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Wright-Patt employees can't bring handguns to work 

Published: Thursday, March 09, 2017 @ 3:00 PM
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 7:14 PM

Wright-Patt employees can't bring handguns to work 

Workers at the states’s largest single-site employer, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, won’t be allowed to bring their handguns to work even though a new state law says employees with concealed-carry permits can keep their guns in locked cars on company property.

RELATED: Guns at work: New law allows handguns on private property

“Wright-Patterson AFB is an exclusive federal jurisdiction and therefore CCW holders are not authorized to carry privately owned weapons on base,” said Daryl Mayer, media operations sections chief at the base, which employs about 27,000 people.

Other federal employers, such as the U.S. Postal Service, also are exempt from a state law that drew deep objections from business leaders.

RELATED: CCW Expansion is latest effort to broaden gun laws in Ohio

In the legislation, the Ohio General Assembly in December expanded the CCW law to overrule private employer’s “no-guns” policies. The law, which takes effect Tuesday, March 21, does not require businesses to let employees bring guns inside their buildings.

Federal employers don’t have to follow the law, however.

“This law does not apply to buildings or parking lots owned or controlled by the Postal Service, where possession or storage of firearms is not permitted,” said David Van Allen, spokesman for the Postal Service’s northern Ohio and Ohio Valley districts.

RELATED: Business groups lament Ohio expanded gun laws

“The Postal Service regulation was held to be constitutional by a federal appeals court, which found that the prohibition did not violate the Second Amendment,” Van Allen said.

In 2015 the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver overturned a lower court ruling that would have allowed guns in private cars on postal service property.

Employees and others also cannot bring their guns to the federal court building in Dayton, said U.S. District Court Judge Walter H. Rice.

RELATED: Do concealed-carry laws make us safer?

“Federal installations are not bound by the state law except in certain situations which I don’t think are relevant,” Rice said. “My opinion is that it is not applicable to federal facilities unless the federal installation decides to adopt that portion of the law. What I said applies to the parking lot as well.”

Rice said Ohio’s expansion of open carry and concealed-carry laws concern him.

“I think open carry (and concealed-carry) laws, with all due deference to the Second Amendment, which I support…are dangerous to any community because of the epidemic of mental health issues throughout this country,” he said. “Putting guns in the hands of mentally incompetent people is a recipe for disaster.”

RELATED: Hundreds killed by guns in workplace

RELATED: 9 Workplace Shooting incidents in Ohio and the U.S.

RELATED: Tips to avoid gun violence at work

RELATED: CCW Expansion is latest effort to broaden gun laws in Ohio

Jurors quizzed on views of Muslims in Warren County shooting trial

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 6:49 PM

The jury in the trial of Mohammed Laghaoui on Tuesday will visit the scene of a shooting last June in Warren County that left a sheriff’s deputy wounded and the area on lockdown.

The jury was selected in six hours Monday, about the same amount of time from the start of the June incident until Laghaoui, now 20, returned to the Orchards of Landen apartment complex where he lived with his father and brother, ending the lockdown.

RELATED: Active shooter wounded two before fleeing scene

Laghaoui’s lawyer, Nadeem Quraishi, questioned potential jurors on their opinions of Muslims and whether they thought Muslims were prone to violence.

Evidence indicates Laghaoui, a Moroccan raised in Butler County, was preparing to leave the country with an AK-47 at the time of the fight with his father and brother that brought Deputy Katie Barnes to their door twice that day.

So far, authorities have declined to comment on whether Laghaoui had been radicalized by extremists or was intent on terrorist violence when he quarreled with his family.

RELATED: Passport, AK-47 ammo found at scene

Both Barnes and Laghaoui’s father were wounded during the shooting.

Laghaoui faces 10 charges ranging from the attempted murder of Barnes - a coach and former sports star in Mason - to domestic violence.

RELATED: Who is Warren County sheriff’s deputy Katie Barnes?

After opening statements, prosecutors are expected to call Barnes and other law enforcement officials and use a wide range of photos, some bloody, and an AK-47 “exactly similar” to convince the jury that Laghaoui shot Barnes and his father and fired on another neighbor and into a neighboring apartment.

Quraishi is expected to work to show the jury that Laghaoui should be found not guilty by reason of insanity due to mental illness and use of synthetic marijuana.

The defense lawyer also repeatedly asked prospective jurors if they would use a gun to defend their families, indicating another potential element of his strategy.

RELATED: Defense wants to claim synthetic drug use

We don’t have to prove that he was not insane,” Assistant County Prosecutor John Arnold said during jury selection.

Also Monday, Arnold indicated the Laghaouis worked at Kroger stores in the area.

RELATED: Fish finder used in search for AK-47

Among the potential jurors released was a Mason police officer who helped search for LaghaouiLaw enforcement officers from around the area assisted with the search and lockdown.

The trial was to take five days, but Judge Timothy Tepe - who took over the case in January after his election - acknowledged it was so far moving at “a snail’s pace.”

