A Houston-area father is charged with child abandonment after police said he left his children alone in a car for more than an hour as he shopped.
Police said Adrian Dreshuan Middleton was in the store for an hour and a half before he came out to the car. His daughter was crying in the back seat. She told police that she and her brother were playing, but she was angry that he didn’t stop crying so she wrapped the seatbelt around the baby, The Associated Press reported. She thought he had fallen asleep. But the baby was strangled by the belt, police said.
Middleton said he saw his son unconscious with the belt wrapped around him. He called 911 and performed CPR on his son until first responders arrived, KHOU reported.
The baby was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Middleton first told police that the children were in their car seats but then said in a different statement to law enforcement that there were no car seats in the car when the incident took place, KHOU reported.
Police charged Middleton Friday in the case that happened in May.
According to police records, Middleton told police he left his 6-year-old daughter and 1-year -old son in the car, parked outside a thrift store. He said he left the air conditioner running, a movie playing and gave them water and a snack when he went in to shop for clothes, The AP reported.
Middleton turned himself in to police on Monday, KHOU reported.
A Tennessee woman was attacked by her husband because she “took too long” getting ready for church, according to a police affidavit.
Kevin Pugues, 25, is accused of hitting and strangling his wife at their home on Durango Road in Memphis on Saturday afternoon, the affidavit said.
The victim reportedly told police that the pair got into a verbal argument around 2 p.m. Saturday because she was taking “too long dressing herself for church.”
Police said the victim blocked her husband’s path to speak with him as he was gathering his items to leave the home. At that point, Pugues shoved her onto the couch and started slapping her on the face, the affidavit said.
As she tried to call police, she said Pugues grabbed her neck with both hands and strangled her.
Pugues admitted to police that he struck his wife on the face and strangled her, the affidavit said. He is being charged with aggravated assault.
Handcuffs couldn’t stop Jesse Thedford. From the back of a patrol car, the 32-year-old was able to slide behind the wheel of a Carroll County deputy’s car, according to police.
Ignoring commands to stop, Thedford instead drove toward deputies — the same ones who had arrested him after finding methamphetamine in his pocket. One deputy fired a shot, striking and killing Thedford in one of Georgia’s 79 officer-involved shootings through Nov. 15 this year.
The number of shootings involving Georgia law enforcement officers this year will likely pass the number in 2017, and it has also been a deadlier year, according to the GBI. Law officials say drug use is one reason for the increase. One drug in particular has been a factor in nearly 20 percent of the fatal shootings involving officers since 2012: methamphetamine.
“I believe that many of the bizarre and very violent crimes that occur, the perpetrator is a meth user, and that’s from my experience,” GBI Director Vernon Keenan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It is a very destructive drug, and it causes violent behavior.”
Previously, investigators only had anecdotal evidence of the amount of meth on the streets and the violence it causes, Keenan said. But the GBI recently analyzed its records to get a more factual estimate of the problem. The agency’s autopsy reports, including toxicology results, for people killed by cops, show that meth is involved in about 1 in 5 officer-involved shootings.
The majority of those killed by Georgia police officers from 2012 until mid-November had drugs in their system, including cocaine, meth and marijuana, according to the GBI. Over that period, 188 people were killed by law enforcement and toxicology tests were performed in 173 of those cases. The tests found 124 were positive for a variety of drugs, and 35 — about 19 percent — were positive for meth. Results are still pending on 5 additional cases, including Thedford’s.
Marijuana was the most common drug used by those in deadly altercations with police, followed by methamphetamine, GBI data showed.
And though illegal drugs are just one factor in officer-involved shootings, the data can be used by law enforcement agencies that train officers to de-escalate situations before the use of force is necessary.
“They could be high on methamphetamine,” Keenan said. “And that alone is not going to justify the officer using force, but it is a factor to be considered.”
Meth in Metro Atlanta
The GBI crime lab, which handles drug testing for most of the state’s police departments, sees more than twice as much meth as other drugs. In 2016 and 2017, meth was the leading cause of drug deaths, passing cocaine from previous years, the GBI said.
In Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods, meth isn’t the typical drug of choice, according to police. But travel a few miles into metro suburbs, and it can be found everywhere.
Methamphetamine isn’t new: it has been around nearly 100 years since it was first developed in Japan. During World War II, it was used to keep troops awake and ready for battle, according to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Experts now believe it is more common than ever.
Sgt. Josh Liedke, who runs the Marietta police department’s Crime Interdiction Unit, said heroin previously was among the top illegal drugs seized during investigations, but that has changed.
“We’re seeing less seizures of heroin and we’re seeing more seizures of meth,” he said. “We seem to see heroin trickling off a tad. But as soon as we attack one, the other starts creeping up.”
