End of Watch: Friday, February 25, 2011
Tour of Duty: 28 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Explosion
Date of Incident: Friday, February 25, 2011
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Officer Fred Thornton was killed when a flash-bang device detonated as he handled SWAT equipment.
He had just returned home following a SWAT call out to serve a warrant and was attempting to render his equipment safe when the flash-bang discharged, causing massive injuries. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Officer Thornton had served with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for 28 years. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Agency Contact Information
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
601 East Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 336-7600
Please contact the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
8 Hour Security Guard: MVCC will be hosting two 8-hour Security Guard Training programs, which are the first part of the New York State certification for all contractual and proprietary security guard personnel. The first program will be held on the Utica Campus, Monday, March 7 and Wednesday, March 9, from 6-10 p.m. The second program will be offered on the Rome Campus, Monday, April 11 and Wednesday, April 13, from 6-10 p.m. The cost for each program is $60. These programs are a prerequisite to the 16-Hour Security Guard Training course.
16 Hour Security Guard Training: This course is the 16-hour on-the-job training course (OJT) which is required within 90 days of initial employment as a Security Guard. Topics include role as a security guard, legal powers and limitations, emergency situations, public relations, access control, ethics and conduct, report writing, incident command system, and terrorism. An examination is taken at the end of the class and upon successful completion students will receive a certificate confirming your participation. This program will be offered Monday through Thursday, May 2-5, from 6-10 p.m. on the Utica Campus. The registration fee is $99.
Enrollment is limited and will be taken on a first come basis. For information or to register, call 792-5300 or visit mvcc.edu/cced. Office hours are 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Friday. All MVCC non-credit instruction is completely self-supporting, including indirect costs, and requires no public funding.
Michael James Ellis was arrested at 7:45 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of resisting and obstructing a peace officer, and assault and battery of a peace officer after deputies responded to calls for help at a dispensary in the 24600 block of Raymond Way, Sgt. Angel Andrade said.
According to police reports, Ellis walked into the dispensary and wanted to purchase some marijuana but had no money. He asked for credit and was refused. He became angry and was escorted out of the building by dispensary staff. A short time later he came back to the building and tried to start a fight with a security guard and other patrons at the dispensary.
Deputies arrived and placed Ellis into the back seat of the police car, Andrade said.
“Ellis began to kick out the rear window at which time one deputy opened the door to calm Ellis down,” Andrade said. “Ellis jumped out of the backseat and had to be restrained. He then attempted to kick the deputies.”
Ellis was taken to Orange County Jail. He is being held on a $2,500 bail and is scheduled for arraignment on Monday
PHILADELPHIA PA – February 27, 2011 — A man from Nigeria is under arrest after officers say he passed 67 pellets filled with heroin at Philadelphia International Airport.
Clement Agbapu, 36, was arrested after the incident this past weekend.
Investigators say Agbapu arrived in Philadelphia from Nigeria after a layover in the U.K. at about 2:30 p.m on Friday, February 18th.
Officers allegedly detected “inconsistencies” in his answer to routine questions, and discovered his stomach to be distended.
He consented to an x-ray at a local hospital in which officers found something suspicious. The next morning, police say he passed the pellets of heroin.
The pellets contained a total of two pounds, 11 ounces of heroin worth an estimate $86,000.
Authorities say ingesting narcotics for concealment is highly dangerous, and carriers have been known to die a very painful death when pellets breach.
Agbapu faces charges including possession with intent to deliver. He is being held on $50,000 bail.
Robert J. Matlock, 28, was being picked up on a warrant for domestic battery and as he was escorted out of the courthouse on Etna Road, he tried running away. Matlock kicked and swung at officers before five deputies and a security officer subdued him, according to the report.
Four deputies were treated for minor injuries. Matlock was charged with aggravated battery of a peace officer and resisting arrest. The incident happened at 10 a.m., according to the report.
Matlock’s original reason for being at the courthouse was not in the report, according to the sheriff’s office.
VICTORVILLE, Calif. Feb 27 2011 — Victorville police are searching for a male suspect who shot and killed a security guard at a nightclub.
Police said on Thursday night, Sean Thrift was working as security at the front entrance of Teazers nightclub on Seventh Street in Victorville. Thrift was approached by an unknown male who shot and killed him.
Investigators do not have a detailed description of the suspect and it is unknown if the suspect fled on foot or had a vehicle waiting nearby.
