Sigourney, Ia.April 5 2011 — A Keokuk County sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed by a man who was later shot to death by a state tactical unit, authorities said late Monday.
Deputy Eric Stein, 38, of What Cheer had been with the sheriff’s office since 2000.
The last time an Iowa law officer died by gunfire while on duty was in 1985.
Stein, Sheriff Jeff Shipley and Deputy Casey Hinnah approached the home of Jeffrey Alan Krier, 53, near Sigourney shortly before noon Monday, officials said. When they arrived, Krier opened fire. Stein was hit and died of his wounds at the scene. Shipley and Hannah were unhurt.
The trio had gone to the house because of an unspecified incident that reportedly occurred Sunday night. No further details were provided.
About three hours later, after a standoff, Krier exited his home armed with weapons, was shot by an Iowa State Patrol tactical unit and died at the scene, officials said. Authorities did not say what weapons Krier had or whether he threatened other officers.
Dozens of law enforcement officers swarmed the rural area after Stein was shot. Schools in the Sigourney district were locked down, and the Iowa Department of Public Safety warned of a “dangerous situation.”
A review of online court records of Krier discloses a violent history going back as far as 1996 when he was charged with stalking, carrying illegal weapons, driving with a suspended license and possession of a controlled substance. Records show that Krier was acquitted in 1997 by reason of insanity after undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at the Iowa state mental hospital in Independence.
Records also show that he was convicted in 1999 of assault on a police officer and served a 90-day jail sentence.
Autopsies will be conducted on Stein and Krier.
Stein’s father, Lonnie Stein, was visiting his cousin in south Texas on Monday, where he trains girls’ softball teams during winter and spring months.
“They called him off the softball field and told him” of the shooting, the cousin, Delwin Briggs, said from his home in Donna, Texas. “He just went back after his equipment. I don’t think it’s landed home yet – with any of us, really.”
Briggs said Eric Stein was devoted to his sister, Kari, who was disabled from an accident as an infant and living in a care home.
“He was a caretaker for his sister,” Briggs said. “He kept an eye on her.”
He also said Eric Stein has a 9-year-old daughter, Shelby, who is in third grade in Sigourney.
“Eric was outgoing, quiet in a way, liked sports, softball, being around people,” Briggs said. “He was always at the baseball field.”
The Sigourney Community School District locked its schools down for almost three hours because it didn’t have any details on the shooting, Superintendent Todd Abrahamson said.
Shortly after the shooting, emergency vehicles flew through town, sirens blaring, he said. Then dozens of panicked parents called his office after reading about an “intruder in the area” on Facebook, he said.
Abrahamson said he immediately called the sheriff, but he could only say there was a hostile situation in the area.
“That’s the thing with social media, you don’t know what’s true,” he said. “They just didn’t have a lot of information to share, because it had just happened.”
With parents concerned about a gunman on the loose in Sigourney, Abrahamson said, he decided to lock the school down between 1 and 1:30 p.m. The children were released from school at the normal time, 3:45 p.m., after police said the bus routes were safe, he said.
“When you don’t have a lot of information, and you don’t totally know the situation, we wanted to take that precaution,” he said.
Gov. Terry Branstad issued the following statement: “Unfortunately, today again served as a painful reminder of the dangers faced by our brave men and women in law enforcement. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ family and friends, and all those affected by one man’s senseless act of violence today.”
Keokuk County’s population is about 10,500, with about 2,000 of those in Sigourney, the county seat.
The deputy is the 157th Iowa peace officer since 1869 to die in the line of duty, according to a listing on the Iowa Department of Public Safety website.
The previous last two names on that list include Des Moines Police Officer Sean Wissink, who was killed in a one-car automobile accident on Feb. 11, 2007, while en route to the airport for weapons training in New Mexico. Wissink, a 10-year veteran of the department, is believed to have swerved to miss a deer.
