Los Angeles CA April 5 2012 A Los Angeles County fire captain died Tuesday morning after suffering a medical emergency while participating in fitness training.
Capt. David Bailey was leading wildland fire training with inmate firefighters at Camp 14 in Santa Clarita around 11:30 a.m. when he fell ill, according to a department news release.
He was later pronounced dead.
Bailey, 50, is survived by his wife.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
A volunteer firefighter from Burke County is accused of causing thousands of dollars of damage after police said he set fire to a building.
Investigators said Roy Benfield was the first firefighter at the scene and had to be hospitalized for smoke inhalation after the fire.
Benfield is charged with arson after a fire at a storage building on Greer Road.
Police said they were suspicious from the beginning when Benfield called 911 about the fire.
Glen Alpine Police Chief Tony Moses said he believes Benfield set fire to the building for his own gratification.
“He got a high off fighting fires,” Moses said.
The fire broke out in late February, destroying much of the inside of the building, which sits just feet from a home where a family was sleeping, police said.
Investigators said a police officer arrived first at the scene after the 911 call, which raised questions about why Benfield would leave the fire to call for help with people in danger nearby.
A grand jury indicted Benfield on first-degree arson and breaking and entering charges.
“I remember coming outside and seeing those flames and remember thinking, “Oh my God. Who would do that?’” said witness Treasure Kelly.
Moses told Channel 9 the case has been tough on him and his department.
Christopher W. Blazer, 28, last known to be living on Pleasant Valley Road, was charged with two first-degree misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property. The property allegedly had been taken from cars about a mile north of where at least a dozen cars had been reported entered between Sunday night and Monday morning.
Blazer was late for his hearing at Chillicothe Municipal Court Tuesday when he was stopped by security when the metal detector alerted, according to a Chillicothe Police report.
A security officer checked Blazer and reported finding a ceramic spark plug in his hoodie, along with a GPS unit still in a box. Knowing that plugs are used to shatter vehicle windows to gain access, the security officer called for police backup.
The GPS was identified as having been reported taken that morning from a vehicle on Cheyenne Drive. A piece of spark plug also allegedly was found in the vehicle. A window had been shattered.
Blazer, who had been taken to the Ross County Jail for an unrelated issue, reportedly told police he had bought the GPS from a friend a month ago.
Police report the unit matched distinguishing details provided by the owner, including having recently been programmed to go to an address in Columbus.
Police report that Blazer’s mother later retrieved his car and was stopped by police on South Paint Street. During the stop, an officer spotted what he believed was a cell phone taken during a break-in of a vehicle on Delaware Drive that morning. Blazer’s mother gave the phone to the officer and permitted police to search the vehicle, according to the report. No other suspected stolen goods were reported found in the vehicle.
Officer Bud Lytle said Blazer is a suspect in other weekend break-ins, but has not been charged in them.
In addition to the charges filed by the police department, Blazer has three pending charges filed by the sheriff’s office in other incidents. Those charges are receiving stolen property and theft from a March 24 incident, and receiving stolen property from a March 20 incident, according to online court records. All three charges are first-degree misdemeanors.
Rhode Island law enforcement agencies to benefit from $ $230 million asset forfeiture windfall from Google www.privateofficer.com
Providence RI April 5 2012 Rhode Island law enforcement agencies plan to set up a statewide police training center, build a new headquarters, and replace aging vehicle fleets with a $230 million asset forfeiture windfall from Google.
The funds come from a $500 million settlement paid by the Internet advertising giant to avoid criminal prosecution for serving ads from Canadian companies offering illegal pharmaceuticals to U.S. buyers. Rhode Island law enforcement officers and troopers participated in a two-year joint task force investigation led by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to build the case against Google.
The settlement, which was announced in 2011, means Google won’t face prosecution for enabling illegal sales of Canadian pharmaceuticals with its AdWords advertising platform.
The recipients of the funds include the Rhode Island State Police ($45 million), East Providence Police Department ($60 million), North Providence Police Department ($60 million), Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office ($60 million), and the Rhode Island National Guard ($5 million).
