Police Officer Tommy PortzBaltimore City Police Department
End of Watch: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tour of Duty: 10 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Officer Tommy Portz was killed in an automobile accident when his patrol car struck the back of a stopped firetruck on a highway. The firetruck had responded to reports of an injured person lying in the highway median strip and had stopped in the left lane to investigate.
Officer Portz’s patrol car collided with the back of the stopped truck at a high rate of speed, causing fatal injuries.
Officer Portz had served with the Baltimore Police Department for just under 10 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Agency Contact Information
Baltimore City Police Department
242 W 29th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211
Phone: (410) 396-2020
Please contact the Baltimore City Police Department for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
Hendersonville NC Oct 21 2010 The final charge against Andre Dubois, a former Hendersonville High School computer science teacher accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, was dismissed Tuesday, District Attorney Jeff Hunt said today.
Dubois, 42, was arrested in May on a warrant of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to court records. While serving the warrant on Dubois, police said they found drugs and a knife. Subsequently he was charged with possession of drugs and possession of a weapon on a school campus.
Those two charges were dismissed in June after the District Attorney’s Office determined the drugs legally belonged to Dubois, who has a valid prescription. The weapon was a pocketknife that apparently did not belong to Dubois but was in his desk, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Tuesday District Court Judge Athena Brooks allowed a motion by Dubois’ attorney Roy Neill for a dismissal.
“The case was tried Tuesday,” Hunt said. “At the close of the state’s evidence the defense moved for a dismissal. The judge took the position that the state’s evidence didn’t prove every aspect necessary. While the court felt the conduct was inappropriate, the judge didn’t feel it rose to a criminal conduct.”
In an e-mail to the Times-News Tuesday night, Dubois commented on the courts dismissal.
“Today the final charge was heard by a judge and dismissed after the accuser was deemed non-credible and caught fabricating the truth on numerous occasions,” Dubois wrote. “I have not spoken to the media for the last five months since this story broke but am breaking my silence tonight.”
In the e-mail, Dubois thanked his family and all of the teachers, school administrators, students and community members who stood behind him. He also thanked his attorney Neill for his persistence “in digging for the truth.”
“Exoneration is sweet, however I would trade a pound of vindication for an ounce of due diligence which was lacking from the onset of this situation and served as the catalyst,” DuBois wrote.
When his arrest was made Hendersonville Police Detective Bobbie Trotter said the charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor was lodged against Dubois because of text messages he had sent the victim, who is a student at Hendersonville High.
Dubois began working at the school in August 2002. His starting salary was $28,000, according to the school district’s finance department.
Dubois came into teaching from the business world with no teaching experience, officials said. The next year, his salary was bumped up to $40,000 after paperwork was filed recognizing his years of experience in the business world, according to the finance office. Dubois’ ending salary was $49,750.
NEWARK, N.J. Oct 21 2010 (AP) — Federal authorities say a security screening supervisor stole as much as $700 a day from travelers passing through his checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Forty-one-year-old Michael Arato of Ewing was arrested Tuesday following a five-week investigation.
Investigators say Arato also accepted kickbacks and bribes from a co-worker who also stole cash from passengers’ bags. That person, who was not named, has been cooperating with the federal investigation.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Arato and the “co-schemer” targeted non-English-speaking victims, particularly women returning to India on a daily flight from Newark.
An after-hours message left for Arato’s lawyer, assistant federal public defender John Yauch (yowk), was not immediately returned.
Chad N. Davey, 32, of Murray Avenue in Delmar was arrested Monday on a felony charge of attempting to disseminate indecent material to a minor and other misdemeanors, Bethlehem Police said. They began their investigation when the mother of the girl contacted them with concern over e-mails her daughter was receiving from her track coach.
Davey is also a coach with the Delmar Track and Field Club.
According to police, Davey sent e-mails “adult in nature” to the girl, culminating with an invitation to engage in sexual activity with him.
He was remanded without bail to the Albany County Jail following his arraignment in Bethlehem Town Court, where he will re-appear Thursday.
