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Updated: 1 hour 52 min ago

Ill. state trooper helps driver with blown tire

4 hours 1 min ago

Kaitlin Cordes Effingham Daily News, Ill.

EFFINGHAM, Ill. — The last thing Steve Hibbard expected on his Dec. 30 trip to Indianapolis was a flat tire. What could have been a disastrous situation was avoided with the help of an Illinois State Police District 12 trooper.

Hibbard, who was traveling to Indiana with his father from their Arkansas home, was driving on Interstate 70 when his front passenger side tire blew around 4 a.m. The two were on their way to see Hibbard’s grandmother who was being treated at an Indianapolis hospital.

They decided to pull over on exit ramp 160 after searching on the internet for the nearest Walmart as Hibbard said he did not have a jack or other tools to change the tire. The Effingham store was approximately a mile from Hibbard’s disabled vehicle, so Hibbard said he and his father decided to walk there.

The Hibbards began walking back to the truck after purchasing a jack and four-way tire iron and tried to hitch a ride for the last mile of their trek.

“On our way to Walmart, there was a gas station, and we tried to get a ride since we still had a mile back to our truck after the first trip to Walmart. We asked two different people that turned us down,” Hibbard said.

When the two returned, they realized they didn’t have the right tool to release the spare tire from its cables. Hibbard said he decided to make the second trip alone because his father has heart problems.

That’s when Hibbard said he spotted Illinois State Police District 12 Trooper Andy Rath. In a December Facebook post, Hibbard described his initial encounter with Rath.

“As I got to Walmart, I saw (Illinois) State Trooper Andy Rath sitting in his patrol car. I asked if he wouldn’t mind giving me a ride back to the truck, saving me from a mile of cardio. He agrees without hesitation,” Hibbard wrote in the post. “We get back to the truck, and the blade breaks, so he gives me another ride to Walmart. He stays the whole time and makes sure we got back on the road.”

Rath said he did not think twice about giving Hibbard a ride and monitoring traffic while he and his father changed the tire. Rath said he assisted the Hibbards partly because he hoped someone would do the same for him or his family.

“I try to put myself in the position where if that’s my family stranded on the road or a friend that’s stranded, I’d want the trooper or the officer to treat them with respect and the way I’d want to be treated,” Rath said. “That’s the good part about the job. You don’t realize how much of an impact that you have on people.”

Hibbard snagged a photo with Rath before departing for Indiana, which he included in his “thank you” Facebook post to Rath.

Proud he's one of ours! Thanks for sharing this Steve. While Andy Rath is an exemplary Trooper, many more serve their...

Posted by Illinois State Police District 12 Effingham on Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The 11-year ISP veteran said the kind deed was nothing out of the ordinary for a state trooper.

“This is just what we do. I’ll tell you what though. I will never forget them,” Rath said of Hibbard and his father. “That’s what we’re here for. We want to be there to help people.”

Rath said Hibbard did not call 911 because he didn’t think a blown tire was an emergency. However, Rath said if a driver needs that type of assistance, he or she should call for help.

ISP District 12 Safety Education Officer and Media Liaison Trooper Tammy Welborn said Rath’s act of kindness is just one of many examples of ways troopers assist the public beyond enforcing the law.

“On any given day, our troopers can be found assisting drivers who are having a rough day with a broken-down vehicle. Even on a mild day, you can see a sense of relief come to their face when they see a trooper walk up to the window to provide assistance,” Welborn said. “Whatever the trouble — flat tire, out of fuel, dementia, mechanical issues, medical issues or a crash — troopers are there to help them figure out the next step.”

Rath agreed, saying assisting motorists with something as small as a flat tire is something any one of his co-workers would do. He said it’s just a part of the job.

Hibbard said he will forever be grateful for the assistance Rath provided him and his father in their time of need.

“I’d just like to thank him again because I know that being an officer is mainly a thankless job. There are so many good deeds and actions out there every day that go unnoticed,” Hibbard said.

———

©2019 the Effingham Daily News (Effingham, Ill.)


Categories: Law Enforcement

Ohio deputy who was set on fire out of the hospital

4 hours 11 min ago

Eileen McClory Record-Courier, Kent, Ohio

PORTAGE, Ohio — The Portage County sheriff's deputy who was set on fire Thursday while arresting a fugitive is out of the hospital after suffering burns on about 20 percent of his body.

Portage County Sheriff David Doak said Monday evening that Sgt. Jim Acklin was released from Akron Children's Hospital burn unit on Monday afternoon.

When he visited Acklin in the hospital on Sunday, Doak said the deputy was "in good spirits and making some progress."

"I was over yesterday afternoon and he was in real good spirits," Doak said Monday morning. The sheriff posted on his office's Facebook page Sunday, after he visited Acklin in the hospital.

Acklin was able to walk around a little on Sunday and was trying to wean himself off of painkillers he was given. Acklin was hospitalized with burns on about 20 percent of his body, mostly on his hands and arms, Doak said last week.

The sheriff posted on his Facebook page that Acklin "is a very humble guy and doesn't care for the 'limelight'... he expressed to me he and his family want to THANK everyone for the texts, phone calls, social media posts, and especially your prayers and well wishes."

Acklin has served a long and distinguished career with the sheriff's office and was just 70 days from retirement when he was attacked, Doak said.

Doak said a GoFundMe page has been set up through the Big Creek Search Dog Team, a Painesville-based group Acklin participates in. The group uses trained dogs to perform specialized operations throughout the region. The sheriff's office is also accepting donations of gas cards, grocery cards and restaurant gift cards for Acklin's family, as long as they are addressed to Sgt. Jim Acklin, Doak said. The sheriff's office cannot accept cash.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the deputy. As of Monday morning the fund had surpassed its goal of $5,000.

Acklin was among three deputies and two officers from the Northeast Ohio Medical University police force who were serving felony warrants on a fugitive, Jay E. Brannon, 45, at 6:43 p.m. Thursday after receiving confidential information that he was at a home in the 3900 block on Route 44 in Rootstown.

The officers detained two people outside a garage at the home before entering the garage to confront Brannon. Doak said Brannon ignited a can of flammable liquid and proceeded to make threats that he was going to "kill the cops," in addition to saying he wanted officers to kill him, according to reports.

