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Detective: Teen gangs more volatile, violent

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 5:48 PM


            Caleb W. Johnson, the only adult charged in the Huber Heights armed robbery, was arraigned by video camera last week.
Caleb W. Johnson, the only adult charged in the Huber Heights armed robbery, was arraigned by video camera last week.

Seven teens accused of robbing a Huber Heights cell phone store with guns in broad daylight is the latest example of juvenile gangs committing increasingly brazen crimes, a local sheriff’s investigator says.

“It’s getting bad,” said Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office detective Brian Shiverdecker, who has tracked area youth gangs since 2009. “Juveniles are getting more volatile, more violent as they come up.”

RELATED: Adult suspect in Huber Heights robbery indicted

The seven charged suspects — including two 15-year-olds — belong to a pair of gangs known as Uptown and 2Hunnid, Shiverdecker said. He estimated that 100 local youth belong to six to eight gangs in the region.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer wants tougher sanctions against juveniles who commit serious crimes.

He said a 16-year-old charged in the Huber Heights robbery was previously convicted for being part of a group that stole a woman’s car in April 2016 and drove more than a mile with her clinging on the hood.

RELATED: Social media threats made against judge in Huber Heights case

Others in the two gangs are suspected in crimes involving stolen guns, cell phones and carjackings, according to Plummer and Shiverdecker.

“These are not kids anymore and (courts) treat them like little, innocent kids,” Plummer said.

See Sunday’s Dayton Daily News for an in-depth look at teens in trouble and local gangs.

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Calling 911 doesn’t mean they’ll be able to find you

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

Darshawn Romine, the grandson of Charles Romine, says the family still wants answers about his death. Charles Romine, 71, called 9-1-1 on Sept. 18, 2017, but police were unable to locate him. Two days later his body was found along the banks of Wolf Creek. BYRON STIRSMAN/STAFF
Darshawn Romine, the grandson of Charles Romine, says the family still wants answers about his death. Charles Romine, 71, called 9-1-1 on Sept. 18, 2017, but police were unable to locate him. Two days later his body was found along the banks of Wolf Creek. BYRON STIRSMAN/STAFF

Cincinnati teen Kyle Plush did what he was supposed to do in an emergency: he called 911.

But police couldn’t find him and he suffocated in his family’s van after he became trapped between the back seat and the back door.

The case of Kyle Plush, which drew national attention and anger — much of it directed at the police response — showed the imperfections of the 911 system. A positive outcome often depends on the accuracy of information provided by callers, many of whom are in extreme distress.

An example of that occurred in Dayton last September.

RELATED: Vigil turns into call for justice

For eight minutes on Sept. 18, 2017, a desperate Charles Romine, 71, sought help from police after calling 911, telling a Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center operator he was in an alley across from the Community Blood Center at 349 South Main St.

Dayton Police responded to that location but Romine was not there. A search of the surrounding area turned up no trace of him and efforts to reach him by phone were unsuccessful.

Romine’s body was found two days later along the banks of Wolf Creek, several miles away from the initial search location. Romine’s grandson, Darshawn Romine, said the family is still searching for answers.

“We are still hurting,” he said. “It’s hard to look at pictures. Nine-one-one should be able to find you.” 

Police say an attempt to locate Romine on Tuesday, Sept. 19, using GPS data from his phone was unsuccessful because the phone was not connected to the network. The following day, Romine’s body was found with the help of “historical GPS data provided by the cellular telephone company,” according to a Dayton Police statement.

“According to Regional Dispatch supervisors, call evaluators are trained that the primary source of location information comes from the caller,” the police said in a statement after the incident. “At times, the GPS coordinates are not available or can be less accurate than the information provided by the caller. Hence, Montgomery County Regional Dispatch personnel relied upon location information as provided by Mr. Romine.”

Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center. BYRON STIRSMAN/STAFF(Staff Writer)

The regional dispatch system doesn’t include all jurisdictions within the county, but all 911 calls from Dayton are routed there.

Rob Streck, Chief Deputy of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, declined direct comment on the Romine case, but did say operators are told to focus on the location provided by the caller because the location technology is not consistently accurate.

