Santa Monica CA May 18 2010 A former Food Network chef will be arraigned in a California courtroom this morning. Police say he tried to hire homeless men to commit murder.
CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reported Monday on “The Early Show” Juan-Carlos Cruz found fame as the Food Network’s “Calorie Commando,” but today he sits behind bars, held on $5 million bail and accused of murder-for-hire.
Investigators say the celebrity chef allegedly scouted Santa Monica, hoping to find a hit man among the homeless. The plan backfired when the homeless men tipped off police.
Sgt. Jay Trisler, of the Santa Monica Police Department, told CBS News, “It was a serious allegation and there was somebody who was intended to be killed. For us, it was something that we felt needed to move swift.”
Gossip website TMZ.com is reporting the intended target was Cruz’s wife Jennifer Campbell. Police confirm there are three men who claim they were offered $1,000 cash to slit a woman’s throat. They told TMZ the plan later changed.
Police have not confirmed Cruz’s target was his wife.
In a TMZ interview, a reporter asks, “You were told to strangle her?”
A man replies, “Yeah, because stabbing leaves too much blood. He didn’t want a mess.”
The men agreed to record conversations with Cruz as detectives launched an undercover investigation.
One man said, “I had a recorder in my pocket and they were listening and watching.”
Cruz was arrested Thursday in a local dog park. Those who know him say this is a bizarre turn for the reality TV star. He began his career as a pastry chef at the posh Hotel Bel-Air. He became a Food Network star in 2004 and later published his own cookbook.
His wife, Jennifer Campbell, was his high school sweetheart.
Ron Mackovich, a Food Network producer, said of the couple, “They had always seemed so harmonious that I couldn’t imagine he would have anything like that going on.”
Mackovich produced Cruz five years ago in the weight-loss series, “Take It Off.”
He said, “It’s hard for me to believe that the guy who was there cooking and helping people lose weight could end up in a terrible situation like this.”
Police have not revealed a motive for the alleged crime. If convicted, Cruz faces up to nine years in prison.
Source: Jackson Sun The Gates police chief has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a news release.
Authorities are awaiting final autopsy results from the Shelby County Medical Examiner to determine the cause and manner of death for Chief Marvin Brown.
The release said that at this time there does not appear to be any suspicious behavior or foul-play associated with the death.
Halls police and Lauderdale County sheriff’s deputies were called to Brown’s home on Sumrow Street in Halls at 10 p.m. Thursday.
They found Brown dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Halls Police Department, assisted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, is conducting the investigation of the shooting.
Brown was recently the focus of a TBI investigation into allegations of fraud, theft, and official misconduct related to his employment with both the town of Gates and the Lauderdale County School System.
That investigation has also prompted municipal and county investigative audits of the respective payroll records of Brown from the town of Gates and the Lauderdale County Schools, by the state of Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.
His unprecedented actions landed Travis Shantell Williams, 28, in Shelby County Jail by Wednesday night, charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.
Williams is accused of helping warn 54-year-old Cleo Henderson “that he should leave before police get there,” according to a court affidavit. Henderson escaped.
He is wanted in the Jan. 15 murder of Reuben J. Jefferson, 48, outside Luster’s Sundry near Downtown on East Georgia at Danny Thomas Boulevard.
Williams did not contact Henderson directly but allegedly informed a third party who alerted the suspect, according to a police statement.
Not since it began in 1981 has someone answering anonymous calls at CrimeStoppers leaked information to a suspect as Williams is believed to have done, said Buddy Chapman, executive director of CrimeStoppers of Memphis and Shelby County.
“It is a totally unbelievable stretch of coincidences,” Chapman said Thursday.
The story has another strange twist.
Last Aug. 11, Williams was in training to become a Memphis police officer when an instructor accidentally shot him in the left wrist at the police academy.
When the department fired two police instructors in October because of the incident, officials said Williams had been assigned to the department’s Real Time Crime Center.
They said that after fully recovering, he would be eligible to attend another police recruit training session.
Details about Williams’ employment with the city were not immediately available.
Police offered no comment on any possible connection between Williams and Henderson.
Thomas Kern, chairman of the national Crime Stoppers USA, said he has never before heard of a tip taker warning a suspect of the tip.
“That’s a new one on me,” said Kern, a veteran of Indianapolis-based Central Indiana Crime Stoppers.
When the tip came in, Williams did properly issue a tip number to the caller, a step that allows those providing information to remain anonymous.
Chapman, who started the area CrimeStoppers program as Memphis police director from 1976 to 1983, said the “absolutely amazing” coincidences included that Williams was on duty to take the call and apparently knew the suspect.
CrimeStoppers will still reward the anonymous caller, Chapman said.
“I’ll make sure they get paid,” he said. “It’s certainly not their fault.”
They knew him simply as Ross.
He was Ross the grandfather, father and husband. Or Ross, the quick-witted security guard whom store owners and employees at the Clayton Valley Shopping Center came to rely on for comic relief during their workdays.
“I always said he should have been a comedian,” his wife Letris Ross said laughingly Friday. “He was not afraid of making a (fool) of himself.”
So when word began spreading about his death April 1, there was disbelief that someone like him could die in a flurry of gunfire.
