Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fund For Murder Victim's Family

Friends and co-workers of a man shot to death in Bell County are raising money to help his family.
When Timothy D. Manning, 33, was shot to death Saturday morning, his death robbed four children and a wife of a father and the family's sole breadwinner.

Michael Ferrell, Manning's close friend, hopes to ease the burden of Manning's murder. Ferrell started a memorial account with the Greater Central Texas Federal Credit Union in Manning's name.

Ferrell hopes locals will donate to help the family cope with Manning's shocking death. Ferrell's enlisted support from Express Cab co-workers who will contribute as well. The family needs help with funeral costs, food, cleaning supplies, clothing for children and toiletries since Manning's wife is unemployed.

"He was a great dude. He loved his kids. He loved his wife and his friends. He'd do anything in the world to help people," Ferrell said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Behind every murder victim is a devastated family left to pick up the pieces.

Rape Trial Continues

The trial of a Killeen man accused of assaulting and sodomizing a mentally disabled man continued yesterday.
Judge Fancy Jezek of the 426th District Court also heard testimonies Tuesday from two Killeen police officers, a medical examiner, a psychologist and the juvenile who pleaded guilty to his involvement in the man's assault. Mendoza's trial began Monday.

The trial is expected to be decided today.

The victim, a mentally disabled 21-year-old man with an IQ of 57 said to function at the level of an 8- to 10-year-old, and the juvenile, a 15-year-old who was in the eighth-grade at the time of the incident, gave their accounts of the incident. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Details of the testimony heard yesterday are in the article. Hit the link to read it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Accused Rapist on Trial

A Killeen man is on trial for raping and beating a mentally disabled man.
Testimony will continue at 9 a.m. today in the trial of a Killeen man accused of beating and sexually assaulting a mentally disabled man in December.

Cruz Angel Mendoza, 19, is charged with aggravated sexual assault for the incident the prosecution alleges was consensual at first and turned violent when a juvenile became involved.

On Monday in Judge Fancy Jezek's 426th District Court, prosecutors presented witnesses who described their interaction with a 20-year-old man who functions at the level of a 9-year-old. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The story in the Herald details the long, sordid testimony. Hit the link to read the rest.

KPD Needs Your Help

Killeen Police are asking for the public's help in two cases. In one the suspect is known and is a fugitive wanted for his part in a vehicle burglary ring.
Killeen police asked for the public's help Monday to locate Stacy Gernell Spiller, 24, a Killeen police news release stated. The Bell County District Attorney's Office charged Spiller, Nicholas Adam Bookout, 21, Jacob Alexander Phillips, 20, and DeMarkus Eugene Dirden, 20, with engaging in organized criminal activity.

Police described Spiller as a 5-feet-8-inch-tall black male weighing about 140 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Killeen police arrested Bookout and Phillips separately Thursday and Friday, the release stated. Dirden was already in Bell County Jail on unrelated charges.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

In the other case Killeen Police need your help identifying the persons responsible for burglaries at a Killeen business.
The Starr Mart convenience store was robbed Aug. 29, according to a Killeen police news release. Then on Sept. 3, someone burglarized the convenience store in the 2900 block of West Elms Road.

Police believe the suspects in each case are the same because of video surveillance, according to a news release.

One suspect is described as a light-skinned black or Hispanic male. The second suspect is a black male. Both suspects are believed to be in their late teens or early 20s with average height and slender builds. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

If you have information on either of these two cases, or any other area crime you can report it anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website. Killeen CrimeStoppers pays cash for tips.

Video Camera Captures Murder

A recent murder in Bell County was captured on video.
A hidden surveillance camera solved the shooting death of a cab dispatcher in a matter of minutes Saturday.

A co-worker discovered Timothy D. Manning, 33, of Harker Heights, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, according to an arrest affidavit.

The video showed Manning working the phones at Express Cab in Nolanville when Kris Michael Lewis Turnbull, 18, started pacing behind Manning.

Turnbull, a former Express Cab employee, then pulled out a gun and shot Manning in the back of the head. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Video evidence such as this can be damming. In this case, it turned what had the potential to be a real "whodunnit" into a quickly solved case. Good job BCSO.

Monday, September 28, 2009

And After You're Dead, You Get To Serve 10 More Years in Prison

You remember Richart Tabler, he's the killer of four whose antics on death row have included using a contraband cell phone to threaten a State Lawmaker, then sending out letters via the prison chaplain to again threaten the same lawmaker and making fools of TDCJ. Well, they're really going to make an example of him this time.
Death row killer Richard Lee Tabler, whose cell phone calls to a state senator sparked a statewide shakedown of all state prisons nearly a year ago, pleaded guilty this morning to threatening the lawmaker and possessing contraband.

During a brief courtroom appearance in Livingston, in East Texas, Tabler got 10-year sentence stacked atop his death sentence.

“The message here is that we take these possession of contraband cases seriously — especially cell phones on death row — and that we will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” said Gina DeBottis, chief prosecutor with the Special Prosecutions Unit that handles prison cases.

(Tabler) got the maximum sentence possible.” Source: Austin American Statesman

I hate to burst the prosecutor's bubble, but I'm not sure getting the maximum 10 years on this contraband charge is going to phase Tabler one bit.

Dope, Stolen Property and Loud Music, Oh My!

If you've got dope and a house full of stolen property, you'd think you would try to be inconspicuous. Apparently these car burglars didn't figure that out.
Nicholas Adam Bookout, 31, Jacob Alexander Phillips, 20, and DeMarkus Eugene Dirden are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.

Bookout was arrested last Thursday and Phillips was taken into custody on Friday.

Dirden was held in the Bell County Jail on an unrelated charge and was served there with the arrest warrant.

Stacy Gernell Spiller, 24, remained at large Monday.
...
The complaints were filed after an investigation that started on Aug. 2 when officers who responded to the report of loud music at 1605 N. W.S. Young Dr. Apt. A smelled the odor of marijuana and saw narcotics paraphernalia in the residence.

Inside, officers also found two black book bags and an Army book bag inside of which they found items that had been stolen in recent burglaries.

The lid of a black trunk inside the residence was opened wide enough that officers could see several car stereos with cables.

Detectives were advised of the findings and later determined the items had been stolen from vehicles in the area, police said Monday. Source: KWTX.com

No one ever said that you had to have common sense to be a thief.

