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Father punches woman trying to kidnap his son, police say

Police in Tennessee say a father's quick actions stopped his 5-year-old son from being kidnapped Monday.

>> Read more trending news

A man called authorities Monday to report that a woman had grabbed his son and tried to run away from him.

The father punched the woman and got his child back, according to police.

Authorities identified the attempted kidnapper as Gina A. Ricard, 53. Officials said after the incident, she went to a nearby fire station and told them that she tried to stop a kidnapping.

According an arrest affidavit, Ricard was incoherent and said that she “believes God told her (to) help.”

She was arrested and charged with attempted aggravated kidnapping.

Judge gives man 50 years over $1.2 million in stolen fajitas

An unexpected doctor’s appointment -- and 800 pounds of fajitas -- proved to be Gilberto Escamilla’s undoing.

Escamilla, 53, of Brownsville, Texas, was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to theft by a public servant, according to the Brownsville Herald. Escamilla is a former employee of the Cameron County juvenile detention center. 

Prosecutors said Escamilla spent nine years scamming the county by ordering fajitas for the Darrel B. Hester Juvenile Detention Center, then intercepting the orders and selling them to his own customers. He was caught in August 2017 when he missed a shipment due to a doctor’s appointment. 

Other employees of the detention center were baffled when a delivery driver showed up with 800 pounds of fajitas, a dish that is not served in their kitchen. The driver told them he had been delivering the Mexican specialty to the facility since 2008.  

“It was selfish,” Escamilla said during his sentencing hearing on Friday, according to the Herald. “It started small and got bigger and out of control. It got to the point where I couldn’t control it anymore.”

>> Read more trending news

Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Peter Gilman requested the stiff sentence to send a message to public servants willing to steal from taxpayers, the Herald reported. 

“We feel a strong message should be sent,” Gilman said

Under Texas law, Escamilla faced up to 99 years in prison for the first-degree felony, NBC News reported. Theft of property becomes a first-degree felony when a person steals property valued at $200,000 or more

An additional theft charge against the defendant was dismissed as part of an earlier plea deal. 

Escamilla was fired Aug. 8 and arrested at his home, where investigators found packages of fajitas in his refrigerator. The detectives were able to track down some of his customers, who cooperated with the investigation. 

Escamilla was given a moment to tell his family goodbye before being escorted from court Friday, the Herald reported. He was taken to the Cameron County Jail to await transfer into the state prison system. 

Teen accused of murdering mother with help of two friends

A 15-year-old and his friend drugged, strangled and stabbed his mother to death at a home in Maine, according to court documents.

>> Read more trending news

Kimberly Mironovas, 47, was found stabbed and strangled to death at her home in Litchfield, Maine, early on Sunday morning. 

Police say the woman, originally from Ashland, Massachusetts, was killed by her son and his 15-year-old friend. 

A third teenager, a 13-year-old friend, allegedly helped plan the murder.

According to prosecutors, the 13-year-old came up with a plan to kill Mironovas by crushing prescription pills and mixing them into a glass of wine, but court documents show the boys' attempt to secretly mix in the pills failed.

Mironovas’ son and his friend entered her bedroom wearing gloves and armed with a knife early Sunday morning, according to prosecutors.

Mironovas was found shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday, and police say she had been strangled and stabbed in the neck.

All three boys were arraigned at a juvenile court in Maine on Monday.

The 15-year-old suspects were charged with one count each of murder, and all three were charged with criminal conspiracy to commit murder.

Mironovas and her son had moved to Maine from their home in Ashland, Massachusetts, where former neighbors told Boston 25 News they hope her son gets help. 

"She was a quiet person," said Jim, a former neighbor. "I think her son was troubled a little bit, she had him in a special school."

Mironovas moved from Ashland to Maine about a year ago to attend cosmetology school.

Authorities continue to investigate the case.

Waffle House shooting: How police captured Travis Reinking

Travis Reinking, the man suspected of killing four people during a shooting at a Waffle House outside Nashville, Tennessee, has been arrested.

