A gun was detected in the backpack of an Overton High School student this morning as the 15-year-old boy passed through the school's metal detectors.
A .25-caliber RG26 handgun was retrieved from the backpack. It was not loaded, but the backpack also contained a magazine with five live rounds.
Shelby County Sheriff's officers were called to the scene. They arrested the student and charged him with possession of a weapon on school property. He was transported to Shelby County Juvenile Court.
Amos Patton of Cordova has been charged with one count of assault within the maritime and territorial jurisdiction and one count of carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a federal crime of violence following yesterday's afternoon shooting at the Tennessee Army National Guard Recruiting Center in Millington.
On October 24th, Patton, 42, was asked by his commanders at the recruiting center to come in for a meeting. At that meeting, he was notified that he was being relieved of duty and recommended for a reduction in rank and a separation from active duty because of misconduct, according to an affidavit of complaint.
Patton was asked to return some government property, so he went to his government vehicle and returned with what was described in the affidavit as a "fanny pack." When Patton reached into the pack, a Tennessee Army National Guardsmen yelled and another officer attempted to subdue him. But Patton was still able to fire the gun he had in the pack. Shots fired from the gun struck three National Guard personnel.
Patton ran from the building, but he was caught and held until the Millington Police Department arrived and arrested him.
Patton faces up to 20 years for assault and a minimum of 10 years for the firearms charge if he is convicted.
Paula Jamerson, a former Memphis Police officer who was assigned to the Ridgeway Station precinct, has been indicted for using fraudulent prescriptions to obtain drugs.
She's been charged with four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by forged prescription after allegedly stealing prescription sheets from her doctor's office on Shelby Drive and using them to fill prescriptions for Phentermine, a weight loss pill.
If convicted, Jamerson faces a class D felony that carries a sentence of two to four years. Jamerson resigned from the police department on January 2nd.
Members of the Riverside Rollin' 90's Neighborhood Crips (R90) can be arrested for so much as appearing in public together, among a list of other activities, in a 4.6-mile "safety zone" in the Riverview-Kansas neighborhood. The zone was established by a court injunction from the Shelby County Environmental Court and announced at a press conference in front of a gang-tagged, blighted home on Farrington Street in South Memphis.
The injunction came as a result of a nuisance petition against the R90 gang filed by District Attorney General Amy Weirich and Memphis City Attorney Herman Morris. That petition was filed following a 10-month investigation into the gang's activities in the Riverview-Kansas community by the Multi-Agency Gang Unit (MGU). Founded last year, the MGU is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the D.A.'s office, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, and the Memphis Police Department.
If any known member of the R90 gang is spotted in the safety zone — bordered by South Parkway East, West Mallory, I-55, and Florida Street — doing any of the following, he or she can be arrested and charged with contempt of court:
1. Associating with other R90 gang members in public, excluding at school or in church
2. Intimidating people who have been known witnesses to R90 gang activities.
3. Possessing guns or illegal weapons.
4. Defacing private property ("tagging") or possessing tools for graffiti
5. Possessing, selling, or using drugs or paraphernalia.
6. Acting as a lookout to warn other gang members of the presence of law enforcement
7. Possessing open containers of alcohol in public
8. Trespassing on private property
9. Forcibly recruiting new gang members
10. Preventing gang members from leaving the gang through threats to strike or assault that person
11. Breaking any other law
Special agent Michael P. Knight, public information officer for the ATF Nashville Field Division, did say there's nothing to stop these gang members from taking their activities elsewhere, but he said the MGU would pursue injunctions such as this in other neighborhoods where gang activity is present. He said this "safety zone" makes that 4.6-mile area better for the 4,000-some residents who live there.
The nuisance petition included photos of gang graffiti on about 30 buildings and dwellings in the "safety zone." Today, after the press conference announcing the injunction, teams began pressure-washing and painting over the graffiti.
During the 10-month investigation in this area, there were 1,200 calls to police with at least one shooting per day. Within a week of filing the petition, four people were shot near the intersection of Farrington and Hollowell, close to where the press conference was held on Monday. During the investigation, some residents told officers that they did not allow their children to play outside for fear of gang violence, and some admitted to sleeping under their beds to take cover from frequent gunfire.
