Police: Florida teen who shot classmate says he only meant to pistol-whip him

Published: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 1:39 PM
Updated: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 1:27 PM

Florida Teen Shot Classmate, Says He Only Meant to Pistol-Whip Him

A Florida high school student is being charged with three felony counts after he allegedly shot a classmate following a dispute on a school bus, according to an arrest report.

Artnell Shemar Brown, who turned 18 years old Nov. 16, is accused of shooting the classmate on Oct. 26 when he was still 17. The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office chose to file adult charges against Brown, who is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail on $150,000 bail.

Brown is charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon on school property, the Palm Beach Post reported.

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According to an arrest report, Brown got into a dispute with the 14-year-old victim after they “mistakenly” bumped against each other on a school bus. Brown then asked the boy if he had a “problem.”

The argument continued after the boys stepped off the bus.

Brown then pulled a handgun from his waistband, pointed it at the boy and “cocked it,” the report said. Fearing for his life, the victim reached for the gun. During the struggle, the gun went off and the victim was shot in the right foot.

Brown told West Palm Beach police that he intended only to “scare” the boy by pistol-whipping him and that the gun “accidentally” went off. Brown demonstrated to police how he wanted to pistol-whip the boy but “his demonstration didn’t corroborate his said intentions,” the report said.

Brown told police he brought the gun to school for personal “protection.” He said he hid the gun in a garbage can at a park near Royal Palm Beach High School, then retrieved it at the end of the school day.

The firearm — a Kel-Tec PF9 — was tossed into bushes by Brown and later found by police wrapped in his sweatshirt. The report does not indicate who owned the gun.

An inspection of the firearm by police revealed one spent shell casing that failed to eject, the Palm Beach Post reported.

“It is reasonable to say that Artnell Brown may have discharged this firearm a second time,” the report said.

The victim, who is a ninth-grade student, was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, but no further details were released regarding his condition.

According to the report, Brown was not riding on his assigned school bus. Instead he took the school bus where the argument with the victim began because he wanted to visit a friend in the Briar Bay communitynear where the bus stopped.

During an court appearance Tuesday morning, Brown was ordered not to have any contact with Royal Palm Beach High School, the victim or county school buses.

Once Brown posts bail, he will be placed on in-house arrest and will wear a GPS monitor. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 5.

The shooting was the second of three gun-related cases between Oct. 10 to Nov. 1 in county schools.

A student at Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens was arrested Oct. 10 on a school bus for allegedly having a gun. The 16-year-old faces a charge of a juvenile in possession of a weapon.

A 12-year-old Jeaga Middle School student was arrested Nov. 1 after students found a pistol magazine loaded with bullets under his desk in a classroom. The school’s principal then found a semi-automatic handgun that the boy had stashed in a bathroom at the school, which is on Jog Road west of Florida’s Turnpike and north of Okeechobee Boulevard in suburban West Palm Beach.

District officials were not available for comment Tuesday, although they have previously declined to answer questions about the incidents, saying its policy was not to discuss security incidents on its campuses.

The boy who brought the gun to Jeaga is accused of possessing a gun on school property and was ordered by a juvenile court judge on Nov. 2 to remain on home arrest.

The Post is not naming either the Dwyer or Jeaga students because they have not been charged as adults.

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.”

2 arrested after infant, 4-year-old dumped along freezing roads

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:26 PM

Khyree Swift, 17, appears in court on Jan. 19, 2018 after being arrested on charges including kidnapping and theft in Clayton County, Georgia.
WSB-TV
Khyree Swift, 17, appears in court on Jan. 19, 2018 after being arrested on charges including kidnapping and theft in Clayton County, Georgia.(WSB-TV)

Authorities have captured two teens they say stole an SUV with two children inside before abandoning them in below freezing temperatures.

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Khyree Swift, 17, and an unidentified 16-year-old have been charged with kidnapping, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators said they tracked a stolen iPad to the home of one of the suspects, WSB-TV reported.

>> On AJC.com: SUV thief dumped little girl, 1-month-old baby along freezing roads

Swift was arrested Friday by Riverdale police, according to jail records. He appeared in court later in the day and was denied bond, WSB-TV reported.

Swift told a judge he doesn’t understand the allegations against him, according to the news station. His family told WSB-TV that Swift had nothing to do with the crime.

It is not clear when the other teen was captured.

Swift and the 16-year-old are accused of taking Precious Wilmer’s 2009 Chevy Equinox about 5 p.m. Wednesday from a QuikTrip on Riverdale Road.

Wilmer left her daughters, 1-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport, in the SUV with the engine running while she went inside the convenience store, Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said.

She came out of the store and saw her car being driven away with her children in the back seat, police said. 

The girls were later found miles apart. 

Georgia State University police Chief Joseph Spillane found Arya walking on the shoulder of a roadway near I-285 and Riverdale Road, police said.

Channel 2 photojournalist Brian Ferguson found Ava in the middle of South Fulton Parkway, still strapped in her car seat.

>> On AJC.com: Children carjacked in Atlanta saved by passers-by in frigid weather 

At the time, the temperature was in the 20s, but it felt like the single digits.

The girls appeared to be OK, but were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center as a precaution. 

Atlanta police later located Precious Wilmer’s SUV on Metropolitan Parkway. 

In addition to kidnapping, Swift faces charges of theft by receiving stolen property, cruelty to children in the first degree and theft by taking.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writers Steve Burns and Raisa Habersham contributed to this report

Woman shot, killed at Mississippi Walmart by on-again, off-again boyfriend, police say

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

On-Again, Off-Again Boyfriend Shoots, Kills Woman At Walmart

A man is facing a capital murder charge after Starkville police accused him of shooting and killing a woman described as his “on-again, off-again” girlfriend at a Mississippi Walmart where she worked as an optometrist, according to multiple reports.

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The shooting happened around 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Walmart in Starkville. Police Chief Frank Nichols said a man fired several shots after walking into the store and confronting a woman, identified as Walmart Vision Center employee Shauna Witt, 42, the Starkville Daily News reported.

No other injuries were reported.

Witt was taken to a hospital, where she later died from her injuries, police said.

Police said they confronted a man at the scene of the shooting and detained him after a brief struggle. The man, identified as William Thomas “Tommy” Chisholm, was arrested and charged with capital murder.

Investigators believe the shooting was the result of a domestic situation. According to witnesses, Chisholm and Witt were in an on-again, off-again dating relationship.

SPD Press Conference - Walmart Shooting Incident

Posted by Starkville Police Department on Saturday, January 13, 2018

After the shooting, Justin Blaylock, who said he knew Witt for nearly two decades, described her as “a generous, kind soul,” the Daily News reported.

“She will be greatly missed by all,” he said. “(She was) just a genuine friend that cared at all times and was willing to lend a hand at any time.”

At the time of the killing, police said, Chisholm was out on felony bond for an incident related to the victim.

Police continue to investigate the shooting.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.