Troy school officials provided no details about Davey’s employment with the district, and some officials were unfamiliar with his name. But minutes from a May 2009 meeting of the school board indicate Davey is an elementary school teacher who attained tenure on Sept. 1, 2009.
Other minutes, from 2007, indicate that he was assigned to teach fourth grade at School 12 for a two-year probationary period, which ended following the 2008-2009 school year, at a salary of just over $40,000.
“We don’t have the specifics and we cannot discuss a legal and personnel matter,” a statement from the Enlarged City School District of Troy reads. “We want to assure all that the welfare of the students is our primary concern, and we will do all that is necessary to ensure the same. We will take the appropriate actions as the details are available to us.”
Due to Davey’s profession, Bethlehem Police are asking anyone with information on potential additional victims to contact them at 439-0073.
Memphis TN Oct 21 2010 A Memphis man accused of shooting a security guard after being ejected from a strip club is scheduled to appear in court, by video arraignment, this morning.
Police on Tuesday charged Eugene Hollis, 30, with attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault. Hollis was held in Shelby County Jail on $250,000 bond.
On Oct. 9 about 4 a.m., Hollis and several of his friends were ejected from the New York New York strip club at 2080 E. Brooks for inappropriately touching a female employee, according to a court affidavit.
After several in the group argued with a security guard outside and refused to leave the property, Hollis went to a parked car and was given a gun, investigators said in the court document.
Detectives determined that Hollis shot the security guard four times in the chest, once in the right leg and once in the buttocks. A bullet also struck the upper arm of another man.
The security guard is listed in good condition at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. The other man injured was treated and released.
Jersey City NJ Oct 21 2010 As children walked through the halls of School 14 over the past 14 years, few knew the story of Clarence Matthews, the 76-year-old Jersey City Board of Education security guard. Now that he has published a novel, that might change.
His first book, entitled “Jacob’s Rite of Passage, Vol. 1: Young Jacob,” focuses on the youngest of four children from a family of sharecroppers in Fayetteville, N.C. Jacob learns various life lessons, such as “mother-son over-bonding,” the observation that a woman can’t teach a boy how to be a man.
Matthews intends it to be the first in a trilogy, of which he is currently crafting the second installment, due out by early December.
A Jersey City resident for 52 years, Matthews worked as a real estate sales associate until 1976, then switched to a more “secure” job as a security guard.
He is also a trustee at Monumental Baptist Church, where he teaches a black history class to senior citizens and has occasionally written and directed plays.
Sharon Abbruscato, principal at School 14, said she had seen one of his plays at his church and was thoroughly impressed. The school shares the building with the Board of Education.
“I know he plans to continue with writing and I’m going to further encourage him to do that,” Abbruscato said.
Matthews’ attendance at the school for over 14 years has been near-perfect, his supervisor Gerri Hendrick said.
To those who work with him, Matthews doesn’t talk much. Instead, he saves his words for the page.
“I learned I could put things together,” Matthews said. “I’m more of a writer than a speaker. You can get your point out better.”
His daughter Deneen Matthews is a graphic designer in Indiana who founded deeClare Publishing to get her father’s book made. As the book’s editor, she conspicuously divided his work into two-page chapters. The book is aimed at the reading level of an 11-year-old.
The book, which was released in March, is for sale on Amazon.com and at Word Works Christian Book Store, 130 Monticello Ave.
ELYRIA OH Oct 21 2010 — Elyria resident Raymond Shepherd said he has always thought about being a police officer and now — at the age of 36 — he would like the opportunity to see if he can make that dream come true.
His only problem: He is too old to take the qualifying Civil Service exam. The age cutoff is 35.
Raymond Shepard wants to be an Elyria police officer but finds himself over the age limit.
Shepherd, an active reserve National Guardsman and Elyria auxiliary police officer, would like to see the requirement changed to give him and others in his age range the chance to serve in Elyria.
“I just want the opportunity to test for the job,” he said. “Testing doesn’t guarantee me a job, but let me try for it just like anyone else.’’
Shepherd took his concerns to City Council on Monday night and urged Council members to change the rule in advance of the next test.
“I don’t think there should be an age limit,” he said. “That’s age discrimination. As long as you can pass the physical agility test, you have proven that you are up to doing the job.”
