breaking news


Cause of Franklin industrial fire under investigation

Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 4:26 PM

Nexgen franklin fire

The cause of an industrial fire early Monday morning in Franklin has not been determined, but the city’s fire chief told this news outlet he believes it may have been accidental.

FIRST REPORT: Multiple fire units battle Franklin business fire for over two hours

The fire started just after midnight at Next Gen Composites, 321 Conover Drive, and required fire and EMS units from Middletown, Franklin Twp., Carlisle, Clearcreek Twp., the Joint Emergency Medical Services, and the Miami Valley Fire District to assist Franklin firefighters in putting out the fully-involved fire.

A passerby saw the flames coming out of the roof and called 911.

Franklin Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf said flames were visible from the roof as the first firefighters arrived at the business that manufactures fireproof panels.

He described the building as a large, steel-sheeted frame warehouse.

“It was pretty hot and supercharged,” Westendorf said. “There was a lot of dark black smoke and lots of heat, enough to melt the structural steel inside the building.”

MORE: Cell phone records, social media messages presented in Hamilton firefighter death trial

He said the building is about 150-feet long and a door he touched on the opposite end of the building was very hot.

On Monday night, a Franklin fire official told this news outlet that the business was not equipped with a fire alarm or sprinklers, which is why crews were not able to respond as quickly as they could have.

Westendorf said the fire was not suspicious and was probably accidental.

However, while it was not a criminal fire, he said the insurance company’s investigation remained ongoing as of Tuesday morning.

Westendorf believes the origin of the fire was caused by a large industrial oven that caused about $250,000 in losses.

He said city officials were working with the company to relocate them to a space on Graham Drive.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Retired Centerville police chief focus of investigation

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:01 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:23 PM


            Bruce Robertson
Bruce Robertson

Centerville police chief Bruce Robertson’s recent retirement came amid an ongoing investigation into allegations of criminal conduct, according to city officials.

“There were allegations of criminal conduct, therefore we’re following up with conducting an internal investigation into those allegations,” City Manager Wayne Davis said in response to questions from the Dayton Daily News/WHIO I-Team.

“At this time there’s no evidence of criminal activity, however our investigation is not complete,” Davis said.

RELATED: Centerville police chief retires after nearly 40 years

Robertson retired on Feb. 9 after working for the city nearly 40 years. His two-page letter of resignation cited “a serious medical condition” for the reason he decided to retire.

When asked if the investigation was connected to Robertson’s decision to retire, Davis said: “Not from what was shared with me.”

Davis said the internal review is being conducted by the law director and started sometime after Jan. 24.

Robertson couldn’t be reached for comment.

The city of Centerville released a statement Friday saying, in part, “the city is not at liberty to discuss the details of the investigation at this time. The city will continue to cooperate with providing information as it becomes available.”

TRENDING: As gun debate re-emerges, 7 findings from our recent reporting on gun laws

The chief’s personnel records do not indicate the reason for the investigation.

Records from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in London, Ohio, show Robertson has been paid $32,294 to teach classes there since 2010, including $5,600 for seven training sessions in 2017. Davis confirmed the city is looking into whether Robertson was reimbursed for the same days he worked as police chief, getting paid twice for the same hours. He would not say whether those allegations are part of the criminal probe, however.

I-TEAM: Back taxes sought on 1,614 properties in Montgomery County

His most recent performance review in 2016 included positive reviews.

“He cares deeply about the men and women of the Centerville Police Department and strives to maintain the high professional reputation of the organization,” the review says.

But he was also given a formal, verbal warning in December and told to attend a course on harassment in the workplace because of an incident last August, according to the records. While talking with officers about preparations for a rally supporting transgender issues, Robertson jokingly asked a police officer “How’d your surgery go?” The officer complained and the comment was determined to be inappropriate by the city, the records show.

Robertson retired and was rehired in 2014. His employment contract in June 2017 was extended to January 2019.

Robertson was paid $127,501 in 2016, according to the I-Team Payroll Project.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Teen accused in Springfield school threat makes court appearance

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 2:33 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:31 PM

A Springfield High School student was in Clark County Juvenile Court because of alleged threats posted on social media

The Springfield High School student charged in connection with a school threat that caused local schools and schools across the country to take safety precautions made her first court appearance Friday.

The 17-year-old junior stood before Clark County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Vaughn and cried as the judge told her she was being charged with inducing panic, a felony in the second degree.

READ: Springfield-Clark CTC investigates social media threat

“(The threat) was tracked to the phone of the suspect,” Vaughn said, reading her charging document.

The potential penalty, if she is convicted, is between one year to until she is 21 years old in the Ohio Department of Youth Services, Vaughn said.

The student’s next court date will be Wednesday.

“The court finds given the seriousness of the offense that the defendant be held at this time,” Vaughn said.

The defendant will make her way through the juvenile court system and not be moved to adult court, Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson said.

The juvenile court system can handle incidents like these, he said.

MORE: Springfield student arrested in Facebook threat: 4 things to know

“This case will remain in juvenile court for adjudication and the State of Ohio will not seek to have this defendant bound over to adult court,” Wilson said.

What the suspect allegedly did was serious, Wilson said, and it will be prosecuted.

“The actions of this defendant caused serious public inconvenience and alarm,” Wilson said. “This defendant and any other person who posts or issues these kinds of threats will have to answer for their actions in front of a judge.”

He said no one should make threats against a school.

RELATED: Attendance ‘light’ at schools across Clark County after threat

“Local law enforcement will continue to take these threats seriously and anyone caught making these types of threats will be arrested and charged,” he said.

