misuse the city’s gasoline.
“I’m only telling the truth,” he shouted.
The crowd jeered.
“You can see how disrespectful they are,” Mosley said while pointing at the police officers. “You see what they’re doing to me right now.”
Richard V. Stewart Jr., an attorney for the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police union, said Mosley’s claims are untrue.
Stewart said the words amounted to nothing more than “political grandstanding.”
“Unfortunately, this is what I expected,” Stewart said.
The union plans to fight the layoffs and work to get the jobs back.
Bad blood already exists between the two sides. An arbitrator has ruled that the city improperly imposed unpaid furlough days on its employees earlier this year. The city was ordered to pay $500,000 in lost wages.
On Friday, the city approved a proposal to defer bond payments until next year in order to free up $500,000.
“Next year is a different situation,” Mayor Parks said.
Philadelphia PA July 31 2010 A Philadelphia police officer is facing charges in the theft of money from a bar in Northeast Philadelphia. He was involuntarily committed after finding out he was going to be arrested and fired.
56 year old K-9 officer Kenneth Crockett is facing theft and recovering stolen property charges for allegedly pocketing $800 from a safe at Pats Cafe on Tuesday morning. District Attorney Seth Williams says when arrangements were being made for the officer’s surrender he apparently became unstable.
“After his notification that he was going to be arrested and charged. It was clear to his family that he was a danger to himself. As a result of that the police were called and he was involuntarily committed for mental health evaluation”
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey had no kind words for Crockett or any corrupt police officer.
“We’ve got too many guys than on occasion feel they have special privileges as police officers, they don’t.”
Crockett has been suspended with intent to dismiss. His arraignment will happen after his mental health evaluation.
Russell G. Cummings, an employee for Wackenhut/G4S in Tampa, was charged with felony child abuse.
Pasco Sheriff Bob White said Friday morning he is ending a contract that began in December with Wackenhut for support services at the juvenile facility.
“In this case, there’s no second chances,” he said. “These are our children.”
Wackenhut officials couldn’t be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.
Cameras recorded the incident, White said, and footage shows Cummings hitting the boy across the left side of his head with an open hand.
As the boy was being searched, one of two being arrested on the same charge, he began to laugh. Cummings, according to his arrest affidavit, thought the boy was being disrespectful and hit him.
A deputy witnessed the incident.
“This was done in an aggressive manner and was an unnecessary use of force,” a deputy wrote in the affidavit.
The sheriff said he contracted with the security company to help move deputies into more critical areas rather than “babysit” juveniles. For now, he said, detention deputies will take on duties at the assessment center.
“This is inexcusable and this will not become the norm in the Pasco jail,” White said about the charge against Cummings.
White said a second contract with Wackenhut to guard inmates who require medical treatment at hospitals will remain for now. He said Wackenhut is a “top flight” company and the issue involving the 13-year-old is an isolated incident.
White said this gives him further fuel to stress the importance of a proper budget for his agency and called on the county commission “to step up to the plate … to do the right for the citizens who elected them.”
“This doubles my resolve to make sure my office is funded appropriately and I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer,” he said.
Having four contract guards rather than four deputies at the assessment center saved the agency $98,000 a year, said sheriff’s office spokesman Doug Tobin.
Cummings, of Tampa, is being held at the Land O ‘Lakes Jail with bail set at $5,000.
The boy’s name wasn’t released because of his age.
Chandler Police Department
End of Watch: Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: 2 shot and killed; 6 apprehended
Police Officer Carlos Ledesma was shot and killed while conducting an undercover buy and bust operation.
Officer Ledesma was working an undercover operation with several other officers. His team was to purchase a large quantity of marijuana. The officers arrived to make the purchase with over $100,000 in their possession. As the transaction was taking place, the suspect may have attempted to rob the officers, and a shoot-out ensued. Officer Ledesma was mortally wounded, and two other officers suffered gunshot wounds.
Two suspects were shot and killed by the officers, and six other suspects were taken into custody.
Officer Ledesma is survived by his wife and two children.
Agency Contact Information
Chandler Police Department
Mail Stop 303
PO Box 4008
Chandler, AZ 85244
Phone: (480) 782-4000
Please contact the Chandler Police Department for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
Deputy Sheriff John Willis
Greene County Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Committed suicide
Deputy John Willis was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call at approximately 7:30 pm.
As Deputy Willis, who was not wearing a vest, entered the home a male subject came out of a bedroom and opened fire, striking him twice. The man then committed suicide.
Deputy Willis is survived by his son and daughter.
Agency Contact Information
Greene County Sheriff’s Office
301 N Greene Street
Snow Hill, NC 28580
Phone: (252) 747-3411
Please contact the Greene County Sheriff’s Office for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
Timothy Charles Barnes
North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau
End of Watch: Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tour of Duty: 10 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Heart attack
Date of Incident: Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Inspector Timothy Barnes suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after completing physical training at the NCDMV License and Theft Bureau inspector training program.
He was transported to Mission Hospital in Asheville after collapsing and passed away a short time later.
Inspector Barnes had served with the NCDMV License and Theft Bureau for only nine weeks. He had previously served with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years.
Agency Contact Information
North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau
1100 New Bern Avenue
Raleigh, NC 24699
Please contact the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
Memphis TN July 30 2010 Ppolice are now considering former NBA player Lorenzen Wright’s death as a homicide, the Associated Press said.
