Roanoke VA Nov 13 2011 For more than 30 years, he protected businesses and patrons in local night spots with a smile.
Most people knew him by his hard-nosed occupation as a bouncer. But many got to know Michael “Bear” Russell for the warm, generous and loyal man he was, said one of his co-workers.
Russell died of a heart attack Friday, according to his family. He was 50.
Referred to as the “godfather”of bar security of the Roanoke Valley, Russell had trained more bouncers than anyone else in the Roanoke Valley, said Mike Blackwell, Russell’s co-worker and fellow bouncer at Awful Arthur’s Towers.
Blackwell, who has worked with Russell for almost 10 years, described him as a “big, lovable, father-figure-type guy.”
He stood about 6 foot, 3inches, weighed more than 400 pounds and could be spotted on any given night on a stool working the door at Awful Arthur’s.
“It seemed like he knew everyone,” Blackwell said. “If he didn’t know you, he knew your mama or daddy or sister.”
There was something about him that made people trust him, Blackwell said.
“Total strangers would tell their whole life story to Bear,” he said.
Since he was 19, Russell’s been working in bar security, he told a reporter in a recent Roanoke Times story. But also had jobs as a sheet metal worker, volunteer firefighter and corrections officer, all while working bar security for places such as The Coffee Pot and Caesar’s II.
He’s been at Awful Arthur’s for the past nine years.
Blackwell noted Russell’s work ethic, saying he never missed a day of work and took only one vacation.
“He was a fixture,” he said. “Some things in life you know is going to be there day in and day out. … Bear’s going to be sitting at that door.”
Dozens of patrons sent their condolences to Russell’s family and shared fond memories of him via Facebook on Friday and Saturday.
One wrote: “AAs won’t be the same without your face at the door. It won’t be the same to be there without you, period. I always felt safer with you there, knowing you’d watch out for me & my friends.”
He was famous for the “bear hugs” he gave patrons, women particularly.
“He loved the ladies, and the ladies loved Bear,” Blackwell said.
But it didn’t deter him from his job.
“He would flirt with you all night long, but when it was time for business, he was serious,” he said. “He would say, ‘Give big daddy some sugar. I love ya, but I still need $5.’”
Awful Arthur’s owner, Barry Caldwell, called Russell a “godsend.”
No one who was intoxicated or younger than 21 was getting in under his watch, Caldwell said.
Russell was born and raised in Roanoke by his mother, Mable. He has one brother, William Russell, 47, of Roanoke.
He had no children, but he loved his nieces and nephews greatly, William Russell said.
Michael Russell had been struggling with health complications related to his weight. He had diabetes and trouble with feet, his brother said.
“He was wanting to go back to work, but his body wouldn’t let him,” he said.
He stopped working at Awful Arthur’s this summer and went back to work last week before becoming ill again, William Russell said.
Before he died, he was with his mother.
“He told her she was the greatest mother anyone could have,” Russell said.
His brother said Michael Russell has always been popular.
He got his nickname “Bear” from his football coach at Cave Spring Middle School, and it followed him ever since.
Caldwell, Blackwell and dozens of Awful Arthur’s patrons agreed that the restaurant and bar will not be the same without him.
“He truly enjoyed his job and truly cared about people of all walks of life,” Caldwell said.
In a recent article profiling him, Russell said:
“As long as the good Lord will allow me to keep getting here and get to my seat at the front door, I’ll keep on doing it till the good Lord calls me home. I’ve really enjoyed it. I really, truly have, and it’s been part of my life for a long time.”
The employees at Awful Arthur’s are planning a memorial concert in memory of Russell, Caldwell said.
Eighty-three administrative claims were filed last week, saying the Army, the FBI, and the Justice and Defense departments are guilty of gross and willful negligence for not recognizing that the man charged in the shootings, Maj. Nidal Hasan, was a threat.
“Although they had clear knowledge and warnings that Hasan posed a grave danger to the lives and safety of soldiers and civilians with whom he came into contact, they did nothing to eliminate the known risk posed by him,” the “basis of claim” document alleges.
“On the contrary, bowing to ‘political correctness,’ the DOD, DOA (Department of the Army), DOJ, and FBI, in wanton disregard of the safety of military and civilian personnel, intentionally ignored the threat he presented,” says the document, which was attached to each of the 83 claims.
Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and wounding dozens more in the killing spree at a medical building at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009, where soldiers were screened before deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.
His court martial, in which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, is set to begin March 5. Hasan has not entered a plea.
The lawyer handling the compensation claim, Neal Sher, said the next step depends on the government.