More On Red Light Cameras In Killeen

The Herald posted a long article on Red Light Camera enforcement in Killeen.
City officials have always said the cameras are more about reducing accidents than generating greenbacks. Although accidents are slightly down, the city is reaping rich rewards.

Red-light cameras rang up approximately $722,000 for the city since late May 2008, according to Sara Doyle, city of Killeen staff accountant.

At the same time, red-light cameras reduced crashes and increased safe driving, according to Killeen police. Violations dropped 54 percent from June 2008 to June 2009. One less accident happened every two months at the designated intersections than four months prior to installation.

Killeen police reported 502 fewer vehicle accidents citywide through June 2009 than the same period in 2008. Police Chief Dennis Baldwin said the red-light cameras benefit the whole city. The cameras promote safer habits that extend to other intersections, Baldwin said.

"A lot of people don't know which ones are covered, so they are more cautious at all intersections I believe," Lt. James Kelly said. Kelly supervises red-light cameras for Killeen police. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

It's a long article, too long to post here so hit the link to read the whole thing.

Belton Police To Get TASERS

Belton's Police Chief outlined his plans to equip his officers with TASERS to the Belton City Council.
Currently the only means of a Belton Police Officer protecting himself from a hostile suspect or a dangerous animal is his firearm or his baton.

Incorporating the TASER devices will give the officers a better alternative to deadly force.

Chief Ellis plans to create a comprehensive policy, in which no action will be taken for passive or verbal resistance; have every officer complete a thorough training, which the department will have its own trainer (trained by the TASER corporation but also under Belton’s comprehensive policy); and practice stringent accountability, which even the display of the TASER device will be reported.

Chief Ellis stated that Belton needs these devices because there have been many reported cases of officers trying to restrain a subject which resulted in injury to either the officers or the subject. TASERs would have helped in those situations. Source: The Belton Journal

TASERS are just a tool. When used properly they can be beneficial. When used improperly, they can be a public relations nightmare for Departments. I'm sure everyone has mental images of hulking officers TASERing grannies or the ever popular "Don't TASE me bro!" video. Hopefully the officers will keep these images in mind as they serve their communities.

KPD Detective Profiled In The News

One of Killeen's finest got a lot of print in a recent profile in the Killeen Daily Herald.
Detective Karl Ortiz knows a different, darker side of Killeen than most people who have called Killeen home since childhood.

For most of his life, Ortiz has carried a gun and worn a badge to protect his hometown.

Thirty years ago, Ortiz joined the Killeen Police Department. During those 30 years, Ortiz survived the Luby's massacre, dangerous SWAT calls and being caught in a flurry of gunfire. Still, he keeps coming back for more because there's no feeling like being a cop, Ortiz said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

It's a long article so hit the link to read it all. Good job Karl!

Bell Murder Arrest

Bell County Sheriff's Investigators made short work of a murder case when they arrested a Killeen teen for the murder.
Bell County sheriff's investigators arrested Kris Michael Lewis Turnbull, 18, Saturday night in the shooting death of Timothy D. Manning, 33, of Harker Heights.

Sheriff's officials said Sunday night Turnbull had been arraigned and bond was set at the $1 million the investigators had recommended.

Sheriff's officers were called to the offices of Express Cab Co. on Farm-to-Market 439 near Nolanville at 8:35 a.m. Saturday and found Manning with a gunshot wound to the head, a sheriff's news release said. Information was not available as to whether he died at the scene or was transported to a hospital.

Manning was a dispatcher for the company; a release Saturday said deputies believe the shooting took place during a robbery.

A news release Sunday said sheriff's deputies obtained a warrant for Turnbull's arrest from Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin. It said, "Late Saturday evening sheriff's investigators received information of a possible location for Kris Turnbull. Investigators contacted the Killeen Police Department, and the suspect was arrested late Saturday night without incident." Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Good job Deputies. Now the long slog through the courts begins.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Draws Them To Killeen?

A wanted murderer from Georgia was arrested in Killeen this week.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Marshals Service apprehended a man in Killeen wanted on murder charges in connection with a shooting in Brooks County, Georgia.

Derrick Styles, 24, is being held in Bell County pending extradition.

Styles was hiding out in Killeen because he has family here, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Anton Savage. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Why does it seem like all the crooks from other parts of the country end up in Killeen? There's an old joke that says there is a beacon in Killeen that draws thugs like moths to a flame. I am sure that every city has similar stories about out of town crooks showing up in their town.

Cab Company Murder

Bell County Sheriff's deputies are investigating an apparent murder. The incident occurred at the offices of a local taxi cab company.
A 33-year-old man was fatally shot Saturday near Nolanville and officials are working to determine what happened.

Bell County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call from the Express Cab Company on Farm-to-Market 439 at 8:40 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release.

Deputies and emergency responders found a man with a gunshot wound to the back of the head. They would not say whether the man died at the scene or at a local hospital.

After a preliminary investigation, a news release Saturday evening said officials believe the shooting happened during a robbery. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

I hope BCSO can solve this crime. It sounds like they have their work cut out for them.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Step 11 - Expect Offenders to React

In this section of the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers, we'll cover Step 11 - Expect Offenders To React. In previous sections we've looked at ways to develop a strategy to combat specific crime problems. Hopefully our strategy is well thought out and will bring about the intended result, that we'll reduce the problematic crime activity that we set out to solve. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Sometimes what we hoped was a well thought out strategy has the effect of changing a criminal's behavior in a negative way. Two ways criminals react negatively are displacement and adaptation. The authors of Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers define them this way:
Displacement occurs when offenders change their behavior to thwart preventive actions. Displacement is the opposite of diffusion of benefits. Displacement is a possible threat, but it is far from inevitable. Reviews show that many situational prevention programs show little or no evidence of displacement, and when displacement is found, it seldom fully offsets the prevention benefits (Step 12).
Adaptation refers to a longer term process whereby the offender population as a whole discovers new crime vulnerabilities after preventive measures have been in place for a while. Paul Ekblom, Ken Pease, and other researchers often use the analogy of an arms race between preventers and offenders when discussing this process. So, in time, we can expect many crimes that have been reduced by preventive measures to reappear as criminals discover new ways to commit them. Adaptation may occur as the original offenders slowly discover new methods, or it may occur as new offenders take advantage of changing opportunities.
The general consensus among criminologists, is that displacement isn't as common as it's thought to be. However, adaptation does occur fairly often.
One example seen in the area where I work involved ATM burglaries. The first ATM's proved to be vulnerable to being cracked open inside the businesses where they were installed. As the manufacturers began to harden their ATM's even more, thieves began using stolen pickups and a chain to rip the machines out of the stores where they were installed and drag them off to a secluded area where they could spend more time opening them. Some businesses in the Dallas area installed cages around the machines to combat this problem so enterprising thieves in that area took to stealing large construction equipment such as wheel loaders and backhoes to tear the machines out of the cages.
In either case, when you work out your strategy you should be ready to modify the strategy as the problem evolves.

