Los Angeles CA March 9 2012 A jury has convicted former Los Angeles Police Department detective Stephanie Lazarus of murdering the wife of her former lover in a cold case that forced the department to bring down one of its own.
The panel of eight women and four men deliberated for 1 1/2 days before reaching the verdict on Thursday. Lazarus was convicted of first-degree murder, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Jurors agreed with prosecutors that Lazarus fatally shot Sherri Rasmussen three times in the chest on Feb. 24, 1986. Three months before, Rasmussen had married John Ruetten, who testified to an on-and-off relationship with Lazarus leading up to his wedding day.
The conviction hinged on DNA evidence taken from a bite mark on Rasmussen’s arm at the time that matches a sample detectives took from Lazarus after a ruse to interrogate her. Lazarus’ attorney tried arguing that other DNA evidence under Rasmussen’s fingernails vindicated her client because it wasn’t a match.
TULSA OK March 9 2012 — With the temperature pushing 70, the young, barefoot man didn’t seem out of place on a downtown plaza — until he pulled out a handgun and began shooting indiscriminately into the air.
People in the plaza between the Tulsa County Courthouse and the library turned from scared to curious, at first scurrying to safety and then peering out windows to see what would happen next. After a burst of gunfire, the young man lay wounded, bleeding from his upper body onto the patchwork of concrete tiles. A sheriff’s deputy and a bystander suffered nonlife-threatening injuries.
“I’m thinking this is not the downtown I remember working in,” said John Fancher, a communications specialist at the regional library who photographed the incident. “I start snapping off some shots, and he sits down, just casually sits down, gun in his hand and three sheriff’s come out of the courthouse and I can’t hear what they’re saying.”
Wednesday was the kind of day in Tulsa that makes you forget it is winter. While overcast, the high temperatures and south wind made it a glorious day to be outside until, police say, 23-year-old Andrew Joseph Dennehy sauntered into the plaza and began firing.
Deputies from the Tulsa County Courthouse, which is on the plaza with the library, responded and opened fire when Dennehy allegedly turned his weapon toward them.
“That’s when (the deputies) did what they had to do,” Fancher said in an interview with The Associated Press. Fancher shared his photographs with the AP and other media outlets.
It wasn’t immediately clear who fired first, or whose shot wounded the bystander.
Authorities said Dennehy was being treated at a hospital, but his condition wasn’t immediately available. Police spokesman Leland Ashley said Dennehy was considered to be in police custody but hadn’t been formally charged.
Tulsa County sheriff’s Sgt. Shannon Clark said the deputy who was wounded was shot in both hands and both arms and was in surgery Wednesday evening. He didn’t know the extent of the injuries to the deputy, whom the department didn’t identify.
Emergency Medical Services Authority Capt. Chris Stevens said one man was taken to a hospital in critical condition and that two other people were hospitalized, one in serious and one in fair condition. A woman, who was not hit by gunfire, was “shaken up” and treated at the scene.
Glyn Roe, 49, a heating and air conditioning worker from Tulsa who was visiting the library Wednesday, said he saw all the events unfold.
“Everybody was running,” Roe said. “I was watching it to make sure he wasn’t coming into the library, or I would have started running, too.”
Virginia Jones, owner of Downtown Tulsa Tag Agency, where people can update their car licenses, said she and her son were leaving to pick up another child from school when they heard gunfire.
Police officers crouched behind giant planters that dot the plaza when more gunfire erupted.
“It wasn’t long after that that police just started coming from everywhere,” she said.
Library Chief Executive Officer Gary Shaffer said he was returning from lunch when he saw emergency vehicles. A man who appeared to have been shot in the leg was wheeled out of the library by paramedics.
Shaffer said it was unclear if the man, who he said was conscious, ran into the library after getting shot or if he was shot in the library. There was broken glass in the library, apparently shattered by a bullet.
Tulsa County District Court Judges Jefferson Sellers and Rebecca Nightingale told the Tulsa World that they were in courtrooms on the seventh floor when they saw the gunfire exchange. Nightingale said the gunman fired at least two shots at the deputies, and Sellers said the deputies fired multiple rounds back at him after ordering him to drop the weapon.
Washington DC March 9 2012 Legislatures in a dozen states are considering laws that would eliminate requirements that residents obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.
Gun-control advocates view the efforts as part of a long-range strategy to eventually weaken gun laws across the country. But supporters say armed, law-abiding citizens prevent crime.