Shepherd also pointed out the age limit to enlist in the Army is now 42.
Councilwoman Mary Siwierka encouraged Shepherd to plead his case in front of the Civil Service Commission. While only three members strong, the commission has the power to alter set requirements without legislative action by Council.
“They are a very powerful group that decides a lot of things pertaining to city personnel matters,” she said.
Shepherd will have some time before the next test.
Civil Service Commission rules dictate entrance exams are given every two years. A test was given in 2009, so another one will not be given until 2011, said Becky Stewart, secretary for the Civil Service Commission.
The current eligibility list has 19 candidates on it so when the Police Department begins hiring again, those individuals will be evaluated and interviewed first. Not that just making the eligibility list is enough to become a police officer.
In addition, applicants must pass a drug screening, physical fitness agility test, extensive background, credit and psychological tests as well as be available for face-to-face interviews with city officials.
Police Chief Duane Whitely said he will look into when and why the age requirement was added to determine eligibility. He said he cannot argue for or against changing it until he learns more.
Shepherd said he would have taken the test when it was given in 2009, but he was in Iraq on a 10-month tour with his National Guard unit. Upon his return, Shepherd joined the auxiliary force. For the last 20 years, he has worked at Giant Eagle and currently serves as the dairy manager.
“I just wanted to get the experience of being in the community and saw it as a good way to get my foot in the door with the Police Department,” he said. “I’ve lived in Elyria all my life and I want to be an Elyria police officer. Elyria would always be my first choice.”
Shepherd sought to take the entrance exam in Lorain, but learned the age requirements to become a police officer are similar to those of Elyria. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and not yet 35 years old.
Philadelphia PA. Oct 21 2010 A former Centennial School District math teacher was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to undergo sex offender treatment for sending a sexually explicit cell phone photo to a 17-year-old boy.
Scott D. Bregman, 48, of Lower Southampton, pleaded guilty in Bucks County Court in Doylestown to disseminating explicit sexual material to a minor and corruption of minors. He told county Judge Albert Cepparulo that he regretted the crime.
“I’d like to offer a sincere apology to the victim and his family,” Bregman said. “I also apologize to my family, the community and the Centennial School District for any unwarranted embarrassment.”
Bregman was a teacher at William Tennent High School when he was arrested in June, after sending a photo of a penis to the teen, whom he met at the B&R fitness club in Lower Southampton.
The victim told police that he “reluctantly” exchanged phone numbers with Bregman shortly after meeting him, after Bregman offered to tutor him. The teen attended another school and was not Bregman’s student.
He said Bregman began following him around the health club, engaging him in conversation in the steam room and other areas while they were both nude. The teen told police that Bregman made him feel “uncomfortable.”
Bregman sent the photo on April 1, during a sexually explicit text message conversation.
“Bregman sent (the teen’s) wireless phone a digital picture of a male in a reclined position, with his exposed penis roughly in the lower center of the picture,” court records say.
Bregman texted “do u promise to delete it,” before sending the image.
Bregman’s attorney, Gail Marr, showed the judge a printout of her client’s texts, and argued that the teen and two of his friends had prompted many of Bregman’s remarks through questions.
Marr noted that the teens erased their side of the conversation from the victim’s phone before handing it over to police. While conceding that Bregman broke the law, she said the teens had a part in what happened.
“The juveniles admitted that they wanted to see how far it would go. It’s clear that the conversation was two-sided,” Marr said.
Deputy District Attorney Monica Furber disagreed.
“He’s the adult, he’s responsible for his actions,” Furber said. “The statutes we charged him with are in place to protect minors. As a teacher, he was aware that his conduct was inappropriate, concerning and certainly against the law.”
The victim was not in court Tuesday. Furber said the teen and his family just wanted to put the embarrassing event behind them. School had recessed for the summer when the charges came to light.
Bregman resigned in September, and also stepped down from his two side jobs as a youth sports referee and day camp counselor. He now works in the automotive industry. The crimes Bregman pleaded guilty to are not Megan’s Law offenses.
Cepparulo sentenced Bregman within state sentencing guidelines. He told the former teacher that he would have faced a harsher penalty had the crime occurred in a school setting.
