Former Austin police chief Art Acevedo comments on missing Tom Brady jersey

On Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, Art Acevedo, current chief of the Houston Police Department and former chief of the Austin Police Department, returned to Huston-Tillotson University in Austin to speak on the Race & Policing in Texas panel during the Race & Public Policy symposium hosted by the Texas Tribune. (RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
On Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, Art Acevedo, current chief of the Houston Police Department and former chief of the Austin Police Department, returned to Huston-Tillotson University in Austin to speak on the Race & Policing in Texas panel during the Race & Public Policy symposium hosted by the Texas Tribune. (RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The disappearance of a historic Super Bowl item makes for some flashy headlines, but Austin’s former police chief is keeping cool about the search.

Just over two months into his new gig as Houston Police Chief, Art Acevedo oversaw the massive Super Bowl LI weekend. After the Patriots defeated the Falcons in overtime, New England’s quarterback Tom Brady revealed that his game jersey had gone missing.

Acevedo spoke to 104.9 The Horn Tuesday morning to talk about Houston’s big weekend and set the record straight on his department’s access to the team’s locker room.

“The truth is that the NFL handles security inside the locker rooms,” Acevedo said.

On Monday the Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that the Texas Rangers would be assisting the Houston Police Department to find the jersey. While the extra help is great, Acevedo explained his department has other pressing matters.

“It might be the highest priority for [the] lieutenant governor, I can tell you we had three homicides the night of the Super Bowl in the city of Houston, and we’d like to find it, but I don’t think we’re burning the midnight oil worrying about a jersey.” Acevedo said. “It’s just not the biggest, greatest importance in the big scheme of things.”

The chief mentioned he told his staff to keep their priorities in check.

“I told those guys, ‘Hey guys, we’ll give it a run, but let’s keep things in perspective, it’s a jersey,'” Acevedo said.

Listen to the Acevedo’s exchange on the “Mornings with Bucky & Erin” show around the 34:00 minute mark below.

Unlucky Friday the 13th? Austin DJ Miguel Angel plays show hours after getting stabbed

ulovei-miguel-angel
Austin DJ Miguel Angel, aka ulovei. Photo from Facebook

Austin DJ Miguel Angel, also known as “ulovei,” said he was the victim of a stabbing in East Austin on Friday night but he was still able to play a show just hours later.

Angel chronicled the night on social media, proving the old adage, the show must go on.

Austin police had responded to a stabbing around 9 p.m. Friday in the 800 block of East 14th Street, according a Statesman report. A person with a minor stab wound was taken to the hospital, and police had a suspect in custody after the stabbing, police said.

Angel said he was the victim in that report and has identified his attacker to police and plans to press charges. The Statesman reached out to Austin police, but they were unable to confirm details of the incident Saturday night.

Angel said the incident occurred at his East Austin apartment where he was waiting for a friend so they could go together to a show he was scheduled to play.

He said someone knocked on his door and, thinking it was his friend, he opened it to see a man in a mask with what looked like a samurai sword. “He just started swinging me and attacking,” he said.

Angel said he grabbed the blade with his hands to keep the man from stabbing and slashing him further, but then the attacker pulled out a dagger from behind and stabbed Angel in the back.

The DJ said when his friend, Kirkland Audain, got to his apartment the attacker began running after Audain.

Audain said he was able to get into his car, lock the door and call police. “It’s just surreal,” he said. “He was going to kill my friend if I hadn’t shown up.”

On Friday at 10:48 p.m., Angel posted video and photos of himself on social media at the hospital after he said he was stabbed.

Angel told the Statesman he suffered three stab wounds, including a large stab wound in the back, and multiple injuries to his hands, arms, face and neck. He said he suffered no internal damage from the incident.

 

The DJ also retweeted posts from his friends showing him being treated at University Medical Center Brackenridge.

 

Angel said doctors did not want him to leave the hospital and told him to rest, but he knew he wanted to make it to the show he was scheduled to play.

After getting treated, Angel said he left the hospital around 12:30 a.m. and was able to play the last part of the show.