Funds were distributed based on the number of hours each agency gave to an investigation that required the review of more than seven million documents and numerous interviews between 2009 and 2011.
“A lot of it was documents examined and people interviewed,” East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares told POLICE Magazine. “Seven million documents required dedicated, tedious, and precise review to build a case.”
Agencies plan to use the funds on several statewide initiatives, including combining police training now spread over three academies, officials said. The state also plans to acquire a bomb-squad vehicle and equipment, as well as a mobile surveillance vehicle for cybercrime enforcement. Funds will also bolster agency accreditation, communications initiatives, and community outreach.
Spending plans have been submitted to the Department of Justice’s asset forfeiture unit for review, said Lisa Holley, chief legal counsel of the Rhode Island Department of Public Safety.
“We’ve proposed what we would use the funding for,” Holley said. “The whole idea of spending this money is to get as much impact out of it for the state.”
In addition to the $7.8 million set aside for the statewide initiatives, each agency has developed its own spending plan for a sum that’s often greater than the individual agency’s budget.
Rhode Island State Police commanders, who manage a $30 million operating budget and 238 sworn troopers, will share their $45 million among seven DPS agencies. The bulk of the funds will likely go toward adding prisoner-transport vehicles and replacing an aging DPS fleet of about 200 patrol and administrative vehicles.
The funds bring a massive windfall to the two municipal police departments. In East Providence, a jurisdiction of about 50,000 residents, Chief Tavares oversees a $12 million annual budget, 93 sworn officers and 88 patrol vehicles.
Chief Tavares plans to build a new police station, replace his entire fleet, and possibly build a state-of-the-art firearms range that could be shared with surrounding agencies.
The state also plans to set up a committee to review funding requests from municipal agencies once a year for training, gear, or other law enforcement initiatives.
The remaining $270 million of the $500 million settlement will be divvied up among federal agencies. A $100 million share will go to federal task-force agencies that provided sworn agents from the FDA, U.S. Postal Service, Secret Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Another $170 million will be deposited into the Department of Justice’s asset forfeiture fund.
NC police charge two men with defecating in, painting racial slurs on churches www.privateofficer.com
ANSON COUNTY, N.C. April 5 2012
Anson County deputies charged three men in connection with a wide-ranging vandalism spree where churches were spray painted with messages of hate.
Deputies have drawn warrants for three suspects. Two of the men, Bryan Balser and Daniel Huneycutt, have been arrested.
The arrests came nearly five months after investigators said the three men targeted nearly 20 churches and businesses in Rowan, Stanly and Anson counties with acts of vandalism.
The worst case was at Cedar Hill AME Zion Church in Ansonville, where deputies said the men destroyed the sanctuary and smashed all of the nearly century-old stained-glass windows.
Investigators said the suspects also defecated on the altar, burned a cross on the church steps, and spray painted racial epithets on the church walls.
“This was the worst case of vandalism I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around a long time,” said Sheriff Tommy Allen.
Since the crime, Allen kept a shard of stained glass from the broken windows on his desk as a reminder that the case remained unsolved.
Allen said a break came on March 2, when Rowan County deputies made a traffic stop. Allen said Balser was driving the car, and inside deputies found a microphone from the Cedar Hill sanctuary.
Previously people of interest in the case, investigators said the evidence concretely tied Balser and the two other men to the crime scene.
“We interviewed these guys several months ago, and we got nothing from them at that time, but they’ve been suspects all along,” Allen said.
Church members said they were relieved the case was finally closed, adding the church would finally be able to move on after rebuilding and repairing its sanctuary.
“We still know that it happened, but we try to put it behind us and move forward,” said church steward Bruce Ingram
MORGANTON, N.C. April 5 2012
A man accused of having a meth lab on a moped led police on a wild chase east of Morganton Tuesday.
The chase led to a much larger find for deputies.
Deputies said the moped crashed into one of the county’s undercover vehicles. Narcotics officers said the rider was carrying some of the ingredients needed to make methamphetamine.