Ross, 48, was shot to death in front of his apartment on Clayton Road, about a mile from the shopping center. His 24-year-old stepdaughter’s boyfriend, Claude Lee Mitchell, 25, is suspected in the slaying, police said. Mitchell was arrested outside of Stockton on Friday afternoon after a two-hour search.
Mitchell has a 19-month-old son with Ross’ stepdaughter, who is pregnant with their second child. They lived with Ross and his wife.
Letris Ross said her husband had been pushing Mitchell to get a job and pay his fair share of the rent. He wanted Mitchell to become a provider the way that Ross did when he raised her four children as his own, she said.
The argument continued the afternoon of April 1, when Ross followed Mitchell down an outside stairwell. Unexpectedly, Mitchell pulled out a handgun and fired a shot into Ross’ abdomen, Letris Ross said. She then heard Mitchell cursing loudly as he fired several more shots.
“He unloaded the clip on him,” Letris Ross said, adding that neither she nor her husband knew Mitchell owned a gun. “It was senseless and cruel.”
Mitchell fled, and his car was found abandoned that night in Pittsburg.
The Los Angeles-born Ross worked as security guard his entire adult life, his wife said. He enjoyed the camaraderie and protecting people, but never had ambitions for a police job.
“He said this is what he was put on Earth to do,” she said.
At the shopping center, where he worked for four years, Ross routinely checked in on businesses, store employees said. And while he was there, he’d try to lighten the mood with a wisecrack or gush about his affinity for the Oakland Raiders.
“He’d joke around and talk with us for a while,” said Linda Pineda, a teller at Travis Credit Union in the shopping center. “And he was always talking about the Raiders.”
Anyone with information about the slaying can contact Concord police at 925-671-3333, the department’s anonymous tip line at 925-603-5836, or Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Don McCuiston, a Kettering Police Department Court Security Officer, was presented a Class I commendation for performing chest compressions of an inmate after he collapsed January 29
James T. Brown, 34, complained of severe chest pains and fell face down in the holding area of the Kettering Municipal Court, according to a report from the Kettering Police Department. Brown reportedly was not breathing and had no pulse. CSO McCuiston performed chest compressions for two minutes until Brown regained consciousness.
Kettering Fire medics then transported Brown to Kettering Hospital.
A Class I award is presented for an act of evidencing highly professional conduct or performance or giving evidence of selfless conduct during a time of crisis or emergency.
Kettering Police are trained and re-certified in CPR every two years.
Eighty-year-old Doris Thompson has made a long career of petty theft and burglarizing medical buildings. And although this week she was sentenced to three years in state prison for her latest crime, officials aren’t sure that’s enough to stop Thompson’s escapades when she is released.
“She likes to burglarize medical suites for some reason. That’s her niche,” said Paulette Paccione, the Los Angeles County deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.
On Wednesday, Thompson, who has a rap sheet dating to 1955 and has landed in state prison nine times, pleaded guilty to a commercial burglary she committed in December, when she hid in the restroom of the Children’s Medical Group office in Torrance and waited until employees left for the day.
A security camera caught Thompson prying open drawers with a chisel and screwdriver, Paccione said. From the building, Thompson took $400 in cash and checks, stamps totaling $25, a plastic urine container and an audiogram device used to test hearing-impaired children, valued at $1,000, said Sgt. Jeremiah Hart of the Torrance Police Department.
This was not the first time Thompson targeted the Torrance medical building, Hart said. In 2005 and 2006, she burglarized other medical offices in the complex while wearing a wig, he said.
During the investigation of the December burglary, a Torrance detective recognized the woman in the surveillance camera from a crime bulletin put up by Beverly Hills police a few years earlier for a similar crime, Hart said.
“That’s her M.O.,” Paccione said. “What she does is she goes in with her little burglar bag. She takes cash, stamps, whatever she can find.”
Paccione said Thompson, who has used 25 aliases, is a unique woman. “You usually don’t get 80-year-old female burglars.”
She said Thompson told the judge in court that she probably deserved more time in prison than the three-year sentence.
“I don’t think this will stop her from doing this again,” Paccione said. “She’s not really apologetic about it. This is her thing.”
Police pulled over a car that was believed to be involved in a shoplifting incident at a Walmart. When the officer got out of the police vehicle, the suspect car rammed the cruiser and sped off according to the Asheville Police Department. The suspect car crashed on U.S. highway 25 near the intersection with Highway 414.
One suspect was found on the ground and two other people were trapped in the car. All three suspects were taken to a hospital. Their conditions are unknown.
Asheville Police say Alvin James Ray, Jr., 23, Tremain Allen Lucas, 19 , both of Asheville and Chester Dean Ray III, 18, of Arden were in the car.
All three have been suspected as cross-dressing as they committed shoplifting crimes in both Carolinas. Spartanburg Police released surveillance video of the suspects from T.J. Maxx at the Dorman Centre.
Asheville Police say the three stole TVs, computer equipment and video game systems from Best Buy and Target stores in Asheville over the past several months.
Alvin James Ray, Jr. has active warrants for one count of misdemeanor larceny, two counts of felony larceny, one count of simple assault and three counts of failure to appear for driving while license revoked.
Lucas is charged with three counts of misdemeanor larceny, two counts of failure to appear on charges of misdemeanor larceny and two counts of felony larceny.
Chester Ray III was out of jail on bond after surrendering to authorities in Buncombe County on February 1. He’s charged with two counts of misdemeanor larceny and two counts of felony larceny.
