SPARKS, Nev.Sept 25 2011 —The city canceled its part in an annual multi-city motorcycle festival on Saturday and neighboring Reno increased police patrol amid fears of retaliation over the shooting death of a prominent Hells Angels boss by a rival gang.
Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, the 51-year-old head of the motorcycle gang’s San Jose chapter, was killed late Friday in a shootout that sent hotel guests and gamblers diving under tables at John Ascuaga’s Nugget hotel-casino, police said. Two California members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club also were wounded.
The gunfight apparently sparked a retaliatory drive-by shooting several hours after the casino gunfire, prompting Mayor Geno Martini to declare a formal state of emergency. A motorcyclist was injured after he was shot Saturday morning.
“We don’t want to alarm our residents,” he said. “The declaration merely provides some tools and tactics our city can and should use if it comes to that.”
“We don’t expect further violence, but we must be prepared,” he added.
Martini said he also pulled the plug on the live entertainment and other festivities in Sparks related to Street Vibrations, an annual weekend-long event that has drawn tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to the area for 18 years.
Festival organizers had said they expected up to 30,000 visitors to this year’s event, which began Thursday and was to run through Sunday in Reno, Sparks and Virginia City.
The man who was shot in the stomach during the drive-by shooting had been riding a motorcycle down the street from the public square where the festival was anchored. He was not being identified for his protection, police said.
That man was in stable condition, as were the two wounded Vagos members—Leonard Ramirez, 45, who was shot in the abdomen, and Diego Garcia, 28, who was shot in the leg.
Deputy Police Chief Brian Allen said investigators could not independently link the casino to the attack on the cyclist, which was carried out by a gunman in a black sedan with tinted windows.
But Martini told the Reno Gazette-Journal that it “definitely” was a case of retaliation.
“After the retaliation, it’s just too tense of a situation,” he said. “It’s hard to say what’s going to happen. It’s just not worth the chance.”
Security also was heightened at the Reno hospital where the two Vagos members were being treated. All doors were locked there, except the emergency entrance.
Allen said there were no suspects in the killing of Pettigrew but that police arrested one Hells Angel member from California in connection with the shootings at the casino. Cesar Villagrana, 36, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen firearm, Allen said. He said Villagrana was caught on videotape shooting into the crowd, but there was no evidence yet that he struck anyone.
Allen appealed for assistance from any witnesses who might have videotaped or photographed any portion of the incident.
Martini said he had been in contact with Gov. Brian Sandoval, who pledged support if the city needed more law enforcement resources.
Allen said law enforcement was monitoring traffic on I-80 and other main routes into Reno but had no indication any motorcycle clubs were attempting to marshal more forces in the area.
Reno police said they were increasing patrols but continuing the festival there, including downtown concerts on the main casino drag where the streets were closed to traffic. They also said they would request assistance from federal law enforcement if necessary.
Police said some hotel-casinos in Reno intended to staff their doors and allow entry only to registered guests Saturday night.
Witnesses to the casino shootout described chaos erupting after a group of Vagos club members was confronted by Hells Angels members at the Nugget. Daniel Sharp, of Stockton, Calif., told the Reno Gazette-Journal that within five minutes, shots rang out: “It was mayhem.”
Joe Franco, of Reno, said he saw one Hells Angel member pull out a gun after he was knocked to the ground in a fistfight.
“He was down with the bloody nose, gets up and pulls out the gun, and that’s the first shot” apparently at the man who punched him, Franco told the Gazette-Journal.
The casino was evacuated and put on lockdown around midnight. The Nugget said in a statement that the casino and all its restaurants had since reopened, but that in addition to its own “extensive security force,” uniformed officers would patrol inside the casino for the rest of the weekend.
Authorities in Arizona arrested more than two dozen members of the two gangs in August 2010 after a shootout between them wounded five people but none seriously in the small community of Chino Valley, north of Prescott.
