Thursday, March 31, 2011

***UPDATE*** Two dead, two hurt, in shooting near Sable and Mississippi

Aurora police officers investigate a shooting 
Thursday afternoon on the 900 block of South 
Dearborn Way in Aurora. Click to enlarge.
AURORA | Two people were killed and two wounded in a shooting Thursday afternoon at an Aurora apartment, police said. 

The shooting happened around 2:50 p.m. at an apartment in the 900 block of South Dearborn Way. 

Channel 7 in Denver reported two victims had died.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether a suspect was in custody or what condition the two surviving victims were in. 

Bonnie Stokes, 71, who lives in a nearby apartment complex, said she went outside to see what the commotion was and saw a police officer rushed to the third floor of a yellow apartment building. Seconds later, the officer came out of the apartment carrying a girl who appeared to be about three years old, Stokes said. 

For more on this developing story, click here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bizarre twist in fatal 'auto/ped' **UPDATE**

AURORA | A man killed in a car accident Wednesday was not a pedestrian as investigators initially believed, but was a passenger in the Chevrolet Impala involved in the crash, police said Wednesday. 

The crash happened around 10 p.m. near East Kentucky Avenue and South Buckley Road. 

Police said a 2010 silver Impala was headed south on Buckley when the driver drove onto the sidewalk on the west side of the street a short distance north of Kentucky. 

At the intersection, the car slammed into light pole, police said. 
Police at first believed that Faison Eriven, 19, of Denver, was standing near the light pole and was struck by the Impala. 

But Wednesday morning, police said Eriven was actually in the car’s back seat at the time of the crash and was ejected in the crash. 

After the impact the driver, Alufundi Jolaoso, 21, of Aurora, and another passenger, Tulanda Fuka, 22, of Aurora, fled the scene, police said. 

Schools discuss Mangino; APS bars press

Michael Mangino
AURORA | Aurora Public Schools officials barred the press Tuesday from a public meeting about a DARE officer arrested on charges he forced a 15-year-old runaway to take sexually explicit pictures of herself.
It appeared only a handful of parents and concerned residents attended the meeting about Aurora police Officer Michael Mangino, who was arrested on multiple felony charges Monday.
Mangino, who is on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the investigation, worked as a DARE officer at six local elementary schools, including four APS schools, one private school and one in Cherry Creek Schools.
APS Superintendent John Barry refused to talk to the press after Tuesday’s meeting at the APS Professional Learning and Conference Center — leaving through a side door and hustling to a nearby administration building without answering questions.
He issued a statement later that said: “We wanted an environment that was comfortable for parents and staff to ask questions and share concerns. We held this meeting with a preponderance of caution to ensure that anyone who had information about Officer Mangino would have the opportunity to share their thoughts freely.”
Mary Lewis, an APS school board member, said the decision to bar the press was Barry’s, not the school board’s. She ran from reporters to her SUV without discussing the matter further Tuesday.
Cherry Creek Schools, however, hosted a similar meeting Tuesday about Mangino and allowed the press to attend. Aurora Police Commander Jack DaLuz addressed about 12 parents and students at Eastridge Elementary School, the only Cherry Creek school where Mangino worked as a DARE officer. DaLuz, who was joined by district staff and Eastridge teachers, encouraged parents to call the department with any additional information about the case. He said the charges against Mangino, who many considered an “icon” in the department, came as a shock to the entire police force.
For the full story, click here.

Pedestrian killed Tuesday night

AURORA | A man was killed Tuesday night after a car drover on a sidewalk and slammed into him, police said. 

The crash happened around 10 p.m. near East Kentucky Avenue and South Buckley Road. 

Police said a 2010 silver Chevrolet Impala was headed south on Buckley when the driver drove onto the sidewalk on the west side of the street a short distance north of Kentucky. 

At the intersection, the car slammed into the pedestrian and a light pole. 

Two men fled from the Impala and one, who police say was the driver, was arrested a short time late in a nearby neighborhood. Despite an extensive search, police could not find the second man last night.

The pedestrian was taken to a local hospital where he later died. 

Police said traffic investigators are working to determine what caused the accident and said it will take several days to determine exactly what happened.

Names of the people involved have not been released. 

