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Crime and Public Safety

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) — A former sheriff’s deputy in Virginia must undergo counseling after pleading guilty in a case in which he was accused of misconduct with a high school student.The Roanoke Times reports that 34-year-old Daniel Aaron Clark was the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office’s school resource officer at Liberty High School when state police alleged he texted a 14-year-old girl that he wanted to “snuggle all day” with her.Clark pleaded guilty on Friday to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail.A prosecutor, Andrew Nester, said there was no sexual contact between Clark and the girl but they had exchanged hugs and “things of that nature.”Nester said the victim and her family supported the plea agreement.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has sanctioned white nationalists for their “unacceptable” behavior in a lawsuit against them in connection with a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, nearly two years ago.The judge on Friday ordered Elliot Kline, Matthew Heimbach, and the organization Vanguard America to pay “reasonable attorney’s fees” over their “refusal” to participate in the discovery process. He suggested “more drastic sanctions” could be necessary if their behavior doesn’t change, saying it had stalled the litigation for months on end.The lawsuit brought by Virginia residents injured during two days of violence in August 2017 accuses the white nationalists of violating state and federal civil rights laws. It seeks a court ruling prohibiting the white nationalists and other groups from committing further civil rights violations.

Photo: Roanoke City Sheriff

Another inmate has been found dead at the Roanoke City Jail. Aaron Michael Wheaton was found hanging in his cell yesterday morning around 7am. Attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful. He had been booked into the jail on Sunday for trespassing and other charges. The Roanoke City Police Department and the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office are conducting a joint investigation into the incident.

(statement released by Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office)

Inmate mental health is a top concern for the Roanoke City Jail, and is an issue we are continuing to monitor and address. Within the past six months there have been 14 attempted suicides in which staff intervened and responded, saving the life of the inmate. Additionally 212 inmates were placed on suicide watch as a precautionary measure based on their interaction with either medical staff or deputies During this time frame, there have been over 350 interactions between the medical staff and inmates on suicide watch.

Since 2015, The Roanoke City Jail has had 1,457 documented incidents regarding inmates being placed on suicide watch. In that same time period, there have been seven in custody deaths that  were attributed to suicide. None of these seven inmates were on suicide watch at the time of their suicide, as they did not meet the suicide watch protocol. In direct response to these deaths, several changes to policies and procedures have been made in order to better identify and accommodate the growing incarcerated population in need of mental health treatment.

Over the past 5 years, the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office has invested over a quarter million dollars into surveillance upgrades for the Roanoke City Jail and Annex. These upgrades included adding additional cameras in both restrictive, therapeutic and other specialized housing. As of August 2019, approximately 60% of these individual cells have the ability to monitor inmate activity, with the goal of 100% within the next year

A former Bedford County Sheriff’s Deputy – who was a school resource officer at Liberty High School – entered a guilty plea today to an inappropriate relationship with a student.  Daniel Clark was charged with inappropriate text messages and conversations with a teenage girl. The judge kept any sentencing under advisement until November 2021. In the meantime, the plea agreement calls no contact with the girl or her family, and Clark must submit proof of professional counseling services.

Roanoke City’s “Task force to Reduce Gun Violence” has set the dates for a round of public input sessions over the next three months. An update from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:

8-9 Task Force Wrap#1-WEB

August 12 – Task Force Meeting, 7:00 p.m. – LOCATION CHANGE (Goodwill Youth HQ, 2502 Melrose Avenue, N. W., Suite G)

August 22 – Task Force to Reduce Gun Violence Public Hearing, 7:00 p.m. (City Council Chambers, Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building, 215 Church Avenue, S. W., 4th Floor)

September 9 – Task Force Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

October 14 – Task Force Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

October 17 – Task Force to Reduce Gun Violence Public Hearing, 7:00 pm, (City Council Chambers, Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building, 215 Church Avenue, S. W., 4th Floor)

November 4 – Task Force to Reduce Gun Violence Presentation to City Council, 2:00 p. m. (City Council Chambers, Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building, 215 Church Avenue, S. W., 4th Floor)

Photo: BCSO

NEWS RELEASE: On August 7, 2019, at 1:56 pm Botetourt County Deputies were dispatch to Park Drive in the Blue Ridge area of Botetourt County. Deputies were responding to the location where a homeowner had returned home with his son and located a vehicle in his driveway that he was not familiar. He then located a subject inside of his garage where the homeowner and subject got into an altercation. The suspect got into the vehicle and as he was fleeing, swerved his vehicle striking the homeowner. At that time, the homeowner discharged a firearm at the vehicle’s tire. The suspect vehicle drove through an open field and fence and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Some of the Botetourt County Deputies diverted to the Blue Ridge Parkway. At 2:12pm, a Botetourt County Deputy located the vehicle described by the homeowner parked with a flat tire near mile marker 101 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Deputies and Parkway officers responded to the location.  After clearing and securing the vehicle, the suspect was spotted in a wooded area near the vehicle and he was placed in custody without incident at 2:17pm.

The suspect is Ray Milton Sykes Jr. age 32 from Bassett VA. He is currently being held without bond at the Botetourt/ Craig County Regional Jail on charges of Breaking & Entering, Attempted Malicious Wounding, Hit and Run’ and Property Damage.

Roanoke Police say three people are under arrest after shots were fired from a northwest home into an occupied car in front. It happened around 2:00 am on the 28oo block of Clifton Street. There are no injuries reported. Charges include firearms and drug counts.

NEWS RELEASE: On August 7, 2019 just after 2:00 am, a Roanoke Police officer was in the area of Massachusetts Avenue NW when several shots were heard in the immediate area. The officer radioed for other units to respond, then began heading towards where he believed the shots originated. Officers located several people outside a residence in the 2800 block of Clifton Street NW. Preliminary investigation shows two individuals from the home on Clifton fired shots into an occupied car that was on the street in front of the home. No injuries have been reported at this time.

Roanoke Police arrested three individuals regarding this incident: Deandra Simon, 31 of Roanoke, was charged with Discharging Firearm in City Limits, Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle and Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana. Eric Simon, 31 of Roanoke, was charged with Possession of a Concealed Firearm, Discharging Firearm in City Limits, Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle and Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana. Joshua Carson, 27 of Roanoke, was charged with Possession of a Concealed Weapon.

This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call (540)344-8500 and share what you know. You can also text us at 274637; please begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Both calls and texts can remain anonymous.