New Castle County Police Department, Delaware
End of Watch: Friday, September 16, 2011
Age: Not available
Tour of Duty: 18 years
Badge Number: Not available
Incident DetailsCause of Death: Stabbed
Date of Incident: September 16, 2011
Weapon Used: Edged weapon; Knife
Suspect Info: Apprehended
Sergeant Joe Szczerba was fatally stabbed while struggling with a suspect shortly after midnight.
Sergeant Szczerba had responded to backup other officers who were searching for a disorderly man near Penn Acres Park. He located the man at the East Roosevelt Avenue and Fithian Drive and, after a short foot chase, began to struggle with him. During the struggle the subject pulled out a knife and stabbed Sergeant Szczerba in the neck.
Other officers were able to take the subject into custody. Sergeant Szczerba was transported to Christiana Hospital where he succumbed to the wound.
Sergeant Szczerba had served with the New Castle County Police Department for 18 years.
Agency Contact InfoColonel Michael McGowan
New Castle County Police Department
3601 N DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
Phone: (302) 395-8100
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Sept 17 2011– Colorado Springs police are searching for a gunman who accidentally shot his accomplice while trying to help free him.
Police said a juvenile male was trying to steal a bottle of “booze” from D&S Liquors around 9:30 p.m. Thursday when the owner of the store locked the front door to prevent the teen from leaving.
Another person waiting in the parking lot for the teen fired one shot in the front glass door of the store in an attempt to let the suspect out, according to the Colorado Springs police blotter.
But the bullet hit the theft suspect in the foot, police said. The suspect, who was not identified, was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police say the gunman fled but it was not clear if he ran off or drove off. He was wearing a white Hoodie.
The investigation is continuing.
D&S Liquors is located at Delta Drive and Monterey Road.
Just after 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aurora police were called to a robbery in progress at the Home Depot near East Mississippi Avenue and South Abilene Street.
Aurora police Detective Bob Friel confirmed with 7NEWS that as many as four people were involved in the robbery. The only description given by late Thursday night was that they possibly drove off in a white Nissan Pathfinder.
Employees of the Home Depot told 7NEWS this is the second robbery at the store in less than two weeks.
Erik Vasquez was ending his shift at a Domino’s Pizza near East Mississippi Avenue and South Chambers Road when he was robbed on Labor Day morning.
“I was walking to my car and I noticed two guys with two guns in my face. They were like, ‘What you got?’ and I was like ‘I don’t got nothing,’” said Vasquez. “They searched me, threw my phone over by the door (and) took off.”
7NEWS checked with the grocery store next door to Domino’s and searched through the surveillance video from early that morning. Just after midnight, the two suspects were caught on video running toward where Vasquez said he was at in the parking lot, and then 15 seconds later, the two men ran away.
“They were both wearing rags from, like, (their mouths) and a doo-rag (to their eyes), so all I could really see was a little straight line, like their eyes and their skin color,” said Vasquez.
Police have not found the two men who robbed Vasquez. He told 7NEWS about some suspicious phone calls that had him thinking something might happen.
“That same night, I kept getting calls — ‘What time do we close? What time do we close?’ — like back-to-back,” said Vasquez. “That’s when I started realizing, I was like, ‘Man, something’s going to happen,’ but I didn’t figure I was going to get robbed.”
On the night of Sept. 2, two men in black masks with guns shot at a security guard after robbing the Walmart one half-mile behind the Home Depot that was robbed Thursday.
The security guard was pulling up to the front of the store in his car when one of the robbers fired a round at him, witnesses said.
The bullet struck and flattened the guard’s tire.
The men continued running toward the back of the Walmart store, police said.
Witnesses said two men in black masks and black clothing came in, waving guns and demanding money. One cashier said as soon as she saw the “big gun” she took off running.
Another cashier told 7NEWS that she was coming out of the bathroom when she saw all the customers and cashiers on the ground. She ran back to the bathroom to call 911, and a dispatcher told her police were already on their way.
Aurora police are investigating to see if these robberies are connected.
Orlando Fla Sept 17 2011 Federal investigators have cited Walt Disney World with four safety violations and proposed $69,000 in fines, following a probe into the death of a resort mechanic who was killed while working on a roller coaster in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Russell Roscoe, a 52-year-old attractions mechanic, died March 14, one day after he was struck by a ride vehicle while performing maintenance on Primeval Whirl, a “wild mouse”-style coaster in which spinning, four-person ride vehicles descend through a series of tight, flat turns. Roscoe and other workers were “wet testing” the ride — in which some employees spray water from the top of the lift platform while others inspect systems such as brakes — when the accident occurred.
