Archive for November, 2009

Official: Teen killed by NYPD was shot 11 times

November 23, 2009

Police say they opened fire after 18-year-old pointed 9mm pistol at them

NEW YORK – A teenager killed in a confrontation with New York City police over the weekend was shot 11 times, the medical examiner’s office said Sunday.

Dashawn Vasconcellos, 18, died of gunshot wounds to the torso, neck and extremities, medical examiner spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said. Police fired a total of 14 times, chief NYPD spokesman Paul J. Browne said.

According to an autopsy completed late Sunday, Vasconcellos had three gunshot wounds in the middle of his back, five in his right side and three on his left side, Borakove said. Five police bullets were recovered during the autopsy, she said.

Vasconcellos and two others were spotted leaving a city park in the city’s Queens borough at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday by four officers in an unmarked car. Vasconcellos ran and was pursued by three officers. He then turned and pointed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol at them, Browne said.

“They ordered him to drop the gun, and he did not comply. Three officers fired a total of 14 shots,” Browne said.

Vasconcellos, who was also carrying a boxcutter, did not fire his gun. He was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital.

The men with Vasconcellos, who did not flee police, have been questioned by officers. It’s unclear why the men were in the park after hours.

Fatal police-involved shootings have led to protests in New York City and prosecutions of police officers.

In 2008, a judge acquitted three police officers in the fatal shooting of Sean Bell, an unarmed man killed in a 50-shot barrage on his wedding day. Bell was killed outside a strip club on Nov. 25, 2006, as he was leaving his bachelor party. Undercover officers investigating reports of prostitution at the club said they thought one of the men in Bell’s group had a gun.

Ten years ago, 22-year-old Amadou Diallo was killed when he was struck 19 times by 41 bullets fired by police officers who mistook his wallet for a gun. The officers were acquitted in the February 1999 fatal shooting of the African immigrant.

Man gets life in prison for woman’s fatal scare

November 23, 2009
updated 6:56 p.m. ET, Sat., Nov . 21, 2009
Jury finds him guilty of causing her death by kidnapping her
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty in what prosecutors said was a case of scaring a 79-year-old North Carolina grandmother to death.

Multiple media outlets reported a federal jury found 21-year-old Larry Whitfield not guilty of murder Friday in the death of Mary Parnell last year. But they did find him guilty of causing her death by kidnapping her, and that carries an automatic life sentence.

Prosecutors say Whitfield was looking for somewhere to hide after a failed bank robbery attempt in Gastonia in September 2008 when he broke into Parnell’s home.

Authorities say Whitfield never touched the grandmother, but she suffered a heart attack when she saw him, and he didn’t call for help.

NC Trooper Fired Because of Fib About His Hat

November 22, 2009
Raleigh, 11.21.2009

A North Carolina state trooper who said he was fired because he lied about the fate of his $45 hat is fighting his dismissal.

Thomas C. Wetherington, 22, told The News Observer of Raleigh that losing his job in a misunderstanding about his hat is especially galling considering the kind of misconduct other troopers have committed without getting fired.

“Look, we’ve got guys having sex in patrol cars just about every day,” said Wetherington, a trooper since 2007. “Why did I get dismissed when other guys get slaps on the wrist?”

A review committee ruled in September that Wetherington should be reinstated and the conduct of the supervisor who pushed for his removal be reviewed. But the Highway Patrol hasn’t put Wetherington back on the highway and he is awaiting a hearing before a judge who can make the patrol put him back on the force.

Patrol spokesman Capt. Everett Clendenin wouldn’t talk to the newspaper about the case, citing the pending legal action.

Wetherington’s saga began an a blustery night in March when he pulled over a vehicle towing a boat on U.S. 70 in Craven County. While seizing guns and alcohol, he set his hat on his patrol car, then heard it tumble down the asphalt in the dark. He returned later and looked for it for two hours without success.

Wetherington had to file a form to get a new hat, and he wrote that it blew off his head and was likely run over. But another trooper pulled over the same driver two weeks later, and the man had Wetherington’s hat, which he said he picked up after the trooper left. Wetherington’s name and phone number were in the hatband, but the driver never called.

A supervisor questioned Wetherington about the initial report, and he said he didn’t tell the truth about how he lost the hat because he was intimidated by his boss.

