Reading PA Nov 5 2011 A Pike Township man who became despondent after a drunken driving arrest fired a gun several times, threatened a neighbor, went inside his house, set it on fire and shot himself in the head early Thursday, state police said.
Jeffry Hollowbush, 62, of 484 Oysterdale Road was pronounced dead at 3:50 a.m. of a shotgun wound to the head, according to the Berks County coroner’s office.
Firefighters, ambulance personnel and police were called to Hollowbush’s ranch house shortly after midnight for a report that a man had set his house on fire and was walking on his property, randomly firing a shotgun, state police said.
At one point, a neighbor called emergency dispatchers to report that Hollowbush had pointed the weapon at her and then walked away, investigators said.
In addition to his house, the fire also destroyed an adjacent area where Hollowbush had parked numerous pieces of equipment, all-terrain vehicles and other machinery, troopers said.
Troopers gave this account:
Hollowbush was arrested for drunken driving Wednesday night after he crashed his vehicle into a pole in the first block of Forgedale Road in Rockland Township.
Hollowbush was unhurt, but troopers took him to Reading Hospital for a blood-alcohol test after the crash and then released him.
His wife, Kathy, picked him up at the hospital. On the way home, Hollowbush told his wife he was going to burn their house down and kill himself. Kathy Hollowbush said her husband had made similar comments in the past.
The Hollowbushes were in the process of getting a divorce, and he had recently lost his job.
Kathy Hollowbush dropped her husband off, and Hollowbush then called his 17-year-old daughter, whom police did not identify, and told her she had 15 minutes to save his life.
The first troopers to arrive at the house found the daughter hiding in the nearby woods unharmed. She told them that when she arrived she saw her father standing in a basement doorway and that his pants were on fire.
She said she saw her father put a shotgun to his head and go back into the burning house. Moments later she heard a gunshot. She did not see her father come out.
Kathy Hollowbush told troopers her husband had an arsenal in the house. Flames from the fire could be seen for miles and ammunition could be heard exploding as firefighters poured water onto the blaze.
For a time firefighters were being kept back as a safety precaution because of the exploding ammunition. As a result, the house burned completely.
After the initial call, state police said they were miles away and asked for assistance from municipal police. Officers from Colebrookdale, Amity and Oley townships responded.
Investigators found Hollowbush’s body in the rubble and remnants of a shotgun nearby. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Coroner Gretchen Weyant, who ruled the death a suicide.
Orlando Fla Nov 5 2011 Rejecting an appeal board’s recommendation, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings decided Thursday to fire a deputy involved in a crash that claimed the life of a 91-year-old man last year.
Malinda Miller was cited for failing to use due care in the T-bone crash that killed Ed Soistman on Magnolia Homes Road. A judge later absolved her of that violation after a hearing.
She initially faced termination after the crash, but appealed. Last month, an appeal board ruled in her favor, recommending suspension and disciplinary probation in place of termination.
Demings had the option to accept the recommendation, in whole or part, or to reject it, an agency spokesman said at the time. On Thursday, Demings informed Miller he’d chosen the latter.
“I respectfully disagree with the recommendations of the Disciplinary Appeal Board and find your appeal of the severity of discipline to be ‘Without Merit,’” Demings wrote in a letter to Miller.
Miller has seven days to turn in any department-issued equipment, the letter states.
The Florida Highway Patrol said Miller’s lights and siren were off and she was driving 86 mph in a 40-mph zone before the crash on Aug. 17, 2010. She was on her way to help with a burglary suspect.
Law allows deputies on the way to an emergency to disregard some traffic regulations, but sheriff’s policy cautions deputies to drive with “due care and regard for the safety of the public.”
Miller, who was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in 2008, had been ticketed twice previously on speeding charges, once in 2001 and once in 2009.
Soistman led an active life that included volunteer work at Great Oaks Village, a group foster home for children; Christian Service Center for Central Florida; churches; hospitals and nursing homes.
The retired Lockheed Martin executive and lay minister was on his way to visit a friend in the hospital when his Buick was struck by Miller’s patrol vehicle last year.
Chicago IL Nov 5 2011 A Northern Illinois University police officer has been charged with the alleged sexual assault of a female student last week.
Andrew Rifkin, 23, faces up to 15 years in prison, The Daily Chronicle reported.
The officer was reported to NIU campus police by the female victim last Friday. Police Sgt. Alan Smith said the incident allegedly happened in Cortland while Rifkin was off duty Oct.14.
