Huber Heights mayor fills vacant council seat

Published: Monday, March 14, 2016 @ 10:49 AM
Updated: Monday, March 14, 2016 @ 10:49 AM

The Ward 5 council seat in Huber Heights has been filled.

Mayor Tom McMasters swore in Nancy Byrge to fill the vacant Ward 5 seat, and administered the oath of office to her privately Sunday night.

Byrge assumed the office and duties as the Ward 5 representative, effective immediately with the appointment. She will publicly take the oath of office at tonight’s council meeting at 7 p.m.

“I am honored that Ms. Byrge decided to join us on Council and I believe the residents of Ward 5 and the rest of the community will find in her an excellent representative and a dedicated public servant,” McMasters said in a release.

The public is invited to a brief meet-and greet-reception for Byrge at 6:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 6131 Taylorsville Road.

Byrge had been serving on the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

Earlier this month, McMasters announced he was seeking applicants to fill the vacancy for Ward 5.

The authority for making the appointment for the Ward 5 vacancy shifted to McMasters under the City Charter after council failed to fill the position within thirty days of the vacancy. Council could not agree on a replacement for Tracy Dudley during its Feb. 22 meeting.

McMasters recently made an effort to contact Dudley to see if she would consider returning to City Council, but Dudley declined. Dudley resigned from council in January.

Additionally, McMasters faced criticism from some city council members for failing to fill the vacant seat.

Previously, McMasters said he did not know when he would appoint a new Ward 5 representative but said he was considering others after two applicants — Eva Newby and Jerry Wamsley — failed to get enough votes from council members.

McMasters said he had not eliminated either candidate, but he anticipated “it may take a couple months before I personally would consider either. This is true even if one or the other withdrew their application.”

A motion to appoint Newby, a black woman, failed after three councilmen, Tyler Starline, Glenn Otto and Richard Shaw, voted against the measure. Councilwoman Janell Smith abstained from the vote.

Newby also is on the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals with Byrge, who is white.

The vote was taken after Councilman Ed Lyons asked his colleagues about their willingness to appoint a black woman to the vacant seat on council. That prompted McMasters to say that “Ed is about the stupidest person I think I ever met and a sleazeball.”

McMasters said in the email that based on Lyons’ comments and his own reaction, he was putting off considering Newby or Wamsley.

“There are two exceptions to this,” McMasters said in the email. “The first being if council scheduled a special session of council and council passes a motion with at least five votes that asks me to nominate any of the three candidates we interviewed, I will appoint that individual. I recommend next week before the work session as an opportune time. The second is that if Ed resigns I will appoint Ms. Newby.

” … Since I had not considered this as a high priority in my decision making process until now, it is unlikely that I will appoint anyone in the near future unless council takes advantage of one of the two exceptions.”

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Uber Eats driver accused of shooting, killing customer claims self-defense, attorney says

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 2:50 AM

Uber Eats Driver Flees After Customer Shot, Police Say

An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer in Atlanta turned himself in Monday afternoon and claims he acted in self-defense, his attorney said.

>> Watch the news report here

Only WSB-TV's Tom Jones was there when Robert Bivines, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder on Monday.

The shooting happened at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead on Saturday night.

Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats, and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. Authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in

The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said.

Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital. 

Bivines' attorney, Jackie Patterson, calls this a case of self-defense.

"This is a case where my client had no choice but to defend himself," he said.

Patterson said Thornton was irate about the amount of time it took for his food to arrive. He said Thornton was aggressive, and as Bivines walked away, Thornton made a threatening move. 

"He turned around, put his hand in his pocket and said, 'I'm going to [expletive] you up,'" Patterson said.

Patterson said Bivines was afraid to wait to see what Thornton had in his pocket, so he said he defended himself.

Jones asked Patterson why his client, who had only been on the job less than a week, didn't just drive away.

>> Read more trending news 

"You can't drive away when someone is coming at you with your window down," Patterson said.

Bivines will be taken to the Fulton County Jail.

He will have a first appearance before a judge Tuesday.

Uber sent WSB-TV a statement Monday saying Bivens no longer has access to the app:

“We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app”

A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV that Bivens passed a background check. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers.

Uber is working with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation.

Morehouse College sent the following statement

"The Morehouse College community is mourning the passing of Ryan Thornton who was was shot Saturday in Atlanta after ordering a late dinner from UberEATS, according to police reports.