>> Watch the news report here

>> On Fox13Memphis.com: Waffle House shooting victims identified

Reinking had been at the center of a statewide manhunt for 32 hours until he was caught Monday in the woods near his apartment. 

Nashville police confirmed the 29-year-old was taken into custody Monday afternoon. They tweeted these photos of him in the back of a cop car.

>> See the photos here

In a news conference, police said they received a call about a man matching Reinking's description going into a wooded area. When officers arrived, nearby workers pointed them in the direction where the man was seen walking.

>> Waffle House shooting: Man accused of killing 4 in Tennessee arrested

Officers entered the wooded area and walked along pathways.

One of the detectives came across a man. When that man turned around, the detective realized it was Reinking.

Police said the detective drew his gun and ordered Reinking to get on the ground. Other officers quickly surrounded the suspect and he was taken into custody.

>> Waffle House 'hero' disarmed shooter, tossed rifle over counter

The 29-year-old Reinking looked tired but had clothes, a backpack and identification when Nashville police caught him, authorities said. He surrendered without confrontation, police said.

“When they looked into the backpack they say a semi-automatic weapon with 45 caliber ammunition,” said Lt. Carlos Lara of the Nashville Police Department.

Reinking reportedly slipped through a law enforcement drag net of nearly 200 police, deputies and federal agents. He was able to walk back to his apartment to get clothes and other items, police said.

>> Who is James Shaw Jr., the man who disarmed the Waffle House shooter?

The reason why he allegedly opened fire at this Nashville area Waffle House is still under investigation

Reinking was wearing a backpack, which was cut off once he was handcuffed, authorities said. Inside, police said they found a Kimber semi-automatic handgun with .45 caliber ammunition.

A wallet was also inside the backpack, and police used the ID to confirm the man was Reinking, officers said.

“He immediately asked for a lawyer and refused to make a statement,” said Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron.

>> Read more trending news 

For people who work and live near the mass shooting, the capture brought relief. 

Now begins the healing for a community caught in terror, the victims and their families. 

Acting Nashville Mayor David Briley said: “We need to move on as community and do what we can to curb this violence in the future.”

Reinking was taken to a hospital to be examined. From there, he will be taken to the Nashville jail to be booked on four murder charges, according to police.

Man with DUI history charged after running over 21-month-old son

An Arizona man who accidentally ran over his toddler son last week faces a charge of negligent homicide in the boy’s death, and prison records show that it isn’t the first time he’s been charged with killing or injuring someone in a drunken driving collision.

Richard Louis Hamilton, 49, of Phoenix, was moving his truck Thursday evening in the yard of his family’s home when he felt a bump under the tire, according to the Arizona Republic. He stopped the truck and discovered that he had struck his son, Samuel. 

Samuel was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a couple of hours later, the Republic reported

Hamilton was granted $50,000 bail on the felony charge at an initial court appearance on Friday, but is being held in the Maricopa County Jail on a probation violation. The violation stems from a conviction in a January 2007 hit-and-run crash in which a 5-year-old girl was seriously injured. 

He was released from prison in November 2013 after serving more than six years in that case, according to Arizona Department of Corrections records.

Hamilton’s wife, identified on a GoFundMe page set up for the family as Chelsea Hamilton, pleaded for his release Friday as he stood before a judge and appeared to weep. 

“I wish that he would be released so we could mourn the death of our son together,” Chelsea Hamilton said. “This was a total accident.”

The family’s fundraising page, which sought help with paying for Samuel’s funeral, described the toddler as a “beautiful, vibrant, happy” child. 

“In his short little life, he impacted the lives of all that knew him and loved him,” the page read

Richard Hamilton told officers who responded to the family’s home Thursday evening that he did not realize his son, who was playing in the yard before the accident, had gotten so close to the vehicle he was moving. 

A neighbor told police he had seen Hamilton and his son playing together in the yard before the collision. A probable cause statement obtained by KTVK in Phoenix stated that the neighbor also saw Hamilton behind the wheel of the truck when Samuel was struck.