747 Down, Only 24,803 Days To Go

A Killeen felon who stabbed his girlfriend repeatedly, refused to let her call an ambulance and told her she was going to die was sentenced for his crime. Jade Ortega at The Killeen Daily Herald reported this exchange between the crook and the judge during sentencing.
After Jezek read Oatman's sentence, Oatman asked, "May I speak?"

"No," Jezek said.

Defense attorney John P. Galligan then presented Jezek with a notice of appeal. Before she dismissed Oatman, she asked what he wanted to say.

Oatman appeared stunned.

"Did I hear you correctly? Did you just sentence me to 70 years?" he asked.

"Yes, sir," she said.

Oatman had two prior felony convictions, including a burglary of a habitation in 1990.

Jezek gave Oatman credit for the 747 days he served in jail. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

If he's going to put a positive spin on his plight, he's only got 24,803 days left on his sentence.

The Treasurer Got Sticky Fingers

Killeen Police arrest the treasurer of the Shoemaker High School athletics booster club after it was alledged she helped herself to the funds she was to manage.
Patsy Ann Dunem, 30, the club's treasurer, turned herself in Thursday and posted $20,000 bail. Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin arraigned Dunem on a charge of theft of more than $1,500 but less than $20,000.

In January, members of the Robert M. Shoemaker Athletic Booster Club Association started to suspect wrongdoing when Dunem refused to hand over the club's financial reports, Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Carroll Smith said Thursday.

Club representatives filed a report with KPD earlier this month after an impromptu audit determined $9,000 was stolen from the booster club account between July 20, 2007, and Jan. 16, 2009.

Police detectives said the treasurer was the only person who had access to the bank account and was solely responsible for the missing money.

According to the arrest affidavit, Dunem admitted in a written statement given to police that she took money from the booster club when she failed to meet her house and car payments.

Dunem stated she originally intended to pay the money back but continued to steal from the association when her bills kept piling up. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

If she thought she had bills before, wait till she gets the bills for attorney's fees, fines, court costs, probation fees, etc.

HHPD Car Show Saturday

Harker Heights Police are sponsoring a custom car show to benefit a child abuse prevention chartity Saturday.
Harker Heights police will host its seventh annual Car & Bike Show Saturday. Each year the event features more than 50 classic and custom vehicles from around the area.

Entrants will arrive early Saturday and set up their vehicles. Throughout the day, visitors rate the vehicles and pick the best of the best in several categories. Past years featured classic and modern cars including everything from 1957 Chevrolets to new Jaguars.

One year, the event included a golf cart customized to be a miniature 1957 Chevrolet, Officer Dave Haley said.

Proceeds from the event benefit Aware Central Texas, a nonprofit focused on preventing child abuse. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Harker Heights Police have been working hard to support Aware Central Texas of late. Good job guys.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Frilly Knickers Bandits Busted

Just to prove that some women will do anything to obtain fancy underpants: Killeen Police arrested two Killeen women for burglarizing a lingerie shop overnight.
A passerby flagged down a Killeen Police Department squad car shortly after midnight Wednesday and told officers she saw someone breaking into Xpressions Lingerie, 501 W. Elms Road, said Carroll Smith, a spokesman for the police department.

The officers found the front glass door of the store broken out. An employee of the business told officers two young women had come to the door around midnight and were told the store was closed. The employee watched as the women got into a light- colored vehicle in the store parking lot.

A short time after the burglary was reported, officers stopped two women in a light- colored vehicle on a nearby Killeen Street. According to Smith, officers found lingerie in the back seat. Source: Austin American Statesman

I don't know what the emergency was, but it appears that for some when you need fancy knickers you don't want to wait till morning when the store opens to get them.

No Where To Hide

A man wanted in a burglary of a Killeen elementary school turned himself in after he was profiled by Killeen CrimeStoppers.
(Jonathan Milo)Perrault, 20, is charged with burglary of a building.

He surrendered Monday to Killeen police after talking with the detective who’s investigating the break-in, whom he told, “The Crime Stoppers and the media attention was making it too difficult to hide out”.

He was in the Bell County Jail Wednesday in lieu of $75,000 bond. Source: KWTX.com

Killeen CrimeStoppers pays cold, hard cash for information about area crimes. You can provide your tips anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.

Indictments In Fatal Robbery

A Killeen man and a Temple man were indicted for a fatal robbery in Temple.
A Bell County grand jury indicted Ricky Lavelle Johnson, of Killeen, and Aaron Bo Simmons, of Temple, for alleged involvement in the deadly robbery.

According to the arrest affidavit, Simmons, 18, picked up Johnson, 21, from Killeen and drove him to Temple. Johnson told police that he and Simmons planned to rob Wattley, Simmons' acquaintance.

Simmons dropped Johnson off to "lie in wait" outside of Wattley's home in the 1100 block of S. Martin Luther King Drive in Temple. Simmons then picked up Wattley and went to a restaurant.

The men returned and shots were fired. Police found Wattley at 1:35 a.m. lying on a mattress with three gunshot wounds from a 9 mm handgun. He told the responding officer, "He shot me." Wattley was taken to Scott & White Hospital where he died shortly after 2 a.m. Officers found three shell casings for a 9 mm handgun in the area.

When someone tipped the police that a man was bragging about having shot someone on Martin Luther King Drive, responding officers located Johnson, whose fingerprints matched those found at the scene, according to the arrest affidavit.

