Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pontiac officer, 29, dies in accident that also claims K-9 partner

PONTIAC - A Pontiac police officer and his K-9 partner died late Wednesday when their patrol car was hit by another vehicle on Interstate 55 just north of Illinois 23 in Livingston County.
Police Chief Jim Woolford identified the officer as Casey Kohlmeier, 29, and his dog, Draco. The driver of the other vehicle, who was not identified, was hospitalized but police did not release his condition during a press conference shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday.
“It’s a sad day here,” Mayor Bob Russell told The Pantagraph. “I’ve been on the phone all morning. It’s just devastating. But it was an accident and he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau also offered condolences on behalf of his department.
Police said Kohlmeier was assigned to the Livingston County proactive unit and was in his marked vehicle in a median turnaround when his car was struck shortly after 9:30 p.m. by a northbound vehicle.
Police would not provide additional details, but did confirm the second vehicle was not a semi truck trailer.
Kohlmeier, a U.S. Air Force veteran, joined the department in January 2007. He is survived by his parents, family members, loved ones and countless friends, the chief said.
The accident remains under investigation by Illinois State Police.
This story will be updated.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Knoxville police officer killed in Sevier motorcycle wreck

Officer David Russel Munson
SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville police officer was killed during his off-duty hours Monday in a motorcycle wreck in Sevier County.
Officer David Russel Munson, 27, of Dandridge, died at the scene of the wreck around 6:45 p.m. at the intersection of Douglas Dam Road and Haggard Road.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol accident report, Munson was driving his 2011 Yamaha motorcycle eastbound on State Highway 338/Douglas Dam Road when he lost control of the motorcycle, ran off the left side of the road and struck a guardrail.
No other vehicles were involved in the wreck.
Troopers say Munson was wearing a helmet.
Officer Munson graduated from the Academy in December 2011. He was a patrol officer assigned to the East District.
According to the Knoxville Police Department he leaves behind a wife. 
Officer Munson will receive a full honor service, but funeral arrangements are incomplete.

GA: Fallen APD Officer honored

Corp. Terry Lewis Fleming
Albany Police and first responders paused at 3:47 Monday afternoon for a moment of silence to honor Corporal Terry Lewis Fleming who was killed in the line of duty two years ago.
A wreath was also placed in the lobby of the Albany Police Law Enforcement Center to honor the 36-year-old officer who was killed in a crash during a chase.
Her cruiser collided with another A-P-D officer's car and burst into flames as numerous units pursued two armed robbery suspects.
Thousands of people lined her funeral route to pay tribute to her,  and today officers honored her at the moment of her crash.
Albany Police Media Manager Phyllis Banks said "So that everyone can stop for that moment and have a moment of silence to reflect on her life and what she meant to the Albany Police Department."
The two armed robbery suspects, 24-year-olds Kentrell Butler and Wesley Wilkerson, remain in the Dougherty County jail awaiting trial on murder charges.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rough week for NMSP as two officers shot

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. - For the second time this week a New Mexico State Police officer has been shot in the line of duty.
In both cases, the suspects are dead and the officers are expected to recover. State Police Chief Pete Kassetas told KRQE News 13 that it has been a difficult week for the department.
“This has been a very trying and taxing week for not only State Police but the whole DPS community," Kassetas said.  "It affects everybody,
“Two in a week’s span.  It's impacting."
The first shooting happened Monday morning on U.S. Highway 285 south of Roswell where a State Police traffic stop led to car chase that ended in a gunfight.
The suspect in that shooting, a recently released bank robber, was killed. State Police Sgt. Lawrence Murray, a 21-year-veteran was shot in the leg. He's since been treated and released.
“He's got some recovery to do,” said Chief Kassetas.
Roswell police officer directing traffic after the shootout suffered critical injuries when a commercial truck plowed into stopped traffic and shove a car into the officer.  A woman from Lake Arthur stopped in traffic died in the crash.
The second shooting happened Thursday night in northern New Mexico.  State Police say one of their officers working with the Investigations Bureau was shot as a team was looking for a man at the Los Lomas Apartments off North Riverside Drive in Española.
The man they were looking for, Rogelio Cisneros-Chavez, 22, was accused of stealing thousands from his family and also had a misdemeanor warrant for failing to appearing in court on a charge of criminal damage to property. State Police got a tip Cisneros was hiding out in the apartment at the complex.
“(State Police officers) announced and made entry and subsequently engaged in a gun battle with the suspect,” said Kassetas.
State Police said officers were allowed into the apartment by a woman who lives there. Witnesses described hearing multiple gunshots.
“First shot you hear, after that is like seven other gunshots ,” said Andrew Martinez, who lives directly below the apartment where the gunfire happened.
State Police says it’s still investigating who shot first. The suspect was killed.
A nine-year veteran State Police officer was shot in the stomach, according to Kassetas. That officer had emergency surgery for the gunshot would Thursday night and is expected to recover. The officer’s name has yet to be released.
“I met with him, and he acknowledged me and knew who was I was, and that's a great sign,” the chief said.
While danger is a part of the job, Kassetas acknowledged it’s still a tough situation to deal with.
“But we work through it, we push on 'cause that's what we do,” Kassetas said.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Police officer's widow sues driver who killed him in drug-influenced car crash

