Crime and Public Safety

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Jason Miyares

Despite a case of police misconduct under investigation by his Civil Rights office, AG Jason Miyares reminds citizens not to paint all officers with the same brush in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death at the hands of Memphis police. WFIR’s Emma Thomas reports:

 

(from Roanoke PD) On January 21, 2023 at approximately 11:50 a.m., Roanoke Police were notified by the City of Roanoke E-911 of a call concerning an injured child at a residence in the 2100 block of Russell Avenue SW. Roanoke Fire-EMS had transported an unresponsive juvenile female to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment of what appeared to be serious injuries prior to officers arriving on scene. Officers who responded to the scene located an adult male and three other juveniles inside the residence.

Throughout the course of the investigation, it was discovered that the juvenile female’s injuries were critical and did not appear to have been caused by an accident, as previously reported by the adult male at the residence. On January 23, 2023, Roanoke Police arrested Jonathan S. Anderson, 32 of Roanoke, and charged him with Malicious Wounding regarding this offense.

On January 24, 2023, Roanoke Police Special Victims Unit Detectives were notified that the juvenile female had succumbed to her injuries and passed away. After consultation with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Detectives obtained a warrant for Second Degree Murder for Anderson. That warrant was served on January 25, 2023. Anderson remains in the custody of the City of Roanoke Sheriff’s Office.

MGN

This morning at 12:12 a.m., Roanoke Fire-EMS was dispatched to the 1600 block of Rorer Ave SW for a reported structure fire. First arriving units found flames showing from the back of a vacant residence. The fire extended from the 1st to the 2nd floor on the exterior of the residence, with minimal extension to the interior, and was quickly extinguished. No injuries have been reported. Damages to the structure are estimated to be about $10,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation

ROANOKE, VA – The Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office has initiated an internal investigation into a deputies alleged misconduct. To prohibit bias and to ensure transparency, the Virginia State Police were contacted and asked to proceed with the investigation.  As this investigation is on-going, no additional information can be provided at this time. The Sheriff’s Office, led by Sheriff Antonio Hash wants to convey to the public, there are no additional security threats against the agency, detention center, nor the residents within the facility. It is believed this is an isolated incident, however, the agency awaits the results of the investigation.

MGN

CRAIG COUNTY, Va. – On Wednesday, (Jan 25) the Craig County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police responded to a residence in the 400 block of John’s Creek Road in Craig County for a domestic disturbance.  After Deputies and Troopers arrived a firearm was discharged in the residence.  Officers did not approach the residence and attempted to contact the individual inside the residence from a distance. Information was obtained that the subject inside the residence was armed, and officers requested negotiators to speak with the subject and a tactical team. At 8:57 p.m. an armed subject exited the residence onto the front porch.  Officers fired striking the suspect.

Emergency medical care was administered immediately and was continued until EMS arrived on the scene. Kyle Adam Mills, 22, of Christiansburg, Va., died from his injuries. No officers were injured. All the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, according to both Department’s policies. The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Salem Field Office is conducting the investigation.  At the completion of the investigation, all the findings will be turned over to the Craig County Commonwealth’s Attorney for adjudication.

On January 25, 2023 at approximately 8:00 p.m., Roanoke Police were notified by the City of Roanoke E-911 Center of a person with a gunshot wound in the 700 block of Hunt Avenue NW. Responding officers located an unresponsive adult male with what appeared to be a critical gunshot wound outside of a residence in the area. Roanoke Fire-EMS pronounced the victim deceased on scene. His identity will be shared after next-of-kin is properly notified.

Witnesses on scene identified the suspect, who was attempting to flee the area on foot. Officers were able to apprehend and arrest the suspect without issue. The suspect was transported to the Roanoke Police Department to speak with Detectives. Christopher A. Arias, 20 of Roanoke, was arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder. He remains in custody. The suspect and victim were known to one another.

On October 3, 2022, Special Agents with the Virginia State Police, members of the Special Investigations Program (Mass Transit Unit), and the Star City Drug and Violent Crime Task Force seize drugs, guns, and US Currency from a residence in the City of Roanoke.

The package contained 2.3 pounds of Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, and was addressed to an individual at a residence in the 1400 block Orange Avenue, NW.  A search warrant was obtained for that address.  Inside the residence, investigators seized approximately 130 grams of additional narcotics, 3 firearms, and $13,431 in US Currency. The street value of all narcotics seized was $231,700.

Investigators arrested 34-year-old, DeAngelo Omer Baker of Roanoke, Va., at the residence (pictured) and he was charged with Attempting to Distribute/Sell Fentanyl, Possession of a Firearm by a Violent Felon, two counts of Possession of Firearm while in Possession of a Schedule 1 or 2 drug, Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl, and Possession of Schedule 1 or 2 substance with Intent to Distribute.  Baker was released from custody on a $10,000 bond.  This remains an ongoing investigation.