Toledo OH Sept 25 2011 City police are investigating three reported crimes at three city fire stations in the last two days.
An incendiary device was found Thursday morning at a West Toledo fire station, the day after shots were fired at two Toledo fire station buildings.
No injuries were reported in any of the three incidents.
A package described as an incendiary device was found at about 10:15 a.m. Thursday at Station 18, 5221 Lewis Ave. The Toledo Police department bomb squad was called to remove the device, Fire Chief Luis Santiago said.
The fire station remained in operation after the discovery and while the device was being removed, Chief Santiago said. He declined to comment on additional details regarding the device, citing the police investigation.
On Wednesday between 2:30 and 3 p.m. shots were fired at Station 9, 300 South Avenue.
No damage was reported, Chief Santiago said.
Dan Desmond, vice president of Toledo Firefighters Local 92, said five shots were fired at the building, where he was on duty.
“I can’t imagine anyone wanting to hurt a firefighter,” Mr. Desmond said.
That incident was followed by a series of shots fired at the outside of Station 6 at 642 Starr Avenue in East Toledo at 4:30 p.m. that left a bullet hole in the glass garage door but missed the five firefighters inside.
Mr. Desmond said the three incidents have puzzled him, and he declined to speculate if they have anything to do with the contentious State Issue 2 or with the city’s recent announcement that the administration is cracking down on alleged abuse of sick time in the fire department.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Sept 25 2011– Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have confirmed a former CMPD officer is the suspect in a domestic double shooting in Davidson.
Davidson police said they found Jeremy Hester and his ex-wife Erin Cobb lying in the front yard of a home on Callaway Hills Lane just after 2:00 a.m Saturday.
Witnesses told police Hester drove to Cobb’s house, where they got into an argument. Police said Hester shot his ex-wife in the neck and then shot himself in the head.
Medic took them to CMC-Main where Cobb had surgery. She’s in critical but stable condition. Hester is also in critical condition.
Police said Hester was hired in 2007 and worked patrol in the Metro Division. He resigned in March of 2010.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Sept 25 2011– Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are looking for the man who robbed the Family Dollar store off East Sugar Creek Road kidnapping the clerk.
The victim is in her mid 50’s and has worked for the store for a long time and is well known.
“It’s dangerous, it’s very dangerous and the manager she is so sweet”, said April Allen a customer.
Eric Stitt considers himself a friend of the employee. He tells NewsChannel 36, “This lady doesn’t deserve what she went through this morning or at anytime whatsoever”.
What she went through was a nightmare; she arrived just before 7am Friday to open the store.
Police tell NewsChannel 36, as she was entering the store, she was jumped from behind by a man wearing black.
Investigators say he forced her into the store and later forced her in her car forcing her to drive down Academy Street.
He stopped at the intersection of Meadow Lane, jumped out and ran.
“I woke up and all the police was out here at Meadow Lane and Academy and I was like what’s going on”, said Allen who lives nearby.
Stitt says the victim has helped a lot of people around the neighborhood, he believes the suspect won’t find many places to hide.
“I hope you get caught, I hope you’re even man enough to turn yourself in, but I hope if somebody knows who done it they turn you in I hope they do”, said Stitt.
Police are asking anyone with information to please call crime stoppers at 704-334-1600.
Megan Elizabeth Boyters, 25, was charged in a two count Indictment in connection with a scheme to embezzle $223,946.05 from IND-Tech, a machine shop specializing in textile parts and repair work, according to a release from United States Attorney Bill Nettles.
Boyters is charged with wire fraud, a charge that carries up to 30 years in prison. She is also charged with one count of making false or counterfeit securities. The maximum penalty for that charge is imprisonment of 10 years. The case was investigated by agents of the United States Secret Service.
FORT WORTH TX Sept 25 2011 — A former Kennedale High School teacher accused of having sex with five students at her Arlington home was indicted Friday on five charges of improper relationship between an educator and student.