NIU police conducted a preliminary investigation and fired Rifkin from his job.
Rifkin turned himself in Tuesday to authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was released that night posting a $15,000 bail.
Police said officers conduct routine dormitory building checks, file reports and respond to complaints by students. However, the police department has a strict “no-fraternization” policy with students, faculty, and staff at the university.
“We take out job seriously in providing the best service to this campus and community, ” Smith said. “This type of behavior is not indicative of the behavior of members of this department.”
Cortland police said they have respectfully backed out of the case, leaving the situation to NIU police.
Rifkin’s next court date is set for Friday Nov. 4.
Montgomery County MD Nov 5 2011 A Montgomery Village man fatally shot himself in the parking lot of his townhouse community Wednesday, according to Montgomery County Police. The man shot himself at about 2 a.m. on Chatteroy Place, said Montgomery County Police spokeswoman Officer Rebecca Innocenti. Innocenti declined to give the man’s name, as per Montgomery County Police policy.
Montgomery Village Foundation President Robert Hydorn, who lives in the same Patton Ridge community, was informed about it through the private security firm assigned to monitor the neighborhood, he said.
The sound of a gun firing in the middle of the night was loud enough to alert some neighbors, who went outside to see what had happened.
“They found him on the ground,” Hydorn said. “I didn’t hear it but lots of people heard it. People need to look after their neighbors. They need to know what’s happening to their neighbors.”
Three other officers were disciplined in the aftermath of the arrest by Cecil Garrett, who was with the department for nearly six years, Chief Steve Graham said. The chief acted because he wants the public to trust his department, he said.
“I want to send a message to the public and my officers that this will not be tolerated,” Graham said.
Garrett told the Orlando Sentinel that the firing was payback because he was among a group of officers who in October 2009 complained to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement complaints about Graham. Nothing ever came of it.
Both sides agree that Garrett on May 11 stopped a car with a broken taillight on U.S. Highway 50 near U.S. 27. The 17-year-old driver ran, apparently because he was driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Video from the officer’s cruiser shows someone tossing something out of the car. Field tests of the substance showed traces of cocaine, but a lab later found the small bags contained no illicit drugs, the chief said.
Garrett arrested the driver on a charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He said he didn’t watch the video before arresting the teen because he didn’t think it was necessary.
“I based my arrest on probable cause,” Garrett said.
Garrett wrote in his arrest report that the packets came off the driver’s lap, Graham said. But another officer who watched the video noticed that the driver, who surrendered the night of the traffic stop, had run off before the bags were tossed. A rear-seat passenger tossed the drugs, the chief said.
The officer showed the video to a third officer. Both pointed out the inconsistency to Garrett, but he brushed them off and did not mention the video in his report, Graham said. A sergeant also read Garrett’s probable-cause affidavit that justified the arrest and saw the video, the chief said.
Garrett said one of the officers mentioned the night of the arrest that he thought the packets might not have come from the driver, but Garrett relied on his own experience — especially since the other officer was inexperienced.
The sergeant, Mark Edwards, was demoted to officer. Officer Marc Thompson was verbally counseled. Officer Dennis Hall received a written reprimand.
“They didn’t do enough to stop the bad arrest,” Graham said.
Clermont began its internal investigation after the teen’s uncle, a retired Orange County deputy, requested it from police and watched it in July. Garrett had been on paid leave since July 6.
Garrett, the son of a Lake County sheriff’s lieutenant, is appealing his firing to the city manager, the chief said. The State Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case to see whether criminal charges of official misconduct are warranted.
Clermont has 57 sworn officer positions, although a few are not currently filled.
A 33-year-old man who works security at Rodeo Bob’s was assaulted at the bar on October 30, says a report by Officer Jimmy Blankenship.
The victim told the officer that the bar was ready to close around 3 a.m. and that “the bartender had an unidentified male subject that refused to pay his tab.”
The security worker approached the man, who became “combative,” grabbed the worker, and gouged his finger deeply into the worker’s left eye, “saying he was going to blind him,” the report says.
The security worker broke free, but the man continued punching him and hit him on the forehead, knocking him to the floor.
“He was unsure of what or who it was,” the officer’s report says. “The unknown subject then ran out the door. He was last seen wearing an orange Tennessee Vols shirt.”
The victim drove himself to the hospital for medical attention, the report says.