R90 members will be offered a way to opt out of the injunction, but they must declare in writing that they are a reformed member of the gang, and they must renounce their gang affiliation for life. They must file a motion for the court to dismiss, and they cannot have any arrests on their records for the past two years.
"If you are in this gang and looking for a way out other than dying, this is your chance," Weirich announced at the press conference.
Wizards, Whatever, the Highland Smoke Shop, and numerous other local smoke shops were shut down as public nuisances this morning, and arrest warrants were issued for employees and owners of multiple shops on various charges relating to the possession and distribution of illegal synthetic drugs, most commonly known as "spice" and "bath salts."
The raids and resulting arrest warrants were part of a nationwide Drug Enforcement Agency crackdown — dubbed "Project Synergy" — on businesses that sell synthetic drugs. The synthetic drugs mimic pot ("spice") and amphetamines ("bath salts").
"The indictments allege an international web of distribution of synthetic drugs," said U.S. Attorney General Edward Stanton.
The two-year investigation involving federal, state, and local law enforcement led to hundreds of purchases and seizures from 34 different stores in West Tennessee, from Memphis to Jackson. The West Tennessee crackdown involved 76 search warrants and 35 arrest warrants. Most of those arrested are charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute, and some were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. Most face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million for each conspiracy count.
The Shelby County District Attorney's Office handled the nuisance closures. Owners of those businesses must appear in Environmental Court on July 1st.
Before "spice" was made illegal in Tennessee, Flyer reporter Bianca Phillips gave it a try. Read about that experience here.
Between February 2012 and February 2013, Larry Dean Brunson, Mable Sutton and Debra Nesbit allegedly allowed people to pay them a fee to dump trash onto their properties in Frayser. Now Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton have filed nuisance petitions against the three property owners.
The petitions came after a year-long investigation by the Memphis Police Department and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation into illegal dumping sites. The illegal dumps were identified at 3449 Dillard, 3498 Dillard, and 3286 Arwine, properties belonging to Brunson, Sutton, and Nesbit. Oneal Payne and Warren Payne of Payne Enterprises, a local construction company, were reported to have been caught dumping illegally on the properties.
This morning, Shelby County Environmental Court judge Larry Potter issued injunctions against the property owners. "No trespassing" signs have been placed on the properties by the Memphis Police Department. Brunson, Sutton, and Nesbit are ordered to appear in court on Monday, May 20th.
According to figures from the Shelby County Public Works Division, the average cost to clean up illegal dumpsites and landfills in Shelby County is around $162 per hour. Since January 2012, Public Works has cleaned up 562 dumpsites at a total cost of $92,278.05. To date 2013, work crews have cleared one 193 dumpsites.
Memphis Police officer Alex Beard has been terminated from the department following an administrative hearing yesterday concerning a fatal crash in which Beard's police cruiser collided with another vehicle on Crump last August.
On August 26th, 23-year-old Beard was traveling in non-emergency mode eastbound on Crump. A 1996 Mercury Mystique was traveling down Crump in the opposite direction. When the driver of the Mystique was making a turn to go south on Walnut Road, Beard's car collided with it. The Mystique then struck a pole on the south side of Crump.
The driver of that vehicle was transported to the Regional Medical Center in critical condition, but he was later released. His passengers, 54-year-old Delores Epps and 13-year-old Mackala Epps, died at the scene.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigated the crash and sent their findings to the District Attorney's Office. The administrative hearing was conducted yesterday, and Beard was charged with failure to comply with department regulations relating to response to call, personal conduct, and damage to motor vehicle. He was terminated. Beard had been employed by the MPD since October 2010.
Memphis Police officers Ned Aufdenkamp and Matthew Dyess have been approved to return to duty in a non-enforcement capacity after the Attorney General's office determined that no criminal charges will be filed against them for their role in the shooting death of a man who had been sleeping in his car at an apartment complex. The Memphis Police Department is working on its administrative investigation.