The Star City Drug and Violent Crime Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Roanoke City Police Department, City of Salem Police Department, Town of Vinton Police Department and Virginia State Police.

The Salem Fire & EMS Department responded to a commercial structure fire at 17 7th St. early this
morning at approximately 2:30 a.m. One large commercial property, the former home of McClung
Lumber Company, was destroyed, and one adjacent building sustained minor damage. No one was in
either building at the time of the fire and there were no injuries as a result of the fire.

The first units arrived within seven minutes of receiving the call and found the main structure fully
engulfed in flames with fire spreading to the building next door. The Incident Commander immediately
requested assistance from the Roanoke Fire & EMS Department and firefighters began an exterior attack
on both buildings. Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire in the adjacent building quickly and limit any damage to the building and its contents. It took approximately one hour to bring the entire fire under control, and crews remained on the scene for several hours performing an extensive overhaul of the site.

The fire remains under investigation by the Salem Fire Marshal’s Office and there is no damage estimate

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — A gunman opened fire at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance studio following a Lunar New Year celebration, killing 10 people and setting off a manhunt for the suspect in the nation’s fifth mass killing this month.

Another 10 people were wounded and were taken to hospitals, where their conditions ranged from stable to critical, Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said Sunday.

The scene unfolded late Saturday in Monterey Park, a city of about 60,000 people on the eastern edge of Los Angeles that is composed mostly of Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans.

When officers arrived at the studio around 10:30 p.m., people were “pouring out of the location screaming,” Meyer said. He said officers then went into the ballroom and found victims as firefighters treated the wounded.

Meyer gave no description of the male suspect or the weapon he used and offered no explanation for why police gave no information on the shooting for hours while the assailant apparently remained on the run.

He said it was too early in the investigation to know if the gunman knew anyone at the ballroom or if it was a hate crime.

“We will look at every angle,” Meyer said.

The shooting happened in the heart of downtown Monterey Park where red lanterns decorated the streets for the Lunar New Year festivities. A police car was parked near a large banner that proclaimed “Happy Year of the Rabbit!”

The celebration in Monterey Park is one of California’s largest and had attracted tens of thousands throughout the day.

Two days of festivities, which have been attended by as many as 100,000 people in past years, were planned. But officials canceled Sunday’s events following the shooting.

Tony Lai, 35, of Monterey Park was stunned when he came out for his early morning walk to learn that the noises he heard in the night were gunshots.

“I thought maybe it was fireworks. I thought maybe it had something to do with Lunar New Year,” he said. “And we don’t even get a lot of fireworks here. It’s weird to see this. It’s really safe here. We’re right in the middle of the city, but it’s really safe.”

The tragedy marked not just the fifth mass killing in the U.S. since the start of the year but also the deadliest since May 24, when 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S.

The database also shows that 2022 was also one of the nation’s worst years in terms of mass killings, with 42 such attacks — the second-highest number since the creation of the tracker in 2006. The database defines a mass killing as four people killed not including the perpetrator.

The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.

The White House said President Joe Biden was briefed on the situation by Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

Attorney General Merrick Garland was also briefed, Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson said.

The shooting occurred at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, a few blocks from city hall on Monterey Park’s main thoroughfare of Garvey Avenue, which is dotted with strip malls of small businesses whose signs are in both English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are both widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated, and Chinese films are screened regularly in the city.

The business offered dance lessons from Tango to Rumba to the Fox Trot, and rented its space for events. On Saturday, its website said it was hosting an event called “Star Night” from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m..

Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from where the shooting happened, told The Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.

The people said to Choi that there was a shooter with a gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him.

Wong Wei, who lives nearby, told The Los Angeles Times that his friend was in a bathroom at the dance studio when the shooting started. When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies.

The friend then fled to Wei’s home at around 11 p.m., he said, adding that his friends told him that the shooter appeared to fire indiscriminately with a long gun.

Police were investigating another incident in the nearby city of Alhambra, where a similar business, the Lai Lai Ballroom, had police tape across its front door and an officer guarding it.

Detectives could be seen working near the open back door, where a woman wearing gloves was carefully examining the door handle as though checking for prints.

Officials gave no details on what had happened and it was unclear whether the incident was connected to the Monterey Park shooting.

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Virginia State Police is investigating a two-vehicle crash, which resulted in a fatality.  The crash occurred Sunday (Jan 15) at 5:59 p.m. on Frontage Road, nine tenths of a mile north of Arcadia Road in Botetourt County.

A 2018 Toyota RAV4 was traveling north on Frontage Road and slowed to make a left turn into a driveway, when it was struck by a 2004 Harley Davidson motorcycle, which was also traveling north.

The driver of the Harley Davidson, Mark Lee Braford, 63, of Natural Bridge Station, was wearing his safety helmet and died at the scene. The driver of the Toyota was not injured.

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