The crash is the second fatal crash involving a pedestrian in Aurora in as many days. A woman was struck by an SUV Tuesday morning at East Iliff Avenue and South Havana Street. Her name has not been released. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CBI searches homes in gambling case

AURORA | State investigators searched three metro area homes Tuesday, including one in Aurora, as part of an investigation into an illegal gambling operation, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation spokesman said.

Lance Clem, a spokesman for CBI, said investigators served searched warrants on the three homes Tuesday. 

The investigation involves an illegal gambling operation, Clem said, but investigators are not yet saying what kind of betting the operation involved. 

Clem said nobody has been arrested in connection with the case, but he said a grand jury could hand down indictments based on some of Tuesday’s searches. 

The three homes searched included one in Denver, one in Parker and one in Aurora. The Aurora home is in the 700 block of Scranton Court, Clem said. 

There could be additional searches in the near future, Clem said. 

Fire investigation continues

AURORA | Police and fire investigators continue to investigate an apartment fire that left a woman dead and 11 people injured early Saturday morning, a fire department spokesman said Tuesday. 

Capt. Al Robnett, a spokesman for Aurora fire, said investigators have not yet determined what started the fire at the Aspenwood Apartments near East Sixth Avenue and Potomac Street. 

Karen Dias, 66, died from injuries she sustained in a fall from an upper floor during the fire, according to the Arapahoe County coroner’s office. The coroner’s office said Dias’ manner death won’t be determined until fire and police officials complete their investigation. 

The other people injured in the fire are expected to survive.

Woman struck by SUV, killed

AURORA | A woman was struck by an SUV and killed Tuesday morning, police said.
The crash happened at South Havana Street and East Iliff Avenue. 

Police said a white Chevrolet Blazer was headed north on Havana with the green light at Iliff when it hit the woman, who was apparently in the intersection.

The driver of the SUV didn’t see the woman until just before impact, police said.
Names of the driver and the woman have not been released.

Police said it didn’t appear drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Aurora cop charged with sex crime

Michael Mangino
AURORA | A veteran Aurora police officer is facing several felony charges after investigators say he took sexually explicit pictures of a 15-year-old runaway he arrested. 

Officer Michael Mangino, 51, is charged with sexual exploitation of a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, both felonies. The 29-year APD veteran also faces a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct. 

Mangino, who worked as a DARE officer as well as a police area representative in northwest Aurora, turned himself in to the Adams County Jail on Monday and was released on a $20,000 bond. 

The incident involving the 15-year-old girl happened in early March and Mangino was placed on paid administrative leave March 17, Aurora police Chief Dan Oates said at a press conference Monday. 

When Mangino was arrested on criminal charges Monday, he was placed on unpaid leave, Oates said. 

Click below for the release from APD.

New leader at FBI Denver office

James Yacone

AURORA | The FBI’s Denver office has a new boss. 

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller named James F. Yacone as the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Denver Division, the FBI announced Monday. 

Yacone replaces James Davis who recently left the agency to serve as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

“I am honored by my appointment as the Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Division. I look forward to furthering the FBI’s long standing relationships with the communities throughout Colorado and Wyoming, and working with our local, state, tribal, and federal partners to investigate and resolve national security and criminal threats,” Yacone said in a statement announcing the appointment.

Before taking over the Denver office, Yacone, a United States Army veteran, served as a section chief in the Critical Incident Response Group, which involved direct management and oversight of the FBI’s national tactical program, crisis negotiation program and a variety of mobility and crisis response assets, the FBI said in the statement. 

Click below for the FBI statement. 

A few answers on photo red

Photo by Heather L. Smith

AURORA | After our photo red light story ran last week, I got a call from a reader wondering whether the machines worked on cars without a front license plate or with a temporary tag. 

I checked the APD web site and it sounds like the machines photograph the rear plate, so a missing front plate wouldn’t matter. 

As for the temporary tags, police emailed this morning and said even with a temporary plate, police are able to track it to the owner. It sounds like it just takes a bit more time for police to track down those owners than it does with a standard plate. 

