ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Feb 22 2011- A St. Petersburg police officer was shot to death near downtown Monday night. A massive manhunt is now underway for the killer.
The officer, identified as 46-year-old David S. Crawford, was a 25-year veteran and had spent his entire career with the department.
He died after being shot multiple times in the chest while investigating a report of a prowler around 10:30 p.m. near 3rd Avenue South and 8th Street South.
He is the third St. Petersburg officer killed in the line of duty in less than a month.
“Our hearts are broken,” said Police Chief Chuck Harmon at an early morning news conference. “This killer has taken someone very special to us.”
Prior to the shooting, a caller reported a suspect with a brick in the back yard of a neighbor’s home and thought he might be attempting a break-in.
A unit was dispatched including Officer Donald Ziglar, 41, and Officer Crawford. Once on scene, Officer Crawfrod came across the suspect and gunfire was exchanged.
Officer Crawford was shot multiple times at close range. He was able to return fire. It is unknown if the suspect was hit, but there was no evidence at the scene to indicate he was injured, according to a police statement.
Officer Ziglar radioed back reporting shots fired and a request for assistance.
Officer Crawford was found on the pavement near his cruiser. He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
“I heard seven to nine shots all in a row and I ran outside and around the corner to see the commotion,” said Fred Evans who lives in the area. “I saw someone running away really fast. I don’t know if it was someone trying to flee the gunshots or the suspect.”
Marie Woodward also heard the gunfire, “I just heard pop pop pop pop pop. You couldn’t pay me enough to be a police officer. The job they do putting on a badge every day, I wouldn’t want to do it.”
Interstate exit ramps and several city blocks east of Tropicana Field were closed, and Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies have joined in a search of the Campbell Park neighborhood for the suspect. Authorities later expanded the search area to 15th Avenue S.
Some 200 officers are combing a 132 block area for the suspect. The caller identified the suspect as a balck male in his late teens or early 20′s, wearing a dark-colored hoodie.
Three schools have been closed and students are being directed to other campuses.
“The city has been through hell,” said Mayor Bill Foster. “It took 30 years to lose an officer in the line of duty, and within 30 days, it has happened again.”
“It hurts. There is a lot of pain,” said Chief Harmon, But, he said, it won’t hinder officers from doing their jobs. “We have a killer on the loose, and we will use every resource we have to apprehend them.”
The Police Department is still mourning the loss of Sergeant Thomas Baitinger and K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz. Both were killed by wanted fugitive Hydra Lacy, Jr. on January 24.
End of Watch: Saturday, January 9, 2010
Tour of Duty: 3 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Assault
Date of Incident: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Weapon Used: Person
Suspect Info: Charged with murder
Correctional Officer Edwards Pounds succumbed to injuries sustained two months earlier when he was assaulted by an inmate at the Neuse Correctional Institution. He was struck several times by the inmate and sustained serious injuries on November 17, 2009.
On January 6, 2010, he returned to work but became violently ill. He was transported to a hospital and died three days later.
An investigation by the state medical examiner’s office determined that Officer Pounds death was the result of the assault and ruled a homicide. The inmate was arrested and formally charged with murder on February 17, 2011.
Officer Pounds had served with the North Carolina Division of Prisons for three years.
Charlotte NC Feb 22 2011 Federal investigators are looking into a new security breach at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport that began with a ramp employee scaling a fence and ended with airport officials permanently revoking his security badge – effectively preventing him from working on airport property.
The breach took place Feb. 13, when Trenton Meadows of Kannapolis, a ramp worker for US Airways subsidiary Piedmont Airlines, was seen and videotaped jumping a fence at one of the airport’s employee entrances – instead of going through a turnstile, according to an airport incident report.
Meadows, 38, told security officers that he’d forgotten his security identification badge and decided to jump the fence – through three strands of barbed wire – after giving a bag to Piedmont ramp co-worker Willie Bullock of Charlotte to carry through the turnstile, the incident report said.
Meadows apparently climbed onto a garbage can and scaled the fence, airport spokeswoman Haley Gentry said Sunday.
Once on the tarmac, Meadows clocked in by manually punching in his security card numbers, then left the area through the turnstile and took a shuttle to his car to get his badge. When he returned to duty with the badge, he and Bullock were immediately detained by security, the report said.
“It was not a very wise choice,” Gentry said. “He came in where he normally goes to work. There were cameras and co-workers there. Obviously he was going to be seen.
“Those security ID badges come with significant training. They know the responsibilities as a badgeholder.”
Airport officials permanently revoked Meadows’ ID badge and also took Bullock’s badge.