MORRISTOWN — The widow of Mount Arlington Police Officer Joseph Wargo is suing the driver who killed him in a drug-influenced car crash on Route 80 in Roxbury.

Amy Wargo’s suit, filed in Superior Court in Morristown, names as defendants the driver, Michael Cassella of Howell, and his grandparents, Joseph and Dolores Rizzo of Howell, who allegedly let him drive the car that crashed into the police cruiser in October 2011.

(Picture Above) Amy Wargo reads a victim impact statement to the court at Michael Cassella's sentencing in Morristown on March 1. Wargo is suing Cassella for causing the wrongful death of her husband, Mount Arlington Police Officer Joseph Wargo. At right is Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Julie Serfess.

Cassella, 30, pleaded guilty in January to aggravated manslaughter. A recovering heroin addict, Cassella admitted that at the time of the crash, he was under the influence of heroin, Xanax, morphine and methadone, which he was using under prescription. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Wargo, from the Stewartsville section of Greenwich Township in Warren County, charged in her suit that Cassella caused her husband’s “wrongful death” by driving in a “careless and negligent manner” when he was under the influence of drugs.

The suit also accuses Joseph and Dolores Rizzo of causing the “wrongful death” by “entrusting” their vehicle to Cassella when they either “knew he was under the influence” of drugs or “was going to use said motor vehicle to obtain” drugs, which would make him “incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.”

Reached by phone, Joseph Rizzo declined to comment on the suit.

Michael Cassella’s defense attorney, Donald Lomurro, said the civil lawsuit will be handled by the family’s insurer, Allstate. He declined further comment.

At Allstate, spokesman Danny Jovic confirmed there is an "open claim" filed against the Rizzos in the incident.

"Our goal is to always settle all claims promptly and fairly," said Jovic, who had no further comment.

Police said Cassella was driving more than 90 mph on Route 80 west when he lost control of the Mitsubishi Lancer, crossed the median and slammed into Wargo’s Ford Crown Victoria, which suffered extensive front-end damage and was pushed into the woods.

Acting Police Chief Nicholas Colabufo

Acting Police Chief Nick Colabufo suffered a fatal heart attack while responding to a disturbance call at the Hawthorne Sports Complex in Cicero, Illinois, at approximately 10:00 pm.

He suddenly collapsed while dealing with the disturbance and passed away a short time later.

Acting Chief Colabufo had served as a part-time officer with the Hawthorne Park District Police Department for several years. He also served with the Cook County Sheriff's Office for 30 years and held the rank of Assistant Chief at the time of his passing. He is survived by his wife and one daughter.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Hawthorne Park District Police Department
5202 W 29th Place
Cicero, IL 60804

Phone: (708) 863-6511

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

UPDATE: Veteran officer killed during pursuit

Officer Keith Crenshaw
EUPORA, Miss. (WTVA) -- A Eupora police officer was killed after laying down a spike strip to stop a car being pursued by law enforcement officers.

Eupora's mayor identifies the officer as Keith Crenshaw, 52, of Eupora.

A Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesperson says the accidents happened around 10 a.m. on Highway 82.

Authorities say the trooper was following a vehicle that matched the description of a car reported as possibly being involved in a robbery in Grenada.