Source: Herald Citizen
Detectives Brian Dodge and Billy Koepke are both charged with racketeering, kidnapping, extortion, false imprisonment, grand theft and falsifying records.
Police Chief Frank Adderley said it was not a good day for his department but urged the public to remember that the majority of officers and staff are honorable people who do their jobs with pride and respect for the public.
To any officers who are not following the rules, Adderley said the arrests send a signal that their behavior won’t be tolerated.
“If there are people in the department that are not good, they’ll see that maybe this aint’t the job for them,” the chief said.
If convicted of all charges, Dodge and Koepke face a maximum of life imprisonment for the kidnapping charge and more than a 107 years in prison. Dodge is charged with a total of 19 counts, Koepke faces 17.
The officers are accused of making traffic stops – which may or may not have been legitimate – in order to search motorists for money and pills, according to prosecutors.
If they found a large amount of money, the two would fabricate criminal charges, if necessary, to steal a portion of the money, the documents allege. Investigators also found evidence the officers stole pills but they were not formally charged with that.
Koepke, 32, and Dodge, 30, would keep some of the money and pills and then put some of the cash and drugs into evidence in an effort to conceal their actions, authorities said.
The two men turned themselves in at the Broward Main Jail Thursday night. Bond for Koepke was set at $77,000 and $73,000 for Dodge, according to figures on the Broward Sheriff’s Office jail website.
Both officers were in front of Judge John “Jay” Hurley Friday morning during a first appearance hearing. The two officers will be under house arrest — with GPS monitors — once they make bond.
Hurley also ordered that Koepke and Dodge give up their passports and have no contact with each other or potential witnesses in their case.
Koepke and Dodge, both members of the Street Crimes Unit, have been under investigation for months. The unit is better known by its community nickname: the Raiders.
Tim Donnelly, head of special prosecutions for the Broward State Attorney’s Office, said he hoped the charges will restore public confidence in the system.
Both officers have been on paid suspension from their jobs since April 18, police officials said. They are both paid $75,878 a year.
The detectives came under scrutiny after a hotel security video was found that contradicted their versions of two arrests they made at a Red Roof Inn in Oakland Park.
A public corruption task force, led by the FBI and Fort Lauderdale Police Department, conducted the investigation with state prosecutors.
The investigation started when a defense attorney for one of the suspects in a drug case uncovered a hotel surveillance video that contradicted the officers’ sworn accounts of what happened, prosecutors said. Investigators turned up evidence that Koepke and Dodge had claimed they found crack cocaine on a man who had none and stole several thousand dollars that should have been turned over as evidence, sources said.
Two other officers who have been suspended in the same investigation will not be criminally charged but they are both facing possible internal affairs charges, the police chief said Friday.
Detective Matthew Moceri, 28, and Sgt. Michael Florenco, a 34-year-old sergeant in the unit, are also suspended with pay and will not be allowed to return to work until the internal investigation is completed, Adderley said.
According to the Red Roof Inn’s security video, the four officers were at the hotel about 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2010, when two men, Junior Jerome and Dieudson Nore, were arrested on charges of possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute.
An arrest form filed by Koepke and Dodge said they arrested the driver and his passenger after they saw both men drop crack cocaine to the floor of their 2010 Hyundai.
The detectives said the men came to the hotel on Powerline Road south of Commercial Boulevard to deliver drugs to the officers’ “informational source.”
But according to documents filed March 15 by Broward prosecutors when they dropped the criminal charges against Jerome and Nore, video footage from the hotel’s lobby and parking lot showed that the so-called “passenger” was not in the vehicle and was arrested in the lobby.
The video contradicted the officers’ written reports as well as a sworn statement that Dodge gave about the arrest, court records show.
Dodge testified that there wasn’t anything unusual about the case, that only he and Koepke were present for the arrest, that the officers did not run up to the vehicle, and that they didn’t have their guns out.
The video footage contradicted all of that, prosecutors wrote in their memo dismissing the charges.
“Based on the inconsistencies between the surveillance video and sworn officer testimony, the officers’ credibility has been diminished,” prosecutors wrote, adding they could not go forward with the case in good faith. Dodge was not able to explain those inconsistencies, the prosecutors wrote.
