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Frank Mendoza

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Frank Mendoza

Reported by KTLA5

An innocent homeowner was mistakenly killed and a parolee was fatally shot by deputies early Saturday after an hourslong hostage situation and standoff in Pico Rivera, authorities said.

During the search, Ramirez ran out of a home, jumped a back fence and then broke into a home in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive, which was occupied by an unknown number of residents at the time, according to the release and Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Department.The incident began around 4:30 p.m. on Friday when deputies were searching for 24-year-old Cedric Ramirez, who was wanted on two felony warrants, a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

While in the backyard of the home, Ramirez exchanged gunfire with deputies, the release stated.

“Within seconds of their exit, an adult male suddenly appeared in the doorway,” Chief Bill McSweeney, of the Sheriff’s Department’s Detective Division, said at a Saturday evening news conference.Deputies were able to open the front door and started escorting multiple people from the home. However, as they were being taken out, the Ramirez allegedly shot a second time at deputies, who then returned fire and retreated to the front yard, according to Corino.

“Believing the man was Ramirez, a deputy fired two shots at that man,” who then dropped to the ground, unconscious, McSweeney said. He was later recognized to be 54-year-old Frank Mendoza, a resident of the home.

Preliminary evidence indicated that the two shots “likely” struck Mendoza, according to McSweeney. Deputies were able to rescue him and get him to the paramedics, but he later died of his injuries.

Family members told KTLA that Mendoza owned the home and was just three months shy of retirement.

Hours after the hostage situation started, the SWAT team entered the home and a deputy-involved shooting occurred, Corina said.

Ramirez was shot and pronounced dead at the scene. A weapon was recovered, according to the release.

Lorraine Mendoza was rescued and taken to a local hospital for examination, the release stated.

It did not appear Ramirez knew the victims who lived inside the home, according to Corina.

KTLA’s Tracy Bloom and John A. Moreno contributed to this report.


Brandon Ellingson

Brandon Ellingson

Reported by TheDesMoinesRegister

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will personally review information about the death of Brandon Ellingson at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks while he was in police custody, Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Friday.

“I’m sure you agree that whenever an individual’s death is alleged to have been caused by federal or state law enforcement officers, the matter deserves a thorough, independent investigation, including by federal authorities if necessary and appropriate,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Holder on Friday.

In a news release, Grassley said the attorney general told him that he would review the information before providing it to staff attorneys at the U.S. Justice Department.

Ellingson, 20, of Clive was detained on suspicion of boating while intoxicated May 31. He drowned in the lake while handcuffed and in the custody of a Missouri state trooper.

A jury ruled the death an accident during a coroner’s inquest in September.

Ellingson’s parents have filed two federal lawsuits accusing the Missouri State Highway Patrol of negligence, claiming the arresting officer improperly secured a life vest on Ellingson, then drove the patrol boat at a “dangerously high speed,” which ejected the young man into the water. The life vest came off moments later.

Grassley said he has spoken with Ellingson’s family and their attorney about the case and told them that he would forward to the attorney general any information they provided. He did so Friday.

“According to some reports in the media, there continue to be important unanswered questions about, among other things, whether the officer involved in his arrest was properly trained for water safety, whether he gave Brandon a floatation device that was appropriate for an individual in handcuffs, whether the speed of the police boat and Brandon’s positioning on the boat caused him to fall into the water, and whether all efforts were made to save Brandon’s life afterward,” Grassley wrote in the letter to Holder.

“In addition, questions persist in the media about whether Missouri officials conducted a thorough and impartial investigation into Brandon’s death.”

Grassley asked Holder to give materials provided to him by an attorney for Ellingson’s family “all due consideration and expect that you will call forth the full authority and resources of the Department to investigate whether any federal civil or criminal laws were violated.”




Tyler Comstock

Tyler Comstock

Reported by USAToday

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Ames, Iowa, police staffer twice suggested that an officer back off his pursuit of a 19-year-old man who allegedly stole a truck Monday from a work site where he and his father were working, according to dispatcher audio obtained by The Des Moines Register.

The officer, identified as Adam McPherson, continued his pursuit of Tyler Comstock onto the Iowa State University campus, according to the audio.

Minutes later, the truck Comstock was driving stopped, and officers commanded him to shut off the vehicle. Instead, Comstock revved the engine, and McPherson fired six rounds at the truck, police said.

