2013 Drug War Killings

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East Bay Cops Shoot, Kill Fleeing Drug Suspect

An Antioch, California man under surveillance for a drug warrant was shot and killed by police as he fled after the vehicle in which he was a passenger struck a police vehicle. Charles Burns, 21, becomes the 12th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, citing police sources, Concord police had a warrant for Burns' arrest for drug sales and were conducting surveillance on his Antioch home Friday evening when Burns came out of his home and got into a truck driven by another man.

As detectives "tried to contact" Burns, the driver of the truck "accelerated rapidly and rammed an occupied police vehicle," according to Concord Police Lt. Steve Dyer. Burns then ran from the truck. "Two officers, fearing for their safety, fired at the suspect, striking him," Dyer said.

Burns died at the scene. Police did not mention recovering any weapons, and since Burns had left the vehicle and was fleeing the scene, it is unclear why the officers claimed they feared for their safety. It is also unclear whether police were in uniform or plain clothes.

Perhaps answers will be forthcoming, if not from Antioch and Concord police investigations, possibly from a Contra Costa County district attorney's office review or a coroner's inquest.

Burns' father, a grief-stricken John Burns wasn't waiting for investigations. Police did not have to kill his son, who would have turned 22 on Mothers' Day, he told the Chronicle.

"They should be in prison," the elder Burns said through sobs and expletives, referring to the officers who opened fire. "I wish I knew what happened."

Antioch, CA
United States

Louisiana Man Swallows Drugs, Dies During Search

A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, man died last Thursday evening after apparently swallowing drugs as police executed a search warrant. Dontrunner Robinson, 32, becomes the 11th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

According to Baton Rouge's Fox 44 TV, citing Baton Rouge police, Baton Rouge narcotics detectives went to a Flag Street address to serve a search warrant. The police reported that "detectives noticed the subject was in distress and called for EMS."

Robinson was transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police said they believed he had swallowed crack cocaine.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office was contacted, and detectives from that office will investigate the death. But police said no foul play is suspected and detectives are awaiting autopsy results.

Baton Rouge, LA
United States

Missouri Man Killed After Firing at Police in Drug Raid

A Warrensburg, Missouri, man was shot and killed by police executing a drug search warrant last Thursday night. Beau Appleton, 57,becomes the 10th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

According to local media reports, members of the Warrensburg Police Department's Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) went to Appleton's home to serve a drug search warrant. He "apparently" fired a shotgun at the SERT team as its members entered the residence. Police then opened fire, killing Appleton.

No further details on the shooting were available. Police have not said whether any officers were injured in the incident.

Police said they seized drugs, drug paraphernalia, and firearms, but have not released more specific information.

While the extent of Appleton's criminal history isn't clear, records show he was arrested for drunk driving in Illinois in 2011 and again for driving without a drivers' license in Missouri in February.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating the shooting at the request of the Warrensburg Police.

Warrensburg , MO
United States

Police Kill Texas Woman Fleeing Drug Warrants

A police officer in the suburban Dallas community of Richardson, Texas, shot and killed a woman with outstanding drug arrest warrants as she fled from an attempted traffic stop Monday morning. Emily Krumrei, 32, becomes the 9th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

Emily Josephine Krumrei (Smith County SO)
According to the Dallas Morning News, citing Richardson police spokesperson Sgt. Kevin Perlich, an officer "was attempting to get a violator to pull over in a parking lot" for reasons that are yet unclear, but Krumrei fled in her Lexus. Shortly thereafter, an officer in a squad car saw her and attempted to stop her, but she refused to pull over.

Krumrei turned onto the southbound frontage road to the North Central Expressway. There, Perlich said, "a third officer near the frontage road was working a traffic accident. He stepped out into the road and tried to get her to stop." But instead, Perlich said, Krumrei accelerated and clipped the officer. "The officer, in fear for his life, fired upon the vehicle," Perlich said.

The Dallas NBC affiliate had a slightly, but significantly, different chronology of the shooting. According to NBC, the officer "fired at least one shot at the woman before being struck by the car."

