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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Man arrested in death of teen who was shot fleeing burglary

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Police in north Alabama say a man is facing charges in the shooting death of a teen who was fleeing the scene of an alleged burglary.

Huntsville police said in a statement Wednesday that 50-year-old Jonathan Wayne Scott is charged with manslaughter in the death of 16-year-old Mustafa Bearfield.

Police say Bearfield had allegedly been seen taking items from inside Scott's vehicle Tuesday morning and was shot as he was running away.

Police Lt. Stacy Bates tells Al.com (http://bit.ly/28QfYuD ) that Scott had been driving a delivery truck and Bearfield was not armed at the time of the shooting. Scott is white and Bearfield is black.

Police say the case will be presented to a grand jury by the Madison County District Attorney's office. It's unclear if Scott has an attorney.

Investigators, family seek answers 10 years after Northport teen’s death

NORTHPORT, AL  -On June 22, 2006, a group of friends found 17-year-old Jeremy Scott “Scotty” Cockrell shot and killed inside his Northport home.

A decade later, no one has ever been charged with the crime. During that time, family members have hoped for closure, and investigators have remained on the case.

Today, investigators still believe a particular piece of information could be valuable in leading them to a suspect.

Cockrell’s friends were coming to his home in the Biscayne Hills neighborhood, not far from the intersection of McFarland Blvd. and Highway 43, to pick him up for a day at the lake. They arrived that morning and found Cockrell had been killed.

According to the Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide Unit, there were signs of forced entry.

In the years since Cockrell’s death, investigators have said they have found nothing in Cockrell’s life that would have put him at heightened risk to become a victim of a homicide.

Cockrell’s older sister Larrah Craig agrees.

“It’s a shock for anyone that deals with something like this,” Craig said. “But when there’s nothing at all, any kind of behavior pattern that would have ever even led to anything like this, it’s worse. There’s no understanding, no closure.”

In the days leading up to the crime, witnesses reported seeing a late 1990s model white Ford Escort near Cockrell’s home on multiple occasions.

Investigators say the vehicle, with chrome or fake rims and a Jefferson County license plate, was occupied by black and white males.

Craig said she believes someone has the information that would lead investigators to a resolution in this case.

“Whoever it was that did it, I don't think it's possible to hold that in your entire life, something of that magnitude, something that evil that you did. So it's just going to take someone coming forward that has information," she said.

Craig says she still hopes for closure and wants the person responsible for her brother’s death held accountable. She also says she wants to know the motive for why someone took her brother’s life.

“Whoever it is, they're the ones having to deal with it, everyday, the rest of their life, for what they did. But I want closure as far as wanting to know why," she added.

Investigators want to hear from anyone with information on the vehicle or the case.

Contact the Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide Unit at (205) 464-8690, or make a confidential call to Jefferson County Crime Stoppers at (205) 254-7777 or Tuscaloosa County Crime Stoppers at (205) 752-STOP.

Man dies after chase, shooting with Shelby County Sheriff deputies

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —A police chase out of Shelby County Wednesday morning, led to an officer-involved shooting in Birmingham, authorities said.

Maj. Ken Burchfield, of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said the incident began just before 2:30 a.m. when a deputy noticed a black SUV that he thought was suspicious at an apartment complex off Highway 280. When the deputy tried to pull over the vehicle, the driver sped off down 280 and a chase ensued, according to Burchfield.

The driver of the SUV came to a stop off Interstate 20 on Oporto Madrid Boulevard. However, Burchfield said that when deputies started to approach the vehicle, the driver attempted to run over one of the deputies.

According to Burchfield, the deputy fired his gun into the vehicle and struck the driver. The driver was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:15 a.m. 

A male passenger was taken into custody and is currently being questioned at the Shelby County Jail.

Burchfield said the two suspects could face multiple charges.

"I know there’s a stolen car involved. I know it's got a switched tag and I know there's a stolen gun. So the investigators are going to have to decide what are the appropriate charges, who gets those charges and those kinds of things,” Burchfield said.

The Birmingham Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Alabama state troopers assisted with the chase.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will not be involved in the shooting investigation because it involved one of its deputies. Burchfield said the investigation has been handed over to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

"There will be a review of our actions to make sure the public knows that what we did here was lawful," Burchfield said.

British couple who confused their Birminghams will get royal treatment in the Magic City

The British couple who mistook Birmingham, Alabama for Birmingham, England when booking a trip to Las Vegas a few months ago will get to experience the Magic City for themselves on Aug. 16-17.
Richella Heekin and Ben Marlow's upcoming excursion is a chance for Alabamians to show residents of Birmingham, England (and the world) that Birmingham (Alabama) is a worthy, and maybe even better tourist destination than Sin City, said Tom Cosby, a retired Birmingham businessman, who is organizing the couple's visit.

The couple will spend a day and a half in Magic City after spending a week in Las Vegas.

Richard Branson-owned Virgin Holidays is picking up the tab for the couple's airfare and five nights of accommodations in Las Vegas.

Richella Heekin and Ben Marlow's upcoming excursion is a chance for Alabamians to show residents of Birmingham, England (and the world) that Birmingham (Alabama) is a worthy, and maybe even better tourist destination than Sin City, said Tom Cosby, a retired Birmingham businessman, who is organizing the couple's visit.

The couple will spend a day and a half in Magic City after spending a week in Las Vegas.

Richard Branson-owned Virgin Holidays is picking up the tab for the couple's airfare and five nights of accommodations in Las Vegas.

Birmingham, Alabama is currently in the midst of an astonishing rebirth, so this is an absolutely great time for Richella and Ben to visit," Cosby said.