Brittni Colleps, 27, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each second-degree felony.
Colleps, a mother of three whose husband was stationed at Fort Polk, La., when, authorities say, the incidents took place, was arrested May 16 and remains free on a $125,000 bond.
“A schoolteacher holds a position of trust — we entrust them with what is most important to us: our children,” prosecutor Elizabeth Beach said in a statement released by the Tarrant County district attorney’s office Friday. “Our office takes it very seriously when a teacher violates that trust by having a sexual relationship with a student.”
Lex Johnston, Colleps’ attorney, said Friday that the indictments were “fully expected.”
“A grand jury indictment is not anything other than a review that’s constitutionally guaranteed as to whether or not there was probable cause to have actually arrested her for these charges,” Johnston said. “We will continue to fight this case as best we can, although no definitive plan has been put into place as to how we’re going to proceed.”
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Colleps is accused of exchanging explicit text messages with an 18-year-old student beginning in April and having sex with him days later at her house in Arlington.
Four other students also became involved with Colleps and, at least once, all five were in the same room as the sexual acts took place, according to the affidavit. Video showing Colleps having sex with one student May 10 — with others in the room — was taken as evidence, according to the affidavit.
All the students involved are 18 or older, police have said.
According to the indictments, Colleps is alleged to have had sex and oral sex with four of the students on two occasions each and oral sex with the fifth student on one occasion.
Colleps was a probationary English teacher and coach at Kennedale High, her attorney has said, and had given notice in March that she did not plan to return for this school year. She was placed on administrative leave once the allegations arose.
In the days after her arrest, Colleps’ husband, Christopher Colleps, told reporters that he would support her throughout the “entire ordeal.”
Johnston said Brittni Colleps’ husband continues to stand by his wife. He said Brittni Colleps is looking for a job outside teaching.
The teacher is identified as 39-year-old Carlos Tafolla.
Tafolla taught history and freshmen studies at Mission Oak High School. Many students on campus Friday had no idea about his arrest and were shocked to hear of the charges against him.
Officials with the Tulare Joint Union High School District said they received a complaint about possible lewd material having to do with Tafolla. They said they investigated immediately and the police got involved.
School officials say Tafolla has been with the district for four years, his first year at Tulare Western High School and the last three years at Mission Oak High.
Alfonso Gamino, Assistant Superintendent said, “It’s great that he’s been a great teacher. To me that’s secondary at this point. Our primary focus is the kids are safe.”
Sgt. Darren Altermatt, Tulare Police Dept. said, “It’s a concern for us anytime an adult has this type of material that display sexual behavior by juveniles.”
Tafolla is on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.
School officials say they could take further action once or if Tafolla is officially charged.
EAST POINT, GA Sept 25 2011 – An East Point police officer was fired Friday after he was charged with stealing.
Back in August, the department put Officer Eric Miller on administrative leave while the department conducted an internal investigation into an alleged theft.
East Point police officials asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate the allegations, and Friday, GBI agents arrested Miller for theft by taking, making false statements and violation of oath of office.
The police department didn’t release what was allegedly stolen or if Miller was on duty at the time of the theft.
Miller was granted a signature bond and was released from jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for October 7.
NEW YORK CITY NY Sept 24 2011 — About 80 people have been arrested as demonstrators who were camped out near the New York Stock Exchange marched through lower Manhattan.
The “Occupy Wall Street” protest is entering its second week. Demonstrators said Saturday that they are protesting bank bailouts, the mortgage crisis and Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis.
At Manhattan’s Union Square, police tried to corral the demonstrators using orange plastic netting. Some of the arrests were filmed and activists posted the videos online.
Police say the arrests were mostly for blocking traffic. Charges include disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. But one demonstrator was charged with assaulting a police officer. Police say the officer involved suffered a shoulder injury.
Protest spokesman Patrick Bruner criticized the police response as “exceedingly violent” and said the protesters sought to remain peaceful.