Hamilton admitted to investigators that he had been driving the truck, but denied that he had been drinking prior to the incident. He claimed he had not had a drink since the night before, when he drank a half pint of vodka, the court document said.

>> Read more trending news

He refused both a field sobriety test and a blood test, but officers obtained his blood after securing a search warrant. 

“The defendant had bloodshot, watery eyes and a moderate odor of alcohol coming from him,” the probable cause statement said

Investigators also found a broken beer bottle a few feet away from the back of the truck, in the path that the truck would have taken when Hamilton moved it. 

“There was a liquid on the driver side rear tire that is believed to be some of the contents of the beer bottle,” the statement said. “Glass fragments from the beer bottle were located in the grass near the bottle, and there were also fragments located in a trash can approximately 30 feet from the area of the collision.

“It appeared someone tried to clean up the broken beer bottle fragments afterward.”

See Hamilton’s first court appearance below. 

Hamilton was processed for driving under the influence and booked into the Maricopa County Jail, where he remained Monday for the alleged probation violation in the 2006 case. 

According to a Republic story written at the time of his sentencing in the previous case, Hamilton’s 5-year-old victim was crossing a street with her mother and two siblings when Hamilton struck her with his minivan. He fled the scene, but turned himself in to police later that day. 

Hamilton also served a four-month prison sentence in 2001 following his first conviction for aggravated DUI, prison records show. Details of that incident were not immediately available. 

Kyle Plush case: Body cameras show cops stayed in car during search for teen dying in van

Body camera footage from two Cincinnati police officers’ search for a 16-year-old teen who was crushed to death by a seat in his minivan earlier this month shows the officers never left their patrol car while they looked for the teen.

The footage shows the officers driving past the parking lot where Kyle Plush was dying on their way to search a separate lot on the campus of Seven Hills School, where the teen was a sophomore. 

They do not appear to search all of the parking lots on the campus, and the videos indicate that the officers may have searched the area for less than a third of the time that officials previously said they did. 

Cincinnati police officials, along with Hamilton County prosecutors and the county Sheriff’s Office, are conducting internal investigations to determine what led to Plush’s death, both inside the van and out. That includes a probe of law enforcement officers’ actions and what took place at the city’s 911 center. 

“The event leading up to Kyle’s death are devastating and also raise concerning questions about our city’s emergency 911 system and police response,” Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said April 12. “While it is unclear if there is wrongdoing by the city in this tragedy, we have a profound responsibility to find out.”

>> Related story: ‘Tell my mom that I love her if I die,’ teen pleads as van seat fatally crushes him

Plush called 911 twice on the afternoon of April 10, screaming and pleading for help as he slowly suffocated inside his gold Honda Odyssey in a parking lot at his school. The teen, a sophomore at Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, was apparently reaching for his tennis gear in the rear hatch of the van when the third-row bench seat tipped backward and pinned him, upside down, in the hatch area with the seat digging into his chest.

Plush, who died of positional asphyxia, used his iPhone’s voice commands to call 911. The teen could be heard struggling to breathe as he told a dispatcher that he was trapped in his van.  

“I can’t hear you,” Plush told the dispatcher in his first call, according to The Washington Post. “I’m in desperate need of help. I’m gonna die here.”

Two city police officers were dispatched at 3:21 p.m. to the school to search for the caller in distress, Cincinnati police officials said. They arrived about five minutes later. 

Body camera footage obtained by WCPO in Cincinnati shows the responding officers, Brian Brazile and Edsel Osborn, driving on the school campus but staying in their patrol car. The videos also show that the officers searched for Plush for about three minutes before turning off their cameras, an indication that they had completed the call. 

Information previously released by the Cincinnati Police Department indicated that the officers were on the scene for 11 minutes but could not find the van Plush was calling from. 

The footage, which was released by police officials Friday following a public records request, shows Brazile drive past the Seven Hills School Resale Shop, a thrift store run by the school to help fund various projects on campus, before turning into a parking lot south of the store.  

