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Sunday, January 30, 2011

South End shooting victim identified

1-29-2011 Massachusetts:

NEW BEDFORD — Authorities have identified the man who was fatally shot in the face on a South End street corner in broad daylight Friday as Timothy Cowart, 29, of 40 Roosevelt St.

Cowart was shot near the intersection of Thompson and Hyacinth streets around 12:05 p.m. Friday. He was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just before 1 p.m.

Both New Bedford Police and State Police are investigating the matter. As of press time Saturday, no arrests had been made in connection with the shooting.

A witness on Friday said the victim and gunman were walking together when the gunman drew a gun and shot Cowart in the face at close range.

Neighborhood residents said they heard four shots ring out and some witnesses said the gunman ran east toward County Street before turning north on Warwick Street.

Cowart was no stranger to crime. A registered sex offender stemming from a 2000 conviction for indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 or older, the 29-year-old was arrested last June for allegedly threatening a woman near a Purchase Street apartment with a gun. The woman left her friend's apartment to call police because the presence of Cowart, along with another man, made her uncomfortable.

Cowart, however followed her outside and, according to the victim, lifted up his shirt to reveal a small silver handgun in his waistband. According to court records, he then allegedly told the female, "I know you ain't calling the cops."

Saturday, a single red candle that depicted a crucified Jesus Christ was placed in the middle of a sidewalk near the intersection where Cowart was killed. A man who lived at the South End tenement listed as Cowart's home address declined to comment for this story Saturday afternoon.

After releasing Cowart's identity early Saturday afternoon, Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter's office indicated no further information regarding the case would be released since it is a pending and ongoing homicide investigation. ..Source.. by Dan McDonald

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Police Station Shooter's Motive Was 'Suicide By Cop'

1-25-2011 Michigan:

4 Officers Shot Sunday; 2 Still Hospitalized

DETROIT -- Local 4 has learned that Detroit police believe the motive behind the 38-year-old man who opened fire inside a police station Sunday, wounding four officers, was to be killed.

"There's nothing in this that makes sense, at all," Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee told reporters during a news conference on the case.

Godbee said Monday that the motive was unclear.

However, Local 4 learned on Monday that there is an ongoing sex crime investigation involving the gunman, who police said was Lamar Deshea Moore.

The ongoing sex crime investigation, coupled with the fact that Moore entered the station armed, has led police to believe he walked into the station on Sunday with the intent of being shot and killed by officers.

At about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Moore walked into Northwest District's 6th precinct and fired at officers.

"In a split second, their life changed," Godbee said. "The perpetrator's intent was evil. But these men and women ... performed to the standard that they were trained to."

Moore shot Commander Brian Davis, Officer David Anderson, Sgt. Ray Saati and Sgt. Carrie Shultz.

Davis, who is in charge of the precinct, was shot in the hand and side. He underwent surgery Sunday and is listed in stable condition at a Detroit hospital.

Anderson is also hospitalized in serious condition.

Saati and Shultz were treated and released.

Moore was killed when police returned fire.

Godbee said video of the shooting would be released but didn’t say when. ..Source.. Click-on-Detroit

Detroit police release dramatic video of precinct shootings

1-29-2011 Michigan:

(CNN) -- Detroit Police on Friday released a graphic surveillance video that shows a gunman indiscriminately firing inside a police precinct and lunging across a counter to continue a shootout in which he was killed and four officers were wounded.

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee said his department released the 68-second video of last Sunday afternoon's gunbattle to show the "tremendous acts of heroism" of officers and to be transparent in its investigation.

Lamar Deshea Moore, 38, walked into the precinct with a shotgun and "indiscriminately began firing," Godbee said earlier in the week. Moore was fatally shot when officers returned fire.

Moore's motive is not known, although he was being investigated for possible sexual offenses involving a minor girl. He also had a relative who was scheduled to be sentenced for double homicide, Godbee said.

The video does not show all of those involved in the incident, Godbee told reporters. "We are thankful to God that all four members who were injured are going to be OK," he said.

The footage provides two angles of the station and a large semicircular counter. Officers are shown talking with each other behind the counter before the gunman approaches and opens fire.

A shoe repairman also was in the station, police said.

Several officers crouch and return fire with handguns. After a barrage of rounds, Moore, clad in a jacket, leaps over the counter and continues the gunfire.

He and a seriously wounded officer exchange rounds at point-blank range, before he circles around the table and collapses, mortally wounded.

Assistant Police Chief Chester Logan walked reporters through the video, detailing the timeline. The gunman apparently ran out of ammunition, Logan said.

The video was broadcast Friday night by CNN affiliate WDIV.

Other Detroit officers had gone by Moore's home several hours before the shooting at the precinct, but he was not at home, Officer Dan Donakowski told CNN this week.

The home where Moore was staying caught fire early Tuesday and was heavily damaged, police said. Detroit Fire Capt. Kwaku Atara told CNN on Wednesday the fire has been ruled arson.

According to an affidavit filed Tuesday by the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit, Moore obtained the shotgun used in the precinct shooting from a felon, although the affidavit does not specify how the gun was obtained.