Clark County had a strenuous week with school threats and security. On Tuesday, an unloaded gun was found in an 8-year-old Simon Kenton student’s backpack. And there had been rumors that a gun was found at Springfield High School on Wednesday. Superintendent Bob Hill said the rumors, which concerned many parents and community members on social media, was not true.

Also on Friday, Clark County deputies investigated a supposed threat towards Northwestern Local Schools.

The Northwestern student was arrested at the start of school Friday morning, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and a one-call sent to parents by the district.

“There was another threat and another arrest was made,” Clark County Chief Deputy Travis Russell told the Springfield News-Sun.

Northwestern School Superintendent Jesse Steiner said a student made an online post that was perceived by some to have threatened the school, but that student did not mean to.

READ: Springfield student arrested in Facebook threat: 4 things to know

Steiner said the online post was taken out of context, and the student did not intend to harm anyone.

“At no point was anybody in danger,” Steiner said. “People could have misinterpreted the post. The kid did not threaten anyone.”

The post is a reason why it might be a good idea to talk to kids about what they post online, Steiner said.

“This is a great time to talk about what they post online and how they say it,” he said. “Have that conversation so they can keep their kids safe.”

The status of the student’s case was unknown Friday afternoon.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Over 170 Texas school districts allow staff to be armed

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 5:16 PM



Scott Olson/Getty Images
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has called for the arming of qualified teachers in the wake of a deadly shooting that left 17 people dead at a Florida high school, but in Texas dozens of school districts already allow staff members to carry firearms.

>> Read more trending news

Officials with the Texas Association of School Boards on Thursday told KSAT that they were aware of at least 172 school districts that let staff members carry firearms. Each district individually decides whether to allow staff to carry weapons, board spokeswoman Theresa Gage told the news station.

Under state and federal laws, schools are usually considered gun-free zones, but Texas law allows for districts to authorize employees to carry firearms under a pair of programs, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported.

>> Related: Teachers to Trump: #ArmMeWith funding, supplies and resources, not guns

The Guardian Plan, which allows for certain teachers to be designated as “guardians” who are allowed to carry concealed handguns, was created in 2007 as schools were reeling in the wake of a shooting at Virginia Tech that left more than 30 people dead and nearly two dozen injured, Texas Monthly magazine reported in 2014.

Four years after the creation of the Guardian Plan, the state legislature passed the Protection of Texas Children Act. The act allows school districts to arm and train one employee as a school marshal for every 400 students, according to Texas Monthly.

Agua Dulce Independent School District Superintendent Wayne Kelly told the Caller-Times that his district chose to participate in the Guardian Plan starting in 2016. To participate in the program, teachers and staff members are required to undergo mental health evaluations and 80 hours of training by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, according to the newspaper.

>> Related: Some Ohio school districts arm staff, but don't tell public

"I feel like it would be good because there's a way to stop (school shooters)" under the Guardian and the School Marshal plans, Fabian Crossland, whose son is a kindergartner, told KSAT.

Still, the plans have their critics, including Texas State Teachers Association spokesman Clay Robison.

“It’s a bad idea. It’s always been a bad idea, and it will stay a bad idea,” Robison told the Dallas Morning News. “Teachers are there to teach, and they will protect their kids as the teachers did their best to do in Florida. Steps need to be taken to reduce the number of guns floating around in the hands of wrong people. Guns in the hands of teachers are not the solution. It’s a cop-out.”

>> Related: Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls for reform to state's gun laws, increase in school security

Trump on Friday reiterated his call to allow certain teachers and school administrators to carry concealed weapons in school, arguing that such a move would prevent or drastically cut down on the carnage caused by school shootings.

He wrote Thursday on Twitter, “If a potential ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school.”

“Why do we protect our airports, our banks, our government buildings, but not our school?” Trump asked Friday during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. “Our schools are essentially gun-free zones and that makes them very dangerous places.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, schools currently allow staff members to carry guns on campuses in about two dozen states.

Trending - Most Read Stories

17-year-old arrested after woman killed in front of 2 children

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 3:04 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:30 PM

Connected to Lorenz Avenue homicide

UPDATE @ 4:30 p.m. (Feb. 23):

A 17-year-old male was arrested and is being booked into the Montgomery County Juvenile Detention Center on a preliminary charge of murder in connection to the shooting death of Keyona Murray, police said.

The teen has a criminal history, according to investigators.

Court officials said the teen has been in trouble before for unauthorized use of motor vehicle, breaking and entering and burglary.  Officials said he had just recently completed probation.

RELATED: Coroner: Victim in Lorenz Ave. shooting dies, identified

Police said the teen was taken into custody at a residence on Gard Avenue today.

A detention hearing is scheduled for Saturday morning.

INITIAL REPORT

A $2,500 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of arrests of anyone involved in the shooting death of a woman shot in front of two children on Friday.

Keyona Murray, 22, died at Miami Valley Hospital after being transported from a home in the 100 block of Lorenz Avenue in Dayton, where she was shot in the head, according to police.

RELATED: Coroner: Victim in Lorenz Ave. shooting dies, identified

Murray was sitting in the bedroom with her 2-year-old child, 2-year-old nephew and another adult when someone fired numerous gunshots into the house.

Miami Valley Crime Stoppers is offering the reward and said anyone providing tips can remain anonymous.

“We also know that in all likelihood, someone in the community knows who committed this heinous crime, so Miami Valley Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest or arrests of anyone involved,” the organization said in a prepared statement. “Keyona succumbed to her injuries later that night, leaving many to mourn her loss after this senseless act of violence.”

Trending - Most Read Stories