Davis County Deputy Sheriff Dennis McElderry was killed Jan. 3, 2003, during a high-speed chase on U.S. Highway 63 just north of Bloomfield. McElderry was struck by a patrol car as he tried to remove stop sticks from the road.
Last May, an Adams County sheriff’s deputy was shot during a standoff at a house near Brooks. The deputy was not seriously injured.
Nationally, Stein is the 54th law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty this year, the 24th because of gunfire, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page website.
Trooper Jason Marlow said it is not unusual for three officers to respond to a call. “There’s certainly some safety in numbers,” he said. He declined to release other details about the call.
Shipley, the sheriff, released a statement: “This is a very difficult day for the Keokuk County Sheriff’s Office. Our team has lost one of its valued members and friends. But our loss cannot be compared to that of his family. We ask that everyone keep Deputy Stein’s family in their thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.”
Brad Olson of What Cheer served on the What Cheer volunteer fire department with Stein for a number of years. They took EMT and first responder classes together.
“He pretty much wasn’t afraid of anything,” Olson said. “He was one who would get right in there and wasn’t afraid to battle a blaze, always quick to respond.”
Tom Burger of West Branch has been Stein’s friend since high school.
“Anything he did, he gave it his full attention,” Burger said. “Playing softball with him, a lot of his attention was on softball. He got a job putting in air conditioning and heating and he was really into that. He got into being an EMT and paramedic, and his life turned to that, really into that. I knew him really little as a sheriff’s deputy, but I would assume he put 100 percent into it. …
Source:Des Moines Register
Yvon Hyppolite, a security guard at Mi Pueblito Bar on Old Country Road, removed two 30-year-old men with whom he was involved in an altercation at 12:15 a.m., police said.
The fight escalated once the three were outside and the 36-year-old Richmond Hill man hit the victims in the head with a metal baton, police said.
Both victims were taken to Nassau University Medical Center where one received nine stitches to the head and the other received 10 stitches.
Hyppolite was charged with assault and possession of a dangerous weapon. He was arraigned Sunday at First District Court in Hempstead.
His bail was set at $1,500 cash or $3,000 bond.
WESTMINSTER, Calif. April 5 2011- A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer has been charged with rape in an attack in Southern California that authorities say occurred while he was off-duty.
Prosecutors expect 31-year-old Miguel Lerma Jr. to be arraigned Monday in Westminster on charges of rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation and rape by use of drugs.
Court records do not list a defense attorney for Lerma.
Lerma is accused of sexually assaulting a woman last November after picking her up on a Santa Ana street and driving her to a cul-de-sac.
Garden Grove police say DNA evidence also tied Lerma to a 2009 sexual assault in Long Beach.
Lerma was arrested Thursday and has been placed on administrative leave from Customs and Border Protection
Berkeley CA April 5 2011 It was 2:10 pm on a warm Thursday afternoon and the Berkeley High detention center was hopping.
The school’s security team had done a sweep of the park across from the high school and had netted 13 students who had cut class. Now the truant teenagers sat in desks before a blank white board, quietly talking to one another as they waited for their parents to be notified.
Ardarius McDonald, the dean of students and the man who supervises the school’s security detail, came into the room, clearly not pleased – but not surprised –by the crowd. After all, it was close to 80 degrees that day, one of the first nice days after nearly two weeks of rain, and, as he pointed out, some teenagers have a hard time resisting the lure of the sun.
Just a day earlier, Berkeley High had gone on lockdown after a parent reported that she had seen a young person with a gun outside on Martin Luther King Avenue. McDonald and his team immediately rushed into action, locking all the school’s entrances, ordering students in classrooms on the west side of campus to stay away from the windows, and fanning out to prearranged spots on the 14-acre campus as Berkeley police investigated. It was the fourth gun-related incident in a week at the high school, including one on March 22 where two students shot off a gun in a bathroom.
