Arrests signals end to violent months of shooting deaths, gunplay

Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM
Updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

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Dayton Daily News reporters Steve Bennish, Mark Gokavi and Katie Wedell examined hundreds of federal court documents and police reports and interviewed witnesses to piece together the events that led to a violent first two months of the year in Dayton.

There have been 11 homicides in Dayton in 2013 - 10 in two months. In the first three months of 2012 there were 6 homicides in the city.

  1. Bradlee Thompson, 30, was shot to death at about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 1 inside 613 Hulbert St. Police identified one of the residents as the shooter and later ruled the death a justifiable homicide committed in self-defense.
  2. A woman walking her dog in Triangle Park Jan. 13 discovered the body of Eligio Cesar Hernandez, 44. Police said he had likely been stabbed somewhere else and his body moved to the park.
  3. Matthew Anderson, 20, was shot when someone fired into the residence at 4032 Prescott Ave. for the second time on Jan. 31. He died in his car several blocks away.
  4. Daniel Holt, 34, was shot by two Dayton Police sergeants Feb. 10 at Island Metropark after he allegedly pointed a SKS rifle at them and ignored commands to lower the weapon. Those officers recently returned to duty, but the investigation into the shooting continues.
  5. Oscar Beason, 95, was shot multiple times on or about Feb. 17. He was found at the bottom of the basement stairs at 1544 Hochwalt Ave. on Feb. 20.
  6. Jillian Miles, 27, was found shot to death inside her home at 160 W. Parkwood Ave. on Feb. 19.
  7. Jason Rutledge, 29, died at Good Samaritan Hospital on Feb. 20. Police later determined that he was shot at 2060 Ravenwood Ave. when an argument erupted over a game of dice. 25-year-old Tarrell Postell has been indicted on charges of murder, having weapons as a felon and felonious assault.
  8. Willie Boddie Jr., 28, was killed Feb. 22 when a gunman opened fire on a car in the parking lot of H&H Service Center, 2647 Riverview Ave.
  9. Charles Black Jr., 26, was shot in a car outside of 1610 Bancroft Street on Feb. 23.
  10. Briona Rodgers, 13, and her cousin Alonta Culpepper were shot at Rodgers home, 2512 Home Ave. on Feb. 24. Rodgers died and Culpepper was critically injured. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against Dameon Wesley, a convicted murderer who has been indicted in the shooting.
  11. Michael E. Neibert, 41, was shot and killed around 2 a.m. on March 14 during an argument with some neighbors at 3723 E. Third St.

 

Homicides in the city of Dayton since 2008

2008: 40

2009: 42

2010: 35

2011: 38

2012: 28

2013: 11

A sudden swell of gun violence in Dayton — 11 homicides and as many drive-by shootings into homes this year — appears to have calmed in recent weeks.

Police won’t disclose what, if any, clear links they’ve established among the incidents — and many appear to be unrelated — but the recent arrests of three suspects by a special police unit may be playing a part in the reduction in violence.

Despite the arrests, the toll has been high for the neighborhoods plagued by the violence.

Belinda Williams lost her son, Matthew L. Anderson, 20, when he was shot dead in a car when the vehicle inadvertently entered the line of fire while a house was being shot up during a drive-by on Prescott Avenue.

Anderson, one of six children, was a Meadowdale High School graduate who had decided on a career in law enforcement. “He wanted to be a police officer. That was his dream since he was a little boy,” Belinda said. “His life was too short.”

The uptick from Jan. 1 until Feb. 24, which saw the deaths of 10 of the victims, is all the more disturbing because it followed a sharp drop in city shootings and murders in 2012 after three years of coordinated gang and criminal group violence suppression by the Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence, or CIRGV.

The program merges community outreach with crime targeting and includes Dayton Police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Trotwood Police, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, the U.S. Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In January, Police Chief Richard Biehl credited CIRGV with reducing “group-related homicides” to two in 2012. The year prior there were 10.

Suspects arrested

Lt. Col. Bob Chabali, assistant Dayton police chief, said CIRGV, and its FBI-assisted anti-gang/criminal group effort, helped quash the recent gunfire.

The three suspects arrested and facing possible federal charges in U.S. District Court are Wesley A.G. Pope, 20, Phillip D.J. Parks, 24, and Kenneth L. Wynn, 26. All have criminal records and were armed when arrested between Feb. 26 and March 7.

