Gun Violence

Gun Violence

San Antonio Police Accidentally Shoot Six-Year-Old Boy


In a police chase outside of San Antonio, Texas just a few days before Christmas, a six-year-old boy was accidentally but fatally shot by a police officer. The boy, who was later identified as Kameron Prescott, was actually inside his family’s mobile home when a bullet went through the home’s wall and hit Prescott in the chest. The police was in pursuit of 30-year-old Amanda Lee Jones, who was suspected of stealing a car and an attempted break-in; the police also ended up fatally shooting Jones once the pursuit was over and done with. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar commented on the death of Prescott, calling it “a tragic accident”. Salazar also said that the investigation into the incident would continue before the district attorney could determine if there was additional legal action required. Two other members of the Prescott family were also in the mobile home when the shots were fired, but only Kameron resulted injured.


According to deputies, Jones was spotted to have a weapon when she was first encountered by the police. Jones reportedly proceeded to threaten to shoot an officer. Once the police caught up with her outside of the Prescott home, Jones also threatened to attack the family that was inside that home, which led police to kill Jones. After the fact, police have been unable to locate a gun around Jones, but they did find a pipe with Jones’ blood left behind under the deck of the home Jones attempted to break into. Sheriff Salazar has since expressed his belief that Jones was pretending to be armed, although he says that deputies on the scene are still asserting they saw a weapon on Jones, which led to their course of action.


John Aguilon, George Herrera, Jesse Arias and Johnny Longoria all shot at Jones, and they have since been placed on a five-day administrative leave as the situation is being sorted out. The department is going through available audio and limited video footage, as the only body camera on the scene was partially obstructed during the key moments in the confrontation.


The family of Prescott has mostly stayed out of the public eye so far following the loss of their six-year-old. Salazar mentioned that he has been a friend of Steve Prescott, Kameron’s grandfather, for over 20 years. Steve Prescott is a long-time member of the nearby San Antonio Police Department. Steve Prescott, on behalf of the rest of the Prescott family, did give a public statement asking for privacy during the investigation.

Murder-Suicide At Penn State Beaver Over Domestic Issues


52-year-old William Kelly has been identified as the man behind a murder-suicide on the campus of Penn State’s Beaver County affiliate on Wednesday, December 13. William Kelly reportedly shot his 49-year-old ex-wife Lesli Kelly with two handguns before pulling the trigger on himself. The attack was reported at 3:38 PM at the university’s food services building, which includes a student cafeteria.  However, it was later determined that the shooting happened outside, in the building’s parking lot. The police say that no students were affected by the shooting, and that the rest of the Kelly family is safe. In any case, at the time of the shooting, the university ordered an evacuation of the area and a dismissal of non-essential employees for the rest of the day.


According to State Police Lieutenant Eric Hermick, it is believed William Kelly arrived at the campus with the alibi of dropping off a Christmas present for Lesli, who was on her break during a shift at the food services building that afternoon. Lesli was reportedly waiting for William in a parked Subaru SUV, and William arrived in a similar-looking Chevrolet SUV. William approached Lesli with a wrapped present box before pulling out his weapons and committing the attack. Witnesses informed the police that there was some brief screaming and yelling before the shooting happened.


The Kellys had three children, who were staying with their relatives at the time of the shooting. The Kellys had recently gotten a divorce, and the police believe that this was “a domestic violence thing”, as Hermick put it. Lesli had filed several complaints to campus police in the past about William, although she failed to go through with a protection form abuse order. “We’re getting indications that there was domestic issues, child support issues,” Hermick elaborated. One of their children is an adult, but two are minors who were under shared custody, and police believe an argument over custody may have been a potential motive for the deadly dispute. This was initially a concern when the police found blood-stained documents inside the car, although it was later determined the children were safe.


As for the university, school chancellor Jenifer Cushman said that counseling would be available to students, facutly and staff. In the immediate, arrangements were also made for finals exams that were scheduled for the next day to be moved over to Friday. Campus authorities expressed some relief that the area was not as populated as it would usually be because of the winter break for many students.