Two parents have filed a lawsuit against the Coachella Valley Unified School District and Saul Martinez Elementary School, claiming officials did not protect their then-6-year-old son from sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The lawsuit was filed Feb. 9 against Saul Martinez Principal Delia Alvarez, Superintendent Ricardo Medina and the seven school board members by a North Shore mother and father, who filed anonymously as A. Doe and B. Doe to protect their son.
In February 2009, their son was sexually assaulted with a stick by an older male first-grade student while using a Saul Martinez urinal, according to court reports.
More than a month later, school officials gave the victim a “safety net” so he did not have to use the bathroom alone, but the lawsuit states that school and district officials did not contact the aggressor’s parents or do enough to keep their son safe from him.
“We’re hopeful that the school district will take this seriously,” said Megan Beaman Carlson, an attorney with Coachella-based California Rural Legal Assistance, a nonprofit group that provides free legal services to low-income residents. “I think it’s been long enough.”
Medina, who joined the district in May 2009, said he was aware of the situation but not that the lawsuit had been filed.
“Obviously, we’re very disappointed because we’ve been trying to work through the issues and evidently they’ve not been resolved to their satisfaction,” Medina said. “We’re very disappointed that it’s gone to this level.”
Students’ privacy rights prevented him from discussing any details, he said.
District legal counsel and Principal Alvarez did not immediately respond to inquiries about the case.
Policy revision sought
The lawsuit asks for a revision of the district sexual harassment policy and its safety plan and training of all district staff regarding proper implementation of those policies.
The only financial compensation requested in the lawsuit is payment of the petitioners’ legal fees.
It’s possible that the other first-grader didn’t fully understand the consequences of his action because of his age, but the victim still suffered serious consequences from the incident and the school district still had a responsibility to protect students, Beaman Carlson said.
“This was still a situation where a student was assaulted in a sexual manner, whether it was meant sexually or not,” she said.
Immediately after the initial assault, the victim told a security guard, who did nothing but send the child to class, court reports state.
The boy’s mother reported the incident to Alvarez the next day and filed a police report so her son could be seen by a pediatrician specializing in traumatic injuries, according to the court reports.
Alvarez later told the mother “she believed the incident in the bathroom could have just been a game and that the Petitioners’ son was confused,” according to court documents.
The same aggressor threatened the petitioners’ son at other times and pulled the first-grader’s shirt away from his back in the school bathroom on March 6, documents report.
Later that month, the boy was given a “safety net” so a “buddy” accompanied him to the bathroom and a yard supervisor accompanied him during recess.
However, school and district officials did not adequately respond to several pleas to protect or separate the boy from his harasser, the court documents claim.
“We believe that they didn’t contact the family but we’re not sure about that,” Beaman Carlson said. “There’s no way for us to verify that.”
The district and parents had an unsuccessful mediation in July and, in August, the district notified the parents the incident wasn’t properly handled.
The petitioners’ son continues to see a therapist weekly, suffered academically and feared going to school, has trouble using the bathroom without a parent present and often avoids using the school bathroom at all, according to the lawsuit.
The beating last month of a 15-year-old girl in the transit tunnel at Westlake Center as security personnel watched without intervening is prompting a review of King County Metro’s policies for its unarmed guards.
The incident — which was partially captured on surveillance video — happened about 7:15 p.m. Jan. 28 and involved a large group of teens and young adults, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. Another 15-year-old girl is allegedly the one who can be seen on the video assaulting the victim, kicking her head several times while she is on the pavement.
Two security guards stand over the victim while she’s being pummeled and do not intervene. At one point in the video, one guard is seen raising his arm toward the assailant, who ignores him.
The guards, who work under contract with Metro, are restricted from intervening in assaults.
“The events surrounding this incident are troubling, and the video images distressing,” Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond said in a news release Tuesday. “The county executive has ordered us to work with the Sheriff’s Office to review the circumstances surrounding this incident and seek advice from other security experts to determine whether we need to change our security protocols.”
The guards, who work for Olympic Security Services, provide security throughout the transit system.
According to the contract with Metro, guards with Olympic Security Services are instructed not to intervene when witnessing suspicious behavior or criminal activity, but to “observe and report” and radio the Metro Transit Control Center, which relays requests for assistance to the appropriate law-enforcement agencies.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the guards called the tunnel communication center after the Jan. 28 assault.
In light of the assault, Metro is reviewing the restriction on physically intervening in fights or other criminal activity, Desmond said.
Asked if he thought the guards acted appropriately in light of the policy, Desmond said, “The whole thing, in terms of what happened with or without a sensational video, is very concerning and very disturbing to us. On the face of it, the security guards were following the letter of the policy. I certainly wish they had done something different. …
“We’re talking with Olympic and we’re going to change that policy,” he said.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the incident began when a group of 10 teens surrounded the victim inside the downtown Macy’s, intending to rob her. One of the men threatened to kill her, the report said.
Police broke up that confrontation, but the group followed the victim and her friend into the bus tunnel, the report said.
The alleged assailant can be seen in the video shoving the victim into the bus lane, then continuing to beat her on the platform, pushing her to the ground and kicking her several times, including in the head.
While this was happening, other members of the group stole the girl’s purse, book bag, cellphone and iPod, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The video was obtained by KING-TV.
