Massive Apartment Fire Started By Man Cooking a Squirrel With a Blow Torch

Squirrel Eating Torch Fire Apartment

Hope he likes his squirrel well-done.

A fire that ravaged an apartment complex in Holland Township, Mich. reportedly started because a resident was a little clumsy with a propane blowtorch, which he was using to prepare a squirrel carcass for eating.

The blaze started at about 12:30 pm Wednesday, Michigan Live reports. The resident was on his third-floor patio, using the torch to singe the fur off the dead animal, when he accidentally ignited the deck.

The flames rapidly got out of control and spread to the roof, according to Wood TV. Ultimately, eight apartments were destroyed, several more sustained significant damage, and the roof of the apartment complex caved in.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the American Red Cross is providing assistance to the dozen families who have been left homeless.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Squirrel torched to eat; apts destroyed

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Funeral Director’s License Suspended After He Dismembers Body

Ellenberg Funeral Services on Highway 81 in Loganville closed down almost as quickly as it opened. It is now being reported that the owner, William B. Ellenger III, has had his licenses suspended following a series of bizarre incidents.

According to CBS Atlanta, Ellenberg, who also is the owner of Metro Embalming and Crematory in Conyers, had his license suspended after it was reported that he dismembered an 800-pound body in the Conyers location in order to fit it into the crematory. Conyers police investigated and reported it is not a crime to do so. Permission needs to be sought from the family first, though, and it is reported that Ellenberg did not do so.

Ellenberg appeared on a large billboard on Highway 78 in Loganville earlier in the year advertising the opening of Ellenberg Funeral Services in Loganville. However, it wasn’t open long before it was found to no longer be in operation. CBS Atlanta reports that Walton County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a suicide attempt by Ellenberg on Aug. 15 when he allegedly shot himself in the leg. He also is reported to have threatened the life of a former business partner.

Ellenberg’s license was suspended on Sept. 20, but he can appeal the ruling. Ellenberg told CBS Atlanta that his troubles are the result of a woman scorned – the former business partner with whom he reportedly had a relationship at one time.

 

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Fox airs Ariz. carjacker shooting self after chase

An Arizona carjacking suspect shot himself in the head as Fox News broadcast the end of a police chase west of Phoenix. Fox anchor Shep Smith apologized, saying, “We really messed up.”

Update at 5:46 p.m. ET: Fox’s executive vice president of news editorial, Michael Clemente, issued a statement, the Associated Press says.

“We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five second delay,” he said. “Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.”

KSAZ-TV, the Fox affiliate in Phoenix, was providing the live feed from its helicopter but was not broadcasting it locally.

Update at 4:54 p.m. ET: Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV reports that the suspect’s body is still lying in the field where he fell. Police still have not confirmed that he is dead.

Update at 4:20 p.m. ET: Here’s what some viewers tweeted afterward (h/t Poynter):

Geraldo Rivera: Oh man just watched that car chase kid
in Arizona shoot himself in the head. Sick to my stomach. Feel so sorry for my
brother Shep.

HuffPostMedia: WOW. Shep Smith just narrated the car chase suspect shooting himself in the head. ‘Get off it!’ he screamed, and cut to a commercial.

Michael van Poppel: Holy crap. The suspect just killed himself on live TV.

Tom Vear: Cannot believe i just watched a live car chase for an hour and then all
the sudden watched him shoot himself in the head.. Crazy.

Sabrina Guma: Thank you #FoxNews for showing a LIVE car chase where obviously a
mentally unstable man gets out of the car and shoots himself in the
head.

Amanda Palumbo: Just saw a guy shoot himself after a chase on a live feed. Shows how
careful you have to be with live television. Wow.

Update at 3:38 p.m. ET: Fox News anchor Shep Smith apologized for airing the shocking sight, saying, “We really messed up.”

“That didn’t belong on TV. I personally apologize to you that that happened. That will not happen again on my watch, and I am sorry.”

