Charlotte Home-Invasion Suspect Arrested After Chase

From http://www.wsoctv.com by Catherine Bilkey, December 29, 2012

CMPD Officers took a home-invasion suspect into custody after an all-out search off of Pritchard Street, near Glenwood Drive.

Police said the man is uninjured and no Officers were hurt. An officer tried to stop the suspect Saturday afternoon at the very end of Pritchard Street but the armed suspect got out of his car and took off on foot.

The suspect has been identified as Stephon Bontay Straite, 24.  He has been charged with robbery, but additional charges may be pending.

The officer chased Straite into the woods.

One neighbor said she heard the gold car make an abrupt stop. She doesn’t recognize it as a neighborhood vehicle and we were told it’s the car the suspect was driving.

She said once she heard that car it was swiftly followed by the sounds of sirens. She saw the police cars and an officer taking out a dog to help find the man in the woods.

While it’s not a typical Saturday here in this neighborhood, the woman feels protected with such a large police response.

“It’s sort of a security to knowing that there’s at least that many police cars in the neighborhood that can readily get here if there’s a crime going on or something going down,” neighbor Jane Martin said.

The home invasion that started all of this happened just a few blocks away on Credenza Drive.

Dozens of police cars, a fire truck and even a police helicopter responded. Investigators are still processing the scene even though police arrested the suspect.

Published in: on December 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bond Denied for Charlotte Teen-Aged Homicide suspects

The three teenagers are charged with first-degree murder, according to court documents. Each is also charged with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Information from Article written by Gary L. Wright on http://www.wcnc.com, December 27, 2012

The three teenagers, their wrists cuffed and ankles shackled, entered the Mecklenburg courtroom Thursday one at a time.

Aveance Bryant, 18, Davonta Turner, 18, and Ashley Owens, 19, are each charged with murder and did not speak to the judge during their first court appearances.  Turner and Owens have criminal records;  Turner was convicted of possession of marijuana in 2012. He was convicted of breaking or entering a motor vehicle in 2011. Owens was convicted in 2012 with solicitation for prostitution. She was convicted of breaking and entering in 2011.

No bond set for homicide suspects

Bryant, Turner and Owens are accused of killing Michael Victor Shull last Friday. The deaf 21-year-old Conover man was stabbed to death.

Mecklenburg District Judge Donnie Hoover on Thursday set dates in January for bond hearings and probable cause hearings for the three teens. He appointed public defenders for them.

But Hoover told each teenager that he would not set a bond on the murder charge.

Each of the hearings lasted less than a minute.

Bryant,Turner, and Owens are being held without bond at the Mecklenburg County Jail.

About a dozen family members and friends of Owens’ attended Thursday’s hearings. They didn’t want to speak to reporters as they left the courtroom. One woman sobbed as she left.

Owens’ pastor, when asked who was among the family and friends, described the group only as “people who love Ashley.”

The three teenagers are charged with first-degree murder, according to court documents. Each is also charged with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

The victim’s father, Clif Shull, has said police told him his son was stabbed during a robbery attempt. He said police told him that two of the suspects – Bryant and Turner – are related to the victim’s girlfriend and that his son interacted with the three murder suspects while he was visiting his girlfriend in Charlotte.

“People need to know it’s not something that just happened,” Clif Shull told the Observer after his son’s killing. “It was totally set up. … They took advantage of his generosity and trust.”

Clif Shull said police were “very adamant” that his son’s girlfriend did not know anything about the conspiracy to commit robbery that led to the fatal stabbing.

Michael Shull, who was born deaf and was the youngest of four children, met his girlfriend at the N.C. School for the Deaf in Morganton, his father said. Michael Shull graduated from the school in 2011.

After getting off work on the evening of Dec. 21, Michael Shull drove his father’s vehicle to Charlotte to visit his girlfriend, Clif Shull said. Michael Shull and his girlfriend had planned to see Christmas lights with his family over the weekend.

Police were dispatched to the 1800 block of Crestdale Drive just after 10 p.m. Someone had called about a car parked in the road. The quiet road is in Lincoln Heights. That’s the neighborhood where Michael Shull’s girlfriend lives.

Officers found the car unoccupied. Michael Shull was lying in a nearby yard.

Police told the Shulls that the suspects showed them where they dropped Michael Shull’s wallet as well as the knife used to stab him, Clif Shull said.

Clif Shull described his son as a generous man who was eager to help those in need.

“He was an extremely giving person and he trusted everybody,” the father said. “He was well loved.”

