Dade City, Fl (3-20-16) The man responsible for the July 26th 2014 homicide of Katherine Hoover and her unborn son, Rehlin, is back in the news. Yesterday, the now 37-year-old William Mathew DeHayes, was arrested by the Hernando County Sheriffs office for publicly discharging a gun.
Almost two years ago DeHayes got away with homicide, despite the fact that he admitted to being under the influence of multiple prescription narcotics, as well as behaving recklessly with the .22 caliber pistol he was showing off with his practiced ‘cowboy style’ gunslinging moves in the presence of 25-year-old Hoover who was five months pregnant.
Hoover’s mother Donna Bryan has devoted her life to bringing awareness to the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death. The State Attorney’s office never filed charges against DeHayes in the accidental shooting of Hoover and her son. Bryan is trying to get Governor Rick Scott to order State Attorney Brad King to re-open the investigation.
Bryan claims the Hernando County Sheriff’s office botched the investigation of her daughter’s homicide.
The explanation from the sheriffs office is that “he didn’t appear high.” During the initial interview DeHayes stated he had taken Methadone, Soma and Loritab in ‘prescribed’ doses. He then went on to say he didn’t know what happened or what made the gun go off. He told detectives that the last time he fired the gun was on the 4th of July. DeHayes said, “somehow” ammunition stayed in the gun.
Hoover’s brother, James Sorace wrote on Facebook, ” Who ever is protecting him is going to realize he’s becoming a liability.”
“I’m fuming,” said Donna Bryan, mother of Katherine Hoover, “This guy has already killed two people – he’s dangerous.”
Yesterday’s incident took place at 4335 Cimarron Way in Dade City.
Hoover’s mother has this to say, “This guy has already killed two people. Who is he going to kill next? Who’s child is going to die next?”
So far, Bryan has collected over 13,650 petitions asking Governor Scott to re-open the investigation. The petition is located here: https://www.change.org/p/state-attorney-brad-king-gives-free-pass-to-baby-killer?recruiter=192472051&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-md-share_petition-custom_msg
In yesterday’s incident, DeHayes is charged with violating Florida Statute 790.15.1–Discharging a weapon in a public place. He is currently free on $1000 bond.
We are currently waiting for the Hernando County Sheriff’s office to release the details surrounding yesterday’s the incident. As soon as we receive the official report, we’ll update the story.
Gun Shops Talk Gun Safety After 12-Year-Old Boy Shot in Possible Accidental Shooting
Lubbock, TX (3-21-16) Saturday, Levelland Police said a 34-year-old man shot a 12-year-old boy in the head. While the shooting is still under investigation, police say it's possible the shooting was accidental.
The boy was rushed to Covenant Children's Hospital where the hospital confirmed that he is in fair condition as of Sunday night.
This isn't the first time in recent months when a child was the accidental victim of gunfire on the South Plains.
In February, a five-year-old Lubbock child was killed, accidentally shot by his father who was cleaning his rifle. In November of 2015, a two-year-old in Lubbock County was also injured after being shot accidentally.
J.D. Clay, the retail manager for Sharp Shooters Gun and Knife in Lubbock, said that is why his business takes extra caution in instructing customers about gun safety.
Clay said that when he works with customers who are new gun owners, he always asks if they have children in their home. If they do, he asks them even more questions about their gun safety plans.
"Well, where do you intend on keeping the firearm? Is it going to stay on your nightstand? Are you going to separate your magazines and the ammo somewhere different?" Clay said.
He added that often, gun accidents boil down to not truly knowing whether a firearm is loaded. He recommends that gun owners establish a system, whether marking firearms as loaded or unloaded, or keeping firearms in a safe, to make sure a loaded firearm isn't mistaken.
"An unloaded firearm is safe, it's the safest you can be, you just gotta always chamber check it," Clay said. "It's always pulling out that magazine and opening it up, as soon as you've done that and you've cleared it, it's about as useful as a brick."
While Clay spends most of his time working around guns, he said he still thinks about the fact that someone he knew growing up was injured by gun violence in a tragic way.
"It's things like that instill a sense of safety in the back of our minds when we're exposed to it and we remember that 'Oh yeah, chamber check [the gun],' I remember what happened 10 or 15 years ago," he said.
Clay also recommended that while checking or cleaning rifles, it's best to keep weapons pointed in a safe direction, even if you think they are unloaded.
He said accidents are a reminder that gun owners, especially gun owners with children, need to keep a close eye on their weapons.
"To the family and everything else, our hearts go out to them," Clay said of the family in Levelland. "But fortunately, it could have been a lot worse, they are very fortunate in how it went down."
7-year-old Englewood boy fatally shoots himself
Chicago, Il (3-20-16) A 7-year-old boy fatally shot himself Sunday in his home in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, Chicago Police said.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the boy as Devon Lofton. Devon accidentally shot himself at his home in the 6700 block of South Aberdeen Street at 3:50 p.m., police said.
Devon was taken to University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at 4:36 p.m., authorities said.
Claudia Harris, a next-door neighbor and close friend of the family, said she was in her home when one of Devon’s brothers ran in and yelled for her to call police.
“I didn’t know what was going on at first, but I knew it was bad,” Harris said.
Devon, a first-grader, lived in the home along with his mother, grandmother and several siblings, Harris said. She wasn’t sure who was at the home when the shooting happened.
