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Bullets aimed at officers' chests stopped by vests, officials say

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 3:24 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 4:13 PM

St. Louis Police Officers Saved By Bulletproof Vests

A man opened fire on two police officers who were 15 feet away from him on Thursday morning, striking them with bullets that would have hit their chests if not for their bulletproof vests, according to multiple reports.

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The vests might have saved the officers’ lives, KTVI reported. The pair was conscious and speaking Thursday after the shooting in Bellefontaine Neighbors, according to the news station. They were released from a hospital on Thursday afternoon after getting treatment for their injuries, St. Louis County police said.

Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Bob Doerr told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the injured officers were a 44-year-old male sergeant who has worked in law enforcement for “half his life” and a 25-year-old female police officer who was hired in 2014.

"They were wearing their bulletproof vests, so thank God," Doerr old the Post-Dispatch

The officers were injured around 7:30 a.m. after being called Thursday morning to a home in north St. Louis County where a man was suspected of having fired multiple shots on Wednesday night, KTVI reported. Police left the home Wednesday after finding no evidence to continue an investigation, St. Louis County police Sgt. Shawn McGuire told KMOV.

He told the news station that a neighbor called authorities Thursday morning after spotting the man who was suspected of firing the shots. Officers said they found the person walking in the area and tried to talk to him, but St. Louis County police said they were unsuccessful.

“Officers tried to take the suspect into custody, at which time the suspect resisted arrest,” police said. “One of the officers attempted to use a Taser to control the suspect, but was unsuccessful.”

Authorities said the man then pulled out a gun and fired shots at the officers’ chests.

One of the officers returned fire, but it was not immediately clear if the man was hit. He ran into a home, where he barricaded himself for hours before police officers were able to take him into custody Thursday afternoon.

Witness Steve Jones told KMOV he spotted police officers Thursday morning in the front yard of a home on Bellefontaine Road.

“All of a sudden, I (see) ... Bellefontaine officers trying to take this man to the ground, and the next thing I know, this man jumps up off the ground and I see pepper spray being deployed from the officers,” Jones told KMOV. “This man backs up about 15 feet and starts shooting.”

He said he heard several gunshots and saw the officers fall to the ground. He told KMOV he called 911.

Police did not immediately identify the man accused of firing shots at police or either of the injured officers.

Dogs found in perfect condition in home where 13 siblings held captive

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 1:52 AM

13 Siblings Held Captive In California "House of Horrors"

A pair of well-kept dogs were taken from the Perris, California, house where 13 children were found shackled and severely malnourished last week.

>> Watch the news report here

David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, are facing a minimum of 94 years for charges including child neglect and torture after police said their children, ranging from ages 2 to 29, were discovered in their home severely malnourished.

>> Neighbors of parents accused of holding 13 kids captive describe family as odd, reclusive

In a statement on Wednesday, city spokesman Joe Vargo said authorities recovered two Maltese terrier dogs in far better condition than the Turpins’ children. The 1-year-old female puppies were reportedly healthy and were taught skills, People reported.

“The animals, one white and one black, appear healthy and friendly and are leash-trained, according to Christina Avila, a senior animal control officer,” a press release from the city of Perris said.

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The dogs — one was named Fluffy — were featured in photos from the city appearing well-groomed and in sweaters. An adoption raffle for the pups is being held through Jan. 26 to find them new homes.

Investigators said the children were only allowed showers a few times per year and were fed only once per day. In a press conference with reporters Thursday, District Attorney Mike Hestrin alleged that the last time any of the children had seen a doctor was four years ago and they had never been to a dentist. Police said the parents allegedly kept themselves well-fed and regularly ate pies in front of their children to taunt them, ABC News reported.

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

The 17-year-old who reportedly escaped the home through a bedroom window to alert authorities was initially believed to be just 10 years old due to the severity of her malnourishment, while the oldest victim, a 29-year-old woman, weighed only 82 pounds when the children were found. According to Hestrin, the children “lack a basic knowledge of life,” although they were allegedly homeschooled, KTLA reported.

According to the Daily Mail, the parents face a combined total of 75 charges, and each was being held on $12 million bond.

Parents accused of holding their 13 children captive appear in court

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 7:48 AM

13 Siblings Held Captive In California "House of Horrors"

David and Louise Turpin are facing a string of charges, including torture, after police say the couple kept their 13 children locked away in subhuman conditions in their Perris, California, home. On Thursday, the Turpins made their first court appearance.

>> Watch the video here

>> On Rare.us: Here’s what the children in the California torture house did to cope with the alleged abuse

David Turpin appeared in chains, wearing a lavender shirt and black jacket while his wife sat nearby, also in chains and a black jacket. The Turpins entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges, some of which date back to 2010. The district attorney says the couple is facing 94 years to life in prison if convicted on all counts.

>> Dogs found in perfect condition in home where 13 siblings held captive

During the arraignment, the Turpins were quiet and spoke only to say they acknowledged their right to a speedy preliminary hearing, CBS reports. They will appear in court again on Feb. 23, and their bail was set at $13 million.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a press conference, “As a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, that will haunt you. Sometimes, in this business, we’re faced with looking at human depravity, and that’s what we’re looking at here.”