Aufdenkamp and Dyess responded to a loud music complaint at the apartment complex near Knight Arnold on the night of January 17th. When they were unable to locate the source of the music, the officers began patrolling the parking lot. They found 24-year-old Steven Askew asleep in his Crown Victoria, and the officers observed a gun inside the car.
The officers knocked on the windows, and when Askew noticed their presence, he allegedly picked up his gun and pointed it at the officers. Both officers then shot Askew with their duty weapons. A witness caught part of the incident on video, and some believe the officers fired additional shots into the car after Askew was already deceased. But MPD director Toney Armstrong said, based on his observations of the video, that no extra gunshots were fired.
Both officers were relieved of duty without pay following the incident, but they are now being allowed to return to work.
Aufdenkamp is currently assigned to the Mt. Moriah Station and has been employed by the MPD since July of 2007. Dyess is also assigned to the Mt. Moriah Station and has been employed by the MPD since June of 2010.
One of the Memphis Police Department officers involved in the shooting death of 24-year-old Steven Askew has a less-than-stellar personnel file.
According to his personnel file, Officer Ned Aufdenkamp was already on the Memphis Police Department's radar for past performance problems and was submitted for the department's Early Intervention Program in 2012.
On Thursday, January 17th, Officer Aufdenkamp and Officer Matt Dyess responded to a loud music complaint on Tyrol Court in the Aspenwood Apartments. Although they did not hear any loud music, they did notice a man, Steven Askew, asleep in a Crown Victoria. When they approached, the two noticed a handgun in Askew's car. Aufdenkamp and Dyess then knocked on the windows and issued verbal commands to Askew, who, according to the officers, armed himself with his gun and pointed it at them. The two officers fired their weapons and Askew was killed. Officers Aufdenkamp and Dyess have both been relieved of duty with pay while the matter is investigated.
Among other things, Aufdenkamp's file reveals four workstation complaints against him and seven reports filed by Aufdenkamp of citizens resisting arrest — including five within a three month period and some that involved the use of chemical spray and physical force.
"The supervisors were bothered by the frequency and proximity of the resisting arrests, the use of chemical spray, and the resulting injuries to either Aufdenkamp or the suspect," the report reads. "Several complainants explained, in their own words, that they felt Aufdenkamp would intentionally ratchet up the level of pressure on the scene when it wasn't necessary."
On January 5th, 2012, Aufdenkamp was involved in a verbal altercation with a fellow officer on a traffic stop. According to the report, "the original conversation was with another officer, but Aufdenkamp interjected himself into the altercation and other officers had to stop between them to prevent it from escalating."
Later that month, the Internal Affairs Bureau received a complaint that Officer Aufdenkamp was "rude and disrespectful" during a traffic stop and had "approached with his gun out."
Aufdenkamp was then referred to the Early Intervention Program and placed on desk duty. In March of 2012, Aufdenkamp was ordered to attend Anger Management.
There are numerous other instances in which Aufdenkamp apparently did not follow protocol, failing to report when he bottomed out and disabled his patrol car in May of 2011, and leaving roll call to engage in what became a unreported domestic disturbance in September of that same year. In April of 2011, MPD received a complaint that Aufdenkamp stopped a violator and supposedly roughed him up, searched him for no reason, broke his rear windshield with a flashlight, and got on his loud speaker and said, "Speed up or I'm going to take your black-ass to jail."
"The supervisors would like Officer Aufdenkamp to learn to use his verbal skills more effectively," the report summary reads. "As a result of the Department Investigation, Aufdenkamp was temporarily assigned to the Precinct front desk because if he continues to generate complaints, he could be placed in an official non-enforcement status for up to six months, according to the rules of the Early Intervention Program."
On Thursday, January 17th, two Memphis Police officers responded to a loud music complaint on Tyrol Court in the Aspenwood Apartments. They didn't hear any loud music, but as they checked out the area, the officers noticed a man asleep in a Crown Victoria.
According to officers Ned Aufdenkamp and Matthew Dyess, they approached the vehicle to check on the man's welfare when they noticed a handgun inside the car. The officers say they knocked on the windows and gave "verbal commands" to the man. The officers said the man awoke and armed himself with the gun, pointing it at them.