“You should have known from your training as a teacher that it is not only wrong, it is illegal,” Cepparulo told Bregman. “This type of behavior is not acceptable in our society.”
Cepparulo ordered Bregman to have no contact with the victim or the two teens who saw the photo, and banned him from being alone with anyone under the age of 18, except family members, during the sentence.
Bregman left the courthouse with several supporters. Marr said that Bregman just wants to move on.
“My client has led an exemplary life prior to this incident, and although he exercised poor judgment he had no ill intent. He is extremely remorseful for his behavior and is anxious to put this behind him and be a productive member of society.”
The wife of a slain Lebanon city police officer has been indicted for his murder and taken into custody this week.
Police have charged Tonya Ford, 37, in the murder of her husband, David Ford.
Police say that in February of 2009, Ford was found shot to death in the couple’s home in Taylor County.
Investigators have said all along that they didn’t think Ford’s murder was related to his police job.
Ford was off duty at the time of his death.
It happened in the parking lot of the BJ’s Wholesale Club off West Campbell Road around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Rotterdam police say the 21-year-old driver accidentally fired the gun while sitting in the armored car.
He was taken to Albany Medical Center, no one else was injured.
Corey Jackson, a 19-year-old Oakland University student, was found deceased outdoors on campus, said Sam Lucido, university campus police chief.
“We have no indication that bullying-type activity was occurring,” said Lucido. “We have talked with two people — one who was a student — who were close to Corey Jackson and they have said that was not an issue.”
Asked if Jackson left a note, Lucido said he had not yet addressed that issue with media.
People who were not students observed Jackson, a sophomore from Warren, in a wooded area on campus, Lucido said. Jackson lived in a campus dorm.
Students and campus staff were notified of his death at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Campus police are continuing to investigate the incident. The Oakland County medical examiner confirmed his death was a suicide by hanging.
Jackson graduated from Warren Woods Tower High School in 2009 and was in the university’s class of 2013, according to his Facebook page.
The campus newspaper, The Oakland Post, reported Jackson was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Members were planning to wear black ribbons to honor Jackson.
Facebook comments express the sadness many students feel at the news.
“It is so tragic when someone this young dies,” wrote Tricia Sawdon, “especially because of a reason like this. I am so sorry for everyone.”
Isis Nicole wrote that Jackson had helped her carry a TV up the stairs on the day students moved into their dorm rooms.
“I’m sure you are at peace and are in a better place now,” she wrote. “RIP Corey, you, your family and friends are in my prayers.”
Nicholas Brewer of West Hollywood, Calif., said he grew up in Detroit “and it isn’t the easiest place to be gay. I was fortunate enough to have the support and love that has kept me happy and alive to find out that it does in fact get better.”
Jackson died the day before Spirit Day, a nationally designated day to wear purple to honor and commemorate the number of gay teens who recently committed suicide in the United States.
Melissa Pope, coordinator of Oakland University’s Gender and Sexuality Center, said students who had heard about Jackson’s death had been coming into the center.
“This is a great loss to the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) teens after so many suicides nationwide,” Pope said.
She reported many OU students were wearing purple clothing and purple ribbons on campus Wednesday.
Pope said she had learned that across the country, nine gay teens have committed suicide in the past two months.
“Students have been gathering at the center seeking and offering support and participating in this national day of mourning for all lost,” Pope said.
Pope said Jackson was not a regular visitor to the center, “but a lot of students did know him.”
CORNISHVILLE KY Oct 21 2010 — A Mercer County couple was found dead Wednesday as the result of an apparent murder-suicide in their home, police said.
Mercer County Coroner David “Sonny” Ransdell identified the couple as Dennis and Pat Blackburn, both 55.
Dennis Blackburn was employed by the Lexington fire department from 1983 until he retired as a captain in October 2007, said Battalion Chief Marshall Griggs.
Pat Blackburn worked as a surgical technician at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, where she had been employed for 23 years.
Capt. Scott Elder of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office said the two were found by a son shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday at the couple’s home on Votaw Road in western Mercer County.