Narcotics officers in Burke County said they chased the moped nearly three miles near the town of Hildebran but the rider, Brian Neaves, refused to stop and drove through several yards.
“I asked him why he ran. He said he enjoyed the ride and would do it again. And I told him, ‘You knew you weren’t going to get away from us.’ He said, ‘No, but it was fun trying,’” said Sgt Rick Hasson with the Burke County Narcotics Task Force.
Deputies said they found Sudafed and ammonium nitrate in a compartment on the moped. They said they then went to a shed where Neaves lived and discovered more ingredients to make the drug.
Deputies believe he used the small shed to cook the meth.
Neaves was charged with possession of the precursors of meth, reckless driving and resisting arrest.
Francis Crame, who lives just feet from the shed, said she allowed Neaves, her brother-in-law, to live there because he was down on his luck.
But she said she had no idea meth was being cooked there.
“I never did smell anything. But I know he threw some jars out there and I picked them up and threw them away. I didn’t have any idea what they was,” she said.
Burke County led the state last year with 34 meth labs discovered. The county is ahead of that pace this year with 14 already.
Charles Darren Roberts — who is accused of setting the fire — was indicted on March 30 on charges of third-degree arson, fourth-degree arson and first-degree murder in Firefighter Joey King’s line-of-duty death, according to The Charleston Daily Mail.
King and another firefighter responded to reports of a fire involving railroad ties north of Sproul Road near Alum Creek on Dec. 4.
They used the Steven Wayne Smith Memorial Bridge as a lookout point in an attempt to spot the fire, but heavy smoke and fog limited the visibility.
No one saw King fall from the bridge, but his body was later found on the embankment below.
The fire Roberts is accused of setting was located and extinguished.
According to fire investigators, Roberts told them he used a cardboard box to ignite a tire, which cause the railroad ties to catch fire.
He was initially charged with third-degree arson before the other charges were handed down by the grand jury last week.
Roberts is set to answer the indictment at 1 p.m. on April 11
According to police, after being placed under arrest by deputies for obstruction, he hit a deputy several times.
He was arraigned in Salamanca City Court and taken to the Cattaraugus County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash bail. He will be in court later.
MARTINEZ CA April 5 2012 – A Contra Costa jury has convicted a 27-year-old Concord man of first-degree murder for shooting his girlfriend’s stepfather during a fight about rent.
The jury deliberated about three hours before returning a guilty verdict Monday against Claude Lee Mitchell in the April 1, 2010, killing of 48-year-old security guard Carlton Ross, who was shot five times.
Mitchell, his then-girlfriend — who was 9 months pregnant — and their 19-month-old son had been living with Ross and his wife, the mother of Mitchell’s girlfriend. When Mitchell failed to pay his share of the rent, Ross criticized Mitchell for failing to support his family and told him they would have to move out of the Concord apartment.
As the fight between the two men moved into the stairwell of their apartment building, three 11-year-old boys saw Mitchell shoot Ross twice in the back and abdomen, deputy district attorney Dana Filkowski said, and Ross’ wife saw Mitchell shoot her husband three more times in the face and head.
“Mrs. Ross saw her husband shot while he was lying on his back on the stairs by the man she let call her Mama,” Filkowski said. “It was beyond tragic.”
Mitchell testified at the trial that he shot Ross in self-defense, which Filkowski argued was disproved by the physical evidence.
Mitchell said he had purchased the gun on the streets of Richmond after he was a victim of a robbery.
“We were very disappointed that the jury found Mr Mitchell guilty of murder as opposed to manslaughter,” said Mitchell’s attorney, deputy public defender Karen Moghtader. “There was overwhelming evidence that Mr. Ross was killed during a very heated argument with Mr. Mitchell and that Mr. Mitchell was reacting to a very volatile situation. This was a tragedy for everyone involved.”
Mitchell’s girlfriend had her baby two weeks after the killing. She broke up with him after his arrest.