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Before releasing the jury Monday, Tepe said they would visit the scene to start off Tuesday and advised them not to discuss the case - even with their families.

“You can tell them that you had jury duty today, but you can’t talk about it until the trial is over,” Tepe said.

Middletown police confiscate drugs, cash

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 5:29 PM
Updated: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 5:43 PM


            Middletown police confiscate drugs, cash

A routine traffic stop in Middletown last week led to a “major” drug bust, Middletown police said.

Jeff Burton, of Middletown, was pulled over Thursday night at the corner of Verity Parkway and Breiel Boulevard for a traffic violation, said Lt. Jimmy Cunningham. The arresting officer noticed drug paraphernalia in the car and one of the city’s canine officers was brought to the vehicle to do a drug search.

The dog recovered about 20 ounces of crack cocaine and digital scales were found inside the vehicle, Cunningham said.

Police also recovered more than $6,800 in cash from the vehicle, Cunningham said.

MIDDLETOWN TO CRIMINALS: ‘We will come at you with full force’

Burton was charged with felony drug abuse/cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and tinted windows. A pre-trial hearing on all three charges are scheduled for next month in Middletown Municipal Court.

Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said on the department’s Facebook page, “Another drug dealer off the street thanks to the great work by Patrol & K9. We appreciate their “donation” to help fund the fight against their fellow dealers. #StayoutofMiddletown.”

Huber Heights fatal police chase helped spur state task force

Published: Sunday, May 15, 2016 @ 1:00 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 15, 2016 @ 1:00 PM

Marcus Harper died after a high-speed police pursuit in which he had no part. Harper’s death sparked Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to form a group to study such policies and suggest a statewide standard.

DeWine’s 12-member group announced via press release this month said 352 people, including one officer and 147 bystanders, were killed in law enforcement pursuits from 1982 to 2014.

“I’m not judging that one,” DeWine said of Harper’s death. “But here you had someone (innocent) who was killed, so it just got me back thinking about the question.

“We have in this state over 900 law enforcement agencies. There is no statewide policy. And it’s not just about how the pursuit is conducted, it’s also about whether you initiate the chase to begin with.”

Harper, 50, of Xenia, died March 17 when Kyndra J. Shackelford drove an allegedly stolen Chevrolet Impala that T-boned Harper’s 1993 Chevrolet Blazer at the intersection of Wagner Ford Road and Needmore Road in Harrison Twp. Huber Heights police pursued Shackelford up to 83 miles per hour.

Huber Heights followed its policy

Huber Heights Police Chief Mark Lightner said in March that officer Mark Winterbotham followed department policy that includes pursuing “traffic violators who fail to stop upon receiving proper notice.”

Winterbotham wrote in his report that he saw a 20016 Impala matching the description of one just reported stolen from Butler Twp. cross the center line.

“The officer did exactly the way he was taught, the way he learned, and it was the way policy has told him to do,” Lightner said the day after the crash.

“The concern is that you have innocent people that are killed in chases,” DeWine said. “The issue is what is the proper balance between the desire to apprehend someone and the public safety?”

Pursuit policies vary

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer and German Twp. police Chief Joseph Andzik — a member of DeWine’s study group — employ pursuit policies more stringent, only chasing for violent felonies.

“I think Huber chases for everything,” Plummer said. “They’ve chased a lot lately. So if they come chasing through Harrison (Twp.), we try to help out with traffic control and we just watch them run through the township.”

In April, Huber Heights police started a pursuit when a pickup fled a traffic stop. That chase reached speeds of 95 mph and went through Vandalia, Huber Heights, Dayton, Trotwood and Harrison Twp. before a man and woman were taken into custody.

“Here, we try to do our best to protect the citizens,” Plummer added. “Because it isn’t worth killing you and your family over chasing some idiot … tomorrow’s another day.”

Lightner declined to comment further in light of DeWine’s task force.

Harper’s family blames driver

Shackelford, 18, the woman accused of being intoxicated when she crashed into Harper’s vehicle, has been indicted in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and grand theft auto.

Shackelford’s attorney has asked the court for a mental evaluation to determine if she is competent to stand trial and said his client may enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. No trial date has been set.

Jami Rigsby, who identified herself as a spokesperson for Harper’s family, said: “We whole (heartedly) support Huber Heights police department in regards to this pursuit, and the only true cause of the accident was the person fleeing causing the pursuit.”

Harper’s passenger, Loretta Creech, 53, of Xenia, was critically injured but survived.

Pursuit policies evolve

Andzik said when he started in law enforcement in 1994, he chased drivers for nearly any reason. Now, he said, liability and risk have led his department to stop chasing juveniles because of their lack of driving and decision-making skills.

“It was a different time and place in history.” Andzik said. “We kind of used those things that happened in the past and in our history to come to better conclusions today and make those policies and practices that are going to be best, not only for law enforcement, but for society and for the community.”