According to an account by Mediabistro, which has Smith’s full apology, viewers could hear the studio crew members gasp and Smith say, “Get off, get off, get off,” asking the control room to cut away.

After jumping out of the car, the suspect ran down a dirt road, put the gun to his head, then slumped to the ground.

Police have not identified the man or confirmed that he is dead.

Original post: An Arizona carjacking suspect shot himself in the head on live TV after a police chase near Phoenix, according to Fox News.

His condition is not known.

The suspect fired shots at pursuing officers along westbound Interstate 10. After exiting he drove along dirt road in the town of Salome, Fox reports.

Fox anchor Shep Smith was narrating the chase when the suspect shot himself. He shouted, “Get off it!” and cut to a commercial.

The suspect stole a red Dodge Caliber in Phoenix and led police on a high-speed chase that lasted about an hour.

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Man Displays Collapsed Nose Mug Shot From Cocaine Habit

A Bentley-driving millionaire property dealer with a “massive” cocaine addiction was jailed for five years for possessing a large amount of the drug and illegal handguns at a luxury West Wales hotel.

James “Jamie” Brown, 45, distinctive due a nose deformity caused by his cocaine use, was arrested by police last year in his Bentley Continental convertible near Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire.

James Brown

Craig Jones, prosecuting at Swansea Crown Court, said the officers found cocaine secreted in the car’s air vents and in its folding roof mechanism.

Dyfed Powys Police detectives then went to Hurst House Hotel in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, where Glasgow born Brown had based himself.

The hotel was once part-owned by TV star Neil Morrissey of Men Behaving Badly and Bob the Builder fame.

There the officers found a 9mm semi-automatic Walther PP1 pistol, similar to the gun used by fictional spy James Bond, and a Russian-produced 9mm Tula Tokarev emblazoned with a star symbol on its handle.

In East House Farm, a home connected to the hotel, the officers also found a rifle, some more ammunition and more cocaine.

Brown, who admitted possessing banned handguns, cocaine and ammunition, snorted so much cocaine on a daily basis it led to a severe deformity of his nose, paranoia and heart problems, the court heard.

Prosecutor Mr Jones added that 25 years ago Brown had been convicted of threatening a person in a London pub with a sawn-off shotgun but soon after he turned his life around.

He said: “The defendant, through property dealing, became very wealthy and at 36 retired to Portugal where he was introduced to cocaine.”

He said after Brown’s addiction spiralled out of control he hired his 42-year-old cousin Andrew Stewart, also originally from Glasgow, as a helper.

Stewart, of previous clean character, was jailed for 15 months yesterday after he also admitted possession of the illegal handguns at the hotel and ammunition plus a small amount of cocaine for his own use.

Stewart was arrested in a silver Ranger Rover owned by Brown at Pendine shortly after Brown was arrested and the cocaine was found beneath the vehicle’s seat.

A third defendant, Steven Pearce, 44, of Laugharne, who was in the Bentley with Brown when it was stopped by police and who lived at East House Farm where he did work for Hurst House hotel, was yesterday jailed for 12 months for possession of firearms and cocaine.

Father of two Pearce, a former Whitland RFC forward who later played professionally in England, had just one previous conviction more than 20 years ago, affray arising from a fight.

Judge Huw Davies accepted Pearce had kept a quantity of cocaine at East House Farm as a means of trying to limit Brown’s use of the drug and not for his own benefit.

He also accepted Pearce’s connection to the handguns had been due to the arrival of Brown at the hotel.

The judge said: “Brown manfully admitted the guns were his.”

Mr Jones said some time ago, a cousin of both Brown and Stewart was murdered by a four-strong gang in a hotel.

He said Brown “became paranoid” about his own safety and acquired the handguns.

Frances Jones, for Pearce, said: “In custody on remand over these offence in prison he has been diligent, hard working and respectful and that’s how he’ll behave in future, a likeable, well respected member of the community.”