Church Shooting Outside San Antonio Claims 26 Lives


On November 5, 2017, a 26-year-old man later identified as Devin Patrick Kelley entered a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, a Texas town just outside of San Antonio, and killed at least 26 people in the attack. The shooting began shortly after the Sunday morning service opened at 11 AM. Victims were of very varied backgrounds, from kindergarteners to the elderly. In addition to the 26 dead, the wounded also totaled in the 20s. Kelley died after being chased away from the area by armed locals.


According to police, it is believed Kelley was first spotted at a gas station across the street; he then proceeded to drive across towards the church. From there, he exited the car and began shooting from outside the church, but he quickly entered the church from the right side and continued firing bullets. He was wearing a ballistic vest and used a military styled rifle of the Ruger brand to carry out the attack in the rural location. He also carried multiple rounds of ammunition for the attack. Once Kelley exited, a neighbor fired at Kelley, although Kelley was able to enter his vehicle and flee. From there, several others began giving chase into the adjacent Guadalupe County, where Kelley crashed and passed away.


The FBI and the Texas Rangers are currently working in a joint investigation to determine what motives Kelley would have for the attack. Kelley was a former Air Force officer who lived in the Texas town of New Braunfels, where he grew up. He served the armed forces in New Mexico, but was court martialed in 2012 after being charged with assaulting his wife and child. The Air Force eventually discharged him in 2014 on the grounds of inappropriate conduct.


The first reaction from U.S. President Donald Trump, who was in the middle of his tour of Asia, came during a press conference in Japan, wherein he called the shooting a “mental health situation”, calling Kelley a “very deranged individual”. Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed his condolences and publicly asked for “God’s comfort, for God’s guidance and for God’s healing for all those who are suffering.”


The timing is eerie, as this Sutherland Springs shooting occurred on the eighth anniversary of the infamous Fort Hood shooting, where 13 people were killed at a Texan military base. Some have also drawn comparisons between this shooting and that perpetrated by Dylann Roof in a Charleston, South Carolina Episcopal church, although that was later determined to be fueled by white supremacist ideology, whereas the church targeted by Kelley has a Caucasian majority in its membership.

Killing of Two Baton Rouge Men Probably “Racially Motivated” According to Police


23-year-old Kenneth Gleason has been arrested and charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder after a string of what police called probably “racially motivated” attacks. 59-year-old Bruce Cofield, a homeless man, was shot by Gleason in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while 49-year-old Donald Smart was shot in a separate incident as he was walking to his workplace, a local cafe near Louisiana State University where Smart washed dishes. In both cases, it is believed that Gleason shot them from a car and then finished the job by getting out and firing subsequent bullets as the victims were already on the ground. In a third incident, police suspect he was responsible for shots fired at a home of an African-American family, although no one was injured in that particular incident.

Baton Rouge Interim Police Chief Jonny Dunnam talked about Gleason’s capture, essentially calling him dangerous and expressing his fear that, had Gleason not been captured, “[he] could have potentially created a tear in the fabric that holds this community together.” The Baton Rouge police specifically charged Gleason with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder, aggravated criminal damage to property and the illegal use of a firearm. According to East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore, the prosecution is aiming to have the death penalty brought upon Gleason for his crimes. Tensions are high in Baton Rouge since last year, where Baton Rouge resident Alton Sterling, a black man, was shot dead by police, which led to a retaliatory attack of three police officers two weeks later.

Gleason’s lawyer, Christopher Alexander, has released a statement denying guilt, while saying that they “look forward to complete vindication” as his case goes to court. Gleason had just left jail after posting bail for theft charges when he began his string of attacks. The 23-year-old, whose DNA was found on shell casings at the two major crime scenes, was later discovered to have literature on Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as well as a stash of cannabis. Despite what was found in his apartment, those who knew Gleason were surprised to find that Gleason committed these crimes, as most characterized him as a quiet individual who never really showed anger outwardly. Those who knew him intimately, including Matthew Drago, a former roommate of Gleason’s, did note that he occasionally displayed impulsive behavior. However, Drago also notes that, while his studies of the German language led to accumulation of German literature, Gleason was also a connoisseur of literature relating to Eastern and Buddhist philosophy. As for more recently, he was spotted shoplifting $30 worth of merchandise from a Target in Phoenix, Arizona, although those charges were dismissed. In the last couple of months, local Baton Rouge residents had spotted Gleason intermittently living out of his car, parked outside his parents’ house.

