The chief has identified employee as Officer Jonathan Cropper.
The 24-year old Boone officer was found dead in his Avery County home near Newland last evening, and the Avery Sheriff’s Office investigation reports that the cause of death appears to be from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Crawford did not go into details of the death—nor was he asked—only to say that the investigation is being handled by Avery, and he thanked that department for their help.
Jonathan Cropper grew up in Avery, graduated from Lees-McRae, and began work for Boone Police in October.
Funeral arrangements will be announced as the investigation concludes.
PASCAGOULA, MS March 17 2011 - A Pascagoula man was arrested Wednesday after police say he threatened to blow up the Hancock Bank on Market Street.
Police were called to the bank around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon. When they arrived, bank officials told them David Harold Hudson Sr., 61, had been at the branch earlier and was asked to leave after he started harassing customers.
Investigators said Hudson told the bank manager he had a bomb and was going to blow the place up. Hudson then allegedly placed a white garbage bag containing several Mason jars in the lobby by the rear door of the bank.
Lieutenant Davy Davis told WLOX News the jars were filled with a variety of food items, and that one appears to be gumbo.
Police said the bank manager told them that Hudson lives nearby, visits the bank frequently, and has a reputation for harassing customers and bank employees.
Hudson was arrested at his apartment on Market Street, and is now awaiting an initial appearance at the Pascagoula Police Department.
Mall shopper’s umbrellas mistaken for rifle closes mall-sends cops on manhunt www.privateofficer.com
Roanoke VA March 17 2011 Both 911 calls reporting a man with a rifle at Valley View Mall were from mall security officers — one relaying a secondhand report, the other from watching a 40-minute-old security video, according to recordings of the 911 calls.
The first call, from a mall guard at 5:05 p.m. Monday, reported another mall worker had seen a man with “a big assault rifle.” The second call, at 5:37 p.m., was from a Macy’s loss prevention detective, who breathlessly told a police dispatcher, “It definitely was an assault rifle.”
The calls sent dozens of city and state police swarming the mall and prompted an evacuation and a failed 10-hour search of the region’s largest shopping complex.
The man who was subject of the hunt came forward Tuesday and showed police the black umbrella he had been carrying against Monday’s predicted rain.
The Macy’s detective called police as she was watching 40-minute old surveillance video showing the man walking out of Macy’s and into the mall, according to the recording.
“He still had his gun in his left hand,” the Macy’s officer said.
Glendale AZ March 17 2011 At approximately 3:30 p.m. March 14, Glendale police officers were dispatched to the area of 20900 N. 59th Ave. in reference to a subject with a gun call for service.
Upon arrival, investigation revealed that 54-year-old Phoenix resident, Ronald Compton, broke out the glass to a guard station by shooting it with a BB gun, while it was occupied by a security guard. The suspect then fled the area prior to police arrival.
Prior to this incident and over the weekend, patrol officers had received several calls in reference to the same vehicle and suspect damaging property in the immediate area.
Officers were able to obtain suspect vehicle information which led them to an address in Phoenix.
Foothills property Crime Detectives responded to the suspect residence where they were unable to contact and identify the suspect involved in the incident.
A search warrant was then served on the residence where several guns, dangerous drugs and the BB gun, which was used in the crime was located.
Compton was taken into custody, arrested and booked into Glendale City Jail for Aggravated Assault and several other charges.
On Monday,a Georgia Bureau of Investigation press release stated that they had been investigating the teacher as well as a second person in the incident.
Laura Dyar, 27, who is a Morgan County Middle School teacher and has been charged with child molestation, enticing a minor and sexual assault on one of her students.
The GBI press release further stated that the student’s legal guardian, Twanna Clay, 21, of Madison, also was arrested on charges of theft by extortion and criminal intent to commit theft by extortion, but GBI agents did not issue further details on those crimes.
Madison police officers, Morgan County sheriff’s deputies and GBI agents will continue the investigation, the agents said.