“Right now it appears to be a murder-suicide,” Elder said. The son went to the house after he learned his mother had not arrived at work in Lexington.
“Pat just did not miss work,” said family friend Lisa Goodrich.
Pat Blackburn suffered stab wounds and a gunshot wound, and Dennis Blackburn suffered a gunshot wound, Elder said. The two were found in a master bedroom of the home about 10 miles west of Harrodsburg, near the Washington County line.
“Her co-workers are very upset, and our chaplains have been working with them today in grief counseling,” said Central Baptist spokeswoman Ruth Ann Childers.
The Blackburns had two sons, Johnathan, 23, and Samuel, 21. Samuel lives in Mercer County, and Johnathan attends college in Texas.
Goodrich, who knew the family through a 4-H horse and pony club, said the deaths come as a shock.
“It’s impossible to imagine they’re gone,” she said. “They were the people that you’d go, ‘I wish we could be like them.’ They were good to have around, and it was fun to be with them. It’s impossible to imagine what brought this to a head.”
Goodrich said the Blackburns were “wonderful, church-going, giving people.” The Blackburns built their house in western Mercer County in 1997.
The Blackburns owned seven or eight horses and were active in riding and establishing trails at Eagle’s Nest, a horseback-riding area in Mercer County.
“We did trail rides out at Shakertown, trail rides out at Eagle’s Nest, state horse show, area horse show,” Good-rich said. “They were always upbeat and encouraging and positive.”
Dennis Blackburn had been a vice president in the Central Kentucky chapter of the Kentucky Back Country Horsemen, a group formed in 2007 to preserve and maintain public horseback-riding trails.
Members of the group said everything seemed fine when the Blackburns went riding with other horsemen in Harlan County last weekend.
At a meeting Tuesday, the group selected Dennis Blackburn as a director, and members were surprised when the Blackburns didn’t show up, said Roy Cornett, a director for the chapter.
Cornett said he grew up in Georgetown with Pat and Dennis; they were high school sweethearts, he said. Cornett remembered “Patsy” as gifted in barrel racing and pole bending.
Cynthia Higgs, another director for the chapter, said the Blackburns had been helping plan a packing trip to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park for the coming weekend.
Higgs said she thought the Blackburns’ love for each other was noticeable when she was around them.
“After that many years, they still teased each other and they knew each other very well,” she said. “They seemed to enjoy their lives together. They had a really good sense of humor when they described each other.”
Dennis Blackburn was involved with large-animal rescue operations and served on the trails committee for the Kentucky Horse Council.
Autopsies will be performed Thursday at the state medical examiner’s office in Frankfort, Ransdell said.
Fresno CA Oct 21 2010 A Fresno man and four teenagers will stand trial in the killing of an unarmed security guard who was beaten with tree limbs and a board at a central Fresno apartment complex last November, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Judge Gary Hoff made his ruling after hearing three days of testimony in Fresno County Superior Court.
From the evidence, Hoff said, there was probable cause to believe Tony Sayachack, 23, his cousin, Binly Sayachack, 15, and Oback Khongmany, 16, Danny Phommaseng, 18, and Phousavanh Stone Luc, 19, committed murder in connection with the death of security guard Albert Rodriguez, 59.
Police said an unarmed Rodriguez was attacked Nov. 19 after he confronted several people drinking beer inside a vacant dwelling at the Summerset Village Apartments at Weldon and Angus avenues near Radio Park. He died the next morning at Community Regional Medical Center.
During a preliminary hearing that ended Wednesday, Fresno police detective Marcus Gray testified that police found empty beer cans and several cigarette butts inside the vacant apartment. He said fingerprints on the beer cans matched those of Tony Sayachack, Luc and Phommaseng.
At the crime scene, Gray said, he also found bloody sticks from tree limbs and a bloody 2-by-4-inch board.
Gray said he later interviewed all five suspects, and each admitted to hitting Rodriguez.
An autopsy found that Rodriguez died of blunt-force trauma to his head and body, detective Richard Byrd testified.
A motive for the killing was not immediately known.
Gray testified that Khongmany told him Rodriguez politely asked the group to leave the vacant apartment before he was attacked.