Authorities said the parents were able to keep their children hidden away by listing their home as a private school. Some of the kids, who ranged in ages from 2 to 29, reportedly didn’t know what a police officer was.

The children were only allowed to eat once a day and shower twice a year, authorities said. However, the parents reportedly did allow them to keep journals, and authorities said the kids filled hundreds of notebooks. Those have not been released and are still being reviewed by law enforcement.

The children are currently being cared for in the hospital, authorities said. The Riverside University Health System has set up a fund for the children that will go to their long-term needs, according to a press release. The hospital said the children have already seen a tremendous outpouring of support.

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Brian Rokos of the Press-Enterprise was present at the hearing and reported that David Turpin is being represented by a public defender, while Louise Turpin has outside counsel. During Thursday’s arraignment, the public defender requested that media be banned from the trial, but the judge shot that down. Rokos said reporters from around the world were in the courtroom. The Turpins' lawyers have not announced whether they will try to have the case moved out of Riverside County.

Neighbors of parents accused of holding 13 kids captive describe family as odd, reclusive

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 6:12 AM

13 Siblings Held Captive In California "House of Horrors"

Neighbors described the reportedly nightmarish situation at the Turpin home, where parents David and Louise allegedly kept their 13 children shackled to their beds and malnourished, as seeming like a “cult.”

Former neighbors said the children were made to march around for hours in the middle of the night, they told the New York Post.

A man named Mike, who did not want to give his full name and was a neighbor of the Turpins when they lived in Murrieta, California, told the Post, “I thought they were like a cult. They would march back and forth on the second story at night. The light would be on the whole time, and they would be marching the kids back and forth.”

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

Mike said he would arrive home late from his job at a hospital and see the children marching through the upstairs rooms of the Turpin home between midnight and 3 a.m.

David and Louis Turpin were arrested Sunday in their Perris, California, home after one of their daughters called police for help, saying she had managed to escape the house with a cellphone. When police arrived, they reportedly found the siblings, ages 2 to 29, living in squalor and looking very thin, with several of the kids shackled to furniture.

Mike said his wife, Myrna, called the family “clones,” saying the Turpins all spoke “robotically, in a monotone and at the same” time during the few occasions on which Myrna interacted with them at a local grocer.

However, Mike told the Post that he and Myrna never called the police because they didn’t see anything that suggested they needed to. They just thought the parents were a bit odd.

Mike, as well former neighbors from when the Turpins owned a farm in Rio Vista, Texas — which the family left due to foreclosure — remarked on the amount of trash that the family accumulated.

“I ended up calling the police because of the trash and everything that was left there,” said former Texas neighbor Randy McClain. “There was a brand new pickup truck covered in [trash] — a whole truck bed full and overflowing to the ground with trash: diapers, Spam cans, potted meat cans, just overflowing.”

The Daily Mail got access to the Turpin’s Perris backyard and found a Disney-themed fountain situated in a messy yard in which “piles of metal pipes could be seen strewn around, along with a rusty set of metal garden furniture and some diaper boxes.”

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Through the screen door, the Daily Mail spied piles of clutter, including what appear to be stacked books, within the house.

Neighbor Leticia Gomez, 45, who lives directly behind the Turpin home, told the Daily Mail that she wasn’t aware there were any kids in the house. She described the Turpins’ garden as unkempt and “scruffy.”

Another neighbor, Andria Valdez, said she did know there were children living in the home and that she had seen them before. She joked that the Turpins reminded her of the vampire family in the “Twilight” books and movies, because they were “really, really pale” and “only came out at night.”

Florida man accused of shoplifting, leaving child in running car at Walmart

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 3:46 PM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 3:24 PM

Derek Kingsland
Palm Beach County Jail
Derek Kingsland(Palm Beach County Jail)

Police arrested a man at a Walmart in Florida Thursday night after he allegedly left a 7-year-old child in his car while he went inside the store and shoplifted.

Around 8 p.m., a loss prevention officer spotted Derek Kingsland, 29, in the Jupiter store “looking around suspiciously,” the arrest report stated.

Kingsland attempted to purchase $48 worth of items at the self-checkout line, but when his card was declined he walked to the women’s section of the store, placed the items in his pocket and attempted to walk out, the Palm Beach Post reported.

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Among the items listed as stolen on the police report were cordless phone batteries, a knife, an air compressor, a ratchet and a Starbucks coffee drink.

Jupiter police officers met with Kingsland, who admitted that he did not have enough money to purchase the items and tried to take them without paying. He then said to officers that he would go to his car to get money and that he left a sleeping child in his car.

Officers found the child awake inside the car with the engine running. A relative picked up the child and officers arrested Kingsland on charges of shoplifting, child abuse, and use of an anti-theft device.

Kingsland remains at the Palm Beach County Jail on a $18,000 bond, the Palm Beach Post reported.