Bullock told security officers he doesn’t know how Meadows got onto the tarmac, the report said.
Gentry didn’t know the permanent status of Bullock’s badge.
Airport security contacted the federal Transportation Security Administration, the FBI and the Federal Air Marshal Service about the incident. They also contacted a Mecklenburg magistrate, who determined “there was no cause to prosecute” Meadows, the incident report said.
Sunday, the TSA confirmed that it is investigating the breach.
Meadows couldn’t be reached Sunday. Neither could US Airways, so Meadows’ status with Piedmont Airlines was unknown.
But as Gentry said: “We don’t know what the company has done with either one of them. If (Meadows) doesn’t have a badge, he can’t work at the airport.”
The incident follows an ongoing investigation into a possible breach last November by 16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale, who may have penetrated airport security and climbed into the left wheel well of a Boston-bound US Airways plane.
The teenager’s badly battered body was found beneath the flight path to Logan International Airport on a Milton, Mass., street.
Gentry wouldn’t comment on that investigation Sunday, except to say that the multi-agency investigation task force hopes “to be able to wrap that up soon.”
San Francisco CA Feb 22 2011 Two armed suspects allegedly tied up a security guard and robbed a building in South San Francisco Thursday night, according to police.
The suspects, who were armed with handguns, wrestled a security guard and tied him up outside a building at 332 E. Grand Ave. at about 11:50 p.m., police said.
They then entered the building with keys stolen from the guard, police said. The suspects stole an undisclosed amount of property from the building and the guard, police said.
Responding officers searched the building and nearby streets, but did not find the suspects.
Local paramedics treated the security guard for minor injuries.
No suspect information was available and no other injuries were reported.
Tom Laughlin of Parrish, Florida, filed court documents in April renouncing his U.S. citizenship, claiming he was not subject to federal law and no longer had to pay taxes.
The 42-year-old detective was fired last week. According to an internal affairs report, supervisors accused Laughlin of associating with a hate group advocating violence, not answering questions honestly and using department computers to search websites on sovereign citizens.
Laughlin told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that he filed the documents to make a political statement, but he “didn’t want to be involved in any kind of extremist movement.” He plans to appeal.
Hattiesburg MS Feb 22 2011 The fact that traffic tickets have increased on the University of Southern Mississippi campus is no surprise to most students, who say they see evidence daily of a rigorous police presence.
“I see folks getting pulled over there constantly. It’s pretty crazy,” said commuter student Aaron Wise, a junior, gesturing toward West Fourth Street, site of the controversial 15 mph school zone.
But the rate of increase – nearly 300 percent from 2009 to 2010 – is more of an eye-opener.
Campus police issued nearly 2,000 tickets for a variety of moving violations in 2010. The majority of those – 1,257 – were for speeding.
They issued just 668 tickets in 2009.
“I guess it’s pretty evident of the West Fourth Street measures we have taken to enhance student safety,” said Chief Bob Hopkins.
Yes, Fourth Street is the hot spot. The section between the U.S. 49 service road and Pete Taylor Park, where campus police share jurisdiction with Hattiesburg Police, saw traffic tickets skyrocket during the first four months of the speed limit decrease from 25 mph to 15 mph.
From August-December, campus police issued 744 tickets to motorists on that stretch of road. During the same time frame in 2009, campus police issued 230 citations.
From the data and comments made by Hopkins, it would appear that the majority of ticketed motorists were not affiliated with Southern Miss.
In 2010, campus police issued 1,512 state tickets paid through Forrest County Justice Court and 455 campus tickets paid to Southern Miss.
Campus police can only write state tickets to folks unaffiliated with Southern Miss, whereas they have the option of writing either state tickets or less-costly campus tickets to students, faculty and staff.
According to Hopkins, students, faculty and staff usually receive campus tickets – and the number issued has risen tremendously. Campus police issued just 31 campus tickets in 2009.
These tickets cost $50 across the board for the first two offenses and $100 after that.
Money from campus tickets go into a parking fines fund account for money accrued from parking tickets and moving violation tickets.
Last year, the Hattiesburg American reported a dramatic increase – in some cases as much as 900 percent – in the fine amounts for parking violations for the 2009-10 academic year.
This money has been used in past years to pay the salaries of ticket writers, purchase a police car and other equipment and upgrade police computer software, according to news and media relations manager Beth Taylor.
At Southern Miss’s request, the city of Hattiesburg implemented the West Fourth Street traffic calming in conjunction with the opening of the 864-student Century Park residential community in August.