Mitchell faces 50 years to life in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for June 1.
The Clearwater man sold handmade jewelry, which he guaranteed for life. He was a self-titled “Lapidary Genius Extraordinaire and Master Craftsman … the Coolest Human To Do Business With,” according to the business cards he gave customers.
At night he returned to his home in the upscale Countryside area of Clearwater, where he lived with his wife, Irene, a state correctional probation officer who worked at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center, and their two sons.
Neighbors knew the couple were going through a divorce. They knew the police had been called to the house several times recently. But no one suspected what happened Monday morning.
At 6:44 a.m., one of the Polukoffs’ adult sons called Clearwater police after finding their bodies in the garage of their home at 2532 Sweetgum Way W. Police say Robert Polukoff, 48, shot Irene, 49, several times, and then shot himself.
The couple had continued to live in the same home during their divorce proceedings, which started in July. Robert Polukoff was scheduled for a deposition in the case at 2 p.m. today.
“They were good neighbors. Quiet,” said neighbor Bill Schwob, 85, who has lived on Sweetgum Way W for 31 years. Schwob said he felt bad for the Polukoffs’ two college-age sons.
Police had been called to the house five times since last August, according to Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Beth Watts, including two calls on Feb. 22 for an argument between the couple over money. There had been no history of physical violence between the Polukoffs, though, Watts said.
Money was a central issue in the divorce case. In court filings, Irene Polukoff said her husband hid information from her and refused to put her name on any property they bought — apparent fallout from watching his father go through a contentious divorce. She also said Robert spent four nights per week gambling at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino.
When listing the couple’s assets in court filings, Irene Polukoff put her husband’s gambling winnings as “unknown.” Robert Polukoff won $50,000 at a blackjack tournament at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in December, according to the casino.
Robert Polukoff also inherited a large sum in early 2010 from his father, said Jean Hagan, manager of Sunsets at Pier 60, the public-private partnership that contracts with vendors who sell their wares at the beach sunset celebration. The father, Leonard Polukoff, died in a January 2010 fire in his On Top of the World condominium in Clearwater. Hagan thinks the inheritance is the reason Robert Polukoff stopped selling his jewelry; he hadn’t been out on the pier since last summer.
In July, a few weeks after Irene Polukoff filed for divorce, Robert filed a handwritten response with the court, before he hired an attorney. He wrote in legalese, writing “affirm” next to items in Irene’s petition he agreed to, and “denied” next to things he disagreed with.
One of the few things Robert disagreed with was the status of the marriage. Irene’s lawyer had written: “The marriage … is irretrievably broken.”
Source:Tampa Bay Times
OMAHA, Neb. April 5 2012– Police said a man arrested in a bar fight early Sunday morning died in a separate shooting near 26th Avenue and Sprague Street 12 hours later.
Officers said they arrested James Edwards, 27, after a disturbance outside Arthur’s Bar near 114th Street and Dodge Road. They said police broke up several fights at the bar’s parking lot that night.
Police said a security guard was injured and taken to the hospital after he tried to break up one of the fights.
Eleven Omaha police cruisers, three state troopers and deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office stayed at the scene for more than an hour to break up the fights.
Police said they arrested three people for disorderly conduct, and one of them was Edwards.
Douglas County dispatchers said they’ve sent officers to Arthur’s Bar 19 times since June 2011.
A Nebraska Liquor Control Commission employee said staff worked with Arthur’s Bar owners to better manage fights and problems in a meeting last month.
Zion IL April 5 2012 A Beach Park man accused of the stabbing death of a woman in a Zion industrial park pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Lake County circuit court.
Derrick Taylor, 38, faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Joy Lee, 48.
Assistant State’s Attorney Patricia Fix said Lee, of Salem, Wis., was a longtime acquaintance of Taylor, who lived in a trailer park in the 38000 block of North Sheridan Road.
A security officer at the Trumpet Industrial Park found Lee’s body on the ground outside her own car just before 9 p.m. on March 11 and called police.