The upsurge in violence has shone a spotlight on Berkeley High’s security detail. While no one has been hurt on campus this year, some parents have wondered if the school is adequately prepared for a serious gun event. Others contend that the school turns a blind eye to intimidation. Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Matthew Golde voiced these concerns last week when he stood up at a community forum and suggested that armed robberies were common at Berkeley High and that dangerous people wandered its halls.
It’s a concern that McDonald understands – but refutes. Berkeley High is generally a safe place, he said. Sure, wallets and iPods are stolen too often, but “there are no switchblade fights in the halls.”
“I know Matt Golde,” said McDonald, who has held his current role for a little more than a year. “He is loose with the truth.” (Matt Golde did not respond to Berkeleyside’s attempts to contact him.)
There are 14 security officers at Berkeley High (two have been added in the last two weeks) and a uniformed Berkeley police officer who works four days a week. As the principal mediators of conflict for the school’s 3,200 students, the officers in the department of On Campus Intervention play many roles. In the best of times they just talk to students, checking in to see how they are doing and gauging the mood of the student body. They also look for truants, break up fights, resolve conflicts, and monitor the hallways during class to ensure students don’t leave unless they have permission.
They are also investigators. When someone reports a theft, they take a report. When a student is intimidated in a hallway or forced to hand over a phone or other pricey object, the security officers try and determine the identity of the perpetrators.
“I make an analogy with NASCAR races,” said McDonald. “Sometimes there are blowouts. Sometimes people run out of gas. Sometimes there is a wreck. We are like the pit crew. Our job is not to hold you there, but to put you back on track. My philosophy of OCI is to get you back on track as quickly as possible.”
Ginny Roemer, a former district attorney in San Francisco and the parent of a BHS freshman, said this approach, a desire to almost befriend students who get into trouble, means that serious crimes are not rigorously investigated.
“If there is an institutional acceptance of crime the kids are going to keep stealing,” she said. “I am concerned about the lack of law enforcement behind the gates of Berkeley High.”
One thing McDonald is clear on: the security officers are not police. While his safety officers have a protocol to investigate reports of a student with a gun, and have plenty of experience searching and seizing guns from backpacks, lockers, and waistbands, they call police for any serious incidents. There is one uniformed cop on duty and the Berkeley police department is just a half a block away.
“If you have the report of a gun you call the police,” said McDonald. “We don’t call 911. We have a direct connection to the Berkeley police.”
Berkeley High Principal Pasquale Scuderi concurred with that assessment.
“We do not have individuals on campus whose role is to disarm a suspect,” said Scuderi. “If you are asking me if we have personnel on campus who can do the same thing as a weapons special unit, we do not.”
California law requires all school districts to develop a plan that will keep students safe on campus. It also requires that on-campus security officers receive around 20 hours of training in conflict resolution and emergency response. So far this year, BHS security officers have had three days of professional development, including one day where they trained with a Berkeley police sergeant on how to respond to someone shooting on campus, according to Susan Craig, the director of student services for the Berkeley Unified School District. In June, the officers will do a three-day workshop with Phillip Mullendore. His Institute for Campus Safety trains on-campus officers to respond to gun threats.
But it may not be enough. In the wake of the recent gun incidents, the Berkeley police department has recommended that the school’s safety officers get additional training. While neither the police nor the school district has outlined specifics, the recommendations may include getting the security officers better uniforms, equipment and training in tactical issues like using radio communications and adding new restraint techniques, said Scuderi.
“They want to see (the security officers ) as a more uniformed and professional presence,” he said.
Berkeley school officials are also considering requiring students to wear ID cards, closing the campus during lunch, better monitoring the park across the street, and bringing in more programs to help students talk about guns and conflict. The school also recently installed an anonymous phone line for students to report gun sightings and other crimes. The district is not considering metal detectors
The structure of Berkeley’s security team resembles that of many Bay Area high schools.
