M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Posts Tagged ‘msnbc-com

Police Blotter of the Century: For suspect, gun is a .38-caliber pain in the …

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Authorities believe Michael Ward concealed this .38-caliber revolver by hiding it where the sun don't shine. (WITN-TV)

A man pulled who was pulled over for a traffic violation in North Carolina was found this week with a gun in his jail cell — a big gun that authorities believe he hid in his rectum.

Deputies said the man — who claimed he was disabled and couldn’t walk — was searched and strip-searched both at a hosital and at the Onslow County, N.C., jail before he was placed into a holding cell. Jailers even made him perform what they call a “squat and cough” procedure.

No gun.

Only later did the .38-caliber revolver — 10 inches long, with a 4½-inch barrel — turn up.

Ward was taken back to the hospital Friday for examination of “possible injuries that may have occurred” to his rectum.

Full story (M. Alex Johnson/msnbc.com with WITN-TV and WNCN-TV)

Written by Alex

January 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Police Blotter of the Day: Suicide by crossbow? Police say it can’t be ruled out.

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A 53-year-old Michigan man was found dead Tuesday morning with an arrow in his chest.

The man, Chris Martin Allen, was found lying in the corner of a parking lot in Howell, about 30 miles east of Lansing. The arrow was protruding from the left of his chest, and a crossbow was found next to his body, police said.

The police report said investigators considered Allen’s death a homicide, but Police Chief George Basar told NBC station WILX of Lansing that suicide couldn’t be ruled out.

“It’s physically possible,” Basar said. “We have discussed that, and it’s physically possible.”

Full story (Alex Johnson/msnbc.com)

Written by Alex

January 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Michigan man may have intentionally infected hundreds with HIV

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Leon Hendrix of NBC station WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids, Mich., spoke to one of the possible victims.

Update: Smith’s attorney says he plans on “exploring all options” in defending Smith, saying specifically, “I am concerned about his mental health.”


Over at msnbc.com, I have the bizarre story of a Michigan man with HIV who’s been charged with sex crimes after he told police he intentonally set out to kill as many people as he could by having sex with them.

According to documents on file with Grand Rapids 61st District Court, Smith claimed to have had sex with “thousands” of partners, intending to kill them by infecting them with HIV. Some of those people are from outside the Grand Rapids area, including people Smith met over the Internet, he told police, according to documents.

Smith faces separate preliminary hearings on the two charges on Jan. 4 and Jan. 9. He remains in the Kent County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. Smith’s attorney did not answer calls seeking comment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alex

December 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Police Blotter of the Day: Bull shot to death after daring meat-plant escape

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Cross-posted from msnbc.com, where it originally appeared:

By M. Alex Johnson, msnbc.com

An animal control officer shot and killed a bull Thursday after it escaped on its way to a Maryland meat processing plant, charged a sheriff’s deputy and damaged a patrol car, authorities said.

The bull escaped Thursday morning in Mount Airy, Md., about 50 miles north of Washington, as it was being led from a truck into the plant, said Brian Horton, a spokesman for the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the sheriff’s incident report, the bull broke free, charged a bystander and ran off in the general direction of a day care center. Deputies followed him into a nearby field, where he then charged one of the deputies.

“Fearing for their safety, a deputy discharged two rounds from a shotgun, striking the bull, and causing him to retreat into a wooded area,” the report said. A county animal control officer then finished him off with two more shots.

Besides the bull, the only casualty was the taillight on a deputy’s cruiser, which the bull slammed into as he eluded attempts to corral him. The body of the bull — presumably no longer fit for human consumption as it was by then lead-contaminated — was released back to its owner.

Written by Alex

December 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Police Blotter of the Day: Thieves clean out Georgia church … during the service

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Pastor Mona Harper surveys the damage at Kingdom City Church in Stone Mountain, Ga.

Pastor Mona Harper surveys the damage at Kingdom City Church in Stone Mountain, Ga. (WXIA-TV)

Thieves tore apart the youth center of a Georgia church and made off with nearly everything they could — including a refrigerator, a stove, a microwave oven, broilers and the copper in the ceiling — while the congregation worshiped during Sunday services upstairs, the church’s pastor says.

“They stood on the chairs and took all the copper. They took our kitchen utensils,” said Mona Harper, pastor of Kingdom City Church in Stone Mountain, a suburb of Atlanta.

But then they went a step further, NBC station WXIA of Atlanta reported.

“They took crayons, magic markers and DVDs. They left the Bible and the Scrabble game, but they took the board games,” Harper said.

“Things that we use to get kids off the street, they just took it,” she said.

Full story and video (msnbc.com and NBC News)

Written by Alex

December 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Judge allows media to live-tweet Sandusky hearing

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Senior Judge John Cleland has reversed himself and says he will allow news organizations to report the preliminary hearing for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky  through Twitter, email and text messages.

Pennsylvania law bans “transmission of communications from the courtroom by telephone, radio, television, or advanced communication technology,” but at a hearing Monday requested by news organizations, Cleland appeared to carve out an exception for live electronic text reporting, deciding that the ban applied to “neither ‘tweeting’ or the simultaneous transmission of a reporter’s account or impression of events as they occur in the courtroom.”

The state rule is intended to bar “an audio and/or visual record” of events, Cleland ruled — not the actual reporting of the news.

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Written by Alex

December 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm

What do you report, and what don’t you report?

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Over at msnbc.com, I’ve written up the gruesome story of a sick person who has coldly and methodically dismembered at least six cats since October and left their remains on a Florida golf course.

The details of the story are horrifying, raising a serious question: How much is enough in a news story?

Here’s what I chose to report:

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Written by Alex

December 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm

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