Two of the injured officers have been released from the hospital. Cmdr. Brian Davis, who was shot in the back and suffered other injuries, and Officer David Anderson, who was grazed in the head, were facing a longer recovery, authorities said.

The shooting has led to the reassessment of security measures by police officials. According to the chief, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has committed to bringing in resources necessary to provide a safe environment, and interim measures will be put in place. ..Source.. by CNN Wire Staff

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gym owner: Shocked Hydra Lacy possible suspect in police shooting

Suicide or Killed, we don't know! But we do know, apparently it was over a "Failure to Register" circumstance, as reported by the Florida Sex Offender Registry. Sex offender laws are pushing people to do things that are horrendous. Where will this insanity end..

Posted in Related Deaths
1-24-2011 Florida:

TAMPA - Shortly after he was released from prison, Hydra Lacy Jr. caught up with an old friend at the St. Pete Boxing Club.

Lacy, at 6-feet 4-inches tall and 270 pounds, shook hands with gym owner Dan Birmingham and talked some good-natured trash, Birmingham said.

"Dan," Lacy said, "I'll whoop anybody in here."

The news that Lacy, 39, is connected to the fatal shooting of two St. Petersburg police officers today shocked Birmingham. The gym owner is the former trainer of Lacy's brother, professional boxer Jeff Lacy.

"Somebody told me when he was in prison, he was the toughest guy in there," the gym owner said. "Nobody messed with Hydra Lacy. But I found him to be a real decent guy. He was always cool with me."

Two police officers and a U.S. Marshal were serving an arrest warrant on Lacy this morning at 3734 28th Ave. S. in St. Petersburg.

Investigators had sought the suspect for a while; today, a woman at the home said he was in the attic. Investigators went to the attic, and he fired at them and they fired back, police said.

The two officers died. The U.S. Marshal was shot twice but survived. The gunman died in the attic this afternoon, police said.

Lacy's older sister, Casandra Lacy, declined to comment this afternoon as she stood behind the yellow police tape marking the boundaries of the crime scene, waiting for word on her brother.

Local boxing trainer Pete Fernandez, who knew Lacy, said he couldn't venture a guess as to what may have occurred in the St. Petersburg home this morning.

"I don't know what happened between Point A at seven o'clock in the morning to Point B to the shooting," Fernandez said. "I don't know if Hydra was just at the end and he didn't want to go back to prison and said to himself, 'You know what, the heck with it.'"

State records list Lacy as an absconded sexual offender since June 30. He was not residing at the last known address listed for him in the sexual offender registry.

In 1992, Lacy was found guilty of sexual battery and false imprisonment of a child under 13, state records show. He served 10 years in prison and was released on March 4, 2001.

Thirteen family members were on a visitor's list for Lacy while he was in prison, including brother Jeff Lacy of St. Petersburg, Florida Department of Corrections records show. No one visited.

In 2009, St. Petersburg police arrested him on charges of domestic aggravated battery and false imprisonment. Lacy also served prison time in 1988 after being convicted for aggravated assault, grand theft, armed burglary and resisting arrest with violence.

Fernandez said he always had pleasant exchanges with Lacy.

"Never ever did he show anything toward me like this," Fernandez said of today's shooting. "It's a sad day. It's sad for Hydra, it's sad for the Lacy Family, it's sad for the police officers. It's a sad day in St. Pete."

Lacy grew up as one of nine children in St. Petersburg, Jeff Lacy told The Tampa Tribune in 2005. Lacy's mother, Sarah J. Hill, died in 2004 of sickle cell anemia, leaving father Hydra Lacy Sr. to care for the children.

Older brothers Hydra Jr. and Darrell were troublemakers, Jeff Lacy told The New York Times in 2005. Darrell Lacy spent time in jail for drug charges. ..Source.. by EDDIE DANIELS and RAY REYES, The Tampa Tribune

Over St. Petersburg police radios, gunfire and urgency

1-30-2011 Florida:

ST. PETERSBURG — Two words from a police dispatcher gave the first sign that everything had started to go wrong at the orange house at 3734 28th Ave. S.

First she gave the address twice. Then, voice tight, she said, "Officer down."

Recordings of St. Petersburg Police Department radio calls offer a sense of what happened Monday when a fugitive hiding in an attic killed two officers and wounded a deputy U.S. marshal.

The recordings do reveal some new details, but the story they tell of a day filled with danger, frustration and tragedy is not the whole story, police say.

"These transcripts do indeed tell a very small slice of what happened, but they do not reveal a complete picture, and therefore it would be difficult for the public to understand the information without an explanation from us," police spokesman Bill Proffitt said via e-mail. "But that is something we simply cannot do at this time." The full story will come out when the investigation is complete, he said.

The recordings, obtained from the database of the website, are not always clear. Some offer false information, such as when dispatchers warn about the fugitive wielding a rifle, or report that more than one officer lay wounded in the attic. Some conversations occurred on channels not available to the public. The transmissions do not identify who is speaking, so it is unknown if the voices of the fallen officers are among those heard.

Still, they are a raw record of one of the darkest days in the department's history.

The calls begin about 7:10 a.m., when a dispatcher asks for anyone in an area near 28th Avenue S and 37th Street S.

"I don't know what's going on, but they're needing units," she says. "They're asking for them to step it up."

