Thursday, April 30, 2015

Woman Robbed As 911 Dispatcher Listens

911 dispatcher listens as Memphis woman is robbed

I found this story by searching the Shelby County Jail database.  Basically, I peruse the inmates and look up affidavits if charges looks interesting.  I discovered the two suspects featured in this story were accused of invading a woman's home while she was in the bathroom.  She was held at gunpoint and robbed.  But there's a catch.. She had the chance to first dial 911.  I got done with the 4:00 news and headed to the woman's home.  There's always a good chance victims like her will refuse to talk on camera.  Fortunately, she was more than willing to share her story.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Germantown Woman Robbed While Washing Car

Germantown police search for driveway robbery suspect

An elderly woman was robbed at gunpoint in Germantown while she washed her car.  It happened in the middle of the morning.  We didn't know about it until the City of Germantown sent a media release seeking to publicize the crime.  I went out to the neighborhood to try and get reaction.  The victim was not interested in talking.  I was turned down by several neighbors before a couple of woman agreed to speak on camera.  I decided to get a little creative in my live shot.. By "washing" my photographer's news car.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Body Spotted In Mississippi River, Search Ensues

Police, firefighters search for body reported in Mississippi River

We had just finished up shooting another story for the 10:00 news when the assignment desk called about this.  Memphis Fire and Police were staging along the Mississippi River after a fisherman reported a body in the water.  The harbor patrol and others quickly began searching the water.  The current is very fast on the Mississippi, so time is of the essence in situations like this.  No body was found by nightfall.  Coincidentally, multiple agencies participated in a river rescue exercise hours before the real-life search started.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Teen Fights Spark Frenzy Of Coverage

Students suspended after fight at White Station High School

I got in Tuesday and was almost immediately dispatched to White Station High School.  It's the last school I would guess something like this would have occurred.  Two fights were caught on camera.. Including a huge brawl in the cafeteria.  Girls are seen punching, kicking, and stomping one another.  It's pathetic.  Needless to say, this story ruled the day.  I did five live shots from 4:00 through 10:00 and three different "packages."  This clip is from team coverage during WMC Action News 5 at 5:00.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Inside Look As City Eyes Old State Building

City of Memphis may buy vacant building for police headquarters

As an architecture buff, I'm glad I got to do this story.  I set it up through the TN Department of General Services.  Officials gave me an inside tour of the vacant 14-story Donnelley J. Hill building downtown.  The state moved out last summer.  Now, the City of Memphis is looking to buy it.  MPD headquarters and other city offices would move in.  It's pretty much move-in ready.  However, there's quite a bit of deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed.. Including an $800,000 elevator upgrade.  City administration will present its plan to the Memphis City Council.  

Car Shot Up Along Sam Cooper

Police investigate reports of shots fired on Sam Cooper

This breaking story culminated one of those days.  I did a story for the 6:00 newscast and was in search of a 10:00 story.  I checked out several potential stories and finally did two interviews for one of them.  But then we got sent to this breaking news.  At least one car was shot while driving along Sam Cooper Boulevard.  A Camaro with a lot of damage ended up in a gas station parking lot.  Fortunately, a witness arrived on the scene and we interviewed the store clerk too.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Snitches Get Stitches" Code Preventing Tips In Murder Case

No arrests in week old drive-by shooting that killed Memphis teen

I did this story one week after a 15 year-old Memphis girl was killed while sleeping in her bed during a drive-by shooting.  Memphis Police say they've encountered a lack of cooperation from neighbors unwilling to share possible clues.  "Snitches get stitches" is a common phrase in neighborhoods where talking to police is frowned upon.  The girl's uncle agreed to speak with me about her death and the investigation.  The family is praying for arrests to be made.  Meanwhile, Memphis's top cop said not telling police pertinent information is a crime in itself.

Friday, April 17, 2015

MPD Stats Reveal Number Of Rapes City-Wide

MPD stats reveal number of rapes city-wide

This was a follow-up to a horrific rape story out of Whitehaven.  A woman reported she was car-jacked, driven to another location, then sexually assaulted.  We recently requested crime stats from MPD that detail every incident over the last year.  I pored over the stats and found the police wards with the highest and lowest number of reported rapes.. In addition to the number in the wards where this most recent crime occurred.  There were 329 reported rapes city-wide from April 2014 to this week.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kirsten Williams Family Reacts To Arrests

Kirsten Williams' family reacts to arrests

Kirsten Williams was the 7 year-old killed last week during a drive-by shooting.  Police officials pledged to work day and night to solve the crime.  They announced three arrests Wednesday.  I was tasked with trying to get reaction from the girl's family.  We had a number for her grandmother, but calls went unreturned.  It's difficult because you don't really want to hound a grieving family.  I searched Kirsten's obituary for other possible family contacts, cross-checked on Facebook, and sent a direct message to a great aunt.  Fortunately, she was more than willing to express the family's gratitude for the swift arrests.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Home Shot, Family Forced To Move

Home shot, family forced to move

A Memphis mother contacted us following recent news of two deadly drive-by shootings.. One involving a teenager shot and killed while sleeping.  This woman's home was also shot.  She wanted to share her family's story now that they've relocated.  She suspects a retaliatory neighbor shot the home.  Bullets barely missed her two sleeping children.  He's locked up on unrelated charges.  Now, she's hopeful police will charge him with aggravated assault.. If not attempted murder.  I had to send my photographer to get this interview since I was busy on the 4:00 news.  Teamwork is a big part of what we do.  He did a great job.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Redbirds Play Amid Severe Weather Threat

Rain threat lowers attendance at Redbirds season opener

So, we were anticipating severe weather on this night.  It didn't really happen.. At least in Memphis.  I was assigned a story about how the weather might impact the Memphis Redbirds baseball season opener.  The angle changed somewhat since weather had little effect on the game.  But it often does.  I interviewed the GM about the team's contingency plan.  It actually started raining soon after the game ended.  Interestingly, the Redbirds take on the Omaha "Stormchasers" next week.

Monday, April 6, 2015

LEGO Toys Make For Fun Shoot

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Crook burglarizing Memphis toy store

The owner of a store that buys, sells, and trades LEGO toys emailed me about a burglar he caught on camera breaking into his store.  He had good surveillance video of the crime and was interested in publicizing it.  The store is called "Bricks & Minifigs."  I had no idea what they sold until I did a little more research.  Turns out, the owner had a LEGO mock-up of his store and his daughter even fashioned a "crook" using a miniature LEGO figure (or "minifig").  I put them to good use in the story.

Jessica Chambers Arrest Rumors

Sheriff: Rumors about arrests in Jessica Chambers case are false

I got a call from the station at 7:15 Easter Sunday morning.  Not good when you're the on-call reporter.  I was asked to come in as soon as possible.  Rumors had arisen that several people were charged in connection with the murder of Jessica Chambers.  The 19 year-old was killed four months ago and the case has garnered international attention.  Anyway, the rumors turned out to be false.  However, I still managed to cobble together two stories on how false hope affected the family, again.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Injured MPD Officer's Neighbors React To Shooting

Injured officer's neighbors react to shooting

I hit the door as soon as I got into work shortly after a Memphis Police officer was shot in the line of duty.  My assignment: find family, neighbors, or anyone else who knew him.  We gathered a list of about 8 possible addresses using his name.  Fortunately, the first two I randomly picked ended up being his home and the home of an uncle.  Family members were at the hospital with the officer.. But several neighbors shared their thoughts about the shooting.  "Good man," "family man," and "great cop" were among the ways they described the officer.