Johnson admitted involvement, but Simmons refused to talk to police beyond stating that he took Wattley to get food and drove him home. Police found food from a restaurant on Wattley's porch.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Now starts the long, often tedious process to get them through the courts.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

National Night Out Activities Planned

Area agencies are planning their National Night Out community anti-crime initiatives. Killeen changed the times of their activities to better accommodate more citizens this year.
Killeen police responded to resident suggestions and moved the 2009 event to 6 p.m. Oct. 6, said Tammy Moseley, crime prevention coordinator. Killeen police use NNO as their premiere community outreach resource. McGruff the Crime Dog, police leaders, city officials and firefighters drive from block party to block party to listen to the words of concerned residents.

"It's taking time to learn what concerns they might have so police or fire can ask any questions," Moseley said. "It's a night where they get to see the good side of police and fire. It's not just us running to emergency calls and passing by."

KPD allots 40 block parties to be visited by officials each year. As of Monday, they reached about 25. Parties feature barbecues, children's games and inflatable toys.

Moseley said the party size is not as important as simply having the party. Even a few lawn chairs goes a long way, Moseley said.

The main benefit is for neighbors to become friends and learn about each other. From there, neighbors can become the eyes and ears of the police. Killeen police Chief Dennis Baldwin frequently lauds Killeen residents for helping curb an out-of-control home burglary rate by alerting police when the crimes happen. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Probably the most salient point in this article is the idea that neighbors have to take responsibility for helping to fight crime in their neighborhoods. Any program that helps to encourage this is a good thing.

Bell Agencies Get JAG Grant Money

Killeen Police, the Bell County Sheriff's Office and Temple Police are to split a federal Justice Assistance Grant to help further their missions.
Bell County law enforcement agencies became $117,810 richer Monday after they received a federal grant to fight crime.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program provided money to the Bell County Sheriff's Office and the Temple and Killeen police departments.

Killeen police will purchase more Tasers and related training, the grant stated. Police Chief Dennis Baldwin said in July that he expected the grant would give the city $70,816 after it was split between the three agencies.

The Bell County Sheriff's Office will purchase handguns, holsters and duty belts. Temple police will use the funds to pay overtime to patrol officers for traffic enforcement, the grant stated. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

These are your tax dollars at work. In this era of lean budgets, the grants should be quite welcome.

Three More Tickets And I Win A New Police Car

The Killeen City Council is deciding how to spend the money generated by Photo Red Light Enforcement fines.
“I knew I wasn’t real happy about getting mine,” Brenda Doyle said.

“I couldn’t believe it. I said ‘no, something is wrong.’ This is just a way to make money off our actions,” Elizabeth Andrews said.

The Killeen City Council is now considering how to spend the money from the red light tickets. Red light camera funds foot the entire $62,000 bill for 15 new police radios, but under state law it can only pay for one-third of vehicle purchases including a plan to buy 15 new police cars for $515,000.

Council member Juan Rivera says theses purchases are badly needed.

“What’s the need of having an officer and not the equipment? I believe the vehicles will serve the city real well,” Rivera said. Source: KCENDT.COM

Traffic citations have their place to deter certain dangerous behaviors. One of the never ending temptations for cities is how to use the revenue generated by these citations.

Law enforcement operations cost a staggering amount of money and it's got to come from somewhere. Many would argue that rather than penalize law abiding taxpayers by forcing them to foot the bill for all law enforcement operations, that you should use these policies to have the scofflaws themselves help foot the bill.

Occasionally cities, often times small towns, use traffic enforcement as a revenue generation mechanism. When this happens, it erodes public confidence in their law enforcement. Cities need to be extremely cautious in how this is portrayed lest they ending up looking like traffic enforcement is only being conducted to fill the city's coffers.

I have a feeling that the public's distaste for photo traffic enforcement could gain enough momentum to cause the state legislature to enact legislation that would kill the whole program statewide. There were a number of failed bills this past session that would have done just that.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Serial Rapist Working East Bell?

Bell County deputies are investigating two attacks on an elderly women that may be linked to a series of attacks that have occured in the state.
A DNA database link connected a Leon County sexual assault from July to one in Lavaca County, from early 2009, Leon County investigator Victor Smith said.

Detectives believe the attacker traveled between Bell, Leon and Lavaca counties or resided in the areas during the past seven months.
...
Each attack involved a woman over 60 years old that lived alone and resided in a rural area, Smith said.

The attacks victimized two Leon County women, a 77-year-old in July and 80-year-old in September.

A similar sexual assault occurred on Aug. 14 in Zabcikville, a town of about 40 in eastern Bell County along Highway 53 east of Temple.

In early September, a Bell County woman received a phone call asking if she would be home that night. She unthinkingly told the caller she would be, and then had her family take her to their home for the night. The next day, she received a phone call from a man laughing.

The following day, a woman in Leon County was attacked and robbed, but not sexually assaulted.

On Sept. 11, another sexual assault on an elderly woman was reported in Seaton, a small town that borders Zabcikville along Highway 53. The victim's family member reported the attack. The victim's disability prevented investigators from interviewing her and determining if the assault happened Sept. 10 or 11.

"It gets close to home when this last attack happened last Friday," Pechal said.

The attacker appears to be watching the homes and planning the invasions, investigators said.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Hit the link for more. The Herald did a good job on this story.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Prison For Shooter

District Court in Bell County handed down a prison term to a Killeen man for his role in a Harker Heights drive by shooting.
Judge Martha J. Trudo of the 264th District Court sentenced Jonathan Alexander Vargas, 20, after he pleaded guilty to deadly conduct and waived his right to a jury trial.

On March 23, a witness was sitting outside a home on Bluebird Lane in Harker Heights when a gray Chrysler 300 drove up. The passenger was sitting in the open window and began firing a gun at her.

When police arrived, they found two expended 9 mm rounds of ammunition on the ground and saw a gray Chrysler 300 approach the area at a high speed, according to the arrest affidavit.

Police ran a search on the vehicle's license plate and found that it had been involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Police stopped the vehicle near Indian Trail and Central Texas Expressway and identified the driver as Joseph Jovanti Henry, 25, of Florence, and the passenger as Vargas.

Vargas matched the description of the shooter given by the witness and police found a 9 mm machine pistol under the passenger seat. There was damage to the vehicle consistent with a hit-and-run accident and a mark on the hood that indicated it had been hit with a bullet.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Hopefully, his eight year sentence will keep him off the streets for a while.