Internal affairs reports show Dodge was suspended without pay for a day in 2006 after an allegation was sustained that he had sought a “special privilege” or used his position on several occasions between October 2004 and March 2006 to fix $150 worth of parking citations issued to his friend. A complaint that Dodge violated the department’s rules on working an off-duty detail for a private business was also sustained, records show.
Raphael Daniel Bettan and Ryan Goodman, both 18, were arrested Tuesday, Nov. 1, on suspicion of grand theft after a security guard saw them take backpacks left unattended at Menlo School, Atherton police Sgt. Sherman Hall said.
The college students were seen picking up the unattended bags and taking them to a nearby grove of trees, Sgt. Hall said.
Security officers apprehended the suspects and called police.
Two iPads and other electronic items believed to have been stolen were later found in the college students’ dormitory, Sgt. Hall said.
Police are investigating whether the suspects are responsible for other thefts recently reported on campus.
The homeless man is a “habitual transient” and could be about 50 years old, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s official said.
Sajjaad Kahn of the San Fernando Valley works at the park as a security guard hired by Securitas and was at the park when the homeless man initiated some sort of altercation, deputies said.
The homeless man allegedly tried to grab Kahn’s weapon and was arrested two blocks from the park in front of the Bonanza Market at 24301 Main Street near the intersection of Market and Main.
James Green, 74, was found inside an office at Green’s Coin Laundry on Depot Street at about 7 p.m.
“It’s very preliminary, but all appearances suggest this was a suicide,” Asheville police Lt. Wally Welch said this morning.
Green left a note, and a handgun found near his body belonged to him, Welch said. He declined to say what was in the note.
Police were notified by a customer who had come in to do laundry, Welch said.
Green also owned Green’s Mini-Mart adjacent to the laundry. The store had been a popular spot in the community for years.
Customer Monica Harrison said Green was living with lung cancer, but seemed in good spirits Wednesday night. She talked to him not long before his death.
Harrison said Green gave her free pampers for her daughter several years ago when she couldn’t afford to pay.
“He was a good man,” she said.
Dozens gathered near the business Wednesday evening to remember Green and console others in the community who knew him well.
Priscilla Robinson-Ndiaye said she had spoken with Green, a widower and father of two adult sons, about two weeks ago.
“You never know what people are going through,” she said. “He just kept talking about his wife and how much he missed her.”
Green opened the convenience store in 1983 because at the time, “you had to have a car or hop on the bus to go get a loaf of bread,” he told the Citizen-Times in 2008. “Most people open their business with profits in mind. I wanted to make a living with the population and the history of the community in mind.”
Many people in the community viewed Green as a father figure and the convenience store was a popular hangout for some. Robinson-Ndiaye said the entire family helped with running the the store throughout the years, adding that the business was “very well run.”
“The community will feel it and continue to feel it,” she said. “Everybody was his child. He was old-school. If you came in out of order, he corrected you.”
Welch said Green was an admirable man.
“I knew Mr. Green from when I worked patrol 20 years ago,” he said. “He was a great man to deal with, very forthcoming. He was always appreciative of the police officers who stopped in to have a soda and talk with him. He was a very nice man and a very well-liked man.”
Sarasota Fla Nov 5 2011
A 17-year-old girl hospitalized after apparently trying to hang herself in a restroom at Booker High School died this morning at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, according to Sarasota Police.
“Our hearts go out to her family and friends,” said Scott Ferguson a spokesman for the Sarasota County School District.
The student had been in the hosptial since Tuesday, after she was found hanging in the girls’ bathroom. Police had described her injuries as life-threatening, and the school was put under a lockdown after she was discovered.
Capt. Paul Sutton with the Sarasota Police Department said the injuries that resulted in her death appear to be self-inflicted.
Ferguson said the district has no information to suggest that the girl was a victim of bullying at school. There have been incidents around the nation of teens who killed themselves after being taunted at school, but none of the information gathered so far suggests that this occurred to the student.
“There is no evidence that there was any bullying,” he said.
No school services at this point have been planned, according to Ferguson. Counselors have been on hand at Booker to talk with students about the incident.
Criminal investigators with SPD are still investigating the incident.
Anyone with information regarding this incident can contact Det. Rex Troche at 941-954-7070.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA Nov 5 2011 – Police arrested three people accused of shopping with counterfeit money at area Target and Walmart stores.
Police in Colonial Heights, Virginia said officers were called to the Target Store on Southpark Boulevard Tuesday night after workers said the suspects used nine counterfeit $100 bills to pay for purchases.
