News Roundup

A longtime North Carolina resident and former professor at East Carolina University was reportedly responsible for a mass shooting on the campus of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas this week. According to the story, the man graduated from a Duke University graduate program in 1991 and taught at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC from 2001 to 2017. He was killed by campus police after allegedly taking the lives of three faculty members and wounding a fourth. He also apparently had a hit list that included ECU employees. Read on for more criminal law news.

Virginia Home Explosion. A home was leveled by a massive explosion in Arlington, Virginia on Monday. According to CNN, law enforcement responded to the home after reports that the man inside had fired over 30 shots from a flare gun from the house. After a standoff where the man is alleged to have fired a gun at officers, police obtained a search warrant to enter the home. Before the warrant could be executed, the house exploded, collapsing in the process. The suspect is believed to be deceased. No other people were harmed by the blast.

Deepfake Porn Crime? Bloomberg reports on the rise of deepfake AI-generated pornography. This is when an artificial intelligence system takes images of real people and mimics them to create faked pornography of the person. The report claims that many states lack legal protections for victims in these circumstances. These issues were on display in the state at least in part when a Charlotte man pled guilty last month to federal child pornography offenses involving AI-altered images of children.

Spies and Lies. A man who served as a top United States diplomat for years has been charged with secretly serving as an undercover Cuban intelligence agent during his entire career. According to the story, the FBI discovered the man’s ties to the Cuban government sometime last year and arranged for him to meet with an undercover FBI agent posing as a Cuban agent. The defendant is alleged to have repeatedly bragged to the undercover agent about his illegal links to the Cuban government.

Treasury Forms Fentanyl Taskforce. Efforts by the federal government to battle the opioid crisis have expanded to include the U.S. Treasury Department. AP News reports on the creation of the Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force, consisting of members from various divisions within Treasury. The story notes that the department is uniquely equipped to investigate the international flow of assets connected with the drugs. The task force intends to deploy numerous tactics to disrupt the drug trade, including imposition of international sanctions, criminal investigations, and intelligence sharing with other agencies.

Muppets Weigh in on Opioids. NPR reports that the Sesame Street Muppets are responding to the opioid crisis with new resources to explain the role of drug addiction in family dynamics to young children. According to the report, more than 4% of U.S. children live with a parent or caregiver struggling with opioid addiction. The focus on opioid addiction is a part of a larger effort by the Sesame Workshop (Sesame Street’s umbrella company) to address difficult topics with young children.

Prison Escapee Apprehended. An inmate from Sanford Correctional is back in custody after a brief escape. The man was on a work detail in Apex when he allegedly walked off the job. He remained free for around seven hours until being spotted walking down the road by an officer. The man was captured shortly thereafter by members of the Prison Emergency Response unit.

Suspected Serial Sex Offender Arrested. After nearly three decades, Raleigh police closed multiple investigations with the arrest of a suspected serial sex offender on Tuesday. Police filed dozens of charges against the suspect, including multiple counts of rape, kidnapping, and assault involving 10 victims. The suspect was allegedly identified by his DNA when a match was found in the Combined DNA Index Systems (“CODIS”). The offenses are alleged to have occurred between 1995 and 2004. The 59-year-old suspect reportedly has prior felony convictions, including for sexual assault.

“Excited Delirium” Diagnosis Deleted in CO. According to this report, Colorado law enforcement has stopped recognizing the condition known as “excited delirium.” The purported diagnosis has been a part of police training materials in the state and is controversial among some members of the public health community. The change was apparently prompted by a 2019 incident in a Denver suburb where paramedics injected a man believed to be exhibiting signs of the condition with a lethal amount of ketamine. The paramedics are currently on trial in connection with the death.

Missing Kitten Found. A Raleigh animal rescue group, Cause for Paws, announced the return of a lost kitten this week. The feline apparently went missing after interacting with two women visiting the center last Saturday. After a social media announcement about “Rummy,” the 10-week-old animal was returned on Tuesday. No word so far on any kitten-napping suspects.

Run Rudolph Run. Authorities say a deer broke into a high school over the Thanksgiving break in New Jersey. Police encountered the animal inside and captured its image on body cameras. The deer—nicknamed “Rudolph” by the police—initially charged towards officers before escaping through a window. Neither the animal nor any officers were harmed in the incident, and no school property was seriously damaged, but Rudolph remains on the lam.

Walk a Mile in Those Shoes. That seems to have been the thinking behind a New York trial judge’s creative sentence. A woman was convicted of misdemeanor assault for yelling at a Chipotle worker and throwing hot food into her face. The judge gave the defendant a choice between a 90-day jail sentence, or a 30-day jail sentence coupled with 60 days of working as a fast-food service worker. The defendant accepted the latter option.

How Not to Quit. Finally, a Florida man was recently arrested for kidnapping the four prison inmates he was transporting to North Carolina. The man apparently contacted his supervisor in the middle of the trip to quit his job. He then allegedly refused to deliver the inmates and continued driving until he was stopped by law enforcement. In addition to four counts of second-degree kidnapping, the defendant is charged with felony larceny by employee.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend. If you have questions or feedback, I can always be reached at