"Thornton, 30, was a recent graduate of Morehouse College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2017, and had started a new job.

"Morehouse faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday were shocked and saddened by the news of Thornton’s death. Employees in Morehouse College’s admissions office said they worked closely with Thornton and described him as being friendly, hard-working, and determined to become a Morehouse Man. 

"President David A. Thomas said that the Morehouse community stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time.

“ ‘The loss of another young life to gun violence is tragic,' Thomas said. 'Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors. We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.’ ”

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Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer was convicted of battery in 2010

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 3:17 AM

Uber Eats Driver Flees After Customer Shot, Police Say

Years before he was accused of killing one of his Uber Eats customers in Atlanta this past weekend, Robert Bivines had been arrested on aggravated assault charges in DeKalb County, Georgia, according to jail records. 

>> Uber Eats driver accused of shooting, killing customer claims self-defense, attorney says

But the nearly decade-old offense wouldn’t have been flagged by Uber’s driver pre-screening process because it only tracks criminal records as far back as seven years, according to the company’s website.

Potential employees are subject to a driving history screening and, if cleared, undergo a criminal background check in national, state and local databases, according to the Uber website.

The company said Bivines passed a background check and had been with the delivery company for only a week before the deadly shooting. 

>> On MyAJC.com: Court upholds young mother’s conviction for killing newborn

“We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to (Ryan Thornton’s) friends and family,” Uber Eats said in a statement. “We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app.”

Details of the 2009 assault case were not immediately available Monday, but Bivines pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of battery in May 2010, according to court records. 

>> On MyAJC.com: R. Kelly evicted from N. Fulton homes, owes $30K, court documents show

He was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to have no contact with his victim. Bivines was also banned from the five-county metropolitan area. Online court records do not indicate how long the ban was enforced. 

Bivines, 36, turned himself in Monday afternoon, two days after Atlanta police say he shot and killed Thornton, a recent Morehouse College graduate, after delivering food to the 30-year-old’s Pharr Court South condominium. The shooting was caught on surveillance video. 

About 10:45 p.m. Saturday, Thornton placed an order with Tin Lizzy’s on Piedmont Road through the Uber Eats app, according to an Atlanta police report. Bivines was listed as the delivery driver. 

“The victim went down to meet the driver, received his order and began walking away from the vehicle,” Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said in a statement. “As the victim was walking away, it appears words may have been exchanged between he and the delivery driver.” 

Thornton went back to Bivines’ car, and that’s when things turned deadly. 

Atlanta police said four shots were fired through the passenger-side window. Bullets landed in Thornton’s torso. 

>> Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in

As Thornton fell to the ground, Bivines drove away in his white Volkswagen, police said.

Thornton called his girlfriend, who administered aid. He was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital. 

Thornton graduated from Morehouse in May 2017 with a political science degree and had recently started a new job, a spokeswoman for the school, D. Aileen Dodd, said in a statement. While there, he worked closely with those in the admission’s office, who described him as “friendly, hard-working and determined to become a Morehouse Man.” 

Morehouse President David A. Thomas said the college “stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time.”

“Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors,” Thomas said. “We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.”

>> Read more trending news 

Bivines’ attorney, Jackie Patterson, said the surveillance video doesn’t tell the full story. 

Patterson told WSB-TV that Thornton — upset about the delivery time — threatened his client and motioned toward his pockets: “My client had no choice but to defend himself.” 

Bivines is due in court at 11 a.m. Tuesday. 

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Officials continue to investigate pedestrian strike in Trotwood

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 1:06 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 3:44 AM

Pedestrian strike in Trotwood

Officials continue to investigate a pedestrian strike that occurred in the area of East Westbrook Road at Macduff Drive in Trotwood early Tuesday morning.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Semi swerves to avoid deer, ends up in mud in Preble County

The incident was dispatched just after midnight, per initial reports.

A medic was requested to the scene, but there are no further details on the person who was struck. 

Westbrook Road at MacDuff Drive was blocked off during the investigation for around two hours, but has since reopened. 

We’re working to learn more details on the ordeal and will continue to update this story as they become available. 

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VIDEO: Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz shown fighting students in 2016

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 1:59 AM

WATCH: Suspected Florida High School Shooter Nikolas Cruz Appears In Court

The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development.

>> Click here to watch

Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled.

>> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral

A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident.

>> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know'

According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017.

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up.

>> Read more trending news 

The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.

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