Lorenzen Wright was last seen in the early morning of July 19, right before he was to head back to his Atlanta townhouse with a friend and his six children. His family filed a missing person report July 22.
AP Memphis Police converge on a wooded area on the outskirts of town Wednesday.
AP Former Memphis basketball players Elliott Perry (left) and Penny Hardaway joined hundreds of bystanders gathered at the scene of an area locked down by Memphis Police Wednesday.
The Shelby County medical examiner’s office reported that Wright died of a gunshot wound, the Associated Press said.
Lorenzen Wright was remembered Thursday as a fun-loving personality who helped mentor the young Atlanta Hawks during his most recent stint with the team, 2006-08.
Wright’s body was found Wednesday in a wooded area of southeast Memphis. He had been missing for about 10 days.
Hawks spokesman Arthur Triche said Wright’s personality “livened the mood of many teammates and those around him. He was a friend, teammate and mentor to many of the young Hawks during his second stint with the team, and his contributions will never be forgotten.”
Lenny Wilkens coached the power forward during his first stint with the Hawks, 1999-2001. “Lorenzen was a real congenial young man who played with a lot of enthusiasm,” Wilkens said. “He was a real delight to be around.”
Wright’s family issued a statement through a cousin of Lorenzen Wright, Camella Logan: “Lorenzen’s family has come together to mourn his loss and honor his legacy. We appreciate your thoughts, prayers and condolences as they are comforting at this very difficult time. Additionally, we ask that you please respect our privacy as we try to cope with his sudden loss.”
Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, arrived at the scene Wednesday night with a handful of family members. She crossed the crime scene tape and tried to talk to police when she was told to move back. She sat in a TV van before returning to the tape. Two officers then let her through.
The distraught Marion then started running down the road toward the crime scene before being stopped by an officer. She spoke with officers, then walked back past reporters without speaking straight to a van.
The 34-year-old Wright was last seen in the early morning of July 19, right before he was to head back to his Atlanta townhouse with a friend and his six children. His family filed a missing person report July 22.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that a 911 call made on July 19 from Wright’s cellphone recorded loud gunshot blasts from what appeared to be several weapons before the call ended.
Wright recently flew from Atlanta to Memphis to visit friends and his children, friends said.
He was last seen at about 2 a.m. July 19, leaving his ex-wife’s Whisperwood Drive home, the newspaper said.
His former wife told police she doesn’t know who he left with or what type of car they were in, according to the missing person’s report. A friend estimated Wright was carrying $2,000 to $3,000 in big bills, the Commercial Appeal reported.
Wright played 13 years in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and most recently the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2008-09 season. Wright left the University of Memphis early for the NBA, and the Clippers made the 6-11 power forward a lottery pick with the No. 7 selection overall.
He averaged 8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 778 career games. Wright’s best season as a Hawk was 2000-01, when he averaged 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds.
By nightfall Wednesday, nearly 200 people had visited the road blocked off by police while TV news helicopters showed investigators scouring the grounds for evidence. Police brought in a mobile command center that further blocked off the scene.
Former NBA star Penny Hardaway, who played at Memphis two years before Wright, said he heard the news from a friend and went to the scene near where the body was found.
“I cried. The emotions hit me immediately. It’s just sad because we lost a good person and a brother,” Hardaway said.
Elliot Perry, another friend and former Memphis player, also was at the scene. Wendy Wilson, who once worked as Wright’s personal assistant, also was there and said Wright often used the road police had cordoned off as a shortcut to his mother’s house.
“He was a good person. He did not deserve to die this way. God is not pleased with this,” Wilson said.
Memphis Grizzlies majority owner Michael Heisley issued a statement late Wednesday saying, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Lorenzen Wright. We lost a member of the Grizzlies family. Lorenzen delighted fans on the court with his passion and off the court with his generosity in a Memphis community that watched him grow throughout his playing career …”
Wright attended a couple of Hawks playoff games this spring, supporting his friend Josh Smith.
In January, Wright ran into Hawks vice president of public relations Arthur Triche at a restaurant, where they watched the BCS championship game.
“He was still the same outgoing, gregarious individual he always was,” Triche told the AJC. “Nothing would have led us to believe something like this would happen.”
Wright spoke then of catching on with another NBA team.
Wright’s friend, Jeremy Orange, told the Commercial Appeal that Wright was dealing with a fractured thumb that ended his career, financial woes and a divorce finalized in January.
But Wright had two NBA teams inviting him to tryouts, and he was scheduled to fly to Israel last weekend to try out for a team there, Wright’s roommate told the Commercial Appeal.
The paper reported Wright’s custom-built 17-room home in Eads, Tenn., was repossessed in May for $1.3 million, and that his Atlanta house was repossessed in January for $1.1 million.
Friends described Wright as a dedicated father to his four sons and two daughters, ages 4 to 15
During a crowded press conference inside Chandler City Council chambers on Thursday, Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler announced that Officer Carlos Ledesma, who was in his third year with the city, died in the shootout.
Ledesma, 34, was married with two children, according to Kiyler. Sgt. Joe Favazzo, a Chandler police spokesman, described him as a dedicated officer who had a passion for the job.
“Words truly cannot express the grief that we feel today,” Kiyler said of the tragedy. “We are truly grateful for the overwhelming support from the Valley, the state and our nation. The events of last night are a grim reminder of the challenges that are faced by our law enforcement officers, and as we mourn our loss and the loss for our community, we renew our pledge to safeguard the freedom and security of our citizens. We will work through incredible challenges in the coming days ahead.”