Brannon threw the ignited can of flammable liquid at the officers, striking Acklin, who fled outside with his clothing on fire.

Brannon has been charged with five counts of attempted murder, each a first-degree felony, and five counts of arson, each a first-degree felony. He has not yet been indicted for the incident and the charges are pending in Ravenna Municipal Court. If he is indicted, the case will proceed in Portage County Common Pleas Court.

He is being held in the Portage County jail on a $1 million bond.

In online court records, charges linked to Brannon vary, but include burglary, domestic violence, drunk driving, possession of drugs and various others that go back decades.

Brannon has also been charged in two separate cases from January, both of which are currently pending.

On Jan. 27, he allegedly offered a man money to make a false report to law enforcement and was charged with two counts of complicity, one a third-degree felony and the other a fifth-degree felony.

He was also indicted for tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and forgery, a fifth-degree felony, after allegedly forging documents for a motor vehicle on Jan. 4. The next court date on that charge is Feb. 22 in Judge Becky Doherty's court.

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©2019 Record-Courier, Kent, Ohio


Categories: Law Enforcement

Chief: Houston PD to end use of no-knock warrants

4 hours 27 min ago

St. John Barned-Smith and Keri Blakinger Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — The Houston Police Department will end its use of controversial no-knock warrants in most situations, Chief Art Acevedo said during a contentious town hall meeting three weeks after a deadly Pecan Park drug raid that left two people dead and five officers injured.

"The no-knock warrants are going to go away like leaded gasoline in this city," Acevedo told the crowd of activists, reformers and concerned community members gathered at Talento Bilingüe de Houston.

After the event - organized by the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice - Acevedo said any situation where a no-knock raid would be required would have to receive a special exemption from his office.

"I'm 99.9 percent sure we won't be using them," he said. "If for some reason there would be a specific case, that would come from my office."

Given the wounded officers and the two slain civilians, the chief said he didn't "see the value" in the controversial raids.

"So that's probably going to go by the wayside," he said.

The news came during the meeting late Monday after more than an hour of questions from a furious crowd that repeatedly pressed Acevedo on the conduct of his undercover officers, the use of no-knocks and inflammatory comments from Houston police union President Joe Gamaldi who recently seemed to suggest the department was surveilling law enforcement critics.

And, despite pushback earlier in the day from a defense lawyer representing the case agent at the center of the botched bust, Acevedo doubled down on his previous statements about the likelihood of charges against the police involved.

"I'm very confident we're going to have criminal charges on one or more of the officers," he said.

The crowd greeted his declaration with a chorus of angry voices demanding: "All of them."

Still, Acevedo said he wouldn't agree to let the Texas Ranger or the FBI take over the investigation.

"I feel very strongly that a police department that is not capable of investigating itself and finding malfeasance and criminal misconduct," he said, "we should just shut down -- and that's just not the case here."

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg also tried to assure the crowd that her office would investigate and that bad actors would not be allowed off the hook, but pushed back against "mob justice."

"There is a process - it is the justice system," she said. "What you've seen is more accountability - grand juries are returning more true-bills, and we're prosecuting them."

When asked whether he would fire Gamaldi or others allegedly surveilling or harassing activists, Acevedo said he wouldn't deal with speculation. In response, activist Shere Dore fired back with an allegation that earlier in the day police came out and took pictures of protesters gathered outside Houston police headquarters to demand murder charges against the case agent behind the raid.

Acevedo asked for video to look into the claim.

He went on to say that he would roll out a new policy in the coming weeks to make sure that undercovers wear body cameras; the fact that they didn't in the Harding Street raid was a point of contention afterward, given the lack of evidence to counter the initial narrative.

But Acevedo's sweeping announcements weren't enough to placate some of the town hall attendees.

One member of the audience, Tomaro Bell, expressed indignation over police use of no-knock warrants.

"I do believe this officer is going to be charged with murder," she said, of Goines. "But the systemic problems that exist in the undercover narcotics division will not be resolved with this officer charged with murder."

Relatives of several people killed in no-knock raids said they believe more investigation was needed before using the raid.

Aurora Charles said her brother, 55-year-old Ponciano Montemayor Jr., was killed during a no-knock raid in September 2013.

"I just want to see change, that's it," she said. "They've got to do their homework before they go in with these warrants."

For some in the crowd, the killing of the Tuttles brough back memories of the killing of Joe Campos Torres in 1977.

"We've been down this road before," said Johnny Mata, a longtime civil rights activist. Still, he tried to assure them.

"To those who feel down and depressed, that nothing has changed, ill tell you it has," he said.

But at the same time, he called on Gamaldi to reach out to activists.

"An apology is still needed," he said, suggesting the union could recall his election. "We don't need any demagoguery."

———

©2019 the Houston Chronicle


Categories: Law Enforcement

Pa. school threat system fields thousands of tips in first month

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 08:49

Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A threat reporting system now required for all Pennsylvania schools fielded more than 4,900 tips in its first month, about a third of them considered serious enough to pass along to local police and school officials.

The goal of the Safe 2 Say Something program, which funnels tips to an around-the-clock call center at the attorney general's headquarters in Harrisburg, is to respond to troubling behavior, unsafe school situations and anything else tipsters deems appropriate to report.

The program passed the Legislature with near unanimity last year, mandating it encompass all K-12 students in Pennsylvania, including charter, private and vocational-technical schools.

Sen. Scott Martin, a prime backer of the new law, has been encouraged by the volume of tips so far.

"I think, in itself, that justifies why we need to do this and why it's important," said Martin, R-Lancaster.

The reports come in through phone calls, by email and via an app. Callers are assured of anonymity.

In the first month, nearly 1,400 contacts were deemed "life safety" tips, considered important enough to notify schools and the local 911 center.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro told lawmakers at a hearing last week those tips have included suicide threats and situations where students may have hurt others without intervention. Other common subjects of calls include harassment, bullying and mental health issues, Shapiro's office said.

There have been more than 415 incidents of gunfire on U.S. school grounds since 2013, according to Every Town for Gun Safety, a nonprofit aimed at reducing domestic gun violence. Last year's carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead surpassed the 1999 Columbine High School massacre as the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history.