The motive for the shooting is unclear. It does not appear that there was any confrontation between the suspect and victim prior to the shooting.
Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is urged to call San Bernardino County Sheriff’s at (909) 387-3598.
Callers wishing to remain anonymous may contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME.
MONTGOMERY, AL Feb 27 2011 – A veteran Montgomery police officer is under arrest and charged with two counts of identity theft. Bradley Howard Pemberton, 41, a sergeant with the Montgomery Police Department, is facing federal wire fraud and identity theft charges said Leura G. Canary, United States Attorney.
The MPD placed Pemberton on mandatory leave with pay effective Feb. 10, 2011. The department has since “initiated proceedings to terminate Pemberton’s employment,” according to Director Chris Murphy of the Montgomery Police Department. He’s been with the department since 1994.
The indictment, which was unsealed Friday, alleges that through his position with MPD, Pemberton was authorized to access the Law Enforcement Tactical System (“LETS”), which is maintained by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (“ACJIC”).
LETS provides law enforcement personnel with Alabama drivers license information, including a driver’s Social Security number, date of birth, and home address. This information is to be used for law enforcement purposes only.
Pemberton is accused of using LETS on December 2, 2008, to obtain the Social Security number and date of birth of an individual with the initials “BNP.”
Pemberton then applied for a Discover Card credit card over the Internet using his own address, but BNP’s name, Social Security number, and date of birth.
Discover Card opened an account based on the application, and Pemberton used the account to make payments on a previously fraudulently obtained American Express card account.
Baltimore MD Feb 27 2011 Two security checkpoints at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport were shut down for more than a half hour Saturday morning because of improper screening of passengers, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman said.
The A and B pier checkpoints were closed from about 8:40 a.m. to about 9:20, when normal operations resumed, said Michael S. McCarthy, the TSA spokesman. The checkpoints serve Southwest Airlines, BWI’s dominant carrier.
In a statement, the security error was described as “an instance of improper screening protocol.” McCarthy declined to elaborate other than to say the checkpoints were shut down “out of caution.”
“Acting with an abundance of precaution, TSA suspended checkpoint operations for a short period of time,” said Jonathan Dean, an airport spokesman, who said, “Operations are normal.”
Brandy King, a spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines, said the security breach caused minimal delays on a handful of flights that were taking off around the time of the shutdown.
“It did cause minimal delays this morning when the security breach did happen,” King said.
Bond was set at $75,000.
Peck is alleged to have violated terms of her probation twice within two months by failing to register as a sex offender.
The probation violation hearing was rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 25.
If her probation is revoked, she could have to serve her five-year sentence for crimes against the student.
PHOENIX AZ Feb 27 2011 – A middle school teacher is one of two Valley men arrested for using a popular Internet website to connect with people offering their dogs for sexual acts with humans.
Twenty-five-year-old Patrick Stephen Trejo’s students at Raul Castro Middle School knew him as a good music teacher.
“Why would you do something like that,” said one of his students, Keena Huesby. “It scared me, because I wouldn’t think of him as someone who would get arrested for anything because he seemed like a really nice teacher.”
The school sent Huesby home with a letter to her parents, saying their children were never in danger.
“It’s just not something I’ve ever thought about discussing with my kids before,” said Huesby’s father, David Huesby.
The investigation indicated there is secret language amongst Craiglist users in order to obscure their criminal plans, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
According to court paperwork, Trejo wrote, “Hit me up if you have a pup to play with,” and made the call for anyone who was interested in “K-9 play” on Craigslist.
Another man, 47-year-old Keith D. Kiefer of Mesa was also arrested in the online sting, but the arrests were unrelated to each other, according to Arpaio.
Arpaio said there are apparently Craigslist users who train their animals for the encounters, and that no money was offered or exchanged.
“I think they figured the dog was already trained for the activity, so they didn’t need to bring any bones to bribe the dog,” he said.
According to the court documents, Kiefer, an unemployed handyman, wrote that he was looking to try, “Beasty worship of the kinky kind” and requested pictures of the dog’s genitals, which he said he “liked very much.”
Arpaio said undercover deputies corresponded with the two men, posing as the handler of a male shepherd mix, and arranged to meet them in local hotel rooms where the sex acts were to occur. Before the actual sex act occurred, the deputies took the suspects into custody.