John Hipkin, for Brown, said: “He developed a massive cocaine addiction funded by legitimate means.

“He has suffered health issues, some cosmetic and some, like his cardiac condition, threatening.

“He’ll never return to that form of lifestyle again.”

After yesterday’s fri sentencing the judge agreed to hand over some of the confiscated cocaine to Dyfed-Powys Police for training purposes instead of destroying it because it was so pure.

 

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Male Texas school official spanks teen girl

A Texas mother says a local school district is covering its own rear end by considering a policy change regarding corporal punishment after a male vice principal paddled her daughter so hard it left a nasty mark.

The district in Springtown, just outside of Fort Worth, allows corporal punishment, but only when doled out by a teacher or administrator of the same sex as the student. But when Taylor Santos, 15, allegedly let a classmate copy her homework, Vice Principal Kirt Shaw disciplined the girl with a large wooden paddle, which he swung with a violent, upward motion, according to the girl’s mom, Anna Jorgensen.

“She was telling me it was numb and that it burned,” Jorgensen said. “And it looked like a burn. She slept on her side that night. She was more humiliated and embarrassed than anything, but the more she and I thought about it, it wasn’t fair and I thought I needed to do something about it.”

But instead of reprimanding Shaw for the cross-gender blow, the district is considering doing away with the requirement of same-sex spanking. Springtown ISD Superintendent Mike Kelley told FoxNews.com that the district’s seven-member board will consider revising the policy at a meeting Monday evening.

“We’ll give the board the option to discuss it,” said Kelley, who declined to provide specifics of the Sept. 19 incident at Springtown High School.

Anna Jorgensen told FoxNews.com her daughter initially received two days of in-school suspension for allowing another student to copy her work. When she was offered the chance to take a paddling in lieu of the second day of suspension, she submitted.

“I really don’t think he had to hit her that hard.”

- Anna Jorgensen, mother

Shaw first had the girl call her mother to approve the punishment, which is required. Jorgensen said she agreed, but had no idea the whack would come from a man — or be so severe. Jorgensen said her daughter, a cross-country athlete who weighs just 95 pounds, was left with large, blistered wounds on her buttocks.

“I really don’t think he had to hit her that hard,” she said. “I’m not saying he went in to intentionally hurt my daughter, but intentional or not, it did happen.”

Kelley defended the use of corporal punishment in the school system.

“We only use corporal punishment if the parent or guardian requests it,” he said. “We have not deviated from that practice.”

Asked why a male official administered the punishment to a female student, in violation of district policy, Kelley replied: “If we’ve deviated from district policy, that will be corrected.”

Jorgensen said that if correcting the mistake means changing the policy, the district is just trying to “cover themselves.”

“If you’re going to have corporal punishment, the [same gender] policy should stand,” she said. “But it’s about the force and the fact that I knew the school policy before it happened.”

Jorgensen, who has two younger children, ages 14 and 6, said she no longer supports the use of corporal punishment in schools.

“There should be other ways for punishment,” she said. “Personally, I will never again allow any of my kids to receive corporal punishment. I will never allow it again.”

The punishment, Jorgensen said, was “not at all age appropriate” for a young teenage girl.

“It was completely wrong and I admit I was in poor judgment allowing her to do it,” she said. “I feel like my child has been abused. If I did it to my own kid, they [child protective services] would be at my house.”

Thirty-one states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have abolished corporal punishment in public schools. States like Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Wyoming and several others still allow it. In 2005-06 — the latest year for which data is available — less than 1 percent of students in districts that allow corporal punishment were spanked, according to Civil Rights Data Collection.

In 1976, more than 1.5 million public students were paddled according to reports submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, compared to 223,190 students in 2005-06. A year later, in 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that spanking or paddling by school is lawful where it had not been explicitly outlawed by local authorities.