4 Year Old Shot – Virginia Man Arrested


In Opal, Virginia, a 26-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were arrested after being found guilty of child neglect. Isaiah Marshall Davis reportedly left a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old and a third toddler in a car by themselves as he and Destinie Rochelle Beach, the children’s mother, entered Quarles Truck Stop. The 2-year-old, who was a boy, was able to access a gun and shot the 4-year-old, who was a girl. The wound was in the girl’s upper body The situation was worsened by the fact that the adults did not look for medical treatment in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Instead, according to a clerk at the truck stop, the couple brought the bloodied child in and claimed she had been bitten by a dog. The clerk later witnessed Beach taking the girl to a bathroom with peroxide and bandages. However, they left the scene before authorities could arrive. Eventually, authorities  received a call asking for medical attention from a motel in Colonial Beach, Virginia, about 65 miles away from where the accident occurred; this was where police found the child. The child was later treated and released from the local hospital’s trauma center. The other two children were unharmed from the incident.


Davis in particular was charged with three counts of abuse and neglect of children, as well as reckless handling of a firearm and allowing access to a firearm by children. As to the latter charge, it should be noted that leaving any firearm unsecured so that it is accessible by a child 14 years of age or younger is illegal in the state of Virginia. The crimes were made worse by the fact that Davis is a convicted felon, which means that according to Virginia law he was not allowed to own a firearm. Davis is currently waiting for a trial at Northern Neck Regional Jail. Beach turned herself in later, and was charged with abuse and neglect of children, as well as possession/transport of a firearm by a non-violent felon.


In the press release announcing Davis’ arrest, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office expressed a strong encouragement to the local community to keep their firearms safe at home and in transport. In fact, the Sheriff’s Office has offered to provide cable locks if requested by local residents via their administrative phone line. Other organizations that support child gun safety recommend keeping firearms unloaded and stored in a proper storage case. Gun locking devices are also available, and some gun owners go as far as to disassemble firearms and keep the parts in separate locations during transport.

Escambia County Gang Violence Rising


After the death of a 22-year-old gang member in a case of friendly fire in Pensacola, Florida in June, a spotlight has been put on the increase in gang violence in Escambia County, the northwestern-most area of the state of Florida. Juston Donson was shot in the head after he and four of his friends confronted an 18-year-old male who had threatened Donson with a gun earlier that night. The 18-year-old, who had been arrested in the month prior to this incident due to illegal carrying of a concealed weapon, holed himself up in his home for hours after the shooting out of fear. Meanwhile, the four friends of Donson were later charged with murder.

According to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, a majority of the violent crimes that take place in the county are gang-related. “Whether it’s a petty theft at Walmart… or whether it’s a gang-motivated crime… one gang member shooting a rival gang member… one way or another we can relate 80 percent of the crime in this county to gangs,” Sergeant Jon Pinney says. Local authorities say that the gang system in the community is fairly disorganized compared to national networks, which explains the higher frequency of friendly fire incidents such as that which claimed the life of Donson. This also results in more gruesome outliers, such as rape and kidnapping, due to not having to run ideas through a hierarchy as is commonly done in larger gang networks such as the Bloods and the Crips. It doesn’t help matters that the size of these loosely organized gangs has greatly increased in northern Florida, from 161 gangs and 565 members in 2010 to 201 gangs and 1472 members in 2013. Specifically, in Pensacola, an estimated 20 gangs are currently active, although because of their size they only make up a negligible percentage of the local prison population.

The situation in Escambia County is further exacerbated by the lack of qualified personnel to handle gang-related violence. Only three investigators are assigned to the Sheriff’s Office gang unit, which has been an official division of the department since 2014. The unit is charged with handling these sorts of issues, the highest frequency crime dealt with being illegal possession of firearms. Prevention, which is also a goal of the county police department, is made more difficult by the fact that younger members in disorganized gangs have less fear of arrest and a stronger desire to prove themselves. Pinney says that he’s found that gang initiations have begun as early as 11 years old, usually involving breaking into cars and homes. Gang members as young as 13 years old have been captured with illegal firearms. Currently, the strategy taken by the gang unit is to pursue stricter punishments and hoping that being a member of a gang ceases to be a source of pride in the community.