Officials said the move was for the safety of the students living in both Century Park and Hillcrest Residence Hall across West Fourth Street. It drew heat from some citizens – worried that decreased speeds would back up traffic.
It continues to irk some students who don’t understand why the speed limit is 15 mph there and 20 mph on campus.
In that 20 mph zone on campus, there have been just three accidents involving pedestrians/bicycles and motor vehicles over the past three years, according to police records.
“Twenty-five miles per hour seems just fast enough and just slow enough, if you know what I mean,” said junior Will Quinn, 23, a commuter student.
Even folks the speed limit is designed to protect have reservations about the slow speed zone. Freshman Alexa Moore, 18, who lives in Century Park said that she likes the constant police presence to ensure that drivers respect the raised pedestrian crosswalks.
“It’s definitely a good idea,” said Moore, noting the police there also are hard on pedestrians who don’t obey the rules.
“They’ll get on you for not pushing the cross-walk button,” she said.
But Moore added she doesn’t think students are any safer with the speed limit reduced to 15 mph, noting that pedestrians have just as much responsibility for their safety as motorists.
“We as pedestrians need to be just as aware as drivers are,” she said.
Hopkins said the university is reviewing the 15 mph zone to see if it should recommend to the city raising the limit.
But traffic calming measures alone don’t wholly explain the increase in tickets on West Fourth Street.
Even before the implementation of the new speed limit, the number of tickets issued on West Fourth Street had steadily increased: 119 issued from January-July 2009; 230 from August-December 2009; 550 from January-July 2010 before the 744 issued from August-December 2010.
Hopkins attributes the increase to the increase in traffic volume in the area that began in 2009 with the Century Park groundbreaking and the opening of a 300-space gravel parking lot behind Hillcrest Residence Hall. Then came the parking garage groundbreaking and an additional influx of construction vehicles, and Hopkins said the campus put more scrutiny on the area.
But even in areas outside of troublesome West Fourth Street, tickets have been on the rise. The remainder of the Southern Miss campus saw the number of traffic tickets more than double from 319 in 2009 to 673 in 2010.
“I wouldn’t have an answer to that,” admitted Hopkins, when asked about the increase.
It’s not because the number of cops has gone up. Hopkins said the police force has stayed constant at 26 sworn officers and 14 campus security officers over the past two years.
“I do know that we have increasingly tried to increase adherence to traffic laws,” he said.
Hopkins said the campus increased focus on a walkable, pedestrian-friendly campus has heightened enforcement of traffic violations. Much like the rationale for jacking up the price of parking fines last year, the emphasis is on ensuring that drivers comply with university rules.
“It’s important that the motoring public is doing what they’re supposed to do,” said Hopkins.
He added he expects this strategy to work on West Fourth Street.
“I really expect we will start seeing more compliance and less tickets as time goes,” he said. “It usually takes anywhere from six months to a year for your best compliance level.”
“It will probably be in this order too: Campus, then state,” he added. Students are going to learn quicker because they’re on campus all the time so they have a better learning curve than those not on the campus.”
For Quinn, the sight of frequent pullovers has already had an effect on his driving behavior.
“It’s definitely made me more conscious of driving the speed limit,” he said. “I’m riding my brake whenever I go down Fourth Street.”
But, citing the lack of traffic accidents involving pedestrians on campus, he wonders if this focus on enforcement is all that necessary.
“I don’t really get it,” he said shrugging his shoulders.
College Park MD Feb 22 2011 At only 5 years old, Andrew Ross had his mind firmly set on how he would spend the rest of his life — putting on a uniform and a badge, protecting the public as a police officer.
He didn’t waste any time.
As a freshman, the junior criminology and criminal justice major joined the University Police Auxiliary staff — the closest he could get to his police force aspirations while still earning a degree.
“All my friends growing up knew what I wanted to do,” he said. “But I didn’t really go around writing fake tickets and pretending to arrest people.”
The university has about 60 to 80 students working as auxiliary police, but since they are not officially sworn-in officers, they have only limited authority.
“We’re just an extra set of eyes and ears,” Ross said. “Our presence conveys our authority. That is our method of crime prevention. We are students helping students here.”
The job varies from day-to-day and often consists of monitoring on-campus entrance gates at night. The students also direct traffic for football and basketball games and work metal detectors at on-campus events, such the Stamp Student Union All-Niter.
“We move traffic and make sure the University Police officers have the tools to accomplish their missions and do their jobs,” Ross said.
For example, Ross said, during the riot after March’s men’s basketball victory over Duke, the police aides’ job was clear: they were to help move the crowd and calm the chaos.