Investigators with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Disney failed to maintain key gate sensors that are designed to alert workers to press an emergency stop switch whenever a gate is open to an area in which an employee could be struck by the coaster.
The agency recommended Disney put the sensors on a preventative maintenance system, routinely test the sensors as part of regular operations and use a communication system to verify personnel are not in dangerous areas before the ride is activated.
During the investigation, the agency said it also discovered Disney did not use fall protection when employees were kneeling on the roller coaster tracks to conducted pressure checks, exposing them to falls from as high as 19 feet. They also found stairwell handrails that extended too far and created projection hazards. And they found that Disney had not installed guardrails at the top of the lift platform — nearly 40 feet above the ground – where employees sprayed water during the wet testing.
OSHA has twice before cited Disney for such guardrail violations — including following an investigation in the July 2009 death of a monorail driver, when investigators discovered that workers performing maintenance on the interior cabins of the trains were placed at risk of 8-foot falls without protection.
While a relative pittance for a company of Disney’s size, the $69,000 in total fines proposed by OSHA is a hefty amount for the agency. OSHA proposed fines totaling $75,000 for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment following a probe triggered by the death February 2010 death of a SeaWorld Orlando killer-whale trainer.
Disney said Friday that it has made several safety upgrades to Primeval Whirl, including improvements to the gate sensors, additional guardrails and an automated water system for brake testing.
The roller coaster reopened to guests Friday for the first time since January.
“We have conducted a thorough internal review of the incident and have implemented several safety enhancements to Primeval Whirl, which address the concerns raised by OSHA,” Disney World spokesman Bryan Malenius said.
Disney would not say whether it intends to challenge any of OSHA’s findings. The resort could seek to negotiate down the size of the fines.
Roscoe wasn’t the first employee killed while working on Primeval Whirl, which opened in April 2002. In November 2007, Karen Price, a 63-year-old ride operator, was loading guests into the attraction when she was hit by one of the vehicles. Price, who was leaning over the vehicle when it began moving forward, was pushed 10 feet forward and off of the ride platform, where she fell 3 feet to the ground and struck her head. She died five days later.
In response to that accident, Disney extended Primeval Whirl’s platform, added striping to delineate loading and unloading zones, and installed sensor mats in restricted areas that automatically shut down the ride if someone steps on them. OSHA cited Disney with five violations after that incident and proposed fines totaling $21,500. Disney negotiated the amount down to $14,250.
Earlier that same year, on April 30, 2007, an unidentified worker who was bent over a ride vehicle to pick up trash was pushed over the edge of the platform by the vehicle. She suffered a minor head injury. At the time, Primeval Whirl’s ride vehicles would advance slowly through the load area and dispatch automatically. Disney subsequently changed the ride’s controls to give ride operators more control over the vehicles’ movements.
Disney bought Primeval Whirl from the French company Reverchon, though Disney designers made subsequent modifications and Disney now claims to be the ride’s manufacturer, according to OSHA records. The attraction is actually comprised of two coasters that operate side-by-side, doubling its ride capacity.
KEY LARGO Fla Sept 17 2011 – A Key Largo math teacher turned himself in to face charges of battery on a student, officials said Thursday.
Jose Zepeda, 38, of Plantation Key was released after posting a $1000 bond. He is charged with one misdemeanor count of battery.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, the 12 year old alleged victim told her parents in May that she was having trouble in class and her Zepeda would sit next to her and help. During the times he was next to her, he would allegedly place his hand on her thigh and over several weeks, would gradually move it up to her groin area. The girl said during one incident she noticed a bulge in his pants.
The girls parents called the Department of Children & Families Abuse Hotline, who then contacted the sheriff’s department.
Upon questioning, authorities say Zepeda admitted to touching the girl’s leg, but denied it was sexual in nature. Detectives also questioned several students in class who said they had seen Zepeda touch the girl’s leg.
The Monroe County School District released a statement saying Zepeda was been reassigned to a position that has no contact with students on Friday. He was suspended without pay after his arrest.
Monroe County Superintendent Jesus Jara stated, “These situations must be handled according to the UTM contract and State Law with the best interest of our students in mind.”
Andrew Cardillo was arrested last month for a sex crime involving a person under the age of 18. Prosecutors haven’t charged Cardillo with a crime yet, but he’s due in court next week. In the meantime, investigators are still working the case and Action News uncovered some disturbing accusations.
Inside the walls of Clovis North, Andrew Cardillo developed a reputation among many students as a teacher who played favorites. Rumors swirled about his relationship with one particular student and when Fresno Police arrested Cardillo, the suspicions seemed to be confirmed.