“The Army is taking the lead,” Sher told CNN. “They have six months either to deny the claim or satisfactorily resolve it.” After that, the case could move into federal court.
Since immediately following the attacks there have been widespread questions about how Hasan was evaluated, promoted and transferred to Fort Hood with plans to deploy to Afghanistan despite questions about his ideology and stability.
A congressional report labeled him “a smoking gun,” and ripped into the government for not sounding an alarm.
“Although neither the Department of Defense nor the FBI had specific information concerning the time, place, or nature of the attack, they collectively had sufficient information to have detected Hasan’s radicalization to violent Islamist extremism but failed both to understand and to act on it,” said the report from Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Susan Collins, R-Maine.
“Our investigation found specific and systemic failures in the government’s handling of the Hasan case and raises additional concerns about what may be broader systemic issues,” it said.
The government refuses to confirm reports that U.S. intelligence agencies had monitored Hasan’s e-mail contacts with American-born radical Anwar al-Awlaki, who in September was killed by an American drone attack in Yemen.
“It is a tragic irony that our government sought out and killed al-Awlaki, while Hasan was promoted in the Army and put in a position to carry out his murderous terror attack,” attorney Sher had said in an earlier statement. “It is a sad commentary on our avowed war on terror that the government deliberately refused to take even minimal steps to neutralize the clear threat posed by Hasan, who made no secret of, and actually boasted about, his anti-American and jihadist views.”
Victims and witnesses identified Hasan as the shooter during a preliminary hearing at Fort Hood last year. They described the mayhem inside the building, floors slick with blood as the gunman fired more than 150 rounds and methodically reloaded his handgun. Hasan was shot and partially paralyzed in a shootout with police.
A Fort Hood spokesman acknowledged that the compensation claims had been filed.
“We are aware of the cases but are not able to speak to the specifics,” spokesman Tyler Broadway said in an e-mail. “The cases will be taken seriously and will follow due process.”
Double shooting reported at Tennessee State University homecoming celebration www.privateofficer.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn.Nov 13 2011 – Police have been called out to the scene of a double shooting at a homecoming celebration near Tennessee State University.
The shootings happened around 12:15 p.m. Saturday near the Wendy’s at 28th Avenue and Jefferson Street, just off TSU campus.
The Nashville Fire Department and Metro Nashville Police Department were called to the area. Police said both uniformed North Precinct officers and detectives were on the scene.
Officials confirmed there were two gunshot victims.
An 18-year-old male was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. His exact condition was not known, but police said emergency room doctors had been placed on alert to expect a patient in trauma condition.
The other victim was transported to an area hospital but their condition was unknown.
More than 40,000 people were expected to attend homecoming festivities Saturday as the Tigers take on UT Martin
Several homecoming events were planned leading up to the 5 p.m. game, held at LP Field, including a parade in the morning and Showcase of Bands at Hale Stadium beginning at 11:30 a.m..
Authorities have charged 41-year-old Cindy Clifton, a popular teacher at Crestview Middle School, has been charged on Monday with a reported 53 criminal counts including 14 counts of aggravated statutory rape by an authority figure and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Clifton is also charged with providing minors with alcohol in her home, where she alleged threw parties and had sex with the boys, who were said to be friends of her daughter– from April 11 of this year to July 15.
The boys reportedly range in age from 11 to 14.
Each charge comes with 3 -6 years behind bars so if convicted Clifton could face over 40 years behind bars.
Her attorney Blake Ballin, spoke on behalf of his client, saying, “Ms. Clifton denies all allegations,” and that she was “a devoted wife, mother, member of her church and community.”
The school district is singing a different tune and ABC24 News reports that Tipton County Schools Director William Bibb said a thorough investigation was conducted after parents complained that their children had told them of Clifton’s ‘parties.’
Bibbs reportedly added Clifton was also “immediately suspended without pay from her teaching position and all school activities.”
She was released on $40,000 bail and has made her first court appearance.
EWING NJ Nov 13 2011—A teacher’s aide at Lawrence Intermediate School was arrested Thursday and charged with sexually assaulting a child in his Ewing home.
Joseph Miller, 52, faces two counts of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of sexual assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. Miller was arrested by Ewing police after Lawrence police officers advised them of a reported sexual assault.
Ewing police Lt. Rocco Maruca of the Ewing Police Department said the alleged assault of a school-aged child occurred over the summertime at the defendant’s home. Maruca said police would not release the child’s age and gender to protect the child.
Miller is being held on $400,000 bail.
Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is asked to call (609) 882-1313 ext. 5577 or the anonymous tip line at (609) 882-7530.