The Highway Patrol ruled Wetherington violated its code of conduct, which requires troopers to always tell the truth.

The agency has had plenty of trouble with troopers following the conduct code. Since 1998, the patrol has dealt with at least 27 cases of sexual misconduct by troopers either on or off duty. In several cases, those involved were not fired, including a trooper who received a five-day suspension in 2002 after he was caught repeatedly having sex on duty in and on his parked patrol car. On one occasion, the trooper inadvertently left his handgun behind, where children later found it, the newspaper reported.

Those stories frustrate Wetherington, who said he just wants to get back out on the road, serving the people.

“I bleed black and silver,” said Wetherington, noting the colors on his hat and the patrol’s uniform. “This was my life, and they took it away from me. All I want is to get it back.”

LA Gang Member Robs Charlotte Bank

November 18, 2009


Updated: 10:43 pm EST November 17, 2009

Police: Bank Robbery, Chase Suspect Has Criminal History

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Eyewitness News learned more about the past of the man police said robbed a Charlotte bank and led them on a chase.

 Investigators in Los Angeles said Carlos Burns is a known gang member. He’s in jail in Mecklenburg County.

 Police said he robbed the Wachovia on West Sugar Creek road in north Charlotte Tuesday Afternoon. They said he fled in a black Honda, at one point throwing cash out the window.


RAW VIDEO: Chopper 9 Captures End Of High-Speed Chase
VIDEO: Suspect Identified In Bank Robbery, High-Speed Chase
IMAGES: Authorities Swarm Vehicle To Arrest Bank Robbery Suspect

 The chase lead to Interstate 85 where a truck driver helped police slow Burns down. Troopers surrounded the car, smashing in the windows.

 At one point the car rolled forward, nearly pinning police against a wall. Troopers pulled him out of the car, and took him into custody.

 Burns said he was running from police because he feared for his life.

 Officials in Los Angeles said Burns is a known member of the Rolling 40s Crips gang.

 He was convicted of attempted murder in 2002, but that conviction was later overturned, and he was freed. It’s unclear what brought him to Charlotte.

 Eyewitness News asked him if he robbed the bank.

 “I didn’t rob a bank. I just want to go home,” he said.

 Burns is charged with Common Law Robbery – Business, Felony Flee to Elude, and Resisting arrest.

Things Your Burglar Won’t Tell You

November 18, 2009


Sgt. Rich Stahnke

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept.

Response Area One

Providence Division


 1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your
 carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

I am unaware of any cases in our area tied to legitimate repair or delivery persons, but some homeowners do utilize people who approach their homes offering to do yard work. I don’t recommend hiring people “off the street”.

 2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your
 yard last week.. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to
 make my return a little easier.

Again, don’t hire random people for yard work  or gutter cleaning and don’t allow strangers into your home.

 3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste … and taste means
 there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always
 make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

Toys left outside will also indicate that a woman likely lives in the home. A woman in the home may indicate the presence of jewelry. Secure children’s toys at night, especially bikes.

 4.. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I
 might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you
 to remove it.

 5.. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car
 and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead
 giveaway. Snow isn’t much of an issue here, but un-mowed grass during the summer is a giveaway.

 6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your
 alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That
 makes it too easy. Thieves know, just as you do, that the little green light means the alarm isn’t activated and the red light means it is.

 7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the
 windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom-and
 your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

 Some thieves will target the master bedroom only, knowing that there will be no motion sensor there and they will not enter the hallway outside the bedroom, because of the likelihood of encountering a sensor.

 8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to
 lock your door-understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day
 off because of bad weather.

 9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere
 or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.) You don’t have to open the door to speak with someone.

 10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check
 dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

 11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.

 12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where
 you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.

 13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm

Timers can be utilized for appliances like televisions, just as they can be used for lamps. Consult your TV manual. It may have a timer feature built into it.


 1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and
 carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

 2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

 3. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If
 your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait
 to hear it again.  If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to
 what he was doing. It’s human nature.

See #2 directly above-if you hear a noise, look out your windows. Investigate. Call 911 if you see anything unusual.

 4. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy
 alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

 5. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re
 home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or
 walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds,
 just to pick my targets. Many homes can be easily viewed at night from the street due to interior lighting and a lack of window treatments. The glow of computer and television screens are particularly easy to spot.

 6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than
 you think to look up your address.