15 shootings in Chicago over 11-hour span


Over the course of the night of Wednesday, August 30th, 13 people were shot in Chicago over an 11-hour span. That death toll included two triple shootings on the West Side of the city. This is not an uncommon number for Chicago unfortunately, as similar headlines are published by The Chicago Tribune and other local newspapers frequently. For example, on July 9th, 15 people were injured and two killed in a six-hour span. More recently, the weekend of August 18th, which saw 63 shootings and eight dead, was called the worst weekend since Independence Day weekend, which saw 102 people shot.

Compared to those weekends, this Wednesday was relatively tame, with only one man dead during this stretch of violence. A man in his late 40s was found dead in a vacant residential lot in Morgan Park around 5 AM on Thursday. His body had several bullet wounds and officials declared him dead at the scene.

The two triple shootings on Wednesday night did not result in such a morbid ending. The first one occurred at 7:35 PM in the Austin neighborhood. Whoever began the shooting walked up to the front of a home and began the firefight. By the end of it, the worst damage was done to a 37-year-old man, who was shot in the face and was last reported in serious condition. A 51-year-old male got shot in the knee and has since been stabilized, while a 65-year-old male was grazed in the abdomen but did not feel the need to be taken to a hospital.

The other triple shooting of the night occurred at 11:30 PM in Lawndale, with a 38-year-old male shot in the left shoulder, a different 38-year-old male shot in the right arm, and a 33-year-old male shot in the right foot. All three were able to reach stable condition after a trip to the hospital. Since then, police have tried to ascertain why the shooting occurred, but none of these men have been cooperative with the investigation at last report.

One of the more worrying shootings happened in the Pilsen neighborhood, where a 41-year-old male was wounded around 1 AM on Thursday. A woman reported the shooting after she woke up to the gunfire. As she waited for police to arrive, she reportedly gave the victim a glass of water to keep him conscious. Paramedics arrived and took him away on a stretcher. Due to getting shot in the chest, he is currently in serious condition. A similarly troubling incident occurred in Englewood, where a 60-year-old man who was walking home at 6:20 PM was shot in the leg after a van pulled up alongside the victim. The 60-year-old has since been stabilized.

While the major shootings involved older males, there were several youths affected in the night of violence as well. An 18-year-old man in South Austin was shot in the abdomen at 9:20 PM after a hand-to-hand struggle; he is currently in stable condition. Meanwhile, a 22-year-old man in Lawndale was grazed in the left hand. His shooter is currently suspected to have perpetrated the crime in a drive-by.

Two Months On, “Campus Carry” Goes Off in Georgia Without a Hitch



Updated 8/28/17

Original story posted 7/2/17

A new “campus carry” bill became valid as of July 1st in the state of Georgia, and while the law was expected to cause some level of controversy, university students seem to have accepted the new law for the most part. For example, a forum organized by Augusta University on Tuesday, August 29th to discuss the new law was only attended by one person. In the wake of that news, the university’s chief of police James C. Lyon noted that he actually hasn’t fielded a single call from fears concerning the new bill, despite initial worries that it would cause controversy.

Georgia House Bill 280 allows people to carry a concealed weapon at public colleges and universities in the state. The bill requires that only those with a state weapons license can carry, and the state emphasized that to acquire a license, you still need to be older than 21, submit your fingerprints and pass a background check. The bill also prohibits concealed weapons from being carried into athletic venues, student housing, faculty offices and areas where high school students are present. With regard to the athletic venue prohibition, due to the popular football atmosphere in the state, the bill allows for concealed carry to happen in venue parking lots, as the practice of tailgating is especially common in the state.

While the bill didn’t generate much public grassroots actions, you can find supporters and critics among the individuals. For example, Earl Kang, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, says that there has always been a concern over someone breaking the law in a campus setting, so “campus carry will give us an opportunity to defend ourselves if necessary.” Betty Leigh Miller, a parent of a university student, also supports the bill, defining her position as such: “In the world we’re living in and everything that’s happening right now, the more people that can stop things from happening the better.” On the other side of the aisle, parent Nag Bondada expressed their worry succinctly: “It’s a distraction. You came here for learning, not for carrying arms, right?”