Among the officers who responded to the call for backup were two veterans, patrol Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and canine Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz.

Baitinger had been trained as an expert on firearms and crisis situations. Yaslowitz and his dog were just starting a shift filling in for another officer, not coming off a shift as was initially reported by police. Both officers wore bulletproof vests.

Then a second dispatcher gave them some crucial information.

"Now we've got that the subject is possibly hiding in the attic," she says calmly. "Advise he possibly has a gun in the house."

She also warns there are dogs in the yard. Later, as police cars surround the house, a man's voice says, "Three large dogs in the yard, everybody be careful."

• • •

The man in the attic was Hydra Lacy Jr., 39. The convict and registered sex offender was on the run from police for failure to appear in court. He had vowed not to go back to prison.

Three members of a fugitive task force had gone to talk to Lacy's wife about where to find him.

Christine Lacy told them he was squeezed into the attic, police said. They called for backup.

A deputy U.S. marshal from the task force, Scott Ley, and Yaslowitz climbed up a stepladder to where Lacy lay in wait. Nothing on the tapes indicates how or by whom that decision was made.

They didn't get far. Shots rang out.

Soon after broadcasting that an officer was down, a dispatcher warns police to stay on the south side of the house.

"Shooting through the ceiling," a woman warns. "We've got two officers down, a marshal and then one of ours."

Now the voices become more urgent, calling for rescue trucks.

"He's still shooting," a dispatcher says.

• • •

Around 7:35 a.m., officers on the scene call for someone to fetch ballistic shields they could hold over their heads, enabling them to go inside and rescue Yaslowitz and Ley.

"He's shooting from the attic down," one says.

"Anybody in the house, talk to me," a dispatcher asks.

"Get us out of here," says one male voice, not identified. His voice is hoarse, weak.

At first she doesn't understand what he has said, but a male officer breaks in to tell her, "He said, 'Get us out of here.' "

"We're trying to get you out of here, give us a minute," the dispatcher tells the unidentified voice. She asks where he is in the house.

"Officers in the house, we need to know where you are," a dispatcher says again.

A man whispers, quite clearly: "Bathroom."

After more discussion about how to approach the house, a dispatcher cuts in to say, "I need a shield to get these officers out. They're injured. Let's go."

Baitinger is among the rescuers. The officers say they're ready. They've got a ballistic shield to ward off bullets from the attic.

Someone keys a microphone and whispers, "Bathroom. Bathroom. Two in the bathroom. One in the attic."

Minutes drag by with no radio chatter. Then a dispatcher says more shots have been fired through the ceiling.

Then a woman shouts, "We need to get Baitinger out."

"Where is he at?" asks a man.

"East side of the house."

A bullet, fired from above, had found its target.

• • •

Now with Baitinger, Yaslowitz and Ley stranded inside, talk focuses on how to drag them out. Lacy is "moving around throughout the attic," an officer says. Someone wonders if he has Yaslowitz's gun.

More people join the discussion, stress throbbing in their voices. They talk about how to bring paramedics closer to the house. One officer suggests using a nearby dump truck for cover.

"Shots fired again, from the attic," someone says.

Another officer mentions contacting the Fire Department to bring out its thermal imaging equipment to pinpoint Lacy's location.

Officers charge into the house to rescue the trio. There's a shout: "Just take him out the back!"

At last comes the report, "Okay! We got two out, possibly one still in the attic. Bad guy's still in the attic, still firing."

"Everybody's out but Yaslowitz, is that 10-4?" a dispatcher asks.

"That one's still in the attic," an officer eventually says.

Another officer says to switch Yaslowitz's radio to a different channel.

At that point, for the first time, a dispatcher mentions "a TAC callup" — the department's tactical squad, more commonly called the SWAT team.

Amid a discussion about clearing out the houses near the shootout, an officer tried getting a message through to the man still trapped in the house.

"Hey Yaz," one officer says. "Can you click your radio if you're okay, buddy?" There is no apparent response, at least on the open channel.

"Click your radio if you're okay, buddy," he says again. The response is the same.

• • •

Just before 8, the TAC bus shows up but can't immediately get through to set up command.

A woman says there are so many cruisers around the house now they can't tell who is where.

Several officers discuss the attic. There's only one external opening on the south side, a vent, they say. There is no other way to get out of the attic except the way Ley and Yaslowitz went in.

Then, about 8:07 a.m., a man says, "Be advised, suspect was on the phone with us" — but the rest is lost in static.

On the radio, the officers discuss hearing noises from the house. Then another voice says, "We got him on the phone. Stop cutting the drywall, if you're cutting drywall."

Minutes pass, then a man says, "Everyone stand down just for a second. We're talking to him."

• • •

Officers say they're taking up positions on nearby rooftops. Someone mentions a cruiser is blocking the command bus, so they need a spare key to move it.

"Shots fired again," says a dispatcher. There's a long pause.

"I'm hearing noises," someone says. "I think from inside the house."

After further conversation about positioning officers — some at the air vent, some in the front yard — a male voice says they're going "right through the house pretty soon" and could flush Lacy out.

"Be aware officers might pursue him," the officer warns. "Don't shoot the officers. Don't shoot this way, at us. We won't shoot at you, I promise."