Two Seattle police officers arrived within minutes but the suspects had fled, said police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. Metro Transit police arrived about five minutes after the assault and interviewed the security guards who had watched the assault, as well as witnesses.
According to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart, the victim was not hospitalized but saw a doctor. Some of her hair was pulled out, and she had scratches and bruises and “is still very sore,” Urquhart said Tuesday night. The girl said she lost consciousness during the attack, the Sheriff’s Office said. She knew her assailant and others in the group, police said.
The Sheriff’s Office arrested the alleged assailant on Friday and booked her into the King County Youth Services Center for investigation of felony second-degree assault.
The alleged assailant’s mother said she has no idea what happened inside the bus tunnel. She said she hasn’t been allowed to talk to her daughter and that her daughter’s lawyer won’t return her calls.
“I’m worried about her,” the woman said. “I know she’s been in fights, but I don’t know what happened.”
Detectives arrested three more suspects on Saturday — two men, 18 and 20, and an 18-year-old woman from South Seattle. The Sheriff’s Office said they are suspected of assault, robbery and felony harassment.
A 17-year-old male suspect is still being sought.
Sound Transit also hires unarmed guards, from Securitas, to conduct fare enforcement and to patrol transit stations.
Securitas guards are to observe and report like the Metro guards, but Sound Transit and Securitas policies anticipate that on occasion, they’ll intervene:
“When faced with a clear and immediate threat of bodily harm, the Security Officer must always first consider retreating with any other people present to a secure position. When necessary to protect self and others from a clear and immediate threat of bodily harm, a Security Officer must use only the degree of force necessary to repel an attack or threat of an attack. Security Officers who improperly use or apply excessive force may be subject to disciplinary action and may be held criminally liable for their actions.”
Securitas guards have broken up fights, including at transit centers in Federal Way and Auburn, said Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray.
The private security guards are not empowered to make arrests, but they do have authority under state law to issue citations (currently a $124 fine) to suspected fare evaders. Sound Transit also employs an armed police force, made up of sheriff’s deputies.
At the request of the Council, the heads of each town department submitted recommendations that would reduce the budget by 15 percent, or about $14 million.
The deficit is currently projected at about $15 million, but that number could grow if the state, which is wrestling with its own budget shortfall, reduces Gilbert’s portion of state-shared revenue.
The proposed cuts include the elimination of about 124 employee positions, including 65 within the Police Department and 29 from the Fire Department. Those and other possible cuts were to be discussed at tonight’s Town Council meeting at 7 p.m.
Along with the recommendations, the department heads included a brief analysis of the impact the cuts may have on town services.
If the Police Department is forced to eliminate 17 officers from two traffic units, the department said it would save an estimated $885,000 but have fewer resources for DUI enforcement, speed enforcement and collision investigations.
Likewise, the recommendation to lay off 14 patrol officers, one from each patrol team, would save about $1.3 million but reduce police presence on Gilbert streets and likely increase response times, according to the Police Department report to Council.
Gilbert already has one of the lowest officer-to-resident ratios in the Valley.
As of October, Gilbert had about 1.03 police officers per 1,000 residents. By comparison, Phoenix’s ratio was 2.31, Mesa’s was 1.80 and Chandler’s was 1.32.
Among possible cuts in the Fire Department is the elimination of an entire company, comprised of 12 employees.
If required, the cut would lead to an increased fire response time and “possible loss of life and property due to more than a 4-minute response time,” according to a town document outlining the budget recommendations.
Other fire department positions that could be axed include two fire investigators, three battalion chiefs and three captains, cutting almost $1 million in expenses.
Community-service reductions could also affect Gilbert libraries and recreation centers.
The proposed cuts would close Gilbert Pool and Mesquite Aquatic Center and reduce library hours at the Southeast Regional and Perry Branch libraries.
In all, the potential layoffs represent more than 13 percent of about 900 town employee positions within the general fund.
The 15-percent department cuts have been previously discussed by the Town Council as a last resort to be used if a better solution cannot be found.
One alternative to the budget cuts would be generating additional revenue through new or increased taxes. The Council last month voted to send a sales-tax increase to the ballot, and some on the Council have voiced support for a local use tax.
The quarter-cent sales-tax increase, which Gilbert voters can decide on in May, could provide an additional $6 million to $7 million in public-safety funding.
The Council also plans to examine a list of town employee suggestions, along with a handful of council member recommendations, in hopes of finding an alternative to layoffs and drastic budget cuts.
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An Ohio State Highway Patrol officer was killed on Thursday night when the vehicle he was driving crashed on County Road 95 just west of Carey, Ohio in Wyandot County.
According to a patrol public affairs officer, 25-year-old Andrew Baldridge was driving with his field training officer, 33-year-old Mark McLoughlin. The two were heading out to assist a Wyandot County sheriff call.
Officials said that on the way to the call, the vehicle went off the side of the road and rolled several times.
Patrol officials said that Baldridge and McLoughlin were both taken by medical helicopter to area hospitals. Baldridge was pronounced dead at the hospital. McLoughlin was listed in fair condition.
According to State Patrol, Baldridge was a recent graduate of their 149th class, which had just graduated in December. Baldrdige worked out of the Bucyrus State Highway Patrol Post.
The accident remains under investigation. The Ohio State Highway Patrol expects to release more information on Friday.
