Police respond to response time in hit-and-run


Holly Mosley on Throckmorton Street after being hit by hit-and-run driver

The question of police response time recently came into question after a driver hit a woman and her dog in the crosswalk at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, paused and then gunned his engine to escape rather than stop and render aid.

Det. Laura Martin said police respond to 911 calls in order of priority. The first priority, she said, are violent crimes in progress. Next are crimes in progress when no violence is involved, usually property crimes.

Police only initiate reports from a “complainant.” That person is the victim of a crime, unless that person is unable to make a police report. Somebody hospitalized and unconscious would be an example of a complainant unable to make a police report. In that case, police will interview witnesses to write a report or report from any available evidence.

The delay in police responding to the hit-and-run was communication, Martin said. While witness Josh Friedman was at Zephyr and would have been able to report the incident, police could only take a report from accident victim Holly Mosley. Friedman, who made the initial 911 call, told the 911 operator Mosley was at the vet with her dog and then needed medical attention herself.

Mosley made a 911 call from the vet, but police, working off the original call, were unsure if she’d still be there or, if she was done there, where she’d be seeking medical attention, so no officer was sent at that time. Martin called that a communication problem without blaming either side.

Martin said if someone wants to report a crime that is not in progress, the complainant should tell the 911 operator their exact location. She advised anyone who needs medical attention, to get that medical treatment first. A police report can be filed later.

Martin made it clear that she was not criticizing Mosley or Friedman. Martin said the calls have been reviewed already to make sure the best service can be provided by 911 operators. Martin thanked Friedman for his concern about getting video of the incident to the police and said that was exactly the partnership  between business and the police that will make Oak Lawn safer. In addition to Friedman’s video, police are reviewing video from the newly installed police camera on Throckmorton at Cedar Springs that should have caught a direct shot of the car.

—  David Taffet

Oak Lawn to get 10 new police cams


A police camera will be placed at Cedar Springs Road at Oak Lawn Avenue.

According to a memo issued by City Manager A. C. Gonzalez, the Dallas Police Department will add 90 new cameras around the city, including 10 in Oak Lawn. DPD already monitors 257 cameras around the city.

The memo notes that the locations for the new cams will be:

• Lemmon/Wycliff
• Lemmon/Douglas
• Lemmon/Oak Lawn
• Rawlins/Oak Lawn
• Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs
• Maple/Wycliff
• Maple/Kings
• Cedar Springs/Throckmorton
• Maple/Lucas
• Maple/Oak Lawn

Southern Oak Cliff will also get 10 cams in the Hampton/Kiest to Ledbetter neighborhoods.

—  David Taffet

UPDATE: Robbery and officer involved shooting at 4807 Maple

By6IMYzCIAECG7jThe DPD Beat Blog provided an update to the story I posted yesterday on the robbery and officer-involved shooting at 4807 Maple.

The suspect has been identified as Jimmy Cupples Jr. The officer involved is Ryan Walls, currently assigned to the Northwest Patrol Division and a Dallas police officer for two years, six months. Cupples admitted during this interview he robbed the business. He also stated that he was trying to force the officers to shoot him so that he could commit suicide by cop. He was charged with robbery.

According to the Dallas County Central Appraisal District, the property is a commercially-zoned property owned by the Maple C Partners Group. The center has three occupants as seen here:Screen shot 2014-10-03 at 11.52.56 AM

—  James Russell

Ongoing: robbery and officer involved shooting at 4807 Maple

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 2.19.34 PMA robbery at 4807 Maple yesterday lead to a struggle between two officers and an armed suspect who was ultimately taken into custody, according to the Dallas Police Department’s DPD Beat blog.

The suspect was discovered in a wooded area near the property. After the suspect refused orders to surrender, the officers went deeper onto the property in an attempt to make an arrest. One of the officers fired at the suspect but did not hit him after the suspect appeared to reach for a weapon.

Officers were able to subdue the man and take him into custody by using a taser and physical contact. No officers were injured. A handgun has been recovered.

—  James Russell

DPD seeks help in identifying suspects in Cedar Springs ATM kidnapping


Dallas police are asking the public for help in identifying two suspects who kidnapped and robbed a 43-year-old man at gunpoint on Monday.

The man was kidnapped while using an ATM in the 3900 Cedar Springs Road, according to a press release from Dallas police. He was bound with duct tape and driven to locations in Dallas and Irving and forced to give his PIN to his captives before he was dumped in Irving.

The two suspects are described as a Hispanic woman wearing a light-colored shirt and a Hispanic man wearing a dark blue shirt with light-colored shorts. He is approximately 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 185 pounds. The type of vehicle is unknown.