VANCLEAVE, MS March 17 2011- A substitute teacher at Vancleave Middle School is under arrest, accused of sending sexual letters to a 14-year-old student.
Darryl Ford Brady II, 23, is charged with one count of Enticing a Child for Sexual Purposes.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said Brady gave the victim “letters of a sexual nature” at school. Byrd said Brady had “encouraged and enticed the victim to have an intimate relationship with him.”
Brady was arrested Tuesday evening at his home on Morningside Drive in Vancleave. He’s being held at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center pending an initial court appearance.
WEST VALLEY CITY Utah March 17 2011 — A security guard at the city’s driver’s license bureau accidentally fired his gun into the bathroom floor Wednesday morning while trying to fix a problem.
About 7:30 a.m., a 23-year-old employee from Chapman Security was at the Driver’s License Division, 2780 W. 4700 South, when he noticed the thumb safety on his handgun was not engaged, said West Valley Police Sgt. Mike Powell.
The man went into the bathroom to fix the problem, but for an unknown reason kept his finger on the gun’s trigger while attempting to remedy the situation, Powell said. He accidentally fired a shot into the tile floor, he said.
No one was injured. Powell said charges would not likely be filed.
RIVERSIDE CA March 17 2011 — A former Riverside elementary school security guard was convicted Tuesday of molesting students during encounters on a playground.
A Riverside jury deliberated just under five hours before finding Dennis Edward Lucas, 43, guilty of four counts of lewd acts on a child and one count of annoying a minor.
He was acquitted on a second misdemeanor count of annoying a minor.
Lucas could face 14 years in state prison when he is sentenced on April 15 by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gordon Burkhardt.
During his closing argument Monday, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beechum told jurors that the former Fremont Elementary School “campus supervisor” had been instructed three or four times during his two-year career “not to touch the kids.”
“But he was compelled to do so,” Beechum said. “These are all girls in elementary school. There is no other reason for this conduct other than abnormal or sexual.”
Beechum described Lucas’ behavior as “creepy,” telling jurors that the defendant tickled the victims’ necks, brushed underneath their chins and stroked their chests.
“These six girls all said this guy did something to them,” Beechum said. “They have no bone to pick with Mr. Lucas. Why pick on this guy? Because he did it.”
Last week, two of the alleged victims testified that the guard touched them and exhibited sexual behavior in front of them.
The girls, identified only as M.G. and T.H., recalled separate incidents that happened when both were fifth-graders.
M.G., now 15, testified that while she was standing next to Lucas watching a basketball game on an outdoor court, he grabbed her arm with one hand and stroked her breasts with the other.
Not long afterward, the girl alleged that she saw Lucas standing in his guard shack, wearing shorts and “rubbing his privates.”
T.H. testified that Lucas fondled her right breast as she tried to hand him his keys after he had dropped them while running to break up a fight on a basketball court.
According to the girl, the defendant also touched her chin and “grabbed his penis” while watching a soccer game.
M.G. and T.H. both said they liked him and, at the time, the former considered the Moreno Valley man “a friend.”
Defense attorney Michael Schaaf told jurors that Lucas had been “unduly charged.”
Schaaf cited the Salem witch trials in drawing a historical parallel to his client’s situation.
Schaaf argued the prosecution failed to prove that Lucas “willfully touched these little girls with the intent to arouse his sexual desires” — a key component of committing a lewd or lascivious act.
According to Schaaf, because Lucas was popular and had children vying for his attention all the time, it was inevitable that “somebody was going to get touched.”
Lucas was arrested in November 2007 after then-10-year-old T.H. made her allegations to Riverside police.
LILLINGTON, NC March 17 2011 — Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins confirmed to ABC11 Wednesday that a man is dead following an incident with a Taser at the Harnett County Detention Center in Lillington Tuesday.