While in Alabama, five of Birmingham's hippest young couples will escort Heekin and Marlow around the city. They will sample the city's "legendary culinary destinations," including award-winning restaurants and craft beer pubs.

They will experience the Magic City's award-winning Red Mountain Park and hair-raising zipline courses, use the electric assist Zyp bikes to tour the city center and receive VIP treatment at Birmingham's internationally renowned Porsche Driving Experience, Cosby said.

The couple will be treated like celebrities complete with the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Birmingham Barons baseball game at Regions Field.

Their short visit will be capped off with tickets to Iron City to see Jenny Lewis in concert.

In a previous interview with AL.com, Heekin said she was appreciative of Cosby's "generous offer" and was looking forward to visiting the South.

She happened across the Red Mountain Park website while Googling the city. "It sounds like both a fun and interesting place to visit," Heekin said.

The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Big Communications, REV Birmingham and the Alabama Department of Tourism helped coordinate the couple's visit.  

"We could not have done this without the generosity of our local attractions and eateries and the outpouring of help from stalwart donors such as Merrill Stewart of Stewart Perry Construction Company." Cosby said. 

Former Alabama high school star athlete shot to death by Shelby County deputy after chase in stolen SUV

A former Birmingham high school standout athlete arrested just two months ago on drug and gun charges was shot to death early this morning by a Shelby County sheriff's deputy.

The Jefferson County Coroner's Office this afternoon identified him as Isaiah Core III. He was 20, and had previous addresses in Clay and Trussville.

Core graduated from Huffman High School, where he was a quarterback on the football team, guard on the basketball team and was named a Scholar-Athlete of the Week. He went on to play college basketball at LaGrange College where he was named the USA South Rookie of the Week.

He was shot to death early today after leading lawmen on a chase through two counties in a stolen vehicle and then trying to run over a Shelby County sheriff's deputy, authorities said.

"It's sad to hear, knowing the potential he had,'' LaGrange College head basketball coach Kendal Wallace told AL.com today. "He just never could get on the right track to make the right decisions to get on the right path."

Today's deadly shooting began on U.S. 280 in Shelby County and ended on Oporto Madrid Boulevard in Birmingham. Shelby County sheriff's officials have provided this account of what happened:

At about 2:30 a.m., Shelby County deputies were patrolling the apartment complexes and neighborhoods in the area of the Highway 280 corridor looking for criminal activity. A deputy noticed a vehicle driving suspiciously through an apartment complex and began watching it. He then saw the vehicle leave the apartment complex, being driven erratically on U.S. Highway 280.

The deputy attempted to make a traffic stop on the vehicle and a pursuit began when the driver failed to pull over in response to the deputy's emergency lights and siren. The vehicle fled the scene at a high rate of speed and the chase ended when the driver exited Interstate 20 at Oporto Madrid Blvd South in Birmingham. The vehicle stopped after exiting the interstate and sheriff's deputies and assisting officers at the scene gave verbal commands to the driver and passenger to exit the vehicle to determine why they fled from officers. There was a deliberate movement of the suspect's vehicle backwards in an attempt to injure officers and a Shelby County deputy fired at the vehicle, striking the driver.

Core was taken to UAB Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:15 a.m. His passenger, whose name hasn't been released, was taken to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office for questioning.

Shelby County sheriff's Maj. Ken Burchfield said deputies determined the vehicle was stolen out of Jefferson County and had a switched tag. Further investigation, he said, found a stolen weapon inside the vehicle and it was taken into evidence.

One deputy suffered minor injuries at the scene and the deputy that was involved in the shooting will remain on administrative leave which is a normal practice of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. They turned the shooting investigation over to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

"While I realize the circumstances under which Mr. Core died, I cannot help but wish his family my sincere condolences,'' said Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego. "I wish them peace as they struggle to find resolution with their loss."

Core attended Huffman HighSchool where he played both football and basketball. "I've been coaching for 11 years and he's probably the best guard I've ever had in doing it all (with) rebounding, scoring, assists and steals," coach Stephen Ward said at the time. "He does it all. "

After graduation, Core attended LeGrange College where the freshman guard made quite an impression during his first semester on the team. He was named LaGrange College Athlete of the Week for the week ending Nov. 17 and was named the USA South Rookie of the Week after averaging 19 points in the two games at the Guilford College Invitational. He was named to the all-tournament team. "We felt he was the future of our guard position,'' Wallace said.

However, after less than a dozen games with the Panthers, Core became academically ineligible for play, mainly for not attending class. He was able to earn back eligibility after the spring semester, but then a back injury set him back again. He ultimately left LaGrange and returned home to Jefferson County, where he briefly played for Lawson State Community College.

Core, who lived in the eastern part of the county, was arrested by Tarrant police in April. He was charged with carrying a pistol without a license, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and possession of illegal prescription medicine.

In that case, police were on patrol in a public housing community on Cedar Street when they smelled marijuana, according to police reports. The officers talked with Core and the woman, eventually found a blunt. "Core became even more nervous,'' according to court records. The officer began to check him for weapons when "Core kept placing his left hand on his left pocket and even placed his hand in his pocket."

The search turned up a revolver, at which point Core was arrested. Police then ran the tag on the white Chevrolet Silverado Core was driving and found the tag had been switched and belonged to a 2002 Volvo. A check of the pickup truck's VIN number showed it had been stolen out of Irondale. Core was in possession of Naproxen, which is a prescription anti-inflammatory, and digital scales with marijuana residue.

Core was arrested by Trussville police in January 2014 when Trussville police were dispatched to a convenience store on Deerfoot Parkway on a narcotics complaint. The woman who called police complained that a black male was in a car rolling joints. When police arrived on the scene, they reported smelling marijuana and approached the vehicle.