Police tracked the suspects to the Walmart on Southpark Boulevard where investigators said the suspects used five counterfeit $100 bills.
U.S. Secret Service Tannesha T. Betha, 23, and Max J. Roseme, 27, were arrested and charged with Grand Larceny, False Pretenses, Aid or Abet in Larceny, Possession of Forged Bank Notes and Forgery of Bank Notes.
Jimmy Delpeche, 33, is charged with Grand Larceny, False Pretenses and Aid or Abet in Larceny.
The United States Secret Service is assisting in the investigation.
Chesterfield County Police initially responded to the scene because there was a similar incident at the Target on Jefferson Davis Highway in that county.
Sheffield AL Nov 5 2011
After deliberating for more than three hours, a Colbert County jury has found 39 year old Amanda Watkins guilty of 2nd degree rape and 2nd degree sodomy. The former Sheffield Junior High School teacher was arrested in December 2009 after being caught with a 15 year old boy.
District Attorney Bryce Graham said Watkins was thinking clearly and knew it was wrong to have sex with a student. He said several things throughout the testimonies proved that she understood the nature, quality and wrongfulness of her actions. He said that even if the student did ask for sex, he was 15. According to the law, he can’t ask or consent to sexual intercourse.
Testimony in the trial began on Tuesday. The jury heard testimony from a psychologist, psychiatrist, a nurse who gave Watkins a rape kit, the student, and watkins’ sister and husband.
In closing arguments, the defense questioned the methods in which a Muscle Shoals police detective recorded Watkins’ testimony. He did not use a recorder, but pen and paper to take down the account. Watkins’ attorney Ralph Holt said the things the state used as proof that she was in the right mind like rolling down the window and responding the the officer, were every day things anyone would do.
The 39 year old Watkins faces anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set. Watkins will remain free on bond until her sentencing hearing.
FORT COVINGTON NY Nov 5 2011 — A self-inflicted gunshot wound caused the death of Salmon River Central student Hunter A. Deer, 17, according to a news release from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.
According to the release, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department was notified that Mr. Deer was missing at about 6:45 p.m. Sunday night. A short time later, police were dispatched to the Log Cabin Gas Station on Route 7.
“Upon arrival a family member informed Tribal Police they had found a male with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the release said.
Mr. Deer was discovered east of Beaver Meadow Road, toward the rear of the gas station property.
Salmon River Central School Superintendent Jane Collins said Mr. Deer was a voracious reader who spent a lot of time in the library.
Ms. Collins said one of Mr. Deer’s teachers told her he was the hardest-working person in the class, was very respectful and always willing to work with others.
Ms. Collins said Mr. Deer was also a BOCES student, enrolled in the auto tech program.
“He was an outstanding student there was well,” Collins said.
Witnesses said the suspect jumped from a third-floor railing and landed on the first- floor awning and jumped again, to avoid being arrested.
“I heard a loud bang and a lot of gasping and I looked up and there was this guy on top of Claire’s,” Tom Kielty said.
They were shocking moments at the CambridgeSide Galleria on Thursday. Police said a shoplifter — trying to escape police — jumped over the third-floor railing.
“Shocking, absolutely. And then the fact that he jumped again. I mean when first hit I think everyone was like ‘Jesus he just killed himself ,’but then he kept going,” Kielty said.
Witnesses at the mall said security grabbed him by his sweatshirt, but he still went over the railing — landing on the awning of a store — shattering the glass. Then, he jumped a second time onto the ground.
“Shirt was off, he was missing a shoe, and he tried to run away,” Kielty said.
Police said the mall and store security first stopped the suspect for shoplifting, and while they were waiting for Cambridge police, he decided to jump.
“The foot with the shoe off wasn’t doing so well he was really kind of hopping and hobbling but he made it all the way to the food court,” Kielty said.
Police finally arrested him, but it was an alarming scene that left many grateful that no one else was hurt.
“It took everyone by surprise I mean you’re not expecting to see somebody come off third level here,” said Kielty.
The 41-year-old was taken to the hospital with serious injuries and faces shoplifting and possibly other charges.
MAYFIELD, KY Nov 5 2011 - The Kentucky State Police arrested a local school teacher after an investigation into illegal sexual contact with a student.
According to KSP, Amy Noles, 38, was arrested and charged on Thursday with one count of first degree sexual abuse.