Both officers fired their weapons and the man was killed. He was later identified as 24-year-old Steven Askew, and his parents have said that he was waiting in his car for his girlfriend, who lives at the apartment complex, to get off work.
A witness at the scene filmed a few moments after the shooting, and some who have viewed the video have said it appears that officers fired additional shots after Askew was killed. Memphis Police director Toney Armstrong held a press conference this afternoon and said that, after watching the video, he believes the officers did not fire the additional shots.
"I did not determine extra shots occurring," Armstrong said. "There is a loud noise [in the video], but it doesn't sound like gunfire."
Armstong said he came to that conclusion based on his experience using firearms in the commission of his job.
Armstrong would not say how many shots the officers fired because the investigation remains open. Officers Aufdenkamp and Dyess, both of Mt. Moriah Station, have been relieved of duty with pay while the matter is investigated. The MPD is asking for anyone with information that might aid in the investigation to contact the homicide bureau at 636-3300.
On Wednesday, January 2nd, Memphis Police officers found an unidentified body in the trunk of an abandoned 2011 Mazda Millennium that was parked on Goodhaven Drive near the airport area.
That victim, considered the first homicide of the year, has been identified as 22-year-old Brian Henderson. According to police reports, Henderson suffered from an apparent gunshot wound. He was deceased when officers discovered his body.
Although the victim counts as the first murder of the year for statistical purposes, investigators believe Henderson was killed on December 30th in the area of Airways and Shelby Drive. A person of interest is in custody, but no charges have been filed yet.
The Memphis Police Department announced today that officer Adrian Brown was charged with a DUI, DUI refusal, and driving on the wrong side of the road while off-duty in Madison, Mississippi on Thursday, September 27th.
The 46-year-old officer, who has been employed with the MPD since 1998, was stopped by a Mississippi Highway Patrol officer when Brown was seen driving northbound in the southbound lane of I-55 near mile marker 122 around 11 p.m that night. Brown refused a DUI test.
Brown has been relieved of duty, with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation. He is currently assigned to
A guitar worth more than $5,000 belonging to a member of George Clinton's P-Funk All Stars was recovered, and an arrest warrant has been issued for Memphis man Neika Lightfoot in connection with the theft.
The guitar went missing while the All Stars were performing last August at Shelby Farms. Someone posing as a security guard entered the band's tour bus and stole the guitar. It was recently recovered in Atlanta, where it had been sold to a Guitar Center store. The guitar was located there thanks to a Google search by a friend of the victim.
Authorities have determined Lightfoot, 35, was connected to the theft. The Shelby County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in locating Lightfoot. The guitar has been returned to its owner, Shaunna Hall.
(Note: Hall is also a founding member of '90s alt-rocker band 4 Non Blondes).
A female bank robbery suspect has been on the loose for nearly three weeks, and the Memphis Police are turning to the public for help.
An African American female with straight, short hair, bangs, and eyeglasses robbed the Regions Bank at 4134 Elvis Presley on Thursday, May 24th at 4:25 p.m. But her method of robbing the bank wasn't the traditional stick-up. Rather than brandish a weapon and demand cash, the suspect received a cash advance using a stolen credit card.
This incident was captured on video surveillance, and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has seen this woman should contact the Memphis Police Department.
At 2 p.m. today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is expected to announce that 35-year-old Adam Mayes, wanted on first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Hardeman County woman Jo Ann Bain and her 14-year-old daughter Adrian, has been added to their list of top ten "most wanted" fugitives.
The bodies of the two women were discovered last week buried in Mayes' mother's backyard in Guntown, Mississippi. Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters were reported missing on April 27th, and her two youngest daughters have not been located.
Mayes was a friend of Bain's husband, and he'd spent the night at their house on April 26th to help the family pack for a planned move to Arizona. Mayes' wife and mother were arrested yesterday in connection with the murders. His wife, Teresa, has been charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping. His mother, Mary, has been charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping.
The FBI and the U.S. Marshal's Service are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Mayes and to the missing girls. Mayes is a white man with blue eyes and brown hair that has recently been cropped short. He's 6-foot-3 and weighs 175 pounds.