Besides facing potential federal weapons charges, Pope and Wynn also are accused of heroin dealing. All three men are being held because they’re considered flight risks and could face even more serious charges, federal court records say.

Pope was apprehended on the same street — Prescott Avenue — where weeks earlier Anderson was killed

Chabali said “the message is out” to other violent types because of the prospect of federal prosecution for the trio.

“We have recovered weapons, we’ve made arrests, we’ve recovered drugs and I think everybody and anybody in the region benefits from these type of suspects being arrested, especially charged in the federal arena,” Chabali said.

Chabali said that because investigations and interventions are ongoing, he’s limited in what he can say.

Police reports examined by the Dayton Daily News, however, tell a story of the furious spate of gun violence squeezed into a short period.

Three of those killed in the first two months of 2013 — all of them men — were found slain in their automobiles. They are Willie H. Boddie, Jr, 28, shot to death in his car parked at 2647 Riverview Avenue at H&H Service Center/Car Wash; Anderson when he drove into the line of fire in the 4000 block of Prescott Avenue, and Charles L. Black Jr., 26, found shot to death while sitting in his car at 1610 Bancroft St.

When Anderson was killed at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 31, it was the second time that day that gunshots were fired into a house in the 4000 block of Prescott Avenue in the Greenwich Village neighborhood. On Wednesday, the home’s siding still showed bullet holes. Glass fragments littered the front porch.

Biehl said Anderson, 20, has no known association with any of the crime outfits targeted by police and he appears to have been an innocent bystander. His mother described a dutiful son who took her to doctor’s appointments. His perfect attendence certificates from school hung on a living room wall at her house.

She called for answers. “For my peace of mind I want to know why they shot him,” she said. “To me he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone was shooting in the neighborhood earlier that day. We thought it had stopped. He wasn’t no trouble maker. That’s a good boy.”

Criminal groups the target

The recent gun violence seems to include domestic shootings, arguments among acquaintances, and street slayings. Many of the motives are not clear. In one three-day period — Feb. 17 until Feb. 19 — seven houses were shot up.

But it’s the violent feud between two criminal groups that’s the target of the increased heat from authorities. The three arrested are seen as suspects in an ugly series of tit-for-tat retaliation-style shootings.

Parks was apprehended Feb. 26 when an off-duty police officer stopped at a gas station and recognized a black 1985 Chevrolet Camaro mentioned at police roll calls as a suspect vehicle. Parks was found with a Taurus 9 millimeter handgun with one round in the chamber and 10 rounds in the magazine. He was carrying $2,065 cash and two cell phones. Parks was convicted in 2010 of attempting to smuggle drugs into a detention facility, a felony.

The federal complaint said Parks also is a suspect in the Nov. 23 shoot-up of a residence at 1801 Tennyson Ave.

Parks and at least one other are suspected of firing into the house where three children ages 4 to 14 slept. The shooting was possibly in retaliation for the shooting death of Aundric Kerley several hours earlier as he left Club Vault, a downtown night spot, police said, because the address was home to the mother of a person of interest in Kerley’s death.

Police found 10 shell casings outside the house, four bullets inside. The shells were from at least three different weapons, police said. Parks’ alleged accomplice that night was also named as a possible suspect in the shooting into a habitation on Prescott Avenue in January that ultimately resulted in Anderson’s death.

That dispute also may have started with an argument at a nightclub that led to shots being fired into the houses of family members of those involved, according to police reports.

Pope was arrested March 1 when Dayton police officers patrolling near the Greenwich Village neighborhood off Gettysburg Avenue saw a tan 2001 GMC Yukon with dark, illegally-tinted windows at a residence on Prescott Avenue. The neighborhood and its surrounds have been a crime hot spot from time to time, considered home turf of the Greenwich Village Clique, a gang on the Montgomery County Sheriff’s watch list.

Inside the vehicle, police found a Ruger .44 magnum revolver loaded with six live rounds, four cell phones, a dinner plate with heroin residue, and a Kraft cheddar cheese zip top baggie holding 131 heroin capsules. Pope, who had $1,380 in cash in his pockets, told police the heroin was his, but denied he owned the firearm.

Court records show Pope was not allowed to have a weapon because of a robbery conviction while a juvenile. At the time, he was prosecuted as an adult. Paperwork filed with the federal court indicates that one reason for Pope’s detainment is that he may have committed “an offense for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death,” but is not more specific.