“Their phone could be showing up in a 10-block radius or it could be showing up pinpoint in a building you are standing in, and right now it is kind of a coin toss which one is coming up,” Streck said.

RELATED: Kyle Plush case: Body cameras show cops stayed in vehicle during search for dying teen

Perfect storm?

The Plush incident, which was blamed in part on technical problems at the command center, led to an internal police investigation and an emotional hearing at City Hall. Cincinnati City Council member Wendell Young apologized later for comments made to the family at that meeting. Mayor John Cranley also apologized to the family for what happened to their son, who died in a parked van in the parking lot at his high school.

Plush could barely breath when he used Siri on his iPhone to call 911, telling the operator he was at “Seven Hills” and was trapped. His voice was so strained, police who responded were told to look for an elderly woman in a vehicle. The operator said she could barely hear what Plush was saying.

Police were unable to find the teen, even though they drove through the school’s parking lot several times. Kyle’s father, Ron Plush, found the van with his son’s body inside later that evening. At the City Council hearing, Ron Plush said his son knew his one hope was to call 911.

“Kyle knew when he was in trouble…he needed to call the one entity that could respond quickly and ultimately address the immediate crisis the best,” he said.

Kyle Plush(Staff Writer)

RELATED: Timeline of events in Plush case

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac said computer problems at the dispatch center would not allow use of GPS tracking information to aid in the search for the teen. Isaac also confirmed that the responding officers did not get out of their car when they searched the parking lots at the school, opting instead to search while inside the vehicle.

“Their explanation was to cover more ground,” Isaac said. 

Ron Plush told the city council, “One thing I have heard over the past month is what happened to Kyle was the perfect storm. So was this a perfect storm or a series of multiple failures?”

‘Seconds matter’

Even when a caller to 911 has the correct street of an accident, an error on location can endanger the victims.

It happened April 9 in Greene County along South Alpha Bellbrook Road when two cars were involved in a head-on crash. The caller led the operator to believe the crash happened near the wrong cross street, which was in Beavercreek Twp. A medic unit was dispatched from the township but was recalled when it was discovered the crash was actually in Sugarcreek Twp.

Sugarcreek Fire Chief Jeff Leaming said emergency crews were sent to the scene as quickly as possible but the error delayed their response by several minutes. “Both drivers were trapped and seconds matter,” he said. Fortunately, both survived.

Rob Streck, Chief Deputy of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, said dispatchers are taught to get as much information as possible from the caller because location technology is not consistently accurate. BYRON STIRSMAN/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Leaming said no location data was available to the operator through the phone system. “So dispatch had no other way to determine where (the crash victims) were located other than to take them at their word that they were at this particular intersection, when in actuality they were probably a mile and a half from that intersection into Sugarcreek Twp. So there was an inherent delay in getting equipment to the location.”

Leaming is hopeful the 911 system will improve to the point where accurate location data flows to the dispatchers electronically.

What can drivers do to help? “People need to give the dispatchers accurate information,” Leaming said, “and if you are on the road you need to know where you are at.”

RELATED: Suspect in stabbing of a woman in Dayton ID’d

‘Emergency SOS’

Tech guru Gayle Jenkins said an iPhone feature — Emergency SOS — allows users to share their location with individual contacts in an emergency, sending text messages that include a map of the user’s exact location.

Only designated individuals — a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker, for example — receives the alert. 

It is triggered by clicking the screen’s on/off button on the upper right side of the iPhone five times; and just as the text is sent, the phone will initiate a 911 call.

The text and map do not go to the 911 dispatcher, but in case of an emergency, family and friends could share that location with authorities. “It is really specific. It can be within five feet,” said Jenkins, who owns DNA Computers in Kettering.

Emergency SOS can be found in an iPhone’s settings directory. For Android users, several apps are available that offer many of the same functions.

Managers of the dispatch center urge people who set up their emergency contacts on their phone to not test it on their own so that 911 operators are not inundated with non-emergency test calls.

The NewsCenter 7 I-Team put it to the test, under the supervision of managers of the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center. Clicking the on/off button on the iPhone launched a countdown to allow the user to stop the call from going forward. If the call is allowed to continue, the voice connection is made with a 911 operator, while the text message and map go to the designated emergency contacts in less than 10 seconds. The texted map was very accurate.