Andrew Arulanandam, policy director for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, which supports these legislative efforts, argues that crime rates are low in four states — Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming — that already allow residents to carry without a permit. “Our viewpoint is, a good person will always be a good person,” he said. “They don’t need a license to be a good person.”
Brian Malte, the director of state legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, argues the permitless systems put law enforcement officers in a bad situation when they encounter someone with a weapon, and he’s critical of efforts that would allow people who have never even shot a firearm to carry one in public.
“They want a gun in every nook and cranny in society with no permission needed and no background check,” Malte said, adding, “This is just a recipe for disaster.”
States that have been or are considering bills in current legislative sessions include Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virgina, according to the NRA.
South Dakota could be the fifth state to join the ranks of permitless carry states. Lawmakers last week passed a measure allowing anyone 18 and older with a valid state driver’s license to carry a concealed weapon, as long as they don’t have a background that would otherwise prohibit them from getting a permit. The bill awaits action from Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Mike Milstead, the sheriff of Minnehaha County, the state’s largest, says his office processes about 2,000 permits a year, of which 30 to 40 are rejected because applicants have something in their backgrounds.
“The tough part will be on the small number of people that think they should have a permit that shouldn’t,” he said.
Wyoming’s law went into effect in July. The state continues to issue permits for people who want to travel out of state, said Christopher Lynch, the project manager for the state’s concealed firearms program.
In New Hampshire, Republican Rep. J.R. Hoell’s bill has cleared the House. Hoell points to the recent school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, as a failure of gun control. “Gun-free zones kill people,” he said.
KINGSLAND, Ga. March 9 2012– A fugitive from Brevard County was arrested in Kingsland after police found him sleeping in his van naked.
Police were told to be on the lookout for Matthew Ibarra, a 21-year-old from Melbourne, who was wanted for several felonies, including aggravated battery committed against his grandparents.
Police were looking for a green 1998 Ford conversion van and were told that Ibarra may be staying at a hotel along I-95 between Jacksonville and Savannah.
Kingsland Police found Ibarra sleeping in his green, 1998 Ford conversion van at the Fairfield Inn on East King Avenue. Ibarra was sleeping naked in the van at the time, according to a press release from Lieutenant Todd Tetterton of the Kingsland Police Department.
Tetterton said when police woke Ibarra up he refused to open the door or the window. Ibarra made it appear he was going to get out of the van, but instead started the engine and tried to escape.
Ibarra crashed the van into a parked Nissan, nearly running over police officers, Tetterton said, before Ibarra drove out of the hotel parking lot and fled toward St. Marys.
Kingsland Police officers pursued Ibarra down Highway 40. During the pursuit, Ibarra hit two marked patrol cars.
As police continued to pursue Ibarra, he drove down a one-way street in St. Marys that leads to the St. Marys River public boat ramp.
Shortly before he reached the boat ramp, and while he was still traveling 45 mph, Ibarra opened the drivers door and jumped out of the van, rolling along the pavement. Ibarra jumped to his feet, and then ran to the river’s edge, said Tetterton.
As Ibarra ran north along the St. Marys River, he was caught by Kingsland and St. Marys Police Department Officers.
Ibarra was taken to the South East Georgia Medical Center Emergency Room, Tetterton said, where he was treated and released. Ibarra was immediately taken into custody by the Kigsland Police Department.
Ibarra was then taken to the Camden County Jail where he is charged with aggravated assault, fleeing or eluding law enforcement, reckless driving, failure to stop at an accident scene and numerous traffic violations.
Source:First Coast News
HENRICO COUNTY, Va. March 9 2012– Henrico County police arrested a 21-year-old man they said used Facebook to meet young girls in an attempt to have sex with them.
Jaime Del Sid Castro, 21, is charged with seven counts of using a computer to commit certain sex offenses.
Henrico Police spokesman Lt. Eric Owens said police started to investigate Castro on Feb. 3 when officials at Byrd Middle School became aware of an “inappropriate relationship” between Castro and a student.
Police determined Castro contacted the 12-year-old girl on Facebook. Owens said once the girl’s parents became aware of Castro, the contact with their daughter stopped.
But the police investigation continued.
Police said it wasn’t long until Castro contacted another girl for sex.
Officers arrested Castro at Short Pump Town Center earlier this month when they say he arrived at the mall to meet an 11-year-old girl.
Winnipeg Canada March 9 2012 A security guard stabbed while protecting woman’s vehicle is being hailed as a dedicated employee.
After being stabbed, he allegedly apologized for not finishing his shift.