Wynn was taken into custody March 7 after a special police unit spotted his vehicle near Cornell Ridge Apartments and pursued him into Harrison Twp.

Police found a Glock .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun loaded with 10 rounds, a Smith & Wesson 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun loaded with nine rounds, a Colt .223-caliber rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, empty gel capsules, a scale and heroin. Wynn has previous convictions for having weapons under disability and possession of heroin.

Wynn’s federal detainer also lists that he may have committed “an offense for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death.”

Chabali said the region’s serious heroin problem makes the flurry of violence more than just a city of Dayton problem.

“There’s more regionalization within the criminal element,” Chabali said. “We know for a fact that the folks travel out of the city into other areas and, in essence, that’s why we have the combined efforts of the CIRGV program with the federal (agents) and the Trotwood Police Department is involved in that also. So that’s why it’s a more regional effort.

“To say that it’s just specific to (the city), and that these guys would not be traveling out of Dayton, would be pretty closed-minded.”

WB U.S. 35 reopens following crash; CareFlight call cancelled

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 12:19 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 1:04 PM

UPDATE @ 12:52 p.m.

Westbound U.S. 35 has reopened following a crash involving a car and semi, according to dispatchers. 

Dispatchers said a call to CareFlight was cancelled and the severity of the victim's injuries remain unknown.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

INITIAL REPORT

U.S. 35 westbound near Jamestown is closed following a reported crash involving a semi Saturday afternoon. 

Crews were dispatched to the intersection of U.S. 35 and Old U.S. 35 in Greene County just after noon. 

Initial reports indicate a person is injured after a crash involving a car and semi. 

CareFlight has been requested to the scene. 

We will continue to follow this developing story.

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Police investigate after 63 pounds of marijuana arrives with Florida couple's Amazon order

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 12:13 PM

A Florida couple say they found marijuana in their Amazon order.
WFTV.com
A Florida couple say they found marijuana in their Amazon order.(WFTV.com)

Amazon customers in Florida got a surprise when they opened the package that arrived on their doorstep.

They ordered four plastic storage bins, but the containers came with 65 pounds of marijuana.

“We love Amazon and do a lot of shopping on Amazon,” the customer told WFTV, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons.

Photos: Couple get weed delivered with Amazon order

When she and her fiancé needed to put some things in storage, they placed an order for 27-gallon storage totes.

But when they arrived to their Orlando home, the couple knew something didn't feel right.

"They were extremely heavy, heavier than you would think from ordering four empty bins,” she said.

>> Read more trending news

The marijuana was in boxes inside the totes and as soon as they opened the boxes, they were hit with a strong odor.

"When the first officer got here, she was in disbelief,” the customer said.

Police seized the drugs and launched an investigation.

It had been shipped by Amazon’s Warehouse Deals via UPS from a facility in Massachusetts.

It weighed 93.5 pounds.

"We were still pretty fearful our home would be broken into, and we didn't sleep there for a few days,” the customer said.

The couple said that after going back and forth with Amazon mostly by email for more than a month, they never spoke to a supervisor.

They eventually received an email giving them a $150 gift card with the message, "I am unable to do anything else at this time."

The customers said what they wanted was an apology and an explanation about how this could happen.

"There was no concern for a customer's safety. I mean, this could have turned into a worst-case scenario," one of the customers told WFTV.

Orlando police said there have been no arrests, but they are still actively investigating the case.

Amazon sent a statement saying its customer service team worked directly with the customer to address concerns and will work with law enforcement officials to investigate the case.

Italian town offers people $2,350 to move there

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 3:23 PM

Italian Town Offering Thousands to New Residents

The views are picturesque from the panoramic terraces of the homes winding atop each other.

The Baroque architecture and maze of alleyways through the medieval town of Candela, in Italy’s Puglia district, were once part of a thriving tourist destination with a robust population of more than 8,000 people in the 1990s.

>> Read more trending news

Now, about 2,700 people live there.

Nicola Gatta, mayor of Candela, came up with the plan to offer people up to $2,350 (2000 euros) to relocate there.

"I work each day with passion and commitment to bring Candela back to its ancient splendor,” Gatta told CNN.

The council offers $940 (800 euros) for singles, $1,415 (1,200 euros) for couples, $1,770 to $2,120 (1,500 to 1,800 euros) for three-member families, and more than $2,350 (2,000 euros) for families of four to five people.