And while patrolling the campus at all hours of the night isn’t the easiest job, Ross said one of the most taxing aspects is finding a way to balance two shifts per week, along with class work and a social life.
“Working here is pretty demanding,” Ross said. “But you make your own time. And we like to work; we enjoy it. But we are students first. We are all here trying to get degrees.”
But the part-time job provides more than firsthand experience, he said, citing a tight network of close friends as one of the perks.
“There is a lot of joking around that goes on around here,” Ross said. “Most of us definitely hang out outside of here. Everyone is friends with one another. We’re an interesting group of people.”
He said the work is well worth the time and the lengthy application process, which consists of an interview and numerous orientation and training sessions.
“It’s a good resumé builder, and it’s good for getting contacts with the University Police,” Ross said. “It helps you explore the field. It helps you see firsthand whether this is what you want to do or not.”
University Police Chief David Mitchell said student aides are a critical part of on-campus enforcement and that many aides use their experience and connections to become full University Police officers.
“It’s a definite advantage,” he said. “First of all, it gives the department a look-see at their employment history, their employment work record and the fact that they are already performing what we call police functions — although they’re auxiliary officers — clearly directing traffic takes a great skill set as well as representing the department to the rest of the university.”
Although they don’t have the authority of an official police badge, Ross said he and his co-workers thoroughly enjoy their jobs and many aspire to take it to the next level after graduation.
“Throughout my life, I have had positive experiences with police officers,” he said. “Most of them are there to help and to perform their service the best way they know how. “
Senior staff writer Ben Present contributed to this report
Fields, the county’s longest serving elected official, told the paper he once loved his job, but seeing so many people hurting has taken a toll. He said selling property on the courthouse steps over the past few years has been particularly hard.
He told the newspaper the county would work to get more time for people having trouble paying taxes, but the law would eventually require action. It is painful, Fields added, to see someone with a $250,000 mortgage on a home thatâ€™s now worth half that much.
In announcing his decision earlier this month, Fields said he had been consumed for the past year by daily nausea and acid reflux. Doctors, he said, sent him to specialists who confirmed the stress of the job was making him sick.
Pawtucket RI Feb 22 2011 One person is in custody following an overnight robbery in Pawtucket.
Benjamin Eby walked into the Broad Street Walgreen’s just before midnight Monday, and headed straight to the pharmacy counter. There, he gave the pharmacist a note claiming he had a gun, and demanded Oxycontin.
The pharmacist gave Eby an unknown amount of the drug, then notified the store’s manager and security guard of the robbery. The manager confronted Eby in the parking lot, where Eby pulled a large knife. Eby then fled the scene.
Eby was soon identified, using a description provided by the store employees. He was arrested a short time later.
Greensboro, NC Feb 22 2011– A man wanted in connection to the shooting death of a club security guard turned himself in to police Monday.
Greensboro Police said Robert Teon Ingram turned himself in with the assistance of attorneys Joe Williams and Bruce Lee.
Ingram was placed in the Guilford County Jail without bond.
Investigators said Ingram is responsible for shooting 54-year-old Winfred Lee Hunt at The Player’s Club on High Point Road early Friday morning.
SLIDESHOW – Players Club Shooting – Feb 18
The Player’s Club has been the scene of several police calls in recent months. In January, a woman was reported stabbed at the club. She was found by police in the parking lot of the club.
Last summer, 33-year-old LaKendrick Watts died after someone shot into the car he was driving near the Player’s Club on High Point Road. The club was put on lockdown during the investigation.
Greensboro Police Captain John Wolfe said that the employees at the club have been extremely cooperative. He said based on everything he knows, they did all the right things. Wolfe said he will let the investigation play out before any determination on the future of the club.
FORT MYERS FLA Feb 22 2011 A 33-year-old felon is charged with multiple counts of fraud after allegedly changing his name and registering to vote.
Investigators from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services came across Ahmad Asad Har Khuthi Ali, of Brookhill Drive in Fort Myers, when he sent a request for a replacement of his “lost” security guard license.
The request for a duplicate license came from a person listing himself as “Hon. Dr. Ahmad Asad Har-Khuthi,” and had a photo of him, with copies of his Social Security and voter registration cards.
Investigators quickly determined Ali was formerly known as Augusta Frederick Gill, Jr. – and had been convicted of armed robbery in 1998.
He sentenced to four years in state prison and was released in January 2001.
Two months later he ditched the name “Gill” and went with “Ali,” according to investigators.
He was arrested again later that year for carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
Ali was convicted and served another five years in prison before being released in June 2007.
That led investigators to check on his voter registration application – since he’d provided a copy of his voter registration card in his request for the duplicate license.