Plush’s van -- which was found by his father six hours later -- was in a student parking lot located north of the shop. The officers drive by that parking lot, but do not turn in.

The body camera footage shows the officers driving slowly through the south parking lot, searching for the 911 caller.

“Shoot, these kids drive better cars than you do,” Brazile appears to tell Osborn. 

“Uh-huh,” Osborn mutters. 

Brazile makes a U-turn in the lot and they search it again before ducking through afterschool traffic and into another lot across the street, near the school’s tennis courts and baseball field. The second lot they turn into is further south -- and further away from where Plush was still alive, but struggling for breath. 

“I don’t see nobody, which I didn’t imagine I would,” one of the officers can be heard saying as they search. 

“I’m going to shut this off,” Osborn says just before his body camera recording ends. 

Cincinnati police spokeswoman Tiffany Hardy told WCPO that the footage was the entire recording of the officers’ response to Seven Hills. Departmental policy dictates that officers activate their body cameras when arriving on the scene of a call.

They can deactivate the cameras only after clearing the call, according to the policy

Previous information made public by Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Issac indicated that it was another eight minutes before the officers marked their assignment as cleared. 

Dashboard camera footage from the officers’ patrol car was not released with the body camera footage, WCPO reported. Hardy told the news station that Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters’ office has that footage. 

Deters announced shortly after Plush’s death that his office had launched a comprehensive investigation into the tragedy. Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil also ordered an investigation into his department’s handling of the calls. 

A deputy working a traffic detail at the school also searched for Plush that afternoon but did not find him. Dispatcher Amber Smith -- who was placed on administrative leave for about a week after Plush’s death -- and the deputy could be heard in dispatch audio debating whether the calls had been a prank. 

Even after Plush’s father found him dead, city police officers thought the calls from the school were a prank, WCPO reported. When a call went out for officers to respond to the school, either Brazile or Osborn responded on the radio, not knowing that the teen was dead.

“I think somebody’s playing pranks,” the officer said, according to radio traffic. “It was something about they were locked in a vehicle across from the school. We never found anything. But we’ll respond and see what else we can find.”

The multiple investigations into the incident seek to determine what kept responding officers from locating Plush in time to save him. In his second 911 call, the teen told Smith exactly where he was located at the school and gave Smith a description of his van.

“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” the teen said, according to the audio. “This is not a joke. This is not a joke. I’m trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the sophomore parking lot of Seven Hills (unintelligible). 

“Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.”

Smith was placed on administrative leave two days after Plush’s death because she did not relay to the officers the make, model and color of the van. WCPO reported that internal documents from the probe showed that Smith’s supervisors found her work “unacceptable” in the incident. 

Smith told investigators that, although the recording of Plush’s second 911 call picked up what he said, she could not hear him when he gave the description of his van and his location. Issac previously said that Smith did press a tone indicating she was having trouble on the line. 

Smith also told investigators that her computer screen froze, keeping her from properly documenting the call, the news station said. One of the documents indicated that 911 operators’ computers were experiencing problems around the time of Plush’s call. 

>> Read more trending news

An emergency dispatch consultant told WCPO that problems with the computers was not a surprise. 

“Having a computer system within the 911 center freezing up or locking out is not uncommon,” consultant Dave Warner said

Cranley said in his statement that problems have plagued the 911 center for a long time. 

“Separate from his incident, the problems of management, supervision and technology have been reported at the 911 center for years,” the mayor said

He said that he has repeatedly requested solutions and lobbied the Federal Communications Commission on the technology issues but was told the problems were being resolved. 

“This tragedy may ultimately suggest the problems have not been resolved or that not enough changes have been made,” Cranley said. 

Cranley said officials must also determine if “preventable flaws or failures” have worsened emergency situations. 

The internal records show that Smith tried calling Plush twice and sent him a text message seeking the address of his emergency, WCPO reported. He never responded, but his use of voice commands showed that he likely could not reach his phone. 