Burglar Wanted

Killeen Police are looking for a man they say was responsible for a recent elementary school burglary.
The warrant charging burglary of a building names Jonathan Milo Perrault, 20, who’s also known as Irish Red or Irish, police said Thursday. He’s white, 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-4 and weighs 115 pounds. He also has a tattoo on his left forearm, police said.

Two men were involved in the break-in. Perrault matches the description of the first, who was originally described as being in his late teens and standing about 5-foot-5.

The other was Hispanic, had a mustache, stood about 5-foot-7 and weighed about 160 pounds.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about Perault’s whereabouts to call the Killeen Police Department at (254) 501-8800, or Killeen Crime Stoppers at (254) 526-8477. Source: KWTX.com


Killeen CrimeStoppers will pay cold, hard cash for information about this or other crimes. You can submitt your information anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another Busy Night In The City

A well armed wheelchair bound man shot another man in a bizarre incident in Killeen.
The 24-year-old, who police did not identify, was fighting with a female resident at the Quail Hollow apartments in the 2200 block of Jennifer Drive around 5 p.m. The female's 31-year-old boyfriend rolled out in his wheelchair packing two guns, Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith said. The 24-year-old man grabbed one of the guns from the other man and fired a shot toward the female which missed her.

The 31-year-old man pulled another gun and shot the 24-year-old man in the leg, Smith said. The bullet passed through both of the man's legs. The 24-year-old attempted to flee, but collapsed in a parking lot behind the apartment complex. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Some people's lives are just way more exciting than most.

Acccused Rapist Indicted

A soldier was indicted for the rape of a female soldier in Harker Heights.
Harry William Parnell III, 31, is accused of sexually assaulting a female soldier, beating her and stealing her car.

On May 1, Parnell and the other soldier were at a local club. According to the arrest affidavit, the other soldier offered to give Parnell a ride home to Fort Hood.

On the way, she stopped to get her military ID at her Harker Heights apartment and told Parnell to wait in her car.

Parnell entered her bedroom, and, she said, forced her down and sexually assaulted her. He then punched her repeatedly in the face and took her vehicle, according to the arrest affidavit.

An officer observed injuries to her face and head, and an exam at Scott & White Hospital found lacerations on the soldier consistent with sexual assault.

Parnell claimed sex with the soldier was consensual, but admitted he punched her and took her vehicle. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Not sure if admitting to punching her and stealing her car made him any more believable.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So You Want To Be A Crime Analyst

This post is a response to a comment that Rachel made on this post. I hope she doesn't mind but here's what she wrote:

Hi! I discovered your blog while looking for more information on the crime analysis field. I am interested in becoming a crime analyst myself, and I was wondering how one breaks into the field. What type of training or education is helpful in order to be a competitive hire? If you've addressed this question in an earlier blog post, I'm sorry I've overlooked it, and I would be grateful if you'd point me to that post. Any information you can provide will be appreciated!

This is a really good question. How does one get into the Crime Analysis field? Probably the first thing is to understand what a crime analyst is. With the popularity of the TV show CSI, some people have the misconception that crime analysts examine crime scenes for forensic evidence. That is not the case. The ever popular Wikipedia defines crime analysis this way:

Crime analysis is a law enforcement function that involves systematic analysis for identifying and analyzing patterns and trends in crime and disorder. Information on patterns can help law enforcement agencies deploy resources in a more effective manner, and assist detectives in identifying and apprehending suspects. Crime analysis also plays a role in devising solutions to crime problems, and formulating crime prevention strategies. Source: Wikipedia

The first place to go for information is the International Association of Crime Analysts. This is probably the most well known professional association for the crime analyst field. They maintain a Current Job Opportunities page on their website that lists crime analyst jobs. You may want to note the types of requirements they list. Many require at least a Bachelor's Degree or some other combination of college and experience. Usually, the degrees required are in criminal justice, sociology, public administration or computer sciences.

IACA also offers a variety of training courses and professional conferences. Another resource from IACA is their excellent book Exploring Crime Analysis: Second Edition. You can find a link to it on the IACA website. Their book contains everything you need to learn to get IACA certification.

Another good source for training is Steve Gottlieb's Alpha Group. I took Steve's Crime Analysis Applications course and recommend it. Steve's course uses his book CRIME ANALYSIS: From First Report to Final Arrest. You can also order the book from the Alpha Group's website. It's a good nuts and bolts guide to crime analysis.

Many smaller police agencies crime analysis function was developed in house. An officer or clerk with a particular aptitude may end up becoming the de facto crime analyst through on the job training. This isn't necessarily the ideal way to start a crime analysis unit but there are quite a few agencies that started their units this way. In fact, I started as a police officer / detective and was one for almost 15 years before I moved over to the civilian crime analyst side. I have a degree in criminal justice and went to a number of crime analyst and intelligence analyst schools over the years. I also have a strong computer geek background.

I don't know that I have answered Rachel's question, but I hope I have at least pointed her in the right direction.

Samurai Home Defense

This isn't one you see everyday. A burglar met his unfortunate demise at the hands of an armed homeowner. That part isn't really unusual, but the fact that the homeowner was armed with a sword and managed to lop off one of the burglars hands prior to killing him is.
When authorities arrived, they heard calls for help and for police, he said. They discovered a suspected burglar with a severed left hand and severe lacerations to his upper body, Guglielmi said.

The suspect died at the scene, he said.

The man had entered a home where several Johns Hopkins students lived, Guglielmi said. Four students, one armed with a samurai sword, had confronted the suspect in the garage.

The man "lunged" at the students, and the student with the sword defended himself, severing the man's left hand and cutting his upper body, Guglielmi said.

Police did not release the name of the suspect, who Guglielmi said had a long criminal history, or that of the student.
...
The burglary suspect had been released from prison Saturday, Guglielmi said. Source: CNN.com

Sounds like something from a martial arts movie.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"She Had Nothing To Do With It...Honest"

A woman implicated in a 2008 Killeen murder had her argument for a bond reduction shot down.
The defendant, Bonnie Renee Johnson, shares capital murder charges with her husband, Oliver Julius Sowell, in connection with an April 2008 shooting in Killeen.

At the hearing, Johnson produced a letter from Sowell allegedly admitting guilt and stating that he threatened to kill her if she didn't participate. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Unfortunately, her plea didn't wash with some of the facts such as:
Johnson told Judge Fancy Jezek of the 426th District Court that she gave a statement admitting guilt to Maryland police only because she feared for her life. Her husband, she said, forced her to participate or he would kill her.

