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Photos: Austin police investigate explosions

20 bullets fired: Police kill unarmed black man holding cellphone in own backyard

Family, friends and the Sacramento community are demanding answers in the death of an unarmed black man killed by police in his own backyard Sunday night, holding nothing but a cellphone in his hand.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told Fox40 that officers fired on Stephon Alonzo “Zoe” Clark a total of 20 times. Clark, 23, died at the scene, leaving behind two young sons. 

Hahn was on hand Tuesday night at a City Council meeting, where several residents of the community protested the officer-involved shooting. 

“To hell with Sac PD,” resident Rebecca Person said, according to the news station. “I’m sick of them always murdering black youth.”

“What is the police’s job to do? To shoot people that are unarmed in their own backyard?” another resident, Robert Copeland, asked. 

Fox40 reported that the Sacramento Police Department is under fire for its morphing story of what Clark was carrying. 

“They put one story out that he may have been armed. They put out another that he had a toolbar, whatever that is,” Tanya Faison, a member of the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter, told the news station. “Then they put out that he had a wrench and then they put out that he just had a cellphone. 

“They need to get it together.”

The two officers involved in the shooting are being criticized for waiting five minutes, until additional officers came to the scene, to handcuff Clark and begin rendering first aid.

Department officials are also facing criticism for not promptly informing Clark’s family, including the grandparents and siblings he lived with, that he was the one gunned down in their yard. 

Fox40 reported that Clark’s family called 911 for help after hearing gunshots right outside their window. 

Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother, told the Sacramento Bee that she was sitting in her dining room when she heard the shots.

“The only thing that I heard was, ‘pow, pow, pow, pow,’ and I got to the ground,” Thompson told the newspaper

Thompson described crawling to where her 7-year-old granddaughter slept on a couch in an adjacent den, where she got the girl onto the floor. She then made her way to her husband, who uses a wheelchair, and he dialed 911. 

Thompson said neither she nor her husband heard officers issue any commands prior to firing the fatal gunshots. 

The grieving grandmother told the Bee that investigators interviewed her for hours about what she heard, but never told her it was her grandson who had been killed. She finally looked out a window and saw his body.

“I opened that curtain and he was dead. I started screaming,” Thompson said

Hahn said he and his investigators initially had no idea Clark was related to the homeowners. 

“We found out they were related because the family told us so,” the chief told Fox40.

Hahn said in a news release Monday that officers were called to the family’s neighborhood around 9:15 p.m. Sunday on a report of a man breaking several car windows. The suspect was described as a thin man, just over 6 feet in height and wearing a black hoodie and dark pants. The caller said the man was hiding in a backyard.

Dispatchers sent officers to the scene, where the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department also had a helicopter searching for the suspect from the air, the news release said. About 12 minutes after the 911 call was made, the crew in the helicopter told officers on the ground they saw the alleged suspect in a backyard, where he picked up what looked like a toolbar and broke the sliding glass door of the home before running south toward the front of the house. 

That house was next door to the Thompsons’ home.

The officers on the ground, directed to his location by the helicopter crew, confronted Clark as he came up along the side of his grandparents’ home, the news release said. When they ordered him to show his hands, he fled to the backyard, officials said. 

“Officers pursued the suspect and located him in the backyard of the residence,” the news release said. “The suspect turned and advanced towards the officers while holding an object which was extended in front of him.”

Believing the object was a gun, the officers opened fire, the news release said. Clark was struck multiple times, though the exact number of gunshot wounds was not immediately known.

A follow-up news release issued later Monday stated that no weapon was found near Clark’s body.

“After an exhaustive search, scene investigators did not locate any firearms,” the news release stated. “The only item found near the suspect was a cellphone.”

Homicide investigators and crime scene technicians said they found three vehicles with damage they believe Clark caused, as well as the shattered sliding glass door that the helicopter crew said they witnessed him break, the news release said

The only items investigators found that could have been the toolbar described by the helicopter crew included a cinder block and a piece of aluminum that may have come from a gutter. Both were found near the broken sliding glass door, the Bee reported

Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, the newspaper said. One of the officers has eight years of law enforcement experience, half of it with the Sacramento department. 

The other officer has six years total experience, two of those in Sacramento. 

Sacramento city policy requires any body-camera footage of an officer-involved shooting to be made public within 30 days, the Bee reported

Hahn said he plans to release the officers’ body camera footage, as well as footage from a camera aboard the helicopter, after it has been shared with Clark’s family, Fox40 reported. He anticipated having the footage released by week’s end. 

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, the city attorney’s office and the city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability are investigating the shooting, as is the department’s homicide and internal affairs units. 