The 36-year-old guard was stabbed Wednesday night at about 10:30 p.m. after he went to the back of Regency Towers, on Cumberland Avenue, to investigate some suspicious activity.
Claire Olfrey, the building’s manager, said the guard saw video surveillance of a man trying to break into a car parked in a loading zone on the north side of the building. Olfrey said the guard then confronted the man, before the man chased the guard into the building. The guard, who works for an independent company, ultimately sustained a stab wound to his shoulder in the altercation.
Olfrey said the guard is “great” and demands commendation, and only recently started working at the building.
“He got out of the hospital at 4 a.m., he came back to pick up his things and he apologized for not finishing his shift,” said Olfrey, who said she’d touched base with the man’s boss to see how he was doing.
“He did his best, and we really like him.”
There is security at the building every night and on weekends, and there’s a security area at the front entrance.
The building has surveillance cameras which captured footage during the incident.
The man took off on foot, said police. The guard was taken to hospital, where he received medical treatment before he was released.
Mia Rico said she’s grateful for the guard for watching over her vehicle with vigilance, after she darted inside the building for a quick stop.
Rico encountered the guard inside the building after he’d been stabbed and as he called for emergency help, before officials arrived.
“I’m just so thankful,” said Rico, who marked her 23rd birthday Thursday. She also said: “It could have been me.”
Police had towed away her Kia Spectra to collect evidence Wednesday night.
Police are now looking for a man who has a light complexion and is in his twenties.
He’s about 5’7 and has a medium build. He also has short blonde hair and wore grey clothing.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 986-6668 or Crime Stoppers at 786-TIPS (8477).
“The property is OK, nothing wrong with that, (it’s) just a question of the area,” said Pradip Dutta, who lives in the building. He said his vehicle was vandalized seven times in a three-year period. Olfrey said the incident is unusual, and she doesn’t think people should live in fear of crime.
“(This) is something that happened and we don’t believe it’s a norm here,” she said.
“I just want people to feel at peace with living here.”
Source:Winnipeg Free Press
REGO PARK, NY March 9 2012 – For 11 years, Wilbert Cortez has been teaching computer class at PS 174 in Rego Park, Queens. Today he was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing two students.
Parents like Kasia Rogan are shaken up by the news. She says she is shocked and scared.
Cortez is accused of inappropriately touching two male students during the 2010-2011 school year, the victims now ages 8 and 9. Rogan, says Cortez is her 5 year old son’s teacher. She says,
“I’m scared for my son and I’m worried about other kids if that really happened.”
This isn’t the first time Cortez has been accused of sexual misconduct. In 2000, a letter was sent to the DOE from investigators for New York City public schools. It says when Cortez was working at PS184 in Brooklyn, he allegedly “…inappropriately touched two male students.”
The letter adds that one of the accusers reported the alleged abuse to another teacher “…on three separate occasions, *he* failed to report the information to the principal…”
The teacher took no action either. The DOE says Cortez was never charged but served a suspension and was transferred to PS174.
The circumstance is disturbingly similar to Manhattan teacher’s aide Gregory Atkins, who was arrested last week for allegedly sexually abusing a student at PS 87.
Atkins had a record for alleged inappropriate behavior with a student. He also was allowed to continue working in the schools.
Williamsport PA March 9 2012 Tuesday night’s two-alarm fire at Lycoming College’s General Service Building caused in excess of $1 million damage, city Fire Chief C. Dean Heinbach said.
The building at 137 E. Fourth St., was a total loss, and it alone was valued “in excess of $470,000,” Heinbach said.
The origin and cause of the blaze remained under investigation.
Firefighters spent about 15 minutes battling the fire inside the 60- by 200-foot one-story structure, but they were forced to back out “because the fire spread so quickly through the attic,” Heinbach said.
The fire was discovered by a member of the college security staff who saw “smoke coming from roof vents” about 9 p.m., Heinbach said. Security had been alerted by a fire alarm inside the building, which was the headquarters for the college’s 19-member buildings and grounds department.
“The building’s open attic space contributed to the rapid spread of the fire. The fire went the entire length of the building,” he said, speaking Wednesday at the scene as a backhoe tore apart dangerous sections of the structure.
The college has fire insurance on the building and its contents.
City firefighter Kenny Smith suffered a head injury when he was knocked to the ground by a high-pressured water stream shooting from a fire apparatus, Heinbach said. Smith was treated at the Williamsport Regional Medical Center and later discharged. He is expected to return to work soon.