Then he adds, "If he is armed, do what you need to do. If he is unarmed, hopefully we can take him down."

Someone else mentions needing helmets — "five or six."

"He hung up the phone again," a voice reports. "No change."

About 8:45 a.m. the radio carries the sound of several shots echoing.

"He's coming out!" someone shouts, but it's not true.

"Subject is shooting up out of the roof," a dispatcher reports.

A few minutes later, another voice says, "He claims he's got an officer in his sights, and he claims he's going to shoot him."

Moments later, a woman reports, "The suspect — they have him on the phone — he says if he sees another officer, he's going to shoot him."

Someone else keys a mike, and there's the sound of heavy breathing, static, then silence.

After a long pause, someone says, "Still no contact." And later: "We've called him several times. No answer."

Another pause. Then an officer reports, "We got him back on the line." A tense minute passes with no radio traffic.

"Okay," an officer says. "He hung up the phone again."

Lacy could be heard moving around in the attic, the officer says, and talking about how "he doesn't have any family members," the officer adds. "He hung up the phone again. … They think he's actually on the phone with somebody else. They're trying to figure out who."

That's the last time anyone mentions talking to Lacy on the phone.

• • •

Now the discussion shifts back from negotiation to attacking Lacy and rescuing Yaslowitz.

"We feel he is setting a trap for us if we go in there," one officer reports.

Soon armored vehicles known as "Peacekeepers" rumble in to punch holes in the house, and officers prepare to toss tear gas into the attic.

"On our signal, they're going to take out the front door and the wall," an officer says.

"Soon as they make another opening, we need to make another try to get Yaz," another says.

An officer shouts to armored vehicle drivers, "Anything you can do to get that roof off, that's where he's at, so we can put gas in there. Put holes in that. … Just push the whole roof off."

"Unable to get the roof," a man responds.

"Take out the whole front wall if you can," another officer says.

After more maneuvering and demolition, someone asks: "Did that improve our access to Yaz?" The answer is no, so they discuss another approach.

"My feeling is that this guy's just waiting for us to come in that way and ambush us," an officer says.

"We have to make another try to get him," another voice says, apparently referring to Yaslowitz.

They try to figure out Lacy's next move.

"We can hear him moving around right above us," an officer says. "He's definitely getting ready to cover that entrance." He asks for a Peacekeeper to move around to counter it.

A few minutes later, a man shouts, "We're getting him out! Just stand by!"

About 9:25 a.m., amid a barrage of gunfire and tear gas, rescuers at last pull Yaslowitz out of the house and get him to a waiting ambulance.

"They're loading him up now," a woman says. "We're moving in three minutes or less so everybody start shutting down now."

"Shut down the roads until the ambulance goes by!" a man shouts.

At Bayfront Medical Center, Yaslowitz and Baitinger would be declared dead. Ley, though wounded, would start the slow process of recovery. As police tore down the remaining walls of the house where Lacy was hiding, they finally uncovered him. He too was dead.

Late that night city crews finished demolishing the entire house, loaded the rubble into trucks and carried it away. ..Source.. by Craig Pittman and David DeCamp, Times Staff Writers

Hydra Lacy's family speaks to 10 News for the first time

2-10-2011 Florida:

St. Petersburg, Florida - Five members of Hydra Lacy Jr.'s family spoke to 10 News for the first time on Wednesday. While the family says they're deeply sorry about the pain he caused they say they're hurting too and have a lot of unanswered questions.

St. Petersburg police say on the morning of January 24 Hydra Lacy shot and killed 48-year old Sgt. Tom Baitinger and 39-year old Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz. A third man, a U.S. Marshal, was also hit twice in the shoot-out and survived.

The violence happened when the law enforcement officers tried to serve a warrant to the 39 year old convicted sex offender for skipping out on his trial for domestic violence involving his wife Christine.

Hydra Lacy has a long criminal record including convictions for sexual battery and false imprisonment of a child, burglary, grand theft auto and resisting an officer with violence. He spent more than a decade in prison.

Hydra's brother Jason says, "Our hearts go out to the family of those officers that lost their lives but we have to stand for ourselves and all we want to know is the truth as to what happened."

Jason and his family gathered at Bethel Community Baptist Church with Reverend Manuel Sykes by their side to speak to 10 News. Two of Hydra's brothers were there, Jason and Darrell. Tonja Waldon is Darrell's fiancee, Beatrice Flournoy and Pauline Albritton are Hydra's cousins.

The family says they want to know how the St. Petersburg police department can know how things played out inside the house where the shootings happened when the home was so quickly destroyed with heavy machinery during the incident then demolished on the same day.

Click here to read previous story about how police say Hydra used the officer's gun.

Jason Lacy says, "Prove every bit of it - you know they're stating that he pulled a ruse - we can't substantiate anything of what they're saying. They can't even substantiate what they're saying because everything's gone."

The Lacy family also says they are deeply disappointed in comments Police Chief Chuck Harmon made about Hydra during the officers' funerals held on January 28th. Nearly 10,000 people were in attendance.

Chief Harmon said, "This violent felon. This criminal. This rapist. This wife batterer and this murderer as far as I'm concerned got off too easy. I appreciate the expressions of grief from his family but right now it doesn't seem to help a whole lot."