Sgt. Steve Martos, a Phoenix police spokesman, said that two suspects who were believed to be firing at the officers were killed at the scene. Six suspects connected to the crime, ages 25 to 40, were arrested and were being booked into a Maricopa County jail. It is believed that everyone involved in the incident have been arrested, Martos said.
Because of the undercover nature of their work and the ongoing investigation, Kiyler said the names of the other two officers will not be released, citing safety issues for them and their families.
One of the injured officers was released from St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix early Thursday, and the other wounded officer remains in critical but stable condition, according to Shawn Hancock, president of the Chandler Law Enforcement Association, the union representing sworn officers.
The deceased officer worked undercover full time, Hancock said.
“Even when his wife arrived (at the hospital), she said, ‘He died doing what he loved and serving the community,’ ” Hancock said.
Authorities say Ledesma was pronounced dead at the hospital.
TV news helicopters showed the three officers being taken out of the home near South 23rd Avenue and Vineyard Road on stretchers about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Dozens of officers from Chandler, Phoenix and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office converged on the hospital to show support.
Police did not disclose what triggered the shootout.
The Chandler officer’s death marks the third on-duty death of a Valley police officer this year.
In January, Gilbert Police Lt. Eric Shuhandler was shot near Baseline Road and Val Vista Drive while making a vehicle stop on a car that had an obstructed license plate. The getaway driver, Daimen Irizarry, 30, was found guilty just last week of charges connected to Shuhandler’s death. The passenger in Irizarry’s vehicle, Christopher Redondo, 35, is set to go on trial next year. His charges include first-degree murder, aggravated assault and drive-by shooting. He is facing the death penalty and his trial is scheduled to begin in 2011.
Phoenix police officer Travis Murphy was shot and killed in May while investigating a suspicious vehicle. Danny Ledezma Martinez, 30, faces charges of first-degree murder and weapons violations in connection with the case.
There have been 45 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty since 1994, with just slightly more than 45 percent of them — 21 — being shot, according to information from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
The remaining 24 officers were killed in automobile accidents or were beaten to death.
Nearly half of those prosecuted for shooting and killing Arizona officers since 1994 had prior felony convictions or outstanding warrants.
Ledesma’s death marked the first time a Chandler police officer died in the line of duty in more than eight years, according to information from the Chandler Police Department. Officer Robert Joseph Nielsen died on June 12, 2002, as a result of a traffic collision at Chandler Boulevard and Pennington while en route to a call for service at another accident scene.
On April 16, 1999, Officer James Robert Snedigar was the last Chandler officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty. On April 16, 1999, Snedigar was shot and killed in an attempt to apprehend armed robbery suspects who were holed up inside a large apartment complex. Snedigar had volunteered to be the point man (the first officer in the door) for the Chandler Special Assignment (SWAT) Unit’s attempt to apprehend the suspects.
Jami Smith of Chandler was inside the adjoining library doing some work Thursday, but attended the press conference.
Smith, a native of Washington state, said she comes from a law enforcement family and has five relatives who serve in law enforcement, including her father, a former sheriff’s deputy in Everett, Wash. who helped start the Ocean Shores (Wash.) Police Department.
“I wanted to show my support,” Smith said. “This can happen anywhere. I understand how this can affect a family.”
Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn, who also spoke during the press conference said, “This is a very difficult day for the community of Chandler and the police department. These dreadful events remind us they are protecting us, unfortunately sometimes at a dreadful price. These officers did their job to the utmost, and we’re hopeful for a speedy recovery of the other two officers. May God continue to bless them and their families.”
WALLA WALLA WA July 30 2010 — A local woman was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of robbery, authorities said.
Vanessa M. Drake, 29, of 901 W. Poplar St., was booked into Walla Walla County Jail on investigation of second-degree robbery.
Drake is accused of taking clothing and jewelry from Macy’s Department Store, at 54 E. Main St., about 11:45 a.m. without paying, said Walla Walla police Detective Miguel Sanchez.
A store security guard approached Drake outside the store, Sanchez said. The security guard told police that during the confrontation, Drake struck her in the face, threw the clothes back, and ran from the store without returning the jewelry.
Drake was arrested by city police shortly after near Fifth Avenue and Main, officials said.
“An assessment of Erlanger’s security operation was under way months before the Taser incident,” said Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson, Erlanger chief operating officer.
She declined a request for an interview but responded to questions through e-mail.
A police investigation into the Taser incident involving patient Edward Buckner, who died Nov. 27, 2009, found the security officer had no criminal intent.
The Hamilton County medical examiner’s autopsy report concluded that the death was caused by a blood clot and was unrelated to the use of a Taser.
The change in Erlanger’s security force was prompted by a number of vacancies last year, Ms. Woodard-Thompson said.
“These vacancies, combined with the difficulties in recruiting new officers, led to the decision to contract with an outside agency,” she said.
In April, the hospital entered into an interim management contract with Chattanooga-based Walden Security at a cost of $10,000 a month. The hospital hopes to identify a permanent security management company by the end of the year, according to Ms. Woodard-Thompson.
She said the hospital signed a professional services contract, which doesn’t require competitive bids.
Before Walden took over, Erlanger handled all recruiting, hiring and management of the hospital’s security force, Ms. Woodard-Thompson said.