Detectives from the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force found several text messages on Lee’s phone that were sent to “Derrick” and traced the phone number to Taylor.
They went to Taylor’s residence to question him, but were unable to locate him.
However, they did find Taylor’s Chevrolet Blazer parked inside a garage at another trailer in the park and obtained a search warrant for the vehicle after they saw blood on the steering wheel.
Taylor was later located at his residence, and police found blood in the sink, shower and washing machine inside.
Fix said preliminary DNA testing matched the blood found in the Blazer and the sink at Taylor’s residence to Lee.
Taylor denied any involvement in Lee’s killing when questioned, police said.
Associate Judge Theodore Potkonjak scheduled a trial of the case for May 7. He ordered Taylor, who is held on $3 million bond, to appear in court April 12.
Lydia Farrell claims the recently deceased Timothy Charles Johnson was visiting Club Phoenix on Sept. 18, 2011, when he got into a verbal altercation with another patron. During the argument, the patron removed a handgun from his waistband and shot Johnson in the abdomen, according to the complaint filed March 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.
Because of the gunshot, Johnson died, the suit states.
Due to Johnson’s death, Farrell lost his companionship, society, love and affection, the complaint says.
Farrell blames Club Phoenix for causing Johnson’s death, saying its employees negligently failed to provide an adequately trained guard force to patrol the premises and failed to have an adequate security force with competent security guards. In fact, at the time of Johnson’s death, only one security guard was on duty, which was a violation of the city ordinances of East St. Louis, the complaint says.
In her complaint, Farrell is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus pre-judgment interest and costs.
Jarrod P. Beasley of The Kuehn Law Firm in Belleville will be representing her.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-146.
HARTFORD CT April 5 2012 — Private security guards who work in several state office buildings in Hartford will decide today whether to authorize a possible strike.
The Connecticut chapter of the union 32BJ is trying to organize the guards. Chapter president Kurt Westby said nearly 50 guards will vote on the strike authorization, with results expected at the state Capitol later tonight.
The guards work for SOS Security Inc. at buildings that house various agencies, including the Department of Public Works, the Office of Policy and Management, the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Westby said there are several hundred guards employed by at least five private firms contracted to provide security in state buildings. There could be similar strike authorization votes taken in the future affecting workers as well, he said.
“We’re prepared for similar strike authorization votes,” he said. “If the guards are met with a lot of resistance, it’s very possible there will be similar actions.”
Westby said state officials should be concerned about the issues facing private guards, who earn on average about $10 an hour and sometimes have to pay as much as $585 in co-pays every two weeks for family medical coverage.
“If you look at privatized security guards, most of them are living in poverty. Many don’t have any benefits, health insurance and certainly not pensions. They’re second-class citizens, and they’re really state employees,” Westby said.
A message was left seeking comment with SOS Security, a Parsippany, N.J.-based company with offices in Rocky Hill.
Westby’s union, which is part of the Service Employees International Union, began working five years ago to organize more security guards. According to the union’s website, the ranks have grown from 1,000 to 13,000. Many are in government facilities and office buildings in New York, Philadelphia, Washington and New Jersey.
Westby said the guards in Hartford have complained of alleged intimidation tactics by the company to discourage unionization, as well as a stop in regular contributions to the workers’ retirement accounts.
“They haven’t had any luck in dealing with SOS in regards to their issues,” he said. “They also want to be part of our union and there’s a variety of issues they’re willing to strike over, at least we’ll see (on Wednesday).”
Port of Houston Officer C. Cazares was working an extra job at the Del Mar apartment complex at 10909 Gulf Freeway when he observed a man repeatedly coming and going from an apartment to a vehicle and then driving around the complex, according to Houston police.
When Cazares approached the suspect around 2:15 a.m. to determine whether he was a resident, a verbal altercation ensued, police said.
The officer said that the suspect reached in his pocket and refused commands to stop, leading to the struggle.
Two other suspects that were in the vehicle reportedly started to drive off while the officer struggled with the man.