“I’m not surprised,” said Cassandra Rangel, a current Clovis North student who took drama classes from Cardillo. “That’s pretty much it. It doesn’t shock me and kind of just confirms everything.”
Court documents uncovered by Action News show what the alleged victim told police before they arrested Cardillo. The teenager said she had a sexual relationship with the drama teacher starting in Dec. 2008 — Cardillo’s second year at Clovis North.
The relationship lasted a year and a half with several encounters over that time, all at Cardillo’s home while his wife was away. The girl told investigators they had intercourse a few times, including once in early May 2010 — less than a week before Cardillo’s wife gave birth to a son.
The teen also said that one time during the affair, she saw Cardillo communicating on the computer with another underage female student who she believed was nude.
In the search warrant, police claim the computer Cardillo used for that communication was a laptop issued by the Clovis Unified School District. Investigators seized computers and phones from Cardillo’s home, including the school district’s laptop.
Action News talked to Cardillo’s attorney and he said he won’t have any comment until prosecutors actually file charges.
Cardillo is still on administrative leave from Clovis Unified.
Fresno County Cal Sept 17 2011 Sheriff’s Deputies have arrested a Washington Union High School teacher, accused of having sex with a student.
Investigators say 26-year-old Nadia Christine Diaz had sex with the minor in January and February of 2009.
Diaz was a substitute teacher at the Easton school when she met the student, who was 14 years old at the time, the sheriff’s office said.
Diaz was arrested Thursday morning at the sheriff’s office and booked into jail on charges of sex with a minor and oral copulation. She has since bonded out.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (559) 488-3111.
After leaving the arrest site, Doe explained that they stopped at a building that she understood to be the jail. She said that Rubio asked her and her friend if they needed to use the restroom and explained that he would take them to the restroom, one at a time. Doe told Rubio that she did need to use the restroom and he then removed her from the patrol car. She said that next Rubio used a key card to gain entry to a two story “hotel” like lobby and took her to a women’s restroom. Doe said that Rubio removed her handcuffs and she went into the restroom. Doe was able to give detectives a detailed description of the restroom.
She told detectives that before she exited the restroom that Rubio entered the room and began removing some items from his duty belt. She said that he told her that he could give her money to get out of jail and asked what she and her friend were willing to do to get “out of this.” Doe stated that Rubio then pushed her against a wall, reached under her dress and grabbed her buttocks with both of his hands while pressing his body against hers. Doe said that she tried to get away and started to cry at which time, Rubio released her, placed the handcuffs back on her wrists and led her back to his patrol car where her friend was still waiting.
At this time, Doe was now handcuffed with her hands in front of her and was able to retrieve her cell phone which she used to type a note in the notepad section of her phone. This note was dated “Jun 25 3:01 A.M.” and it read as follows “He basically tried to rape me.” Doe showed the note to her friend in an attempt to let her know what had just happened.
Doe told detectives that the next stop that they made was at the actual jail. She said that when she exited the vehicle, Rubio place $80 into her purse and made reference to it being a blessing.
Doe showed detectives a photograph of Rubio that she had found on the internet. In addition, detectives transported Doe to the Brazos County Administration Building, located at 200 South Texas in Bryan. This bulding is also the location of Rubio’s constable office. Doe was able to identify the interior of this building as the location of the attempted sexual assault and she was able to lead the detective to the women’s restroom. The restroom matched the description previously given by Doe. Detectives also interviewed the friend of the victim, who was able to confirm the victim’s story. In addition, the friend had observed Rubio placing money in Doe’s purse.
On September 16, 2011, detectives were able to obtain a warrant for Criminal Attempt Sexual Assault for Agustin Rubio. He was taken into custody at approximately 11:00 AM and transported to the College Station Police Department Jail. Bail has been set at $25,000.
Rubio is being charged with the criminal attempt at sexual assault. It’s a third degree felony.
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS Sept 17 2011 – The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department is closing ranks to support one of its own after a car accident claimed the life of a deputy’s wife.
Highway Patrol confirms that around 12:40 am, 34-year-old Brandi Krystal Malley’s car veered off Highway 43 and overturned. Officers say she was ejected from the vehicle.
Deputy Bobby Underwood said the Sheriff’s office is doing all it can to comfort the Malley family. He says a Chaplin and a grief counselor will be available for comfort. Underwood says services have not yet been planned.
Dominique T. Frazier, an 18-year-old Bowie State student, was found stabbed on the second floor of a residential housing building on campus.
Alexis D. Simpson, of District Heights, has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree assault. Authorities said she left campus after the Thursday night slaying, but turned herself in to authorities hours later.
Investigators believe Simpson and one of her roommates, Dominique T. Frazier, of the District, got into an argument that escalated into a physical fight. Frazier was stabbed in the throat, according to three law enforcement sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. It was not clear what the women argued about.