The spokesperson says the trooper did not attempt to pull the vehicle over, but was following it waiting for assistance.

When other law enforcement officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver attempted to get away.

Officials say Crenshaw put down a spike strip on the highway and was hit by the car when the driver attempted to avoid the strip.

The vehicle hit a metal utility pole a short distance away, killing one of the passengers in the car.

The driver was airlifted to a Jackson hospital and a second passenger in the car is being treated at a Eupora hospital.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Death row inmate loses appeal of conviction, sentence in Ohio police officer's killing

Officer Bryan Hurst
CINCINNATI — A death row inmate who killed a Columbus police officer during a bank robbery in 2005 has lost an appeal of his conviction and death sentence.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Tuesday turned down 24 different claims from 38-year-old Daryl Lawrence.

Daryl Lawrence

In a 75-page ruling, the judges disagreed with all of Lawrence's arguments, finding that he received a fair trial.

Lawrence was convicted of eight charges from four Ohio bank robberies, including murder.

Prosecutors say Lawrence shot 33-year-old Officer Bryan Hurst above his bulletproof vest at a bank. Hurst was working off duty as a bank guard to earn extra money to support his wife and baby daughter.

Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy killed in car crash while on way to work » The Commercial Appeal

Deputy Torrance Suggs
A Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy was killed early Tuesday morning in a car accident, officials said.
Torrance Suggs, 39, was killed in a one-car accident a little after midnight while on his way to work, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chip Washington said. The accident happened on Highway 385 near Macon Road.
Officials believe Suggs lost control of his vehicle in a dark area on the two-lane road where new highway construction was underway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Suggs had been with the Sheriff’s Office since 2007.

Monday, October 21, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court to consider case of Hernando deputy's killer | Tampa Bay Times

Deputy Lonnie Coburn
One of Hernando County's most infamous killers will get his day in front of the highest court in the land.
The Supreme Court said Monday it will take up the case of Freddie Lee Hall, who was convicted in the 1978 murders of a pregnant Sumter County woman and Hernando County Sheriff's Deputy Lonnie Coburn.
The outcome could answer a question left unresolved by the court's 6-3 decision in Atkins v. Virginia, the 2002 case that spares the mentally disabled from the death penalty. The ruling essentially left it to states to decide whether an inmate is mentally disabled.
Hall, 68, has argued for years that his mental capacity should prevent him from being executed for the murder of 21-year-old Karol Hurst. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in 2012, a decision Hall is now appealing.
Florida law prohibits anyone with an IQ of 70 or higher from being classified as mentally disabled, regardless of other evidence to the contrary. Hall's scores on three IQ tests ranged from 71 to 80.
In a brief filed in June, Hall's attorney argued that Florida cannot create "a bright line cutoff for determining mental retardation, where no instrument exists that can measure IQ with that level of precision."
"While this court granted the states leeway in crafting appropriate methods to enforce the constitutional restriction against execution of the mentally retarded, it did not grant the authority for a state to create out of thin air a definition of mental retardation which undoubtedly will fail to identify mentally retarded capital defendants,'' said the brief by Eric Pinkard.
The state attorney general's office argues that the U.S. Supreme Court should not take up the case. In part, the attorney general's office says evidence during a 2009 hearing indicated Hall had an IQ higher than 70.
"Not only did the Florida Supreme Court hold that Hall has not produced an IQ score falling in the range of mental retardation, the true facts are that Hall has scored as high as 80 on intelligence testing, and such a score is well outside any possible diagnosis of mental retardation," Senior Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Nunnelley wrote in a July brief. "(The U.S. Supreme Court) has long recognized that its jurisdiction does not lie to review decisions from state courts that rest on adequate and independent state law grounds, which this most certainly is."
Florida is one of nine death penalty states with a strict IQ limit, said Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente. Pariente voted with the majority to uphold Hall's sentence, but noted there is no national consensus on how to determine mental disability.
Hall and another man, Mack Ruffin, forced Hurst to drive from a Pantry Pride parking lot in Sumter County to a wooded area, where she was sexually assaulted and shot to death. She was seven months pregnant.
Hall and Ruffin then took Hurst's car and drove to Hernando County, where Coburn approached the two men in the parking lot of a Ridge Manor convenience store. One of them — it remains uncertain which one — grabbed Coburn's revolver and shot and killed him. Hall and Ruffin were given life sentences for Coburn's death.
Hall has been in prison more than 35 years, almost all of it under a death sentence for Hurst's death. Ruffin was originally sentenced to death, too, but that ruling was later overturned and changed to life in prison.
In 1989, the Florida Supreme Court threw out Hall's original death penalty and ordered a new sentencing hearing, ruling that the jury should have heard more evidence about his childhood before sentencing him to death.
A judge resentenced Hall to death, but declared he was mentally disabled. That took place before the 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said executing a mentally disabled inmate violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, and before Florida passed a law setting the IQ limit. When Hall later filed another appeal, the same judge ruled he was not mentally disabled because his scores on IQ tests topped 70.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bardstown run/walk honors fallen officer - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It's been nearly 5 months since Bardstown Police officer Jason Ellis was shot and killed on the way home from work, and still no arrests in this case.