A backhoe from Steinbacher Enterprises was used Wednesday to take down parts of the building.
“I’m rendering the building safe before investigators can get in there and begin the investigation into the origin and cause of the fire,” Heinbach said.
Once dangerous parts of the fire-damaged roof and the north side of the structure were removed, a few building and grounds employees carefully entered the area and began searching for equipment and tools that could possibly be saved.
All was not lost.
Three plows and at at least two maintenance carts and a tractor could be started and were backed out of the building.
“It certainly looked like we salvage some of it,” Doug Kuntz, the college’s director of building and grounds, said at the scene.
Lundy Construction is providing a construction trailer that the maintenance department will use as temporary headquarters, Kuntz said.
The college has two warehouses where some of the recovered equipment will be stored, he said.
“We definitely will rebuild as soon as we can, but we don’t know the exact location. It will be somewhere on campus,” Kuntz said.
Bryan TX March 9 2012 A Bryan man was arrested Wednesday afternoon after police say he started cursing and screaming at employees at the local U.S. Social Security office.
Bryan Police officers were called to the 2100 block of Briargate after workers in the office say 54-year-old Gary Talley became irate.
The arrest report says that Talley was talking with an employee when he started getting loud. A security guard asked him to leave the office. That’s when, police say, Talley said he wasn’t leaving and that employees should give him his “[expletive deleted] checks.”
Talley kept cursing at the guard and employees, saying that he was going to “sue all you [expletive deleted]” and that he would “beat the [expletive deleted] out of” all the employees as well.
After being asked repeatedly to leave, Talley then started to shove against the security guard. The guard took him to the ground and put him in handcuffs.
Talley is charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct because of his language and assault by physical contact. He’s in the Brazos County Jail under $2,700 bond.
Miami Dade high school physical education teacher accused of luring a 15-year-old girl for sex www.privateofficer.com
Miami Dade County Fla March 9 2012 A high school physical education teacher has been arrested after being accused of luring a 15-year-old girl off school grounds, giving her marijuana, and having her perform oral sex on him, according to Miami-Dade police.
Jimmy Francisco Vega, who taught at South Dade Senior High School, was charged Wednesday with one count of lewd and lascivious battery in the Feb. 22 incident, police said. The girl told her mother, who then contacted police.
After school ended that afternoon, police said Vega, 32, persuaded the girl, a sophomore at the Homestead school, to get into his gray SUV. Vega, who lives in Kendall, then drove to a secluded Doral area and parked near a lake at 1701 NW 87th Ave., according to an arrest affidavit.
Vega gave the girl a marijuana cigarette and she smoked it, reports said.
As the two began to kiss, Vega fondled the teen. The girl then performed oral sex on him, police said.
Vega admitted to exposing himself and kissing the teen, police said.
According to police, Vega’s parents said the student is lying. Contacted by phone, Vega declined to comment.
Vega was booked into the Miami-Dade County Jail on Wednesday afternoon, but according to jail records, was released Thursday morning on $7,500 bond.
He is scheduled to appear in Miami-Dade County court on April 5, records show.
Vega has been teaching at the high school for a little more than one year and has been working for the district for eight years, according to John Schuster, a spokesman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Schuster said Vega has no record of any disciplinary action within the school system. However, according to county records, Vega was arrested on March 5 on charges of disorderly intoxication and resisting an officer. The charges were dropped. In 2010, Vega was arrested on charges of possessing an egg-bearing spiny lobster.
“The administration will seek termination for this employee at the next School Board meeting,” Schuster said.
The next meeting is set for April 18 at the school administration building, 1450 NE Second Ave.
It is unclear whether Vega will be on leave, suspension or continue at the school district until that date, Schuster said.
Brookland-Cayce teaching assistant charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct www.privateofficer.com
COLUMBIA, SC March 9 2012 - A Brookland-Cayce teaching assistant charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct in the Lowcountry has also been hit with the same charge in Richland County.
According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Cornelius Davis was arrested and detained at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
Davis is accused of having sex with an athlete from the Special Olympics in the Lowcountry incident. Deputies said he is also accused of having sex with the same victim in Richland County.
Police say they were called to a hotel Sunday by the girl’s mother, who reported her daughter told her she had sex with her teacher. Her age was not released.
The report says the girl told a nurse she had sex with the suspect in Cayce on Thursday and Friday in Mount Pleasant.
Davis has been placed on administrative leave and is not allowed on school property.