Sowell had a similar hearing last week during which a bond reduction was also denied.

Johnson told the court that except for one friend stationed at Fort Hood, all her friends and family, including three children under 6 years old, are in Washington, D.C. She was in Killeen for three years while Sowell was in the military, she said.

"Out of state, no ties to the community ... if anything, ($100,000) is low," said First District Attorney Murff Bledsoe.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

While it's nice of her husband to try to take the rap now, do you think he might have a motivation to fudge the truth?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Step 10 - Put Yourself In The Offender's Shoes

We're continuing our journey through Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers. In this post we're going to look at Step 10 - Put Yourself In The Offender's Shoes. Sometimes criminologists get a bad name when they publish a lofty theory about why people commit crimes usually referring to something like genetics, a lack of a nurturing environment, fetal alcohol syndrome, etc. as the reason. When the authors of Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers say this, they aren't referring to one of these theories of but instead something much more practical.

A radical critique of criminology pointed out 30 years ago that is not their genes that propel bank robbers through the doors of the bank: they rob banks because they want to get rich. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers

This is really where the rubber meets the road for us. We got into this a little bit last time I posted about Step 9. Academic theories about the root cause of crime don't always have a practical value for the working crime analyst or cop. What does have a practical value is the offender's motivation for committing the crime and the offenders method for committing the crime. Both of these can shed insight into the most effective strategy to combat the particular crime problem you are studying.

In many cases of theft and robbery the benefits are obvious, but they may not be clear for gang violence or so-called "senseless" vandalism and graffiti. In fact, graffiti can mark the territory of a juvenile gang, can indicate where to purchase drugs, or can simply be a way to show off. Knowing which of these reasons is dominant helps to define the focus of a problem-solving project and unravel the contributory
factors. It can also help the project team identify solutions. Thus, the New York City subway authorities succeeded in eradicating graffiti only when they understood the motivation of the "taggers," which was to see their handiwork on display as the trains traveled around the system. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers

The second insight, how offenders commit their crimes, is similarly useful. This information can be obtained by debriefing criminals or if this isn't practical, by trying to imagine yourself as the criminal. Given your experience, how would you go about pulling it off? With that knowledge, how do you go about defeating that modus operandi?

Next time, we'll examine Step 11 - Expect Offenders To React.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Plan

A Killeen man was in jail after attempting to steal a TV from the Harker Heights Wal-Mart on Thursday.
About 5 p.m., an off-duty Killeen police officer noticed an individual attempting to take a 26-inch LCD flat screen television from Wal-Mart, Johnson said. When he confronted the man, the man fled with the television.

A witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said she saw the man flee with the TV, drop it in the parking lot, then get tackled by two other men.

"He hit the pavement and his shoes flew off his feet," said the witness. "He had no plan. No get away. No anything. ... The guys that chased after him did a good job, and they should be commended," she added. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

No one ever claimed thieves were bright.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Even Small Communites Have Crime

The Bell County Sheriff's Office is working to allay fears of crime in Cyclone and Zabcikville.
Between phone calls and e-mails, word got out about the meeting and 200 to 300 people showed up in Cyclone to get information and ask questions of the sheriff's investigation. Alice Diener and Leora Hering said once they received phone calls about the meeting they began calling others.

James Lewing, Bell County investigator, told the crowd the sheriff's department wanted to meet with the people to ask for help as well as dispel some rumors that keep bubbling up.

“We don't want to scare anyone, but to educate,” he said.

The sheriff's department is investigating a couple of incidents in Bell County as well as looking at a similar event in Leon County.

About a month ago, a female senior citizen in far East Bell County was assaulted in her home during a home invasion and last week another woman living in the area received a phone call from an unknown male asking if she was going to be home alone that night.

Before the Bell County home invasion, a similar occurrence took place in Leon County.

Bell and Leon are working together, Lewing said, because the ages of the victims are similar - 85 to 95 - as is the time of day the incidents took place - between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

“We don't know if there is a definite connection between the Leon and Bell incidents, but the similarities raise concerns,” Lewing said. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

Kudos to the Sheriff's Department for working with these communities.

Toto, We Aren't In Kansas Anymore

Two Killeen women managed to get themselves indicted in Topeka, KS for crimes committed there.
Nylondraleshanett Williams, 36, of Killeen, Texas; Nickolas Mims, 20, of Dallas, Texas; and Jessica N. McDuffy, 35, of Killeen, Texas, are charged with possession of stolen property. The crime is alleged to have occurred Aug. 18, 2009, at Ft. Leavenworth. Source: Topeka Capitol Journal

It's nice to see that they aren't restricting themselves to just Killeen.

The Law Of Parties

The title above does not have anything to do with a requirement to entertain your guests at a soiree, but instead refers to a concept in Texas law that all parties to an offense are equally culpable regardless of who committed the injurious act. In this instance, the co-conspirator was charged the same as the shooter in a drug related murder.

A co-conspirator's guilty plea in a Killeen murder gets a man 40 years. The shooter in this murder previously plead guilty and had been sentenced to 50 years.
On Oct. 30, Gray and Daren Terrence Walker, 21, also of Killeen, entered Thompson's home in the 4300 block of Secretariat Drive on the pretense of purchasing marijuana. Walker pointed a gun at Thompson, 34, and demanded money.

Gray put a gun to a witness' head and directed him to stay seated while Walker shot Thompson, according to the arrest affidavit. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This whole thing is a tragedy. Involvement in illegal drug trafficking will increase your risk for becoming a victim of a violent crime. This brings up a recent incident in San Marcos where two teens were shot to death while trying to rob a drug dealer of his marijuana. Does the illegal nature of the marijuana trade increase the likelihood of violent crime occurring?

More On Killeen Standoff Gunman

The Killeen gunman who terrorized a whole neighborhood earlier this week is facing additional charges relating to his misdeeds.
Gay is accused of pointing an assault rifle at a neighbor, but he did not shoot. When the woman tried to run away she fell down and had to go to Metroplex Hospital.

Police say he had stolen the guns earlier that morning from a house on Bluebonnet. Gay used to the guns to kill three family dogs. Source: KCENDT.com

The Killeen Daily Herald also did a background piece on the gunman with interviews from his parents.
Karim Kim Gay's tumultuous adulthood bottomed out Thursday during a 9½-hour standoff with Killeen police. His parents said nine years of unrealized potential, disappointment and depression preceded Wednesday's outburst.