But Clif Shull said he was concerned about his son.

“I worried about his safety ever since he was born,” the father said. “He’s always been a concern. He’s very independent, but he’s very dependent, too. He was trying so hard to make his way.”

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  

More Meth Labs Showing Up in Cities and Suburbs

From The Associated Press by Jim Salter, December 27, 2012

Methamphetamine lab seizures are on the rise in the nation’s cities and suburbs, raising new concerns about a lethal drug that has long been the scourge of rural America.

Data and interviews from an investigation by The Associated Press found growing numbers of meth lab seizures in cities such as St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Nashville, Tenn., and Evansville, Ind. Authorities are also seeing evidence that inner-city gangs are becoming involved in meth production and distribution.

“No question about it — there are more labs in the urban areas,” said Tom Farmer, coordinator of the Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Task Force. “I’m seeing car fires from meth in urban areas now, more people getting burned.”

The increase in labs is especially troubling because meth brought into the U.S. from Mexico also is becoming more pervasive in urban areas. The Associated Press reported in October that so-called Mexican “super labs” are upping production, making meth more pure and less expensive, and then using existing drug pipelines in big cities.

Data obtained by AP shows that homemade meth is on the rise in metropolitan areas, too.

— St. Louis County had just 30 lab seizures in 2009, but 83 through July 31, putting it on pace for 142 in 2012. The city of St. Louis had eight in 2009 and is on pace for 50 this year.

— Jackson County, Mo., (which includes Kansas City) had 21 seizures in 2009 and is on pace for 65 this year.

— Meth lab seizures have tripled in the Nashville area over the past two years. In one case in late 2011, a man and his girlfriend were accused of recruiting more than three dozen people, including some who were homeless, to visit multiple pharmacies and purchase the legal limit of cold pills containing pseudoephedrine, a key meth ingredient. The couple and 37 others were indicted.

— The Evansville, Ind., area has seen a more than 500 percent rise in meth seizures since 2010, with 82 in 2011.

Authorities cite numerous reasons for meth moving into cities, but chief among them is the rise in so-called “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake” meth.

In years past, meth was cooked in a makeshift lab. The strong ammonia-like smell carried over a wide area, so to avoid detection, meth had to be made in backwoods locations.

As laws limited the availability of pseudoephedrine, meth-makers adjusted with a faster process that creates smaller batches simply by combining ingredients — mixing cold pills with toxic substances such as battery acid or drain cleaner — in 2-liter soda bottles. Shake-and-bake meth can be made quickly with little odor in a home, apartment, hotel, even a car.

“Bad guys have figured it out,” said Rusty Payne of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. “You don’t have to be as clandestine — you don’t have to be in rural country to lay low.”

Niki Crawford, who heads the meth suppression team in Indiana, said that with shake-and-bake labs, “the odors are not as strong. And they’re just so portable. We find them in backpacks and gym bags.”

And inside stores: A woman was arrested inside a St. Louis County Wal-Mart earlier this year with a meth-filled soda bottle in her coat pocket.

Another reason for the rise in urban meth is a process known among law enforcement as “smurfing” —the abundance of pharmacies in cities attracts meth-makers from surrounding rural areas, who can bring in friends to help purchase pseudoephedrine pills.

“We know the fuel for domestic labs is pseudoephedrine,” Farmer said. “The source for that is pharmacies and the majority of pharmacies are in urban areas.”

Farmer also has seen an increase in meth activity involving inner-city Tennessee gangs, which tend to be better-organized than rural cookers when it comes to marketing and selling the drug. For the most part, the gang members work as smurfers, though Farmer worries they’ll eventually become involved in the manufacture and distribution of the drug. Sometimes, gang members and meth-makers first connect while in prison.

“They see there’s a market there to make money off of pseudoephedrine,” Farmer said. “Pseudoephedrine has become as good as currency.”

Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics are indicative of the growing urban concern: All four of the top meth counties in Missouri were in the metropolitan St. Louis area — Jefferson, St. Charles, St. Louis and Franklin.

Ed Begley, a St. Louis County meth detective, said the drug is attracting users from all socio-economic levels.

“Lower class all the way up to upper middle class,” Begley said. “We’ve even had retired folks who have become addicted. It’s a brutal drug.”