“Companies like the locally based Walden Security, which is the 15th largest in the United States, have a much broader labor pool and the expertise to direct a security operation — leaving Erlanger to focus on its mission of improving the health status of this region,” she said.
Mr. Buckner was being discharged from Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute when he started fighting and the security officer used a Taser on him, according to newspaper archives.
A Times Free Press inquiry found that the officer and another hired by Erlanger previously had been fired from another law enforcement agency.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has turned over its investigation into Mr. Buckner’s death to the Hamilton County district attorney’s office, which is reviewing the case, said TBI Special Agent in Charge Jerry Powell.
Erlanger board Chairman Dan Quarles declined to comment on whether the Taser incident raised concerns among board members about security hiring and management.
Prince William county VA July 30 2010 Former Manassas teacher Kevin Ricks was able to lure vulnerable teenage boys into his life for 32 years, leading to secret, drunken sexual attacks while deftly ducking police and school administrators. His international trail of abuse came to a halt in a Virginia courtroom Thursday with a guilty plea that ended his teaching career.
Ricks, 50, acknowledged in Prince William County Circuit Court that he took indecent liberties with a 16-year-old boy who had been his student at Osbourn High School. The conviction means Ricks must register as a sex offender, and he could face as many as 10 years in prison at his sentencing Oct. 28.
But the state charges are just the beginning of the legal road for Ricks, who was charged this week in federal court with possession and transportation of child pornography. Federal authorities are investigating and could bring more charges in several jurisdictions. Authorities said they hope to ensure that Ricks is jailed for decades.
“I think the general public hopes that he’s put behind bars for the rest of his life,” Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert said after the hearing. “He’s been preying on people for a very long time.”
At the hearing, Ricks, wearing a brown collared shirt and khaki pants with no belt, briefly answered questions from Circuit Court Judge William D. Hamblen. He repeated “Yes, your honor” several times and affirmed that he was guilty.
Manassas Detective David Abbott testified that police arrested Ricks shortly after learning of the abuse from a girl who read questionable Facebook messages between Ricks and the male victim relating to sexual episodes over the winter break. One of the incidents occurred Dec. 20, Ricks’s 17th wedding anniversary.
When police arrested Ricks at Osbourn High in February, they confiscated his a laptop and a handwritten journal. The journal, an expensive leather-bound book with a scene from Venice on its cover, was like numerous others found in Ricks’s home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that contained explicit details about his sexual encounters with boys.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth provided Hamblen with a copy of Ricks’s journal entry about the sexual contact with the boy. It was from Christmas Eve and detailed how Ricks gave tequila to the boy while watching a movie; Ricks described passionate kisses and wrote that it was the best 12 hours of his life.
After reading the entry to himself, Hamblen accepted the guilty plea. Although prosecutors agreed to recommend that Hamblen follow state sentencing guidelines — which could call for time already served because Ricks has been in jail since February — Hamblen said he does not have to follow the recommendation and could impose a longer sentence.
Ricks again asked to be released on bond, in part so he can contest his divorce in a hearing next month in Maryland. Hamblen ordered him held.
A federal detainer in relation to the new charges also has been placed on Ricks, meaning that he will move to federal custody when the state case is completed.
Abbott and federal authorities are continuing to investigate and are working to identify additional victims.
A Washington Post investigation, published Sunday, included interviews with six victims or their family members, and police think there could be a dozen or more victims spread across the globe. Ricks was a frequent foreign exchange host, taught in at least four states and spent seven years teaching in Japan.
Although Ricks’s arrest initially sparked support from his students, who hailed him as one of their favorite teachers, the courtroom was relatively empty Thursday. Ricks’s defense attorney said two of Ricks’s family members were in the courtroom, but they declined to speak to reporters.
A friend of Ricks’s parents, C.B. Owens, drove more than three hours from Roanoke Rapids, N.C., to offer moral support, although he has never met Ricks. He said the case has shocked his small community.
“I’ve taught school before, so it is hard to listen to this and to hear that someone would do that to kids,” said Owens, who is a minister in the church Ricks’s parents attend. “But I’ll support him anyway. Right or wrong, he still needs to be supported.”
Ebert described Ricks as a “very cunning” predator who endeared himself to people and was able to navigate the nation’s public and private schools by deflecting accusations and getting school systems to just let him go when suspicions arose. Officials in the Manassas schools, for example, said they felt powerless to act after receiving warnings that he was stalking a boy in Fauquier County because Ricks had broken no laws.
“It doesn’t speak well of a system that will let someone move from location to location and repeat this conduct,” Ebert said. “There were plenty of red flags.”
Manassas schools officials said that they wish Ricks had never been able to hurt anyone but that they were pleased that he was arrested.
“It just sickens me to read all of what this guy is accused of doing,” said Tim J. Demeria, a member of the Manassas School Board. “It’s too bad he wasn’t caught 30 years ago — it would have saved many people lots of pain and hardship. I’m grateful that the police here in Manassas were able to put him away.”
Prince George County MD July 30 2010 A grand jury charged two Prince George’s County sheriff’s officials Thursday with conspiring to steal more than $20,000 from the deputies’ union when they were officers for the organization.
The criminal indictment was brought by State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh.
According to the indictment, Wendy Tyler, who until Thursday was an acting sheriff’s captain, served as president of the union that represents deputies from September 2005 to October 2007. Capt. Nancy Ridgely was first vice president of the union for the same term, the indictment says.
During those two years, Tyler was entitled to receive quarterly checks totaling $10,400 from the Prince George’s County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #112, the indictment says.