The program, which is in part a response to the frequency of mass shootings in America, is mandated in four other states and about a dozen others are at least considering starting their own version, according to Tim Makris, managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. The nonprofit has provided technical help, support for training and equipment to help get Pennsylvania's program up and running.

Pennsylvania is the first state to do a comprehensive launch of the program, training schools, students, 911 operators and the team that fields calls at the attorney general's office, Makris said.

The attorney general's office says 3,800 schools are already involved. About 85 percent of all K-12 schools are currently participating, including nearly all of the state's 500 public school districts.

Each district is supposed to set up a group of three to five people who can respond to the tips, the majority coming in through the app and online, Makris said.

The goal is "to teach kids and the adults around them how to identify and intervene around individuals who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others through words, through actions, through weapons," Makris said.

In Philadelphia, the state's largest public school district, the roll-out is just getting underway and training is expected to be complete by mid-March, spokeswoman Megan Lello said.

Lawmakers appropriated about $600,000 to operate the program through June, when the fiscal year ends, and Shapiro wants to double that figure for the full 2019-20 budget year. So far, the call center has hired eight analysts and two supervisors.

The program is exempt from the state's open records laws and guarantees confidentiality. But prosecutors and criminal defendants can request records of tips — with the tipster's name redacted — leaving the decision about providing those records to a judge who first must review the record in private.

Making a false report under the Safe 2 Say Something program is a misdemeanor criminal offense. The false report rate is currently less than 1 percent, roughly the same frequency as the national average for such school threat reporting systems, the attorney general's office said.

Shapiro's office must produce a report every year, by Aug. 1, that includes the total calls for the year and for the lifetime of the program, how the calls were received, calls broken down by school entity and the cost. The attorney general's office also must disclose the number of false reports.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Hunt under way for suspect in shooting of Va. officer

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 08:46

Associated Press

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Authorities say a Virginia police officer has been shot and seriously wounded after making a traffic stop.

State police say a Bluefield officer was shot after stopping a 2008 Toyota Yaris for an equipment violation on Route 460 shortly before midnight Saturday.

Authorities say a passenger in the vehicle began shooting at the officer.

The officer and another Bluefield officer, who had responded to assist with the traffic stop, returned fire. The Toyota's driver surrendered but the passenger got into the driver's seat and drove off.

The Toyota was found abandoned a few hours later in Bluefield, West Virginia. The search for the passenger continued Sunday.

The wounded officer was being treated for serious injuries that were not considered life threatening at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.


Categories: Law Enforcement

More than 1,500 people attend vigil for Ill. shooting victims

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 08:37

Associated Press

AURORA, Ill. — More than 1,500 people braved snow and freezing drizzle to attend a prayer vigil for five slain co-workers Sunday, two days after they were fatally shot at a suburban Chicago manufacturing plant by a longtime employee who was fired moments earlier.

The Rev. Dan Haas told those who gathered near five white crosses erected for the shooting victims outside Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora that Friday's "senseless killings" left their families brokenhearted in the city about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago.

"All of these were relatively young people — many of them were very young people. We will never know their gifts and talents. Their lives were snuffed out way too short," he said of the victims, who included a 21-year-old university student on his first day as an intern.

Haas called on God to bring comfort to the families and Aurora. He then read the names and ages of the five shooting victims, prompting waves of sobs and cries from relatives attending the vigil.

The city of Aurora tweeted that about 1,700 people attended the vigil in a snowy lot outside the industrial valve manufacturer where several ministers and a rabbi called for healing.

Authorities said Gary Martin pulled out a gun and began shooting right after hearing that he was being fired from his job of 15 years at the plant for various workplace violations. Martin, 45, was killed in a shootout with officers, ending his deadly rampage. Five police officers and a sixth plant worker were injured in the shooting and are expected to survive.

Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin told the vigil crowd that the city's residents feel for the victims' families "with all our hearts."

"When I thought about the words that I might share with our community and the families of the victims today, I thought to myself that just to simply offer condolences is not enough," he said. "It doesn't measure the amount of pain that we feel, for the loss that we've experienced in this community."


Categories: Law Enforcement

Houston woman finds tiger in house, tells dispatch: 'I'm not lying'

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 10:18

Associated Press

HOUSTON — A woman who called Houston's non-emergency dispatch line after discovering a tiger inside a cage at an abandoned home told the shocked dispatcher: "I'm not lying."

The Houston Chronicle obtained a recording of the call after animal rescue workers found the well-fed animal resting on a bed of hay Monday inside a cage they said could be easily opened.

Police say a group of people looking for a place to smoke marijuana happened across the tiger on Monday. The woman told the dispatcher: "It's pretty big." Authorities say the animal weighed 350 pounds (159 kilograms).

Investigators have leads into who owned the tiger but say it may not be the person who owns the property.

The tiger has been moved to an animal sanctuary in Texas. The tiger was nicknamed "Tyson" after the movie "The Hangover."


Categories: Law Enforcement

Ill. shooting raises questions over gun permit checks

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 10:00

Associated Press

AURORA, Ill. — An initial background check five years ago failed to flag an out-of-state felony conviction that would have prevented a man from buying the gun he used to kill five co-workers and wound six other people, including five responding police officers, at a suburban Chicago manufacturing plant, authorities say.

Gary Martin, who was killed in a shootout with officers Friday, ending his deadly rampage at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, was issued a firearm owner's identification card in January 2014 after a background check failed to show a 1995 aggravated assault conviction in Mississippi, Aurora police Chief Kristen Ziman said Saturday.

He bought the Smith and Wesson handgun he used in Friday's attack two months later, on March 11, 2014, she said. Five days after that, he applied for a concealed carry permit, which included a more rigorous background check that used digital fingerprinting and that did flag his Mississippi felony conviction, which led the Illinois State Police to revoke his permit.

"Absolutely, he was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm," Ziman said.

Martin was able to keep his gun despite losing his permit, raising questions about what, if anything, the state did to get him to relinquish it.

Authorities said Saturday that Martin pulled out the gun and began shooting right after hearing he was being fired from his job of 15 years at the industrial valve manufacturer.