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Obama Administration and Congress Let School Security Funds Lapse

From http://www.ten8.wordpress.com, December 26, 2012

Before Connecticut Tragedy, Obama Administration Eliminated Emergency Preparedness Program, Let School Violence Prevention Programs Lapse

From http://www.washingtonguardian.com, December 14, 2012 | By John Solomon and Kimberly Dvorak

Beneath the expressions of grief, sorrow and disbelief over the Connecticut school massacre lies an uneasy truth in Washington: over the last few years the Obama administration and Congress quietly let federal funding for several key school security programs lapse in the name of budget savings.

Government officials told the Washington Guardian on Friday night that two Justice Department programs that had provided more than $200 million to schools for training, security equipment and police resources over the last decade weren’t renewed in 2011 and 2012, and that a separate program that provided $800 million to put police officers inside the schools was ended a few years earlier.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration also eliminated funding in 2011-12 for a separate Education Department program that gave money to schools to prepare for mass tragedies, the officials said.

A nationally recognized school security expert said those funds had been critical for years in helping schools continue to enhance protections against growing threats of violence. But they simply dried up with little notice as the Columbine and Virginia Tech school shooting tragedies faded from memory and many Americans and political leaders had their attentions diverted to elections, a weak economy and overseas dramas.

“I was baffled to see funds and programs cut in these areas,” said Kenneth Trump, the president of the National School Safety and Security Services firm that helps school districts and policymakers improve protections for teachers and students. “Our political and policy leaders need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk about being concerned about school safety.

“We have roller coaster public awareness, public policy, and public funding when it comes to school safety. The question isn’t whether school safety is a priority today and tomorrow,” Trump added. “The question is whether it will be a priority years down the road when there isn’t a crisis in the headlines.”

Leaders in both parties in Washington on Friday expressed remorse and disbelief in the tragedy in the tiny suburban Connecticut town of Newtown, where a single 20-year-old gunman walked into the school where his mother taught and killed 20 children and six others before turning the gun on himself.

“Our hearts are broken today,” President Barack Obama said, wiping a tear from his eyes as he reacted to the tragedy. “As a country we have been through this too many times.

“These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” the president added.

But last year, his administration took a less muted tone as it submitted its 2012 Education Department budget to Congress that eliminated the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) funding, which for years provided between $20 million and $30 million in annual grants to help schools create emergency and crisis preparation and prevention plans for tragedies just like the one that unfolded Friday.

The Education Department’s Web site says it last made REMS grants in 2011.

The funding was cut off even though the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, warned in 2007 that many “many school district officials said that they experience challenges in planning for emergencies due to a lack of equipment, training for staff, and expertise and some school districts face difficulties in communicating and coordinating with first responders and parents.”

Likewise, the Justice Department over the last 12 years distributed nearly $1 billion in funding to help schools hire police resource officers, install metal detectors and take other countermeasures to prevent tragedies like the Columbine massacre.

The town of Newtown, Conn., in fact, took advantage of one of these programs in 2000 when it got $125,000 in funds from the COPS in Schools program, Justice Department records show.

But Justice Department officials said the key programs that provided money directly to schools in the aftermath of Columbine have been phased out as of 2012, the last after the 2011 budget year.

For instance, the Secure Our Schools (SOS) program provided more than $110 million in funding to law enforcement agencies to partner with schools for the purchase of crime prevention equipment, staff and student training between 2002 and 2011, officials said. It was ended this year.

Likewise, the School Safety Initiative (SSI) provided more than $53 million between 1998 and 2010 in grants to help state and local agencies with delinquency prevention, community planning and development, and school safety resources – all aimed at preventing violence. The program ended in 2011.

Justice Department spokesman Corey Ray said Friday night that the SSI and SOS programs had been funded primarily by congressional earmarks for the last decade and the Obama administration did not seek additional funding to continue the efforts after lawmakers essentially banned most earmarks in 2010.

“They were funded through Congressionally designated funding (earmarks). They ended in 2010 or 2011 when that process of funding ceased,” he said.

The biggest funding program for school violence was the COPS in Schools program, which Ray said provided $811 millions to communities to hire resource officers who worked inside the schools. The targeted funding for schools was ended in 2005 but police are still allowed to apply for broader police hiring money from the general COPS program and then use it to hire school resource officers if they want, Ray said.

“As the economy changed, we had agencies asking for all types of positions including school resource officers,” Ray explained. “So we gave our main hiring program the flexibility to include SROs and other positions. So no COPS In Schools, but still some options to hire for those positions.”