In 2016, the Gwinnett County police department’s special investigations unit seized approximately 262 pounds of meth, worth an estimated $14 million, and arrested 78 people, according to Lt. Eric Wilkerson. The following year, the unit recovered 344 pounds of meth, leading to 68 arrests, he said. The numbers for 2018 are expected to be similar.
It’s not just suburban areas where meth is widespread. It’s also a problem in rural areas, according to law enforcement agencies.
“Meth is the predominant drug right now in north Georgia,” Phil Price, commander of the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad, said. “It’s readily available and it’s commonly used by those in the drug community.”
The active ingredient in meth is pseudoephedrine, found in many over-the-counter cold medications. When combined and heated with other easy-to-find chemicals — which weren’t intended for human consumption — it doesn’t take a scientist to make meth, according to experts.
But chemicals used to make meth are volatile and toxic, leading to explosions for those without chemistry knowledge, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, the fumes are dangerous for others in the area. Meth can be found in a variety of forms, which can be ingested by swallowing, snorting, smoking, or injecting it.
“There’s so many different ways to make meth, you just don’t know what you’re getting,” Liedke says.
In recent years, meth labs operating in homes and even rolling meth labs in cars frequently made headlines in metro Atlanta.
But more recently, there isn’t a need for users to make their own meth, Keenan said. It’s now being manufactured in Mexico and smuggled into the U.S., and investigators believe that drug cartels are supplying Georgia with meth that’s purer than what is made here — and it’s cheaper.
“It’s like liquor. It’s cheaper to buy it from a Mexican source,” Price said. “At the end of the day, you really don’t have people going out and getting the ingredients to make meth.”
Can officers train for meth?
Keenan, the GBI’s director, said many bizarre and violent crimes that occur involve a meth user. But tracking data, including officer-involved shooting deaths, can help law enforcement agencies better prepare to avoid future violence.
“I think the officer is better prepared to respond when they have an understanding of what they’re up against,” Keenan said.
Like others in the metro area, Marietta officers attend a week of crisis intervention training as part of their ongoing education. The crisis training focuses on both mental health and drugs, including how to identify warning signs that someone is under the influence of drugs. Officers learn de-escalation techniques to calm people: ways to hopefully stop a situation without violence. Whether someone is having a mental health breakdown or has been using alcohol or drugs, the tactics are similar, officers said.
“It may be a different substance, but the way you deal with it is the same across the board,” Price said.
But the effects of a meth on a person’s demeanor is completely unpredictable and creates a particular challenge for officers. Violence and paranoia are common among users.
“These people are physically aggressive and paranoid, and they’ll perceive things that aren’t reality,” Price said.
Meth users also may be desensitized to pain, Price said, so using a Taser may not affect them. If other tactics don’t work, officers may have to use their weapons.
Despite the emphasis of the Trump administration on the opioid crisis, Keenan calls meth an “international assault on the U.S.” And he sees no signs that meth use is slowing down.
“We traded one evil for another,” he said. “Fire and explosions and toxic chemicals for ultra-pure methamphetamine.”
Investigators may not be able to keep the dangerous drug out of their communities. But local, state and federal law enforcement officers aren’t giving up. Every drug bust gets the dangerous drug out of more people’s hands.
In August, after a nearly year-long investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration — along with metro Atlanta agencies and the Georgia State Patrol — busted up a major drug ring. More than $5 million worth of cocaine, and 250 pounds of methamphetamine along with $850,000 in cash was recovered and 15 people were arrested.
DEA Atlanta agent Robert J. Murphy said the drug bust involved one of several Mexican cartels operating in Atlanta.
“Another successful law enforcement success targeting the Mexican organizations targeting this poison in our community,” Murphy said.
MORE ON METH
• Methamphetamine is usually a white, bitter-tasting powder or a pill. Crystal methamphetamine looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks
• Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy
• People can take methamphetamine by smoking, swallowing, snorting, or injecting it
• Short-term health effects include increased wakefulness and physical activity, decreased appetite, and increased blood pressure and body temperature
• Long-term health effects include risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis; severe dental problems; intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching; violent behavior; and paranoia.
• Methamphetamine is highly addictive. When people stop using it, withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, fatigue, severe depression, psychosis, and intense drug cravings.
• The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction so far are behavioral therapies. There are currently no government-approved medications to treat meth addiction.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
It's that time again.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will host the annual presidential turkey pardoning ceremony Tuesday afternoon in the White House Rose Garden, where one lucky bird will be named the National Thanksgiving Turkey.