The main point of debate over the bill has centered around whether campus police could be trusted enough to stop a threat on their own. Despite this new allowance for civilian students to carry a weapon, campus police departments are doing their part to educate for the purpose of avoiding misunderstandings in the future. Chief Lyon says that Augusta University is developing a training program for their students and staff in the near future in order to get them more familiar with how to use their weapons properly and how to react to someone who has a concealed weapon on them. Augusta University Dean of Student Life Scott Wallace notes that the administration is modeling most of its policy on the ones implemented by universities in Texas and Colorado, who also have campus carry laws. “Other states have done this. We’re not trailblazers, in the state of Georgia, for this topic,” Wallace concedes.

Two Teens Killed in Montgomery County Day Before Graduation


Montgomery County, Maryland police have arrested and charged three Hispanic males with the murder of two local teenagers. 17-year-old Shadi Adi Najjar and 18-year-old Artem Ziberov were shot the night before their high school graduation as they found themselves in a parked car in Montgomery Village. One teen was shot 10 times and the other four times, although the police did not specify which victim was which in that statistic.

The men charged were later identified as 19-year-old Roger Garcia, 24-year-old Edgar Garcia-Gaona and 25-year-old Jose Canales-Yanez. All three were charged with two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. According to Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger, it is believed that Najjar may have robbed the girlfriend of Canales-Yanez in December of last year. The girlfriend claimed in a police report that a blue Honda Civic approached her as she was walking and forcibly removed her iPad from her hands. Therefore, it’s possible that this killing was retaliatory in nature. As for Ziberov, they are still trying to determine whether he was also involved in the previous incident or if this was just a case of being “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, as Manger put it.  According to a police report, one person with knowledge of the situation said that they were together in a trip to sell graduation tickets to Garcia; Garcia later claimed to not even know who Najjar or Ziberov were and the he attends Northwest High School, the same school Najjar and Ziberoy were graduating from. After the fact, police found that ammunition similar to that found on the crime scene was scattered across the residence of Garcia-Gaona, who lives in Gaithersburg.

Despite this story, Adi Najjar, father of Shadi Adi Najjar, has been vocal calling this version a “big lie”. “He is such a sweet person. Loving, lovable person. He would never try to harm anybody,” is how he responded to the allegations that Shadi Adi Najjar was involved in a robbery. The theory that the father has been espousing was that this was random gang violence. “I know there is more than three because I believe this is a gang… I believe this is a gang and there’s a lot to the story than we know,” Adi Najjar said. He speculated that it could’ve been a situation where they were trying to recruit his son into the gang and he refused. Police are still investigating to confirm motives.

The day after the murder, Northwest High School in Germantown held a moment of silence for Najjar and Ziberoy before the graduation ceremony. The diplomas the two would have received at the ceremony were delivered to their respective families.

North Lake College gunman was stalking the woman he killed


A fatal shooting of a 20 year old named Janeera Nickol Gonzalez occurred at a Irving school.  The shooter was a man that had been stalking her and the school immediately went into a lockdown.  The body of the shooter, a 21 year old named Adrian Victor Torres, was discovered with after he committed suicide.  The mother of Gonzalez stated that her daughter knew her stalker but never perceived him as a threat.  There were no signs of the two of them dating or even having a friendship.  It is alleged that the shooter stated, “You know who I am, and you know why I am here” before shooting and killing Gonzalez.

North Lake College immediately went into a lockdown after the situation occurred, warning everyone to stay away from campus if not local and to go to the nearest room if they were in fact already on campus.  Multiple schools in the local area also went into a lockdown.  Students on campus that witnessed this tragic event stated that they saw a man place a girl in a chair and then shot her three times.  Apparently, there were no screams or any attempt of a fight.

North Lake College remained closed the rest of the day and grief counselors were available to anyone who felt they needed help after the horrific situation.  Dallas County Community College District Chancellor Joe May made a grieving statement saying, “Now we must move forward as a community to console each other and to help one another during this difficult time.”  The college is now open and functioning again.