Rollins said 24-year-old Brandon Jolvon Bethea of Fayetteville had been in court Tuesday and got into an altercation with detention officers when he was returned to jail.
Officers used a Taser – which emits a powerful electric charge – to control Bethea. They said immediately afterwards they noticed he was non-responsive and they began CPR until EMS paramedics arrived.
Bethea was taken to Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn where he was pronounced dead at 2:14 p.m.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bethea family during this difficult time,” said Rollins in a statement.
Rollins said Detention Officer J. Clark – the officer who used the Taser – is on routine administrative leave while the SBI investigates.
Bethea had been in the Harnett County Detention Center under a $150,000 bond since January 23 after his arrest on two counts of attempted first-degree sex offense, attempted armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, and selling a counterfeit controlled substance.
Vander NC March 17 2011 A man who was wanted for shooting and seriously injuring three people – and perhaps a fourth – during a weekend party at a Vander after-hours night club was found dead Monday, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
Edward Gerald Fisher, 32, of the 7000 block of Hyannis Drive, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a news release.
Fisher’s body, the release said, was found lying near a cemetery off Tabor Church Road about 9:15 p.m. Monday.
Warrants for Fisher’s arrest were issued Monday afternoon, charging him with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill and assault with a deadly weapon.
He allegedly fired shots at three people who were guests at the club early Sunday morning at 409 John B. Carter Road.
The victims, according to the release, have been identified as Mariella Nicole Rivas, 20, of the 100 block of Grove View Terrace; David Wayne Robinson, 35, of the 1700 block of Gibson Street; and Xavier Kaynon Whitted, 21, of the 2900 block of Orbie Circle, all of Fayetteville.
All three remain in serious condition at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Fisher’s body will be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Chapel Hill for autopsy, the release said.
Investigators on Monday discovered that a fourth person had been injured in the incident; that person was at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, and in serious condition, said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. He had not been shot, but investigators wouldn’t release how he had been injured.
The owner of the club says the trouble began when a man tried to bring a weapon inside and exchanged gunfire with security.
The Sheriff’s Office would not confirm the owner’s account of the shooting.
Tanna said two of the people who were shot claimed to be security guards at the club – although investigators had not confirmed that.
Property owner Steven “Chicken Wing” Morrison, 42, said the trouble began early Sunday after two men with guns showed up at the “Red Barn” on John B. Carter Road, at the intersection of Batcave Drive.
Morrison said he’s rented out the Red Barn for a few months for events such as birthday parties and wedding receptions, and never had any problems before. He got started because he wanted to give people in the area a place to hang out, he said.
“It was something to do. We didn’t have nothing to do out here in the country, and we all get together and party all the time,” Morrison said. “We all know each other. … And most of the people that come out here is from right here in this area, people that know about the building.”
Customers pay him $450 to rent the building for a night and they supply their own food and alcohol, he said. The cost covers a bartender, DJ and security for the building, he said. People not on the guest list have to pay a $3 cover charge to get in, he said.
The club features a bar with a flat-screen TV mounted above, where guests watch Ultimate Fighting Championship fights, Morrison said. It’s equipped with a pool table, dance floor and kitchen.
“I ain’t never had no problems,” Morrison said. “Nice spot. Nice spot. Everybody would come there; we’d have a good time all the time. Everybody loves it out here. I don’t even need security. I don’t need security, but what happened was a freak. I mean, it was going and I’m sitting here like I couldn’t believe it.”
This weekend, a relative of Morrison’s was holding a 21st birthday party when trouble broke out, he said. Security at the front door, which uses a metal-detecting wand on people entering, found a man coming in with a gun and took the weapon, Morrison said.
But then someone began shooting through the door from outside the building, and security returned fire, he said. A security guard who was in the back by the pool table, as well as a woman who was an “innocent bystander” were struck in the shooting, he said.
Deputies on Monday were interviewing about 75 people who were connected to the gathering, Tanna said.