The pardoning, set for 1:05 p.m. EST, has been an annual tradition since 1989, but Thanksgiving turkeys have been presented to presidents for seven decades, The Associated Press reported.
This year, Peas and Carrots, two turkeys from South Dakota, are vying for the honor. Peas, a 39-pounder with a 36-inch wing span, loves Brad Paisley and popcorn, while the 41-pound Carrots enjoys yoga and boasts a "strong and confident" gobble, the White House joked on its website.
After the ceremony, Peas and Carrots will live at Gobbler's Rest at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
A DeKalb County woman said her mega bank made a mega mistake and now nearly $9,000 of her money is missing.
Roslyn Baitney said her money went through the tube at Wells Fargo and then disappeared. She blames the bank for what happened next.
Baitney said 10 days ago she put $8,754 into the drive-thru tube to deposit with a teller at the bank on Flat Shoals Parkway.
Baitney said the teller told her that the deposit was too large and that she would need to go inside.
Baitney said the teller never told her that she was going to send the tube back.
The incident report which said the teller alerted Baitney she was sending her money back through the tube. There was no money when she got inside.
“I tapped on the window and said, ‘Hey, where's my money?’” Baitney said.
A car had been in line behind her at the drive-thru.
“And then the teller said, ‘I wondered why the car behind you never did a transaction. They just pulled off.’ ‘Yeah, because you gave them my money,’” Baitney said.
The police report also indicates security video was recorded off site, the bank won't talk about the video.
The money is not the only worry for Baitney.
“But I'm an open book because my identity is out there. My drivers license, my bank card, my bank info. It was all inside of that tube,” Baitney said.
Baitney fears a thief now knows where she lives. She's been staying with her fiancé.
“I don't like throwing people under the bus but there was a mistake made and the bank made the mistake,” Baitney said.
A Wells Fargo spokesman emailed: We are aware of the issue at the Chapel Square branch and are working to resolve it.”
The spokesman refused further comment due to an on-going criminal investigation
“That's my house note, my car note, my car insurance. What are you all going to do?” Baitney said.
A Wells Fargo official in Birmingham has called Baitney to say she'd have her money in full by midday Tuesday.
A kindergarten student was burned so badly by food at a Tennessee school that she had to be treated at a local hospital, according to a lawsuit filed in Shelby County.
The lawsuit, which is filed on behalf of the girl by her mother, names Shelby County Schools as the defendant.
The alleged incident happened on Oct. 23 at Double Tree Elementary School in Memphis. The child was getting lunch – mashed potatoes – at the on-site cafeteria.
After getting her food, she was walking toward a table when she slipped on a wet spot on the cafeteria floor. The hot food landed on her arm and “resulted in severe burns … that required medical treatment,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims the kindergartner did not know the mashed potatoes were that hot – and she did not see the wet spot on the floor. It claims Shelby County Schools is liable for the incident and that every aspect could have been prevented.
The family is seeking compensation for damages that include:
WHBQ reached out to SCS regarding the lawsuit, and officials said they cannot comment on "pending lawsuits."
WHBQ’s Greg Coy spoke with the family’s attorney.
"A child should not suffer second-degree burns at a school," said attorney Thomas Greer of Bailey and Greer Law Firm. "I don't think anybody would expect a burn like to happen. It’s just something that should not happen.
"Our kids should not be burned with the food that has been served."
Greer told WHBQ that the girl has returned to school, but she brings her lunch now and avoids the cafeteria line.
A Chicago police officer and two hospital employees, including an emergency room doctor, were killed Monday afternoon when a gunman opened fire at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center on the city’s South Side, authorities said.
The gunman was found dead after officers responded to the scene just before 3:30 p.m. CST. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he killed himself or was fatally shot by police.
The victims were identified as Officer Samuel Jimenez, Dr. Tamara E. O’Neal and Dayna Less, who worked as a pharmaceutical assistant at the hospital, officials said Monday night.
“This tears at the soul of our city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was visibly shaken, said at a press conference.
“It’s the face and consequence of evil.”
The shooting started in a parking lot outside the hospital after a “domestic dispute” between the gunman and O’Neal, who had broken off an engagement with the suspect in September, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Jackson.
After shooting O’Neal, the gunman continued his rampage, running into the hospital and randomly shooting others in his path, Jackson said.
Update 10:05 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty Monday during a hospital shooting rampage had been with the force less than two years, authorities said.
Officer Samuel Jimenez, 28, was a married father of three, who did not have to respond to the deadly shooting at Mercy Hospital, according to Police Superintendent Eddie Jackson, because it was out of his district, but he did and it cost him his life.
