Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog. The Journalist's name and "Source" link follow each story. We add "Tags" based on facts from the article, which are used for later retrieval, if someone wants to see all stories by a tag (Click tag of choice). Tags are at the top of story.
Our Commenting Policy

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gang member dies in police standoff

8-31-2011 New Mexico:

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque police were closing in on a robbery suspect when a SWAT standoff turned deadly on the city's West Side early Tuesday afternoon.

Officers had information the suspect in three armed robberies was in the area of 60th Street NW just north of Central Avenue and were already working their operational plan when events escalated, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz said during a late afternoon news conference.

Shultz would only identify the suspect as a 31-year-old convicted felon, registered sex offender and member of the SureƱos 13 gang wanted in armed robberies of a Valero gas station, Hawthorn Suites and an individual.

While Schultz would not name the suspect, family members at the scene said the dead man was Michael Marquez and that he had pointed a weapon at officers. A police spokesperson later confirmed Marquez was the suspect killed in the confrontation.

Schultz gave this account of what happened beginning Tuesday morning:

Officers had established surveillance in the area when they spot a woman known to be acquainted with their suspect. They stopped her and found she was wanted on a felony warrant.

While some officers talked to the woman, others spotted the suspect leaving an apartment and walking across an open field while carrying a bag.

As officers moved in, the suspect, realizing he was surrounded, became agitated and was holding the bag as if it contained a rifle. Discussions began, but the suspect refused to surrender as the SWAT team and special negotiators rushed to the scene.

Talk between the officers and the suspect went on for at least 15 minutes.

"He did make comments that he was not going to go easy, that he was going to basically go out with a bang, or words similar to that," Schultz said.

The SWAT team arrived but couldn't get close enough to use its non-lethal weaponry, and when a SWAT officer decided the safety of officers in the field and nearby civilians was in jeopardy, he shot the suspect killing him.

Shultz said the suspect's bag contained an AK-47 assault rifle and that the suspect had his hand inside the bag presumably on the weapon's pistol grip.

The chief said the officer is believed to have fired two shots; neighbors told News 13 they though they heard four.

Investigators are still processing the large crime scene, and Shultz said they likely would be there for several hours.

The Bernalillo County district attorney and sheriff's offices and New Mexico State Police have joined in the investigation of the shooting. And following a recent change in protocols brought on by the number of APD shootings, the city's Independent Review Officer is also participating.

This is the 20th shooting involving APD officers in the last 20 months and the 14th to turn fatal. ..Source.. by Amanda Goodman

Man killed in latest Albuquerque police shooting

Albuquerque police shot and killed a 31-year-old armed robbery suspect Tuesday, bringing to 20 the number of suspects who have been shot by police in the same number of months.

Police Chief Ray Schultz said officers saw the suspect — who he said had a long criminal record — coming out of an apartment holding a bag and confronted him. He said the officers surrounded the suspect and talked with him for 15 to 20 minutes trying to get him to surrender. But he said the man became agitated and indicated and he would not be taken, so a sniper shot him.

Schultz said the officer later found an AK-47 assault rifle in the bag.

"He was cradling the item...his hand was inside the bag," Schultz said. "He was deliberately turning and pointing the bag, which of course contained a rifle, in the direction of officers, as well as making comments, basically, prior to the events today that he was not going to either go back to prison or not be taken alive."

Schultz didn't know if the rifle was loaded or how many times the suspect was shot in a field behind houses in a southwest Albuquerque neighborhood.

The suspect had been under surveillance for the last few days after police had received a tip, Schultz said.

The man, whose identity wasn't released, was a convicted felon, known gang member and registered sex offender who was wanted for several armed robberies, Schultz said.

Tuesday's shooting brings to 20 the number of people shot by police since January 2010. Fourteen have died.

The latest shooting comes as city councilors and community activists are calling for a Justice Department investigation of the department. Justice officials in Washington are reviewing whether an independent probe of the escalation in police shootings is needed.

The police shootings also have drawn fire from some civil rights groups who charged that the victims have been mainly Latino.

Tuesday's shooting is under investigation by an independent panel, Schultz said. ..Source.. by RUSSELL CONTRERAS

Man With AK-47 Killed by Sniper

The man Albuquerque police shot and killed Tuesday – the 14th in 20 months – was a robbery suspect with a long criminal record who officials say refused to drop what turned out to be an AK-47.

After a short standoff with police, a SWAT sniper fired more than once, killing Michael Marquez, 31, in an open field near an apartment building, according to police.

Marquez, a convicted rapist, was a member of the notorious MS-13 gang, known for its violence, Police Chief Ray Schultz said.