Pauline Albritton says, "It was like sorry didn't mean anything to him you know we all hurting."

The family says they wish Mayor Bill Foster and Chief Harmon would have reached out to them. Darrell Lacy says, "I shouldn't have to go looking for the mayor - I shouldn't have to go looking for Chief Harmon."

The church where the family addressed the media is the same church where Hydra Lacy's funeral was held last Saturday. The family says they were planning a repass, a gathering to be held after the service, at a city owned facility but were turned away.

Darrell says, "When they found out it was for my brother they called us back and told us we had to come get our deposit. They said we don't want anything to do with the Lacy family."

Hydra Lacy's wife Christine did not join the family Wednesday. Darrell says, "As of right now we don't have a relationship with her."

Jason added, "She has a lot of fault in this too - I mean in how it transpired. So we can't just put everything on my brother. I mean his actions was his actions but at the same time the things she did led him to that point."

The family wants to start a Hydra Lacy Sports Scholarship Fund in hopes of helping children stay out of trouble so they don't go down the same path as Hydra. Rev. Sykes says the proceeds of the fund would be donated to the Police Athletic League. ..Source.. Tammie Fields

Wanted Sex Offender Killed During Shootout in Durham

1-21-2011 North Carolina:

DURHAM, N.C. (WGHP) — U.S. Marshals shot and killed a wanted sex offender during a shootout on Thursday.

Jerome Thompkins, 35, who was wanted for multiple sex offenses involving children, was fatally shot when U.S. Marshals returned fire to Thompkins inside a home at 404 Macon St. in Durham, said police in a news release.

Thompkins had locked himself in a bedroom around 8 p.m. Officers told Thompkins to surrender several times before he started firing a handgun at them, said police.

Thompkins had been charged with three counts of first degree sex offenses with a child, three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, and three counts of crimes against nature, said police.

Preston Oppegard, a U.S. Marshal, was the officer who shot Thompkins in self-defense, said police.

The Chapel Hill Police Department is conducting an internal investigation of the shooting while the SBI is conducting a criminal investigation, said police.

Officer Oppegard will be placed on administrative duty until investigations are finished, said police. ..Source... by WGHP-TV

Wanted man took probation officer hostage before Durham shootout

Durham, N.C. — A Durham man who was killed Thursday night in a shootout with law enforcement took a probation officer hostage before exchanging fire with officers, according to a search warrant released Friday.

Members of the U.S. Marshal's Service Joint Fugitive Task Force went to a home at 404 Macon St. at about 8:10 p.m. to serve warrants on Jerome Maurice Thompkins, 35, who was wanted on three counts each of first-degree sex offense involving a child, indecent liberties with a child and crime against nature.

Authorities had information that Thompkins was living at the house, and a woman who answered the door gave officers permission to search the home, police said.

While officers were inside, Thompkins appeared with a handgun, forcing officers to retreat outside. However, Hope Nichols, a Durham County probation officer who was assisting with the case, wasn't able to get out of the house before Thompkins grabbed her, took her holstered handgun and handcuffed her, according to the search warrant.

All of the other people inside, including two children, were able to get outside, the warrant states.

Officers ordered Thompkins several times to drop his weapon and come outside. In response, he fired several shots at the officers from a bedroom window, police said.

Chapel Hill police officer Preston Oppegard, a member of the fugitive task force, fired his weapon in self-defense, killing Thompkins, police said. No one else was injured in the exchange.

A man who said he lives at the home with his girlfriend and two children said he was at work Thursday night when a relative called him and told him that he needed to go home.

"They said, 'You need to get home. They've got your house surrounded,'" said the man, who declined to give his name. "I was trying to ask questions about what's going on, and they said they had my girlfriend hostage and my children that was in the house."

The man said several shots were fired inside and outside the house, and the rear window of his car was shattered.

"I'm still trying to figure out what's going on," he said.

A neighbor who declined to give his name described the shootout as terrifying. He said he was watching television when he heard gunfire and hit the ground. Police later came to his back door and took everyone in the house and other neighbors to a safer location, he said.

The Chapel Hill Police Department is conducting an internal investigation into the incident, and the department has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a criminal investigation. Oppegard has been placed on administrative duty until both investigations are concluded, which is standard procedure.

The SBI collected shell casings, a .38-caliber handgun, bullet fragments and other items from the home, according to the search warrant. ..Source.. by Erin Hartness

Grand Rapids man fatally gunned down by father

1-21-2011 Michigan:

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, a 31-year-old man was shot to death Wednesday evening, and the person who shot him was none other that his own father.

The shooting took place at approximately 4:45pm inside a residence, located in the 1300 block of Sylvan SE. The victim, identified as Brandon O’Connor of Grand Rapids, sustained numerous gunshot wounds.

Grand Rapids police say that following the shooting, the victim’s dad grabbed a phone, dialed 9-1-1, and told dispatchers what he did.

Police say that the man had identified himself as the father. They took him in for questioning and found the victim inside the residence.

The victim was taken to Spectrum Butterworth, where he was pronounced dead.

The 54-year-old father has been identified as Garry McGhee, who did not have a rap sheet of any kind.