“He was the real police. He wasn’t in it just for the paycheck,” an officer who worked with him told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Update 9:10 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Chicago police have identified the officer who was shot and killed at Mercy Hospital Monday afternoon while responding to an active gunman.
“It's with profound sadness that we share the death of PO Samuel Jimenez from tonight's senseless active shooter incident,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a social media post.
Police also confirmed during a press conference Monday night that a doctor at Mercy Hospital and another employee were fatally shot.
Update 8:45 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The Chicago police officer critically injured in a shooting at Mercy Hospital Monday afternoon has died, according to The Associated Press.
The officer was shot while responding to an active gunman at the hospital.
Update 8:05 p.m. EST Nov. 19: A doctor reporting to work Monday at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital was reportedly the first person shot in the parking lot before the gunman made his way inside.
She has been identified by WLS-TV as Dr. Tamara E. O’Neal, a doctor of emergency medicine at Mercy, who was shot by her former fiance before he continued shooting inside the hospital.
Update 7:55 p.m. EST Nov. 19: While one police officer was critically injured in a shooting Monday afternoon at Mercy Hospital, another is crediting his gun and holster for saving his life.
The CPD officer showed TV station WLS his holster where a bullet smashed through the container, but did not penetrate, and his gun with a bullet embedded in it.
Update 7:30 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Witness are recounting horrifying descriptions of the shooting Monday afternoon at Mercy Hospital in Chicago.
James Gray told the Chicago Tribune that he was coming out of a clinic area at the hospital when he saw the gunman, who was dressed in a black hat and coat, walking and talking with a woman outside the hospital before shooting her three times in the chest. Gray then said the man stood over the woman and shot her three more times after she was on the ground. He told the Tribune that a police car came upon the scene and the gunman started shooting at officers.
“It was chaos,” said Gray. “It was just mass chaos.”
The gunman went inside the hospital and Gray said it looked like he was just randomly shooting at people.
“And then I ran into the X-ray department and locked the door behind us,” he told the newspaper.
“I thought it was unbelievable,” said Gray. “It’s like a movie scene. Nothing like that ever happened to me before.”
Update 7:00 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Witnesses to the shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago describe a terrifying incident as a well-armed gunman opened fire, striking several people outside the hospital, including a police officer, before making his way inside the facility.
“It scared everybody,” Steve White, a patient at the hospital, told WBBM-TV.
White, who was being treated for dehydration, described a chaotic scene as people inside the hospital heard shots coming from the parking lot, before the gunman entered the facility through the main entrance, WBBM reported.
“I have never seen nothing like this in my life,” White said. “This is crazy”
Two of the victims were women, according to WLS-TV. One was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in extremely critical condition. The other was taken to the University of Chicago Hospital, also in extremely critical condition, the TV station reported.
One of the women was a doctor at Mercy Hospital reporting to work when she was shot in the parking lot by her former fiancé.
Update 6:30 p.m. EST Nov. 19: One of the shooting victims was a doctor reporting for her shift at work, according to WLS-TV, and was shot by her former fiance.
Update 6:07 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The suspected gunman in the shooting at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital was killed and four people were critically injured, according to the Associated Press, after the unidentified shooter opened fire Monday afternoon.
Witness James Gray told Chicago television station WLS-TV that he saw multiple people shot.
"It looked like he was turning and shooting people at random,” Gray said.
Update 6:05 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Witnesses described a terrifying ordeal after at least one gunman opened fire at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital.
Hospital employee Erix Horton told the Chicago Tribune that he was outside smoking a cigarette when he heard the shooting unfold.
“I was checking out, getting ready to leave,” Horton said. “One of the nurses ran back here and it was like she was about to collapse and said (a staff member had) been shot. And she’s like, ‘Call the police. We have an active shooter.’ And that¹s when everybody took cover. They got on the PA, letting everybody know."
Horton told the Tribune he took cover in a break room with others until police rescued them.
He said an emergency crew had just brought in a patient and had to take cover, too.
He said he heard someone firing eight to nine shots in the hallway outside the break room.
"We had to duck,” he said.
Employees at the hospital were eventually loaded on to buses and taken to safety.
Update 5:45 p.m. EST Nov. 19: At least two people were killed in a shooting at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital Monday afternoon, according to WLS-TV.
At least one witness told reporters there was more than one shooter at the hospital and that shots were fired into a lab at the facility.
Update: 5:35 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Chicago police confirmed at least one shooter was shot.
People at the hospital when the shooting unfolded described hearing multiple shots and hiding inside hospital rooms.
Update 5:20 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The Chicago police officer shot during the shooting at Mercy Hospital is in critical condition, according to WLS-TV.