Anyone with information on the identity of these suspects can contact Detective Scoggins of the Crimes Against Persons Robbery Unit at 214-671-3658 or 214-671-3584.

—  Dallasvoice

Violent crime falls 13% in Oak Lawn hotspot

But jumps in vehicle burglaries, auto thefts fuel overall increase in 2011 for Maple-Wycliff TAAG


Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin

JOHN WRIGHT  |  Senior Political Writer
Violent crime fell roughly 13 percent last year in the 1-square-mile hotspot that encompasses the Cedar Springs entertainment district and most of the Oak Lawn gayborhood, according to statistics provided by the Dallas Police Department this week.

However, the number of nonviolent offenses jumped 7 percent in the area —including significant spikes in vehicle burglaries and auto thefts — leading to a 4 percent increase in overall crime.

The Maple-Wycliff Target Area Action Grid, previously known as the Cedar Springs Wycliff TAAG, stretches generally from Maple Avenue to Lemmon Avenue, and from Oak Lawn Avenue to Kings Road.

The area, identified by DPD as one of 27 crime hotspots citywide, recorded 108 violent offenses from Jan. 1 through Dec. 26 of 2011, down from 122 violent offenses during the same period in 2010. Statistics for the final five days of the year were not yet available this week.

The 2011 numbers put the Maple-Wycliff TAAG at No. 7 for violent crime on a list of the city’s worst hotspots. Three years ago, shortly after the hotspots were identified, the Maple-Wycliff TAAG climbed as high as No. 2 on the list.

“I think part of it is the general trend in Dallas and nationally, that crime has gone down,” said Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, whose district includes portions of the Maple-Wycliff TAAG. “I think the other part of it is the additional focus the city has placed on making safety a greater priority in that area.”

Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison for DPD, cited increased patrols, including plainclothes officers, as well as greater community involvement.

“The reason we have TAAG areas is they’re identified as high crime areas, so we address them with extra patrols,” Martin said. “Those areas where we have high crime get more attention, so it would stand to reason that crime would be reduced in those areas.”

Both Hunt and Martin also pointed to improved street lighting in the gayborhood, much of which was initiated by Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats’ Light Up Oak Lawn campaign.

Martin said even the Office Depot at 2929 Oak Lawn Ave. — where the parking lot has long been plagued by aggravated robberies — recently installed additional lighting.

“If you go over there on the weekend now it looks like Christmas,” Martin said. “I don’t believe we’ve had a problem since then at that location.”

The 12.5 percent decrease in violent crime in the Maple-Wycliff TAAG was part of an 8.8 percent reduction citywide — which marked the eighth straight annual decline, a record for Dallas.

The Dallas Morning News reported this week that murders dropped to a 44-year low in 2011, while total crime was down 39 percent over the last eight years.

Factors cited as contributing to the trend include the hiring of hundreds more police officers over the last few years, DPD’s strategy of hotspot policing and the large number of convicts who are behind bars.

However, despite increased attention from police, the news was not all good for the Maple-Wycliff TAAG. Statistics obtained by Dallas Voice show vehicle burglaries jumped 21 percent from 2010 to 2011, while auto thefts jumped 17 percent.

The Maple-Wycliff TAAG recorded 338 vehicle burglaries in 2011 — or an average of almost one per day — up from 280 in 2010.

Martin noted that the number of vehicle burglaries dropped sharply over the last month of 2011. She said this was after DPD made several arrests of burglars who had been very active in the area.

Martin advised people to park in well-lit, nonisolated areas, away from shadows and tree cover, and to lock their vehicles and set their alarms if they have them.

She also said people should take anything from their vehicles they can’t afford to lose, and hide everything else under a seat, or in the glove compartment or trunk.

But she warned people against hiding items after they’ve already parked, because she said criminals look for this.

“You don’t want people to observe you hiding things,” she said. “Make your vehicle a hard target. Burglary of a vehicle a lot of times is a crime of opportunity.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Murder suspect captured after Oak Lawn robbery

William Langrum

A suspect who was captured after committing an aggravated robbery in Oak Lawn last week is now charged with capital murder in the stabbing death of a Lake Highlands woman, according to Dallas police.

William Langrum, 27, was arrested Sept. 21 following a chase that began in the 2800 block of Douglas Avenue, when undercover officers observed Langrum and another suspect steal a bag of clothes from a victim at knifepoint. After eluding officers in their vehicle and on foot, Langrum and his accomplice, 18-year-old Jeremy Francis, were apprehended in the 7100 block of Lemmon Avenue.