Some liberal groups have increasingly voiced concerns about the increased spending on police and security at schools. For instance, the Justice Policy Institute, a think tank, wrote a report in 2011 entitled “Education Under Arrest” that concluded that “schools do not need school resource officers to be safe.”

White House officials did not return repeated calls and emails Friday night seeking comment on the administration’s rationale for letting the programs lapse.

With funding for K-12 schools and law enforcement agencies evaporating, police and schools have partnered in an effort to ensure safety by creating makeshift programs that target at-risk schools.

San Diego may provide the most sunshine each year, but it’s also home to multiple K-12 school shootings. San Diego Police Department Lt. Andra Brown said funding for many effective programs succumbed to downsizing and cutbacks. Programs like SOS and DARE are “nice to have,” but aren’t necessarily a “need to have.”

The Department has opted to focus on Psychiatric Emergency Response Team or PERT. “The program pairs a health care psychiatrist with a police officer in the field to proactively stop situations from exploding.”

While San Diego Police may be working proactively to prevent psychologically unstable adults from major crime sprees, the Sheriff Department takes a different approach.

“We are not of the mindset this could not happen here; because it has,” said San Diego Sheriff Public Affairs Director Jan Caldwell.  “We work with the school superintendents, principals, staff, and school facility staff members to ensure we have access to the buildings, floor plans and keys to enter when we have to do so.”

Caldwell is also part of San Diego County Crime Stoppers and chair of the Students Speaking Out Committee.  “This sub-program is tailored to campuses and provides students an avenue to report suspicious activity at their school. This sub program has had a total of 331 cases solved since inception.  We’ve removed weapons from campuses, drugs, confronted bullying behavior, solved robberies, burglaries, vandalism, and drug cases.”

However, this program depends on the generous donations from large corporations like Target, Sempra Energy, Walmart and the San Diego Chargers.

Published in: on December 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Suspects Arrested in Connection with Murder of 21-year-old Deaf Man

From http://www.wsoctv.com by Jeff Smith, December 23, 2012

A deaf man was trying to take his girlfriend Christmas shopping when he was ambushed, robbed and murdered in North Charlotte Friday night, according to several family members.

Three teenagers were arrested and charged with beating and stabbing 21-year-old Michael Shull to death in the middle of the street.

Family members said Shull was casually acquainted with the man and women charged with killing him.

“To him deafness wasn’t a handicap. It was an obstacle to overcome and he overcame it every day,” said his sister, Samana Delashmit.

Shull graduated last year from the state School for the Deaf in Morganton. He recently got a full-time job working as a mechanic at a local shop, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“He was always kind to everybody,” said his older brother Nicholas Capito. “And if somebody needed something, he tried to make sure they could have it.”

Shull was discovered Friday night in the front yard of a house on Crestdale Drive in North Charlotte. His car was parked in the middle on the middle street.

Detectives said he had been beaten and stabbed. His wallet and cell phone were also missing, according to family.

On Saturday, police arrested 18-year-old Aveance Bryant and charged her with murder.

“All he had to was smile, and it would brighten anybody’s day,” remembered Capito. “As a brother and a person, he would show you nothing but love.”

Shull lived in Conover with his parents, but he was in Charlotte Friday night to pick up his girlfriend — who is also deaf — and take her Christmas shopping. The two had been dating seriously for a year.

“They took advantage of the fact that he had money for the holiday,” his brother said. “He had just gotten paid, just gotten a Christmas bonus, and they took advantage of it.”

On Sunday morning, police made two more arrests — 18-year-old Davonta Turner and 19-year-old Ashley Owens.

Shull’s family said the three suspects were close friends of his girlfriend. Shull was only casually acquainted with them.

All three suspects are charged with murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Eyewitness News is not naming Shull’s girlfriend. She is not charged with a crime and family members don’t believe she knew what her friends were conspiring to do.

Shull is the youngest of four children. Family members are grieving in Conover, and funeral arrangements haven’t been finalized.

Published in: on December 24, 2012 at 8:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte Man to Deliver Christmas Cards to Wounded Veterans

From www.wsoctv.com, December 21, 2012

This weekend, a Charlotte man will deliver hundreds of Christmas cards to wounded veterans.

Robert Eisenstein organized a holiday card drive, hoping to collect 1,000 cards to take to Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland.

Eyewitness News checked with him Thursday, and he has 780 cards so far.

He plans to leave for Maryland Saturday morning.

Published in: on December 21, 2012 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Officers Involved in Wreck After Chase in East Charlotte

From The Charlotte Observer by April Bethea, December 21, 2012

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have made one arrest but are searching for another suspect after a carjacking and police chase in east Charlotte.