The victim had resided at the house; however, he had recently moved out. The father and the son have engaged in some sort of dispute, which brought about threats of violence before the shots were fired. This pertained to the victim’s history, which dates back to around 15 years, ever since his adolescent times.

It was also learned that the victim has a lengthy rap sheet that mentions weapon and assault charges. Further, he is a registered sex offender (RSO) for a crime he committed at the age of 14. Court documents also revealed that he had many different aliases. Hence, he was no stranger to the law.

The father was released from custody Wednesday night after he told authorities that he acted in self-defense.

According to cops, they feel relaxed about the father’s release following the shooting. The Kent County Prosecutor's office declared that it has not received any paperwork regarding the incident, and no further statement was given.

No charges have been filed and the investigation of this case is now being reviewed. ..Source.. BASHIR BAKHTIARI

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Four quizzed after Netherton man is stabbed

UPDATE: Murderers caught and prosecuted!
11-17-2009 United Kingdom:

POLICE have named a man found murdered in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Graham Wootton, 31, from Haydock, died from a single stab wound at a house on St Augustine Way, Netherton.

Four people, including a woman aged 22, from Netherton, another woman, 38, from Bootle, and two men, aged 34 and 48, from Litherland and Crosby, remain in custody after being arrested in connection with the murder.

Neighbours heard arguing on the street hours before the death. ..Source.. by Liverpool Daily Post

Four released on bail after stab horror murder in Netherton

11-19-2009 United Kingdom:

FOUR people arrested and quizzed at the weekend on suspicion of murder have been released on police bail.

They were arrested in connection with the death of Graham Wootton, 31.

He died from single stab wound at a house in St Augustine Way, Netherton, in the early hours of Saturday.

The four questioned by police included two women – a 22-year-old from Netherton and a 38-year-old from Bootle and two men, aged 34 and 48, from the Litherland and Crosby areas.

At 6.30pm on Sunday, police cordons on the quiet road and on a walkway next to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal were lifted.

A forensics team left the scene at 6.50pm and a single police officer was left guarding the front of the house. The victim is from Haydock.

Neighbours told the Bootle Times of their horror.

One said: “It’s a shock because this is normally a quiet street. There is never any trouble. I can’t believe this has happened.”

Another neighbour said: “I’m really surprised this has happened at that house because it’s so out of character for the people that live there. They keep themselves to themselves.”

Another woman said: “It was about 1am when I heard shouting and squabbling on the street.

“It was as if people had come back from the pub. It stopped suddenly and I thought they had gone home.

“I went back to sleep. Then I woke up because I could hear a woman screaming and I could see blue flashing lights. That was just after 2am.

“The woman was screaming frantically. I could hear other voices – but it was mainly the woman shouting.

“She was shouting again and again. She was put into the ambulance. Another woman was taken into a police van. But she was not handcuffed.”

She added: “I’ve lived on the street for 40 years and there has never been anything like this.

“It’s something that you normally hear about on the TV and not on your own doorstep.”

Carol Cooney, manageress of the nearby Netherton and Sefton British Legion, said: “I can’t believe what’s happened. You never hear anything like that happening around here. It’s come out of the blue.” ..Source.. by Mark Johnson, Bootle Times

Stabbing victim’s brother tells of hell for family

8-5-2010 United Kingdom:

THE anguished brother of a stabbing victim this week described the months of hell his family has gone through.

Father-of-two Graham Wootton, of Penny Lane in Haydock, died from a single stab wound at a house in Netherton, Liverpool last November.

He left two daughters, aged seven and nine, four siblings, and his parents Barry and Esther, who live in Prescot.

Thirty-one-year-old Graham had finished a catering course at St Helens College shortly before his death and had ambitions of becoming a chef.

This week younger brother David Wootton, 28, spoke of the pain relatives have endured.

The security guard told the Star: “It has been horrific. It is still so hard to face and even now with the case going to court it is hitting us.

“Graham was a quiet lad, quite shy really and we enjoyed having a few drinks together, watching the football and rugby. We were very close. He had two daughters and was a great father. He had plenty of friends at the college and had hopes of becoming a chef.

“We don’t really know much about how he died – the police can’t tell us – and now it is going through the courts.”

David has received invaluable support from the organisation Supporter after Murder and Manslaughter Merseyside.

He has revealed plans to host a major charity event in aid of the organisation at the Thistle Hotel in Haydock on Friday, November 19.

David added: “They have given me so much support, I’ve been attending regular meetings in Liverpool and there has always been someone on the other end of the phone when I’ve needed to talk.

“I don’t want to just get families of victims involved – I want people from police, probation service and the CPS too.”

The night will involve a three-course meal, entertainment, raffles and auctions. All proceeds will go to SAMM Merseyside.

Anyone wishing to support the event or are interested is asked to email

FOUR people charged in connection with Graham Wootton’s death will next face court again in November.

Samuel Dunne, 48, of Church Road, Seaforth and Susan Joanne Lynch, 38, of St Augustines Way, Netherton, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court, via video link equipment, earlier this month.

They are charged with murder, conspiracy to commit actual bodily harm and perverting the course of justice.