Around 1:30 a.m., Angel posted a video showing him spinning at The Volestead bar on East 6th Street for a Friday the 13th show with DJ Luis Espada, also known as King Louie.

“I just didn’t want anybody to know that they can keep me down,” he said. “This guy wanted to hurt me (and) wanted to stop me, so I’m not going to let that happen.”

Angel said it was painful to spin at the show due to cuts and fresh wounds on his hands and fingers, but his friends were there to help carry bags and equipment.

Angel said seeing his friends at the gig and playing to the crowd was just what he needed after the traumatic incident.

“I didn’t just want to be at home crying in bed or something. That wouldn’t have helped me,” he said. “It feels good to know that so many people have my back here in Austin.”

Angel said he has received calls, social media messages and texts from friends, acquaintances and people he hasn’t spoken to in years wishing him well after the incident.

https://twitter.com/DamnDtae/status/820352395083481089

He said he planned to DJ two shows Saturday night despite pain in his hands from the recent injuries.

 

 

 

U.S. officials: Fugitive in Victoria Co. vehicular homicide caught in Austin

 

From the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force:

 

AUSTIN, Texas – Hector Garcia, 49, of Austin was arrested yesterday evening by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force without incident in the 1400 block of Meander in Austin.  Garcia was sought by the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office pursuant to an arrest warrant issued from the Victoria County District Court charging Garcia with Bail Jumping and Failure to Appear.

 

Garcia was previously indicted in 2014 with negligent homicide where the victim, Natalie Luna, 22, mother of two (2) at the time of her death, was hit by a vehicle allegedly driven by Garcia.  Luna subsequently died as a result of her injuries.  Garcia was acquitted in 2015 of criminally negligent homicide in 2015.

 

The 13th Court of Appeals in 2016 reversed certain appellate claims resulting in a new indictment handed down Garcia scheduled for a trial.  Garcia failed to appear for court hearings resulting in his arrest warrants being issued.

 

Garcia will be remanded to the custody of the Travis County Sheriff pending his extradition to Victoria County, Texas.

 

 

Members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force in Austin –

Austin Police Department-Tactical Intelligence Unit

Buda, Cedar Park, Kyle, San Marcos Police Department

Travis, Williamson, Caldwell, Hays and Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office

Texas Attorney General’s Office

Texas Department of Criminal Justice OIG

Texas Department of Public Safety

U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement

U.S. DHS/Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Marshals Service

Police say teen who shot self stole gun, a common crime in Austin, report shows

APD personnel investigate at the scene where a 19-year-old man shot himself in police custody in the 500 block of Lavaca Street in downtown Austin on Sunday. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
APD personnel investigate at the scene where a 19-year-old man shot himself in police custody in the 500 block of Lavaca Street in downtown Austin on Sunday. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Austin police Chief Brian Manley reported Tuesday that the gun that 19-year-old Zachary Anam had with him when he shot himself while handcuffed in the back of a police vehicle on Sunday was reported stolen in an Austin vehicle burglary last year.

As it turns out, Austin ranks high among some of the cities with the most vehicle gun thefts, according to a recent analysis by the criminal justice website The Trace.

In total, 377 guns were reported stolen from vehicles in Austin in 2015, The Trace reported.

Austin has seen some fluctuations in these numbers year to year, but in general, the city has seen a steady increase in reported gun thefts from vehicles from 2006 to 2015, which mirrors a similar trend in other cities.

Of the 54 cities The Trace analyzed, Austin ranked fourth in total gun thefts from vehicles. Several cities larger than Austin did not respond to the website’s requests for information, including New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Antonio.

Many gun owners never report losses and thefts to police, and most stolen firearms are never recovered, The Trace reported. In some cases, owners couldn’t provide their gun’s serial number, which is crucial to helping investigators identify the stolen weapon.

Austin police seeking volunteers for Blue Santa deliveries on Saturday

From the Austin Police Department:

The Austin Police Operation Blue Santa needs volunteers to join in the fun of delivering packages to families and children starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, December 17, 2016. Those wishing to volunteer do not need to sign up ahead of time; they can pick up packages at the Operation Blue Santa headquarters located at 4101 South Industrial Drive, Suite 260.