Anyway, if you haven’t seen the story from last week, or the video by Heather L. Smith that we posted with it Friday afternoon, click this link to see it. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Denver shooting victim from Aurora

AURORA | A woman killed in an east Denver double slaying last week was from Aurora, the Denver Medical Examiner said Friday. 
Cherise Houston, 25, died of a gunshot wound to the head, the medical examiner said.
Amara Kamoh Sayon, 22, of Denver, also died of a gunshot wound in the March 23 shootings in an apartment at 900 S. Quince St.

Two men and another woman were also wounded in the shootings, Denver police said.

According to a statement from Denver police, two black men went to the apartment that night and one of them got into an altercation with a man there. During the altercation, at least one of the two men pulled out a pistol and shot the victims.

Police said the suspects fled the scene in a dark colored car.

Police are asking anyone with information about the shootings to call 720-913-2000 or Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fire leaves one dead, 11 hurt

AURORA | One woman was killed and 11 hurt in an early Saturday morning fire near East Sixth Avenue and Potomac Street, according to a Channel 7 report
The fire started around 5 a.m. in the Aspenwood Apartments, 572 Potomac Ave.
Witnesses told 7NEWS the deceased woman died after either jumping or falling from an upper level balcony while trying to escape the blaze.

Aurora firefighters said they transported eight people from the complex, including one who suffered critical injuries.

Three Aurora police officers were injured. A spokesman said the injuries were minor and that the officers drove themselves to an area hospital.

The fire began on the first floor of the complex near the inner courtyard. Capt. Allen Robnett, a spokesman for Aurora fire said 12 apartments were damaged in the blaze.

Robnett said the cause of the fire is under investigation

Thursday, March 24, 2011

St. Pat's crackdown nabs 682 DUI suspects

AURORA | Police around the state nabbed 682 suspected drunk drivers over the eight-day St. Patrick’s Day, including 18 in Aurora, state officials announced Thursday. 

During the crackdown, which started March 11 and ended March 18, five people died in car accidents, but Colorado State Patrol said none of those crashes appeared to be alcohol related. 

“As we head into the spring and summer months, we will be increasing DUI enforcement again. Don’t make the mistake these 682 Colorado drivers made last week,” Colonel James Wolfinbarger, chief of State Patrol said in a statement announcing the results. 

During the same crackdown last year, which lasted police around the state nabbed 686 suspected drunk drivers over a seven-day period, including  39 in Aurora. 

Click below for the release from CSP.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cops ID suspects in recent shootings

AURORA | Police this afternoon released the names of four people involved in two separate officer-involved shootings.

Aaron Williams, 20, was killed by officers last week after police say he shot an officer and barricaded himself inside a family’s apartment near East Colfax Avenue and Elmira Street. 

Oleg Gidenko, 20, was killed by officers Sunday when police shot at a truck that police say may have been trying to run down officers. Two other passengers in the truck, Yevgeniy Straystar, 18, and Ruslan Giriyev, were wounded and police said they will face charges. 

Click below for the APD press releases on the two incidents.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

SWAT standoff on Clinton Street

AURORA | SWAT officers are negotiating with an armed suspect who is holed up in an apartment on Clinton Street. 

The incident started around 5 p.m. when police tried to serve a felony warrant on a suspect in the 1900 block of Dallas Street, a police department spokeswoman said. 

The suspect ran from officers and was later spotted going into an apartment in the 1400 block of Clinton, a few blocks away. 

The man has refused to come out of the apartment and a negotiator is talking to him, the spokeswoman said. 

Man gets probation in dog killing case

Dana VanLiew shows a picture
of her dog, Kaci. Photo by
Heather Smith.  Click to enlarge.

AURORA | A man who killed his neighbor’s dog with a high-powered pellet gun last spring was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay more than $4,750 in fines and restitution Tuesday morning.
A judge also gave Craig Deering, 69, a suspended six-month jail sentence and ordered him to complete 100 hours of community service and an anger management class for killing the dog, Kaci.
“This was a senseless and unnecessary act of cruelty,” Arapahoe County Judge Alex Bencze told Deering as he handed down the sentence, which matched the sentence local probation department officials recommended.
Kaci’s owner, Dana VanLiew, and her supporters, however, had asked for mandatory jail time.
VanLiew’s ex-husband, Steven VanLiew, called the sentence a disappointment.
“He got a slap on the wrist,” VanLiew said.
For the full story, click here

Fires banned in Arapahoe County

AURORA | Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson announced a ban on open burning Tuesday, saying fire conditions in unincorporated parts of the county are extremely dangerous. 