David Bennett, 35, of Condron Road, Litherland, and Lindsey Hutchins, 23, of Muttocks Rake, Seaforth, are accused of conspiracy to commit actual bodily harm and perverting the course of justice.

Dunne and Lynch have been remanded in custody by the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Henry Globe, QC, and he remanded Bennett and Hutchins on bail. They are next to appear in court on Oct 5 to enter their pleas. A trial date has been fixed for January next year. ..Source.. by Andrew Kilmurray

Convicted sex offender stabbed to death during confrontation about his sordid past

1-13-2011 United Kingdom:

A CONVICTED sex offender was stabbed to death after being confronted about his sordid past by his drunken new girlfriend and her pals, a court heard.

Graham Wootton, 31, probably died within 10 minutes of being stabbed in the left thigh. But it is claimed he was left lying in a pool of his own blood for about two hours while his alleged attackers, who had challenged him for being a “paedo”, attempted to cover up his murder.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Wootton’s new girlfriend Lindsay Hutchins, 23, had become aware of his criminal background after being secretly tipped off by his jealous brother Barry Wootton.

On the night of November 13, 2009, the young mum invited him around to her friend Susan Lynch’s Netherton home, where they were drinking with their co-accused Samuel Dunne, 49, and his nephew David Bennett, 36, of Condron Road North, Litherland.

Prosecutors allege the group plotted to confront and assault Wootton, who had learning difficulties. They claim that Dunne and Lynch then carried out a joint attack on Mr Wootton – punching, kicking and fatally stabbing him in her pantry.

Dunne, of Bedford Road, Bootle, and Lynch, of St Augustine’s Way, Netherton, both deny murder.

All four defendants also deny conspiring to commit assault occasioning actual bodily harm and plotting to pervert the court of justice.

Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting, told the jury that all four had now given conflicting accounts blaming each other. He said: “It is, however, the prosecution case that at some time before Graham Wootton arrived at St Augustine’s Way, the four defendants agreed to confront and assault him in consequence of the suggestion that he had, in the past, been convicted of sexual offences.

“Also that in the pantry, off the kitchen, Samuel Dunne and Susan Lynch carried out a joint attack on Graham Wootton during the course of which he was punched, kicked and fatally stabbed.”

Mr Wootton, of Haydock, was convicted of offences of sexual assault in 1996 and made the subject of a hospital order.

Mr Flewitt told jurors the background to the attack was that Mr Wootton’s brother Barry had met Hutchins, of Muttocks Rake, Seaforth, on a night out. But after he introduced her to Graham it was clear they were attracted to each other. Barry was so upset he set up a new email address using a fake name, John Kelly, to email Hutchins.

In a series of emails he masqueraded as the brother of a 14-year-old girl abused by Mr Wootton. He told Hutchins: “He’s an evil t***. Do you want to be known as the friend of a sex beast. The evil t*** ruined my sister’s life.”

He then added: “He attacked my sister when she was 14. He was charged with eight other attacks. Your life will never be the same again if you have contact with him.”

Mr Flewitt said Hutchins quickly worked out it was Barry sending the messages. But she maintained contact with both men and on the night of November 13, she spoke to Mr Wootton for one hour and 16 minutes. Shortly after, at about 11.10pm, Mr Wootton arrived at Lynch’s home with alcohol.

Mr Flewitt said: “It is the prosecution case that by 00.39, Samuel Dunne had left the premises and was driving his van away from St Augustine’s Way where, by that time, Graham Wootton was already dead.”

He added that it was not “easy to piece together exactly what had happened” in the house. But that police were not called until 2.24am and by that stage it was too late to revive Mr Wootton. He had died from a 12.5cm wound which cut an artery in his leg. He also had a “slash” wound across his face.

In the wake of his death, Lynch admitted to police: “No-one likes a kiddie fiddler”, but she insisted it was Dunne who was fighting with Wootton. While Dunne, who fled the scene and hid his clothing, admitted punching Wootton, but insisted it must have been Lynch who stabbed him. ..Source.. by Chloe Griffiths

Trial begins into alleged murder of convicted sex offender Graham Wootton in Netherton house

1-21-2011 United Kingdom:

A CONVICTED sex attacker died of stab wounds in a Netherton house after being confronted about his criminal past by his drunken new girlfriend and her pals.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Graham Wootton’s girlfriend Lindsay Hutchins, 23, had become aware of his background after being tipped off by his brother, Barry. On November 13, 2009, the young mum invited him around to her friend Susan Lynch’s Netherton home, where they were drinking with their co-accused Samuel Dunne, 49, and his nephew David Bennett, 36, of Condron Road North, Litherland.

Prosecution solicitor Neil Flewitt said: “It is the prosecution case that at some time before Graham Wootton arrived at St Augustine’s Way, the four defendants agreed to confront and assault him in consequence of the suggestion that he had, in the past, been convicted of sexual offences. Also that in the pantry, off the kitchen, Samuel Dunne and Susan Lynch carried out a joint attack on Graham Wootton during the course of which he was punched, kicked and fatally stabbed.”

Mr Wootton, of Haydock, was convicted of offences of sexual assault in 1996 and made the subject of a hospital order.