About 10 to 15 family members gathered at the scene of the shooting near Central and 60th SW, crying and hugging each other.

Bill Marquez, the suspect’s brother, told a Journal photographer that just because someone is criminal does not mean they “should be treated like an animal.”

The incident began around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, when detectives working a Crime Stoppers tip regarding a man suspected in three armed robberies began watching Marquez, Schultz said.

Schultz said robbery detectives had gathered intelligence on Marquez and that confidential informants had confirmed his identity and whereabouts.

Detectives were watching Marquez at the apartment, just north of Central, when they spotted a woman who Schultz said was a known acquaintance of Marquez and pulled her over. When the woman was being pulled over, other detectives spotted Marquez walking out of the apartment on 60th Street.

Marquez had spotted police, seemed “agitated” and began making comments to them about not going back to jail and “going out with a bang,” Schultz said.

Marquez was holding a bag and refused to put it down, he said.

A crisis negotiation team was called in, but Marquez continued to disobey police commands, the chief said.

Negotiators tried to reason with Marquez for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, the department’s SWAT team had arrived on scene.

“He was basically going to go out with a bang or worse,” Schultz said.

Police suspected Marquez had a long gun or rifle in his bag because of its shape and the way he held it, Schultz said. Schultz said Marquez had his hand in the bag and was cradling it.

Officers felt vulnerable because they were in an open field with nothing to use for cover. In addition, there were civilians outside in the surrounding area, Schultz said.

Officers heard Marquez cycle the weapon. Schultz said AK-47s make a very distinct sound when cycled.

That’s when a SWAT sniper fired his rifle at Marquez at least twice, although police still are not sure how many shots were fired.

Marquez died at the scene.

Online court records show Marquez had an extensive criminal history.

In 1999, he pleaded guilty to rape and false imprisonment and was sentenced to four years, with credit for time served. Three years later, he was charged for failing to register as a sex offender, although that charge was dropped.

Marquez also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in 2004. Court records show he violated his probation on several occasions.

Marquez got himself in trouble again in July 2006, when he was arrested for possession of drugs, and in 2008 for aggravated fleeing of police and car theft. Those cases were combined, and Marquez eventually pleaded guilty to all counts. He was sentenced to three years in prison, court records show.

Most recently, Marquez had been featured on Crime Stoppers for his suspected role in the armed robberies of two businesses and one person. One was on July 28 at a hotel, police said.

In the confrontation with police Tuesday, Marquez made comments about not going back to prison. Schultz said that the safety of officers and the public was jeopardized.

“Obviously no officer wants to find themselves in a situation where they have to use force,” Schultz said.

“Unfortunately, he dictated the series of actions,” he said.

Albuquerque police have been heavily scrutinized since a spike in officer shootings began last year.

There have been 20 APD shootings since January 2010, 14 of them fatal.

The department has faced citizen protests and could be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for possible civil rights violations. The Department of Justice is reviewing information to determine whether it will start an investigation.

A review ordered by Mayor Richard Berry last year recommended changes in training and procedures, most of which have been adopted by the department.

Schultz and other department leaders have maintained that officers have resorted to lethal force in situations where there were no other options, and that police increasingly encounter violent people. ..Source.. by Astrid Galvan / Journal Staff Writer

Monday, August 29, 2011

Alleged armed robber killed by Okauchee homeowner

8-28-2011 Wisconsin:

OKAUCHEE - Police say an Okauchee homeowner shot and killed a man he claims broke into his house.

It happened around 2:00 a.m. Saturday on Wisconsin Ave.

The crime scene tape around his Okauchee home is gone but the memories of early Saturday morning are fresh and hard for Mike Fitzsimmons.

"I’m happy that I'm alive today,” Fitzsimmons told TMJ4 reporter Keller Russell.

He says he was asleep inside his home when he heard someone breaking in. He grabbed his flashlight and a gun.

"I confronted the guy and he told me he had a gun. He came at me with a gun,” said Fitzsimmons.

The homeowner told police he confronted the man in the garage and it moved to the back of the house. He says the man cornered him, threatening his life with a gun. Within minutes, Fitzsimmons says it was all over.

"I told him to drop it, backed up shot him, killed him."

The Town of Oconomowoc police say the man Fitzsimmons killed is James Babe IV, 39, of Waukesha. According to state court records, Babe is a life registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal history, including burglary.

Police are still trying to figure out why Babe was in Okauchee.

"It’s not normal out here -- people breaking into houses and somebody getting shot. It’s never happened in my career here,” said Lt. Russel Paar.