The ban includes any outdoor fire such as a camp fire, outdoor wood-burning stoves and prescribed burns of fence lines or debris. 

All unincorporated areas of the county, as well as Cherry Creek State Park, are included in the ban.

Gas and charcoal grills are not included in the ban, Robinson said in a statement Tuesday. 

Tuesday’s announcement comes as fire crews west of Denver battle a wildfire near Golden that has grown to more than 1,200 acres, according to reports. 

Violations of the ban can result in a $500 fine for the first offense, $750 for a second offense and $1,000 for a third offense.  

Click below for Robinson’s statement. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Deering sentencing set for Tuesday

Craig Deering

AURORA | A man who killed his neighbor’s dog last spring with a a high-powered pellet gun is set for sentencing Tuesday morning. 

Craig Deering, 69, was scheduled for sentencing early last month but a judge delayed the hearing until Tuesday so deering could undergo a psychological evaluation.

Deering pleaded guilty in January to animal cruelty for the May shooting death of his neighbor’s dog, Kaci.

Deering, 69, faces a sentence of up to 18 months in county jail on the misdemeanor animal cruelty charge. He could also be sentenced to probation. 

Before rescheduling the hearing last month, the judge heard about an hour of testimony from Deering’s supporters as well as Kaci’s owner, Dana VanLiew, and her supporters. 

VanLiew and her supporters asked for the maximum punishment allowed by law.

Deering and his supporters, however, said the dog had previously charged at him and cornered him in his yard.

Note: I plan to be in the courtroom for Tuesday's hearing and will post updates here and on the twitter feed. 

Third officer involved shooting in a week for APD

AURORA | Police shot two people, one fatally, after officers say a truck full of theft suspects tried to run them over late Sunday night. 

The incident in the 400 block of Laredo Street was the third time in a week Aurora police shot and killed a suspect. In the previous two incidents, one early Tuesday morning and one Friday, the suspects shot a police officer. Those officers are expected to survive, police said. 

An officer in Sunday's incident sustained a head injury, police said, and is expected to be released from the hospital Monday morning. 

Here is a link to Channel 7's story on Sunday's incident.

Click below for the APD release on the shooting.We should have follow-up stories on the shootings from Friday and Sunday later today.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Aurora woman faces federal prostitution charge

AURORA | An Aurora woman accused of running an interstate prostitution ring turned herself in this week, federal prosecutors said this morning. 

Michelle Schramm, 55, of Aurora, surrendered March 13, more than four months after a federal grand jury in Denver indicted her on prostitution and tax charges, according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office in Denver. 

Schramm also goes by the name Uk Chin Schramm, prosecutors said. 

Click below for the release from the US Attorney. 

Standoff ends with suspect dead

AURORA | A suspect who shot an Aurora police officer multiple times Thursday night was shot and killed Friday morning, ending a long, overnight-standoff in which a family of four was held hostage inside their own home.

The situation began Thursday as a traffic stop at Emporia and Dayton streets around 8:15 p.m.

While the police officer was approaching the red sedan, the gunman took off and the officer chased him into a nearby courtyard, said Aurora Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson.

The gunman shot the officer several times in the leg and the officer fired back. The officer was taken to the hospital and has since been released.

The gunman then ran into a ground-floor condo where a man, woman and their 4-year-old and 8-year-old children live, Carlson said.

Officers swarmed into the area looking for the gunman and eventually investigators were able to get him on the phone, Carlson said.

During the negotiations, the suspect indicated that he had a loaded gun and wasn’t going to surrender peacefully, Carlson said.

“He stated that he intended to engage the police. He stated that he intend to go out shooting,” Carlson said. “He made statements … that his intention was a shootout with the police.”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Man found dead was murdered, police say

AURORA | A man found dead Wednesday in a front yard near East Colfax Avenue and Havana Street was murdered, police said. 

Timothy Blackburn, 53, was found dead around 5 p.m. Wednesday in front of a home in the 10300 block of East 16th Avenue, a block northwest of Colfax and Havana. 