Police say evidence recovered at the scene of the Douglas Avenue robbery linked Langrum to the murder of Shearl Bennett, who’d been fatally stabbed outside her Lake Highlands home about an hour before. Bennett was returning home from church at about 10:45 p.m. Sept. 21 when she was stabbed outside her car in the 9800 block of Royal Lane.

On Monday, detectives charged Langrum with capital murder in Bennett’s death. Both Langrum and Bennett also face charges of aggravated robbery and evading arrest in connection with the Douglas Avenue robbery.

“It was a good catch over in Oak Lawn,” said Laura Martin, DPD’s LGBT liaison officer. “We’ve had officers over there on special assignment a lot because we’ve been having issues with robberies.”

—  John Wright

Nearly 1 year after lesbian Lisa Stone vanished, case to be featured on CBS’ “48 Hours Mystery”

Sherry Henry

Thursday will mark 11 months since Dallas lesbian Lisa Stone’s unsolved disappearance. On Saturday at 9 p.m. Central time, CBS’ 48 Hours Mystery will air an hourlong episode about the case.

The 48 Hours episode, called “The Facebook Detectives,” will focus on Stone’s friends use of the social media site to keep the search for her alive. Watch a promo for the episode below.

The episode also includes an interview with Stone’s former partner, Sherry Henry, who is the only “person of interest” in her disappearance. Dallas police have long believed the then-52-year-old Stone met with foul play, but say they don’t have enough evidence to make an arrest.

Sgt. Eugene Reyes, of DPD’s special investigations unit, told Instant Tea today that he was surprised to hear about Henry’s interview with 48 Hours, given that she hasn’t been talking to other media or cooperating with police.

“We have nothing new, and some of the DNA tests that we were waiting for just didn’t pan out, so we’re back to square one with only one person of interest,” Reyes said. “Everything’s circumstantial. There are plenty of pointed fingers, but it’s not going to be enough to get a conviction. … Some of these cases go on forever and ever.”

Reyes said he hopes the 48 Hours episode leads to a break in the case, but he isn’t counting on it. The show’s producers have told him not to expect any major revelations, and he noted that a billboard advertising a $10,000 reward for information about Stone’s disappearance generated zero tips.

But Stone’s friends remain optimistic.

“We will find answers and justice for Lisa soon!” Tina Wiley declared on her Facebook page today, after announcing that she’s canceled her birthday plans so she can fly to New York this weekend.

Wiley said after the 48 Hours broadcast, she’ll appear on CBS’ Early Show this coming Monday. But first, Wiley will appear on the the Channel 11 News, at 10 o’clock tonight.

—  John Wright

No hate crime in Log Cabin assault

The assault of a Log Cabin Republicans member at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas last weekend — during which the suspect called the victim a “faggot” – won’t be classified as a hate crime for FBI reporting purposes, according to Laura Martin, the Dallas Police Department’s LGBT liaison officer.

Instant Tea reported Tuesday that even though the Log Cabin member opted not to press charges against the suspect, the assault could still be classified as a bias-motivated incident to the FBI, which is required to track hate crimes nationwide. However, Martin said DPD’s intelligence unit has chosen not to classify the incident as a hate crime because it doesn’t appear the assault was motivated by anti-gay bias.

Martin said the suspect’s use of the word “faggot” took place in the heat of an argument between two groups that had established contact earlier in the evening.

“There’s no obvious proof that it’s a hate crime, that the entire contact was based on the suspect’s hatred of gay people,” Martin said. “There’s just no evidence of it, and in fact the complainant [victim] agrees with that. … The complainant doesn’t believe that he was targeted simply because he’s gay.”

—  John Wright

UPDATE: Police release description of missing vehicle belonging to NE Dallas murder victim

Earlier we told you about the two men found dead in a burned Northeast Dallas apartment. Police are still not releasing the victims’ names because their bodies were so badly damaged in the fire that they’re waiting on the medical examiner to positively identify them. However, police have now released a description of the vehicle belonging to one of the victims, which is apparently missing. The vehicle is a silver, four-door 2002 Saturn L200, with a license number of 5CVDN. If you see it, call 911.

Again, police have confirmed that they believe the two victims were a gay couple, but they aren’t treating the murders as a hate crime. Police also say they don’t know the motive for the crime, prompting some to question how a hate crime can be ruled out. We posed this question to DPD Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse:

“Detectives will not elaborate at this time,” Janse told Instant Tea. “It may hamper the investigation.”

—  John Wright