In either case, the officer was not seriously injured or hospitalized.

Krumrei was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Perlich said an investigation into her death was ongoing, but "it's possible she wasn't stopping because she had several outstanding warrants for her arrests."

The Morning News reported that records show Krumrei had been indicted in Dallas County in April for possessing between one and four grams of cocaine, and that she also had outstanding felony drug warrants from Smith County, a hundred miles to the east.

Richardson, TX
United States

New Mexico Drug Squad Kills Fugitive at Motel 6

Police in New Mexico shot and killed a man they were trying to arrest on drug charges Monday. Artesia resident Wesley Davis, 35, becomes the 8th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

Wesley Davis (New Mexico DPS)
According to KRQE TV, citing police sources, agents with the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force went to arrest Davis on a felony drug warrant at the Motel 6 in Carlsbad. But "an altercation broke out when agents tried to arrest Davis, and he was shot twice."

He was transported to the Carlsbad hospital, where he died.

The initial reports made no mention of Davis being armed, nor did they provide any further information about the circumstances of his death.

The names of the police shooter or shooters have not been released. The killing is being investigated by the New Mexico State Police.

Carlsbad, NM
United States

Undercover Narc Kills Armed Michigan Teen

An undercover Michigan drug task force officer shot and killed a 17-year-old who pulled a weapon and tried to rob him Tuesday afternoon in Southfield, police said. Austin Ryan Thomas becomes the 7th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

According to the Detroit Free Press, citing police sources, an as yet unidentified Madison Heights police officer working with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) was working undercover during an investigation at an apartment complex in Southfield when the teenager pulled a weapon and tried to rob him.

"During the investigation a suspect pulled a weapon on one of the undercover NET officers and placed the weapon to the officer's head in an attempt to rob him," said Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe late Tuesday in a prepared statement.  "The officer pulled his gun and was able to fire shots that struck the suspect."

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said Wednesday that undercover agents had twice previously bought cocaine from Thomas. He added that Thomas had entered the undercover agent's unmarked vehicle and was seated in it when shot. The vehicle did not carry surveillance cameras because it was an unmarked vehicle, he said.

 Thomas was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead there. No officers or bystanders were hurt.

The NET task force is comprised of deputies and police officers from 13 Oakland County jurisdictions, along with DEA agents. The police shooter has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a review of the killing.

Southfield, MI
United States

Police Kill Oklahoma City Man in Convenience Store Drug Deal

An undercover police officer shot and killed an Oklahoma City man while attempting to arrest him after observing a suspected drug deal Friday. Marcus Dewayne Patterson, 35, becomes the sixth person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

According to the Oklahoman, relying on police accounts, Oklahoma City police were called to a convenience store about noon Friday because of reported "narcotics activity." Officers witnessed a drug deal, and three officers and a supervisor, all in plain clothes, drove unmarked police cars toward Patterson, who was in his car, according to Capt. Dexter Nelson.

Another plain clothes officer, Sgt. Charles Schamel, approached the vehicle on foot from the side and was struck by the car as Patterson attempted to flee the scene. As he rolled over the hood of the car, Schamel fired his weapon.

"That officer then fired on the man in the car, killing him," Nelson said. "A car can be used as a weapon anytime you are standing in front of a car and someone comes toward you."

Schamel was treated at the scene for bumps and bruises.

When investigators examined Patterson's body, they found a 9 mm hand gun tucked into his waistband, but police said he apparently never drew the weapon.

Two men in the car with Patterson were arrested at the scene and charged with felony murder. They got hit with that because police charged they were in the act of committing a felony when Patterson's killing took place.

Oklahoma City, OK
United States

Two Dead in Police Grow House Shootout in Miami

Two people are dead and one man is under arrest after a Miami-Dade Police investigation into a possible marijuana grow house Tuesday evening turned into a sustained gun battle. Dell Peter DiGiovanni, 50, and (presumably -- see below) Michael DiGiovanni, 28, become the 4th and 5th persons to die in US domestic drug law operations so far this year.