Two police cruisers wrecked while officers were going after the suspects, but no injuries were reported.

The chase happened shortly after police were called to the Charleston Place apartments off Idlewild Road where a woman told police that someone had taken her car. The victim told police a man approached her with a gun before 3 a.m. Friday and demanded the car.

The suspect drove off in the car, though police said he abandoned the vehicle while he was still in the apartment complex and officers were responding to the scene. The complex has just one way to get in and out of the area, police said.

Police said the suspect then got into another car that was at the complex, which took off and led to the police chase. As the chase approached Independence Boulevard and W.T. Harris, two police officers struck one another. The officers were not hurt, though their vehicles were damaged.

Police took one person into custody but were still looking for another suspect in the carjacking. There was no immediate word of charges in the case.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/12/21/3740430/police-involved-in-wreck-after.html#storylink=cpy
Published in: on December 21, 2012 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Will Require Landlords to Register After January 1, 2013

From www.wsoctv.com, December 20, 2012

In less than two weeks, new rules will go into place designed to keep renters in Charlotte safer.

The city and police are now forcing property owners to register.

The rental properties that have the most crime are registered now. Starting Jan. 1, every rental in the city has to do the same thing.
Police said it gives them a way to prevent crime and hold landlords accountable. Renters at Shadowood Apartments on Central Avenue like the idea.

“I think it would be a good idea for them all to register. We have so much crime going on,” said Margaret Hamilton.

Starting next year, it will be the law. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officials said it gives them a critical point of contact..
“It’s difficult for officers to find owners of property at 2 a.m. when something has happened and we need to find that owner,” said Capt. Steve Willis.

They can identify properties that may be on the verge of becoming a trouble spot and sit down with landlords to talk about things like lack of lighting at night.

At first, the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association didn’t like the idea, saying there are already two government databases that collect the same information.

After years of talking to police, Director Ken Szymanski thinks it’s a good thing.

“The police will do a better job sharing data so the managers can tailor their responses.” Szymanski said.

Police can set up email blasts that can alert property owners if a crime happens at their propery or police can alert them if they discover people not on the lease are staying at the home.

Police are giving property owners and managers six months to register. If they don’t, they could face misdemeanor criminal charges.

Landlord can register online by going to cmpd.org. It won’t be active until Jan. 1.

 

Published in: on December 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Member Reports Third Inappropriate Exposure at Harris YMCA

Facility is located at 5900 Quail Hollow Rd. in the heart of South Park

From www.charlotte.news14.com by Kate Gaier, December 20, 2012

The Harris YMCA says a man exposed himself to someone at the facility’s outdoor track, again. A YMCA member reported the incident Wednesday during the daylight hours.

In July, two women reported that a man exposed himself as they jogged around the track just before 6 a.m. Another incident occurred at night in early August. No arrests have been made.

The Y has posted signs to remind members that the track is only open during the day. It sent an email to all members Wednesday about this latest incident. It said it is working closely with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to provide added security.

Published in: on December 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Man Charged with Shooting Charlotte Good Samaritan has Criminal Record

Picture Above from www.charlotte.news14.com, December 20, 2012

Information below From www.wsoctv.com, by Jason Stoogenke, December 20, 2012

The 18-year-old charged with shooting a good Samaritan has a long criminal record.

Deandre White has been arrested 12 times in the last two years. In fact, he had just gotten out of jail Tuesday and was back a day later for this case.

Police said White was in the car with his girlfriend, Sataria Baker, and was hitting her, and that two good Samaritans stopped to see if she was alright.

Investigators said White then shot at them several times, hitting the female good Samaritan in the leg, and then took off. There was a short chase before White crashed his car and was arrested.

Baker tells a much different story. She said she was driving, no one shot anyone and White wasn’t even hitting her.
“If he was beating me, then I would have something,” she said. “It’s no faking, no beating. You beating somebody, there’d be something, something on me, a scratch, something.”

Police stand by their story and charged White with about a dozen crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a female and possessing a stolen firearm. Add that to his already lengthy record, including robbery, breaking and entering, and resisting an officer, and he has a dozen arrests since 2010 — about one every other month.

When WSOC went by the good Samaritan’s home, no one answered. When WSOC went to White’s home, a man and woman there asked the crew to stay off their property, but then the woman said she just doesn’t know what happened and doesn’t want to speak out of turn.

Published in: on December 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment