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3 juveniles sent to diversion program in Dollar Tree arson fire

Published: Saturday, December 24, 2016 @ 6:57 PM

FROM SCENE: Flames shoot from Dayton Dollar Tree

Three juveniles will undergo a diversion program in connection to the Dollar Tree fire on Wayne Avenue on Christmas Eve.

UPDATE @ 5:08 p.m. (Jan. 24)

The suspects in this case, an 11-year-old boy and two 10-year-old boys, appeared in front of Juvenile Judge Nick Kuntz earlier this month, said Montgomery County Juvenile Court Administrator Jim Cole.

The males were referred to the court diversion program, called the "10 and Under Program." Cole said this is for very young offenders and if they successfully complete the program they will not have a juvenile record following them. 

The program can last from three months to a year, depending on how well they do in program. 

If they fail to comply with the "10 and Under Program," including a fire-starter program, then they appear back in front of the judge. 

All three males remain on electronic home monitoring but are still attending school. 

UPDATE @ 11:13 a.m. (Dec. 27)

Jim Cole, Montgomery County juvenile court administrator, said three males, age 10, 10 and 11, are facing second-degree felony counts of aggravated arson in connection to a Dollar Tree fire. 

The three males, due to their young ages, were released on 24-hour electronic home monitor, Cole said. They were arrested Dec. 25 and released home that day.

They will face a hearing Jan. 18 in front of a magistrate. 

All the suspects are from Dayton and have no prior history with juvenile court.

A Dayton police report lists a fourth juvenile suspect, but that person is not in juvenile court. We’re working to find out more.


We’re working to find out the juveniles’ ages and genders.

No injuries were reported when the fire broke out with customers and employees inside. 

Flames rapidly spread, but witnesses said the workers were the last to get out after making sure all shoppers were safe.

“This fire is suspicious in nature,” said District Chief James Rose of the Dayton Fire Department. “We have shoppers, or patrons, that reported some suspicious activity.”

Rose declined to elaborate further or confirm reports that youths were seen running from the store just before the fire broke out. 

“We have solid leads on who may have started the fire,” he said.

A woman standing in line to buy wrapping paper said she was startled when she heard someone yell, “what’s on fire?” She walked over to the corner and saw “flames going up and up. 

“I screamed to the worker: ‘it’s on fire, it’s on fire, the store’s on fire!’”

The flames quickly reached upper shelves in the back, she said, and moved toward the middle of the store as employees yelled for everyone to get out.

“As soon as the door opened, the flames got bigger,” she said.

The employees were last to leave, and made sure all customers got out safely, she said.

Dayton firefighters quickly arrived, but the fire already was well involved and spreading rapidly, Rose said.

He had to pull firefighters out of the burning building to fight the flames from the outside due to the danger. 

“What we’re confronted with now is the roof is compromised so it’s just going to be a long and drawn out process,” he said.

Water will have to be moved into the building to put out hot spots, Rose added. Crews will likely have to remain on scene for hours.

The fire caused more than an estimated $250,000 in damages to the store and its contents. 

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A Dollar Tree store caught fire Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2016, at 1905 Wayne Ave., in Dayton. DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF

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Lawsuit alleges Moraine police conspired in Dayton man’s deadly shooting

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 9:44 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 11:58 AM

Moraine police shooting: 1 man fatally shot

UPDATE @ 12:02 p.m. 

Family of Jamarco McShann holding a press conference about his death.

Rev. Jerome McCorry, of the National Congress on Faith & Social Justice, said: "We will fight for justice until justice is done.”

According to McCorry, other mothers of Ohio men shot and killed by police are at the press conference.

“These mothers are the leaders,” he said. 

The family’s attorney called it “unacceptable” that the Moraine officers are back on the job.


A wrongful death civil lawsuit has been filed in the October Moraine police officer-involved fatal shooting of a Dayton man.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court by the estate of Jamarco McShann alleges a conspiracy and misconduct involving several Moraine police officers.

RELATED: Group rallies for man shot, killed by Moraine police

“Defendant Officers John Howard, Jerry Knight, Michael Cornely, Justin Eller, Brian O’Neal, and unnamed officers willfully and maliciously shot Jamarco Dewayne McShann to death, and/or failed to intervene to prevent the use of deadly force against him despite the duty and the opportunity to do so,” the lawsuit states.

Morraine Shooting Presser RECAP OF EVENTS

Attorneys for the McShann family said they have scheduled a news conference for 11:30 a.m. today.

We are seeking response from the city and will update the story.

RELATED: An in-depth look at Moraine officers in fatal shooting

“The defendant officers otherwise acted both willfully, wantonly, recklessly, negligently, intentionally, and with malice and willful indifference in committing the acts alleged in this complaint, which resulted in the wrongful death of Jamarco McShann,” according to the suit.

The 23-year-old McShann, died from “multiple shotgun and gunshot wounds” after a confrontation with Moraine officers John Howard and Jerry Knight in the early-morning hours of Oct. 20, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation oversaw a probe into the matter at the request of the Moraine Police Division. That has been forwarded to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

RELATED: Young officer won praise before deadly shooting

The defendants “together with their unnamed co-conspirators, reached an understanding, engaged and continue to engage in a course of conduct, and otherwise jointly acted and/or conspired among and between themselves to unreasonably stop, seize, shoot, and kill Jamarco McShann in violation of his constitutional rights, complete false, inaccurate, and misleading reports, and to make false statements to superior officers in order to conceal their wrongdoing,” according to the suit.