This event will occur regardless of the weather.

Volunteers are also needed to deliver packages at the following sites on the same day:

  • Robert T. Martinez Sr. Central East Substation-812 Springdale Road, Austin, TX 78702
  • Jaime Padron North Substation-12425 Lamplight Village Ave., Austin, TX 78758
  • Clinton Hunter South Substation-404 Ralph Ablanedo Dr., Austin, TX 78748

Those going to the remote sites are asked to proceed to the main Operation Blue Santa warehouse after the satellite deliveries are completed. Only a few hundred deliveries will occur from aforementioned substations. Several thousand deliveries will occur at the main warehouse.

Austin Police Operation Blue Santa is a charitable outreach effort created in 1972 by two APD patrol officers who realized that some families in their area would not have gifts or food for their children at Christmas. The distribution began with 20 families from the back of a patrol car. Today, Austin Police Operation Blue Santa serves more than 6,000 families with 14,400 children receiving gifts during the holiday season.

For more information, visit www.bluesanta.org.

North Texas mayor charged with assault in Austin last month

A mayor of a tiny North Texas town, whose pro-marijuana stance led to the resignations of several city officials when he was elected in May, was recently arrested on a charge of assault in Travis County.

Jeremiah Looney
Jeremiah Looney

Jeremiah Looney, a 34-year-old Army vet who serves as the mayor of Whitewright, spent about two hours in jail after he was arrested in October and accused of grabbing his girlfriend by the hair and then shaking her at an Austin motel room, records show. Looney and Whitewright staff declined to say whether his arrest will affect his position in the town with a population of about 1,700 people.

Looney and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. In his arrest affidavit, he denies hurting the woman who accused him.

During his campaign, Looney spoke at a Fort Worth rally for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He was medically discharged from the Army for post-traumatic stress disorder and degeneration of the spine, he told those at the rally. The medication he was prescribed didn’t help, he said, and he repeatedly contemplated suicide. But marijuana eased his PTSD and his life-ending thoughts, he told the crowd.

“It saved my life and changed it immensely,” Looney said at the rally, a YouTube video shows.

WATCH: Jeremiah Looney testifies before Texas Senate veterans committee

Looney has stated in interviews with North Texas media that marijuana legalization was never a part of his platform.

Still, when Looney received the majority of votes cast – 175 out of 301 – on May 7, people holding the following positions at Whitewright all resigned the week after he was sworn in: police chief, city secretary, municipal judge, court clerk and the utility clerk, multiple North Texas media reported.

Whitewright City Council members did not respond to an email seeking comment about his arrest, which happened on Oct. 14.

Austin police were called to a La Quinta Inn on 11th Street in East Austin around 11 p.m., according to Looney’s arrest affidavit. Someone called police because they overheard a woman yell “let go of me.”

The woman told police she and Looney were dating, and they had gotten into an argument in one of the motel’s rooms, the affidavit says. Looney called her two different derogatory words for a woman, and she decided to leave.

When she was by the elevators, Looney grabbed her by the back of her hair using both his hands and shook her, she told police.

In the affidavit, Looney said their argument was only verbal, and he did not put his hands on her.

Turn in unused medications to local police, federal agents on Saturday

From the Austin Police Department:
The Drug Enforcement Agency reprises one of its most popular community programs this weekend: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. On Saturday, Oct. 22, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the public can dispose of their unused, unwanted prescription medications at one of 4,700 collection sites nationwide, operated by 3,800 local law enforcement agencies and other community partners. The service is free of charge, no questions asked.

POLITICS OF PAIN SERIES FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2010, file photo, a pharmacy technician poses for a picture with hydrocodone and acetaminophen tablets, also known as Vicodin, at the Oklahoma Hospital Discount Pharmacy in Edmond, Okla. Federal health regulators will bolster warning labels on the most widely used prescription painkillers, part of a multi-pronged federal effort to reverse an epidemic of abuse and death tied to drugs like Vicodin and Percocet, the FDA announced Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File

America is experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers. More than 6 million Americans age 12 and over — 2.4 percent of the population — abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month, more than abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine combined. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms. The majority of prescription drug abusers report that they obtain their drugs from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet.