The Huntington Police Department put out a statement: “Based upon statements of two victims and independent witness accounts alleging that he had engaged in unwanted and uninvited groping of the two victims’ genital areas, Andrew R. Dick (AKA Andy Dick) of South Pasadena, California, was arrested and charged with two counts of Sex Abuse in the First Degree.”
According to the criminal complaint, Dick was talking to a man when he “unexpectedly and without invitation grabbed the victim’s crotch, repeatedly groping then kissing him.”
Also in the complaint, a security guard at a bar said that Dick “grabbed his crotch and began laughing” when the guard tried to give him an armband.
The comedian is currently on probation over a 2008 sexual assault incident where he was arrested for exposing himself to and groping a teenage girl. He avoided jail time, but was sentences to three.
The 35-year-old Michael Anthony Olivas of Shelton pleaded guilty last month and was taken away in handcuffs after Thursday’s sentencing in Thurston County Superior Court.
He was arrested in March after two teenage girls said he coerced them into exposing their breasts after they were caught shoplifting.
Olivas apologized in court and said he is working on his personal failings through counseling and his church.
Investigators said Rodney Dillon had large numbers of pictures and videos on his computer, in addition to fantasy stories regarding the sexual abuse of children.
Dillon inspected bags at the entrance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
He was placed on administrative leave and locked up without bond at the Osceola County Jail
Kenneth Hamberger is accused of stealing more than $20,000 from Citizens Community Federal Bank where he was employed for 15 years.
In his job he handled re-possessions and foreclosures for the bank’s 23 branches.
When he sold re-possessed items such as cars and motorcycles, he was supposed to apply the money toward the outstanding loan. Instead, police say he pocketed some of it.
He told officers he had a drinking problem and was often drunk while at work over the past few years.
Hamberger was fired and now faces a felony charge with possible prison time of 10 years.
A local inventor with first-hand knowledge of what’s inside Anthony Galluccio’s toothpaste is casting doubt on the state senator’s claim that dental hygiene caused him to fail a breathalyzer test, the Cambridge Chronicle reported.
Galluccio, who was ordered to submit to random alcohol testing last month after he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, claimed that the positive readings on his breathalyzer tests were caused by toothpastes he was using.
“After discussing it with a physician, we have determined that (the positive tests are) the result of my using two toothpastes — Colgate Total Whitening and Sensodyne Toothpaste, both of which contain sorbitol,” Galluccio wrote in a statement released Dec. 22.
However, James Herms, who has helped craft five formulations of Sensodyne Toothpaste since 2001, told the Chronicle that sorbitol wouldn’t have caused positive readings on any DOT-approved alcohol testing device.
“Sorbitol is not going to show up,” Herms wrote in a letter sent to the Chronicle. “The only one that will register is ethyl alcohol.”
Herms told the paper that sorbitol is described in the dictionary as a “faintly sweet alcohol,” but only refers to a class of compounds that are similar to ethanol which is found in mouthwash and can alter breathalyzer results.
“Some physicians or medical doctors don’t know the chemistry,” wrote Herms, an MIT alum who is the head of the school’s Crime Club.
Galluccio will be back in court on Monday to determine whether or not his probation will be revoked.
Galluccio received the probation order after he admitted that he rear-ended a vehicle at a Cambridge traffic light on Oct. 4. The police report said his “SUV fled the area after the crash,” “the victims wrote down the registration number of the fleeing motor vehicle” and “the driver reported back and neck injuries and was taken to Mount Auburn Hospital.”
A police report released in November said Cambridge police officers gave the senator a ride home several hours before the crash. “Both officers reported that they believed Mr. Galluccio was pretty drunk,” the report stated.
Galluccio has two previous drunken driving convictions.
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William White, a 16-year veteran, has been suspended without pay for 30 days and the chief has recommended he be fired for his “unbecoming conduct while he was off-duty,” Assistant Fire Chief Francis Deleonibus said.
White, 50, appeared without an attorney and did not comment as he held his head in his hands during a video arraignment from the Allegheny County Jail on Wednesday. A district judge ordered him to remain behind bars until he is accepted by an alcohol-treatment center.
A Rivers Casino security guard saw White urinating in a parking lot Wednesday about 2:15 a.m., police said. White told the guard he was a firefighter and needed help getting home, authorities said.
The guard drove White to the casino’s main entrance and offered to call a taxi, police said. Instead, White allegedly jumped out of the security truck and began arguing with a woman. When the guard got out of the truck to intervene, White jumped in and drove off, according to a police complaint.
An officer saw the truck driving the wrong way down a nearby road as the description of the stolen vehicle came over the police radio. The officer’s cruiser was damaged in the chase, but nobody was hurt. White was arrested a few blocks from his house.
White faces a Jan. 7 preliminary hearing on theft, receiving stolen property, drunken driving and other charges. Police say a breath test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.226, nearly three times the state’s legal limit.
The chief’s recommendation that White be fired is nonbinding and must be heard by a trial board composed of three fellow firefighters, who could clear White or impose other discipline, Deleonibus said.
White has no criminal record save a drunken-driving arrest in 1995 in neighboring Butler County. That charge was dismissed when the state trooper who filed it failed to show up for trial.
White’s arrest comes two months after the city firefighters union agreed to random drug testing for the first time in history. Deleonibus said White is not being disciplined under that policy but under state civil service law.