 7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way
 to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.

 8. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit
 the jackpot and walk right in.

At least one burglary in the past month in our area was due to a criminal seizing the opportunity of finding a door unlocked to a home after coming there with the intent of stealing from vehicles in the driveway.

CMPD Significant Event Log For Nov. 12/13

November 15, 2009

Posted: 11:26 am EST November 13, 2009

Nov. 12 5:44 p.m. Armed Robbery From Person in Steele Creek Division: At least 2 suspects forced entry into the apartment at 15800 Umbrella Lane. When officers arrived one of the suspects jumped from the apartment, injured his leg and was taken into custody. Another suspect was located nearby and was detained. Several subjects were interviewed by Robbery Detectives in regards to this investigation. There were no injuries to any of the occupants of the residence. No shots fired. Nov. 12 6:40 p.m. Strong Arm Robbery From Person in Independence Division: Female victim was walking out of Harris Teeter at 5700 Wyalong Drive with her husband when a young B/M suspect came up, pushed her, took her purse and fled on foot. Her husband chased the suspect on foot. K-9 responded and tracked and located the victim’s purse and belongings and a 14 yr old suspect was located a short time later as well. No injuries. Robbery Detectives interviewed the suspect.

 Nov. 12 7:38 p.m. Accident in Roadway-Property Damage in Providence Division: Officer driving vehicle #715 had a minor accident while backing out striking a cement pillar at 1000 Edgehill Road. No injuries. No other vehicles were involved.

 Nov. 12 8:51 p.m. Armed Robbery From Person in Eastway Division: The victim advised that he was walking at 1000 Central Avenue and was approached by 2 B/M suspects. As they approached him, 1 suspect removed a dark colored handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the victim’s chest and demanded property from him. The victim took money from his wallet, suspect #2 took the money from his hand and the suspects fled on foot. Suspects: #1: B/M, 5’7″, 150, 20’s, thin build, black pants & coat and white shoes. #2: B/M, 5’7″, 150, 20’s, thin build, black pants, coat and shoes. No shots fired, no injuries.

 Nov. 12 9:53 p.m. Armed Robbery From Business in Metro Division: 3 B/M suspects wearing masks and scarves to cover their faces entered the Burger King at 2600 Beatties Ford Road, displayed a gun and the suspects stole money then fled on foot. No shots fired, no injuries. Suspects: #1: B/M, 6’3″, black ski mask, gray shirt, black dress pants. #2: B/M, 5’11”, black shirt and pants, red bandanna. #3: B/M, 5’9″, black mask, shirt and pants. K-9 responded with negative results because of the area.

 Nov. 12 10:33 p.m. Accident in Roadway-Property Damage in Central Division: ABC Officer England’s work vehicle was struck by a silver Mazda with aftermarket black wheels driven by a black male driver at 900 N. Tryon Street. The vehicle did not stop when Officer England attempted to stop the vehicle.

 Nov. 12 11:41 p.m. Armed Robbery From Business in North Division: A B/M suspect entered the BP Gas Station at 8300 Old Statesville Road asked for a pack of cigarettes and when the register opened, he pulled out a gun and demanded money from the register. The suspect then fled on foot toward I-77. The suspect was wearing a brown jacket with some type of hood sticking out, blue jeans and had a silver revolver. No shots fired, no injuries. K-9 responded and completed a short track with negative results.

 Nov. 13 12:21 a.m. Armed Robbery From Person in Providence Division: The B/M victim was walking to his vehicle in the parking lot at 4800 Monroe Road when 2 B/M suspects approached him, pointed guns at him, took his wallet and made him lay on the ground before fleeing on foot through the bushes. No shots fired, no injuries. Suspects: #1: B/M, 5’11”, red shirt, black toboggan and jacket and black pistol. #2: B/M, 6’2″, black hoodie, blue jeans and chrome pistol. K-9 responded and was able to get a short track. (Suspects probably got in a car).

 Nov. 13 2:46 a.m. Armed Robbery From Person in Westover Division: The victim advised that a black male and black female robbed him at gunpoint, taking his wallet at 6600 Wisteria Dr. The suspects fled in a green honda accord. No injuries

Robbery Suspect’s Nose Partially Bitten Off

November 15, 2009

Suspect Turned Himself In

Posted: 3:05 pm EST November 13, 2009Updated: 3:23 pm EST November 13, 2009

FLORENCE, Ala. — A northwest Alabama man is in jail minus part of his nose, which police said was bitten off during a robbery attempt. Police said a 40-year-old man was in custody Friday after surrendering to authorities. He will be charged in what police said was a robbery attempt that occurred Monday in Tuscumbia.