The catch? New residents must take up residency in Candela, rent a house and have a job with a salary of at least $8,835 (7,500 euros) a year.

“We don't want people flocking here thinking they get to live off the town hall's revenues; all new residents must work and have an income", Stefano Bascianelli, who works with the mayor, told CNN.

North Carolina politician sparks controversy with tweet comparing Trump to Hitler

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 12:45 PM

Charlotte councilwoman LaWana Mayfield posted a controversial tweet.
WSOCTV.com
Charlotte councilwoman LaWana Mayfield posted a controversial tweet.(WSOCTV.com)

A Charlotte city councilwoman is under scrutiny for a controversial tweet she posted comparing President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield posted the tweet Friday morning, which reads in part: “For All who read about Hitler you are Now Living how he reigned in #45."

WSOC spoke with members of the community for reactions to Mayfield’s statement.

"I don't think it's appropriate,” Charlotte resident Ulga Mazets said. 

Mazets is from eastern Europe and said her family was impacted by Hitler’s reign.

“My grandfather was in (a) concentration camp, so I feel it's a very harsh comparison,” she said.

>> Read more trending news

Others felt the comparison was inappropriate but said Mayfield had the right to make it.

“Everybody got their own opinion,” a Charlotte resident said.

Earlier this year, one of Mayfield’s fellow council members, Dimple Ajmera, landed in hot water when she said Trump supporters have no place leading Charlotte government.

[READ MORE: Councilwoman receives death threats following Trump comments]

Ironically, Mayfield just called for an investigation into a Charlotte Housing Authority worker who allegedly posted a tweet on Facebook applauding the death of Keith Lamont Scott, who was shot by police during an incident that sparked a nationwide debate.

University of North Carolina - Charlotte professor Anita Blanchard said these types of comments on social media are becoming more common.

She said leaders and those who use social media platforms should learn to be more media savvy.

“Finding a way to say something that’s not rude that still gets your point across,” she said.

Mayfield didn’t immediately respond to Channel 9’s calls about the tweet, but she tweeted again Friday afternoon saying, “I wish the media would question #45 about why we were in Niger.”

Mayfield is up for re-election. Her Republican opponent Daniel Herrera sent WSOC the following statement:

"I have heard of my opponent's divisive, and inflammatory tweet of political rhetoric comparing the President of the United States to Hitler, pure evil and everything President Trump and I stand to oppose. 

While LaWana Mayfield only wishes to divide our community by using the power of fear to distract from her failures. I stand to change and unite District Three. I will move us forward with policies that support safer streets that allow mail to be delivered and not canceled because of street violence. I have a real plan to promote affordable housing rather than subsidized soccer stadiums that only support the developers who own her vote. I will always represent my faith and never write a policy like her devastating bathroom bill, the one she spearheaded and forced upon our Queen City and which brought so much distrain to our community.

Shame on Mayfield for her continuation of divisive political tactics. Shame on her for disrespecting the over 400,000 Defenders of Freedom who fell beneath our flag to defeat Hitler." 

Mayfield's statement in response to the backlash:

"The Constitutional right of "Free Speech" is a precious and uniquely beloved gift among Americans. With this gift of free speech comes great responsibility. To some, I did not express that responsibly within the limited characters of my earlier tweet. I apologize for the brevity of my statement due to being limited to 140 characters. Many times, we cannot fully express intent or emotion through this limited platform."

"I do not want to diminish the heinous treatment and genocide that our Jewish brothers and sisters experienced at the hands of this dictator nor do I want to further create a dialogue that does not focus on the facts at hand."

"Today, we read about history as a story in a book and sometimes disassociate from the realities of lives impacted. Our communities must unite and realize that at this intersectionality of both conservative and liberal, white and people of color, gay or straight, young and seniors, these variances and diverse populations have strength when they unite in one voice."

"My anger and passion when tweeting was directed to those that continue to make excuses for a man who is leading our Nation in a divisive direction. His policies, the creation of the 'Birther movement,' executive orders and continual mistreatment of marginalized communities has quickly eroded the landscape of civility and civil discourse in our society. 

"I value the diversity of my community, work to be inclusive and give voice to those that are not at the table and bring equity to this city that I love.""While my words chosen have offended some, my intent was to bring attention to the continued crisis that we face each day while this president is leading us. My post angered some and I stay in a state of anger every day I watch the news and this like many posts was shared to shine a light on hypocrisy and the discourse rising in our nation."