Martin killed the other three people in the room with him and two others just outside, Ziman said. Among those killed was a college student starting a human resources internship at the plant that day. Martin also wounded a sixth worker — who is expected to survive — before police began arriving, drawing his attention toward them.

After wounding five officers and with law enforcement from throughout the region pouring in to help, Martin ran off and hid in the back of the building, where officers found him about an hour later and killed him during an exchange of gunfire, police said. All of the wounded officers are expected to live.

"He was probably waiting for us to get to him there," police Lt. Rick Robertson said. "It was just a very short gunfight and it was over, so he was basically in the back waiting for us and fired upon us and our officers fired."

Martin, 45, was no stranger to police in Aurora, where he had been arrested six timesover the years for what Ziman described as "traffic and domestic battery-related issues" and for violating an order of protection.

Scott Hall, president and CEO of Mueller Water Products Inc., which owns Henry Pratt, said at a news conference Saturday that Martin was being fired "for a culmination of various workplace rules violations," though he didn't elaborate.

He said a company background check of Martin when he joined Henry Pratt 15 years ago did not turn up the 1995 felony conviction in Mississippi.

A vigil was planned for Sunday in Aurora, which is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago and is Illinois' second-largest city, with about 200,000 people.

Police identified the slain workers as human resources manager Clayton Parks of Elgin; plant manager Josh Pinkard of Oswego; mold operator Russell Beyer of Yorkville; stock room attendant and fork lift operator Vicente Juarez of Oswego; and Trevor Wehner, the new intern and a Northern Illinois University student who lived in DeKalb and grew up in Sheridan.

It was Wehner's first day on the job, his uncle Jay Wehner told The Associated Press. Trevor Wehner, 21, was on the dean's list at NIU's business college and was on track to graduate in May with a degree in human resource management.

"He always, always was happy. I have no bad words for him. He was a wonderful person. You can't say anything but nice things about him," Jay Wehner said of his nephew.


Categories: Law Enforcement

LA sheriff: Fewer crimes spur transfer to immigration agents

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 09:04

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The new leader of the nation's largest sheriff's department on Friday further limited when inmates in Los Angeles County jails can be transferred to U.S. authorities for deportation.

The department has reduced the number of misdemeanor charges that can trigger an inmate's transfer to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation from 151 to 101, spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.

One example of a charge removed from the list is vandalism with prior convictions, she said.

Under its so-called sanctuary law, California already limits which crimes can trigger the transfer of someone held in a county jail to federal deportation agents. The Los Angeles County sheriff's department further reduced the list of misdemeanors that qualify.

The department also limited the timeframe for these convictions to three years from five, she said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who won an upset election victory last year, previously said he would bar ICE agents from entering department facilities to conduct civil immigration matters.

That directive took effect this month, Nishida said. Previously, federal immigration agents would interview inmates suspected of being in the country illegally while they were still in jail.

Thomas P. Giles, acting field office director for ICE's enforcement and removal operations in Los Angeles, said in a statement that the changes would encourage criminal activity by immigrants without legal status. He said agents would keep making arrests elsewhere in the community of those suspected of being in the country illegally.

Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, said she welcomed a reduction in the number of misdemeanor charges that can lead to deportation.

She said immigrants convicted of crimes already serve their sentences and the question is whether deportation is an appropriate enhancement for the offenses committed.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Ala. officer shot multiple times, suspects die in subsequent fire

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 08:47

Associated Press

AUBURN, Ala. — An Alabama police officer who was shot multiple times after responding to reports of an armed robbery was recovering Saturday, while two suspects are believed to have died in a fire following a shootout.

The incident began about 5:30 p.m. Friday, the Opelika-Auburn News reported.

Auburn Officer Justin Sanders stopped a vehicle that fit the description of one driven by the suspects. As Sanders approached, police said the man opened fire, striking the 30-year-old officer at least four times. Sanders, five-year veteran of the department, was hospitalized in stable condition, Police Capt. Lorenza Dorsey said.

The suspects fled and an ensuing manhunt tracked them to a nearby apartment complex.

Dorsey said heavily armed officers in tactical gear surrounded the building. Gunfire then erupted, filling the air with noise and smoke. Residents from several blocks away heard the commotion, while nearby Auburn University issued warnings and a lockdown for the veterinary school.

Residents fled the scene as the gunfire continued. "Get back! Bullets are flying everywhere!" one officer warned bystanders.

"It sounded like fireworks going off," one man told the Opelika-Auburn News.

A woman told the newspaper when she heard the gunfire she took cover in her bathtub.

Officers tossed canisters of tear gas into the apartment, which caught fire, Dorsey said. The two suspects refused to exit. Authorities said their bodies were later found in the rubble.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris identified one of the suspects as Christopher James Wallace, 38. The identity of the other person, a woman, has not been released.

Two people believed to be relatives of Wallace exited the apartment and were taken into custody as officers were trying to get the suspects from the apartment. After the fire was extinguished, authorities found the suspects' bodies in a back room of the apartment.

Harris said the bodies will be taken to the medical examiner's office at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Montgomery for an autopsy to determine the cause of death and positive identification.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Wife of imprisoned Chicago officer fears he's in danger

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 08:43

Associated Press

CHICAGO — The wife of a Chicago police officer who was convicted of fatally shooting teenager Laquan McDonald demanded on Thursday to know why her husband was transferred from an Illinois state prison where he was kept from harm to a federal prison in Connecticut where he was assaulted and where she fears he is still in danger.

"I don't need people to go into his cell and attack him," said an emotional Tiffany Van Dyke at a news conference. "The next time this could happen, they could kill him. I cannot bury my husband."

The Illinois Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday that Jason Van Dyke was moved to federal custody but would not say why. Asked about the attack on Van Dyke, the federal Bureau of Prisons said in an email that it could confirm "an assault resulting in minor injuries" occurred on Feb. 7. The bureau declined to provide additional information, citing privacy concerns.

Van Dyke, who is white, was convicted in October of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery for shooting McDonald 16 times in 2014. He was sentenced last month to six years and nine months in prison.

Van Dyke was attacked by another inmate after his transfer to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, appellate attorney Jennifer Blagg said in an interview Thursday. Blagg said Van Dyke was not severely injured and has since been placed in a segregated unit away from most inmates as a precaution.