James Logan High School, a school of 4,000 students in Union City, about 15 miles south of Berkeley, has about eight or nine security officers for its campus, according to Rick La Plante, the spokesman for the New Haven Unified School District. There are no uniformed police officers on campus.
But the high school has taken some other steps in recent years to improve security. While there are no metal detectors, the school permanently closed most of the entrances to campus, only leaving three doors from which students can enter or depart. They must show an identification card in order to enter, although they do not have to display their ID during the day. In addition, the school has strict laws about wearing any clothing that can be considered gang-related, he said. That includes the wearing of red, white, or blue cloth belts, red or blue shoe laces, University of Nebraska or red New York Yankees jerseys or hats, or notched eyebrows.
The Oakland Unified School District has 12 full-time uniformed police officers on duty, as well as a number of safety officers, according to Troy Flint, the district’s director of public relations. There are no metal detectors in any school, but two of the smaller high schools, Castlemont and Fremont, which have 700 and 600 students each, have closed campuses at lunch. The other schools don’t have lunchrooms large enough to accommodate the number of students, he said.
McDonald said Berkeley High is already doing some of these things, although he expects additional safety improvements in the coming weeks. The high school has 14 entrances, and most are permanently closed. During the day, after students are in school, only three entrances are open – the front door, the A gate, and the Milvia gate, he said. More get opened at lunch.
The 14 security officers have set positions around campus and constantly communicate via walkie-talkie, he said.
“We don’t ignore anything,” said McDonald. “We go home at the end of the day drained.”
Poughkeepsie NY April 5 2011 A former Vassar College employee and his wife have been charged with stealing $1.9 million.
Arthur H. Fisher, who worked as a project manager at the college from 2005 to 2010, allegedly deposited the stolen funds into fraudulent bank accounts, Town of Poughkeepsie police said.
Fisher, 44, and wife Jennifer Fisher, 38, were charged with first-degree grand larceny, a felony, following the execution of a search warrant at their home in Ossining, Westchester County.
They appeared in Town of Poughkeepsie Court today at 3 p.m. before Judge Paul Banner, and the court was adjourned to April 25. No pleas were entered.
Dutchess County Senior Assistant District Attorney Edward Whitesell said, “I anticipate the beginning of a grand jury presentation this week.”
Town of Poughkeepsie police listed the following items as being seized in the search: Four late model BMWs, three Rolex watches with an approximate value of $50,000, 10 unregistered handguns, one .223 caliber military-style rifle along with various fraudulent law enforcement badges from the New York Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, among other items.
The Fishers were sent to Dutchess County Jail. Bail for Aurthur Fisher was $100,000 or $200,000 bond. He had not posted as of today’s court date.
Bail for Jennifer Fisher was $50,000 or $100,000 bond.
Under a proposal that Santa Clara supervisors will consider Tuesday, a sheriff’s lieutenant and a sergeant would replace the civilians now responsible for the 43 security personnel at the county hospital, a move backers say will mean faster law enforcement response to crimes and public safety issues there.
The hospital and sheriff’s office signed an agreement on March 16 to have a lieutenant and sergeant oversee Valley Medical Center’s security personnel at an added cost of $128,518 in salary and benefits, but that action requires the supervisors’ endorsement to become official.
If the Board approves shifting management to the sheriff’s office, deputies would replace the hospital’s current chief and deputy chief of the protective services division, John O’Brien and Mike Gangloff. The sheriff’s office would be responsible for the day-to-day performance, supervision and discipline of protective service officers and administrative staff, according to the agreement.
Sheriff Laurie Smith wrote in a proposal that adding deputies to Valley Medical Center would enhance the “safety and security of the staff, clients and visitors.” She added that having “highly-trained law enforcement management will result in better coverage, enhanced capabilities, shorter response times, properly equipped first responders on-site for significant incidents, and an overall reduction in the time to resolve calls for service.”