A bond hearing for Davis has been set for 8:00 p.m. Thursday. It was not clear if Davis has a lawyer.
Police charge man with fondling 11-year-old girl at a North Charleston church www.privateofficer.com
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC March 9 2012 – Investigators have arrested a man accused of fondling an 11-year-old girl at a North Charleston church.
The North Charleston Police Department charged 20-year-old Russell Joseph Smalls with lewd act on a minor.
On Sunday afternoon, officers responded to West Montague in reference to a possible sexual assault on a minor. The officer was told that the suspect was still on the scene, attempting to get away and the situation was turning into a fight.
Police say they met with the victim’s father and Smalls, who appeared to be overly nervous, had trouble speaking and was observed to be hyperventilating. The father said he was attending church and his daughter was playing in the kids area.
According to the father, his daughter ran to him and said that Smalls touched and grabbed her inappropriately. The father said he then confronted the suspect who became irate and attempted to leave the church.
A police report states that the father was able to detain the suspect until police arrived.
The girl said when she first noticed Smalls, she immediately told him she did not want him to play with her. She then said she was standing on the wall and the suspect came up behind the victim and placed his hand on her buttocks and began moving his hand back and forth.
The victim said Smalls then grabbed her buttocks.
Smalls told officers that he knew the victim did not want to play with him. Smalls said that he was only playing with the boys and said he never touched the girl.
Police charged Smalls with lewd act on a minor and locked up at the Al Cannon Detention Center. Authorities say Smalls also has an active warrant out of North Charleston for simple possession of marijuana.
WOODLAND HILLS CA March 9 2012— A man who may have hid in a Macy’s department store in a Woodland Hills mall when it closed was arrested for burglary, police said Thursday.
The suspect was spotted shortly before 1:30 a.m. by a mall security guard working the graveyard shift in the store at the Westfield Shoppingtown Promenade at 6100 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, said Officer Mary Fencl of the Los Angeles Police Department.
He was taken into custody about 90 minutes later, Fencl said.
“He laid low, we assembled a perimeter and got a canine out there,” she said. “They went in and got him into custody.”
An LAPD helicopter crew assisted in the search for the suspect, who was booked on suspicion of burglary, Fencl said. It was not immediately known if he broke into the Macy’s “or if he just bedded down,” she said.
His identity was not immediately released.
OXNARD, Calif. March 9 2012– Students have been asked not to search Internet sex sites for a teacher who may have been moonlighting as a porn star, a Southern California school district said in a letter to parents.
The Haydock Intermediate School teacher, whose name hasn’t been released, was placed on paid administrative leave this week while the Oxnard School District investigates the sex video allegations.
The video does not involve any district students.
“It has been alleged that one of our teachers is depicted in at least one pornographic video and possibly others on the Internet,” superintendent Jeff Chancer said in the Tuesday letter to parents at the district’s three junior high schools.
“We are asking teachers to discourage the children from searching for and/or visiting these inappropriate sites,” Chancer wrote.
Chancer was asked Wednesday if the curiosity of 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds might actually be piqued by the notice.
“I don’t know,” he said.
There’s no moral turpitude clause in the teacher’s contract, Chancer said. But the California Education Code outlines teacher employment conditions that could lead to discipline or termination, he said.
“We’re trying to determine if there’s a nexus on what she does on her own time and what she does in the classroom,” Chancer said.
The Oxnard Police Department was notified, but spokeswoman Monica Munoz said there’s no criminal investigation.
Allegations first came to the attention of school administrators because of student rumors sweeping the Haydock campus on Friday, the Ventura County Star (http://bit.ly/Au72Le) said.
Haydock school leaders investigated and initially sent an email to staff members saying the rumors were unfounded.
However, a school computer firewall had blocked access to sex sites.
Two teachers came forward later in the day to show administrators a link they had downloaded on their smartphones, the superintendent said.
“A school site administrator saw the video and said he believes the teacher is in the video,” Chancer said. “I saw parts of the video. It’s hardcore pornography.”
The teacher was placed on leave during a meeting Monday. Chancer wouldn’t say if the teacher acknowledged or denied it was her on the video. He also refused to give her age and other information because it’s a personnel matter.
School officials met with other teachers and Chancer said they were OK with the district’s response.
Little Rock student arrested for threatening to shoot school security officer www.privateofficer.com
Little Rock Ark March 9 2012 A 15 year-old is in police custody after threatening to bring a gun to school and shoot a school security officer at W.D. Hamilton Learning Academy, an alternative school for kids who’ve had trouble in regular schools in the Little Rock School District.