Gay, 26, returned Thursday to Bell County Jail on $100,000 bond facing charges of aggravated assault and home burglary. Gay's been jailed twice on domestic abuse-related charges, his parents said.

Gay snapped Wednesday. He feared going to jail again. He became desperate until he lost control, his mother, Chong Gay, said Thursday. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Now the criminal justice system is faced with the dilemma of dealing with someone who has mental health issues while protecting the community from a dangerous criminal. Firing rifle shots in a neighborhood just down the street from an elementary school while children are walking to school is beyond the pale.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What A Difference

A Federal jury found a man guilty of assaulting his 11 year old on Fort Hood. The man struck his child by hurling a cell phone at her and striking her with a detergent bottle.
Fredrick Loften faces a sentence of two to 10 years in federal prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 3.

Loften remained in federal custody Wednesday evening. Source: KWTX.com

There is a pretty big disparity in the sentence he's going to get since this happened on the military reservation and was charged in the federal system, opposed to what he would have likely gotten had this happened out in Bell County.

Hell Hath No Fury...

A Killeen woman was indicted for beating her spouse with a tree limb after they had a dispute over adultery.
Police officers responded to a report of an assault May 26 in the 3300 block of Lake Charles Avenue in Killeen. They found Charles Simmons bleeding from a gash on his head. He also had scratches on his arms and a bite mark on his stomach.

Charles Simmons said his wife followed him from their residence to a friend's house and confronted him about cheating on her. He said she then hit him on the head with a stick and bit him, according to the arrest affidavit.

The couple had argued all day, First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said. "He left and she found him and, in front of witnesses, hit him with a stick."

Charles Simmons was taken to a hospital, Bledsoe said. He denied cheating on his wife.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Well at least he denied it.

Gunman Keeps KPD Busy

The Killeen Police Tactical Response Unit stayed busy yesterday with a day long stand off with a barricaded gunman.
Karim Kim Gay, 26, walked outside his home in the 2800 block of Bluejay Drive around 7:20 a.m. and pointed an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle at a woman walking by his house, Killeen police said.

She ran from Gay, but she fell on the cement and injured her knee. Nearby residents rescued the woman, who was transported to Metroplex Hospital.

Gay returned inside the house and fired three shots. Police later learned the shots killed three dogs: a pit bull, a Chihuahua and a chow mix.

Gay then barricaded himself inside the home he shares with his parents. The Killeen police's Special Weapons and Tactics Team surrounded the home.

About 5 p.m., Gay surrendered to police when he walked outside unarmed, raised his hands and smiled at them. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

There are a number of other stories about this standoff. You can read them here, here, here, and here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Don't Count Your Chickens

In what appears to be good news so far, Killeen Police are reporting some of their lowest murder stats seen in a number of years.
Most notable among Baldwin's presentation was a sharp decline in murders. Baldwin said, through June, Killeen reported one murder, as compared to six in 2008 during the same period.

"So far this year, we've had a very good year," Baldwin said. "It indicates what we've been saying is true. Killeen's become a safer community."
...
Even with a second murder in August, Killeen police are on pace to finish the year close to the three murders KPD reported in 2002, the lowest in the last decade.

"We're not through the year yet. Those numbers could and probably will change, but these numbers are considerably lower this year than other years," he said.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

While this is good news so far, there are still several months to go before the end of the year closes the books on stats.

Guess What'll Be In Their Christmas Stocking?

Killeen Police are seeking two burglars who ransacked an elementary school while decked out as Christmas elves.
The surveillance footage showed two teenage males wearing Santa Claus hats walking in the pre-kindergarten/kindergarten hallway. One teen carried a see-through bag and the other hauled a large object spread across his back.

Police described one burglar as a white male in his mid-to-late teens with a goatee. The male stood approximately 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighed approximately 150 pounds. He wore a white T-shirt and plaid shorts.

Police described the second burglar as a Hispanic male in his mid-to-late teens with a mustache. He stood approximately 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed approximately 160 pounds. He wore a white T-shirt and long black shorts. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

I bet Santa's only going to bring them a lump of coal for Christmas. I think this qualifies them for the naughty list.

There's a shot from the surveillance video in the original story on the KDH website. Hit the link to view it. Killeen CrimeStoppers will pay cold, hard cash for information on this or other crimes. You can report this anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Still Searching For A Name

Bell County Sheriff's deputies are still seeking the identity of the body of a woman that was found in the rubble of a home destroyed by arson. The incident happened just south of Killeen in March.
The Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas has yet to return the autopsy results or the DNA test for the possible identity of the body found at the arson scene, said James Lewing, a Bell County Sheriff's Office investigator.

The Sheriff's Office released a preliminary identity on the body in April claiming that it could be Tabitha Lynn Crawford, 23, of Killeen, according to a previous Killeen Daily Herald article.

At that time, Crawford's mother came forward and said she believed it was her daughter, Lewing said Wednesday. The sheriff's department then took a DNA sample and is having it compared to the body.

Lewing said it is not abnormal to be waiting so long for the autopsy information or the DNA results because of the condition of body was in.

"In this case the body was badly damaged," Lewing said. "It is not unusual for it to take this long. We understand that the body was in bad shape when (the Southwest Institute) got it, so it makes it even more difficult." Source: Killeen Daily Herald

If you have any information about this or any other crime you can report it anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bell County Death Row Inmate Still Causing Problems

As if he hasn't created enough trouble already, convicted multiple murderer and death row inmate Richard Tabler is still creating problems. You'll remember that Tabler was the death row inmate who had the gall to use a smuggled cell phone to makes hundreds of calls from death row including some to Texas Senator John Whitmire where he threatened the Senator and his family. We'll, they took away the phone but Tabler has taken to blogging and has again made ominous threats to Whitmire and his family.
A rambling letter posted on the Internet and purported to be written by Richard Lee Tabler contains a new threat — and Sen. John Whitmire is angry with prison officials about continued lax security inside Texas lockups.

"My question to them is this: A year ago, death row inmates in your securest prison had easy access to cell phones, and now your system is allowing them to send out threatening letters?" Whitmire, D-Houston, said Thursday. "What the hell is it going to take to stop this?"