The tentative agreement was reached after numerous alterations to Smith’s first proposal made in May 2010, when the sheriff recommended a combination of nine deputies and 29 security officers to provide hospital security.
Valley Medical Center administrators balked at the proposal which would have cost the hospital nearly $500,000 in added salaries and benefits. It would cost the hospital nearly $3 million annually if sheriff’s deputies replaced all of the protective security officers.
Following Smith’s initial proposal, the county’s Health and Hospital Committee asked Valley Medical Center administrators to see how other county hospitals handled security. Hospital administrators contacted five other hospitals and found that most used some combination of law enforcement and private personnel.
San Francisco General Hospital assigns a sergeant and lieutenant to duty, along with nonsworn officers. In Alameda County, the sheriff’s office maintains a substation at the hospital, usually with two deputies on-site.
Valley Medical Center executive Gilbert Gutierrez oversees the protective services division and said the hospital “could live with having the top two people being law enforcement,” if the Board of Supervisors goes that route. Gutierrez added that the hospital would want an agreement in place before the sheriff’s office takes control.
Because protective service officers are not sworn personnel, “they are not able to do what law enforcement would be able to do,” Gutierrez said. “I think that’s one of the points the sheriff’s raised. By having a law enforcement presence, they might be able to act quicker in some cases.
“I think we get an excellent response from the sheriff right now.”
In her proposals, Smith cited a 2000 management audit by the Harvey M. Rose Accountancy Corporation that said: “In order to bring stability to this function and improve and standardize procedures, training, and management practices, the function should be assigned to the Sheriff’s Department.”
Deputies already visit the campus on Bascom Avenue on a regular basis. In 2009 they responded to about 30 calls a week, an increase of about 45 percent from 2007.
The sheriff’s office also transports about 12 to 15 inmates daily to Valley Medical Center for treatment, according to Sgt. Matt Dutra, president of the deputy sheriff’s association.
“We’re at VMC so much, it would make sense to have supervision there,” Dutra said.
Police said on Feb. 19, parking enforcement officer Ramon Soler, 23, was riding with a Miami Beach Police officer when the officer pulled over a driver suspected of driving drunk near 13th Street and Alton Road. As the officer conducted sobriety tests, police said Soler went inside the car and stole the driver’s cash and credit cards.
According to authorities, Soler, who worked for the Miami Beach Parking Department, used the cards and racked up over $10,000 in charges. Detectives said Soler’s first stop was a Sunoco gas station on Coral Way in Miami, where he charged $50 to a stolen credit card. Soler reportedly went home and purchased nearly $10,000 worth of car parts for his Mustang on americanmuscle.com.
The suspect’s mother was shocked to hear the allegations against her son, whom she did not even know had been arrested. She said Soler had recently graduated from the police academy and wants to become a police officer.
The City of Miami Beach has relieved Soler of his duties pending the outcome of the police investigation. Residents are glad Soler is off the streets, at least for now. “That’s the kind of thing that we don’t need around here. That’s the kind of thing that certainly gives our city a bad name,” said one resident, Neal Ordin.
Soler has been charged with theft, fraud and burglary.
Chula Vista CA April 5 2011 An armed security guard, hired by Apple to protect one of its San Diego stores, confronted and killed a smash and grab suspect in a gun battle early Monday.
One person is dead and two people have been taken into custody following the shooting at Otay Ranch Towne Center in the Eastlake section of Chula Vista according to police.
The Apple store manager was working inside when just before 7 a.m. the guard confronted two men and a woman. The suspects had smashed into the store’s front doors, sending shattered glass out onto the sidewalk.
The guard told police a gun battle started when one suspect produced a handgun. More than a dozen yellow evidence markers were on the ground just outside the store’s front door.
Investigators said the three suspects got into a silver Acura and crashed into a light pole and a post before stopping on the curb outside Banana Republic. The passenger side door was left open with what appeared to be a body still inside.