The Bardstown community isn't giving up hope.

On Saturday, a race that was near and dear to Officer Ellis went on in his honor.

Before the sun even came up, hundreds of people hit the pavement in Bardstown.

"It's good to show a lot of energy and positivity for this cause," says participant Laura Gabbert.

"We love this family and we'll support them as long as they need us," says participant Jackie Dale.

In 2011, Officer Ellis and his wife Amy organized a 5K Walk/Run to support Down Syndrome Research.

One of the couple's two sons has Down Syndrome.

"The event was actually started by Jason and his wife Amy. The last two years it's been run under the title The Harvest Run. This year, Jason and Amy had the idea and passion to bring it to Bardstown and make it a bigger event," says Josh Thomas, a friend of the Ellis family.

This year, the event took on even more significance after Officer Ellis was shot and killed in late May.

A jersey was also given to Amy Ellis that had the fallen officer's last name on the back, as well as his officer number.

It's signed by his fellow Bardstown officers, dispatchers, and those with the Nelson County Sheriff's Office.

It's one of many ways this community continues to support Officer Ellis and his family.

"The support not just from this community, but from the region has been pretty amazing. There's no question that Officer's Ellis' death touched this city in a huge way, and I don't expect them to forget anytime soon," says Eric Johnson.

Friends of the Ellis family say they hope to make this an annual event to raise money for these two important causes and to honor the fallen officer.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Boston officers honored in New York City for heroism during marathon bombings

Two of Boston's finest were honored in New York Thursday night for their heroic actions in the search for the Boston bombing suspects.

MIT Officers Sean Collier & Ric Donohue
MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was posthumously awarded the Sergeants Benevolent Association's heroism award.
Officer Collier was shot and killed in his squad car after the marathon bombings during the search for the Tsarnaev brothers.

Also honored was Transit Officer Richard Donohue.

He's still recovering from wounds he suffered during a shootout with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Retired Jersey City hero police officer Marcelo Ona dies at 34

Officer Marcelo A. Ona
A highly decorated Jersey City police officer whose heroism made The Jersey Journal's front page in 2002 has died. Marcelo A. Ona was 34.

“Every single person in the store ran except for the cop -- he stood there and did his job," Sal Perez, owner of Nu Flavor Barber Shop on West Side Avenue, said at the time of the March 2002 incident in which two armed, masked robbers stormed his shop.

"Those men were vicious, and they had no problem shooting at people,” Perez told The Jersey Journal. “Marcelo stuck his neck out, put his life on the line for us and without him, someone definitely would have gotten killed." 

Ona wounded both would-be robbers in an exchange of gunfire after the pair held a gun to the head of one of the employees at the barber shop.

For his bravery, Ona, who was off-duty at the time, received the Police Department’s Combat Cross, Medal of Honor, Lt. Stanley Przygoski Memorial Award for Bravery and the Excellent Police Service Award. 

Ona entered the police academy at the age of 19, but an illness forced him to retire in 2007, said his sister, Melissa Ona.

“He really loved Jersey City and in his heart, he always wanted to help people, to be that person to help and make sure everything is going to be OK,” Ona said. “He really was just an amazing person. He was very brave, very strong, very smart. He had all the qualities we strive to achieve.”

A lifelong Jersey City resident, Marcelo Ona graduated from Our Lady of Czestochowa Grammar School in Jersey City and Marist High School in Bayonne. After retiring, Marcelo Ona obtained a degree in psychology from New Jersey City University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, his sister said.