The man eventually got away from Cazares and got into the vehicle with the other two, HPD spokeswoman Jodi Silva said.
While the suspects drove away, someone in the vehicle reportedly shot at the officer.
“In fear for his life, he then discharged his weapon,” Silva said.
It does not appear that any of the suspects were injured in the shooting, nor was the officer, according to Silva.
She said the officer did take away some minor injuries from the struggle but they didn’t require treatment.
Police recovered a gun near the apartment complex exit where the suspects had fled the scene.
The suspects are only described as three Hispanic males driving in a light colored Nissan or Toyota sedan.
As is customary when a law enforcement officer discharges a weapon in the city limits, the incident is being investigated by the HPD Homicide Division.
Buffalo NY April 5 2012 A Delta Airlines flight attendant at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was not allowed to fly this morning after he was spotted acting in a manner that a security officer deemed unfit for flight, according to authorities.
A TSA officer at a security checkpoint noticed the male flight attendant’s irregular behavior and alerted Delta Airline personnel, Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.
Both the NFTA and Delta officials said the matter did not rise to the level of a security issue. There were no passengers aboard the Atlanta-bound plane when the attendant was removed.
“It was Delta’s decision to remove the flight attendant from flying today,” said Gina Laughlin, a Delta spokesman.
The TSA officer’s allegations against the flight attendant are now under review by the airline, she said.
The entire crew for Flight 1266, which was scheduled to leave at 6:15 a.m., passed through the security checkpoint and boarded the aircraft to conduct its preflight check, officials said.
But when Delta received word of the TSA officer’s claims, airline officials removed the attendant and made arrangements for another flight attendant to be flown into Buffalo to replace him, Laughlin said.
Once the staffing change was made, the three-hour delayed flight departed.
Delta is deeply concerned any time it receives a complaint of this nature and that is why it took the proactive step of removing the flight attendant, Laughlin stressed.
“We were contacted by TSA early this morning regarding their allegation that one of our flight attendants appeared unfit for duty. We take allegations very seriously and we are working to confirm the accuracy,” Laughlin said.
Attention over the stability of airline personnel has heightened recently, with the most recent incident involving a Jet Blue captain behaving in a bizarre manner last week in the passenger cabin.
The Delta incident was not regarded as a security issue, NFTA spokesman C. Douglas Hartmayer said.
“It was an internal matter that is being handled by Delta Airlines,” Hartmayer said.
Parsons TN April 5 2012 One of the nation’s top baseball prospects, a bright student headed to Vanderbilt, was found dead along the side of a Tennessee road on Tuesday after an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sending shockwaves throughout the Volunteer State baseball community.
As reported by the Jackson Sun, the Nashville City Paper and a variety of other Nashville-area news sources, Parsons (Tenn.) Riverside High ace Stephen Gant was found dead in Perry County shortly after the local sheriff’s office had been called about a man walking up and down the road with a gun threatening to commit suicide.
“We found the body of Stephen Gant about 30 feet from the roadway with a gunshot wound,” Perry County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Nick Weems told the Sun. “We do believe at this time that it was self-inflicted; however, we will continue to investigate to look at other possibilities to make sure it was suicide.”
To call Gant’s death a stunning turn of events is a vast understatement. The senior was a Vanderbilt signee with what many anticipated would be a bright future at one of the nation’s most impressive college baseball programs. In all three of his prep seasons he had been named the Sun’s Baseball Player of the Year, a remarkable achievement in a tough Tennessee baseball region.
In fact, Gant’s arm was so strong that some had even penciled the senior in as a likely first round draft pick in the forthcoming MLB draft.
On Tuesday, the communities that knew him and were looking forward to his arrival were still struggling to come to grips with the teenager’s tragic death, as Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin made clear in a statement released to the press.
“This stops you right in your tracks,” Corbin said in the release. “These are life occurrences that can’t be explained … there are no ‘do-overs.’
“We are all deeply saddened for Gloria, Tony, his brothers and sister as well as the many friends that Stephen had. All we can do is be supportive for the family and be there for them.”