Blagg said she learned of the attack when she and another attorney were on the phone with Van Dyke talking a request the state's attorney general filed asking the Illinois Supreme Court to review Van Dyke's sentence.

"We were explaining to him what it meant ... when he said another inmate had jumped him and landed a few punches," Blagg said.

Blagg didn't appear at a news conference Thursday with Tiffany Van Dyke and trial attorneys Dan Herbert and Tammy Wendt, who expressed concern that Jason Van Dyke had been placed in the prison's general population with other inmates. They said former police officers would be particularly vulnerable to attack from other inmates — something Tiffany Van Dyke and others told a judge about during her husband's sentencing hearing. While imprisoned in Illinois, Van Dyke had been kept in a segregated unit.

"It was as if he was led like a lamb to slaughter," said Wendt of the attack that she said occurred within four hours of Van Dyke's arrival to the general population unit.

Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer in a half-century convicted of murder in an on-duty shooting. He was sentenced in January to six years and nine months in prison — a sentence that angered activists. This week, the state's attorney general and the special prosecutor who handled the case and asked the judge to impose a sentence of 18 to 20 years asked the Illinois Supreme Court to review the sentence.

Absent a new sentence, Van Dyke will likely serve only about three years, with credit for good behavior.

Tiffany Van Dyke said the assault was a realization of her worst fears and noted the widespread media attention his case has received in explaining why her husband might still be in danger even though he's imprisoned several states away.

"My husband's life, my family's life is national news," she said. "At the basic minimum, they were supposed to keep him safe."


Categories: Law Enforcement

2nd arrest in robbery that led to NYPD blue-on-blue death

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 08:27

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Police arrested a man Friday suspected of being the lookout during a robbery that led to the blue-on-blue death of a New York City police detective, an official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press.

The man was taken into custody in Queens hours after NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill revealed on a radio show that police were looking for a second suspect in Tuesday night's stick-up, the official said.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity. The suspect's name wasn't immediately available Friday night.

Detective Brian Simonsen was hit once in the chest by crossfire as he and six other officers fired 42 shots at robbery suspect Christopher Ransom, who police say charged at them from inside a T-Mobile store pointing a fake handgun.

Simonsen, 42, will be laid to rest next week.

Ransom, who was wounded eight times, was arraigned Friday by video from his hospital bed on murder, manslaughter and other charges.

A judge ordered him held without bail. His next court date is scheduled for Tuesday. Ransom faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

The Legal Aid Society, which represents Ransom, cautioned people not to "demonize" him.

"The loss of life and the serious injuries suffered by all are tragic," the an indigent defense organization said in a statement. "But we ask the public to respect Mr. Ransom's right to due process and a presumption of innocence."

Ransom, 27, has a long rap sheet and a habit of bizarre stunts, styling himself on social media as a comedian and prankster in the vein of Sasha Baron Cohen of "Borat" fame.

Ransom has been arrested at least 11 times since 2012, records show, and he was wanted by police in connection with a Jan. 19 robbery at another cellphone store. After one arrest, court papers show, Ransom was taken to a psychiatric ward.

Ransom pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and was sentenced to 20 days in jail in 2016 after allegedly climbing over a gate and walking up to a desk at a Brooklyn police station while wearing a fake SWAT vest and police badge. Police records listed his alias as "Detective."

Four years earlier, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to jail time for pretending to be an intern to gain access to a judge's chambers.

A funeral for Simonsen, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD, is scheduled for Wednesday in Hampton Bays on Long Island, with viewings on Monday and Tuesday.

Simonsen's supervisor and partner, Sgt. Matthew Gorman, was wounded in the leg . He was discharged from the hospital on Thursday.

Simonsen, Gorman and six uniformed officers swarmed to the T-Mobile store at around 6:10 p.m. Tuesday after a 911 caller standing outside reported seeing a man take two employees to a back room at gunpoint, police said.

According to a criminal complaint, Ransom ordered the employees to remove iPhones and money from the cash registers and back room safes.

Simonsen and Gorman, who were both in plainclothes and not wearing bulletproof vests, were working on another case nearby when the call came and arrived around the same time as patrol officers, police said.

Gorman and two of the uniformed officers went into the store, but retreated when Ransom emerged from a back room and came at them, police said. The gunshots blew out the store's doors, showering the sidewalk with glass.

Simonsen stayed outside as Gorman and the uniformed officers went in, police said. Simonsen fired two shots. Gorman fired 11 times. It's not clear who fired the shots that struck them, police said.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Suspect in Ill. mass shooting was being fired from job

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 08:18

Associated Press

AURORA, Ill. — The frantic calls started pouring in at 1:24 p.m. A gunman was shooting people inside a sprawling manufacturing warehouse in Aurora, Illinois.

Within four minutes, the first police officers rushed to the 29,000-square-foot building in the suburban Chicago city and were fired on immediately; one was struck outside and four others shot inside.

By the time the chaos ended Friday afternoon, five male employees of Henry Pratt Co. were found dead and the gunman was killed in a shootout with police after a 90-minute search of the sprawling warehouse. Five male police officers were hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening.

"For so many years, we have seen similar situations throughout our nation and the horrible feeling that we get when we see it on the news. To experience it first-hand, is even more painful," said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said the gunman, 45-year-old Gary Martin, was being fired from his job Friday after 15 years with the company. It was not immediately known why Martin was being fired.

"We don't know whether he had the gun on him at the time or if he went to retrieve it," Ziman said.

She also said that authorities don't yet know if the employees firing him were among the victims. The names of those killed were not immediately released.

In addition to the five employees killed, a sixth worker was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. A sixth police officer suffered a knee injury while officers were searching the building.

The shooting shocked the city of 200,000 that is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago.

Christy Fonseca often worries about some of the gang-related crimes and shootings around her mother's Aurora neighborhood. But she never expected the type of phone call she got from her mom on Friday, warning her to be careful with an active shooter loose in the town.

Police cars with screaming sirens revved past her as she drove to her mother's house, where the Henry Pratt building is visible from the porch stoop. It was only when they flipped on the television news that they realized Martin had killed people just a few hundred feet away.

"In Aurora, period, we'd never thought anything like this would happen," Fonseca, a lifelong resident, said as she looked out at the warehouse where Henry Pratt makes valves for industrial purposes.