On Friday, in the midst of Homecoming week, the mood on campus was somber.
University officials issued a statement early Friday morning saying that classes were canceled Friday and a “community gathering for consolation” is scheduled for noon in the James Leonidas Physical Education Complex. Counselors from the school are available to assist students and staff, the statement said.
Sophomore Jasmine Harvey, 19, said the stabbing rocked her sense of security on the small campus, which she said seems isolated from violence in neighboring towns. Bowie is “so homey, everybody is family.”
“It was really scary, and everyone was locking their doors and asking, ‘Will you walk with me to the bathroom?’ ” said Harvey, a psychology major from Upper Marlboro.
“This kind of senseless violence is difficult to understand,” the statement said. “We understand from police that there is no apparent ongoing threat to the campus community and it is safe for students and employees.”
Hundreds of students and faculty packed into the James Gymnasium at noon on Friday for a community meeting. They filled rows of folding chairs and the bleachers, and dozens of people stood in the back. Officials and student leaders stood before what will be the stage for a Homecoming fashion show scheduled for tonight, called upon God for guidance and told students to learn from Frazier’s death.
“Dominique Frazier, a precious life, a valued member of our university community, has been taken from us,” said university president Mickey L. Burnim. “Our community and our family has permanently changed.”
Burnim urged students to solve their problems with civility and comfort each other to make Bowie State “a closer and a stronger community.” A series of counselors told students about the stages of grief, signs of depression and encouraged students to seek help if they need it. One counselor encouraged the students to discuss their feelings face-to-face, not digitally on Facebook or Twitter.
Just after 8 p.m. Thursday, Prince George’s County police received a 911 call reporting a cutting at the Christa McAuliffe Residential Community building and responded along with campus police officers, state police said. University officers were the first to arrive and found Frazier unconscious in a second floor hallway of the apartment-style dorm.
The officers rendered emergency care until rescuers arrived and took Frazier to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later.
Frazier, Simpson and two other students shared the suite, which has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a common area, Maryland State Police said. They said others were in the suite at the time of the fight, but no one else was injured.
Dominique T. Frazier, an 18-year-old Bowie State student, was found stabbed on the second floor of a residential housing building on campus.
Starting Thursday night, Twitter lit up with news about the stabbing. Bowie State Public Safety Director Ernest L. Waiters urged students not to speculate about what happened and to contact police if they knew of any previous disputes between the two students.
“There is a lot of misinformation going on right now about this event,” he said. ”I am going to ask you not to engage in that type of communication.”
On Thursday night, a student, Matthew Crisostomo, said in an e-mail that the campus alert system issued a message to students that police were investigating “a stabbing that occurred inside Christa McAuliffe Hall.”
About 11 p.m., campus officials used the alert system to announce that residents of the McAuliffe dorm who were not in the building should report to the Center for Learning and Technology and that those in the dorm should “remain inside the building at this time.”
“The entire university community is distressed that this type of violence has occurred within our midst,” campus officials said in their web statement.
To investigate the death, state police shut down the residence hall. Students living there traveled home or slept on cots that were lined up in a campus gym. Waiters said state police expected to finish their search of the hall this afternoon and students on most floors could then return to their rooms. Students living on the second floor will have to wait longer, as cleaning crews still needed to work there.
Waiters did not say Simpson’s name at the community meeting, but told students “an individual” had been charged with first and second-degree murder. He said the safety of students was not in jeopardy.
“This is a very sad time for us because we have lost one student toviolence, and we’ve lost another” to the consequences of serious violence, Waiters said.
Bowie State University, established in Prince George’s County in 1865, is the oldest historically black college or university in Maryland. About 4,000 students are enrolled full-time, with about 1,500 part-time students.
On Friday morning, the campus was quiet and parking lots were nearly empty. Yellow police tape blocked the front entrance to the Christa McAuliffe Residential Community building. The school’s Homecoming week began Sept. 11 and will end Sunday.
Signs were posted on the doors of academic buildings notifying students that classes were canceled.
Several students living on campus said they locked themselves in their rooms Thursday night and were afraid to leave, as they did not know if any arrests had been made or if there was any chance they too could be harmed.
“It was a pretty crazy night. I couldn’t sleep until at least 3,” said Terez Badger, 21, a junior biology major from Perryville. “For some reason, we all have this illusion that you are safe on campus.”
Staten Island NY Sept 17 2011 A little angel was breathing on her own Thursday night in a Staten Island hospital after losing an eye – and nearly her life – in a senseless shooting.