It’s still unclear exactly how many other people were injured or killed.
Original report: Authorities contained the shooter, according to a number of media outlets, and are now searching the hospital.
There’s no report, yet, on how many victims may be involved.
Roads around the medical center have been shutdown as the investigation continues.
Emergency crews were called to the scene just before 3:30 p.m. Monday on “reports of multiple victims,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Hospital employees were evacuated in buses, WBBM reported.
Check back for more on this developing story.
A Chicago police officer, emergency room doctor and pharmacy technician were killed Monday afternoon when a gunman opened fire at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center on the city’s South Side, authorities said.
The gunman also was found dead, although it wasn’t immediately clear how he died, Chicago police said late Monday.
Here's what we know about the victims:Dr. Tamara O'Neal
Dr. Tamara O'Neal, 38, was the first person shot and killed in Monday's deadly rampage, which began as a "domestic dispute" between the gunman and O'Neal in the hospital parking lot, authorities said.
O'Neal, an emergency room doctor, broke off an engagement with the suspect in September, said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Jackson.
Hospital officials said O'Neal, a two-year Mercy resident and 2016 University of Illinois College of Medicine grad, was deeply religious and loved going to her church, where she led the choir, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"That was her one thing she wanted ... to be able to go to church on Sunday," Emergency Department director Patrick Connor said at an emotional news conference.
Some colleagues paid tribute to O'Neal on Twitter.
"I knew her, trained with her, saved lives with her and tonight, tried to save her life," Dr. John Purakal wrote. "Tonight, I broke down in front of my coworkers when we lost her, and tonight I held hands with her mother in prayer. Tonight, we lost a beautiful, resilient, passionate doc. Keep singing, TO."Officer Samuel Jimenez
Chicago police Officer Samuel Jimenez, a married father of three, had been with the force less than two years before he was shot and killed in the Mercy Hospital lobby Monday, authorities said.
Jimenez, 28, did not have to respond to the deadly shooting at Mercy Hospital because it was out of his district, but he did anyway, according to police Superintendent Eddie Jackson.
“He was the real police. He wasn’t in it just for the paycheck,” an officer who worked with him told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Sgt. Larry Snelling, who works at the Chicago police academy, remembered Jimenez as a "stellar recruit" who was "on top of his game," according to the Chicago Tribune.
"He was one of the guys we didn’t have to worry about at all," Snelling said. "Just a great kid."Dayna Less
Dayna Less, 25, was shot and killed Monday as she exited an elevator at Mercy Hospital, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The first-year pharmacy resident, who graduated from Purdue University earlier this year, had been working at the hospital since July, the newspaper reported.
Please return for updates.
An argument outside a Chicago hospital turned deadly when a gunman killed an emergency room doctor with whom he was having a domestic relationship, then ran into the hospital and fatally shot a pharmacy resident and a police officer, authorities said.
After a woman died inside a Memphis hospital, her family is claiming the way she was buried was unethical.
The woman’s sister just found out Friday that she was buried last month – without the family’s permission.
Eartha Duncan said her family’s only wish for the holidays is to give her sister – Rowena Burton, 63 – a proper burial.
“My sister had a family. She had a mother, and you just dispose of her like she garbage,” Duncan said.
She said it started in August, when Burton had foot surgery at Methodist South for poor circulation.
Duncan said the doctor hit an artery, and her sister bled out.
Burton suffered a stroke after she was transferred to Methodist University Hospital, and she died on Aug. 29.
Duncan told FOX13 that is when her mother requested an autopsy. Family said they finally received a copy of the autopsy after weeks of requests, but they never got a copy of the death certificate.
Methodist University and the Shelby County Health Department gave her family "the runaround" when asked about the remains, she said.
After several weeks, Duncan said the hospital finally told them that the woman's remains were taken to Shelby County Cemetery in Bartlett.
FOX13 spoke with the owner of the cemetery, who said the hospital told him to pick up the remains. He buried Burton's remains on Oct. 31.
Duncan showed her phone records and paperwork to FOX13 that shows the family went through the “proper channels” when attempting to bury the woman.
“Now we can’t,” Duncan said. “I want them to exhume that body, so we can have a proper burial for my sister – that’s not what we wanted at all.”
The health department told FOX13 that it does not have that woman’s name on record.
FOX13 reached out to Methodist regarding the incident.
Hospital officials released the following statement:
"We understand that it is extremely hard to lose a loved one, and that’s why we follow specific procedures to help us honor patients’ and their families’ wishes. This includes reaching out to the family contact listed on a patient’s medical chart to confirm their wishes. After multiple attempts to make contact, if we are unable to reach the designated family member, we notify Shelby County for burial."
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