At Acorn Woods Condominiums where Martin lived, a mix of brick apartments and condos nestled on a quiet street just a mile and a half from the shooting, neighbors gathered on sidewalks near Martin's unit talking and wondering among themselves if they knew or had come in contact with him.

Mary McKnight stepped out of her car with a cherry cheesecake purchased for her son's birthday, to find a flurry of police cars, officers and media trucks.

"This is a strange thing to come home to, right," she said. She had just learned that the shooter lived close by and his unit in the complex had been taped off by police.

Asked if Martin's rampage had been a "classic" workplace shooting, police chief Ziman said:

"I don't know. We can only surmise with a gentleman that's being terminated that this was something he intended to do."


Categories: Law Enforcement

Ill. man being fired from job fatally shoots 5 workers

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 08:18

Associated Press

AURORA, Ill. — The frantic calls started pouring in at 1:24 p.m. A gunman was shooting people inside a sprawling manufacturing warehouse in Aurora, Illinois.

Within four minutes, the first police officers rushed to the 29,000-square-foot building in the suburban Chicago city and were fired on immediately; one was struck outside and four others shot inside.

By the time the chaos ended Friday afternoon, five male employees of Henry Pratt Co. were found dead and the gunman was killed in a shootout with police after a 90-minute search of the sprawling warehouse. Five male police officers were hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening.

"For so many years, we have seen similar situations throughout our nation and the horrible feeling that we get when we see it on the news. To experience it first-hand, is even more painful," said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said the gunman, 45-year-old Gary Martin, was being fired from his job Friday after 15 years with the company. It was not immediately known why Martin was being fired.

"We don't know whether he had the gun on him at the time or if he went to retrieve it," Ziman said.

She also said that authorities don't yet know if the employees firing him were among the victims. The names of those killed were not immediately released.

In addition to the five employees killed, a sixth worker was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. A sixth police officer suffered a knee injury while officers were searching the building.

The shooting shocked the city of 200,000 that is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago.

Christy Fonseca often worries about some of the gang-related crimes and shootings around her mother's Aurora neighborhood. But she never expected the type of phone call she got from her mom on Friday, warning her to be careful with an active shooter loose in the town.

Police cars with screaming sirens revved past her as she drove to her mother's house, where the Henry Pratt building is visible from the porch stoop. It was only when they flipped on the television news that they realized Martin had killed people just a few hundred feet away.

"In Aurora, period, we'd never thought anything like this would happen," Fonseca, a lifelong resident, said as she looked out at the warehouse where Henry Pratt makes valves for industrial purposes.

At Acorn Woods Condominiums where Martin lived, a mix of brick apartments and condos nestled on a quiet street just a mile and a half from the shooting, neighbors gathered on sidewalks near Martin's unit talking and wondering among themselves if they knew or had come in contact with him.

Mary McKnight stepped out of her car with a cherry cheesecake purchased for her son's birthday, to find a flurry of police cars, officers and media trucks.

"This is a strange thing to come home to, right," she said. She had just learned that the shooter lived close by and his unit in the complex had been taped off by police.

Asked if Martin's rampage had been a "classic" workplace shooting, police chief Ziman said:

"I don't know. We can only surmise with a gentleman that's being terminated that this was something he intended to do."


Categories: Law Enforcement

Tributes, activism, safety drills mark 1 year since Parkland

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 07:50

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Some students around the country marked the anniversary of the school massacre in Parkland, Florida, with moments of silence Thursday or somber vigils while others sought to find threads of positivity in the fabric of tragedy.

Boardman High School in northeast Ohio had a "legacy lockdown" including an active-shooter drill, a chime ringing once for each of the 17 victims from Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and an opportunity to applaud local emergency responders.

It repeated an event they did weeks after the Florida shooting: Students practiced hiding during the drill, then lined the hallways to clap and cheer as dozens of police and other responders walked through the school.

Seventeen-year-old senior Jack Pendleton, who helped plan that as a non-political response to what happened, said it's a way to help students feel safer and responders feel more appreciated.

"We turn away from the dread and have to look more toward who's helping us," he said.

Near Washington, a group of students advocating for stricter gun control displayed 671 white T-shirts outside Bethesda Chevy Chase High School as a "Memorial to Our Lives," with each bearing the name and age of a teenage victim of gun violence from 2018. That, too, expands on a display they initiated last year after the Parkland shooting.

Emily Schrader, an 18-year-old senior, said the display conveys outrage and loss, but the students who hung up the shirts Thursday morning also felt hopeful about demonstrating solidarity with victims of gun violence.

"Bringing it back to our school may be a way to allude to the student activism for the past year but also to keep the focus of the day on the victims and make sure that the stories and lives of the victims are being told," Schrader said.

Students in suburban Kansas City sent kids in Parkland thousands of notes of encouragement written on labels affixed to chocolate candy bars, which were delivered to the high school earlier this week, The Kansas City Star reported .

Educators were remembering, too. In New York, the Buffalo Teachers Federation encouraged people to wear orange — as hunters do for gun safety — and join with others nationwide dedicating a moment of silence to mark the shooting.

Leaders of the nation's largest teachers' unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, issued statements remembering the Parkland victims, honoring survivors and urging legislation to reduce gun violence and improve school safety.

In Parkland, the 14 students and three staff members who died were being honored quietly through an interfaith service and service projects by students.

A Facebook page set up for mobilizing Stoneman Douglas alumni urged people to participate in an online vigil by posting pictures of lit candles with the hashtag #17Eagles. Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was among the alumni tweeting in remembrance of the victims.

How to sensitively commemorate school tragedies is part of broader guidance the National Association of Secondary School Principals is working to put together this year to help principals in the aftermath of such situations, NASSP spokesman Bob Farrace said. It will be based on conversations with school leaders who have dealt with shootings over the past two decades, he said.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Documents: Mo. cop charged with killing colleague says he was in love with her

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 19:16

By PoliceOne Staff

ST. LOUIS — Documents state the St. Louis officer who allegedly shot and killed a fellow officer while playing Russian Roulette was in love with her and was planning to move in with her.