Dusk to Dawn Ministry employees charged with abuse/neglect of disabled persons www.privateofficer.com
WARNER ROBINS GA Nov 13 2011 — Four people have been arrested in connection with an investigation into Dusk to Dawn Ministry, authorities said.
Longtime political activist Nora Etta Reese, 52, of Warner Robins, and Robert Marshall Laughlin, 23, of Warner Robins, were charged Tuesday with nine counts of abuse/neglect/exploitation of a disabled/elderly person, Houston County jail records show. Reese and Laughlin are free on a $5,000 bond each.
William Larry Shearin, 62, of Macon, was charged with three counts of abuse/neglect/exploitation of a disabled/elderly person, jail records show. He is free on $3,000 bond.
Charles Ira Drake, 57, of Hawkinsville, was charged with one count of abuse/neglect/exploitation of a disabled/elderly person, jail records show. He is free on a $2,500 bond.
The arrests were made at Dusk to Dawn Ministry at 413 Curtis St. by Warner Robins police, who assisted personnel of Georgia Adult Protective Services and the Healthcare Facility Regulation Division of the Georgia Department of Community Heath, the Warner Robins police incident report stated.
Tabitha Pugh, public information officer for Warner Robins police, said the state’s investigation may have dealt with Dusk to Dawn Ministry allegedly serving as an unlicensed personal care home. Pugh said Dusk to Dawn Ministry has several housing units.
Pamela A. Keene, media and public relations manager for the state Department of Community Health, said because Friday was a holiday, it would be Monday before she could comment on whether the state was investigating or provide any additional information.
Reese, who listed herself as self-employed in property management, and Laughlin, who listed a restaurant as his place of employment, are accused of failing to provide heated accommodations and of taking Social Security benefits, according to jail records and arrest warrants.
Shearin, who listed himself as unemployed, was accused of taking Social Security benefits, and Drake, who listed himself as the operational manager for Dusk to Dawn, was accused of taking a Social Security check, according to jail records and arrest warrants.
Shearin declined comment, while Reese, Laughlin and Drake could not be reached.
Flint Michigan arrested after checking Chistmas wrapped packages of marijuana at airport www.privateofficer.com
Transportation Security Administration officers found two packages containing a total of 34.48 pounds of marijuana inside the 32-year-old man’s checked baggage, according to the report.
The bags were covered in Christmas wrap. He was arrested while waiting to board a Continental Airlines Flight to Cleveland, according to the report.
On the same day, a .45-caliber handgun and two loaded magazines were found inside another man’s carry-on bag during security screening in a separate incident.
The 55-year-old Tucson man, who was arrested for trying to carry the bag onto a Southwest Airlines flight to Arizona, told security officials he forgot the firearm was inside his bag, according to the LA Times report.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Nov 13 2011– A Grand Junction man faces felony charges after police say he was found wandering the streets naked, and assaulted a police officer.
Leslie Lind, 32, was arrested Monday on charges assaulting a peace officer, drug possession, shoplifting and public indecency.
Police say Lind walked into a liquor store near 12th and Pitkin Ave. at about noon, grabbed a bottle of booze and “Buglers” tobacco, and then left without paying.
A short time later, he was reported to be wandering into traffic wearing nothing but socks.
Officers caught up with Lind, who was allegedly carrying a glass pipe and marijuana in his hand, took him into custody and drove him to Saint Mary’s Hospital.
“Once Lind was un-handcuffed and being evaluated, I asked him for his address,” the arresting officer stated in her report. “He became angry, stood up, ripped the monitors off his body and began to charge at me.”
The officer says Lind tried to strike her in the head with his right hand, but she was able to block the punch.
Lind finally fell to the ground and was subdued at Taser-point.
He was treated and released from the hospital and relocated to the Mesa County Jail.
UPDATE:WILLIAMSTON, S.C. — Authorities in South Carolina say they have arrested a man wanted for robbing two armored car guards at gunpoint as they serviced an ATM this week.
Anderson County deputies say Jerry Bogan was arrested Friday morning after he left his home in Williamston. The FBI identified Bogan as a suspect several hours before, but deputies waited to take him into custody until he was out of his home because a woman and several children were inside.
Authorities say two guards were at the ATM in Canton, N.C., on Thursday when they were robbed. The guards then drove to a nearby bank to report the armed robbery.
Investigators say Bogan was being held on a fugitive warrant as officials considered other charges. It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney.
Canton NC Nov 13 2011 Law enforcement officials are still investigating a robbery of a Dunbar armored truck that occurred around 10 a.m. Thursday.