Authorities say they are planning to investigate what was going on at the after-hours club beyond the shooting.
Agent Jason Locklear of the local Alcohol Law Enforcement office said his agency is going to work with the Sheriff’s Office to investigate the club.
It wasn’t known Monday if ALE had previously received complaints about Morrison’s venture.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to the property only once in 2010 for a report of a suspicious person on Nov. 23.
‘They’re good people’
Neighbors reported having few problems with the club, even though it would often be full on a weekend night. Sometimes loud music could be heard coming from its walls, but the people there kept to themselves and never caused problems in the area, several neighbors said.
“They look out for us. They’re good people,” said a neighbor who asked not to be identified. “He was just trying to make a dollar, I reckon, and it just didn’t work.”
Morrison acknowledged that “everything may not be by the book” at the club, but he said the Red Barn was really just a place for a group of friends and neighbors to get together.
But as a result of the shooting, he’s closing for good, he said.
“I’m done,” Morrison said. “Somebody got hurt at my place. That’s all I’m worried about.”
Nashville TN March 17 2011 Associates identified the protesters as six members of the University of Memphis’ Progressive Students Alliance and Ash-Lee Henderson, an advocate with Chattanooga Organized for Action. Henderson had spoken at the rally earlier in the day.
The seven protesters were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. They were taken to Metro jail, where they would be given the opportunity to post bond this evening, said Col. Tracy Trott, head of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which is responsible for security at the Capitol.
Troopers at the Tennessee Capitol have forcibly carried out seven union supporters after their protest disrupted a Senate committee hearing.
The seven were among of group of protesters who stood up during the Senate Commerce Committee hearing today and began chants about what they called “union busting” by the state Legislature.
Most demonstrators left the hearing room after about 30 minutes, but a small group tried to lock arms to keep from being removed.
Troopers pulled the holdouts out of the room one by one, while lawmakers, lobbyists and other observers looked on.
The committee disruption occurred after hundreds of labor supporters gathered for a midday protest near the Capitol to denounce a bill to strip teachers of their collective bargaining rights.
Several hundred people gathered at the state Capitol today in a rally organized by labor leaders to oppose legislation dealing with unions and bargaining rights.
The crowd included civil rights activists, students and members of more than a dozen unions who amassed at noon on Legislative Plaza, in the largest weekday rally so far by labor groups since the Republican-led legislature took up debate last month on a bill that would strip the state’s teachers’ union of its ability to negotiate contracts with local school districts.
The hour-long event comes on the heels of a march 10 days ago that brought thousands to the Capitol.
Both events were meant to show broad opposition from labor groups to the collective-bargaining bill and to other measures in the legislature that would limit the power to unions to sign up new members and contribute to campaigns, participants said.
“We’ve brought solidarity within our own ranks, shown them that it’s not hopeless, that we’re not going to sit by and just let these things happen,” said Jerry Lee, state president for the AFL-CIO and an organizer of the event. “And the other thing is it shows the legislators — it shows the public —that we’re here and we’re not going to go away.”
The event ended with a march from the plaza to the Capitol across the street, where organizers said they planned to deliver their response to Gov. Bill Haslam’s State of the State address on Monday evening
HOUSTON TX March 17 2011 — Two men are facing robbery charges after a wrecker driver followed them from a robbery on the north side overnight.
Police suspect the men robbed the Champions Auto Sale & Repair shop on Stuebner-Airline. They arrested the men a short time later on the North Freeway at Little York. Officers believe the men broke into several cars at the shop and last night. One of the suspects even attacked a security guard there.
A wrecker driver noticed a car fitting the suspect’s description and called it into police. The men now face robbery charges.
El Paso TX March 17 2011 A fired El Paso police sergeant was arrested this afternoon on suspicion of having an improper relationship with a 15-year-old girl at a high school where he worked.
Miguel Lucero, 36, faces a felony charge of an improper relationship between educator and student. He was jailed in lieu of a $10,000 bond.