When police responded to the area on a report of a man laying in a yard, they found Blackburn suffering injuries. He was taken to an area hospital where he was later pronounced dead. 

Nobody has been arrested in connection with Blackburn's death. 

Police released a mug shot of Blackburn on wednesday in hopes that someone would recognize him and contact police. 

Blackburn went by the nicknames "Bird" and "Birdman," police said. 

Click below for the release from APD. 

Man arrested after standoff

An officer stands near Xanadu Street and
East 13th Avenue Thursday.

AURORA | SWAT officers arrested a possible carjacking suspect Thursday morning after he apparently barricaded himself in a stranger’s house after running from police. 

Eight area schools near East 13th Avenue and Potomac Street were placed on lock down as dozens of police officers, some armed with machine guns, set up a perimeter around the house near East 13th Place and Xanadu, a few blocks southwest of East Colfax Avenue and Potomac. 

Detective Bob Friel, a police department spokesman, declined to discuss details about the ongoing investigation Thursday morning, saying only that police were “looking for a particular individual who ran from us.”

According to police radio conversations, officers reported gunfire this morning as they searched for an carjacking suspect. 

Friel said police don’t believe anyone was injured in connection with the incident. He declined to confirm the case involved a carjacking. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Coroner ID's man killed in hostage incident

Daniel Garcia

AURORA | The Arapahoe County coroner’s office has identified a man killed during a hostage standoff Tuesday as Daniel Garcia, 25. 

An autopsy performed Wednesday showed Garcia died from multiple gunshot wounds, the coroner’s office said. 

According to state records, Garcia has been arrested several times before and was listed as a fugitive from the state prison system at the time of his death. A spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections said Wednesday that Garcia was a fugitive who had walked away from a halfway house, though it wasn't immediately clear when he walked away. 

In addition to Garcia, an Aurora police sergeant and a hostage were wounded by gunfire Tuesday but police said they are expected to survive. 

The incident started around 11 p.m. Monday night when Aurora police received a call about a man with a gun threatening a woman at a motel in the 14200 block of East Sixth Avenue, according to a statement from Aurora police.

As officers responded to the motel they received word that the people involved had driven to the nearby Cherry Grove apartment complex near East First Avenue and Sable Boulevard.

Police found the vehicle and received word that a gunman was inside holding two passengers against their will.

Officers surrounded the vehicle and called out the Aurora police SWAT Team to assist but before SWAT could move in, officers heard gunfire from the vehicle.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

**UPDATE** Hinkley lockdown lifted

AURORA | A lockdown at Hinkley High School was lifted Tuesday afternoon, though police said the search for a domestic violence suspect, which led to the lockdown, continued Tuesday evening. 

An Aurora police spokeswoman said the incident involved an armed man in the 1700 block of Blackhawk Street who assaulted a woman. Officers had spoken to the man on the phone Tuesday but had not yet been able to find him. 

The incident started around noon and police said SWAT officers were called out around 1 p.m.

The incident on Blackhawk happened more than a mile from Hinkley, but Aurora police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson said officials put the school on lockdown Tuesday afternoon because busses from Hinkley would be dropping students off near the scene. Students walking home from school would also be walking into the area, she said. 

It wasn’t immediately clear whether other schools were on lockdown as well or when the lockdown would end. 

As of 5 p.m. the lockdown had been lifted but police said they had not found the man, whose name and description was not released. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cops nab violent man wanted for months

Joseph Moron
AURORA | A man wanted since January on several domestic violence charges was arrested Sunday after his girlfriend told police he beat her, police said Monday.

Joseph Moron, 35, was arrested early Sunday morning at his girlfriend’s home in the 200 block of South Newark Circle, police said.

The girlfriend had gone to Aurora Police Headquarters earlier that morning and told officers that Moron had beat her the previous night. With the woman’s permission, officers searched the home and found Moron sleeping in a bedroom.

In addition to new charges of assault battery and menacing stemming from the alleged incident with his girlfriend, Moron also faces charges stemming from previous domestic violence incidents, police said. Those charges include stalking, kidnapping, felony assault, burglary and several counts of violating a protection order, police said.