Police say on Wednesday, Nov. 2 they received a complaint from the Graves County High School District about a possible inappropriate relationship between a teacher at GCHS and a student. They say an investigation into the allegation began which led to the arrest of Noles.
Noles was taken to the Graves County Detention Center. Police say the investigation is ongoing.
New York NY Nov 5 2011 It was an action-packed morning for one security guard who foiled a gunpoint robbery of his armored truck minutes after grabbing breakfast at a Williamsburg deli today, cops and witnesses said.
The guard and his partner left the Late Night Deli on Metropolitan Avenue near Oliver Street when a masked gunman approached as they were entering their truck at 6:34 a.m.
The plucky guard fought off the crook and during the scuffle, a shot was discharged from the perp’s gun, cops said.
Luckily, no one was injured but the brazen bandit managed to snatch the guard’s weapon before fleeing. After the dramatic turn of events, one shaken guard raced back into the deli asking for help.
“They left and two minutes later he ran back and said call the cops,” said worker Mohammed Alh. Cops are searching for the suspect, who is in his 20s and was dressed in dark clothing, cops said .
The immigrants, who entered the United States illegally, were not entitled to unemployment benefits. However, 41-year-old Francisco Garcia said as part of a plea deal Monday that he and three other defendants obtained personal identifying information and work history from the immigrants, and submitted the claims for unemployment benefits through Nevada’s unemployment benefit telephone hotline and website.
Garcia said that from about November 2007 to September 2009, he and three co-defendants, — Eloy Garcia, 33, Efrain Garcia, 41, and Nabor Garcia, 32 — fraudulently submitted at least 591 unemployment claims to the State of Nevada.
Eloy and Efrain also entered guilty pleas this week. Nabor Garcia is scheduled to enter a guilty plea next week.
The defendants submitted false notarized affidavits of identity if the State sent the claimant an affidavit due to being unable to match the claimant’s social security number to Nevada DMV records.
The State sent debit cards or checks mailed to addresses that the defendants controlled. The defendants sometimes provided the undocumented workers with a portion of the benefits, later falsely telling them that their claims had stopped paying. Other times, the defendants told applicants that their unemployment claims were not accepted, and kept all of the benefits for themselves.
The defendants are required to forfeit $4,401,548 in cash, which were proceeds from the crimes. The report says that Francisco is also required to forfeit and five houses that he acquired from the fraud, and Eloy and Efrain must forfeit one house.
Grand Valley State University police firearms training injures man, damages houses www.privateofficer.com
GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP MI Nov 5 2011 — A handful of Grand Valley State University police officers were midway through a firearms training session when a car sped into the North Ottawa Rod & Gun Club and an irate man emerged. He said his house had just been struck by two errant bullets.
The commanding officer on scene called GVSU Police Capt. Brandon DeHaan to report the problem. After deciding to relocate the training from the gun club’s rifle range to the adjacent pistol range, DeHaan gave the OK to keep firing, according to documents obtained by The Press.
Police later would learn that bullets fired during their training session not only hit the angry man’s home, one struck and injured a contractor working in the nearby Cutter Park neighborhood a half-mile away.
And it wasn’t the first time bullets had escaped the confines of the gun club, authorities found.
Nearly six weeks after that Sept. 29 incident, police reports released under the Freedom of Information Act are providing more information on that day — from how officers trained at the range to how nearly a dozen homeowners found bullet holes and damage to their houses in the subsequent days.
The push for answers is continuing.
GVSU has launched an internal investigation into events surrounding that day, university spokesman Matt McLogan said.
“We, too, requested and received a copy of the sheriff’s report,” McLogan said. “We are checking with our own officers who were on the site that day and others.”
He declined further comment until that investigation is complete.
The university has not commented on the incident since it happened, a silence that has raised the ire of gun club President Mark Welch, who equated the incident to GVSU leaving its mess for the gun club to clean up.
Club officials sent a letter dated Nov. 1 to Grand Haven Township authorities expressing their intent to have the National Rifle Association and other independent auditors examine the range’s design.
And the gun club continues to receive criticism from Cutter Park residents who say the design of its range allowed rounds to escape and enter their neighborhood.
DeHaan giving the go-ahead that day to let officers keep firing, despite the homeowner’s complaint, has put the onus on GVSU, Welch said.
He pointed to parts of the police reports where GVSU’s trainees describe how they were instructed to hold their guns a certain way to avoid shots being misfired.