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Dayton woman killed by stray bullet was quadriplegic son’s primary caregiver

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 6:30 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 5:01 PM

Dayton Shooting on Euclid Ave.

UPDATE @ 4:56 p.m.

Dayton Police held a press conference Tuesday asking for anyone with information in the Saturday evening shooting of Sherrell Wheatley to please come forward. Police informed a possible witness described a silver car fleeing shortly after gunfire.  Police did not release a person of interest, suspect, or any leads. Detectives still identify Wheatley as an innocent bystander and called this homicide a, “Heinous crime.”

Update@4:17 p.m.:

Jackie Allen, Wheatley’s niece, flew to Dayton from Atlanta as soon as she heard about her aunt’s death. 

“It’s disgusting, this violence, taking innocent people away from their families and stuff,” she said. “You took a lady from our family but you also took a grandmother who took care of 10 and 11-year-old boys.

Update@1:43 p.m.:

Antwand Warren, Wheatley’s son, said Monday that he can’t fathom why anyone would shoot his mother. She was a wholesome person who helped everyone and had no enemies or no flaws, he said. 

“That was my mom, I loved her,” said Warren, who is a quadriplegic. “She was my angel, she was my everything, and somebody snatched that away from me.”

RELATED: Stray bullets that killed woman also struck neighbor’s home, friend says

Sherrell Wheatley

Warren said one of the t hings he will miss most about his mother is her cooking. She cooked everything Southern style, he said she he choked up. 

“ I want justice. That’s all, I want justice,” he said.

RELATED: Neighbor aids woman wounded in stabbing

Wheatley had previously been the victim of violence. Four years ago was stabbed multiple times in her neck and other parts of her body. She told police then that she and Warren were attacked by her husband Stanley Wheatley, 48, because she wouldn’t give him money to buy crack. 

Stanley Wheatley was sentenced to prison for the attacks. 

Update@12:13 p.m.:

Wheatley, a grandmother, had just fed some neighborhood dogs and was walking back to her home when she was shot, neighbors said Monday. She died about a half block from home, neighbors said. 

There’s a makeshift memorial where Wheatley died, and it continues to grow.  

Boy hurt in March OVI crash involving RTA bus asks for prayers for younger brother

Meanwhile, a man called 911 after hearing shots fired and seeing Wheatley lying on the ground, according to the 911 recording.

“Someone just got shot on Euclid... a lady is lying on the sidewalk,” the unidentified man said, later adding that he heard 12-15 shots. 

 2 men jailed in Dayton kidnapping, sex-related case

First report:

An innocent bystander was fatally shot Saturday evening when she was walking near a house targeted by a drive-by shooting, police said.

Sherrell Wheatley, 62, of Dayton was the woman shot and killed, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. 

Wheatley was an innocent bystander who suffered at least one gunshot wound as she was walking in the 800 block of North Euclid Avenue around 6:10 p.m. She was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries, Dayton police Sgt. Creigee Coleman said.

Police investigate a fatal shooting May 19, 2018, in the 860 block of North Euclid Avenue in Dayton.(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

“A vehicle driven by a male had another male inside the vehicle, and that male fired several rounds towards an unknown house in an attempt to probably cause damage to that house,” Coleman said.

The passenger fired five or six rounds, he said.

Aaron Taylor said the woman was his great aunt.

“I just happened to pull up, see my auntie in the grass dead,” he said.

He described his aunt as a sweet lady and matriarch of his family and the community.

“Definitely innocent bystander walking up the street,” Taylor said.

Police are searching for a silver Ford Taurus or similar four-door car, and also are asking for the public’s help to come forward with any information.

>> 2 men jailed in Dayton kidnapping, sex-related case

“Now this is a situation where a person was indiscriminately firing a weapon, a large-caliber weapon from what I’ve been told, at a house and a person who was innocent just happened to be walking by and got hit by a bullet that has no eyes,” Coleman said.