Tyler instead received 13 union checks for $22,124, the indictment says.
The union requires the signature of two officers to draw checks on the union’s bank account, according to the indictment. Ridgely signed 12 of the 13 checks paid to Tyler, the indictment says.
Ridgely, who supervises the sheriff’s department’s public information office, did not return a phone call. Tyler, who had been working as an acting captain in the department’s domestic violence unit, also did not return a phone call.
William C. Brennan, Ridgely’s attorney, said, “My client adamantly denies these allegations and will vigorously contest these charges.”
Sheriff Michael Jackson, a candidate in the Democratic primary for county executive, did not return phone calls.
Col. Paul A. Drula, Jackson’s second-in-command, said, “As we’ve said before, it’s a union issue involving union funds, not government funds. It’s between union members.”
Tyler and Ridgely will be placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the charges, Drula said. During her leave, Tyler will revert to the rank of lieutenant, Drula said.
The indictment also accuses Tyler of making purchases of more than $10,000 for nonunion purposes with her union-issued credit card. The bills for those personal purchases were paid for with union funds, the indictment says.
Monitronics VP Mitch Clarke said the company had no comment on a potential sale.
Calls to Abry were not returned by press time.
Monitronics, which in late 2009 launched highly focused, mandatory dealer-training program, Monix, is a CSAA Five Diamond certified central station that monitors over 700,000 business and residential accounts. Monitronics central station manager Greg Hurst won CSAA’s Excellence Award for Central Station Manager of the Year at this year’s ESX show in Pittsburgh.
Abry is a firm focused on media, communications, business and information services investing. Investment firms Citi and Moelis & Co are reportedly advising in the sale.
Annapolis MD July 30 2010 A woman who county police believe was carjacked outside Westfield Annapolis mall Tuesday afternoon has come forward.
County police said an armed shoplifter who was being chased by loss prevention officers from Westfield Annapolis mall opened the back door of a car passing through an intersection and got inside. The woman behind the wheel drove about 50 yards before stopping. The man got out and was arrested.
Justin Mulcahy, a county police spokesman, said the unidentified woman contacted police this morning after learning officers needed to speak with her. She was being interviewed this afternoon so police could learn what exactly happened when a shoplifter, running from mall security, got into the woman’s moving vehicle on Bestgate Road.
At about 3 p.m. a man used a box cutter to cut a cell phone and MP3 player off a display at the Sears store in the Parole mall.
Loss prevention officers saw the theft and chased the shoplifter through the mall, out the Lord & Taylor store, through the parking lot and across Bestgate Road, said Justin Mulcahy, a county police spokesman.
The shoplifter ran to a light-colored, four-door sedan, possibly a Toyota Camry, which was stopped at an intersection. The driver, a woman, tried to drive away, but the shoplifter opened the back passenger door and jumped inside.
The woman drove about 50 yards before stopping near Industrial Drive. Witnesses told police the shoplifter then jumped out of the car and tried to run.
Security officers then caught up with him. Police said he pulled out the box cutter and swung it at the officers, but they were eventually able to get him under control and hold him on the sidewalk.
Police arrived at the scene to investigate and were informed of what happened.
Arthur Tyler Felton, 38, of 101 Victor Parkway in Annapolis, was arrested and charged with theft, two counts of assault, drug possession and carrying a concealed, dangerous weapon.
He is being held at the Jennifer Road Detention Center in Parole on $150,000 bond following a bail review hearing at District Court in Annapolis yesterday.
According to electronic court records, Felton servedabout halfof a 30-year sentence for the 1991 murder of a 6-year-old girl in Baltimore. Records show he violated his probation in 2006,shortlyafter his release from prison.
Surveillance footage captured from outside a nearby business shows Felton running to the sedan, opening the back door on the driver’s side and getting into the vehicle as the woman tried to drive away.
Police said after Felton got out of the vehicle, the woman continued driving and did not stop or call for help.
Police asked for the public’s assistance in identifying the woman so they could get more information, and seek additional charges for attempted carjacking and other offenses, Mulcahy said.
Until today, police only had witness accounts and surveillance footage to go on.
The district has contracted with the Sweden-based security guard company Securitas.
Steve Wasko, chief communications officer of DPS, says the district expects to save $3 million by outsourcing to the private company.
The current security guards have said the district is putting students at risk by outsourcing to “untrained guards.”
“A Securitas guard maced and handcuffed a student at Mumford [High School] to a chair for hours before contacting his parents,” a DPS security guard told the Michigan Citizen July 26, while the guards protested outside the Fisher Building against the outsourcing.
Subsequently, the student’s parent filed a lawsuit against the district following the Jan. 22 incident.
The current DPS security officers say they have close relationships to the students and are more like family.
“This past winter a student came to me and told me he didn’t have water at his home … I would get to the school every morning an hour early and let him take a shower in the locker room and would wash his clothes. We’re more of a family than anything … we know our kids,” DPS Officer Shirley Howard-Allen told the M.C. Howard-Allen has been with the district for 10 years.
According to the current officers, Securitas officers have no arrest powers, and will not be able to provide safety for DPS students.
“They were the lowest bidder but you can’t put a price tag on these kids’ safety,” said DPS officer Lawrence Edmonson.
The officers are accusing their Teamsters union of not providing proper representation by not putting in a bid.
“We’ve paid our dues and they didn’t do anything to help us,” an officer told the M.C.