The injury and damage seem to indicate training and instruction that day failed miserably, Welch said.
“We’re not talking about some sort of abstruse theory that’s not pretty easy to understand,” he said of the training. “Which, frankly, was probably the most disappointing part of it. I frankly would expect more from an organized police agency with sworn officers.”
On Oct. 13, Ottawa County prosecutors declined to press criminal charges against the officers involved with training that day.
Authorities linked some of the damaged homes and the injured man to the Glock handguns being used that morning but said tracing those bullets to specific guns was impossible.
On Thursday, Ottawa County Undersheriff Greg Steigenga reiterated that stance.
He said firearms leave striations and marks on rounds but would not say whether each gun leaves its own distinct fingerprint.
“The type of firearm that was being used at the time of the training exercise oftentimes does not provide a specific opportunity to tie a gun to a round,” Steigenga said.
Cutter Park residents have made it clear the problem — and cleanup — are not going away anytime soon.
Jeremey Wilder, a Cutter Park resident whose home was damaged months before the Sept. 29 incident, said 90 percent of the residents have organized under the new Cutter Park Homeowners’ Group.
The group was created as a show of solidarity and support through the ordeal, Wilder said.
Because Wilder’s home was damaged before Sept. 29, and the fact that another resident in a police report alleged his home was hit four years ago, neighbors believe the problem is more widespread than gun club owners will admit.
“The important thing for the residents of Cutter Park will be the report afterward,” Wilder said of independent auditors assessing the range. “We expect the safety recommendations to ensure that no bullets will be capable of leaving the rifle/pistol range and striking people, homes and property in Cutter Park.”
Michael W. Wooten, 60, of Alabaster, was arrested in Bessemer after a joint investigation by the FBI and Birmingham police, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Birmingham.
Wooten made an initial appearance this morning before a magistrate and will return to court Monday afternoon.
“This investigation uncovered sexually explicit photographs we believe were taken in a studio Wooten set up in a closed Birmingham school building,” U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said in the release. “Not all victims shown in the photographs have been identified, and the investigation continues.”
Vance asked anyone with possible knowledge related to the case to contact the FBI at 1-866-372-0209.
Officials identified the Birmingham school as the shuttered Dupuy Elementary. They quoted a Birmingham schools spokeswoman as saying Wooten worked for city schools from July 1997 to May 2011. Shelby County school officials also confirmed Wooten was a substitute bus driver for their system who had passed a criminal background review. They said he had worked on 21 days in the current school year.
The pictures appear to have been taken in the office of Dupuy Elementary, a closed Birmingham city school, according to the affidavit. Wooten worked as a security officer for Birmingham City Schools from July 1997 until May 2011. Wooten did not have unsupervised access to students, according to Birmingham Schools spokeswoman Michaelle Chapman.
The release from Vance’s office said: “Wooten told investigators in April 2010 that he shared the office at Dupuy Elementary School with another security guard. Wooten said he set up a studio at the office to photograph children in order to build his art portfolio.
“A Birmingham Police officer and an FBI agent searched the office in April 2010 after law enforcement was alerted that Wooten had taken a 9-year-old girl to the empty school and photographed her in several outfits, including sexually explicit costumes, the affidavit states.
“In the search, the officers found five plastic bins containing girls’ clothing, including dresses, bathing suits and thong underwear.”
One 9-year-old girl has been identified and interviewed by investigators. Assisting in the investigation are security officials from Birmingham schools and Hoover and Alabaster police.
RANSON, W.Va. Nov 5 2011
A reported exploding package and spray of white powder that sent emergency units rushing to a small-town post office turned out to be just the pop of a malfunctioning fluorescent light bulb, authorities said Friday.
The white powder that workers at the U.S. Post Office in Ranson saw was most likely smoke from the damaged bulb, said Ronald Fletcher, a firefighter with Citizens Fire Co. and the designated incident spokesman.
X-rays also revealed that a suspicious package in a storage locker contained only cookies, he said.
The scare Friday morning triggered an evacuation of the building and the temporary quarantine of 15 people inside a school bus. Hazardous materials and bomb experts, State Police units, fire crews and more responded to the scene at a strip mall.
The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department sent a robot into the building to test the air. It found no chemical agents or evidence of an explosion.
Despite the six-hour disruption, postal authorities said the mail would still be delivered Friday.
Postmaster Steve Parrill said about 20 people work in the Ranson branch.