While authorities expect more problems there, they were still on high alert Wednesday. Little Rock police officers camped out on campus after a student threatened a security officer.
“It”s unusual and when we do have them we take them very seriously,” said Lt. Terry Hastings.
According to police, security approached a group of students loitering outside, telling them to go in.
Instead of following directions, the police report states the unidentified student said, “I’ll shoot you if you try to make me come inside.”
As security attempted to escort him from campus, he reportedly ran away, yelling, “I’ll be back up here to shoot your m*****-f****** a**.”
“That is not something that should be said anywhere, much less a school,” Lt. Hastings said.
While authorities stood guard at the only entrance, sent out an alert for the suspect and relied on cameras to monitor campus, neighbors showed concern.
Cameron Menzies said, “The way the community is right now and the way these kids are acting right now, that’s a real serious threat.”
“It shouldn’t get to that point where you feel you need to take another person’s life,” said neighbor Devin Banks.
After hours of searching, the student’s mother brought him back to school, where authorities arrested him.
While he didn’t act on his threats, police say they still did a lot of damage.
“People need to understand, especially young people that you may say something in the heat of the moment you think is the proper thing to say but in reality that statement can get you charged with a felony.”
The school resource officers were not on campus when this happened, school officials told KARK they were both out for training. The 15 year-old student is being charged with felony Terroristic Threatening in the first degree.
Miami Dade police officer suspended for hauling mattress on roof of patrol car www.privateofficer.com
Miami-Dade Fla March 9 2012 A Miami Dade police officer, Sandra Lyles was spotted strapping two mattresses to the roof of her marked patrol car and driving off with her rear bumper sagging from the weight.
Lyles, a 32-year veteran, who has since been suspended, apparently picked up the mattresses at a Miami Lakes Big Lots on Sunday. As she drove off, she was caught by an observer with a smartphone.
Video and photographs wound up on the local TV news.
From there, the video went viral around the world, along with her name and checkered discipline record, including several suspensions for having preventable crashes with her patrol car.
Lyles is winding down her career and is set to retire Monday.
“What can I possibly say?” said John Rivera, the Police Benevolent Association president who represents Miami-Dade officers. “My official quote is there are some things that are just not explainable. I don’t know what was in her head.”
Maj. Nancy Perez, a Miami-Dade police spokeswoman, said while Lyles was off duty, and officers are permitted to use marked vehicles for personal use, hauling mattresses is against department policy.
Lyles, who works in the department’s Midwest district, could not be reached for comment. Perez said the matter is under investigation, but that it would not affect the officer’s retirement, which she applied for months ago.
She said the incident will not prevent officers from using their cars while off duty, a policy she said is beneficial to the public because it places more officers on the street, available to assist in emergencies.
“We have close to 2,800 employees and none of them are perfect,” Perez said. “We do want to make sure they don’t cause embarrassment to themselves and the department.”
Pittsburgh PA March 9 2012 UPMC officials have released some information about the people who were wounded in a gunfight today at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.
Seven people are expected to survive injuries they suffered after a gunman entered the lobby of the clinic and opened fire. One person died, and the suspected gunman was killed by bullets fired by University of Pittsburgh police.
Dr. Donald Yealy, chairman of emergency medicine at UPMC, said five patients were being treated at UPMC Presbyterian, and two were treated and released. One had an injury not related to a gunshot wound.
Police have not released the names of the injured, who included UPMC employees and a hospital visitor.
“I expect all of these patients to survive and do well,” Dr. Yealy said.
Those being treated at Presby for gunshot wounds include a 46-year-old man, who was in fair condition; a 64-year-old woman, serious condition; a 54-year-old woman, fair condition; a 35-year-old male, fair condition; and a 49-year-old male, serious condition.
Earlier this evening, officials held a press conference to discuss the shootings but released little information.
A man began firing from two semiautomatic handguns inside Western Psych shortly before 2 p.m., officials said.
Kathryn Leight, 64, of Shaler, a receptionist at WPIC, is among the injured. She was shot four times but made it through surgery and is expected to survive, according to her stepson, John Leight Jr.
Her neighbors on Oak Avenue were dumbfounded by the news.
“It’s a very close neighborhood, and everyone likes Kathy,” said Rita Luniewski, who lives three doors down from Mrs. Leight.
The identities of the shooter and of the other person killed are not available, but one official on the scene said a University of Pittsburgh police officer shot the gunman.
