News Roundup

People across the country gathered on Tuesday to celebrate Independence Day. Sadly, celebrations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Shreveport, Louisiana were marred by mass shootings. Forty-year-old Kimbrady Carriker is accused of killing five people – including a 15-year-old boy – after he fired randomly along several blocks of a southwest Philadelphia neighborhood. CNN reports that Carriker, who had a previous gun conviction, was armed with an AR-style rifle and a 9 mm handgun – both privately made ghost guns — and was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Meanwhile, in Shreveport, four people were killed and at least seven others injured during a Fourth of July block party when multiple unidentified men exchanged gunfire. First responders had difficulty getting to the victims because of the number of vehicles at the gathering. No suspects have yet been arrested. CNN has the story here.

Dog attack. In a different variety of July mayhem, WRAL reports that on Monday in Johnston County two dogs killed a man who had come to check on them while their owners were away. Earlier that day, one of the dogs bit a veterinary hospital employee who was attempting to care for them. The dog’s owner subsequently asked her 67-year-old father to check on them. He was killed. A Wilson’s Mills police officer was first to arrive on the scene. He shot and killed both dogs, the first when it approached him in the driveway and the second when it blocked him from the victim.

New chair of state parole commission. Governor Roy Cooper has appointed former North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge and state House Representative Darren Jackson to chair the four-member North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission. The Commission conducts parole review for eligible inmates and establishes conditions of post-release supervision for felons convicted under the Structured Sentencing Act (and Aggravated Level One DWI offenders).

Life sentence in high-profile Ohio rape case. On Wednesday, Garson Fuentes was sentenced to life in prison for raping and impregnating a 9-year-old girl in Franklin County, Ohio. Fuentes’ case attracted national attention because the child had to travel across state lines to get an abortion. She learned she was pregnant just days before the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Ohio quickly instituted a six-week abortion ban. WOSU public media has the full report.

SRO who failed to confront Parkland gunman acquitted. Former Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson was acquitted of charges of child neglect and culpable negligence for his failure to enter Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on the day in 2018 when Nikolas Cruz gunned down and killed 17 people, including 14 students. Peterson also was acquitted of charges of perjury that were based on his subsequent statements to investigators. The New York Times reported that the trial was believed to be the first in the nation against a police officer for inaction during a mass shooting. Peterson’s defense attorney said the victory was not just for his client but for every law enforcement officer “who does the best they can every single day.”

Study suggests that drug busts may exacerbate the overdose crisis. NPR reported this week on the tension between politicians’ push for a crackdown on drug trafficking and new research finding that opioid overdoses increased in areas of Indianapolis that were within 500 meters of where law enforcement officers had seized drugs. The research study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, was spearheaded by Bradley Ray at RTI international and included North Carolina State Professor Jennifer Carroll among its authors. While researchers noted that they could not assert a causal relationship between the two events, they hypothesized that the association may exist because persons dependent on opioids who lose their supply experience diminishing tolerance and withdrawal, which may lead them to seek a new supply without knowledge of its potency, thereby increasing the risk of overdose. The study concluded by stating that it added to “a growing body of literature that suggests drug criminalization and supply-side interdiction might produce more public harm than public good.”

Speaking of drugs, be sure to check your cocaine at the door. The Washington Post reports that a small bag of cocaine was discovered in the White House on Sunday. The drugs were found near the entrance to the West Wing in the area where visitors taking tours are instructed to leave their cellphones. The Secret Service is investigating.

The stuff of nightmares. These last bits of news don’t involve criminal charges, but do involve law enforcement and emergency responders (along with some of my greatest fears) so they are going in. First, it may be a me thing, or a child of the 70s thing, but, as a kid, I was terrified of sinking in quicksand. So this New York Times story of a Massachusetts woman rescued from a swamp like area in a Massachusetts state park where she had been trapped in the mud for three days spoke to me. Turns out the woman was trapped in her car in the mud and that law enforcement officers rescued her using all-terrain vehicles. NPR has the rest of the story here, including advice from the National Park Service about what to do if you find yourself similarly stuck.

Boarding a malfunctioning roller coaster matches sinking into quicksand on my fear meter. So I cringed when I read about roller coaster riders at a Wisconsin festival who were suspended upside down in mid-air for hours on Sunday when the coaster shut down midride. Hats off to the emergency responders who safely rescued all of the passengers.

I’ll leave it to you to read about the Alligator attack in Hilton Head that left a 69-year-old woman dead. Emergency responder’s efforts to revive the victim were interrupted by the nine-foot gator. Consider the fear meter broken.