According to court documents newly obtained by KMOV 4, Officer Nathaniel Hendren stated to his supervisor that “he did not try and kill [Officer Katlyn Alix] because he was in love with her and they were in an intimate relationship and were planning on moving into his apartment.”

According to the local news station, the exact relationship between Hendren and Alix was unknown previously, but the two sometimes patrolled around south St. Louis as partners and were said to be friends.

Hendren was charged with involuntary manslaughter for the shooting last month.

Documents also stated that the other officer who was there during the time of the shooting said Hendren and Alix were “consuming alcoholic beverages and playing with their off-duty weapons.” The Circuit Attorney stated previously that there was probable cause that drugs and/or alcohol may have been involved in the incident.

The officer also said that Hendren and Alix started playing Russian Roulette with a revolver, and at a point the officer became uncomfortable with the drinking and gunplay. He left the living room and as he did, he heard a single gunshot, according to the documents.

Three cell phones were found at the scene and police are attempting to determine who they belong to. According to the officer, Alix had sent several text messages to both officers that night asking for their whereabouts and had phone conversations with them leading up to the incident.

Hendren has been released on bond and his next court date is set for March 4.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Gunman kills 5 people, wounds 5 LEOs at Ill. business

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 19:13

By Carrie Antlfinger and Amanda Seitz Associated Press

AURORA, Ill. — An employee of a manufacturing company opened fire at its suburban Chicago plant Friday, killing five people and wounding five police officers before he was fatally shot, police said.

Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman told a news conference that the gunman was 45-year-old Gary Martin and said he was believed to be an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. — which makes valves for industrial purposes — in the city about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago. She told reporters that officers arrived within four minutes of receiving reports of the shooting and were fired upon as soon as they entered the 29,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse.

Police said they did not know the gunman's motive.

"May God bless the brave law enforcement officers who continue to run toward danger," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at the news conference.

Hospitals reported treating at least seven patients from the shooting, though their conditions weren't released. Two of the officers were airlifted to trauma centers in Chicago, Ziman said. She said a sixth officer suffered a knee injury. Officials did not say the total number of people injured other than the police officers.

Dozens of first responder vehicles converged on the building housing the company in Aurora after police received multiple calls about an active shooter at 1:24 p.m. CST.

Several ATF teams also responded to the shooting and were at the scene, according to the agency's Chicago spokeswoman, and the FBI said it also responded.

John Probst, an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, told ABC7 that he ran out of the back door as the shooting unfolded Friday afternoon. Probst says he recognized the gunman and that he works for the company.

"What I saw was the guy running down the aisle with a pistol with a laser on it," Probst said.

Probst said he wasn't hurt but that another colleague was "bleeding pretty bad."

"It's a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country. It's a shame that a cold and heartless offender would be so selfish as to think he has the right to take an innocent life," Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said.

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and monitoring the situation as he prepared to depart for a weekend trip to his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump tweeted his thanks to law enforcement officers in Aurora and offered his condolences to the victims and their families. "America is with you," he said.

Presence Mercy Medical Center was treating two patients and a third had been transferred by helicopter to another hospital, spokesman Matt Wakely said. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital each had one patient from the shooting, spokeswoman Kate Eller said. Rush Copley Medical Center received three patients from the shooting and all are being treated for non-life threatening injuries, spokeswoman Courtney Satlak said.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Improving trust, efficiency top agenda for police leaders at Entrust conference

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 17:35

By P1 News Staff

ORLANDO – Law enforcement, public safety and healthcare leaders attended the inaugural Entrust 2019 conference in Orlando. More than 300 attendees, users of the PowerDMS platform, came together to explore best practices such as engaging a millennial workforce, training tactics to increase employee safety, and maintaining a culture of compliance.

Retired Navy SEAL Rich Diviney delivered the keynote address " Start with Why." Diviney, drawing on more than 20 years of experience as a Navy SEAL officer, gave participants the foundational understanding and tools to unlock their greatest potential. Diviney has worked with motivational speaker Simon Sinek to help leaders and organizations create environments where people feel valued and free to explore their potential. Diviney spoke about the qualities of high-performing teams and how to build them, as well as the important relationship between trust and performance.

Other sessions covered a wide-range of experts and topics. Paul Tennies, Northville Township Police Department, spoke on engaging the millennial workforce. He shared how the police department has used technology, specifically the PowerDMS mobile app, to increase buy-in, trust, and transparency with their growing millennial workforce.

Richard Beary, University of Central Florida chief emeritus and past-president of the International Chiefs of Police, shared the use of technology-based policies for modern policy practice and procedure training. His talk, "Everyday is a Training Day," stressed the importance of daily training to avoid serious line of duty injury and to decrease liability as police interact with suspects.

Bob Bradley, senior vice president of the PoliceOne Academy, described how to use activity-based tracking to close the loop on traditional training methods, driving greater consistency and transparency within your department.

The conference concluded with the first-ever Entrust Awards, which celebrated three police departments for modernizing subpoena management, finding high-risk children with autism faster and saving their departments money.


Categories: Law Enforcement

How police agencies can share criminal intelligence data

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 14:53

Author: Dale Stockton

Criminals seldom limit their activity to a specific jurisdiction so it is important that crime analysis efforts look well beyond the siloed information produced by a single organization. Increasingly, agencies are utilizing shared databases that allow analysts to consider incidents that are taking place in adjoining cities, information that might prove crucial to resolving a crime series but that would go unnoticed if the data were not readily available. Improvements in analysis software and increased computing power, combined with the recognition that a more inclusive use of data can yield better results, are motivating many law enforcement leaders to invest in tools that are effective force multipliers when it comes to patrol and investigative operations.

Today’s crime analysts have an array of tools available that aid in the early determination of emerging crime patterns and in the identification of a single individual as a likely suspect. The potential effectiveness of these tools is largely dependent on the depth and breadth of the data sources available for analysis. A 2017 DOJ-commissioned report, A Blueprint for Interagency and Cross-Jurisdictional Data Sharing (available in full below), offers practical lessons for launching data sharing, integration and analysis efforts that can better inform crime prevention and reduction strategies. The report, published by the nonprofit Urban Institute, addresses the major challenges that are likely to be encountered and offers strategies to overcome those challenges. The blueprint also serves as a guide to facilitating cross-sector analysis and identifies trends in technology and practice relevant to data sharing. Following is a summary of the key findings and recommendations outlined in the 85-page report.