Comstock died from two gunshot wounds, one each to his head and chest, according to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s office.

McPherson, an eight-year veteran of the Ames department, was placed on leave while the shooting is investigated.

Ames police have not yet reviewed whether the chase followed department policy, Cmdr. Geoff Huff said. An investigation into the shooting, led by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, will be completed first, he said.

On the audio, an unidentified Ames police staffer can be heard saying that the driver’s identity is known.

A copy of the department’s chase policy, obtained by The Des Moines Register, requires ending pursuit “when the suspect’s identity has been established to the point that later apprehension can be accomplished.”

Huff said he could not comment on the dispatcher audio obtained by The Register. The audio is from Broadcastify, an Internet site that broadcasts dispatcher traffic.

“We have not released any audio or video about the incident,” Huff said. “We don’t know where they came from, so we wouldn’t comment on them.”

In the audio, an officer in pursuit of Comstock tells dispatch that the truck’s driver “just rammed me, he just rammed my vehicle.” A few seconds later the officer, who is not identified, says: “He blew the stoplight … he lost the trailer.”

At that point, the unidentified police staffer tells the officer: “If he’s that reckless coming into the college area, why don’t you back off.”

Moments later, the police staffer again suggests the officer cut off the pursuit. “We know the suspect. We can probably back it off.”

On the audio, there’s no indication that the officer responded to the suggestion.

On Monday, Huff had said police discussed ending their pursuit as it neared the ISU campus but decided to continue because of the driver’s dangerous behavior. The driver had shown a “disregard for all pedestrians in the area,” and police wanted to stop the truck before the driver hit anyone, Huff said.

Ames police Tuesday released a six-page policy on the pursuit of motor vehicles, created in 2004. According to the document, the policy requires:

— Officers and supervisors involved in a chase to “continually evaluate whether or not the seriousness of the offense justifies continuing the pursuit.”

— The pursuit be ended if the officers or supervisors believe the danger created by a pursuit outweighs the capture of the suspect.

— The pursuit be ended when the suspect’s identity is confirmed and the suspect could be apprehended at a later time.

William Moulder, a law enforcement consultant and retired Des Moines police chief, said it’s a standard rule in law enforcement not to shoot at a vehicle when the driver is inside, even if the vehicle is stopped.

“If the guy’s in a car, it can presumably drop into gear and go,” he said. “If you hit the driver, the car may continue moving and run into a pole or somebody, and you really increase the danger.”

In an officer-involved shooting, the officer will have to explain whether he believed someone’s life was in danger when he fired, Moulder said. Iowa law requires deadly force be used only to stop danger to another person.

When deciding whether to continue a chase, some departments have a policy that requires a police supervisor to monitor the chase, Moulder said. The supervisor then has the authority to call off the chase, if necessary.

Moulder cautioned that dispatch audio reveals only a portion of the events. A full investigation could reveal other details.

“It’s one of those things, you can’t really Monday-morning-quarterback it until you have all the facts,” Moulder said.


Felix Martinez Torres

Felix Martinez Torres

Reported by

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of an inmate at the Towers Jail early Sunday morning.

A sheriff’s officer found Felix Martinez Torres, 47, sitting upright but unresponsive in his cell shortly after midnight, according to MCSO spokesman Deputy Joaquin Enriquez. The officer called for assistance from medical staff.

Nurses and detention officers from the Towers Jail Medical Clinic responded within two minutes, according to Enriquez. CPR was administered until members of the Phoenix Fire Department arrived and took over.

Torres was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he later was pronounced dead.

Detectives interviewed Torres’ cellmates and family members, who said that he had a history of medical issues.

Enriquez said no suspicious circumstances are suspected. The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Torres was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on Sept. 30 on warrants stemming from driving on a suspended license and failure to appear in court.


Jack Lamar Roberson

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Jack Lamar Roberson

Reported by HuffingtonPost

Police in Georgia say they had no choice but to shoot a man who was, according to his family, experiencing an adverse reaction to medication he took for his diabetes.

The family of Jack Lamar Roberson claims they called 911 on Friday for medical help and that the 43-year-old was not a threat at all. Police say Roberson was armed.

They just came in and shot him,” Alcia Herron, Roberson’s fiance, told First Coast News. “He didn’t say nothing, the police didn’t say nothing, anything, it was like a silent movie. You couldn’t hear anything, all you could hear were the gun shots go off and I seen them going into his body and he just fell down.”

Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said Monday that authorities responded to a suicide threat and that Roberson approached them “aggressively armed with two items used as weapons,” according to the Florida Times-Union.

The chief refused to specify what those weapons were, according to the Associated Press.

Roberson’s mother insisted that her son was unarmed and that there were “no weapons in this house whatsoever.”

“I saw my son shot down,” she told the newspaper. “It was ‘Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”

The officers involved were placed on administrative leave as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reviews the case.


Angel Chiwengo

Angel Chiwengo

Reported by

An immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angel Chiwengo arrived in the U.S. with only a few dollars in her pocket last year.

Chiwengo, 46, who joined her family in Baltimore, held a job and was soon to be a grandmother, was one of three killed in a fiery crash Sept. 24 that ended a four-mile police “pursuit.”

Chiwengo, who was living with her brother in Reisterstown, was returning from her job as a housekeeper at a DoubleTree Hotel, and being driven home by a colleague, Andrew Baker, when a car carrying two men who police had been pursuing for four miles, slammed into the Jeep Baker was driving.

The resulting collision triggered a fire that killed the Chiwengo and the two men police were following and tied up the intersection of York Road and Northern Parkway for ten hours.

Baltimore police officials declined to say whether the pursuit was a chase in violation of police policy prohibiting all but authorized chases under the directive of a police commander. They also declined to say whether the pursuing car was a marked or unmarked police vehicle.

“We didn’t know anything,” Chiwengo’s brother-in-law, Nathan Franklin told the AFRO. “We had been calling her since 6 a.m. that morning because her daughter went into labor.”

Franklin said after driving to Chiwengo’s house, and not getting an answer at the door, he and his wife Pascaline began to worry.

“For some reason the crashed that happened earlier that morning popped in my head,” Franklin said. After he told his wife about the story, she instantly knew it was her sister.

“She became hysterical and was crying,” Franklin said of his wife.

According to police, officers were following the Honda occupied by the two men, later identified as Devell Johns, 36 and Terrell Young, 30, after they observed what officers described as “suspicious activity.”

Police said the occupants apparently disregarded police attempts to stop the car.
The pursuit ended four miles later.

“It was a very horrific scene, it was a very horrific crash,” Commissioner Anthony Batts said at a news conference. “Any loss of humanity in the city is tragic for us.”

Johns, Young and Chiwengo were pronounced dead at the scene. Baker is in critical condition at Johns Hopkins Bayview.

Batts said, “My heart is broken and it’s an impact to the organization.”

Now Franklin and Pascaline, want answers.

“She was a big part of me, we did everything together,” Pascaline told the AFRO. “That was my best friend.”

The last time they spoke with Chiwengo on Sept. 23. “We talked about normal everyday issues,” Franklin said. “We were just talking about life.”

“She was just a great person with a lot of life,” he said. “She was a mother, a sister, a friend and a grandmother—who wasn’t able to see her first granddaughter.” Her daughter delivered a girl several hours after the crash.

Just 20 days shy of qualifying for life insurance offered through her job, Chiwengo’s family seeks justice for their loss and seeks help for paying for funeral arrangements.

“No one has reached out to us,” Franklin said.

“Not the mayor, or councilman in my district has yet to contact us,” he said.

Franklin told the AFRO Commissioner Batts was scheduled to meet with he and his family on Sept. 30, however he never showed up.

“It was a no call no show,” Franklin said. “I called the office later on and I was told the Commissioner didn’t come due to scheduling mishap.”

“We want to know everything that happened. We want to see what is going on now,” he said. “It’s not fair to us, we want the truth.”

Pascaline said her sister came to the U.S. to be with her family and start a business. “She travelled the world, visiting China and Dubai, and she just wanted to be with family.”

“Now she is gone and we don’t know what happened.”

Franklin said the Bea Gaddy Foundation, Huber Memorial Church and Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens all stepped in and helped. He said Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens donated a plot, the opening and closing fees, the weekend facility charges fees and the vault holding the casket.

“It has been limitless to the amount of help they have provided,” Franklin said.

Chiwengo was a member of Christian Revival Church in Westminster. She was a mother of three, two daughters and one son.

The viewing will be held on Oct. 4 at Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home and the funeral will be held on Oct. 5 at NorthSide Baptist Church.

The family is in the “process of seeking legal advice.”


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