“I don’t want to get into too much of the sex situation, but when I mention domination, I presume you might catch on as to what I’m talking about,” said Arpaio.
Zues, the dog detectives used as bait, had been neglected and rescued from an abusive home. He is now up for adoption. Deputies said they used the two-year-old dog because he is the friendliest one they had.
There was not a beastiality law on the books in Arizona until 2006, when one of Mesa’s assistant fire chiefs was allegedly caught trying to fornicate with a sheep.
The investigation took several months, and Arpaio has pledged to continue the stings.
According to Meri Simmons with the Cartwright School District, the following letter was sent home with students at Raul H. Castro Middle School where Trejo taught:
We were notified today that one of our teachers has been arrested on charges unknown at this time. The teacher involved will be placed on administrative leave and will not be permitted to return to school, pending the outcome of the investigation by authorities, as well as by our staff.
At no time, were your children in any danger. Please be assured that your child’s safety is always our utmost concern.
MORVEN, N.C. Feb 27 2011– An 11-year-old girl is dead after her 10-year-old brother accidentally shot her.
The Anson County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were called out to Sandy Ridge Church Road shortly before 10 p.m. Friday night.
When they arrived on scene, the girl was found unresponsive and deputies began CPR.
The girl was taken to the Anson County Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Investigators say the .22 caliber rifle was in a closet at the home.
They say the girl’s brother got the gun and accidental fired it, hitting his sister just below the eye.
Sheriff Tommy Allen said in a statement, “This appears to be a terrible accident. This is something that should never have happened, but then it does. We preach over and over that guns must be stored in a safe place, where inquisitive children cannot get to them.”
Sheriff Allen says even though everything with this incident points to an accidental shooting, the case will still be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office and DSS for further review.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Feb 27 2011– Parents of the men charged in connection with a shooting involving Waka Flocka Flame say they want charges filed against the rapper’s security guards.
Six men were arrested for allegedly trying to rob the rapper of his jewelry, which ended in a shootout in the parking lot of Car Stereo Warehouse on East Independence Boulevard.
Shots were fired by both sides and the families of the men charged in the shooting are asking why no one from Waka Flocka Flame’s security team was charged.
Antonio Stukes was shot in the shoulder during the exchange of gunfire at the Car Stereo Warehouse. He was one of six suspects arrested for allegedly trying to rob rap star Waka Flocka Flame.
“Just don’t listen to one side of the story because there is always another side,” said Stukes’ mother, Antoinette.
On Saturday, Stukes and the mothers of the other suspects are planning to hold a rally of sorts.
“So us parents are trying to get together so they can hear our cry and release our kids,” Stukes said.
The parents believe their children were arrested because they don’t have money or fame, unlike Waka Flocka Flame’s security. None of the bodyguards were arrested.
“I don’t understand why they are not locked up or being questioned for shooting at people,” Stukes said.
There is surveillance tape of the shootout, which could resolve the question of who shot first. The police have seen the video and so have the employees at the store, but the store won’t release the video. The manager says he’s been offered $5,000 for the video and turned it down.
The rally will be held in the same neighborhood where a police chase ended involving two of the suspects.
“Hoping they will release our kids and hoping they will do justice as they should,” Stukes said.
Stukes is not sure how many people will attend Saturday’s event but she is hoping 30 to 40 show up.
NewsChannel 36 spoke with the rapper’s publicist after the shooting. She says the security team followed protocol and the security cameras from the audio store back up the team’s story.
Now ADPS detectives need the victims to come forward and identify their stolen property recovered by the department.
Detective Mark Esquero said Matthew W. Peil has been charged with 18 counts of fourth degree breaking and entering, four counts of commercial burglary, two counts of receiving, retaining or disposing of stolen property over $500 and one count of possession of burglary tools. He is being held on $125,000 no-ten percent bond.
Esquero said the Alamo Security guard was doing his rounds at The Storage Center, 2219 Lawrence Blvd., around 3:12 a.m. and saw Peil in front of storage unit No. 109 and thought it was odd.
“Peil was wearing a head band with a light on it,” he said. “It’s common for a night time burglar to wear or have some kind of light with them to see what they’re doing. The security guard approached Peil and asked what Peil was doing.”
Esquero said Peil told the guard that the unit belonged to him.