Plummer said the sheriff’s office policy changed after a lawsuit stemming from a Feb. 10, 2001, chase by deputy Ted Jackson at speeds reaching 85 mph. Suspect Paul Hendrickson’s vehicle hit the car driven by Montgomery Mott, who died.

In early 2002, then-Dayton police Chief William McManus reigned in that department’s pursuit policy to be in line with best practices.

But on Aug. 16, 2002, Dayton police Sgt. Steven Abney was out of his own district when he chased Jerrold Bailey for traffic violations. Bailey’s car ran three stop signs traveling 55 mph and hit a car driven by Steven Whitfield, who was killed.

Recent high-profile chases

Before Harper’s death, the most high-profile case of an innocent third party being killed after a police pursuit was Agyasi Ector’s death in Trotwood on July 24, 2014.

A chase started after a failed Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office operation. Eventually, a Chevy Impala driven by Aaron T. Johnson crossed the center line fleeing Trotwood officers near Olive Road and Shiloh Springs and struck Ector, 27, who was walking to work. The chase reached speeds of 103 mph.

Johnson was sentenced to 16 years in prison. A civil lawsuit was settled, which included a $25,000 payment by Trotwood to Ector’s estate.

Lebanon grade school teacher Pamela Argabrite sued Miami Twp., the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and others after she was struck by suspect being chased at 80 mph on State Route 741 on July 11, 2011.

Argabrite sued for damages in 2012, alleging she’d had multiple surgeries, medical and hospital expenses of more than $630,000 and a loss of past and future earnings in excess of $57,000.

Argabrite claimed officers’ conduct was “extreme and outrageous” — the proximate cause standard strengthened when Whitfield’s family sued and lost — when law enforcement chased a known burglary suspect, Andrew Barnhart, who died when his vehicle hit Argabrite’s.

Decision could alter chase immunity

Argabrite’s suit was denied in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and that decision was upheld by the Second District Court of Appeals. The case was argued in Ohio’s Supreme Court in February.

Kenneth Ignozzi, Argabrite’s attorney, argued that “the court of appeals have simply usurped the legislature and added common law things in there that are not supposed to be in there” when it comes to liability of police officers’ conduct in chases.

Miami Twp. attorney Joshua Schierloh said during oral arguments that it wasn’t foreseeable Barnhart would cause an accident.

“When you’re chasing somebody at a high rate of speed through a densely populated area, all kinds of bad things are foreseeable, aren’t they?” Ohio Justice Paul E. Pfeifer asked. ” I mean, this individual stole a TV and he’s dead. That’s a pretty bad consequence.”

Schierloh argued that without the no proximate rule: “You will embolden criminals to act dangerously, knowing that the faster they drive, the more traffic violations they commit, they will assure themselves of their freedom. That is not sound public policy for Ohio.”

Justice William O’Neill responded: “Whitfield is not law, it’s a court of appeals opinion.”

Study group will work for answers

“Chases are one of the scariest, most dangerous things we do,” said Plummer, who looks forward to a standard policy. “I understand the cops, they want to chase, their job is to catch the bad guys, but we’ve got to restrict it through policy because of public safety.”

Andzik said following procedure isn’t enough.

“What is a best practice? What is a better policy?” he asked. “When we do have those failures that an officer does follow policy, but it turns out it may have been the wrong thing to do?”

DeWine said the group’s suggestions — which he hopes are ready in about three months — should provide motivation.

Officer killed after stun gun fails to subdue fleeing suspect, police say

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

A 22-year-old police officer died in Oklahoma on Monday morning after he and a man exchanged gunfire when the man ran during a traffic stop Sunday night, Tecumseh police said.

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The officer, identified as 22-year-old Justin Terney, died of his injuries. The suspected gunman remained hospitalized Monday morning.

Tecumseh Assistant Police Chief J.R. Kidney said Terney was shot multiple times after stopping a vehicle around 11:30 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of Benson Park Road and Gordon Cooper Drive.

Kidney said Terney was working with dispatchers to verify information given by one of the vehicle’s passengers, a man, after becoming suspicious that he might have been giving Terney false information. As dispatchers were telling Terney that it appeared the man had an active warrant for his arrest, the man ran from the stopped vehicle and toward nearby woods, Kidney said.

Terney fired a stun gun at the man.

“The (stun gun) doesn’t have any effect on (the suspect) and he continues running through a wooded area, over a fence,” Kidney said. “About 25 yards inside that fence area, the officer and the suspect both exchanged gunfire.”

Authorities took both the suspect, whose identity was not immediately known, and Terney to a hospital, where Terney underwent surgery for hours overnight.

Kidney confirmed that Terney, who had been shot about three times, died Monday morning. The suspected gunman remained in intensive care with four gunshot wounds, according to KFOR.

Terney joined Tecumseh’s police force about a year ago.

“My department’s not doing good,” Kidney said Monday morning, adding that in the 22 years he has been with the department and the 38 years the chief has been with the department, this is the first officer-involved shooting for Tecumseh police.

“We haven’t had to live through this yet,” he said. “We need everybody to rally around and support us.”

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