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Driver on fentanyl gets maximum sentence for fatal Ross Twp. crash

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 11:40 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 12:08 PM

Larry Gray II (left) pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide for the death of Laura Cheek. Cheek was killed on Aug. 17 when her black Ford Mustang was hit head-on by Gray’s yellow Mustang on Ross-Millville Road. STAFF FILE
Larry Gray II (left) pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide for the death of Laura Cheek. Cheek was killed on Aug. 17 when her black Ford Mustang was hit head-on by Gray’s yellow Mustang on Ross-Millville Road. STAFF FILE

A Hamilton man has been given the maximum prison sentence for killing a woman in an August crash in Ross Twp.

Larry Gray II, 24, of Oxford Street, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide in February for the death of Laura Cheek.

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Howard on Wednesday sentenced Gray to eight years in prison.

Cheek, 38, of Reily Twp., was killed on Aug. 17 when her black Ford Mustang was hit head-on by Gray’s yellow Mustang on Ross-Millville Road.

Reilly Twp woman killed in crash

MORE: Daughter finds mother dead in Middletown home — and waits 4 days to tell police

At the time of the crash, Gray was estimated to be traveling 79 mph and was impaired by fentanyl, according to the Butler County Sheriff”s Office investigation, Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Dan Phillips said.

Gray was also given a lifetime license suspension, a $5,000 fine, and will be place on three years of post release control when released from prison.

MORE: Man pleads guilty in fatal crash involving drugs, then fails drug test 

There were reports at the crash scene that Gray was driving erratically before the crash that happened at about 9:30 a.m. Police said he also sideswiped another vehicle before colliding with Cheek. The occupants of that car were not injured.

After Gray’s plea on Feb. 7, Howard gave him a chance to remain free until sentencing, but Gray failed a drug test and was taken into custody and booked into the Butler County Jail.

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Austin package explosions: Parts of downtown Pflugerville shut down due to suspicious package report

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:50 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:50 AM

Package Explodes At FedEx Facility In Shertz,Texas

Police have shut down parts of downtown Pflugerville, an Austin suburb, due to a report of a suspicious package, the city’s police chief said early Wednesday. It is not yet known whether the incident is related to the Austin bombings.

The news came the day after investigators linked a fifth bomb blast at a FedEx ground delivery facility northeast of San Antonio to the deadly package bombs in Austin. A sixth blast at a south Austin Goodwill store was not related to the bombings, investigators said.

>> READ MORE: Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombingsPhotos: Austin police investigate explosionsFor investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombingsMap shows location of 4 Austin bombsAustin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this monthOfficials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombingsMan held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police sayAustin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police sayThe Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrestedAustin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony HouseMORE


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Clark County lawyers: Deputy ‘reasonably’ thought photographer had gun

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 11:23 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

Watch as body cam video shows when a deputy fires his weapon and shoots Andy Grimm, a photographer for the New Carlisle News.

It reasonably appeared to Clark County Deputy Jacob Shaw that a news photographer he shot in September had a gun and was a potential danger to the public, lawyers for Clark County allege in their response to a lawsuit.

PREVIOUSLY: News photographer shot by Clark County deputy sues

Photographer Andy Grimm sued the deputy, Clark County and the city of New Carlisle in December, seeking damages for what he called “excessive use of force and violation of Mr. Grimm’s constitutional and common law rights.”

Grimm, a photographer for the New Carlisle News, was shot by Shaw on Sept. 4 on Main Street in New Carlisle while preparing to take photos of the deputy at a traffic stop. Shaw can be heard on body camera footage obtained by the Springfield News-Sun apologizing to Grimm and saying he believed his camera to be a weapon.

“Defendants aver that it reasonably appeared to Deputy Shaw that Andrew Grimm possessed a firearm under the conditions facing him, in the course and scope of his employment, and in good faith, to make a split-second decision to discharge his weapon in order to protect the public and himself from perceived deadly harm,” the response from the county’s lawyers says.

EXTRA: Top stories of 2017: Andy Grimm shot by Clark County deputy

Much of the county’s response is denying several of the allegations in the lawsuit. Grimm’s actions that night might have played a role in the shooting, the county’s response says.

“Plaintiff Andrew Grimm’s own contributory and or comparative negligence and/or assumption of the risk may have caused or contributed to cause the injuries and damages of which he complains,” the response says.

Grimm declined to comment on Tuesday and the county’s attorneys haven’t responded to requests for comment.

RELATED: Clark County deputy shooting of news photographer heads to grand jury

In the lawsuit, Grimm says he suffered serious injuries and financial suffering that he believes the county is responsible for.

“The nature of the injury has caused plaintiff to lose wages for time taken off to heal from the injury,” it says. “The loss of wages suffered by Andrew Grimm is serious and of a nature that no reasonable person could be expected to endure.”

The lawsuit also alleges Grimm’s wife, Melanie Grimm and KBA News LLC, which publishes the New Carlisle News, have suffered due to the shooting.

“Plantiff KBA News, LLC asserts loss of business profits as local law enforcement agencies have retaliated against the business in response to the events of Sept. 4,” the lawsuit says.

In a statement sent to the Springfield News-Sun previously, attorney’s for the county said the defendants aren’t responsible.

“We cannot comment regarding claims against Deputy Shaw because there is an ongoing investigation,” a statement released by the attorneys says. “Clark County and the city of New Carlisle deny all claims against them.”

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is handling the investigation into the deputy-involved shooting. That investigation likely will head to a grand jury soon, spokesman Dan Tierney said. He declined further comment.

The sheriff’s office has said it will do an internal investigation into Shaw’s actions after the state’s investigation is completed. Shaw returned to duty in October, reassigned then to the jail.

3 related stories:

Photographer shot by Clark County deputy claims lost wages, pain

Staying with the story

The Springfield News-Sun has closely tracked developments since first breaking the news of the deputy-involved shooting on Sept. 4, including stories about what the body camera shows and the standards for officer-involved shootings.

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