A startling photo shows 17-month-old Samyah Bailey clutching a baby bottle to her mouth. Bandages cover most of the left side of her face. Her right eye was closed, as a police officer stood watch outside the door.
The relative peace inside her room at Richmond University Medical Center stood in sharp contrast to the drama unfolding at a courthouse about 3 miles away where the accused gunman was arraigned.
“Eye for an eye!” the miracle tot’s enraged relatives hollered at the smirking suspect.
Damark King – charged with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and weapons possession – was ordered held without bail. That brought an ovation from Samyah’s relatives, who appeared ready to give King the chair.
“They took our baby’s eye!” Samyah’s cousin, Philecia Parker, screamed when the cuffed King was first led into the courtroom. “He needs the death penalty!”
At several points, the 19-year-old ex-con appeared to grin – galling Samyah’s family.
“He had a smirk on his face,” a disgusted Parker said. “How you smirking? You just shot a 17-month-old baby.”
King’s despondent dad, however, apologized for whatever harm his son might have done to the little girl during the Wednesday afternoon shooting.
“My heart goes out because I’m a father,” said the suspect’s dad, also named Damark King. “All I can do now is let the law take its course. But I’m still going to be here for my son. He’s still my son.”
Samyah appears to be making a remarkable recovery after being shot in the temple and losing her left eye.
“She pulled through all her surgeries,” an aunt, Michelle Mahoney, 18, said. “She’s moving her arms and legs. She’s doing very good.”
The toddler has “recovered from brain surgery, plastic surgery and eye surgery” and is in stable condition, she said.
Samyah was in her stroller and licking a lollipop outside the apartment complex in Mariners Harbor when a fight erupted a few feet away between her uncle, Anthony Mahoney, and a pal of King’s named Daryl McCullough, sources said.
They were fighting over a young woman, they said.
When Samyah’s dad, Michael Bailey, joined in, King allegedly grabbed a 9-mm. handgun and fired four shots – and one of them hit the baby.
King and McCullough raced off with two other friends in a Dodge Charger. They dumped the gun at King’s grandmother’s house, police said.
King is on parole for a robbery he committed in 2007 when he was 15, sources said. He “made video and audio statements admitting he fired the firearm,” Staten Island Assistant District Attorney Matthew Ross said.
He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
McCullough, who is on probation for assault, was not charged with a crime. But Samyah’s dad and uncle – both of whom have records – were arrested at the scene. Anthony Mahoney was hit with a parole violation. Michael Bailey was arrested on a warrant for assault.
Denver CO Sept 17 2011 It was “Weekend At Bernie’s” meets “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead.”
A pair of Colorado men were busted after driving around Denver with their dead friend in the backseat – and using his ATM card to finance a Friday night drinking binge, authorities said.
Robert Young, 43, and Mark Rubinson, 25, were arrested after cops discovered their dead pal on Aug. 28.
According to police, Young and Rubinson loaded an unresponsive Jeffrey Jarrett into a car around 11 p.m. and drove to Teddy T’s – a local bar/restaurant.
With Jarrett, 43, dead inside the vehicle, the two men used his ATM card to drink for an hour on their late pal’s tab. From there, they stopped at the Sam’s No. 3 bar/restaurant before heading back to Jarrett’s home and lugging his body inside.
Still armed with the ATM card, Young and Rubinson zipped to Viva Burrito for a bite to eat and a strip club named Shotgun Willie’s, authorities said.
The pair withdrew $400 from the cash machine at the pole-dancing palace, authorities said.
Finally, at about 4 a.m., the pair flagged down a police officer to report their pal was probably dead. Cops responded, and found Jarrett’s body at his home.
“This is a bizarre and unfortunate crime,” Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson told the Denver Post.
“This isn’t anything you want to have happen to a loved one. You want them treated with respect in death.”
Both men were free on bond. Neither was charged in Jarrett’s death, but they face charges of abusing a corpse, identity theft and criminal impersonation.
The cause of Jarrett’s death was undetermined pending toxicology tests, authorities said.
William Harry Snyder, 43, of Big Sewickley Creek Road, Bell Acres, was charged by Aliquippa police in January after they said Snyder, who was a security guard at the Valley Terrace apartment complex, hindered a homicide investigation.
Opening arguments in the trial against Snyder began Wednesday afternoon and closing arguments ended late Thursday morning. After several hours of deliberations the jury returned the verdict.
Police said Snyder was working for Victory Security Agency, a private company that provides security for the Valley Terrace apartments. On Dec. 28, Snyder, along with two other security guards, was involved with police in the investigation of a shooting death in the apartment complex.
Robert Melvin Hall Jr., 18, of Aliquippa was shot while sitting in a car with two other teenagers, police said. Hall was the only person in the car who was shot.