“This was a tragic day, a sad day, a senseless day in many ways,” Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said at the press conference, praising the “bravery” of police and hospital employees.
“What we’re worrying about right now is patient care and taking care of all the wounded people,” said UPMC spokesman Paul Wood.
Claudia Roth, president and CEO of WPIC, said at the evening press conference that UPMC officials were reviewing surveillance footage of the lobby to see whether cameras captured the incident. Five of the injured victims are clinic employees, she said; the sixth was visiting.
Police believe the gunman was roaming the first floor before he was killed. There were dozens of shell casings in the area.
The building has been secured, Mr. Wood said. He was firm that earlier reports of a second shooter or hostage situation were incorrect.
Officials said police had completed a floor-by-floor search of the building. SWAT teams from Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Port Authority and state police were called to the scene, along with bomb-detecting dogs.
The facility where the shooting occurred, at 3811 O’Hara St. in Oakland, is a 17-story, 60-year-old building that is officially called Thomas Detre Hall, named after the late, former head of UPMC.
Evacuation of staff and patients continued for hours. Children, many shoeless, were carried by staff members and loaded into the back an armored SWAT vehicle.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said the shooter entered through a public area.
Security is normally tight at Western Psych, according to those who work there.
A Pitt medical student who is in the psychiatry rotation at the facility said she saw Mrs. Leight every day and questioned the security at the entrance.
“She’s been there since I’ve been in medical school. It’s so awful,” said the student, who asked that her name not be used.
“To be honest, I used to work at Bellevue Medical Center, a big medical and psychiatric hospital in New York, and you would have to go through metal detectors and there was a checkpoint. And when I came here, it was kind of shocking how little security there was.
“There were times you’d walk in and it would only be her. She would recognize me, but it just didn’t seem like it was her job to stop people and ask them what they were doing there. I felt like there was very little security.
“It’s not great for psychiatric patients to have to go through tons of security, but it does seem that there could be a balance.”
She said a lot of the facility’s staff was scheduled to have Friday off, but they are being called in.
“I think everyone’s concerned about how the patients are going to be feeling, because they have a lot of problems, and being stuck in an institution where there’s been a shooting is probably a challenge for the best of us.”
Police flood in
A large crowd was drawn to the scene near the shootings, but they were kept away by scores of heavily armed police and SWAT team members who set up a perimeter around the hospital.
Police blocked off the area near Bouquet, De Soto and O’Hara streets.
Police were called shortly before 2 p.m. Scores of city police officers arrived and were reinforced by FBI agents, sheriff’s deputies, state police troopers and members of the South Hills SWAT team.
UPMC hospitals in Oakland were put on a bronze alert at 1:58 p.m. for someone with a weapon in Western Psychiatric. The alert requires employees to stay where they are and respond to the alert with their exact location.
Rich Mellen said he was working on a roof of a nearby hotel when he saw dozens of police cars converge on the area.
It was “cops, cops and more cops,” he said.
One woman, who did not give her name, said she and other nurses from Western Psychiatric were slowly returning from their lunch break when a woman yelled at them not to enter the building.
The woman said there was a shooter in the first floor lobby and that at least five people had been hit, including a Pitt police officer struck while walking in the front door.
She said she was grateful she and her friends had stalled their return to the hospital.
“A few seconds later and we would have been in the lobby,” she said.
A message sent to Pitt employees at 2:08 p.m. said that several people have been injured and that “lock-down recommended until further notice.”
It also said, “If safe to do so, tell others of this message.”
Pitt is on break, so there are few students there.
After chaos, calm
Nearly two hours later, police and other authorities streamed in and out of the building’s front entrance unhurried. A couple of dozen staff were escorted out in a line, as well. Two armored vehicles remained parked near the entrance, while staff in nearby Crabtree Hall were told to remain away from windows.
Several dozen people, including some middle and high school students attending a robotics competition, stood on the second floor of the Petersen Events Center, some licking ice cream.
Building security workers said no one is allowed to enter or exit the building until police clear the scene. All the main outside doors are locked.
A few people sat outside on the wet steps, waiting quietly as they wait for updates about a friend who works in the Western Psychiatric.
Where UPMC began
While it is most well known as the home to the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, the building is actually owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition to UPMC’s psychiatric and research units, it also houses the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.
In it, the Western Psychiatric portion of the building houses Western Pennsylvania’s largest psychiatric faclity, with 250 to 300 patients daily.
