Category Archives: crime news

Ex-Fort Worth police chief wants his old job? Why?

Joel Fitzgerald’s story out of Fort Worth makes my head spin.

He once served as police chief of the Cow Town police department, then he got fired. Now he wants his old job back and is suing the City Council to return to the police department. It’s a request that, to be candid, boggles my noggin.

The council cited sorry relationships the chief had with council members and other senior administrators. So, they issued a vote of no confidence in the job Chief Fitzgerald was doing. Then they fired him.

So, why does a big-city law enforcement officer, one with a good record of accomplishment along the way to the Fort Worth job, want to return to the turmoil he left behind when he got canned?

I don’t know many of the particulars of this parting of the ways. I just find it strange in the extreme that a one-time top cop would seek to return to a job that his bosses determined he was not doing adequately in the first place.

Go … figure.

Another lunatic shoots up a public school

I am tapped out.

I have run out original thoughts to offer about these acts of insanity that keep erupting in public places.

A shooter opened fire today at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif. Two students were killed; six more were injured. The gunman, a 16-year-old student at the high school, is in grave condition with a self-inflicted gunshot would to his head.

These incidents have become so outrageous, so egregious, so hideous and so damn commonplace they defy us to come up with something that hasn’t already been said over many years of this senseless violence.

I won’t try here.

I am just simply devastated that the parents of two children who died at the hands of a moronic gunman now will live with their grief for as long as they draw breath.

The list of communities stained indelibly by this violence has grown by one more. The worst news is that more will follow.

It is to our nation’s everlasting shame that this violence persists.

Suspect arrested in Greenville shooting!

Hunt County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a man in connection with a shooting in a Greenville party barn that killed two people and injured six others.

The suspect is a Greenville resident and in keeping with a policy I set on the blog some time ago, I will not identify the individual now held in jail on $1 million bond.

The gunfire erupted over the weekend at a “homecoming” party involving a Texas A&M-Commerce football game. The school did not sanction the party, but it has scared and scarred the community that is about 20 miles east of where the shooting actually occurred.

It is almost becoming a numbing experience to read reports of these kinds of events. They are shockingly common in the United States. Indeed, in Texas, a place known for its so-called “love affair” with guns, these tragedies become even more profound.

I have grown tired of saying the same thing repeatedly about my view that there is a legislative remedy out there — somewhere! — to make it more difficult for nut jobs to get their mitts on weapons.

The Greenville shooter opened fire with a handgun. It wasn’t an assault rifle, or a “weapon of mass destruction.”

Let the judicial system do its work. The shooter faces two counts of capital murder, which in Texas means a death sentence if it goes to trial and he is convicted.

Let us also resume the debate that we need to have about how we can curb gun violence in this country.  If only the president of the United States would join that discussion.

Gun violence erupts just down the highway

The gun violence insanity has erupted too close to home.

Two people are dead and 14 more injured — some of them critically — after an overnight shooting at a party called to “celebrate” a college football homecoming game at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The shooting occurred at a party venue in Greenville, which is just about 23 miles or so east along U.S. 380 of where I live with my wife.

The suspect remains at large.

Hunt County sheriff’s officials are scouring the area on the hunt for the moron who opened fire.

It has been reported that the university did not sanction the party. I’m not sure why that’s relevant, but I guess it is at some level.

The relevant aspect of this story is another shooter has opened fire in a crowded venue and taken two more lives of unsuspecting and innocent victims.

When in the name of a civilized society will this gun madness stop … if ever?

Ex-Fort Worth officer charged with murder

That didn’t take long.

Tarrant County, Texas, authorities have charged a former Fort Worth Police Department officer with murder in connection with the shooting death of a 28-year-old woman who was killed in her home while she was playing video games with her nephew.

Atatania Jefferson was black; Aaron Dean, the former rookie officer charged with her murder, is white.

The incident occurred over the weekend as police were responding on a “welfare check.” A body camera that Dean was wearing reveals that he approached Jefferson’s home, told her to put up her hands and then less than one second later he fired his pistol at her, killing her.

It makes us all wonder: What in the name of service and protection is going on here?

Dean is now in jail. No bail has been set. He faces a life sentence if convicted of murder.

Will any of this calm the concerns of the African-American community that is still reeling from the death in Dallas of a black man at the hand of a white Dallas PD officer a year ago? Hardly.

The former Dallas cop, Amber Guyger, received a 10-year prison sentence from the jury that convicted her of murder, causing considerable angst from the African-American community about whether justice truly has been served.

This is just a hunch, but my gut tells me that if a jury convicts Aaron Dean of murdering Atatania Jefferson, he will get a significantly stiffer prison sentence.

FW cop’s resignation shouldn’t signal end of search for truth

It turns out the Fort Worth police officer who shot a woman to death in her own home realized he messed up in a huge fashion.

Former officer Aaron Dean has resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department. Had he not quit, he would have been fired, said Police Chief Ed Kraus.

Oh, brother. This is a nasty, heartbreaking story that needs a lot of answers to assuage the concerns of a shocked community.

Atatania Jefferson died from a gunshot wound inflicted by Aaron Dean, who was responding ostensibly on a “wellness” check in the wee hours in Jefferson’s Fort Worth neighborhood. Jefferson was black; Dean is white. To think as well that this incident happened so soon after the Dallas conviction and sentencing of a white former Dallas officer who shot a black man to death after she mistakenly thought the man was breaking into her apartment; she walked up t the man’s apartment.

Do you think the Fort Worth incident has folks riled up? Yep. It does … and with ample reason.

Jefferson was reportedly playing video games with her nephew when Dean shot at her through a window.

So it is that Dean has quit. Chief Kraus has tacitly acknowledged the officer did something terribly wrong.