Neighbors said officers roped off the house in crime scene tape and worked through the early morning hours Saturday, into the evening. Police won’t say whether they found a gun near the alleged intruder, as Fitzsimmons described.

Mike Fitzsimmons says he acted in self defense, actions he’s still coming to grips with.

"I did not want this to happen. The last thing I want to do is something like that."

Police didn’t arrest Fitzsimmons. The department plans to hand the case over to the District Attorney’s office.

Babe's fiance tells TMJ4 he was in the area for a night out with friends at the bar. He also had family that lives in Oconomowoc. She said James Babe would never break into someones house or hurt anyone. She also claims he doesn't own a gun. She acknowledges Babe had a past but said he had committed himself to staying out of trouble and that would never do anything to take himself away from her and her two children. ..Source.. by Keller Russell


No criminal charges coming in Okauchee fatal shooting

11-4-2011 Wisconsin:

An Okauchee man will not face criminal charges for fatally shooting an unarmed man who broke into his garage in August, Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel announced Friday.

James P. Babe IV, 39, was killed outside Michael Fitzsimmons' home about 2 a.m. Aug. 27. Schimel determined that Fitzsimmons, 47, fired two shots in self-defense.

Schimel laid out the details of the case and his analysis in a four-page letter to Town of Oconomowoc Police Chief James Wallis. According to the letter:

There was no evidence Fitzsimmons, 47, and Babe knew each other or had any kind of dispute. Nor is there any indication why Babe, who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.22, had entered Fitzsimmons' garage.

Phone records showed Babe made a call on his cell phone at 1:59 a.m., and that Fitzsimmons called 911 at 2:01 a.m. The letter doesn't indicate whom Babe called.

Police arrived within minutes.

"It seems unlikely that Mr. Fitzsimmons would have had enough time to calm down from the traumatic incident and attempt to prepare a false version of events," Schimel wrote. Fitzsimmons story didn't change as the day went on, and physical evidence corroborated it.

Fitzsimmons said he awoke when he heard noise in his garage, that he approached it from his deck and yelled out asking who was there and stated that he had a gun. He said Babe yelled back that he had a gun, then emerged from the garage onto the deck and lunged at him with what Fitzsimmons believed was a gun. Fitzsimmons fired once, and when Babe did not immediately go down or back away, fired a second shot.

There was evidence someone had broken into the garage, and Babe's cell phone case and keys were found there. There was no evidence Fitzsimmons had touched Babe's cell phone in an effort to stage the scene, Schimel wrote. The letter does not specify where Babe's cell phone was recovered.

The letter also revealed that Fitzsimmons had smoked marijuana earlier that night, a fact learned after he voluntarily submitted to a blood test. But he showed no signs of impairment when officers arrived, Schimel said, and so couldn't be charged with being armed while intoxicated.

He said a lesser charge of being armed with detectable amount of restricted substance wasn't appropriate given Fitzsimmons lack of a criminal history and lack of evidence at his home of any "substantial drug activity."

Fitzsimmons' attorney, Paul Bucher, said Friday his client is extremely sorry the shooting happened, but was scared to death and felt he had no choice but to shoot.

"He feels terrible. He's been on pins and needles" awaiting Schimel's decision, Bucher said.

Schimel has said for weeks that he was waiting on DNA test results from the State Crime Lab to make his final decision about whether the shooting was justified. He said Friday he had finally gotten those results late Tuesday but wasn't able to meet with Babe's family until Thursday.

He said the fact the Legislature adopted a castle doctrine Friday, which provides even more legal protection for people who shoot intruders in their home, business or vehicles, was merely a coincidence. He said the law is unlikely to affect most prosecutors' decisions in similar cases.

"If I believe that the evidence demonstrates that the use of force was justified, I will not issue charges," he said. "I do not know how this will impact civil cases." ..Source.. by Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Suicide, homicide or accident: Still no cause in death of inmate

8-23-2011 Canada:

"The picture is starting to get a little bit clearer" as to how an accused sex offender suffered fatal injuries at the Niagara Detention Centre last week, said the lead police investigator looking into the case.

However, police are still trying to figure out how the inmate was injured and if a crime was involved, said Det. Sgt. Budd Rung of the Niagara Regional Police major crime unit..

Kelvin Sawa, 46, died in hospital Thursday after suffering serious injuries while behind bars at the Thorold facility Aug. 15

A member of the man's family, neighbours and a co-worker identified Sawa as the inmate who died. Sawa was in custody on charges of sexual assault and sexual interference. The allegations were made earlier this month and involved a 14-year-old male.

Rung said he hopes to know in the next week or two whether charges will be laid in connection with the death.