On Jan. 1, when Snyder reported for work, he was fired by his supervisor for an incident unrelated to the shooting, police said.
Snyder was told to leave the premises. Instead, he went to an apartment in the complex and told residents details about the police investigation that have compromised the investigation.
No arrests have been made in the shooting. In the weeks after the shooting, police said witnesses would not work with the police and were holding up the investigation.
Authorities said Friday that 21-year-old Lemuel Espinosa of Compton is charged with possession of a controlled substance with an intent to distribute it.
He was arrested Wednesday after Transportation Security Administration officers discovered the nearly five pounds of concealed meth in Espinosa’s carry-on bag during X-ray screening.
Authorities said Espinosa was en route to Japan and planned to deliver the meth to someone there in exchange for $6,000.
Espinosa is being held without bond pending his arraignment set for Oct. 3. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Felonies and petty theft were the most common reasons why the state revoked 448 security guard licenses in the past two years in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, according to state licensing records.
Those now barred from security work include a Fort Lauderdale guard who allegedly broke into a Pompano Beach Blockbuster and another who reportedly stole a bike from the garage of a Sunrise home.
In Palm Beach County, a Boca Raton security officer smashed a car windshield during an argument and an guard from West Palm Beach was caught shoplifting from a Port St. Lucie Walmart, police said.
It’s unknown whether the officers were employed as security guards when they were arrested. But all had their security licenses revoked within the last year because they were convicted or had adjudication withheld.
These outlaw security guards are a small group compared with the pool of 130,000 licensed guards in South Florida as of August. Security companies said they can’t weed out all the bad apples without complete access to a security guard’s criminal history in all 50 states.
“[Florida] is like a drain pipe,” said Patty Schmitt, secretary of the Florida Association of Security Companies. “People get in trouble somewhere else and come here.”
In Florida, an applicant for a security officer license can start working as an unarmed guard while the licensing division waits for state and federal criminal background-check results. But the state doesn’t share those records with employers, instead granting or revoking a license based on its own review.
Felons and those with certain Florida misdemeanors automatically are denied and told to stop working.
That’s not enough, security guard employers said.
They might put a convicted felon to work for weeks before the state alerts them, said K.C. Poulin, CEO of Critical Intervention Services, a security company in the Tampa and Orlando areas. Employers can do only limited background checks in Florida counties.
“This loophole needs to be addressed,” said Poulin, president of a statewide security association. “We need to know what guys fell through the cracks.”
The state Division of Licensing said it’s made major strides, cutting down the wait time for background checks from months to days, since it recently began scanning applicants’ fingerprints. But it’s important that people can start working right away.
“We would not want to have the beaurocratic process stop people from working and earning a living,” said Ken Wilkinson, assistant director of the state licensing division.
Even so, employers want to get their hands on all criminal records — even a misdemeanor charge for writing a bad check, said Schmitt, who has pushed for private security companies to get nationwide background checks from the FBI.
The Sept. 11 attacks led the federal government to enact a law in 2006 allowing private security agencies to get background checks from the FBI. Each state, however, must authorize it, and Florida hasn’t.
“The security industry is screaming for this,” said Schmitt. “We don’t want to hire anyone with a criminal history.”
That law doesn’t apply to Florida, said Wilkinson. It was intended for states that don’t regulate private security. Florida does.
“We already do background checks,” Wilkinson said. “If agencies have concerns about any misdemeanor … that’s not something we can help them with.”
Meanwhile, the hundreds of felon guards in South Florida can’t work security for 10 years after completing their sentences. Those on probation have to wait three years.
That’s unfair, said Edson Vil, a former security guard who patrolled a strip mall in West Palm Beach before he was arrested last year on a drug charge.
Boynton Beach police reportedly found 10 plastic bags filled with marijuana and two electronic scales in his car, according to an arrest report. A Palm Beach County judge later withheld adjudication on the charge of possessing marijuana with the intention to sell.
When the state found out about his case, it revoked his security license. Vil, 23, called the move unfair and said he shouldn’t be punished since he was never convicted of a crime.
“They didn’t give me a chance,” he said. “It was one of my best jobs.”
ST. LOUIS IL Sept 17 2011 Police said Terrance Burnett killed himself Thursday night as officers, trying to arrest him on charges of murdering his pregnant, estranged wife and shooting her boyfriend, closed in on him.
Police tracked down Burnett in north St. Louis County after receiving a tip. As officers questioned homeowners and searched for Burnett in an area off New Halls Ferry Road, just south of Patterson Road, Burnett went to a nearby creek and shot himself in the head shortly after 9 p.m., according to police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Burnett, 41, of the 2900 block of Santiago Drive in Florissant, was accused of fatally shooting Danielle Burnett, 29, Tuesday evening in the parking lot of her Lafayette Square apartment building.