Those convicted of felonies generally lose their voting rights and need to go through a special process to have them restored.
Investigators got Ali’s registration form and found he’d lied on the part of the application that asks about being a convicted felon and/or having voting rights restored.
The Florida Parole Commission reportedly told investigators Ali had not had his voting rights restored.
Investigators also found he’d voted in several elections.
Ali is charged with five counts of voter fraud. He’s being held in the Lee County Jail.
ATLANTA GA Feb 22 2011(AP) — Authorities say a fire broke out at a suburban Atlanta house where methamphetamine was being prepared, killing three young children.
When firefighters arrived at the two-story house in Lilburn around 4 p.m. Thursday, heavy smoke was billowing from inside. The children, who ranged in age from 18 months to 4 years, were taken to a hospital and later died from their injuries.
Authorities believe the fire was caused when chemicals used to make methamphetamine ignited.
Gwinnett County police Cpl. Jake Smith said Friday that police were seeking 26-year-old Ivan Gonzalez and have charged him with murder in the children’s deaths. The children’s mother has also been charged with trafficking methamphetamine.
Investigators found nearly $200,000 and several pounds of liquid and finished methamphetamine.
Indianapolis IN Feb 22 2011 A 14-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man were arrested for a carjacking outside a Northwestside Wal-Mart last night when they returned to the scene of the crime as police were investigating.
Police said they had just identified the pair on the store’s security camera when an employee said she saw the suspects again in the parking lot. When officers closed in on them, the pair led them on a high speed chase down 86th Street, striking two squad cars along the way.
The 14-year-old was preliminarily charged with robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, criminal recklessness, resisting law enforcement and operating a vehicle without a license.
Edwin Byrd, 18, was preliminarily charged with kidnapping, carjacking and robbery.
Byrd and the juvenile allegedly carjacked a 26-year-old woman as she returned to her car at the store, 3221 W. 86th St., at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Kimberli Hargis, Indianapolis, said two men in dark clothes carrying handguns approached her and told her to get into the driver’s seat of her 1996 black Pontiac Grand Am.
Hargis said one of the men sat in the passenger seat behind her, holding her throat and making threats. The other was in the front passenger seat, pointing a pistol at her, according to the report.
When Hargis got to an apartment complex in the 1400 block of Rockingham Place, they made her get out of the car, then drove away while continuing to point the gun at her.
Hargis’ wallet and $40 in cash were stolen, police said.
Police returned to the Wal-Mart to look at security footage when someone spotted Byrd and the juvenile in Hargis’ car.
FARMINGTON CT Feb 22 2011 — When loss prevention agents at Westfarms mall attempted to stop a shoplifter Saturday, he sprinted through the mall and knocked an elderly woman to the ground in his attempt to escape, police said.
Mall security officers managed to detain Brandon O’Neal Nunn until Farmington police arrived. Police say he was attempting to steal $317 worth of clothing from Hollister.
Nunn also fought with loss prevention agents, police said.
While being transported to Farmington police headquarters Nunn attempted to hide a bag of marijuana in the back seat of the police car, police said.
He was charged with second-degree breach of peace, sixth-degree larceny, possession of a controlled substance and third-degree robbery.
He was also charged with criminal violation of a protective order because he had been ordered to stay away from the woman who showed up to bail him out, police said.
The woman, Brenda Delcarmen Davis, 30, was wanted on two warrants for failure to appear in court. Police served the warrants and took her into custody.
WILMINGTON,NC Feb 22 2011- People across the country must agree shoplifting from grocery stores is easy, after all, the grocery industry is losing billions due to theft and the high shoplifting rates are affecting the bottom line.
“The grocery business is one of the lowest profitable businesses anywhere-we operate on a 1% net margin on the bottom line and when they start tapping into that 1%- shop lifting, bad checks- it has to come back from somewhere, you have to be profitable enough to stay in business,” said Piggly Wiggly store manager Daniel Teachey.
Stores are forced to cut jobs in order to get money back. According to the Wilmington Police Department, many stores in the Wilmington area have the “hands-off” policy. This policy means video cameras and extra employees on the floor can be a set of eyes, however, if a lifter is spotted no action is taken because of potential lawsuits that might ensue. As a result, many lifters leave scott-free and it is up for the police to watch the video footage and catch the thief later on.
This policy is not enforced at the independently owned Piggly Wiggly in Leland.
“Even lock the doors in some cases so they can’t get out until the police gets here,” said Piggly Wiggly store manager Keith Bullock.
This particular grocery store has seen a dramatic drop in theft over the years with their “no shoplifter left behind” policy.