The Bee reported that Clark was at least the 17th person to die in confrontations with law enforcement in Sacramento County in the past two years. Besides the young father, three others were unarmed. 

Austin package explosions: Parts of downtown Pflugerville shut down due to suspicious package report

Police have shut down parts of downtown Pflugerville, an Austin suburb, due to a report of a suspicious package, the city’s police chief said early Wednesday. It is not yet known whether the incident is related to the Austin bombings.

The news came the day after investigators linked a fifth bomb blast at a FedEx ground delivery facility northeast of San Antonio to the deadly package bombs in Austin. A sixth blast at a south Austin Goodwill store was not related to the bombings, investigators said.

>> READ MORE: Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombingsPhotos: Austin police investigate explosionsFor investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombingsMap shows location of 4 Austin bombsAustin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this monthOfficials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombingsMan held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police sayAustin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police sayThe Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrestedAustin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony HouseMORE

Man facing child porn charges after 'gingerbread house' full of explicit photos found in forest

A Mill Creek, Washington, man is facing charges after a treehouse was found in the Snoqualmie National Forest with child pornography hanging on the walls inside.

>> Watch the news report here

KIRO-TV first reported on the discovery off the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in February. The unauthorized treehouse was reported by an employee of the Department of Natural Resources, according to court documents. A DNR worker took a couple of the photographs off the wall to show law enforcement and called the King County Sheriff's Office.

The DNR employee took a detective to the treehouse, which was described in court documents as "an elaborate tree house that resembled a fairy or gingerbread house." The treehouse was about 8 feet off the ground with a porch surrounding it.

>> On Treehouse filled with child porn found near North Bend

Investigators say that inside the treehouse they found photographs of naked young girls framed on the walls. There was also a bed, food, supplies, a book and an electronic keyboard.

They found an envelope with more pornographic images.

The King County Sheriff's Office handed the case over to the FBI to investigate. The FBI sent KIRO-TV new photos of the house on Monday.

The FBI searched the cabin in April 2017 and collected items to test for fingerprints and DNA to find out who built the cabin.

They took construction photos, smoking material, bedding, glasses, photos of girls, bags of batteries and glass from the photograph frames.

They sent the items to the FBI laboratory in Quantico.

Federal investigators said they also talked to a Search and Rescue volunteer who said he had seen an SUV near the cabin on multiple occasions, and he had the license plate information. Investigators tracked down the owner of the vehicle and watched him.

>> Read more trending news 

Investigators said they took a swab from the handle of his motorcycle and later got a paper drinking cup he discarded. Those items were also sent to the lab in Quantico.

According to court documents, the items tested at Quantico positively identified the 56-year-old Mill Creek man. Court records show Daniel Wood, of Mill Creek, has been charged with two counts of child pornography possession.

FBI agents searched Woods condominium in Mill Creek in February and collected his computers, Amazon Fire, SD cards, Polaroid tablet, VHS tapes and video recorder.

Parents of bullies could face $500 fine if Pennsylvania bill becomes law

A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation that could have parents footing the bill if their child bullies another kid at school.

>> Watch the news report here

It started out as a rule in Sharpsburg.

>> On Parents face fines in new anti-bullying ordinance

WPXI checked with the police officer who enforces the law and he said it is working as a deterrent.

He also said it's raised awareness of how serious bullying is, and the potential consequences.

After Brentwood and Sharpsburg passed local anti-bullying ordinances that fine parents of bullies, a state lawmaker is proposing more encompassing legislation.

State Rep. Frank Burns' bill gives parents three strikes. He's from Cambria County.

>> Read more trending news 

The first time a child bullies someone, the school is required to inform his or her parents how it handled the situation. If it happens a second time, parents would have to take a class on bullying and attend a bullying resolution conference.

The third time, parents would receive a court citation and pay up to a $500 fine.

In a statement issued last week, the Democrat said bullying can lead to physical assaults and suicide.

He said holding students, parents and officials accountable "is the only way to put an end to this scourge."

The proposal also includes an anonymous bullying reporting system requiring the state education department to track bullying incidents and file monthly reports.

Sharpsburg police have yet to file any citations against parents.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Serial bomber Ted Kaczynski kept feds at bay for 17 years before capture

With the person or people responsible for five package bombs that have exploded in or around Austin still at large, local and federal authorities are reminded of the “Unabomber” -- Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski -- a serial bomber who remained elusive for nearly 20 years until he was turned in by his own brother. 

At the time, it was the longest and most expensive manhunt in FBI history. 

The FBI describes Kaczynski on its website as a “twisted genius” who wanted, and nearly succeeded in becoming an untraceable bringer of death and destruction. Ultimately, he killed three people and wounded 24 others. 