Last April, during its 11th Take Back Day, the DEA and over 4,200 of its national, tribal and community law enforcement partners collected 893,498 pounds (about 447 tons) of unwanted prescription drugs at almost 5,400 collection sites. Since the program began six years ago, about 6.4 million pounds (about 3,200 tons) of drugs have been collected. That’s more than a quarter pound of pills for each of the 25 million children aged 12 to 17 in America, pills that won’t result in abuse or overdose.

The DEA Austin office, along with the local law enforcement and community coalitions will set up collection sites at the following locations:

Austin

  • Austin High School – 1715 West Cesar Chavez, Austin
  • Barton Creek Square Mall (parking lot) – 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin
  • Household Hazardous Waste Facility – 2514 Center Dr, Austin
  • Planetshakers Austin Church – 1101 Reinli, Austin
  • Travis County Constable – Precinct 2 – 10409 Burnet Road, Austin
  • Travis County Constable – Precinct 5 – 1003 Guadalupe Street, Austin

Other Central Texas locations

  • Buda Police Department – 100 Houston Street, Buda
  • Burnet County Courthouse – 220 South Pierce Street, Burnet
  • Cedar Park Police Department – 911 Quest Parkway, Cedar Park
  • Elgin Police Department – 202 Depot Street, Elgin
  • Jonestown Police Department – 18304 North Park Dr, Jonestown
  • Lakeway Police Department – 104 Cross Creek, Lakeway
  • Lampasas Police Department – 301 East 4th Street, Lampasas
  • Leander Police Department – 705 Leander Drive, Leander
  • Legacy Hills Park Pavillion – 200 Del Webb Blvd., Georgetown
  • Liberty Hill Police Department – 2801 Ranch Road 1869, Liberty Hill
  • Manor Police Department – 402 West Parsons Street, Manor
  • Marble Falls Police Department – 209 Main Street, Marble Falls
  • Round Rock Police Department – 2701 North Mays, Round Rock
  • Smithville City Hall – 317 Main Street, Smithville
  • Taylor City Hall – 400 Porter, Taylor
  • Tractor Supply Company – 441 Texas 71, Bastrop
  • Williamson County Sheriff’s Office – 508 South Rock Street, Georgetown

 

Collection sites across the nation can be found by going to http://www.dea.gov. This site is continuously updated with new take-back locations.

Jury indicts Onyeri, 2 others in conspiracy to kill Judge Kocurek

Chimene Onyeri, 28, is a suspect in the shooting that injured State District Judge Julie Kocurek.
Chimene Onyeri, 28, is a suspect in the shooting that injured State District Judge Julie Kocurek.

A federal grand jury has indicted three members of what authorities describe as a conspiracy that plotted fraud and racketeering schemes and attempted to carry out the murder of State District Judge Julie Kocurek.

The indictment names Chimene Onyeri, who was named as a person of interest soon after Kocurek was shot in the driveway of her West Austin home, and 26-year-old Marcellus Antoine Burgin of Cypress, and 24-year-old Rasul Kareem Scott of Marrero, La.

According to federal authorities, the 11-count indictment charges the trio with one count of conspiracy to participate in
an enterprise engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; and one count of aggravated identity theft. Onyeri is also charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud; an additional count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; and six additional counts of aggravated identity theft.

The indictment comes nearly 10 months after Kocurek was attacked after returning home from a high school football game. Authorities have said an assailant opened fire as the driver of her car stopped in the family’s driveway to remove a bag of trash that investigators think had been intentionally placed to obstruct Kocurek’s path.

RELATED: Kocurek returns to bench after recovering from November shooting

Kocurek was wounded and spent about two months in the hospital before returning to the bench in February, saying she felt as though “I’ve been reborn.”