Some members accuse the union of wanting to bring Securitas guards into the Teamsters.
David Sutton, the business agent representing Local 214, says that the accusations are not true.
“DPS says, ‘I have a right to privatize and am going to do so,’” Sutton said.
Sutton says bidding was properly done and the district refused to accept the union’s bid.
Regarding teamsters “double-dipping” and representing Securitas, Sutton says Local 214 can’t represent a private company.
“Local 214 can only represent public-sector employees. Other Teamsters’ Locals can represent the private sector but not security guards,” Sutton said.
According to Sutton, private security companies can only be represented by a security guard union.
Wasko says the district’s concern was the reliability of the current officers.
“Our single biggest concern with the current security personnel is chronic absenteeism which, on days like yesterday, which is typical, 17 percent of the workforce chose not to come to work.”
The current DPS officers say the new guards will not be prepared to be in the schools.
“They only receive 49 hours of training prior to working in the schools,” Kirk Bennett said.
Edmonson says DPS officers receive eight weeks of police-style training in first aid, defense and conflict resolution.
Sutton says they have yet to receive anything in writing, only a verbal notice of non-renewal.
Police riot teams moved into place after 10 a.m. and paddy wagons were brought in anticipation of arrests. One woman was accused of pushing an officer at the main melee at Cesar Chavez plaza and was arrested on suspicion of failing to obey officers.
The protesters were chanting “Hey ho, hey ho, SB 1070 has got to go,” referring to Senate Bill 1070.
At least eight protesters approached a police line at the nearby office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and allowed themselves to be arrested. A group of about two dozen protesters then sat down in the middle of the street or refused to leave, and police arrested them as well.
Protesters banged drums and shouted, “Sheriff Joe, we are here. We will not live in fear.”
Earlier, three people were detained at the federal courthouse where a judge issued a ruling Wednesday blocking parts of the law from taking effect. The three people detained at the courthouse — including former state Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002 —apparently entered a closed-off area.
Even though a federal judge on Wednesday blocked key provisions of the state legislation, rallies protests, prayer vigils and acts of civil disobedience are scheduled throughout the day.
The provisions of the law that were not blocked took effect at 12:01 a.m. Gov. Jan Brewer’s legal team is expected to file an expedited appeal of the judge’s order with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sometime Thursday.
For most of the morning, the mood was calm, with occasional outbursts of chant and song.
But it was clear that law enforcement was prepared for any problems that might develop.
Phoenix police officers were posted at every street corner, and their squad cars and motorcycles lines the streets for blocks.
A group of legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild was also on site, providing protestors an opportunity to fill out paperwork with familial contact information, name and date of birth in case they got arrested.
“We want to make sure they don’t get lost in the system,” said Thomas Cincotta, of Boston, who said he was a researcher at Political Research Associates.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday it is expecting acts of civil disobedience at several places around the area.
In a pre-emptive release, Arpaio said his office was bracing for “massive numbers of protesters” at the jail, where all local agencies bring their arrestees for booking.
As a security measure, the sheriff has canceled public visitation at the jail and put all inmates on a 24-hour lockdown.
“These irresponsible individuals (who) plan to create so much congestion around the jail that we cannot accept prisoners will end up prisoners themselves,” said Arpaio, who has beefed up security measures for himself and his staff.
Arpaio planned to launch another “crime suppression operation” in west Phoenix Thursday, one day after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton took the teeth out of Arizona’s immigration-enforcement law.
A key piece of the law that Bolton blocked on Wednesday would have allowed deputies to arrest some of those suspects for violating the new law if they weren’t carrying registration documents.
“That would have been a nice little extra twist if we could have locked them up instead of handing them over to ICE,” Arpaio said Wednesday after Bolton’s ruling.
Thursday’s operation marks the 17th time Arpaio has deployed hundreds of deputies and volunteer posse members to root out illegal immigrants.
Arpaio has scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference to launch the operation.
Thursday’s protests and marches began with a prayer vigil and march from the Arizona State Capitol to the Trinity Cathedral in downtown Phoenix.
The early morning march started off small with just about 100 people, but has been picking up steam.
Miami Fla July 30 2010 A New Jersey man accused of fatally shooting a retired Miami police captain last year is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for his bond hearing.
Rafael Toirac-Aguilera, 33, was extradited from New Jersey and booked into a Miami-Dade County jail Wednesday on a first degree murder charge. Police say Toirac-Aguilera shot and killed Robert Lee execution style in July 2009 at a Miami marina.
In February, sources confirmed to CBS4′s Gary Nelson that Toirac-Aguilera was in custody in New Jersey, jailed months ago on a domestic violence charge. That’s when a sealed arrest warrant was issued for him in Florida.
The arrest warrant was granted based upon information Miami homicide detectives were able to uncover. The suspect left fingerprints and DNA on a critical piece of evidence related to the crime. Investigators believe the murder was a targeted “hit.”
Yee was murdered on July 10, 2009 at the Hurricane Cove Marina. The former Captain was a 25-year veteran with the Miami Police Department before retiring in 1995. Yee’s body was found with two gunshot wounds to the head.
The execution-style slaying was done in broad daylight as he sat in a golf cart that he used to get around the sprawling marina he worked at as a yard manager and security guard.
A law enforcement source has told CBS4 News that at the time, Yee had been assisting in a federal investigation of a smuggling operation on the river. Investigators are trying to learn if that may have contributed to his murder.