There needs to be a grand jury investigation into what went down immediately prior to the former police officer pulling the trigger and killing a woman sitting in her own home.

Let the grand jury hear the evidence and then decide whether to indict the officer. If he gets indicted, then the police department needs to have the handcuffs ready.

Grace on full display in Dallas courtroom

This event renders me speechless. I cannot muster up a single bit of wisdom to add to what the world witnessed Wednesday in a Dallas courtroom.

A former Dallas police officer was convicted of murdering a young man, Botham Jean, who she thought was burglarizing her apartment a year ago. Except that she went to the wrong apartment and shot Jean to death in his own dwelling.

A district court jury took less than a day to convict Amber Guyger. Then the jury returned a prison sentence: 10 years in the slammer for the young former cop.

Without any warning, though, Botham Jean’s younger brother, Brandt, sat in the witness chair and said he harbored no ill will toward Guyger. He wished her “only the best” and said he didn’t want her “to go to jail.”

Then he asked District Judge Tammy Kemp, if he could hug Guyger. Judge Kemp, wiping away tears, agreed. Brandt Jean and Amber Guyger embraced for several seconds. It was a tight embrace. Guyger was weeping, knowing that her own tragic mistake had destroyed her life as she had built it.

What in the name of forgiveness does one make of such an act? That a young man could extend his own grace to someone who took the life of a dear loved one?

I guess we all should reassess our feelings toward those who have done us wrong over our own lifetimes.

That’s all I have.

What an amazing moment.

The jury speaks again: 10 years for ex-cop/murderer

I have been reluctant to comment on a pending case involving a former Dallas police officer who shot a neighbor to death believing he was burglarizing her apartment.

Tragically, Amber Guyger was wrong. She shot Botham Jean to death while he was sitting in his own apartment. A Dallas County jury this week convicted her of murder.

Then today, the jury came back with a prison sentence: 10 years hard time for the ex-officer.

I don’t like second-guessing jurors. They hear all the evidence. The rest of us sit out here in the peanut gallery, drawing our own conclusions based mostly on what we read in the papers or see on TV.

With that, I won’t weigh in on whether the 10-year prison term is enough, or is too much.

Guyger’s life as she knew it has been ruined. She made a tragic mistake a year ago when she thought she was returning to her apartment, only to shoot Botham Jean — a St. Lucia native — to death. She tried to enter his apartment on a separate floor from where she resided. How does that happen? I had asked that question from the beginning.

Well, it did. Jurors had the option of convicting Guyger of manslaughter, but decided to follow the district attorney’s lead and convicted her of murder.

Botham Jean’s family and friends have been delivered the justice they sought. The community can begin the process of healing from this terrible, tragic event.

As for Amber Guyger, well … she will get to reflect on the life-changing error she made that night. Ten years might not seem like enough time to spend behind bars.

Then again, Amber Guyger has shattered her own life, which might prove to be punishment enough.

Sen. Seliger thrust into middle of national debate

A Texas state legislator, a fellow I know well — and someone I have supported strongly in this blog — finds himself at “ground zero” of the national debate over how to cure the scourge of gun violence.

State Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo, whose sprawling Texas Senate district covers Odessa in West Texas, has spoken for many Americans while commenting on this latest spasm of violence, which left seven people dead and dozens more injured.

According to the New York Times: “We’re not nearly past El Paso and then here it happens again,” said … Seliger, a Republican whose district includes Odessa and who is a former mayor of Amarillo, a city four hours north of where the attack unfolded. He said the attack forces people into the position of “not thinking to ourselves, ‘If this is going to happen again?’ but when it’s going to happen again.”

Seliger is not one to run from his political alliances, but I am struck at this moment by the TV ad he ran while seeking re-election in 2018; in the ad, he pulls away in his pickup while sporting a National Rifle Association sticker on the truck’s rear window. Yes, Seliger is proud of his NRA membership and I don’t for a moment believe he is going to renounce the organization in the wake of this latest massacre.

Seven people died in the slaughter in Odessa. Police killed the gunman in a fire fight.

I am wondering about the pressure Seliger is going to feel now as a senator representing a community victimized by this latest gun violence tragedy.

Seliger is my friend. I have tremendous personal affection for him; I also respect the service he has performed on behalf of his Senate district.

However, I do not want him to dig in with the NRA’s traditional mantra of keeping hands off of any effort to legislate a potential remedy to this kind of gun violence insanity.

I want this good man to stand strong in favor of working with legislators and members of Congress who ought to look for those legislative remedies and, yes, remain faithful to the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

I truly believe there’s a way to do this.

DPS getting thrust into even more dangerous work

I have made an important acquaintance. He is a young man who serves as a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.

He also has been tapped to serve — along with other DPS troopers — alongside Dallas Police Department officers in some of the high-crime neighborhoods of the state’s third-largest city.

One of those troopers got involved in a shooting today in South Dallas. Residents are calling for a thorough investigation; they deserve to know what happened and I hope DPS and Dallas PD are forthcoming. A Dallas City Council member wants DPS to pull the troopers out.

Well, count me as a Metroplex resident who endorses DPS’s presence to assist Dallas PD combat the rash of violent crimes that have struck the city.

My DPS friend told me he and his trooper colleagues work on traffic enforcement, enabling Dallas PD officers to concentrate more fully on the crime wave.

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered DPS officers to assist Dallas police, expressing concern about the crime spree that has been taking far too many innocent victims’ lives. The governor should be concerned. So should the residents of those neighborhoods affected most directly by the criminals who are doing them harm.

To that end, I stand with DPS — especially my young friend — as they lend a needed hand to quell the spasm of crime that has frightened many Dallas residents.