Bullets aimed at officers' chests stopped by vests

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 6:35 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 4:13 PM

Police officers work the scene where two St. Louis County officers were shot and a man barricaded himself inside a home on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in the St. Louis County town of Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. Officers are trying to negotiate his surrender. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Robert Cohen/AP
Police officers work the scene where two St. Louis County officers were shot and a man barricaded himself inside a home on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in the St. Louis County town of Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. Officers are trying to negotiate his surrender. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)(Robert Cohen/AP)

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.

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.

Arizona mother who gave toddler fatal meth dose receives 20-year prison sentence

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 2:44 PM

File image of a courtroom.
Jason Morrison/Freeimages
File image of a courtroom.(Jason Morrison/Freeimages)

An Arizona woman who gave her toddler a fatal dose of methamphetamine in 2016 was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.

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Natalie Russell, 30, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and child abuse, azcentral.com reported. Russell claimed she gave her 22-month-old daughter meth to counteract the effects of methadone. The child had accidentally ingested methadone that was left in an open container, Russell allegedly told police. Officials said Russell failed to get her daughter medical assistance.

Several friends and family members attended Russell's sentencing at the Maricopa County Superior Court, azcenteral.com reported. Russell's supporters said they forgave her for her actions. Russell maintains that she never meant to harm her daughter, and her actions were driven by her drug addiction.

Deputies: Florida man tries to order burrito from bank, gets charged with DUI

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 5:28 PM

Florida Man Charged With DUI After Ordering Burrito From Bank

Police in Florida arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol after authorities said he attempted to order a burrito from a Bank of America after confusing it for a Taco Bell, according to multiple reports.

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Records from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office show authorities arrested Douglas Jon Francisco, 28, on Wednesday.

The manager of the Bank of America branch on Mariner Boulevard in Spring Hill, Martin Claussen, called authorities Wednesday afternoon after he said he found a blue Hyundai in the bank’s drive-up bank lane with a man who appeared to be passed out inside, WTSP reported.

Claussen said he had to bang on the car window several times before Francisco awoke, according to the Tampa Bay Times. When Francisco saw the bank manager, deputies said he tried to order a burrito.

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Claussen told Francisco that he was not at a Taco Bell and Francisco drove the Hyundai to the bank’s front parking lot, according to the Times. Deputies said he was in the front parking lot, the car still idling, when authorities arrived.

In an arrest report, a deputy wrote that Francisco “made several statements that were differing from reality” and denied asking Claussen for a burrito. Deputies said his responses during a field sobriety test “were slow in a way that was consistent with someone on prescription narcotics,” WTSP reported. He was given a drug test, the results of which were pending.

During a search of the Hyundai, deputies said they found prescription medication that had been made out in Francisco’s name, according to the Times.

Jail records show Francisco was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and released Thursday afternoon on a $500 bond.

White supremacists responsible for most extremist killings in 2017, ADL says

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:36 PM

A man tends a makeshift candlelight vigil for those who died and were injured when a car plowed into a crowd of anti-fascist counter-demonstrators marching near a downtown shopping area August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car allegedly plowed through a crowd, and at least one person has died from the incident, following the shutdown of the 'Unite the Right' rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the 'alt-right' and counter-protesters clashed near Emancipation Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images
A man tends a makeshift candlelight vigil for those who died and were injured when a car plowed into a crowd of anti-fascist counter-demonstrators marching near a downtown shopping area August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car allegedly plowed through a crowd, and at least one person has died from the incident, following the shutdown of the 'Unite the Right' rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the 'alt-right' and counter-protesters clashed near Emancipation Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Far-right extremists – particularly white supremacists – were responsible for more than half of the deaths attributed to extremists in the United States last year, according to a report issued this week by the Anti-Defamation League.

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Twenty of the 34 extremist-related killings in 2017 were carried out by far-right extremists, more than double the number that group was responsible for in 2016, according to the ADL’s annual report on extremist-related killings in America. 

Eighteen of those 20 deaths were caused by white supremacists, according to the ADL.

The incidents noted by the ADL included the August 2017 death of Heather Heyer, 32, who was protesting a rally organized by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, when authorities said she was mowed down by a vehicle driven by James Alex Fields, 20.

>> Related: 3 dead, 35 injured after 'Unite the Right' rally sparks violence in Charlottesville

“We cannot ignore the fact that white supremacists are emboldened, and as a society we need to keep a close watch on recruitment and rallies such as Charlottesville, which have the greatest potential to provoke and inspire violence,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a news release.

The deadliest incident of last year, however, was carried out by an Islamic extremist. Eight people died in October when a man identified as Sayfullo Saipov, 29, plowed a pickup truck into bicyclists and pedestrians on a path in New York City.

>> Related: Who is Sayfullo Saipov, New York City terror attack suspect?

Including the October killings, a total of nine deaths were attributed to Islamic extremists, according to the ADL. Black nationalists were responsible for five of the killings reported in 2017, according to the ADL.

“These findings are a stark reminder that domestic extremism is a serious threat to our safety and security,” Greenblatt said. “We saw two car-ramming attacks in the U.S. last year -- one from an Islamic terrorist and another from a white supremacist in Charlottesville -- and the number of deaths attributed to white supremacists increased substantially. The bottom line is we cannot ignore one form of extremism over another. We must tackle them all.”

The ADL urged officials to “use their bully pulpit to speak out against racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry at every opportunity” to mitigate the extremist threat. The ADL also recommended that federal and state officials create programs to help those trying to leave extremist movements and to “thwart (the) recruitment of disaffected or alienated Americans.”