>> Visitation set for victims of man’s murder-suicide

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

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Warren County man faces 19 charges in connection with break-ins

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 12:39 PM


            Sean McIntosh
Sean McIntosh

A 35-year-old Warren County man remained in the county jail today while facing 19 charges stemming from break-ins between April 28 and May 2, including at a restaurant where he once worked outside Lebanon, according to an indictment reported on Monday.

Sean McIntosh of South Lebanon is to arraigned at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Warren County Common Pleas Court on charges of receiving stolen property; possession of drug-abuse instruments, drug paraphernalia and criminal tools; obstruction official business; criminal damaging; tampering with coin machines; breaking and entering; safe-cracking and theft.

MORE: Pair suspected in dozens of break-ins

He was arrested on May 2 after he was spotted walking down Broadway in Lebanon carrying packages, according to a Lebanon police report.

On April 28, he was allegedly in possession of stolen credit cards and “drug abuse instruments,” according to allegations included with charges on a list of indictments released by the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.

MORE: Recent break-ins puzzle residents

McIntosh is also charged in connection with the May 2 break-in at the Country Kitchen restaurant, just east of the Ohio 123 interchange at Interstate 71.

MORE: $9 million travel plaza planned off I-71 interchange

The store manager identified McIntosh, a former employee, from surveillance video, according to a sheriff’s office report.

During an interview with a deputy, McIntosh said he stole the cash register and took $200 used to pay his phone bill before disposing of the register. The sheriff’s office was able to recover the cash register, and McIntosh was charged with breaking and entering and safe-cracking in this case.

He is also charged in connection with incidents at Lebanon Electric and the Spot-Free Car Wash on Main Street in Lebanon.

He remained in the county jail on Tuesday on $25,000 bond, pending his arraignment.

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Dayton police ask for help in fatal drive-by shooting of grandmother

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 3:42 PM

Sherrell Wheatley
Staff Writer
Sherrell Wheatley(Staff Writer)

Dayton police have no suspects and few solid leads about who shot and killed a 62-year-old grandmother during a drive-by shooting Saturday evening on Euclid Avenue.

That’s why they’re asking for the public’s help for what they termed a “heinous” and “sad” crime.

Dayton police Lt. Gregg Gaby on Tuesday wouldn’t answer specific questions about how many shots were fired and what caliber of bullet killed Sherrell Wheatley as she was walking home after feeding a neighbor’s dogs.

“We really have nothing other than at this point the suspect vehicle is possibly a silver-colored (Ford) Taurus or possible (Chevrolet) Impala-type vehicle. We’re not sure of the exact make and model of the vehicle,” said Gaby, commander of the violent crimes bureau.

EARLIER: Innocent bystander grandmother killed: ‘Hit by a bullet that has no eyes’

Dayton police Lt. Gregg Gaby said help is needed from Dayton residents near Euclid Avenue to solve the drive-by shooting that killed Sherrell Wheatley on May 19. MARK GOKAVI/Staff(Staff Writer)

“What we are asking is anyone in the neighborhood that saw any of this or has any information on this, please contact the Dayton Police Department.”

Gaby said tipsters can remain anonymous by calling (937) 222-STOP (7867) or Melissa Schloss, the case detective, at (937) 333-1078.

Gaby said officers are asking for any details about the multiple people inside the silver sedan suspect vehicle or why someone apparently would fire at 866 N. Euclid Ave.

RELATED: Neighbor aids woman wounded in stabbing

“At this point, we do not think that they intentionally targeted her, but we don’t know that,” said Gaby, who added that nothing in the investigation has revealed why that residence was targeted.

Gaby said witnesses heard gunshots and saw the vehicle, but nothing has tied the suspect vehicle to other crimes. Gaby also said a September 2017 shooting at the same residence does not yet tie in.

“This is the type of crime that hopefully the community will be incensed by and come forward and help out with and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got information on it.’

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

“And no matter how little the information is, it may be important. It may lead to something else that leads us to solve this crime for the family.”

Gaby urged anyone involved to come clean.

“Our detectives are not going to let up on a homicide, ever,” he said. “So, they’re going to be on this case and they’re going to be working diligently.

“The best thing you can do if you were involved in this in any capacity whatsoever is to go ahead and turn yourself in to the Dayton Police Department.”

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