In addition, it is considered the place where UPMC had its beginnings as the region’s dominant healthcare provider. It was at Western Psychiatric in 1973 that Dr. Detre, a psychiatrist and academic leader who died in 2010, got his start in Pittsburgh as director of Western Psychiatric.
He turned the facility into one of the largest grant recipients in the country, and he later lead the move for acquisitions and mergers of hospitals in the region that became UPMC.
HOUSTON COUNTY, Tenn.March 9 2012- A Houston County mother has been arrested, accused of raping a 16-year-old boy.
39-year-old Tiffany Michelle Conwell was indicted by Houston County grand jury on Monday on charges of aggravated statutory rape.
Officials have not released details on the case, so it is not yet clear how Conwell and the teen became intimate.
Conwell was arrested on Tuesday and booked into the Houston County Jail.
WOODBRIDGE NJ MARCH 9 2012 — A suspected shoplifter who held a woman hostage at knifepoint inside Woodbridge Center was shot to death by a police officer this evening, setting off a scene of chaos inside one of New Jersey’s largest shopping malls, authorities said.
The incident unfolded shortly after 5 p.m. on the upper level of the mall’s Sears wing. After he was confronted by mall security for an alleged shoplifting in the Hollister Co. apparel store, the suspect put a knife to the throat of a random shopper and pulled her inside the Sears store, according to several officials familiar with the incident who were not authorized to comment publicly.
An off-duty Woodbridge police officer who was wearing his police uniform and working an extra duty job at the mall shot the suspect, killing him, according to a news release issued late tonight by Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan and Woodbridge Police Director Robert Hubner.
“After a brief pursuit, the suspect grabbed a female shopper and threatened her with a knife, according to the preliminary report by Woodbridge police,” the release said. “Woodbridge police reported that after repeated warnings, the officer fired at the suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The hostage, who was not immediately identified, was not injured, authorities said. The officer also was not identified.
Stunned shoppers initially thought the commotion overhead might have been a fight.
Barbra Gaffney, 52, of Colonia, and her daughter, 18-year-old Lindsey Howarth, were in a nearby optical center when the incident began. The women said they saw two white-uniformed mall security guards dashing toward the Sears store and heard screaming.
“All of a sudden we heard a loud noise,” Gaffney said. “I said to my daughter, ‘That’s a gunshot.’ “
Some stampeding customers ran for cover, Gaffney said.
One Sears worker who said he heard the boom thought it might have been someone who tripped on the escalator. But when he rushed to help, he said, he saw the body of a man lying in a puddle of blood on the ground near one of the store entrances.
“I went downstairs and I saw the dead body,” said the employee, 18-year-old Sisir Biswas. “I was shocked.”
Nearby, officers held back a crowd that had gathered to look.
Tyler Bruno, 18, of Woodbridge, arrived at the mall right around the time of the shooting.
“There’s people coming out saying, ‘Do not go in. It’s crazy in there. Something bad just happened,’” Bruno said, adding that customers told him a man held a large-bladed knife to the woman’s throat.
An employee at the f.y.e. entertainment store, in the same wing as Sears, said she saw security guards try unsuccessfully to wrestle the man to the ground.
The employee said she heard someone yell “Knife!” and saw a blade in the man’s hand as he ran past.
He continued running, the employee said, before grabbing a woman who had been at a candy machine next to the Sears entrance.
“When I stepped out, you could see him dragging her by the hair and see him backing up into Sears as if he was trying to get away,” the shaken employee said.
When police arrived, “They said, look, drop your weapon … and he didn’t — and that’s when they fired,” the employee said.
At about 7:30 p.m., a woman from Sears was wheeled upright in a gurney into a waiting ambulance, using her clothing to shield her face from television cameras. It was not immediately known whether that was the woman was the one who was being held.
With about 220 stores and 1.5 million square feet of space, Woodbridge Center is the third-largest shopping mall in New Jersey, behind only Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus and Freehold Raceway Mall. The mall is located just off Route 1, in the shadows of the Garden State Parkway.
The wing where the shooting happened includes major brands such as Hollister Co. apparel, f.y.e. entertainment and the family-oriented Disney Store.
Investigators from the Woodbridge Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office were at the scene tonight investigating the shooting.
Jim O’Neill, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said the state Attorney General’s office was notified of the shooting — as is routine for shootings involving police.
It was the fourth police-involved shooting in the county since September. Two people were shot by officers in New Brunswick, one fatally, and another person was wounded in Monroe Township.