Tulsa Okla July 30 2010 A man has been arrested on a burglary complaint after police say they caught him climbing out of the window of a Tulsa elementary school overnight.
It happened shortly after 2 a.m. at McKinley Elementary, located just east of Sheridan Road on East King Street. Officers responded after an alarm at the school and arrived to find a security guard, who had caught the suspect.
The guard told officers he apprehended the suspect — identified as 20-year-old Lamar Lavann Jones — climbing out of the window of a portable classroom on school property.
After looking over the property, there was no loss to report. Jones was arrested and booked into the Tulsa County Jail
After examining the property, there was no loss to report. Jones was arrested for 2nd degree burglary.
John F. Pipcynski, 44, of 113 Lyman Lane, Gouldsboro, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with multiple counts of burglary, theft and related offenses, state police at Dunmore said.
Mr. Pipcynski allegedly admitted to the thefts at the Big Bass Lake community, saying he looked for property he could either use or sell. One of the homes was in Lehigh Twp., Wayne County.
In June, victim Mary Ruane of Ingrid Drive returned as Mr. Pipcynski was at her home, according to an affidavit. He told her he saw a light on and decided to investigate, but when she questioned further, Mr. Pipcynski got into his car, backed into a tree and then sped away, police said.
Among other things, he also took jewelry, DVDs, a massage chair, gardening tools and a lawn mower, police said. He was remanded to Lackawanna County Prison on $50,000 bail
Phoenix AZ July 30 2010 Flights by LifeNet helicopters in Arizona have been halted temporarily following Wednesday’s crash that killed three people in a north-side neighborhood.
Colorado-based Air Methods Corp. has put its six LifeNet Arizona bases and seven helicopter crews on a safety stand-down, said Craig Yale, vice president of corporate development.
Flight crews will return to service after they go through a “critical stress debriefing” and it’s deemed appropriate to fly again, though no timetable has been given for when that will occur, Yale said.
In the meantime, any emergency calls LifeNet would have taken will be handled by other area helicopter outfits, Yale said.
Killed Wednesday were pilot Alex Kelley, 61; paramedic Brenda French, 28; and flight nurse Parker Summons, 41.
They were aboard the AS350 B3 Eurocopter that crashed about 1:45 p.m. into a fence and a shed just outside an occupied home on North Park Avenue near East Glenn Street.
French, who began working for LifeNet Arizona in March, died at the scene. Kelley, an employee since 2002, and Summons, who had worked for LifeNet since 2007, died at University Medical Center, company officials said.
“We’re deeply saddened by this tragic event,” Yale said Thursday.
A memorial service is being planned for the three.
The helicopter, known within the company as LifeNet 12, was traveling from Marana to Douglas, Yale said. The $2.5 million aircraft was put into service in September 2009 and had logged about 350 hours of flight time, he said.
LifeNet 12 had been at the company’s base at Marana Regional Airport for routine maintenance and was in the process of being returned to its home base, Yale said.
Company officials have declined to say what work was done on the aircraft, but Chris Meinhardt, Air Methods director of maintenance, said the helicopter had been at Marana for “a few days.”
Though investigators won’t know for some time what caused the crash, Meinhardt said it likely was not tied to a possible defect that had been identified in some engines installed in AS350 B3 Eurocopters.
Federal Aviation Administration documents indicate the engine defect, first discovered in 2009 in helicopters operating outside the U.S., could lead to limitation of engine power or, at worst, a sudden power loss.
Engine manufacturer Turbomeca had addressed the issue before turning the helicopter over to Air Methods, Meinhardt said.
This was not the first time an AS350 B3 helicopter was involved in an incident in Tucson, federal records show.
Another Eurocopter operated by Air Methods was forced to make a hard landing at St. Mary’s Hospital in September after it swerved to the left, according to National Transportation Safety Board documents.
The helicopter was just a few feet from the landing pad when it began to swerve, the documents stated.
The landing caused substantial damage to the helicopter, the report said. When tested later, the helicopter checked out as normal, the NTSB said. The cause of “loss of directional control” was undetermined, it said.
The three crew members and one patient were not injured, the report said.
Pilot known as reliable
Kelley, a Vietnam veteran who flew helicopters overseas as well as for the U.S. Border Patrol’s air operations unit, was known as a reliable and dependable pilot.
“The troops on the ground thought the world of him because air support is those guys’ lifeline,” said Clyde Benzenhoefer, a retired Border Patrol agent who worked with Kelley. “He was very well-liked by everyone.”
Benzenhoefer said he wasn’t surprised to hear witness accounts that Kelley appeared to steer the helicopter away from homes before crashing.
“Knowing Alex, that’s typical of him,” he said. “I flew with him several times, and I’ve always felt safe with him.”
Summons, a Tucson native and Catalina High School graduate, was supposed to have been off work on Wednesday, according to friends who were at University Medical Center Wednesday evening.
The father of a 2-year-old son was described as an outgoing and caring man, who loved golf and bicycling as well as his work.
French graduated from Winslow High School in 2000, according to her Facebook page. Her family declined to comment.
On StarNet: Go to azstarnet.com/video for video of the crash aftermath. See a gallery of photos at azstarnet.com/gallery
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board arrived in Tucson late Wednesday to begin their investigation into the LifeNet helicopter crash that killed three people.
That investigation could take as long as a year to complete and for a report to be released, NTSB lead investigator Van McKenny said Thursday.