The drug-testing policy was adopted following several incidents involving city firefighters, including one who fed his heroin habit by stealing money from fellow firefighters while answering false alarms he had called in.
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The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the grisly slaying, which occurred early Sunday morning.
The victim has been identified after an autopsy as Steven Dorough, 18, of Marbury, said Chief Deputy Shane Mayfield. Dorough was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun and then his body was set on fire, according to authorities. Dorough had completed basic training in July and was a member of the Army Reserve, Mayfield said.
Christopher Kroeger, 21, of the 800 block of Chilton County 59 in Verbena and Joshua Ready, 18, of Chilton County have been charged with murder in the case. Both men were in the Chilton County Jail on Monday night under bonds of $500,000 each, jail records show. Courthouse records do not show if they have attorneys.
Kroeger allegedly killed Dorough, and Ready allegedly took part in the effort to conceal the evidence, Mayfield said.
Mayfield said the killing occurred about dawn Sunday at Kroeger’s home, where several teenagers and young adults attended a party Saturday night.
A juvenile reported to the Prattville Police Department on Sunday that he had witnessed a homicide. When Prattville authorities learned the location of the slaying, they contacted the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, Mayfield said.
“Our deputies arrived at Kroeger’s home, and they noticed something burning in the field near the mobile home,” Mayfield said. “Two young men, reeking of gasoline, answered the door. That’s when our officers went to the fire and found human remains.”
The investigation revealed that after Dorough was shot, an accelerant was poured over his body and debris was stacked on top before the fire was set, Mayfield said. The body had been burning for two to three hours and was almost consumed when deputies arrived, he said.
Kroeger and Dorough apparently had been involved in a long-running dispute about items that had disappeared from Kroeger’s home, Mayfield said. Kroeger felt Dorough was involved in the theft or knew who was, Mayfield said.
Mayfield said the investigation revealed that Kroeger and Dorough had argued and fought at the party just before the shooting. The investigation into the case is ongoing, he said.
“This is not something you would expect to take place the Sunday after Christmas in Verbena, Alabama,” Mayfield said.
District Attorney Randall Houston, a veteran prosecutor with more than 20 years in the courtroom, was equally shocked.
“I was going to church Sunday morning when they got me on the radio and told me what had happened,” he said. “Something like this is always shocking, and infuriating. But having it take place two days after Christmas makes it even more disturbing.”
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Sheriffs deputies arrested 49-year-old Mark Hamilton Tuesday night.
The suspect is a teacher at Alexander High School.
Deputies report seizing cell phone records as part of the investigation.
Hamilton is facing charges including endangering the welfare of a child, official misconduct and forcible touching.
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According to police a man held up an armored truck outside an Aspen Hill bank Wednesday morning and then vanished.
Officers said that the man was carrying a shotgun as he approached the driver of an armored car outside of a Wachovia Bank in the 3800 block of International Drive.
The suspect is described as a black male, 25 to 30 years old, between 6 feet and 6 feet, 3 inches tall, with a heavy build and a goatee. He was wearing a dark shirt and blue jeans.
The man fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured.
Anyone with any information about the incident or the suspect is asked to call the Montgomery County Police Robbery Section at 240-773-5100, or submit a tip anonymously at 1-866-411-TIPS.
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A 29-year-old Elyria man was stabbed in the leg and chest yesterday morning after trying to break up a fight inside Benchwarmers Sports Bar and Grille. One man has been arrested in connection with the stabbing, while someone who fired a gun during the fight is still on the run from police.
Officers were called to 11 Lake Ave. around 2:30 a.m. after a fight broke out in a hallway that connects Benchwarmers to Mardi Gras Lounge. Brian Helke, who works as a security-bouncer at Benchwarmers, tried to break up the fight, but was punched in the eye and knocked to the ground, according to an Elyria police report.
After the fight broke up, Helke was approached by Frederick Ferris, who began fighting him and ended up on top of him. Ferris allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Helke in the chest and leg before fleeing out a Lake Avenue exit, police said.
Ferris was stopped a few minutes later as he was walking on Middle Avenue near Ely Square. No weapons were found on him, but a black-handled kitchen knife was later discovered at the north end of Ely Square across from the Lake Avenue intersection, police said.
Ferris was charged with felonious assault and tampering with evidence.
Later on, officers were called back to the bar after workers found a shell casing and a handgun magazine. A bullet hole was also found in the wall, which police believe was fired during the fight. A gun was found discarded in a sewer on Washington Avenue, outside of Mardi Gras Lounge, police said. The gun, which is listed as stolen through the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office, was taken from an Eaton Township home in December 2008.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Elyria Police Department at (440) 323-3302.
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An argument in an assisted-living residence at 270 E. Second St. between two men in wheelchairs turned violent in the early hours of Sat., Dec. 19, and one of them stabbed the other to death, police said.
The suspect, Felipe Rivera-Cruz, 51, plunged a folding knife four times into the chest of the victim, Ronal Garcia, 24, at 4:12 a.m. in a second-floor hallway of the four-story Barrier Free Living residence between Avenues C and D, according to the complaint filed by the Manhattan district attorney. Garcia was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center with several other stab wounds in addition to the four fatal ones, and was declared dead soon after.