Police said he shot his estranged wife in the face about 5:30 p.m. in the lot at the WireWorks Lofts apartments as she and her boyfriend were getting out of a car. Police said he shot her twice.
After she fell to the ground, her boyfriend, Tony Green, 43, covered her with his body to try to shield her from gunfire, police said. Terrance Burnett fired again, striking Green in the upper back near his neck, court documents say. Terrance Burnett scaled a fence and ran off, police said.
Danielle Burnett was taken to St. Louis University Hospital, where she died. Authorities said that she was about four months pregnant and that the fetus did not survive.
Terrance Burnett found out two weeks ago that his wife was pregnant, court records say. It was unclear Thursday who was the father.
Green was discharged from a hospital after treatment, but a bullet remained lodged near his spine, police said.
Terrance Burnett had been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action.
Court records say Danielle Burnett filed for divorce from Terrance Burnett on Aug. 2, roughly the same time she moved to the WireWorks Lofts, just east of Lafayette Park.
Her attorney in the divorce, David Betz, said she gave no indication she felt threatened by her husband.
“This was a woman who wanted an uncontested divorce,” Betz said.
BAY MINETTE, Alabama Sept 17 2011 — A former Spanish Fort Municipal Court clerk has been convicted of stealing thousands in court funds during a 14-month period in 2006-2007, Attorney General Luther Strange announced this afternoon.
Mary Luft, 41, a resident of Daphne, was found guilty of first-degree theft Tuesday in Baldwin County Circuit Court. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning the guilty verdict, according to the news release from the Attorney General’s Office.
Sentencing is set for Oct. 31. Luft faces a potential penalty of 2 to 20 years and a fine of up to $30,000 for the class B felony.
“This defendant held a position of public trust in which her duty was to be a caretaker of municipal court funds,” Strange said in the release. “She betrayed that trust by stealing the people’s money, and now she will be held to account and punished for her crime. I am proud of the hard work and outstanding commitment by the staff of our Investigations Division and Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division to deliver justice for the people of Alabama.”
As municipal court clerk, Luft was responsible for handling and processing all money that came through the municipal court of Spanish Fort. According to the Attorney General’s Office, Luft skimmed and stole more than $58,000 — nearly half of the money collected by municipal court over a 14-month period in 2006 and 2007.
“I think all of us were shocked at this” when the trouble came to light, said Spanish Fort Mayor Joe Bonner. “We started finding some inaccuracies.”
During the trial, which began Monday, the Attorney General’s Office presented an audit performed by the Alabama Department of Public Examiners, which uncovered the missing funds with a chargeback holding Luft responsible for the embezzlement.
The money stolen belonged to the state as well as the city because a portion of the court fines are distributed to the state and counties, according the to Attorney General’s Office.
Bonner said that asking the Attorney General’s Office to take the lead in investigating the case was the right course of action.
“I’m disappointed that one of our employees was found guilty of first-degree theft. I feel for her family,” he said. “The process has worked and justice has been served.”
Stafford Township Police said Eric S. Berkoben, 23, of the Ocean Acres section of the township – a Class II police officer – was arrested with 23-year-old Nathaniel Shoemaker, also of Ocean Acres, in connection to the robbery and assault of Oliver Coello early Saturday morning
Police said Patrolman James Sutter was patrolling the area of New Washington Avenue, behind LA’s Bar when he saw a man staggering in the road. According to a news release, Sutter checked on Coello and found he was bleeding from his head and face following an altercation with two other men. Coello told Sutter that he was also robbed of $100 in cash.
Sutter administered medical treatment to Coello, who was transported to Southern Ocean Medical Center.
Det. Neil McKenna investigated the alleged robbery and assault and determined that all three men were inside LA’s Bar.
Police said Berkoben left the bar and waited in a wooded area near Washington Avenue for Shoemaker and Coello to leave the bar. When Coello and Shoemaker approached the area where Berkoben was waiting, Berboken and Shoemaker allegedly robbed Coello, police said. Berkoben and Shoemaker then fled the scene, police said.
Berkoben and Shoemaker were charged with second-degree robbery and third-degree aggravated assault. Bail was set at $10,000 each and both men posted bail, police said.
Source:press of atlantic city
ANKENY, Iowa Sept 17 2011– A memorial has appeared at the corner in Ankeny were a school crossing guard was hit by a truck on Thursday
The sign reads, “Thank you Frank, God Bless.” Flowers have also been placed around the sign on Friday.