“The guard attempted to verify Peil’s claim that he was a renter of the unit,” he said. “When the security guard called ADPS officers then Peil ran in the direction of the Satellite Inn. The security guard was able to inform ADPS officers of the direction in which Peil ran.”
Esquero said officers were able to retrace Peil’s steps to Lawrence Boulevard and 23rd Street then to an alle way and found a set of keys in the middle of one of the streets then found a backpack and cellular telephone in the alleyway.
“The investigation revealed that Peil was using the unrented storage unit to store stolen items from other units within the Alamogordo area,” he said. “The abandoned backpack and cellular telephone led officers and detectives to the Satellite Inn where Peil was renting a room but Peil was not at the motel at that time. Detective conducted surveillance on the motel and observed Peil entering one of the rooms around 9 a.m. on Feb. 18.”
Esquero said during their investigation detectives and officers learned that Peil had an outstanding Otero County Magistrate Court arrest warrant for alleged failure to pay fines or court cost.
“We arrested Peil on the warrant,” he said. “While arresting Peil officers and detectives observed several items inside the motel room similar to the items being stored in the unrented storage unit. They obtained a search warrant for the motel room then executed the warrant on the room and found items similar to the items being stored in the unit. We found several items in the room and storage unit which included furniture, clothing, electronics and various other stolen items within the Alamogordo area.”
Esquero said officers have filed reports of burglary from victims over the last two months.
“Peil was allegedly breaking into storage units then putting the stolen items in the one storage unit,” he said. “Peil was allegedly stealing one or two items for the other storage units and not everything in the unit. Renters reporting break ins to their units because they found their locks broken. We’re asking those victims to return to ADPS and try to identify their stolen property. Some of the victims may or may not know their property was taken.”
Esquero said victims of residential and automobile burglaries need to visit with detectives to possibly identify their property as well.
“We’re not sure what other possible burglaries Peil was allegedly committing during the two month period,” he said. “Peil did admit to detectives and officers that he had broken into storage units in the past. Peil is minimizing any other break ins at other locations. There’s some large items in the storage unit that would take more then one person to move into the unit. We believe he may have had an accomplice.”
Esquero said he is suggesting renter of storage units use anti-theft locks to secure their units.
“Renters were using a cheaper in cost brand lock,” he said. “They need to spend the money for a more secure lock or anti-theft lock.”
Anyone with information about the burglaries or have been a victim of the burglaries can contact the ADPS Detective Division at 439-4300 or Crime Stoppers at 437-2000.
Daniel J. Curran, 39, who beat a 2001 open and gross lewdness rap, has an April 8 disposition hearing on charges of indecent assault and battery and lewd wanton lascivious conduct, records show.
The case stems from 2009 charges by East Longmeadow cops, who allege Curran pinched the butt of a naked 15-year-old boy in a health club shower, records show.
On Thursday, court officials told the Herald they had lost Curran’s criminal case file. The file has since been found, officials said yesterday.
Curran, who worked as a state transportation engineering aide for seven months in 2002, was hired as a court officer in June 2004 after a background check, said court spokeswoman Joan Kenney. She noted the 2001 case against Curran was dismissed, and said he has been on unpaid suspension since the new charges were filed.
Defense attorney Michael O. Jennings and Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni did not return messages.
Court officers serve the key public safety function of guarding suspects, witnesses and jurors. But Curran is not the only employee to face legal trouble.
Former Trial Court Security Department staffers who have faced serious charges include a Level 3 sex offender and a chief court officer’s son who is now in federal prison for drug distribution, a Herald review found.
Former associate court officer Charles J. Tatum was hired in July 2001 despite a 1986 conviction in South Carolina for indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, records show.
He is set to go to trial on May 11 on rape charges in Plymouth Superior Court. A Massachusetts criminal background check was conducted on Tatum before he was hired, Kenney said. That check did not list the South Carolina conviction. Tatum was put on unpaid leave and later fired on July 1, 2010, after a disciplinary hearing, said Kenney. Neither he nor his lawyer returned messages.
Former court officer Eric Bevilacqua, 29, whose father is a chief court officer in Haverhill, is now serving a 35-month federal prison sentence for distributing oxycodone, court records show. He had been hired by the Security Department in 2006 and resigned in 2009, after he was charged.
His father, Frederick Bevilacqua, referred questions to Kenney, who described the son as a “qualified candidate at the time of his hiring.” His lawyer declined comment.