The stabbing, which staff members saw in progress on a surveillance monitor, followed an argument an hour or so earlier when the victim had made fun of the suspect, according to reports. Police also responded to the earlier call, but said it was just an argument with no injuries and neither party wanted to file charges. However, a New York Times report quoted a witness as saying the suspect had sustained a cut on his forehead during the earlier incident, and the victim had phoned his family in the Bronx between the first and second calls.
A security guard, who got to the scene too late to prevent the stabbing, observed the folding knife in the suspect’s hand, took it from him, and then called 911, the complaint says.
The nonprofit Barrier Free Living residence, operated under contract to the city, is one of the few that are completely accessible to wheelchairs. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeless Services said the city is investigating the circumstances of the stabbing.
Rivera-Cruz was held on charges of second-degree murder and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon pending a Dec. 24 court appearance
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The State reported Thursday that Wal-Mart agreed last week to pay a girl an undisclosed sum after she was fondled by an employee who was a registered sex offender in 2004 at a store in Orangeburg.
The newspaper reported that Wal-Mart began conducting criminal background checks on new hires at its stores within weeks of that incident.
A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., Daphne Moore, would not discuss the Dec. 16 settlement on Wednesday. But Moore said the matter has been resolved.
The family’s attorney, David Massey of Columbia, said he’s glad the lawsuit has been resolved.
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Police responded to an incident at a local dollar store and say that three people were arrested Wednesday after a robbery.
Police said that the three are accused of stealing from a west side Dollar General Store.
Officers responded to the store at around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and found a security officer in a battle with several people.
Investigators said that two men and one juvenile walked into the store at 6901 North Mesa, and the two men tried stealing a few items.
When approached by a security officer, the group began assaulting the officer and tried to flee.
All three were arrested and now face robbery charges.
Police have not yet released their identity.
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Hundreds attended the visitation Tuesday morning for Tech Sgt. Anthony C. “Tony” Campbell, who was killed while trying to disarm an improvised explosive device last week. The Air Force Tech Sgt. was serving in Afghanistan as an explosive ordinance disposal specialist.
Campbell, 35, had been serving as a Cincinnati police officer for just a few weeks before he was deployed.
“He was my best friend and a wonderful husband and father,” said his widow, Emily Campbell.
Campbell’s statements came from a program given to those who attended the visitation at Florence Baptist Church at Mt. Zion.
“He dedicated his life to his country,” Campbell’s statement continued.
Hundreds upon hundreds stood in line for a chance to express their sympathy for the family.
The 1992 Boone County high school graduate had his mother sign his enlistment papers at the age of 17 so he could join the Air Force.
In 2009 he became a Cincinnati police officer and served at downtown’s district one headquarters before he was deployed to Afghanistan.
In an additional statement Emily Campbell thanked the community for their support at this most difficult time.
“On behalf of the Campbell family I would like to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the outpouring of love and support we have received over the last week. The love that has been shown for my husband, Anthony, myself, and our grieving family has gone beyond my imagination,” Campbell said.
Campbell also leaves behind three children.
His 2-year-old son saluted his father before the service began.
During the funeral, Campbell was remembered by his best friend, Chris Webster.
“Anthony Campbell Junior was a father, a husband, a son, a grandson, a brother, an uncle and a friend,” said Webster, Campbell’s Best Friend. “He was a union brother to two of the biggest families in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Police Department and the Plumbers and Pipe fitters Local 392 and a member to an even bigger family the United States Air Force. I’ve known Tony for 24 years and trust me when I say Tony was doing exactly what he wanted to do.”
Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher also paid tribute to Campbell.
“Tony put himself in harms way so that other people could be protected. Other people in a community much larger that what we experience here in the Greater Cincinnati area in fact his community was the entire world and I think that’s something that speaks volume about his character, his tenacity and about his commitment to duty,” said Chief Tom Streicher of Cincinnati Police. “In my estimation, each and everyone one of us owe him a debt of gratitude for his loyal service to his community and to his country.”
Air Force commanders posthumously awarded Campbell the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Action Medal.
Tech Sgt. Campbell was escorted to the Veterans Cemetery in Williamstown where he was laid to rest.
“Tony Campbell was a great American, Tony Campbell is a hero in our minds, and he will live in our hearts forever,” said Streicher.
The dispensary owner said he was let go for being “over-aggressive and scary.” The dispensary’s owner said Earth Cann has hired two new guards who are “nice and professional.”
Former security guard George Covarrubias was hired to keep an eye on the parking lot of Earth Cann Wellness Center in Lake Forest Here he’s shown outside the dispensary in October.
Club owner Shannon Saccullo immediately posted warning signs – telling club members that marijuana prescriptions must remain in a sealed bag until they are taken home – and hired Covarrubias to enforce the dispensary’s rules.
In a short time Covarrubias made sure there was no smoking and loitering around Earth Cann or other businesses. He stopped “drug deals,” he said. He also developed a rapport with nearby businesses and introduced himself, asking for their worries and input.
Covarrubias said he suspended about eight people from use of the club – including one he characterizes as a good customer.
Covarrubias said he also called police when it seemed that violations of the zero tolerance policy were taking place outside his area of patrol.
In one case Covarrubias said he caught a club member packing a bowl of marijuana and smoking it.