Police officials said Lucero was arrested after an investigation by the police Special Investigations Group. The district attorney’s office reviewed the case and decided to prosecute.
Chief Greg Allen had fired Lucero in December after an internal investigation found evidence of the relationship.
Lucero allegedly met the girl while working as an off-duty security officer at a Riverside High School, police and school district officials said. The allegations were first raised by the girl’s boyfriend.
Lucero had been with the department for 11 years and had one written reprimand for off-duty misconduct during his career, according to his disciplinary history card.
Lucero is one in a recent string of El Paso police officers suspected of criminal misconduct on and off duty.
Last month, Officer Zake Rivera was arrested for allegedly forcing a woman to perform oral sex on him during a family disturbance call. Rivera has since been fired.
In October, Sgt. Alberto Madrid was arrested on suspicion of stealing a wedding money box while working off duty at a reception.
That same month, Officer Mark Muñoz was indicted and charged with molesting an unconscious woman while off duty in 2009.
During an El Paso Times online chat today, Allen was asked what the Police Department was doing to remove or keep problem officers from joining the police force in light of the recent arrests.
“The department has implemented more stringent processes related to hiring,” Allen said. “I believe a strong foundation as far as a person’s character will make a better officer. These are the standards I was hired under and have implemented in my current academy staff and personnel department.
Source:El Paso Times
Kona HI March 17 2011 A former Transportation Security Administration employee is facing a federal embezzling charge for allegedly stealing money from a traveler’s wallet at a passenger checkpoint at the Kona airport.
TSA officials arrested Dawn Nikole Keka on Friday. She was a lead transportation security officer at Kona Airport.
Keka resigned from her job Monday, said TSA spokesman Nico Melendez.
The TSA said it conducted a sting operation targeting Keka in response to numerous allegations that she was stealing cash from Japanese travelers passing through her screening lane.
According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court yesterday, a TSA special agent posing as a Japanese tourist went through Keka’s lane with 13 marked $100 bills in her wallet. The agent placed the wallet in a Hello Kitty backpack.
After the backpack went through the X-ray machine, the TSA said, Keka searched it with her back to the agent, discarded a bottle of liquid from the backpack and asked the “tourist” whether she is Japanese. The undercover agent nodded yes.
Keka then put the backpack through the X-ray machine a second time. A special agent with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General said he saw Keka walk to the middle of the screening area and lean against a wall near the X-ray machine.
When the undercover agent got the backpack, she discovered two $100 bills missing from the wallet.
TSA agents arrested Keka and found the two missing bills crumpled in her right back pocket. They also found four other crumpled bills in her front pocket: two $100s, a $20 and a $10.
When TSA officials released Keka, she stood up and said, “I made a bad decision. I just made a bad decision,” according to the criminal complaint.
The arrest came a week after the TSA disclosed it was investigating some of its security officers for allegedly failing to screen checked-in baggage for explosives, as their jobs require.
Melendez said he could not confirm the number of officers being investigated. A source close to the investigation said at least 27 officers are involved. The TSA employs about 750 people in Hawaii.
James Edward Meskill, 38, who works at J.H. Gunn Elementary School and lives in Cabarrus County, was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and a first-degree sex offense.
Late Tuesday, CMS police told Cabarrus County authorities that a teacher at the school had borrowed the camcorder from Meskill and found what she believed was child pornography.
On Wednesday, investigators said they determined that Meskill made the recordings and committed sex acts with a minor in the video. The child is not a student at the school, according to the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office.
Meskill was being held late Wednesday in the Cabarrus jail under $300,000 bond.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.March 17 2011 —Tennessee Highway Patrol officers found more than $4 million in cash hidden in cases of bottled water in a tractor-trailer that resulted in the arrests of two California men.
According to a news release from the highway patrol, the tractor-trailer was stopped on Saturday on Interstate 40 in Cumberland County. Using search dogs, authorities found duct-taped bundles of cash inside the bottled water cases in the trailer.
Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said in a statement Wednesday that I-40 is one of the top corridors for drug trafficking in the nation.
Federal authorities charged 42-year-old Armando Guzman of Monreno Valley, Calif., and co-driver 44-year-old Francisco Javier Cruz of San Jacinto, Calif., with interstate travel with intent to promote a drug trafficking conspiracy.
Union City CA March 17 2011 A car chase started outside Milpitas High and ended in Union City after a homeless man tried to kidnap a female student on campus Tuesday afternoon, said Milpitas police.
Ephremjay Uganda Chambers, 33, a homeless man, was booked into the Santa Clara main jail for a variety of charges, including: attempted kidnapping, annoying a minor, assaulting a peace officer, felony evading, hit and run, auto theft, and resisting arrest.
“We commend our students for doing the right thing and taking the appropriate action,” said Principal Schlaff, who reminded students to stay aware of their surroundings and seek help immediately in similar situations. Automated calls went out to parents at 7 p.m. the same evening alerting them of the incident.
In his 14 years at Milpitas High, Schlaff said there were no similar incidents that took place on campus.
Chambers approached a female student in front of the school and tried to engage her to go to his van. When she started walking towards the office, he followed her and approached two other female students, offering them a ride, said Schlaff.
A staff member reported the incident to an on-campus police officer (school resource officer) on Tuesday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. while school was in session.
A security guard tried to block Chambers, who was parked in front of the school, from leaving with her security car. He tried to back into her, said the principal.
An officer spotted Chambers leaving the area in his van and tried to stop him. Chambers sped up and hit a vehicle on his way to the freeway, according to police.
CHP officers took over the pursuit as Chambers drove north on I-880 through Fremont. He exited the freeway in Union City and abandoned the van in a residential neighborhood.
In Union City, Chambers fought with Milpitas police officers to resist arrest. He was later taken to a hospital by paramedics to treat minor injuries.
After further investigation, the van was determined to have been an unreported stolen vehicle from a San Jose residence.
Mark Owens was shot in the back at the Metro Inn on March 2. Police had originally said he and security guard Jason Wells had been arguing prior to the shooting. Wells was taken into custody, but police later dropped the charges and released him.
Police have now arrested Rashaad Essex in connection with the shooting. Investigators followed leads that led them to Essex, who police said admitted to the shooting.
Essex is charged with aggravated assault, police said.
Midland TX March 17 2011 Two Midland women were arrested for aggravated robbery Monday after they admitted on video to running over a security guard while fleeing from the scene of a theft.
Rita Maria Saenz, 19, and Audrey Nicole Slawson, 20, allegedly ran over the guard at the Kohl’s department store March 3 on the 3200 block of the North Loop 250 after he caught the pair shoplifting.
Police have video evidence of the women walking into the store with their children, splitting up and picking out multiple items, before entering the changing room, according to the affidavit for an arrest warrant.
After Slawson left the room, she was no longer holding the clothes, nor were the clothes still in the changing stall, the report read.
The loss prevention associate said he noticed a large diaper bag that appeared to be stuffed with clothing.
The manager, who also witnessed the events, said the woman left the store quickly and tried to enter a blue Dodge Durango that had pulled up by the curb.
The security guard told the woman to stop, and told police he thought she was going to comply. She asked the security guard if she could just put her child in the vehicle, before having to deal with the security guard. She instead quickly jumped in the vehicle and shouted at the driver to get away, the report read.
When the vehicle drove off, the back tires drove over the security guard’s leg, breaking it, the report read.
After interviewing the store personel and reviewing the video footage, police brought the pair in for questions. They eventually admitted to shoplifting and recklessly trying to flee after they were caught.
Both were held on $10,000 bonds, but have since been released. If convicted of the first-degree felony of aggravated robbery, they could each spend between five and 99 years in prison.