A preliminary crash report is expected to be posted to NTSB’s Web site, http://www.ntsb.gov, within the next few days, but it won’t include any information on possible causes for the crash, McKenny said.
“It’s too early to narrow down possibilities,” he said.
Investigators visited the crash site most of Thursday, then a professional aircraft-recovery service hauled the helicopter to Phoenix, where NTSB investigators will take a more detailed look at the wreckage, McKenny said.
The victim was cutting grass along Freedom Parkway, between Memorial Drive and Boulevard, when a pickup truck hit and killed him Wednesday morning, police told Channel 2’s Erin Coleman.
A crew of 4 men was cutting grass in the median and weed eating when a pickup truck came around the curve and lost control, police said.
Nikole Lasane told Coleman she heard the accident from her inside her home. “I knew something was hit but I didn’t know it was a person,” said Lasane.
Police later identified the driver as Glenn Johnson, 21. Johnson was charged with second-degree homicide by vehicle and failure to maintain lane.
“He was very distraught. Very, very distraught. Torn up,” said Officer Otis Redmond after police interview Johnson. Police had not released the victim’s name on Wednesday afternoon.
State transportation officials told Coleman they contract their landscaping services to a company called Bromell Manicured Lawns, but it was not known if the crew put up warning signs along the road.
ST. PETERSBURG Fla July 29 2010 — A man is accused of trying to steal the state flag as it flew outside Tropicana Field.
But that wasn’t the flag that David James Willis said he wanted to steal, according to St. Petersburg police.
Willis told police he thought he was taking the Marine Corps flag — that flag is scarlet with the corps’ gray-and-gold emblem in the center — that flew outside Gate 4. Florida’s state flag is white with a red diagonal cross dotted by the state seal.
Willis told police he was an Army veteran and didn’t think much of the Marine Corps’ performance in past wars. That’s why he wanted to take the flag, he told police.
“This guy’s not a good historian,” said St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz.
Willis, 49, had been drinking, police said.
The incident happened about 2:25 p.m. Tuesday when a Tropicana security guard tried to shoo Willis away because she said he was drinking beer from a bench outside the stadium, according to police.
Then the security guard heard the sound of the flag pole’s panel hitting the ground.
The guard said she saw Willis reach into the pole’s mechanism to lower the flag, police said, so she grabbed him and pulled him away until officers arrived.
Willis was arrested on a felony charge of grand theft. He was being held in the Pinellas County Jail Wednesday in lieu of $5,000 bail. Police could not confirm whether he actually served in the Army.
San Bernardino CA July 29 2010 The backyard shooting deaths of two young brothers, only 10 and 12 years old, are believed to have been the result of a double suicide or a murder-suicide, according to police.
California cops found the boys, 12 and 10, apparently shot to death.The apparent weapon that was used was a handgun that belonged to their father.
A family member discovered Bryan Gonzalez, 12, and his younger brother Christian, 10, just after noon on Tuesday, according to San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.
Bachman said that the boys were pronounced dead on the scene. An official autopsy report is expected later this week.
“It remains to be a death investigation and the investigators have assured us that they’re not looking for any suspects,” said Bachman. “They said it’s very likely that this incident involved only the two boys.”
However, the investigators want to take the time with the case and they have not completely ruled out the possibility of foul play, but they have assured us they aren’t looking for any suspects,” said Bachman.
The boys were found in a ravine on the Chino Hills, Calif., ranch where their family lived in a double mobile home, according to Bachman. A handgun that was found at the scene is confirmed to have belonged to their father.
It was not immediately clear whether the gun had been locked up or where it was usually stored, she said.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this,” said Bachman. “It’s unusual to say the least. It’s very disturbing.”
“I mean, they were just 10 and 12. We don’t even think of children at this age of [being capable] of hurting themselves,” she said. “They were in elementary school.”
The brothers were students at Butterfield Ranch Elementary school, located just a mile from where they lived. On Tuesday night, classmates and friends constructed a makeshift memorial for the boys .
It’s heartbreaking,” Cameron Rogers, a classmate who had traveled to Disneyland with the older of the two brothers last month, told ABC’s Los Angeles affiliate KABC . “But he’s in a better place right now.”
Authorities said that the two boys had lived at the mobile home with their mother and father. There is no number listed for the home.
Forensic psychologist N.G. Berrill, who has not treated the Gonzalez family, told ABC News that he wonders what was going on inside the home to make these young boy feel so helpless.
“When you get kids who are feeling that overwhelmed at that age and resort to such graphically violent means to kill themselves or one another, it raises a lot of very serious questions,” said Berrill.
Forgiving a Son Who Murdered Your FamilySon’s Plot: ‘I Wanted Them Dead’ Econo-cide? DC Lawyer’s Layoff, Suicide”Whatever was going on was sufficient to literally overwhelm two siblings and have them reach the decision of killing themselves,” he said. “That is such an enormous decision for a kid, but it’s particularly sad because we know that they don’t understand the full scope or ramifications of what they’re doing.”
Berrill said that unlike adults, who can think about the future and might consider reasons why not to kill themselves, children focus primarily on present day.
“Adults have enough experience that they can say ‘this is a terrible time but I have strengh to live through it and find remedies,’” said Berrill. “When you’re a kid, you live a lot in the here and now.”
“That’s why I think that their circumstances had to be so desperate because they saw no alternative,” he said.
“Their lack of maturity makes it that much more tragic.”