Deb Sendek, program director for the Ohio-based Center for Effective Discipline (CED), said the district’s decision to reconsider how corporal punishment is administered rather than banning it altogether was “very, very disappointing,” especially since many districts in Texas have privately stopped its use.

“It’s not how we respond in work situations and we don’t say go over and hit your neighbor, so why do we in an institution where we are trying to teach children about the rights and wrongs about life?” Sendek told FoxNews.com.

Jorgensen will attend Monday’s meeting and hopes to get a chance to address the board members.

“I’m not after money,” she said when asked if she was considering legal action. “I’m after doing what’s right by the students.”

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Officer shoots, kills double amputee in wheelchair

HOUSTON –  A Houston police officer shot and killed a one-armed, one-legged man in a wheelchair Saturday inside a group home after police say the double amputee threatened the officer and aggressively waved a metal object that turned out to be a pen.

Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said the man cornered the officer in his wheelchair and was making threats while trying to stab the officer with the pen. At the time, the officer did not know what the metal object was that the man was waving, Silva said.

She said the man came “within inches to a foot” of the officer and did not follow instructions to calm down and remain still.

“Fearing for his partner’s safety and his own safety, he discharged his weapon,” Silva told The Associated Press.

Police did not immediately release the name of the man who was killed. They had been called to the home after a caretaker there called and reported that the man in wheelchair was causing a disturbance.

The owner of the group home, John Garcia, told the Houston Chronicle that the man had a history of mental illness and had been living at the house about 18 months. Garcia said the man had told him that he lost a leg above the knee and all of one arm when he was hit by a train.

“He sometimes would go off a bit, but you just ignore it,” Garcia told the newspaper.

Silva identified the officer as Matthew Jacob Marin, a five-year veteran of the department. He was immediately placed on three-day administrative leave, which is standard in all shootings involving officers.

Houston police records indicate that Marin also fatally shot a suspect in 2009. Investigators at the time said Marin came upon a man stabbing his neighbor to death at an apartment complex and opened fired when the suspect refused to drop the knife.

On Saturday, Marin and his partner arrived at the group home around 2:30 a.m. Silva said there were several people at the house at the time. The caretaker who called police waited on the porch while the officers went inside, she said.

“It was close quarters in the area of the house,” Silva said. “The officer was forced into an area where he had no way to get out.”

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Woman makes nephew ride in trunk of Lexus to protect seats

An Edina woman has been charged with child endangerment after she allegedly had her 11-year-old nephew ride in the trunk of her Lexus so he wouldn’t drip water on its leather seats.

According to the criminal complaint, Susan Marie McCarty, 38, was charged after she admitted that she had her nephew get into the trunk because he was damp from going on a water ride at Valleyfair.

On the afternoon of Aug. 23, witnesses in a parking lot at the Shakopee amusement park reported seeing a boy climb into the trunk while two women watched. Witnesses gave police the license number of the car, and after being stopped by officers, McCarty told them the back seat console had been folded down so the boy could get some air.

When he said he was getting hot, she said, air vents were aimed at the hole, which was about the size of a piece of paper. Temperatures that day were in the mid 80s.

McCarty said on Tuesday night that, halfway to her car in the Valleyfair parking lot, she realized that she didn’t have a towel for the boy. She said she would never purposely put her family in danger and was glad no one had been hurt. “I didn’t assess the situation,” McCarty said.

The boy, who had been dropped off at his home in Wayzata before police stopped his aunt, told police that he had gone on a water ride right before they left Valleyfair and that his aunt had wanted him to ride in the trunk because he was wet and that he didn’t want to question her. Despite the console being open and being able to fit his face in the opening, the boy said, he was still hot and would have rather sat in the back seat.

The boy’s 14-year-old sister told police that he had seemed excited about riding in the trunk. She said she and her grandmother had “somewhat of an uneasy feeling” about the boy riding in the trunk, but they, too, didn’t question her aunt.