Ona’s family thanked the nurses at the Jersey City Medical Center for doing all they could for Marcelo Ona.

“Marcelo was a person you were just automatically drawn to -- he was like a magnet,” said Melissa Ona. “He loved his family so much and in his last few weeks on earth, we were there.”
Ona was buried yesterday at Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City.

Man who killed deputy loses Supreme Court appeal

Capt. Chad Reed
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Supreme Court is rejecting the appeal of a man who killed a Dixie County deputy in a shootout after murdering his sister and another woman.
John Kalisz was appealing the death sentences he received for the murder of his sister,Kathryn Donovan, and her office manager,Deborah Tillotson. The Supreme Court rejected the 59-year-old man's appeal Thursday.
Kalisz killed the women and wounded two others in January 2010. He later killed Dixie County sheriff's Capt. Chad Reed during the shootout. He was sentenced to life after pleading guilty to Reed's death.
John Kalisa, shown here during his sentencing, telling Holly Reed, he was sorry for killing her husband, Capt. Chad Reed 

NYPD Officer Joseph Capo killed in Southern crash

An off-duty NYPD officer from West Islip -- on his way home from work early Thursday -- was fatally injured when his car struck another vehicle and then overturned several times on the Southern State Parkway in South Farmingdale, State Police said.
Joseph Capo, 27, was pronounced dead at Nassau University Medical Center after the crash at 12:56 a.m. on the eastbound parkway, east of Exit 31, said State Police spokesman Frank Bandiero.
Capo lost control of his 2004 Volkswagen "for unknown reasons" and it hit a 2001 Cadillac before flipping several times, Bandiero said.
The driver of the Cadillac, Laurine Noble, 54, of Deer Park, had minor injuries, he said.
Bandiero said Capo was returning home from his shift at the Ninth Precinct in the East Village in Manhattan. He did not have any other details.
Capo joined the department in July 2011, according to an NYPD spokesman.
State Police closed the eastbound parkway for more than six hours to investigate the crash. The parkway reopened at 7:27 a.m., according to the state Department of Transportation website,
Bandiero said the crash remains under investigation.
Anyone who might have witnessed the accident is asked to call State Police at 631-756-3300.
With Anthony M. DeStefano

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sheriff in Rebecca Sedwick suicide warns parents of cyberbullying

On national television this morning, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd recalled how he felt when he first saw Rebecca Ann Sedwick's body after she jumped to her death last month.

"It broke my heart," Judd told Robin Roberts on 'Good Morning America'.

Since then, Judd has vowed to warn parents about the dangers of cyberbulling and prosecute anyone – children or adults – who commits such crimes.

Rebecca Ann Sedwick

"People deserve to live a healthy, normal life," Judd said. "We will prosecute anyone we can prove has bullied or stalked someone."

Judd annoucned two arrests Tuesday in connection with the 12-year-old girl's suicide on Sept. 10. She jumped to her death from a silo at an abandoned concrete factory about a mile from her home.

Judd told Roberts that the girl's parents did everything they could to help, including separating her from her bullies, switching schools and putting her in counseling.

They did not do what Judd tells parents they should do in extreme situations – take your kids offline.

He wants parents to have tough talks with their children about social media and instant-messaging sites and take their access to them away if they are bullying other children.

None of the efforts from Rebecca or her parents stopped her tormentors from posting cruel messages on social media sites, investigators said.

"Yes ik [I know] I bullied Rebecca nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a (expletive)]."

That message — posted Saturday on Facebook by Rebecca's 14-year-old persecutor — ended with a heart symbol. And resulted in an arrest.

Polk County deputies charged the author of the post and another 12-year-old girl with aggravated stalking.

Sheriff Grady Judd
Detectives were going to wait until their investigation was complete before making any arrests but Judd told Matt Lauer on the 'Today Show' that the Saturday post prompted the early arrests.

"That post was the tipping point," Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said during a Tuesday news conference. "She forced this arrest."

Judd said he was angry over the post but also worried that the 14-year-old would bully others online.

"She doesn't get this at all," Judd said. "She can be taunting and bullying another child and we're not going to accept that."

The 14-year-old instigated the bullying after she started dating Rebecca's ex-boyfriend, Judd said.