The heist started in Canton while the truck was making a scheduled delivery at the ATM at the Exxon on Radio Hill, said Canton Police Chief Bryan Whitner. An unknown white male gained entry into the armored truck and took control of the two occupants, leading them away from the ATM.
The suspect took an undisclosed amount of money and left the vehicle while still in Canton.
The drivers then continued their route to the State Employees’ Credit Union in Clyde near the old WalMart plaza and filed the robbery report. No one was injured during the robbery.
No suspects have been identified yet, and police are working to determine the getaway vehicle.
Whitner said detectives are evaluating all the information at hand and asks anyone who may have been near the Exxon station (Single Stop III) in Canton to call the Canton Police Department at 828-648-2376.
Authorities from the State Bureau of Investigation, Canton Police Department and Haywood County Sheriff’s Office are looking into the incident and more information is forthcoming.
Chicago IL Nov 13 2011 A 20-year-old man who died after he jumped into the Chicago River Thursday evening took his own life, authorities said.
The man jumped into the water near the Lake Shore Drive bridge over the Chicago River sometime around 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Fire Department divers pulled the man out of the water about 7 p.m. and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment, according to police News Affairs Officer Daniel O’Brien. The man was pronounced dead at 8 p.m., a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said.
SOMERS POINT NJ Nov 13 2011 – A CVS Pharmacy employee is facing multiple drug charges after she allegedly stole at least 3,800 pills from the Route 9 store over a one-month span.
Police were called to the CVS Pharmacy on Route 9 about 4:30 p.m. Sunday in reference to a theft of prescription medication by a store employee. An investigation by Detective Robert Gray determined that Trisha Dore, 19, of Corbin City, had stolen 3,800 pills while working as a pharmacy tech in the store.
Police said the theft of the pills – which included Xanax, used to treat panic and anxiety disorders, and Suboxone, used to treat addiction – occurred between October and early November.
Dore was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, and theft of prescription-legend drugs (pharmacy pills).
She was placed in the Atlantic County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Capt. Michael Boyd said the investigation is ongoing, with the cooperation of CVS, to determine whether any more pills were taken.
Boyd said other suspects will be charged at a later date in relation to the thefts, but those charges have not been finalized and are not expected to include any additional store employees.
ST. LOUIS IL Nov 13 2011— A southern Illinois Roman Catholic priest already on probation for shoplifting butter and a sofa cover now faces a felony theft charge linked to his alleged attempt to pilfer a $28 pipe-smoker’s ashtray from an antique store.
Prosecutors in Illinois’ St. Clair County charged the Rev. Steven Poole with retail theft on Thursday, three days after police say he walked out of the Keil’s Antiques and Gifts in Belleville, Ill., with the green ashtray. The store’s owner and another employee followed Poole’s PT Cruiser, then summoned officers who arrested the clergyman.
Such cases would usually be tried as a misdemeanor, given that the ashtray is worth far less than the $300 threshold loss that traditionally would make the case a felony. But prosecutors upgraded the charge to a felony because Poole is a repeat offender.
Poole pleaded guilty in March in Illinois’ Franklin County to retail theft charges and was sentenced to two years of probation for trying to make off with $3.22 worth of butter and a $60 sofa cover he failed to scan at a Walmart’s self-service checkout. Police also said Poole changed a price tag bar code on a memory-foam mattress from $144.88 to $30.88 to get the lower price.
Store workers detained him at the scene and called police, who found Poole in possession of a laptop computer power pack also allegedly pilfered from the store.
Poole also got probation and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service a decade ago on a felony theft case related to his theft of a 5-foot-long, 19th-century English tavern sign depicting a boxer and valued at $900 from an antiques shop in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue. Poole went on leave and pledged to seek counseling, blaming that theft on emotional distress brought on by his mother’s death.
Poole, also in 2001, pleaded guilty in Illinois’ Clinton County to reduced charges related to a bogus police report in which he claimed to have been beaten and robbed at a church by a stranger who showed up for confession. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Poole was sentenced to six months of court supervision and a $100 fine.
The Belleville News-Democrat reported that the Belleville antique shop’s owner was well-acquainted with Poole, who he says frequented his store and had already bought a $250 swordfish, a Falstaff beer sign and a Christmas tree crafted of feathers.
Each time, Jason Buss said, Poole signed a sales tax register using the diocese’s identification tax number exempting him from paying the tax.
The Rev. John Myler, a spokesman for the Diocese of Belleville serving 100,000 Catholics in Illinois’ 28 southernmost counties, told the News-Democrat that the tax exemption number can only be used for purchases for the parish, not for personal acquisitions. Myler did not immediately return telephone messages left Friday by The Associated Press.