The dispatcher who took Plush’s first call also used the GPS coordinates of his phone to send Brazile and Osborn to the parking lot near the thrift store, the news station said. Reporters who plugged the coordinates into a Google map found that they were just feet from the spot where Plush’s father found him that night. 

The officers still did not find him. 

Neither Brazile nor Osborn have been placed on leave during the investigation.   

Smith returned to work last week. Any disciplinary action taken against her has not been made public, WCPO reported.

Video shows Alabama police wrestle woman, expose her breasts at Waffle House

graphic video showing police officers wrestling a black 25-year-old woman before arresting her inside a Saraland, Alabama, Waffle House restaurant Sunday is making the rounds on social media, sparking outrage across the country. The incident allegedly escalated over 50 cents’ worth of plastic cutlery.

Chikesia Clemons was arrested around 2:45 a.m. on charges of “disorderly conduct and resisting arrest,” her mother, Chiquitta Clemons-Howard, told AL.com. She paid her daughter’s $1,000 bond Sunday morning.

>> Read more trending news 

In the cell phone video, captured by Clemons’ friend, Canita Adams, Saraland police officers are seen speaking with Clemons and then pulling her off a chair and onto the floor of the restaurant.

“What are you doing?” Clemons asks the officers in the video.

“I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do,” an officer responds.

Two officers are then seen wrestling with Clemons, grabbing her neck and wrist and trying to flip her over to arrest her. The altercation turns graphic as Clemons’ clothes are pulled down “to reveal her breasts as white patrons continue to eat in the background,” AL.com reported.

Related: Philadelphia Starbucks arrest: Men say manager called 911 minutes after they arrived

In the video, when the officer placed his hand around her neck, Clemons cries, “You’re choking me!”

Clemons-Howard told AL.com the incident arose after Clemons refused to pay an extra 50 cents for plastic utensils and the employee canceled the order. According to AL.com, Clemons and Adams said they were not charged for utensils when they ordered from the same Waffle House the night before.

“They didn’t even ask her to leave, she was waiting for them to give her the district manager’s card so she could file a complaint on one of the waitresses,” Clemons-Howard told AL.com. “When they went to go get the card, that’s when the police showed up. The officer should’ve come in and said we need you to leave.”

Chance the Rapper weighed in on Twitter.

“Protect our women. This is wrong, this is unjust and this happens to alot (sic) of women when there are NO cameras around,” he wrote. “Stand with our women. Defend their voice, and their right to ask why they’re being handled, being removed, being CHOKED. Be infuriated. Be willing to fight.”

The altercation and arrest come 10 days after two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia on trespassing charges.

Mobile, Alabama, NAACP President David Smith said in a statement Sunday that the organization is looking into the episode. 

“In light of the current situation in our country -- such as the arrest of two young black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks coffee shop -- we felt it was important for our members to get a firsthand account of the incident, which has now gone viral on social media locally and across the country,” Smith said.

A spokesman with the Saraland Police Department also said the department is investigating. The department also said that Saraland’s public safety director, Chief J.C. West, and Mayor Howard Rubenstein are aware of the situation.

“The Saraland Police Department is aware of the arrest at Waffle House and the accompanying video on social media,” the department said in a Facebook post. “The situation is being thoroughly reviewed and is under active investigation right now. Our department strives for transparency and we encourage our community to be aware of current events.”

Read more at AL.com.

Waffle House shooting: Man accused of killing 4 in Tennessee arrested

Authorities on Monday afternoon arrested a man suspected of stripping at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, early Sunday before opening fire on customers and employees, killing four people.

>> Read more trending news 

Nashville police confirmed that authorities arrested suspected shooter Travis Reinking, 29, on Monday afternoon. He was earlier identified as the man suspected of killing Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29; Joe R. Perez, 20; Akilah Dasilva and DeEbony Groves, 21

Memphis boy found after not coming home from school

Update 9:33 a.m. EDT April 23: The child has been found, Fox13Memphis reported.