The 12-year-old girl was once Rebecca's friend — but the 14-year-old girl turned her against Rebecca.

The 14-year-old is in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice until her next hearing and the 12-year-old is on house arrest.

After their arrests, Judd said, the girls admitted the abuse.

The Orlando Sentinel is not naming them because of their ages. or @jerriannOS

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Police: Man killed after pointing gun at Sioux Falls officers

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Police say a 22-year-old man has been shot and killed after pointing a rifle at officers outside a Sioux Falls home.
The Argus Leader reports the shooting happened Monday night. Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel says officers were called to the home after a man there reportedly threatened to kill himself with a gun.
Barthel says at least one gunshot had been fired from the home before officers arrived and another shot was heard once they got to the scene. He says officers tried to negotiate with the man, who eventually came outside and pointed a rifle at officers.
Barthel says a SWAT officer shot the man at least twice, fatally wounding him. Police haven't released the man's name.
The officer is on paid leave pending an investigation.

Florida Deputy's Family Fights Justice Department Over Death Benefits

Deputy Mariano "Rocky" Lemus
The family of a Florida deputy who died in 2005 from complications associated with hepatitis C contracted while on duty is fighting the Justice Department for death benefits.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office says that Deputy Mariano "Rocky" Lemus had been exposed to the disease several times at work during his career, but records show that it's unclear exactly when he contracted it, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
The DOJ says that the uncertainty is what led it to deny the family his benefit under the Public Safety Officer's Benefit Act -- which typically awards $250,000 to the families of first responders killed in the line of duty.
The sheriff's office and Lemus' family believe he likely contracted hepatitis C when a suspect bit him during a domestic-violence call years before his 2004 diagnosis.
The family wants to sue the DOJ, but is unable to do so until the agency issues a final denial.
"He left this world thinking his family was going to be taken care of — his kids, his grandkids," his wife, Robyn, told the newspaper. "This is an ongoing nightmare that we can't wake up from."
The legal fight began in 2007 when the sheriff's office received a letter from the DOJ saying it would not recognize the death of Lemus as eligible for benefits.
Despite support from the law enforcement community and medical professionals, DOJ administrators have denied Lemus benefits, but have withheld a ruling in the final appeal, which was filed in 2009.
The most recent response from the DOJ was a March 2012 letter from Administrative Support Specialist Liane Fowler, which stated: "The Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance has begun a final review of the record in the Lemus case and will render her determination as expeditiously as possible.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Off-duty CMPD officer shot during home invasion

Officer Jon Dunham
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating after an off duty officer was shot Sunday.
The shooting happened on Montcrest Drive around 6:16 a.m., authorities say when they arrived the off duty officer, Jon Dunham, claimed he was involved in an altercation with someone he didn’t know.
It was later determined that a suspect forced their way inside Dunham's apartment, and started taking items. Dunham's son was also home at the time of the break-in, officials said.
During the confrontation, Dunham was shot -- and the suspect took off on foot. It was not immediately clear how many shots were fired.
The officer was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. He's in stable condition and will remain at CMC for overnight observation, officials said.
Hours after the shooting, there was no description of the suspect and nothing released about where officer Dunham was hit by the gunfire.
Detectives are still searching for the suspect in the case, authorities said.
A press release sent to NBC Charlotte noted Dunham has been on the force since August 8, 2009.
This March, he was honored as "Officer of the Month".
Thus far no one is in custody. Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers 704-334-1600.

NC: Man wanted for shooting deputy killed

Det. Michael Spencer
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The search for a man wanted for allegedly shooting a New Hanover County Sheriff's deputy came to a fatal end Sunday.
"Brandon Smith is dead," District Attorney Ben David said during an early evening news conference near the scene where the 30-year-old suspect was shot and killed.
David said Smith was killed after a car chase and foot chase that ended with shots fired. Investigators said Smith shot Det. Michael Spencer in the leg Thursday as Spencer and a Wilmington Police detective, both members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, approached Smith and another man in Creekwood. The other man was taken into custody after the shooting, questioned and later released. Smith had been on the run since.
Witnesses say the shooting that killed Smith happened around 4:30 p.m. near Fulbright Road and Carl Seitter Drive in Castle Hayne.
"He was eventually chased into this neighborhood in a car," David said. "That chase continued on foot in a heavily wooded area behind us, and that chase ended after multiple gunshots were fired in that wooded area."
Smith's family gathered nearby to mourn the loss.
Witnesses say they heard the screeching of tires and saw a light colored Crown Victoria speeding into the neighborhood followed by several police. That's when they say they heard several gunshots.
Sheriff Ed McMahon says he will release more information as it becomes available.
"We will release more information including the officers that were involved. I can tell you that no officers were injured," McMahon said. "Det. Spencer is recovering well at the hospital, and if you'll excuse us, we have a lot of work to do."
The State Bureau of Investigations has been called in to investigate, but the DA says this is standard procedure anytime an officer is involved in a shooting.