“How do you catch a twisted genius who aspires to be the perfect, anonymous killer -- who builds untraceable bombs and delivers them to random targets, who leaves false clues to throw off authorities, who lives like a recluse in the mountains of Montana and tells no one of his secret crimes?” the FBI website stated

Kaczynski was indeed a genius, with an IQ of 167. According to Crime Museum, an educational resource that provides an online crime library and operates the Natalee Holloway Resource Center, Kaczynski graduated from high school at 15 and entered Harvard University. By age 25, he had a doctorate in mathematics. 

He became the youngest professor ever hired by the University of California at Berkeley, but the demands of academia were too much for his shy, reserved nature. Kaczynski returned to his native Montana in 1969 and two years later, moved into his infamous cabin in Lincoln, from which he carried out his deadly rampage. 

Kaczynski first came to the attention of the FBI in 1978, when he sent his first crude bomb to Northwestern University near Chicago. Over the next 17 years, his targets included universities -- including UC Berkeley -- airlines and businesses, which he blamed for destroying the environment and over-industrializing the United States. 

That’s where the Unabomber moniker originated: “University and Airline Bomber,” Crime Museum reported

That first primitive bomb at Northwestern did little damage, causing only minor injuries to the police officer who -- alerted by the professor who received the suspicious package -- opened it. Like the bomber or bombers in Austin, however, Kaczynski’s package bombs became more sophisticated over time. 

Related: Unabomber: TV shows, movies and books about Ted Kaczynski

He was also meticulous and -- in covering his tracks -- would plant fake evidence inside the bombs to send investigators down the wrong path. One of the only clues in the case was a police sketch, based on witness statements, of a man wearing a dark hoodie and sunglasses. 

Those items, along with other personal items belonging to Kaczynski, were auctioned off in 2011, with proceeds to benefit his victims and their families. Collectors paid more than $200,000 for 58 items. 

Business Insider reported that between 1978 and 1995, when he was captured, Kaczynski arranged 16 bombings, including one that was placed in the cargo hold of an airplane. 

That bomb failed to detonate. 

Kaczynski’s first murder came in 1985, when John Hauser opened a package mailed to his Sacramento computer store, Crime Museum said. Hauser died from injuries inflicted by shrapnel.

The Unabomber sent just one device between 1986 and 1993, at which time he restarted his spree. He killed his second victim in 1994.

Thomas Mosser was an executive for the public relations firm that represented Exxon after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, Crime Museum reported. 

Kaczynski’s final bomb was sent a year after Mosser was killed. That bomb claimed the life of Gilbert Brent Murray, a lobbyist for the California Forestry Association. 

That same year, 1995, Kaczynski mailed a manifesto titled “Industrial Society and Its Future” to the New York Times and the Washington Post, Crime Museum reported. In the document, he derided the Industrial Revolution and called for people to eschew the technology he saw taking over their lives. 

Kaczynski demanded the newspapers publish the manifesto or else the carnage would continue. 

The FBI was hesitant to publish the 35,000-word document, debating the merits of “giving in to terrorists,” the FBI website said. Ultimately, then-FBI director Louis Freeh and then-Attorney General Janet Reno gave the go-ahead for the Times and the Post to publish the Unabomber’s words. 

Read the text of Kaczynski’s manifesto here. 

The hope was that someone would recognize his words and his views. Their wish was granted when, among the thousands of people who called in tips, they heard from someone who knew Kaczynski better than anyone: his brother.

David Kaczynski wrote in Psychology Today in 2016 that it was initially his wife, Linda, who, after hearing descriptions of the as-yet-unpublished manifesto, suspected her brother-in-law could be the Unabomber. He was initially skeptical of her suspicions, he said. 

“This was my brother she was talking about,” David Kaczynski wrote. “I knew that Ted was plagued with painful emotions. I’d worried about him for years and had many unanswered questions about his estrangement from our family. But it never occurred to me that he could be capable of violence.”

The manifesto was published a month later and, reading it on a computer at the public library in Albany, New York, David Kaczynski was “immobilized” by the time he finished the first paragraph. 

“The tone of the opening lines was hauntingly similar to that of Ted's letters condemning our parents, only here the indictment was vastly expanded,” David Kaczynski wrote. “On the surface, the phraseology was calm and intellectual, but it barely concealed the author's rage. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't absolutely deny that it might be my brother's writing.”

David and Linda Kaczynski spent two months comparing the manifesto to letters David Kaczynski had received from Ted Kaczynski over the years. Convinced there was a 50 percent chance that his brother penned the manifesto, David Kaczynski struggled with what to do. 