Original: Police in Memphis, Tennessee, need your help finding a 9-year-old boy

>> Watch the news report here

A City Watch was issued for Dewayne Alexander on Saturday night. Police told WHBQ that Alexander was walking home from school Friday in the 3300 block of Ford Road, but he never made it home. He has not been seen or heard from since. 

>> Missing brothers: Pittsburgh police searching for 2 boys who disappeared Friday

Alexander is described as 3-foot-8 and weighing 50 pounds with a medium complexion and low-fade haircut. He was last seen wearing a navy blue hoodie, white uniform shirt, navy blue uniform pants and blue, gray and white shoes. 

>> Read more trending news 

If you know the whereabouts of Alexander, call the Memphis Police Department at 901-545-2677.

>> See the Facebook post here

Police reports in Illinois paint disturbing profile of Travis Reinking

Travis Reinking, the man police are seeking in connection with the killing of four people at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, was well-known to police in the Illinois county where he lived, the Journal Star of Peoria reported.

>> Read more trending news

Police reports present a disturbing picture of the man who allegedly opened fire at the restaurant. 

Tazewell County Sheriff Bob Huston distributed reports at a news conference Sunday that detailed Reinking’s brushes with authorities near his hometown of Morton, Illinois, the Journal Star reported.

>> Where is Travis Reinking? Search continues

“The police reports speak for themselves. I think anyone can conclude after reading them that there’s evidence (Reinking) has mental health issues,” Huston said.

Here are some of the incidents:

On May 26, 2016, Reinking was in the parking lot of a CVS in Morton and told police he believed that singer Taylor Swift was stalking him and had hacked into his cellphone, the Journal Star reported. Several weeks earlier, Reinking told deputies that Swift had hacked his Netflix account and wanted to meet him at a Dairy Queen in Morton, the newspaper reported. 

>> Who is Travis Reinking?

On June 16, 2017, police in Tremont were called to the city’s public pool after a man identified as Reinking dove into the pool wearing a pink woman’s house coat, the Journal Star reported. According to police, Reinking took off the coat and swam in his underwear. When told to exit the pool, Reinking yelled at the lifeguards and exposed his genitals, according to the report. 

A report from August 2017 noted that Reinking believed as many as 30 people were hacking his cellphone because he could hear them through his speakers, the Journal Star reported. On Aug. 11, Reinking spoke with a Tazewell sheriff’s deputy and claimed he heard people outside his home barking like dogs.

Two weeks later, deputies confiscated Reinking’s four weapons and ammunition, the Journal Star reported. Reinking’s Illinois Firearms Owners’ Identification Card had been revoked by the Illinois State Police after his arrest by U.S. Secret Service agents in July 2017 for being in a restricted area near the White House.

Reinking's father was present when the deputies came to confiscate the guns, Huston  told The Tennessean. Reinking’s father had a valid state authorization card and asked police if he could keep the weapons. Deputies gave Reinking's father the weapons, Huston said. 

"(Reinking’s father) was allowed to do that after he assured deputies he would keep them secure and away from Travis," Huston told the Tennessean. 

A 27-year-old Morton resident who asked to remain anonymous recalled an incident five years ago, when Reinking leveled what was described as an assault rifle at some friends.

>> Waffle House shooting: 4 dead after nude gunman opens fire

“I think (Reinking) brought the gun out to show it to us. He leveled it at our heads, then he put it away,” the man told the Journal Star. “I didn’t feel threatened, but I was unnerved.”

The man did not call the police, the newspaper reported.

“I hadn’t thought that night until (Sunday), when I learned about the shooting in Nashville,” he told the Journal Star. “I haven’t seen or spoken to Travis for at least five years.”

The Morton resident said he recalls Reinking had anger issues.

“He’d get angry or frustrated easily,” he said.

Meanwhile, Morton Police Chief Craig Hilliard said his office fielded several complaints about Reinking’s driving but otherwise heard no serious allegations about him.

“We haven’t had many calls with him,” Hilliard told the Journal Star. “We haven’t had much contact with him.”

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