 The suspect allegedly entered a house and struggled with two men. During the struggle, one of the men bit off an inch-long chunk of the robber’s nose. Officers found a small piece of flesh, and the suspect was missing part of his nose when he turned himself in Thursday.

 The suspect denied breaking into the house. He told WHNT-TV another man “freaked out” while they were smoking crack.

House catches fire during standoff in west Charlotte

November 13, 2009

by GLENN COUNTS / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Glenn:

Posted on November 12, 2009 at 7:14 PM

Updated yesterday at 7:24 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A domestic violence call led to a standoff and a house fire in west Charlotte Thursday afternoon.

Police responded to a home on Coxe Avenue after a woman called, saying she was being assaulted.

“Once we arrived on the scene we saw the male subject run back into the house,” said Capt. Bruce Bellamy with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “He indicated that he was not going to come back out.”

SWAT officers surrounded the house to execute an arrest warrant for 38-year-old Joe Maddox.

Police say a female friend made an emergency call, claiming that he was beating her up.

“Well, they have been having problems now for six months,” said neighbor Carolyn Rowe. “The state pulled her out of the house and she went to the shelter to live.”

Maddox allegedly refused to come out of the house. Then, the property caught fire from the inside, so he surrendered.

“I was worried about him 100 percent because I know his mother. We gave her a lot of support,” said Michelle Veal, a family friend.

Officers say that some women’s clothing had been set on fire.

Arson investigators are looking at this case and it may be a few days before they decide on charges.

Jury sees crime scene photos in deputy’s murder

November 13, 2009

by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Tony:

 Posted on November 12, 2009 at 5:38 PM

 LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — Jurors got their first look at crime scene pictures Thursday from a Lincoln County sheriff deputy’s murder.

Some of the moments were too much for family members to handle.

Picture after picture displayed the crime scene — a house Lincoln County Deputy Lawana Morton temporarily stayed at with friend Vicki Fox. Those pictures included Morton dead in her bedroom.

“There was an obvious wound underneath her chin,” said Sgt. Erin Long with Lincoln County.

Some family members walked out. Morton’s son, Joel Engle, didn’t.

“It was extremely tough,” he said.

So too, Engle says, was watching suspect Monty Poteat sit in the courtroom.

“It’s extremely difficult, sitting there and seeing him and knowing the possibility that he was the one that did it,” Engle said. “That’s eating at me tremendously.”

Poteat was Fox’s former boyfriend. Investigators say he murdered Morton in 2007 in a fit of rage because Morton supported her friend’s decision to get a protective order against Poteat. At the time of the murder, deputies say Poteat was wanted for violating that order.

Overall, seven witnessed testified for the prosecution, including State Bureau of Investigation agents and fellow deputies.

The defense focus Thursday was on Morton and Fox’s roommate relationship, saying Morton wanted to move out.

“Yeah, she fussed about it some,” said friend Anne Sadler.

The defense says Fox was jealous of Morton’s friendships with other people.

One thing that didn’t come up — DNA, fingerprints or a weapon tying Poteat to the crime. However, the prosecution hasn’t finished its case.

The defense expects to get its turn Monday. Poteat’s attorneys say they’re not sure if Poteat will testify in his own defense.









Trial under way for man accused of killing deputy

November 13, 2009

by NewsChannel 36 Staff Posted on November 10, 2009 at 7:00 PM

 LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — A murder trial is under way in Lincoln County for the man accused of killing a sheriff’s deputy.

Prosecutors say Monty Poteat shot and killed Deputy Lawana Morton inside her friend’s home in 2007.

Investigators say Poteat was upset with Morton because she encouraged his ex-girlfriend to take out a restraining order against him.

The jury was selected Tuesday morning, and opening statements and testimony began in the afternoon.

“I looked at the bed and the covers were pulled up very neatly. And I went to the bed and barely picked the cover up, and I just saw blood everywhere,” said Nikki Fox, who was Morton’s roommate.

Poteat is charged with first-degree murder.