"I'm not going to rush into anything," he said, adding none of the possible suspects are flight risks.

"We know where everybody is, we're not worried about people fleeing."

The detective said one thing is clear — the inmate didn't die of natural causes.

He wouldn't say what type of injuries the man suffered or his cause of death. He said the coroner's office, which is also conducting an investigation, is still doing some testing. An autopsy was held Friday in Hamilton.

Rung said with natural causes ruled out, that leaves accident, suicide and homicide as possible causes.

"There was a series of events that occurred," he said. "I just can't get any more specific than that."

He said detectives are interviewing inmates and reviewing surveillance video.

"He wasn't in general population, but he also wasn't in an area alone," he said of the inmate.

Rung confirmed no other inmates were injured in connection with the incident.

Sawa's niece, Kelly, who didn't want her last name published, said last week she thinks Sawa was murdered.

She also told the Standard she believes Sawa was innocent of the charges and that he never should have been behind bars in the first place.

Dr. Jack Stanborough, regional supervising coroner, said previously an inquest is mandatory in all inmate deaths when the cause is not natural. ..Source.. by Erica Bajer, Standard Staff


Detention Centre Murder Victim Identified

11-3-2011 Canada:

Jeremy Hall and Cale Rose were both arrested today for second-degree murder in the death of 46-year-old Kelvin Sawa.

All three of the men were inmates at the Niagara Regional Detention Centre on Monday, Aug. 15 this past summer, when at approximately 2:14 p.m., members of the Niagara Regional Police Service Uniform Branch and Niagara E.M.S. responded to the Detention Centre in Thorold for a report of an inmate in need of medical assistance. The male was subsequently transported to the Niagara Health System with life-threatening injuries.

On Thursday, August 18, 2011, investigators with the N.R.P.S. were notified by medical staff of the Niagara Health System that the inmate had died. A post-mortem examination took place at the Hamilton General Hospital to assist in determining the cause of death.

Although the identity of the deceased in this incident has not been previously released by the police, it had been widely reported in local media that the deceased is Kelvin Sawa. After continuing the investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident, members of the N.R.P.S. Major Crime Unit and #1 District Detective Office are now confirming that Kelvin Sawa, a 46-year-old resident of Port Colborne, is, in fact, the deceased.

On Thursday, November 3, 2011, members of the Major Crime Unit arrested and charged 37-year-old Jeremy W. Hall and Cale A. Rose, age 28, in the death of Sawa. Both of these individuals were inmates at the Niagara Regional Detention Centre at the time of this incident and at the time of their arrests in this matter, were in custody at other correctional facilities on unrelated charges.

Both males will appear in court today at the Robert S.K. Welch Courthouse, 59 Church St. in St. Catharines. ..Source.. by Cathy Pelletier

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birmingham fugitive killed in Florida shoot-out with lawmen was charged with 2010 Hoover sex offense

5-27-2011 Alabama:

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A federal fugitive shot to death in Florida Thursday night by U.S. Marshals had lived in Hoover until he was charged in December with enticing a minor for sex.

William Jimmy Page Jr., 39, was pronounced dead on the scene inside his garage apartment in St. Petersburg.

Authorities said U.S. Marshals and Tampa police entered the apartment to take Page into custody for violating conditions of his bond release. Instead, Page came down the hallway firing at them, said Marty Keely, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Alabama. Lawmen returned fired, killing Page.

Page, who was living on Shades Crest Road at the time, was arrested on federal charges in December 2010 after authorities say he used the internet and telephone to solicit sex from what he believed was a 13-year-old boy, according to federal court records. A criminal complaint filed against Page said he was in conversation with an undercover officer pretending to be the teen boy from July 2010 through December 2010, when he made arrangements to meet the teen at a Hoover drug store.

He offered marijuana and beer in exchange for sex.

Page was charged federally, and later released on $100,000 bond with special conditions: He was to live with his family in Georgia and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

On March 25, Page was discovered missing from the Metter, Georgia, home where he was supposed to be staying. His bedroom window was open, and a suicide note was left behind, Keely said. Authorities found the monitoring bracelet in the roadway about two blocks away.

A federal fugitive warrant was issued that day in Birmingham, and U.S. Marshals began their search for the man.

"A number of people had told us in all probability he would be somewhere close to the coast," Keely said. Marshals developed information that he was in the Clearwater area.

Marshals in Birmingham enlisted the help of the task force marshals in Florida. They were able to track him down to the St. Petersburg where the arrest attempt was made on Thursday. ..Source.. by Carol Robinson -- The Birmingham News