He feared a confrontation between law enforcement and his emotionally unstable brother could end badly, he wrote. He also feared what the situation could do to their elderly mother. 

He at last decided that his suspicions needed to be shared, and he went to the FBI. The Kaczynski brothers’ mother, though distraught, kissed him on the cheek when she found out. 

“I know you love Ted,” she said, according to David Kaczynski. “I know you wouldn’t have done this unless you felt you had to.”

The FBI reported that David Kaczynski confirmed several things that federal investigators already suspected about the Unabomber: that he’d been raised in Chicago, that he had ties to UC Berkeley and that he’d lived in Salt Lake City for a while before settling in the tiny cabin the brothers built in the woods in Lincoln.

The distraught brother also provided some of Ted Kaczynski’s writings, which an FBI linguistics analyst determined had been written by the author of the Unabomber’s manifesto, the FBI said

Investigators armed with a search warrant went to that cabin in the woods and arrested Ted Kaczynski. A search of his refuge turned up bomb components, one live bomb ready for the mail and about 40,000 handwritten journal pages.

His journal described the Unabomber crimes and included details of bomb-making experiments, the FBI said

Kaczynski was indicted in April 1996 with three counts of murder and 10 counts of activity relating to creating and mailing the bombs. Crime Museum reported that his lawyers tried to get him to use an insanity defense to avoid the death penalty.   

Kaczynski refused. Instead, he pleaded guilty to the charges in January 1998 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

He now resides at the Florence Supermax federal prison in Colorado, which also houses fellow serial bomber Eric Rudolph. Rudolph bombed the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, as well as a lesbian nightclub there and two abortion clinics in Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama. 

Three people were killed and more than 100 injured in Rudolph’s rampage. 

Florida teacher leaves 4-year-old home alone while she buys marijuana, deputies say

Florida elementary school teacher left a 4-year-old child alone while she went to buy marijuana, officials said.

>> Read more trending news

Marsha Dolce, 26, was arrested Saturday on charges of child neglect and marijuana possession, according to a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release.

Deputies responded to a Davenport apartment complex Saturday morning and found a 4-year-old child crying outside, wearing only a T-shirt and underwear.

Dolce, who teaches fourth grade at Laurel Elementary in Poinciana, eventually returned home and told deputies she had left to help a friend with car troubles. 

Deputies said they found marijuana in Dolce's home and text messages on her phone indicating that she had gone to Winter Haven hours earlier to buy the drug.

Child welfare officials removed the child from Dolce's home, authorities said.

Woman robbed of $10,000 jackpot in casino parking lot 

A woman who won a $10,000 jackpot at a Nevada casino was robbed in the parking lot early Monday, KUTV reported.

>> Read more trending news

Police said they have recovered most of the cash, which was in the woman’s purse. She was leaving the Montego Bay Casino in West Wendover, Nevada, shortly after midnight when the purse was ripped from her hands, KUTV reported.

According to court documents, Tad Marshall, 33, of Bountiful, Utah, is accused of approaching the woman and stealing her purse.

Police found Marshall in a Wendover, Utah, motel parking lot and asked him if he had taken the money, KUTV reported. While the casino is located in Nevada, the parking lot where the theft occurred is located in Wendover, Utah, the station reported.

According to court documents, Marshall told police that the money was “in the car under the driver’s seat.” Police said they found the cash where Marshall told them it was located, KUTV reported.

Marshall was arrested and booked him into the Tooele County jail on charges of felony theft and possession of drug paraphernalia, KUTV reported.

Florida teen charged with murder after allegedly beating boy with baseball bat, deputies say

A Florida teenager allegedly beat a 15-year-old boy to death with a baseball bat Monday afternoon, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

>> Read more trending news

During a news conference, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Dillen Murray, 16, was angry and jealous that the victim had relations with a girl he liked.

Deputies said they were called at about 2:45 p.m. to a wooded area near Lake Wales.

Investigators said Murray asked Giovanni Diaz to play with him in the woods, where he beat the boy.

"A witness who was in the area saw Dillen walking out of the woods, and Dillen told the witness that he just hit his friend with a baseball bat," a Sheriff's Office spokesman said. "The witness ran into the woods and found Giovanni."

Investigators said the two live in the same neighborhood.

"This child was brutally murdered by a 16-year-old with a baseball bat," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in an emailed statement. "There is no reasonable excuse for this. Zero. None. It should never have happened."

Murray was booked into the Juvenile Assessment Center on charges of first-degree murder, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Investigators said Murray was previously charged with two counts of battery against Diaz in March 2016, and one count of domestic battery against his father, Paul Murray, in March 2017.

The death remains under investigation.

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