Police confirm the unidentified man was shot and killed by the security guard. The second man and woman ran from the mall heading east, police said.
Patrol cars blocked the intersection of Eastlake Parkway and Birch Road leading into the outdoor mall. Chula Vista police officers, U.S. Border Patrol agents and San Diego County sheriff’s deputies searched the neighborhood near the mall.
Around 8 a.m., law enforcement officers with guns drawn approached a section of townhomes in the Winding Walk community east of the shopping center.
Officers entered an alley between two buildings and pulled out two people. A female was cuffed and walked to a patrol car. The second, a man, was originally cuffed and patted down. Then, he was treated by medical personnel for a gunshot wound in the buttocks before being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
The suspects were positively identified by Apple store employees, according to Chula Vista police.
The Apple store security guard was not injured, police said.
Eastlake High School, Wolf Canyon Elementary School, Veterans Elementary School and Olympian High School were placed on lockdown according to district officials. Those lockdowns were lifted by 9:30 a.m.
Mater Dei Catholic High School, first reported to be on lockdown, reported that it was back in session as well.
Overland KS April 5 2011
The man who organized a fake kidnapping and robbery at an Overland Park bank where he worked has admitted his role in the hoax.
Twenty-year-old Michael Grace pleaded guilty Monday to one count
of embezzlement by a bank employee. He admitted that he persuaded
three friends — all from Overland Park — to help him rob the U.S.
Bank where he was a teller.
The caper on Nov. 20, 2010, collapsed when the FBI didn’t
believe Grace’s story that he had been kidnapped from home and
forced to open a bank ATM. He was found bound with duct tape to a
chair at the bank.
Grace will be sentenced June 27.
The other defendants all pleaded guilty last week to aiding and
abetting embezzlement by a bank employee.
DAYTON OH April 5 2011— Police said that a local 1 17-year-old who allegedly pointed a gun at a grocery store manager after he was forbidden from buying alcohol was arrested on Friday.
According to the police report, the incident happened on March 9 when a young male who attempted to buy alcohol from the liquor store inside of a grocery store at 444 N. James H. McGee Blvd. became aggresssive, swung at the manager, then pointed a gun at his head and fled, a report states.
On Friday,the teen returned to the store and the store manager recognized the suspect and asked a security guard take him into custody.
Police say that the security officer was able to detain the boy without incident and that he was later charged with a number of offenses.
NASPSO is a labor union representing private security officers contracted by the General Services Administration (GSA) to be assigned to protect federal buildings in the Washington, D.C., metro area.
Caleb Gray-Burriss, 60, of Washington, D.C., will be arraigned on April 4, 2011, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Gray-Burriss originally was charged in June 2010 with four counts of mail fraud.
According to the superseding indictment, from approximately June 2004 through February 2011, Gray-Burriss wrote numerous checks to himself or to other third parties from the checking account where he had placed funds intended for the NASPSO pension plan. The superseding indictment alleges that Gray-Burriss spent more than $100,000 of the pension plan funds in this way, while at the same time falsely maintaining that it was an operational fund that he was properly administering and that was providing benefits to the beneficiaries.
Gray-Burriss previously settled a civil suit which, in part, addressed his unlawful conduct with respect to NASPSO-sponsored health and benefit plans.
The superseding indictment charges Gray-Burriss with criminal contempt of a court order after he allegedly stole money from the NASPSO treasury to pay his personal fines due in the civil settlement. The superseding indictment also alleges that Gray-Burriss resumed his involvement with NASPSO-sponsored health and pension plans after the civil lawsuit was settled, even though he was prohibited by court order from doing so.
In addition, the superseding indictment charges that Gary-Burriss, while an officer and employee of NASPSO, stole more than $115,000 in NASPSO funds through unauthorized salary increases and bonuses to himself, cash withdrawals from ATMs, reimbursement for unauthorized vacations and trips to casinos, personal dental work, and other goods and services.
Gray-Burriss is also accused of unlawfully using NASPSO funds to pay his parking tickets and personal fines in a civil lawsuit. Finally, the superseding indictment charges Gray-Burriss with two counts of obstructive of justice for concealing and/or destroying NASPSO records and attempting to induce a witness to withhold testimony and records during the grand jury investigation.
Gray-Burriss faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the mail fraud and obstruction of justice charges. The theft from a labor organization charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Gray-Burriss also faces additional penalties if convicted of the criminal contempt and record keeping charges.
Seattle WA April 5 2011 A man was arrested early Sunday morning after an altercation outside a nightclub south of downtown Seattle.
Seattle police say that officers were called to the club on the 2900 block of 1st Avenue South around 2:30 a.m. on a report of a man with a gun. A security guard at the club said that a man who was involved in a disturbance with them had gone to his car and returned with a noticeable bulge in his shirt.
Officers found the man outside of the club. A search discovered that the man had a Glock 19 with an extended 32-round clip, a second, smaller clip and a bag of marijuana.
The man was arrested at the scene and after being questioned at South Precinct, was taken to the King County Jail. He was booked for weapons violations.
LEANDER TX April 5 2011 — A Leander High School student fatally shot herself in a bathroom on campus during school hours today, an official said.
No other details, including the girl’s identity, have been released.
The school was evacuated as a precautionary measure after officials received a bomb threat, the official said. Police say the incidents are not related.
Suicide is the third-leading cause of death of youths between 15 and 25, according to Merily Keller, a suicide prevention consultant for Mental Health America of Texas. Signs can include persistent sadness, marked change in behavior, sleeping too much or too little, increasing isolation or a preoccupation with death.
Youths who have heard their friends talk about suicide should immediately tell an adult, Keller said.
“That is not a secret you keep,” she said. “You can lose a friend permanently.”
Teens can also refer their friends to the national suicide hotline (800) 273-TALK (8255) or to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The hotline number in Travis County is 472-HELP (4357). In Williamson County, it is (800) 841-1255.
“The key thing is for parents to be talking to students at this time about suicide and tell them that help is available and help works,” Keller said.
OAKLAND PARK, Fla. April 5 2011
A 66-year-old woman is being credited with helping thwart a bank robbery at an Oakland Park bank Friday by tackling the female suspect and holding her down until deputies arrived.
Witnesses said they saw a woman storm into the Bank of America at 150 E. Prospect Road and start demanding cash.
“She walks right up to the teller there, and she goes, ‘I want $10,000,’” said witness Pat Caveney.
“She turned around and looked at us. She says, ‘Everybody get on the ground,’” Aron Lassin, another witness, recalled.
As it turned out, no one was hurt and no money was stolen, thanks to Helen Dunsford, 66, who happened to be standing in line.
“This lady, I call her Grandma, she actually came and saved our life,” Lassin said with a smile.
Caveney said he saw Dunsford lunge at the suspect.
“She just blew out. She just lost it. Grabbed her in a bear hug,” he said.
Lassin said Dunsford is fearless because she is dying from cancer.
“The lady, she says she has cancer. She just jumps out and says, ‘I got one year to live. Yeah, I don’t care if I die.’ She just grabbed the lady and we helped tackle the person down and we waited until the police come to arrest,” Lassin said.
Dunsford has been in the news before — not for crime-fighting, but for fighting with the city of Fort Lauderdale. She and her husband were in a lengthy legal battle to keep their clutter or face hefty fines for code violations.
On Friday, Dunsford was being called a hero.
“She’s a brave old lady. I mean, I appreciate the help. If it wasn’t for her, we’d have never had the strength to actually grab the robber and take her down on the ground,” Lassin said.
The FBI is charging three suspects, including the woman Dunsford tackled, with bank robbery-related crimes. They will be booked into the Broward County Jail. As of late Friday, their names had not been released.