Subway owner takes gun away from armed robber

A man suspected of robbing a sandwich shop at gunpoint is now in jail thanks to DNA evidence he left behind.

Whitehall Police arrested Timothy Rogan, 31, on Wednesday in connection to the robbery at a Subway restaurant on Nov. 11.

Police say video taken by surveillance cameras shows Rogan point a gun at a worker at the restaurant while demanding cash. The victim is then seen wrestling the gun away from the suspect before he runs off.

Police say DNA evidence on the weapon led to the arrest.

According to a police report, Rogan approached the counter of the Subway on Main Street at 9:55 a.m. and pointed a .22 caliber Glenfield Model 75 at the man behind the counter.

The cashier grabbed the gun barrel and began fighting with Rogan. He told police he was able to pull Rogan halfway across the counter, and another employee came and tried to hit Rogan with a baking tray.

Rogan fled westbound through the parking lot, police say.

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RIT Public Safety will deploy specially trained officers

Rochester Institute of Technology Public Safety will soon deploy specially trained officers with access to firearms in an effort to protect individuals on campus. The objective of the armed response is to contain an active violent threat until local law enforcement arrives at the scene.

The enhanced level of security will begin in 2016.

“Violence on college campuses across the United States has tragically become all too frequent in recent years,” said RIT President Bill Destler. “Sadly, there have been 23 shootings on college campuses in 2015 leading to too many violent and senseless deaths.”

The specially trained RIT officers will be on patrol around the clock on Public Safety shifts throughout the year and have access to firearms. The highly trained officers will be in a position to respond immediately in a crisis. Firearms will not be visible to the public during daily routine patrols.

The decision was made by RIT leaders after thorough research and evaluation of the benefits and inherent risks. According to FBI data, there were 120 students, faculty and staff who were victims of gun violence on college campuses between 2000 and 2013. Of all the active shooter incidents in the U.S. during that time period, about 24 percent occurred at educational institutions.

“These are sobering statistics and a recognition that gun violence has become more frequent on college campuses during the past decade,” said Destler.

The FBI data also points out that once an active shooter is confronted by an armed response, no other innocent people were killed.

A national search will be held to hire a new Assistant Director of Public Safety, who will oversee policy, procedure and training for an armed response.

“RIT Public Safety has valuable relationship with our campus community,” added Destler. “This new measure will further enhance all of our safety.”

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3D imaging helps Ga. lab solve firearm crimes

The resulting images and information are uploaded to a database which connects national law-enforcement agencies

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Regional Crime Lab recently made a high-tech upgrade to its ballistic imaging system to increase the ability to discover links between firearms cases.

The new Integrated Ballistics Imaging System (IBIS) shoots high-definition photos and creates 3D digital images of firearm evidence taken from crime scenes.

The system compares the photos to others entered into regional and national databases to determine if evidence analyzed by the crime lab matches evidence gathered elsewhere, said crime lab criminalist Shannon Floyd.

The system is not designed to match evidence to a firearm, however.

Actually matching a gun to a bullet or shell casing still requires human analysis from criminologists like Floyd who conduct microscopic examinations of evidence.

“If a crime happened today, and the investigators think this was the gun, they are going to submit the gun, submit the bullets and say, ‘Is this the gun?’ We don’t even have to have this system to do that. We do a comparison and do a result on our own,” Floyd said. “(IBIS) is an additional tool to not only say that this was the gun but to also say we put it in the database, and now it has hit on something from two years ago that we didn’t even realize was related.”

The process begins when an agency submits a firearm and evidence to the crime lab for analysis. Criminologists at the lab test fire the gun, collect and analyze the evidence and use the IBIS for digital imaging.

For imaging a bullet casing, it is secured in a specially designed cradle which is placed inside the imaging system. An array of automated cameras photograph the evidence at multiple angles and take digital measurements.

The resulting images and information are uploaded to a database which connects law-enforcement agencies across the country.

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Shooting plot thwarted at Virginia school

WASHINGTON – Two teens were arrested after police thwarted a plot “to commit acts of violence against the students and staff” at Riverbend High School near Fredericksburg, Virginia, according to the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s department.

A 15-year-old and a 17-year-old boy, whom police did not name, were arrested after a school resource officer learned of the plot. The teens were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and are being held at Rappahannock Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

According to police, one of the teens was arrested Oct. 12 on a charge of threatening violence by means of Internet. “[The school resource officer] felt that there was something that didn’t quite fit in what he was looking at the time, so he began to dig a little deeper — and thus uncovered this situation,” Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Capt. Jeffery Pearce said.