Mr Flewitt told jurors Mr Wootton’s brother Barry had met Hutchins, of Muttocks Rake, Netherton, on a night out. But after he introduced her to Graham it was clear they were attracted to each other. Barry was so upset he set up a new email address using a fake name, John Kelly, to email Hutchins. In a series of emails he masqueraded as the brother of a 14-year-old girl abused by Mr Wootton. He told Hutchins: “He’s an evil t***. Do you want to be known as the friend of a sex beast. The evil t*** ruined my sister’s life.”

Mr Flewitt said: “It is the prosecution case that by 00.39, Samuel Dunne had left the premises. By that time, Graham Wootton was already dead.”

He added that it was not “easy to piece together exactly what had happened”, but police were not called until 2.24am.

By that stage it was too late to revive Mr Wootton. He had died from a 12.5cm wound which cut an artery in his leg.

Barry Wootton, who gave evidence from behind a screen, admitted making up details of his brother’s crimes, but said he did it to help him. He flatly denied being jealous despite being asked several times.

He said: “I started getting suspicious of Lindsay. She thought men were only there to give her money.” Mr Steer said: “So this was to scare her away for Graham’s benefit?” Mr Wootton agreed, saying: “For Graham’s benefit”. David Steer QC, representing murder accused Susan Lynch, scorned the idea that Barry Wootton was not jealous: “You were very fond of her. Graham was irritating you and you fought.”

Susan Lynch, 39, of St Augustine’s Way, Netherton, where the murder is alleged to have taken place and Samuel ‘Budgie’ Dunne, 49, of Bedford Road, Bootle, deny murdering Mr Wootton. They, along with Lindsay Hutchins, 23, and David Bennett, 36, of Condron Road North, Litherland, also deny conspiring to commit assault occasioning actual bodily harm and plotting to pervert the course of justice. ..Source.. by Michael Byrne, Crosby Herald

Jail for killers of sex offender Graham Wootton

2-25-2011 United Kingdom:

FOUR people have been jailed for a combined total of 37 years following the brutal killing of a convicted sex offender.

Susan Lynch was handed a life sentence for murder of Haydock man Graham Wootton to death in Netherton, Liverpool in 2009. She will serve 18 years.

Co-accused Samuel Dunne was cleared of murder but convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter and was given nine years.

Their co-accused Lindsey Hutchins and David Bennett were each given five years for conspiracy to assault.

Graham Wootton, 31, died from a stab wound to the top of his leg.

A trial at Liverpool Crown Court heard that at the time of his death, he had been in a relationship with Hutchins, who had previously dated his brother Barry.

The court was told she was informed of Graham’s historic conviction - for committing a sex assault when he was a teenager - in an email sent by Barry from a fake address.

Graham had been invited to the house in Liverpool late on Friday, November 13.

It is believed that the four offenders, who had been drinking, had discussed his background.

Although it remains unclear as to what exactly happened, Graham had been dead for a number of hours before an ambulance was called.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Williams said: “Susan Lynch has been found guilty of the murder of Graham Wootton. Samuel Dunne has been found guilty of manslaughter.

“All parties including David Bennett and Lindsey Hutchins have also been found guilty of conspiracy to commit actual bodily harm and perverting the course of justice.

“While today's verdict cannot bring Graham back, we hope that it will bring some comfort to his family.

“We also hope that the verdict today will bring home to these offenders, the enormity of what they have done and the pain and heartache they have caused.

“The court has heard that Graham thought he was going to have a few drinks with friends the night he was killed. He went out that night to enjoy himself he did not deserve to die in this way.

“I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of the officers involved in this complex investigation. I would also like to thank the Crown Prosecution Service and the Prosecution Team for all their support throughout this investigation.

“Ultimately nothing can bring Graham back and his family and friends have been devastated by what happened.

"I hope that today’s result at court will bring them some comfort in the knowledge that justice has been done.” ..Source.. by St HelenStar

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Robbery Suspect Shot Outside Denny's Restaurant in Pasadena

8-9-2010 Texas:

PASADENA, Texas - Police say a robbery suspect was shot and killed by officers after he threatened to shoot them outside a Denny's Restaurant in Pasadena.

The robbery and shooting took place at approximately 3 a.m. Monday in a shopping center on State Highway 225 (Pasadena Freeway) near South Richey Street.

An employee at the restaurant told police that the suspect demanded money from the night manager while pointing a gun at his head.

Witnesses told police that they had seen the suspect near a white Dodge Ram pickup truck before he entered the restaurant.

Police say that after the suspect stole the money from the Denny's Restaurant, he ran away on foot toward the rear section of the shopping center parking lot.

Two officers confronted the suspect behind the shopping center and they both shot him several times after the suspect pointed a handgun in their direction, according to statement released by the Pasadena Police Department.

The suspect was wounded several times in the torso area and died.

Police identified the 43-year-old suspect as a registered sex offender. Approximately $280 in cash was found near the suspect's body.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office, Medical Examiner's Office, Pasadena Police Department Internal Affairs and homicide detectives will conduct independent investigations into the shooting and the two officers will be placed on administrative leave with pay.

The Dodge Ram that witnesses saw the suspect driving in was stolen from a Shell fuel station in the Baytown area on Sunday night. ..Source.. by ALEXANDER SUPGUL