“He buys a quarter pound at a time and at $300 an ounce, he spends $1,200 each time,” said Covarrubias. “I set high standards for the place and was professional,” he said. “They treated me like I was an old gang banger. I got spit on, almost got knocked down by speeding cars and got flipped off.”
Covarrubias said he is disappointed by his removal.
Saccullo said she received countless complaints about Covarrubias’ aggressive behavior.
“People were coming into the club saying ‘your security guard is really obsessed,’” she said. “I told him to mellow out and be nice to people. He was not approachable and polite. I want people to have a positive experience in the club and not to be hassled.”
Since November police have not gotten reports of any problems associated with the dispensary.
Vickie Simpson, executive director of Us Too Center which focuses on special needs children, is familiar with the dispensary and located in the neighboring business park.
“Before the security guards people would speed through the parking lot and we saw multiple drug transaction right in front of our door,” said Simpson. “Now we have no problems at all.”
Earth Cann’s membership has grown to more than 2,500 now, almost 1,000 more since late October.
In November the dispensary won a lawsuit against its landlord, which tried to evict the business, when a judge rejected the landlord’s argument that the dispensary should be forced to close because it allegedly violated a city zoning rule.
David Welch, an attorney who represented Earth Cann, called Superior Court judge’s ruling a victory in the medical marijuana battle.
City officials – who on Sept. 1 announced that complaints had been filed against 35 people associated with 14 dispensaries.– said the tenant-landlord dispute will have no affect on the city’s legal efforts to close down dispensaries citywide.
“If the landlord takes action to remove the tenant and they are removed, that’s one less dispensary the city would have to close,” said Jeff Dunn, a partner with Best, Best & Krieger, representing the city in its legal action against the dispensaries.
“The city has taken legal action to close all storefronts in Lake Forest. But if the landlord doesn’t do it, it won’t change what the city will do. Nothing has happened that will affect the city’s process to move forward.”
Dunn said all dispensaries – now more than 20 – could be shut down by early next year.
But Saccullo remains optimistic and hopes the city will agree to regulate a few of the dispensaries that a re running legitimate businesses.
“Things are great,” said Saccullo adding that club members are bringing in cans for the needy for the holidays. “I have a book of 100 testimonials of what medical marijuana is doing for people. I’ll be the poster child for how a business liker this should be run. I’m very proud of it.”
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The 36-year-old former Bluffton-Harrison schools teacher Tracey Pace faces sexual misconduct charges.
Police in Bluffton say Pace performed sexual acts on a teenager from January to March in 2007.
She was not a teacher at the time.
Pace is also charged with sending pornographic pictures to a minor in 2007.
Pace has been arrested and is being held in the Wells County Jail on $30,000 bond.
Pace is on administrative leave from her teaching position.
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But that goal and his law enforcement career were endangered by his arrest this weekend on charges that the off-duty officer drunkenly crashed into two different vehicles, then drove away.
Green, 30, was arrested early Saturday on charges of driving under the influence/crash, DUI involving property damage and two counts of leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage.
Both incidents took place on Fourth Street N about 10 p.m. Friday, according to St. Petersburg police.
The first crash took place as Green attempted to pass a vehicle near the 3500 block of Fourth Street.
Both vehicles were headed north. Green drove over the raised concrete median while passing a 2009 Honda sedan, police said, and struck the driver’s side mirror of that vehicle.
The Honda’s driver was not injured, but police said the officer didn’t stop after the collision.
Instead, Green continued north on Fourth. Police said Green’s vehicle struck another vehicle at 38th Avenue N and Fourth Street. Police said no one was injured in that crash, but that Green kept going.
After the incidents, officers searched the area and found Green’s damaged vehicle parked outside his Shore Acres home.
Green, who was off duty, was still inside the vehicle, according to police. His blood-alcohol level tested at 0.179 and 0.173. Florida law presumes a driver is impaired at 0.08 or greater.
He was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County jail about 3:30 a.m. Saturday. He could not be reached for comment Monday.
Green, a graduate of Lakewood High School and the University of South Florida, has been a patrol officer since November 2005. His personnel file shows nothing but positive reviews.
His file also showed that he has never been disciplined by the department. Green was involved in three crashes while driving his police cruiser, according to records, but only one incident was declared “preventable.” He received a warning for that incident.
According to police, he was placed on administrative duty pending an internal investigation. After the investigation, a chain-of-command board will determine any disciplinary action.
Officers learned that a security guard, Terry Edward Counts, of Vanceboro, had been cut by a man trying to take shoes from the store. Counts told officers he followed the suspect out of the store, and the man turned around and attacked him, cutting his arm repeatedly.
The suspect fled the scene on foot, and thanks to citizens who provided officers with information on his movements, police pursued him across Highways 17 and 70 to Egret Circle in the Woodland Crossing Apartment complex. As part of the New Bern Police Department’s Holiday Task Force, numerous officers were already in the immediate area, which allowed for a rapid response time. The suspect, Randolph Jones, Jr., of 728 Cedar St., was apprehended within 10 minutes of the call to police.
Counts was taken to Carolina East Medical Center and then airlifted to Pitt Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Jones has a criminal history that includes larceny, assault, trespassing, common law robbery, shoplifting and felony breaking and entering. He was charged with Larceny and Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury.
He was placed in the Craven County jail under a $150,000 bond and scheduled to make a first appearance in court December 28, 2009.
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