Poole, ordained in June 1996, has served in various parishes in southern Illinois, lately as the sacramental minister at St. Barbara Church in Okawville, according to the diocese’s website.
On Oct. 31, police said an employee of the King James Care Center reported the theft of her purse, which contained a checkbook, credit cards and cash.
An investigation by the Detective Bureau led to the arrest of Sheritta Norris, 33, of Newark, another employee of the center, according to police.
Norris was processed and released on her own recognizance, pending court action, police said.
Cpl. Henry Tippett, a spokesman for Prince George’s County police, said the suspect, James Coleman, 22, was tracked by Anne Arundel police investigators to his house in the 8100 block of Rydal Road in District Heights.
Tippett could not say how Coleman was connected to the two people who were found dead in the parking lot outside Dave and Buster’s restaurant and game arcade at Arundel Mills shortly before midnight Friday.
Tippett said Prince George’s and Anne Arundel police surrounded Coleman’s house about 8 a.m. Saturday. He said police had information that the suspect was armed, so they waited outside the house, trying to persuade him to surrender. One officer spoke to the suspect on a bullhorn, urging him to drop his weapons and come out, Tippett said.
After about two hours, Coleman stepped out of the front door of the house carrying a shotgun and an AK-47 assault rifle, Tippett said. He walked to the driveway, then fired the shotgun, wounding a male officer in the face, torso and leg. Police then fired back with their handguns, hitting Coleman several times and killing him.
The wounded officer, whose identity has not been released, was expected to fully recover from his injuries, Tippett said. He has been on the police force about 10 years, Tippett said.
Anne Arundel County police said in a news release that information from witnesses lead detectives to the home in District Heights. Investigators declined to elaborate.
According to court records, in 2008 Coleman pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a firearm by a person under 21. He was sentenced to five years in prison on the firearm charge and four years on the robbery charge though in both instances all but one year was suspended. He was scheduled to begin his sentence in May 2009.
Lt. Francis Tewey, an Anne Arundel police spokesman, said earlier Saturday that the shooting outside the mall was “probably not a random act of violence.”
The victims in the mall shooting were identified by Anne Arundel police as Chonsay Laquez Green, 30, of the 4200 block of Torque St. in Capitol Heights; and Jeneen Desiree Dunn, 25, of the 7700 block of the Hanover Parkway in Greenbelt. Green and Dunn, who were found lying on the pavement of the parking lot, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Jennifer Nappier of Odenton said she was leaving Dave and Buster’s through the exit that leads directly to the parking lot late Friday night when she saw several police cars, their lights flashing, and officers directing people to other exits. She said the police had cordoned off the area with crime-scene tape.
The restaurant was “packed,” she said. She said she heard no shots and did not know anything unusual was going on until she and her friend tried to leave after spending about two hours at the restaurant.
Nappier, 30, a lawyer and hearing officer with the state Department of Licensing and Regulation, said she goes to the mall about twice a month. Asked whether the shooting would discourage her from returning, she said it would depend on whether it turned out the crime was “random” or something personal between the people involved.
David Jones, former chairman of No Slots at the Mall, a group that fought unsuccessfully last year against a plan by Cordish Cos. to build a slots casino at Arundel Mills, said the killings raise the same concerns about police protection that his group pointed out in its campaign. He said county police are stretched thin and that the casino — scheduled to open next year — will only add to the burden.
“To add a casino, to add an additional strain on public resources” without providing more money is “irresponsible,” said Jones, who lives about a 11/2 miles from the mall in Arundel Preserve. He faulted the mall management for not providing more security and said he’s not confident that the arrangement with Cordish will give police the resources they need. Joseph Weinberg, president of development at Cordish, declined to comment.
Douglas Perry, the president of neighborhood association right next to the mall, said the group has for years been fielding its own neighborhood watch and working with county police to keep the area safe. He said these efforts will become particularly important looking ahead to the casino’s opening next year, which is likely to bring more nighttime activity.
“We’re taking actions we think are appropriate to make sure we have a safe neighborhood,” said Perry, president of the Villages of Dorchester Homeowners Association, a development of 838 townhouses and single-family homes that surrounds the mall on three sides. “We just need to continue to properly fund those public servants” to ensure effective police protection, he said.
Anne Arundel County Councilman Daryl Jones, a Democrat who represents that area, said the shooting appeared to be a “very isolated type of incident,” and not a random act that would raise more concern.
“I don’t believe it raises a great deal of concern in that regard,” said Jones, who said he could recall robberies and carjackings at the mall, but he believed this was the first time someone had been killed there. “If it were a random act, I would be concerned, very concerned. What we’re dealing with could have happened anywhere.”