News Roundup

Tragedy struck North Carolina this week when a 22-year-old man killed two UNC Charlotte students and injured four others in a campus shooting on the last day of classes.  The Charlotte Observer reports that on Tuesday evening a former UNCC student, Trystan Andrew Terrell, used a handgun to attack students in a science and technology course that he had attended at one time.  Riley Howell of Waynesville and Ellis Parlier of Midland lost their lives in the attack; our thoughts are with their families and friends, along with everyone else affected by the shooting.  Keep reading for more news.

Waynesville & Midland.  Riley Howell is credited with saving many lives during the shooting by sacrificing his own.  Howell tackled Terrell after he opened fire, knocking him to the ground and interrupting the attack until campus police arrived.  People lined the streets of Waynesville to honor Howell as his body was returned to Haywood County by police escort on Thursday.  Dozens of people gathered at the Matthews Presbyterian Church near Midland on Wednesday to remember Ellis Parlier.  This Charlotte Observer article has more information about both Howell and Parlier.

Cold Case Arrest.  WRAL reports that DNA evidence has led to an arrest in a Johnston County murder that occurred nearly 50 years ago.  Bonnie Neighbors was found dead in December of 1972 after disappearing while picking up her son from school.  Johnston County investigators recently asked the State Crime Lab to re-test evidence collected at the crime scene using a new DNA test and the results of that test were a match for Larry Joe Scott, who lived in Benson at the time of the murder and was living in Florida at the time of his arrest.  Scott will be extradited to North Carolina to face murder and kidnapping charges.

Overdose Death Bill.  WRAL says that North Carolina lawmakers are debating whether to enact a new criminal offense called “Death by Distribution of Certain Controlled Substances.”  Some prosecutors say that it is difficult to secure homicide convictions against drug dealers in cases involving overdose deaths using existing crimes, but some lawmakers questioned whether the new offense would cause drug users to be reluctant to seek medical assistance for people suffering an overdose.

Drug CEO Indicted.  The Associated press reports that the retired CEO of a New York company called the Rochester Drug Co-Operative has been indicted on two federal counts of drug trafficking in what is being called a “first of its kind” prosecution.  Laurence Doud III is accused of supplying opioids to independent pharmacies that were engaged in suspicious practices that had caused other companies to stop supplying them with drugs.  The Time report notes one instance where Rochester’s largest customer more than doubled its purchases of oxycodone over the course of a single year, an increase that was flagged by the company’s compliance office but disregarded by Doud because the customer was a “big account.”  Between 2012 and 2016, Rochester’s sales of oxycodone increased 800% and its fentanyl sales increased 2,000%; Doud’s compensation increased 125% over the same period of time.

Former Officer Convicted.  The New York Times reports that former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was convicted by a jury of third-degree murder this week for shooting an unarmed woman who had called police to report suspicious activity in near her home.  Noor was responding to Justine Ruszczyk’s 911 call regarding a possible sexual assault in an alley behind her home when he shot her as she approached his cruiser.  The incident led to an overhaul of the Minneapolis Police Department’s body camera policy as both Noor and his partner were wearing cameras but not recording video at the time of the shooting.

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