Bernard Warfield, another next-door neighbor to the south, said he saw Devon and greeted him when the boy rolled up to his home on his red bicycle just a few hours before the shooting.
“He said ‘See you later,’ the last words. . . . It’s traumatizing,” said Warfied said, who recalled seeing the boy outside playing football on the block regularly.
“He was a great kid. It’s heartbreaking,” Warfield said.
Andrew Holmes, a community activist and crisis responder for Chicago Survivors, said he had spoken with some of Devon’s family members, including the boy’s mother, who was taken to a hospital after going into shock.
According to the preliminary investigation, Holmes said Devon and at least one other child were playing with a gun, which they might have mistaken for a toy.
Holmes said Devon accidentally shot himself in the chest, though police have said he suffered a head wound. Investigators were performing gunshot residue tests on the boy’s hands to confirm it was self-inflicted, Holmes said.
The boy’s grandmother was home at the time, Holmes said. Investigators are trying to figure out whose gun it was.
“No matter if they thought that was a BB gun or a toy, that weapon should not have been inside that home,” Holmes said.
Police: False shooting reports leeching resources real Savannah area crime
Savannah, Ga (3-21-16) It was a sunny November afternoon when a 20-year-old Savannah man told police that a stranger shot him while he was playing basketball on East 54th Street. Officers interviewed him at the hospital while others processed the crime scene and canvassed the area looking for leads on a suspect.
But the man recanted his story hours later and admitted the gun belonged to him and was discharged accidentally during a basketball game.
“We get reports like this all the time,” said Savannah-Chatham Police Sgt. David Barefield.
Last week, two 17-year-olds reported they were shot at from a nearby car, an incident that left one of them injured. But hours later, again, the teenagers confessed that one accidentally shot the other and police recovered the gun used during the incident.
Law enforcement officers say the growing trend of falsely reported shootings is troublesome because it elevates Savannah’s crime statistics, wastes department resources and distracts police from investigating legitimate incidents.
The false shooting report from November is only one of hundreds police receive each year, Barefield said. They inflate Savannah-Chatham’s crime statistics by about 10 percent annually.
“When we have these shootings happen, then all of our detectives are focused on what just happened,” he said, “We have people go to the crime scenes, people that go to the hospital, people that are interviewing witnesses. It’s a lot of wasted resources that we have to use.”
And it’s not just police resources and manpower that gets involved, Barefield said.
“Sometimes we’ll get Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team involved,” he said. “We’ll get other agencies involved to identify a suspect that doesn’t exist because the crime didn’t happen. There’s just so many man hours and days that can be wasted on a case like that, and they could be better used on a case somewhere else. It’s very disheartening.”
People who file the false reports vary in age, race and criminal backgrounds, but the most common reason for lying is to avoid jail time, said police Major Richard Zapal.
“If you’re a convicted felon, you cannot possess a gun,” he said. “What better indicator is there that you possess a gun other than you got shot — unless, of course, you say somebody shot me and that, of course, explains away why you didn’t have a gun because somebody else shot you.
“That’s usually the most common reason. Another reason is that ‘I was involved in a drug deal and I was shot.’ Very rarely is it that you were just walking down the street and were shot randomly.”
The problem exists in other departments around the region, too.
In April, Port Wentworth police arrested a man for shooting himself and then orchestrated a story blaming a girlfriend for the shooting. The man was accused of various crimes, including criminal defamation. The man’s girlfriend was originally taken into custody as a suspect, but was later released after being interviewed. Port Wentworth police officials could not be reached for comment.
Police say they prosecute those who file false reports when evidence is available. Filing a false police report is a misdemeanor and giving police a false statement is felony.
Woman Shot by Police in Virginia was Brandishing Fake Gun
Norfolk, Va. (3-20-16) Police in Norfolk, Virginia, shot and killed a woman Saturday who was brandishing what turned out to be a fake gun.
Investigators with the Norfolk Police Department came upon an argument involving at least one man and one woman just after 1 a.m. They saw the woman threaten the unarmed man with what looked to be a handgun, police said.
An investigation later revealed that the weapon the woman had was a nonfiring replica firearm.
The officers said they gave verbal commands, which the woman ignored. They fired their service weapons after the woman “made a threatening motion with the handgun,” according to police.
The woman, identified as 25-year-old India M. Beaty, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Any loss of life is tragic,” Norfolk Police Chief Michael said Saturday. “This morning’s events affect not only my officers and Ms. Beaty’s family members, but our entire community. My thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Beaty’s loved ones and we appreciate the public’s patience as we continue this investigation.”
The investigators who fired their weapons have not been identified. Both have been placed on administrative duty pending the results of an investigation, as per policy.
Police identify boy who accidentally shot himself to death (see 3-11-16 post)
NORCROSS, GA (3-21-16) Police are identifying a boy who accidentally shot himself to death inside a suburban Atlanta home as 11-year-old Alan Martinez.
Gwinnett County police said in a statement Monday that he was a student at Summerour Middle School in Norcross.
Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Deon Washington said the boy was playing with the gun before it went off and killed him Friday. Washington says the boy's mother was inside the home when he and a nine-year-old boy were playing in the garage shortly before 6 p.m. Friday.
The boy's father was not at the home at the time.
Washington says police don't expect to charge the mother.
Police are investigating how the gun got into the kids' hands. Police say it belongs to the parents.