If convicted, McCarty could face as much as a year in prison and $3,000 in fines.

 

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Chef slow cooked his wife’s body, dumped it out as kitchen waste

In a taped interview played in court Tuesday, a Southern California chef on trial for allegedly killing his wife told police he slow cooked her body then dumped it out as kitchen waste.

Dawn Viens disappeared in 2009 and police identified her husband David – the chef at the former Thyme Café in Torrance – as a prime suspect.

In 2011, investigators dug up the Thyme Café, which Dawn co-owned, searching for her body. But in a taped interview played Tuesday in court, David Viens seemed to tell police why her remains may never be found.

“I took some, some things like weights that we use and I put them on the top of her body, and I just slowly cooked it and I ended up cooking her for four days,” Viens said on tape.

Documents: Read David Viens’ Interview With Deputies

Viens claimed he argued with his wife, then bound her arms and feet and duct-taped her mouth shut. He said he panicked when he found her dead the next morning.

Viens claimed he stuffed his wife’s 105-pound body in a drum and disposed of the remains as if it was kitchen waste.

“I came up with the idea of cleaning the grease traps and commingling in the, the excess, the excess protein,” he could be heard saying on the tape.

David Viens told police he recovered Dawn’s skull and jawbone and hid them in his mother’s attic. Investigators say they never recovered any body parts.

 

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3-year-old boy found sitting alone in a store aisle at night

FORT PIERCE — The crying of a 3-year-old boy sitting alone in a store aisle at night finally attracted a clerk’s attention.

The toddler was so upset, he could only ask “where was his mommy,” according to a police report. He couldn’t remember his mother’s last name and a call over the store’s public address system drew no response. A search outside the Deal’s Dollar Tree, in the 400 block of Georgia Avenue, also was unsuccessful.

Finally an hour later, at 9:44 p.m. Tuesday, a gold-colored minivan drove up with the mother and grandmother as police were at the store. The mother “seemed confused when approached about the whereabouts of her child,” according to the police report. “She said she thought he was in the vehicle at the time she left the store.

“But couldn’t find him when they got home,” the report states.

Yet no one called 911, police said, and she allegedly couldn’t explain hourlong absence.

The child was turned over to the grandmother. The mother, Philleana Peak, 30, of 1200 block of Wyoming Drive, Fort Pierce, was arrested on charges of child neglect and possession of marijuana. She was in the St. Lucie County Jail in lieu of a $6,250 bail.

Police notified the Florida Department of Children and Families of the incident.

 

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Woman’s Body Snatched from Pleasantville Cemetery

Police are searching for the people responsible for stealing a woman’s body from a mausoleum at the Atlantic City Cemetery in Pleasantville last week.

Cemetery workers say the mausoleum’s door was pried open and that the coffin that housed the body of Pauline Spinelli was empty inside.

“The person who came here came with the tools necessary to break into that,” Pleasantville Police Captain Rocky Melendez told NBC10’s Ted Greenberg.

The empty coffin was discovered around on Friday, according to police.

They say the body was stolen sometime between Thursday night and early Friday.

“You gotta think…they took her out of the box and threw her in the back of their car with them,” Spinelli’s grandson Rocco told NBC10.

Spinelli was laid to rest inside the mausoleum with other family members in 1996. She was 98 years old when she died.

Police are working to determine if the theft of Spinelli’s body may be connected to two others in Middlesex County. In 2010, the body of a 2-year-old was stolen and in 2011, a 72-year-old Joseph Lamela’s body was taken, according to authorities

They’re also investigating the possibility that Spinelli’s remains were stolen for some sort of cult ritual.

“I don’t want to see someone desecrate her body — chop her up or make some sort of voodoo dust out of her,” said Rocco Spinelli.

He just wants the thieves to bring his grandmom back, or else…”grandmom is going to haunt them for rest of their lives.”

 

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