Police said that’s what led investigators to the second teen, who was arrested on Friday.

“It became apparent that these two were serious and in their planning stages to carry out acts of violence with firearms and with knives … and that they planned to do this in the school,” Pearce said.

No additional suspects are believed to be involved in this conspiracy.

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Should campus security have guns? N.J. colleges are split

As recently as two years ago, Princeton University officials said its Ivy League campus was no place for guns, not even for security personnel.

“We have in place a number of measures that will ensure that if there is a risk … police can rapidly have the appropriate response without having our own police officers armed,” President Shirley Tilghman told The Daily Princetonian at the time.

But that was 2013, before Umpqua Community College, Texas Southern University, Northern Arizona University, Delta State University and dozens of other American colleges and universities where people have been shot and sometimes killed.

And so within the past week, Princeton joined a growing number of institutions of higher learning that are arming their school security squads.

The decision to arm college and university security personnel is complex, with administrators having to balance the deterrent effect that armed police may have against the cost of arming and training security team members, law enforcement and researchers say. Liability also is a concern, they said.

Colleges and universities across New Jersey take a range of approaches toward giving security forces firearms. A majority of four-year public schools have armed security, but most community colleges do not. A survey of seven private, four-year universities found similarly mixed results.

In Princeton’s case, the university considered the question several times in recent years, but it was beat back by student and administration opposition. The decision to arm campus police officers this time came after the university’s Department of Public Safety consulted with local police, before the recent rash of campus shootings.

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Fairfax Co. police not notified of drill, respond to reports of shots

WASHINGTON — Fairfax County police say confusion surrounding an active shooter drill at a Bailey’s Crossroads office building Thursday led to alarm as businesses unaware of the drill locked down and people in the area scrambled for information.

At about 1:15 p.m., Fairfax County police said officers were investigating a report of shots heard at 5109 Leesburg Pike. Police tweeted that nothing was confirmed and they had not located any suspects or victims.

At about 2 p.m., police tweeted that they confirmed the incident was the scene of an active shooter drill.

Fairfax County police says they were not aware of the drill initially. A federal agency in the building was holding the drill, says police spokeswoman Officer Shelley Broderick, but she says it is still not clear which agency it is.

Neither Arlington County police nor the FBI Washington Field Office were aware of the drill either, both agencies told WTOP.

Fairfax County police say one of the building’s tenants received an email that there would be an active shooter drill, and the tenant forwarded the email to another person who worked in the building. The other person, not realizing it was a drill, called 911 presuming there was an active shooter.

Fairfax County police had a large presence and the incident caused alarm to people in the area who seemed to be unaware of a drill.

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Weapon-free zones not allowed at Oregon’s community colleges

Oregon community college administrators are striving to tighten security after the mass shootings at one of the two-year schools. But they can’t arm their own guards or remove someone who appears on campus with a gun.

Umpqua Community College, the Roseburg school where nine people and the gunman died and nine more were wounded Oct. 1, posts only one security guard armed with pepper spray on its 100-acre campus.

That’s typical of community colleges with similar enrollments across the state, said Abby Lee, a public information officer at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, near Oregon’s border with Idaho.

Lee said Treasure Valley has a full-time security director and six part-time campus officers, none of whom carries a gun.

Administrators have directed officers to patrol buildings and become more visible since the shootings at Umpqua. But Lee said her school has received conflicting legal advice on its weapons-free policy, which bans firearms including guns carried by students, faculty members and employees who have concealed-weapons permits.

“There’s not a community college that isn’t reviewing its policies and procedures,” she said. “We’re still very much reeling. We’re all looking for answers, trying to find that one answer that would have prevented this.”

State law does not allow the two-year colleges to form police departments staffed with armed, state-certified law enforcement officers. Weapons-free zones declared by many school administrators are riddled with exceptions that immobilize officers confronted by gun-toting strangers.

Legislators in key positions to change the law to permit two-year colleges to shift from stationing security guards to deploying certified police officers carrying firearms show no intention of forcing the issue. Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, who chairs the interim Judiciary Committee, said he plans to bring community college leaders together to hear their opinions and discuss whether their schools should gain that authority, which public four-year universities already have.

“We have legislative days set for November and January, and this is one of those issues that we definitely want to look at in great detail,” said Prozanski, who survived a recall campaign this year after the Legislature expanded background checks on gun sales. “But we will not want to rush this process.”

Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, also doesn’t want to hurry through changes, but may favor a minor budget increase to boost community-college security staffing. Legislators raised Oregon community-college funding in their last session, but money remains tight. The $550 million appropriated for 2015-2017 remains about $20 million short of pre-recession support when adjusted for inflation.

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Oregon shooting brings Florida’s “Guns on Campus” debate to forefront

SARASOTA, Fla. — Thursday’s mass shooting in Oregon rekindled concern for campus safety and conversations about Florida’s “guns on campus” debate.

We asked students on the campus of New College of Florida if they would want the right to carry a gun. The ones we spoke to said they feel safe already, and worry that allowing guns on campus would jeopardize safety.

“I do not think it’s a good idea. that would make me feel very unsafe if more people had guns on campus,” said one New College student.

“I wouldn’t be comfortable with students on this campus or any college campus having firearms,” said another. “Because I think there’s a really strong risk of people operating them or just messing around with them while not sober. I think it’s a huge safety risk.”

State Representative Greg Steube (R-Bradenton) argues that it’s a student’s right to have a weapon on campus, and he says that Second Amendment right is crucial in preventing school shootings.

“America’s based on the freedom to be able to defend yourself, to defend others, and the inherent right to self defense; and for some reason, we have stripped that right as you enter a college campus,” said Steube.

Steube says the incident in Oregon only “adds an exclamation point” to his argument, but Curt Lavarello of the School Safety Advocacy Council says the bill would only perpetuate the problem.

“We know one thing,” said Lavarello, “we’re not going to reduce school gun violence by bringing more guns.”

He says it’s instead important to focus our efforts on things like access to mental health treatment, as well as catching any red flags early on. He also says allowing guns on campuses may make it difficult for law enforcement to quickly identify the good guy and bad guy in the situation.

“The dynamics of a school shooting are very difficult already,” said Lavarello. “I can’t imagine being a police officer and having to respond to a school where the report is ‘there’s one bad armed person and 20 good armed people’ and then having to make a split second decision.”

But Steube argues that’s a daily aspect of law enforcement’s job.

“They do it everywhere else,” he said. “In our state malls, shopping plazas, restaurants, so if they’re trained to a handle a situation there, why can’t they handle it on a college campus?”\

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Stolen vehicle driven into gun store, firearms missing

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Police and the ATF are investigating a gun store burglary that happened overnight.

Police said they responded to an alarm at The Marksman, a firearms training center, shooting sports retailer and indoor shooting range, located in the 500 block of Industrial Park Drive, just before 2 a.m. Officers said they found a car had been driven through the building and was completely inside. Several guns were taken, but no suspects were at the scene, police said.

The car is a 2006 Lincoln and it was stolen from the Kiln Creek area of Newport News between 6 p.m. on Monday and 6 p.m. Tuesday, police said. The keys were left in the car.

Business owner George McClain said surveillance video shows it all happened in minutes.

“They backed the car up to the curb there and then put black marks down. They floored it, and so when they hit the wall, they hit it full speed. Our security video shows the car penetrating the wall, and when it did, the front tires were in excess of 12 inches off the ground, so they were coming in pretty good,” he said.

McClain thinks the burglars planned the crime carefully, and took at least 25 guns, valued at approximately $450 each.

“It’s very obvious, looking at the videos, that they knew exactly where the guns were. They didn’t waste any time looking some place else or looking for the guns. They went right to them, so this is somebody that has been in the store and they were there for a reason…Everyone wants to talk about, you know, the guns are the problem. It’s not the guns. It’s these type of individuals,” McClain said.

The ATF’s industry operations investigators and Violent Crimes Task Force are also working on the case.

Anyone with information on the burglary or the stolen car is asked to call the Newport News Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

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The Utah Supreme Court says you don’t have to take a bullet for your company

SALT LAKE CITY — In a split ruling, the Utah Supreme Court sided with a group of Wal-Mart workers who were fired for exercising self-defense when confronting an armed shoplifter.

The case stems from an incident in January 2011, when six workers were fired after they fought with a shoplifter who pulled a gun on them inside the Layton Wal-Mart. The company had claimed the employees violated Wal-Mart’s policy of disengaging, withdrawing and alerting authorities.

During a hearing last year, Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham bluntly asked if an employer should be able to fire somebody “for refusing to take a bullet for the company?”

In an opinion handed down on Friday, the state’s top court ruled that “Utah law reflects a policy favoring the right of self-defense, and that policy is of sufficient magnitude to qualify as a substantial public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine, but only under the narrow circumstances where an employee cannot withdraw and faces imminent serious bodily injury.”

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