Challenges of data sharing in law enforcement

Resources are often a primary concern and will determine the scope and sustainability of data-sharing efforts. It takes staff time to generate and review data, as well as significant technical capability in terms of data infrastructure. Organizations may face substantial challenges regarding the use of their data systems for analytic purposes, particularly during the initial implementation period. Ensuring compatibility of datasets is a key concern, as is data security.

Organizational culture may be such that there is actual opposition to the concept of sharing data. Data-sharing agreements will have little chance of success if staffing and management within an agency do not support data sharing or if staff turnover weakens the communication between partners. Lack of shared goals or recognized mutual benefits can result in friction and weaken data integration efforts. Staff members tasked with execution and implementation of this type of effort need the technical expertise to manage project demands. Effective lines of communication must be in place to introduce new leadership and management to data-sharing protocols.

A stable and centralized leadership is key to promoting system utility, but it may be difficult to identify long-term leadership that can be accepted by all project partners. There must be coordination among partners to maintain the momentum as efforts progress and evolve. Some data-sharing participants may fear public scrutiny or have concerns that release of information might have negative economic impact, resulting in varying levels of support for greater transparency.

In addressing the above challenges, each potential data-sharing partner must weigh the costs and utility of integrating their data, noting that the degree of effort may range from one-time participation to establishment of an ongoing system. Agencies should try to implement structures that adequately support ongoing data sharing so that they can monitor trends and respond to challenges as they arise.

Key steps to achieving data sharing in law enforcement

Develop a framework for data integration. Start with the determination of the types of questions that need to be answered, allowing for consideration of the benefits that can result from examining the relationship between crime and other variables.

Organize the research team to ensure that projects have a clear, yet flexible, leadership that ensures progress while allowing for engagement of new opportunities as they emerge. A good approach is to utilize a central project manager who oversees the work of several subject matter experts, thus balancing competing priorities.

Identify data sources while giving due consideration to data availability and quality, willingness to share data, the utility of data content and the effort needed for analysis based on formatting or organization. There should be regular engagement among data-sharing partners. Participants should be careful to avoid redundant requests and remain conscious of the frequency of new data requests. A mutually-agreed-upon timeline for collaboration and accountability will help ensure that data-sharing efforts move forward.

Build and manage relationships. The solicitation of data-sharing partners can be challenging, especially when there are public relations or operational risks for an agency. To address these concerns, participants must be able to demonstrate the value of integrated data sharing to other partners and ensure that operational and technical frameworks are in place to maintain data security.

Data management structures must be created that facilitate the efficient analysis of data. It is important that data from contributing partners be cleaned, coded and reconciled. The reconciliation of data should be prioritized, and a common framework established to deal with situations where jurisdictions use different terminology to describe a similar occurrence or observation. A data dictionary can be invaluable in this process.

To ensure effective analysis, integration of data should include structuring that facilitates efficient management. Although data can be integrated at the level of either an individual or a place, integration at a place level is often easier. Data integration will be most sustainable and useful if it is built into the daily functions of the agencies collecting the data.

The increased use of GPS-enabled devices could benefit data collection efforts, providing an opportunity to analyze granular, real-time data. Consideration should be given to how such geographic information can factor into the analysis of crime patterns.

Conclusion

There is great potential for data integration having a positive impact on public safety given the ongoing development of technological tools and the increasing willingness to embed data more thoroughly in the daily work of public agencies. However, concerns over privacy and the protection of civil rights will be a significant issue and there are justified concerns about data security. Agencies entering into data-sharing partnerships must establish sufficient safeguards and protocols to protect against data breaches.

The future of integrated data will involve partnerships between practitioners, academics and researches wherein each stakeholder communicates needs and developments with stakeholders from other fields. The result of this type of strategic partnership approach will enable jurisdictions to effectively examine the relationships of neighborhood dynamics and crime, allowing police to respond more holistically to incidents by drawing on information beyond traditional criminal justice sources.

Blueprint for Interagency C... by on Scribd


Categories: Law Enforcement

5 people killed, 5 LEOs wounded in Ill. shooting

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 14:53

Associated Press

AURORA, Ill. — The chief of police says five people were killed and five officers were wounded in a shooting at a business in suburban Chicago

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman told reporters that the officers were fired upon Friday afternoon as soon as they entered the Henry Pratt Co. building in Aurora.

Ziman says the gunman was also killed.

Live TV reports showed dozens of first responder vehicles outside a building housing the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, a city of about 200,000 people about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago.

Several ATF teams responded to the shooting and were at the scene, according to the agency's Chicago spokeswoman, and the FBI said it also was responding.

John Probst, an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, told ABC7 that he ran out of the back door as the shooting unfolded Friday afternoon. Probst says he recognized the gunman and that he works for the company.

He said the gunman had "a pistol with a laser." Probst said he wasn't hurt but that another colleague was "bleeding pretty bad."

The company makes valves for industrial purposes.

Police said the situation had been contained and that there was "no ongoing threat to the public," according to a statement issued by the Kane County Sheriff's Department on behalf of the Aurora Police Department.

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on a shooting in Illinois and monitoring the situation as he prepared to depart for a weekend trip to his home in Palm Beach, Florida.

West Aurora School District 129 said on its website that it was keeping all students in their classrooms as police investigate, but that "teaching will continue with reduced movement."

Spokespeople for Mercy Medical Center and Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora did not immediately return messages about whether either hospital was treating victims from the shooting. No victims had been sent to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in nearby Downers as of Friday evening, spokeswoman Kate Eller told The Associated Press.

ALERT: There is an active shooter near Highland and Archer. Aurora Police are on the scene. More information will be available soon.

— City of Aurora, IL (@CityofAuroraIL) February 15, 2019

DEVELOPING: Police responding to "reported active shooter situation" at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, ATF says.

DEVELOPING: Police responding to "reported active shooter situation" at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, ATF says. https://nbcnews.to/2GrxlS5

Posted by MSNBC on Friday, February 15, 2019

This is a breaking story. More information will be updated when available.


Categories: Law Enforcement

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