The crash happened around 7:40 a.m. Thursday when police said a pickup struck a crossing guard on West 1st Street. Police said the guard was attempting to escort children across the street when the crash happened.
Police said some children did witness the crash.
Franklyn Luttrell, 78, was found lying in the road with severe head injuries. He later died at the hospital.
His funeral has been set for Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Church at 510 East 1st St. in Ankeny.
Dean Luttrell, Frank’s son talked to KCCI on Tuesday. He said his father was a Marine and former police officer in Dallas, Texas. So working as a crossing guard was a natural way for him to serve his community.
“He save those kids,” Luttrell said. “He put himself between that truck and those kids.”
The Luttrell family is waiting for Ankeny police to complete their investigation and determine whether the sun was a factor in the crash. Still they struggle to understand why the driver, 63-year-old Laurin Cole, didn’t slow down if he couldn’t see.
“Millions of people drive east everyday with the sun in their face, it’s no excuse for what happened,” Luttrell said.
KCCI spoke briefly with Cole by phone who said his insurance company advised him not to talk about the crash, but Cole said the sun made it hard to see and he thought he had a green light.
The Luttrell family hopes the tragic crash will be a reminder for all drivers to take slow, especially in school zones.
“If anything good come out of this, just the awareness of what you’re doing when you’re driving down the street. Pay attention, pay attention to your crossing guard,” Luttrell said.
“Frank was a hero today,” said Ankeny Police Chief Gary Mikulec. “He saved the lives of a number of young children waiting to cross the street on their way to school this morning. Frank did what he was trained to do.”
Luttrell was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. Police said he later died from his injuries.
Police said witnesses reported that the truck drove through a red light, hitting Luttrell as he stepped off the curb and into the street. Luttrell was wearing a reflective vest and holding a stop sign raised above his head at the time of the crash.
The driver of the truck, Laurin Cole told officers he did not see Luttrell.
School officials said counselors were available to students.
Police said Luttrell and his wife Deanna moved to Ankeny about four years ago to be close to their grandchildren. He had been employed as a school crossing guard with the city of Ankeny since December 2009.
Police said they’re still investigating and don’t know exactly what happened, but they are looking into the possibility that the angle of the morning sun played a factor.
“The sun was just about at the point in the sky where it may have blinded the driver for that. Just for that particular split second,” said Mikulec.
Riverside CA Sept 17 2011 Prosecutors are no longer seeking the death penalty against a Perris man convicted of slaying a retired Riverside police sergeant who was working as a security guard when he was gunned down in 1985.
Leslie Gene Parker, 52, will be sentenced Oct. 21, according to court records from a Thursday hearing. He faces life in prison without parole.
Parker was convicted in 2010 of slaying Fred Taylor, 54, during an armed robbery and gunfight at the Tyler Mall — now called the Galleria at Tyler.
But the same jury that convicted Parker could not reach a unanimous verdict for the death sentence, splitting 8-4 in favor of capital punishment.
A decision to try Parker again on the death penalty was reviewed after Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach took office in January. Zellerbach decided not to put the matter to jurors again, said deputy district attorney Laura Ozols.
Taylor’s son, Christopher Taylor, said Thursday he agreed with the decision, in part because of the long appeal process for death penalty cases in California.
“California doesn’t have a death penalty, in my opinion,” Taylor, 49, of Riverside, said in a telephone interview. “So I think this is the best thing, and we want to get it behind us.”
He also said that at least one, and possibly two, accomplices have not been brought to justice. The robbery netted $265,000.
“There are still other suspects out there and we can still do this again. I hope we do,” the son said of bringing the others to trial. “We are behind the DA on this.”
Fred Taylor died Dec. 16, 1985. He had been escorting two bank employees who were picking up night deposits when they were confronted by at least two men. Taylor had been hired as a security guard during a Brinks armored truck guard strike.
Parker was believed to have fired the fatal round in the 14-shot gun battle.
Deputy Public Defender Brian Cosgrove called the crime a botched robbery that did not begin with intent to kill.
“It was our position that Mr. Parker was not the actual shooter, that it was someone else who pulled the trigger. The jury disagreed with us,” Cosgrove said by phone Thursday.
The other man, who detectives said was armed with a knife, has never been found.
Taylor’s gunfire wounded one of his attackers. The getaway car, with blood on the passenger seat, was later found at the former location of Riverside General Hospital, a short distance down Magnolia Avenue from the mall.
The case was cold for years. But in 2007 a DNA sample from the getaway car seat was matched to Parker, a felon.
Parker wasn’t a suspect in 1985. If he hadn’t been convicted of possessing stolen property in 2003, he might never have been arrested. Because of that conviction, he was required to submit DNA samples to the state database.