Charleston County deputies shoot and kill suspect

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (AP) -- Authorities say a man deputies wanted to question about a disturbance with his sister on James Island has been shot and killed after cutting a deputy with a knife.  

Investigators said 51-year-old Derryl Drayton first swung at deputies after he refused to stop and be questioned around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.  

Charleston County Sheriff's spokesman Maj. Jim Brady says the deputies chased the man, and shot him with a Taser twice to try to get him to stop. Authorities say the man then swung a knife at one of the officers, hitting him in the knee.  

Brady says other deputies then fired their guns at the man, who was killed.  

The name of the suspect and the deputies have not been released. The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Officer killed in crash loved to fly, family says |

Sgt. Jay Lessley
MAPLETON — Although it might sound cliché, Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Jay Lessley died doing what he loved.
While off-duty, Lessley, 40, was piloting a small plane that crashed west of the Spanish Fork Airport on Sept. 6. He died on impact and it was later determined that the aircraft mechanics had failed.
At his funeral Saturday, Heather Lessley scoffed at the irony of the situation, as she recalled pushing her husband to follow his dream of learning to fly several years ago.
"He always had the itch to fly," she told a chapel full of well-wishers, many of whom donned uniforms similar to her husband's. "He should have been born with wings and a tail because his head was always in the clouds."
The deceased sergeant was remembered for his vibrant personality and oozing patriotism, as well as for his love of family, flying and law enforcement.
"He wanted to be a good cop," Heather Lessley said. "He was a good cop and he loved every second of it."
Utah County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Bennett lauded Lessley as "one of the highest producing officers," as he turned over many arrests and citations each month, meticulously relaying each circumstance with much detail in his written reports.
Bennett, also a pilot, shared many hours with Lessley in the office's Cessna 180. He said his colleague and friend wore "wings" above the nametag on his uniform that were seemingly larger than his badge, reflecting Lessley's deep love for aviation.
"We would score each other's landings," Bennett said. "It was always fun to fly with Jay."
That same small plane, as well as the Diamond DA20 in which Lessley learned to fly, graced the Springville Evergreen Cemetery Saturday afternoon, during the accomplished officer's burial ceremony.
Fellow officers, as well as dozens from throughout Utah County and elsewhere in the state, also offered a guided procession to the cemetery, a gun salute and played Taps, which is common at services for military and law enforcement personnel.
After moving from Montana to Arizona as a child, Lessley joined the LDS Church and always took pride in sharing his birthday with the faith's restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood. At the time of his death, he was serving as a Primary chorister in the Mapleton 13th Ward.
Lessley began his career in law enforcement at BYU, where he worked as a police officer, writing many tickets for unregistered bicycles, skateboarding on campus and people walking in restricted areas. But colleagues said he often stretched his duties beyond campus, exhibiting his desire to make an impact.
"He always treated prisoners with respect … even getting thanked for transporting them to the jail," Heather Lessley said, adding that her husband only wanted to help correct wrongdoings in the communities he served.
He always had the itch to fly. He should have been born with wings and a tail because his head was always in the clouds.
–Heather Lessley
Aside from his career, she said her husband loved their daughter, Samara Rose, and was "smitten with her at first sight."
At the time of his death, Lessley was teaching the 14-year-old to fly and to build rockets. The two also shared a love of music.
Each year on Samara's birthday, the family would take a flight around the valley. Lessley said her husband's "temperament, dry wit and quirky personality" live on in their daughter.

"Talk to her, you'll see him," she said, adding that he'll be terribly missed by them both.