According to CBS 4 News in Miami, Miami-Dade Police went to a home shared by the DiGiovannis and 29-year-old Brian Hall around 7:00pm Tuesday as part of "a narcotics investigation" and were met by gunfire.

"As they approached the door the subjects inside the house opened fire on the detectives," said Miami-Dade police spokesman Det. Alvaro Zabaleta." They immediately returned fire and three of the subjects were able to flee on foot."

While Zabaleta described the officers as detectives, it is not clear if they were in plain clothes.

A shootout estimated at 30 minutes long then took place, during which the residence shared by the three men caught fire. Police were able to arrest Hall Tuesday night, but were unable to search the house that night because of the fire. A body believed to be that of Michael DiGiovanni was found inside the house Wednesday.

Then, Wednesday afternoon, police reported that they had found the body of Dell Peter DiGiovanni hanging from a tree in front of home in the neighborhood. They said he had apparently committed suicide.

Miami, FL
United States

Pregnant Oklahoma Woman Seeks Medical Treatment, Is Jailed Instead, Dies

A pregnant Oklahoma woman who went to a hospital seeking treatment for extreme pain was instead jailed after police found pain pills on her and died in jail shortly thereafter. Jamie Lynn Russell, 33, becomes the third person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

Pauls Valley General Hospital (pvgh.net)
According to KFOR-TV News Channel 4 in Oklahoma City, Russell went to the hospital in Pauls Valley seeking help for severe abdominal pain. Hospital staff reported that Russell wouldn't cooperate and was in too much pain to even lie down, so they asked a Paul's Valley police officer to assist.

And that's when Russell's medical emergency morphed into a drug bust. The police officer found two prescription pills on her for which she did not have a prescription, so she was arrested and jailed on drug possession charges. She was found unresponsive in her cell less than two hours later.

"There is nothing my staff in the jail could've done differently," Garvin County sheriff Larry Rhodes said. "She had a medical release from the hospital stating that she was fit for incarceration," Rhodes said. "It's very regrettable for the family. My heart and prayers go out to them."

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has cleared the jail staff of any criminal wrongdoing.

The state medical examiner's office later confirmed that Russell died from a ruptured ecoptic pregnancy, where the embryo implants outside the uterus.

Russell's friends and family are pointing the finger at the hospital. "Jamie was seeking help; she was in extreme pain," family friend Kemper Kimberlin told KFOR. "We want to see this come to light. Something's wrong and needs to be fixed."

It may take a civil wrongful death lawsuit to find out exactly what's wrong -- and how a hospital can turn a pain-tormented woman over to police to be jailed instead of treated.

Pauls Valley, OK
United States

Orlando Man is Year's Second Drug War Death

One of two men shot by Orlando police inside a home during a drug investigation last Wednesday night died the following day. Karvis Jabbar Gamble, 19, becomes the second person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement activities so far this year.

Police told WKMG TV that five people were in the home when officers knocked on the door and that two of them resisted.

"A subject sitting inside the front room immediately reached for a handgun, pulled it up and started pointing at the officers," said Orlando police sergeant Jim Young. "A second subject inside the house comes running out of a back room. He ignored all officers' commands. He began to reach into his waistband."

Two different police officers opened fire, each striking one of the men. The other man shot by police, Cordaryl Leojermane Wilson, 25, has been charged with possession of MDMA/Ecstasy, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia, and resisting arrest without violence.

Police said they recovered three guns, two of which were reported stolen, as well as drugs.

Neighbors told WKMG that they heard as many as five gunshots coming from the home. Relatives said it doubled as a studio for aspiring musicians.

Other witnesses told WKMG there were no guns or drugs at the house, and that police never identified themselves.

"All (the officer) did was open the door. They never said, 'OPD,' or nothing.  They just shot him," a man said.  "Who really would point a gun at the police? You know what's going to happen."

The two officers who shot their weapons will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a departmental investigation.

At this point, it is unclear whether police were uniformed or undercover and whether they were serving a search warrant or engaging in a "knock and talk" investigation.

Orlando, FL
United States

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