The American-Statesman could not verify the authenticity of the letters, or who posted them.

Whitmire said, based on Tabler's earlier threat and details in the postings, that he is convinced that they came from Tabler.

In a terse letter to prisons Director Brad Livingston, Whitmire — who heads the Senate committee that oversees the state prison system and carries significant clout as the longest-serving senator — demanded that officials get control of Tabler.

"I specifically ask how an inmate on death row is allowed to openly send letters out to the public that are designed to intimidate, threaten and retaliate against an elected official or any other citizen of the state," the senator said in a letter to Livingston and Oliver Bell, chairman of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's governing board. "I am also appalled that no one within TDCJ has even contacted me regarding this issue."

Michelle Lyons, a spokeswoman for the prison system, said authorities are investigating the information.

"We can put restrictions on inmates' mail, and threatening a state senator would be a good reason to do so," she said.Source: Austin American Statesman

Note to TDCJ: Senator Whitmire controls your budget, the legislation governing your agency, etc. It would probably be a good idea to do what Ms. Lyons said you could do until the time that you can get Tabler strapped down to the gurney.

If you are really bored you can read Tabler's screed here.

"An Unfortunate Set of Circumstances"

Man pleads guilty in Fort Hood murder.
Donovan Darcell Lair, 36, faces up to life in federal prison after his plea in Waco’s federal court to killing Shameka Nicole Jones, the mother of his child and two other children, 11 days after their divorce.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. will sentence Lair on Oct. 28. Donovan Lair pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing Shameka Nicole Jones.

“It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that led to Ms. Jones’ death that night,” said Lair’s attorney, Brian Howell. “I feel sorry for the Lair family and the Jones family as they work through her death. Mr. Lair has taken full responsibility for his actions that night, as evidenced by his guilty plea today.”

According to federal court records, Lair went to Jones’ house at Fort Hood in the early-morning hours of June 22. They argued, and Lair picked up a knife from a bedroom table and stabbed Jones once in the chest. Source: Waco Tribune

I know that defense attorney's have to do their job but characterizing a brutal murder as "an unfortunate set of circumstances" is probably the most egregious example of understatement I have seen in a while.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

There Are Times This Job Doesn't Pay Enough

A Belton man was indicted for assaulting two Belton officers who had arrested him.
On June 22, Cody Eugene Pinkert, 41, had an outstanding warrant on charges of assault by causing bodily injury, Administrative Assistant District Attorney Rebecca DePew said.

Detective Larry Berg and Officer Kimberley Smith were dispatched to South Pearl Street in Belton near a mobile home park to arrest Pinkert.

According to the arrest affidavit, when Pinkert was put in the patrol car, he banged his head repeatedly on the back window, breaking the glass and cutting his face. The car was not moving at the time.

While emergency medical services personnel were on the way, the officers opened the back passenger door and Pinkert started spitting blood at them, DePew said. He then told Smith and Berg, both clearly marked as police officers, that he was HIV-positive, according to the arrest affidavit. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

It's bad enough that officers regularly have to deal with people who have:
  • Peed themselves
  • Crapped their pants
  • Are vomit encrusted
  • Are contagious with one or more dreadful and/or incurable diseases
  • Haven't bathed since the Nixon administration
  • Have more fleas, ticks and lice than a stray dog
but then to have people with one or more of these conditions try to share their joy with you. I never used to wash my hands as often till I became a police officer. When I'd come home from work I'd take my boots off at the door to avoid tracking their nastiness through my house.

Next time you read of some crook doing something like this to an officer, remember to be thankful that their are those who are still willing to do this job.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

You Never Know When You Might Need A Spare

Temple Police captured a fugitive who was armed with not one but two guns.
Temple police received a tip Tuesday that Alcozer, who was named in a parole violation warrant, was at the Cefco convenience store at 5510 W. Adams Ave.

When officers pulled up, Alcozer took off on foot through the store’s parking lot, police said.

Officers gave chase and caught up with him behind the store police, said.

They recovered a handgun, which had been tossed away during the case and found a gun in Alcozer’s vehicle, as well, police said. Source: KWTX.com

If TPD gets the feds to take him on the weapons charge, he might be out of commission for a while.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hang Up And Drive

Driver's in Killeen will get a brief respite from the new law banning the use of cell phones in school zones while the required signs are being posted. The new law requires that signs notifying driver's be in place before the law can be enforced.

Legislation passed during this year's session requires cities to post signs warning drivers of the consequences in order to enforce the "no cell phone" policy.

Exceptions to the law include drivers making emergency calls or using hands-free devices. Drivers found violating the ban could pay up to $200.

So far, only 30 percent of the 51 school campuses in the Killeen Independent School District have signs posted on surrounding streets asking drivers to hang up.
...

She expects all 260 signs to be posted by the middle of next week.

The $6,277 the city paid out for the signs out of the city's street fund is a fraction of the project's original estimate. At $20,000, the estimated cost for the signs sent some council members reeling at last week's meeting. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This adds more to the already weighty tome that is the Texas Transportation Code.

Robber Strikes Downtown Business

Killeen Police were searching for the man who robbed a downtown Killeen business Monday morning.
A man robbed a female employee at gunpoint around 9 a.m. Monday at the Go-N-Cash store at 301 W. Rancier Ave., a Killeen police news release stated.

When the employee arrived to open the store Monday, a man was waiting by the front door. As she went to open the door, the man sneaked up from behind. He was holding a gun.

He threatened to kill her and forced her inside, said the owner, who requested their identities be withheld for safety reasons. The man then forced the woman to open the safe and wait in the restroom for several minutes while he escaped back out the front door. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

While a business getting robbed isn't all that unusual. I did find one interesting comment in the article.
The Go-N-Cash is in what is traditionally one of Killeen's highest crime areas, the neighborhoods near Rancier Avenue and College Street. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

My question is what is the source of the characterization that this is "one of Killeen's highest crime areas"? Is this based on anecdotal evidence, reputation or hard statistics? If it's based on stats, is it based on raw numbers or does it take into account population density? You will generally have more crime where you have more people. Is the number of crimes disproportionate to the population?

I don't bring this up to either dispute or confirm the characterization of Killeen's downtown area. I do bring it up to say that there should always be a reasoned examination of the facts when making such a pronouncement. It's pretty easy to make such a characterization, but often such characterizations have implications for those who live and work in these areas.