District Judge Julie Kocurek, here making her first public appearance, was welcomed back to the bench Monday morning February 29, 2016 by Judges Leon Grizzard, center, and Larry Meyers, right, after spending weeks recovering from an assassination attempt in November of last year. She said she felt reborn and though she is still undergoing physical therapy for her wounds will spend only half days on the bench for now. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
District Judge Julie Kocurek returned to the bench Feb. 29 after spending weeks recovering from an assassination attempt in November 2015. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

In a later interview, she described her injuries, saying that she reflexively raised her arm to shield herself during the shooting, and she confirmed that she has lost a finger on her left hand.

“I feel very lucky that is all I lost,” she said.

Kocurek is currently presiding over the high profile murder trial of Mark Norwood, who is accused in the 1988 murder of Debra Baker in North Austin.

Before the shooting, Onyeri was wanted in Travis County after he was accused of violating a probation sentence tied to a 2012 larceny charge and likely was going to be sent to prison. The matter was before Kocurek’s court, giving what investigators say is a possible motive for him to harm her.

Onyeri’s attorney has said that he has been framed by an ex-girlfriend, and that Onyeri had no motivation to harm a judge and realizes that doing so wouldn’t have prevented him from being sent to prison.

RELATED: Murder case to be dropped against suspect in Kocurek case

Onyeri has been held in the Travis County Jail since May; He had been held in the Harris County Jail on an unrelated murder charge that prosecutors dropped this spring.

Austin police Chief Art Acevedo said soon after the shooting that police were looking into whether multiple people participated in the crime.

The indictments are the result of a joint investigation involving federal authorities, Austin police and the Travis County district attorney’s office.

RELATED: Judges fear for safety more often than reported, study finds

Timeline:

  • Nov. 6, 2015: State District Julie Kocurek is attacked by a gunman in the driveway of her home.
  • Nov. 10: Austin police identify Chimene Hamilton Onyeri, a Houston resident with a pending criminal matter in Kocurek’s court, as a person-of-interest in the shooting.
  • Nov. 11: Authorities confirm that they had received a previous threat about a possible attack on an unnamed judge.
  • Nov. 23: Chief Art Acevedo confirms police investigating possible accomplices.
  • Jan. 7, 2016: Kocurek returns to courthouse to discuss handling of threat.
  • Feb. 29: Kocurek returns to courtroom for the first time.
  • May 18: Prosecutors drop unrelated murder charge against Onyeri in Houston, and he is moved to Austin.

 

Cesar Chavez closed after 18-wheeler clips I-35 overpass

Cesar Chavez has been shut down at interstate 35 after an 18 wheeler struck a bridge while passing under the interstate.
Cesar Chavez has been shut down at interstate 35 after an 18-wheeler struck a bridge while passing under the interstate. Photo by Mark D. Wilson/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Mark D. Wilson

Cesar Chavez Street near downtown has been completely shut down at Interstate 35 after an 18-wheeler damaged the overpass while traveling under the highway.
Austin police at the scene said iron girders sticking out from the trucks trailer hit the beams of the overpass, denting the underside of the overpass.

No injuries were reported in the crash, but authorities have stopped the rig to inspect any damage.

I-35 is still open but traffic on Cesar Chavez is backed up all the way to South Congress Avenue and all eastbound traffic is being redirected to southbound I-35. Westbound traffic is going to northbound I-35.

Police ID woman, 32, killed in motorcycle crash on Monday in Southwest Austin

By Mark D. Wilson

A woman who died in a motorcycle crash on Monday evening has been identified as 32-year-old Jessica Port.

According to a preliminary police investigation, Port was headed east in the 6800 block of Southwest Parkway near Oak Hill around 5:45 p.m. when she slammed into a 2009 Chevrolet van that turned left in front of her onto a private drive.

Port was taken to a hospital where she died shortly after arrival, police said.

Investigators said alcohol was not a factor in the crash but authorities are still looking into the circumstances of the crash.

Port is the 52nd person to die in a crash in Austin this year, police said.

Anyone with information on the wreck is asked to call the Austin police Vehicular Homicide Unit at 512-974-5549.