Attorney: Police chief did not violate federal law by carrying firearm

James T. Akagi

James T. Akagi

Note: This story was last updated at 10:05 p.m.

Answer pending on question of state law; POST has no current investigation

Federal officials have concluded that Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi did not violate federal law while carrying a firearm during divorce proceedings several years ago, the chief’s attorney said in a letter received by state officials this month.

In April, the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, or POST, asked state and federal authorities to investigate whether Akagi violated state and federal laws by possessing a firearm after being issued an ex parte order of protection during divorce proceedings in Blount County three years ago.

Tasha C. Blakney, Akagi’s attorney, summarized a conversation with Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Cook about the inquiry in a June 12 letter that was copied to Ray Farris, assistant director of POST. On Monday, Oak Ridge Today requested an update from POST, which certifies law enforcement officers in Tennessee, and received a copy of the letter.

[Read more…]

Police search for suspects after robbery at check cashing store on Friday

ORPD Matthew Johnston, Brandan Sharp, and Ray Steakley at Manhattan Apartments

Oak Ridge Police Department officers set up a perimeter around one building at Manhattan Apartments on North Purdue Avenue after a robbery was reported at the nearby Check Into Cash on South Illinois Avenue on Friday afternoon. Pictured above from left are Matthew Johnston, Brandan Sharp, and Ray Steakley.

 

The Oak Ridge Police Department is searching for two suspects in an armed robbery at a check cashing store that led officers to set up a temporary perimeter at a nearby apartment complex on Friday.

The robbery at Check Into Cash at 361 South Illinois Avenue was reported about 3:15 p.m. Friday.

“Several officers and detectives arrived on scene within minutes of being dispatched and immediately initiated a search for two suspects described as a black male and black female, who were armed with handguns and had reportedly fled the business on foot,” the City of Oak Ridge said in a press release.

“Officers canvassed the area and talked with an eyewitness who stated both suspects were last seen running between buildings at the Manhattan Apartment complex in the 200 block of North Purdue Avenue,” the release said. “A section of North Purdue Avenue was temporarily closed while police established containment around the three apartment buildings the suspects were believed to have fled. No suspects were located, and the investigation is still ongoing at this time.” [Read more…]

Police investigate robbery at check cashing store, set up perimeter at apartment building

ORPD Matthew Johnston, Brandan Sharp, and Ray Steakley at Manhattan Apartments

Oak Ridge Police Department officers set up a perimeter around one building at Manhattan Apartments on North Purdue Avenue after a robbery was reported at the nearby Check Into Cash on South Illinois Avenue on Friday afternoon. Pictured above from left are Matthew Johnston, Brandan Sharp, and Ray Steakley.

 

Note: This story was last updated at 7:15 p.m.

The Oak Ridge Police Department on Friday afternoon was investigating a reported robbery at a check cashing and payday loan store on South Illinois Avenue, and officers set up a perimeter at a nearby apartment building.

The robbery was reported at about 3:15 p.m. Friday at Check Into Cash at 361 South Illinois Avenue. Officers said it wasn’t clear what was taken.

Police set up a perimeter around a building at the nearby Manhattan Apartments on North Purdue Avenue, and several officers were carrying AR15 rifles as they appeared to conduct a search in and around the three-story building. But it wasn’t immediately clear if they were looking for a suspect or something else. [Read more…]

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Man accused of robbing store with large knife, warrant says

Yorlin Alverez Castillo

Yorlin Alverez Castillo

An Oak Ridge man remained jailed on Friday on a charge that he robbed the Tienda Nony Marketplace on Bus Terminal Road with a large knife on Monday afternoon, authorities said.

Yorlin Alverez Castillo, 23, is accused of robbing the store at about 1:06 p.m. Monday, according to an arrest warrant filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

A store employee told police that she had her 11-year-old son at work with her at the time, and the boy was behind the counter with her. Castillo allegedly came in the front door armed with a large knife, a deadly weapon, “placing the victims in fear,” Oak Ridge Police Department Detective William Weaver wrote in the warrant.

The employee told Weaver that Castillo’s face was covered with a bandana, and he wore a gray sweatshirt and sweat pants.

“He went up to the counter and stated, ‘It’s a robbery,'” the warrant said. “The victim stated, ‘Yorlin, don’t do this, my son is here.'” [Read more…]

Independence Day: ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’

Independence Day is one of America’s favorite holidays. And why not? Families and friends gather to celebrate our country with food, parades, parties, picnics, and fireworks.

For many, the celebration includes alcohol, but the holiday quickly goes from festive to fatal when people choose to drive after drinking, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White said in a press release. From 2009 through 2013, nearly 40 percent of all traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

To crack down on drunk driving this Independence Day weekend, Anderson County law enforcement will be out in full force, aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger, the press release said. Sheriff’s deputies will be out working to make our roadways safe. [Read more…]

Body of missing five-year-old boy found in pond near family home

Olin Elwood Fitton

Olin Elwood Fitton

The body of the five-year-old boy who went missing Wednesday afternoon was found in a pond near his family’s home in Anderson County, authorities said.

Ground search teams working with K-9s tracked the missing child, Odin Elwood Fitton, to a pond in the creek near the family home on Brushy Valley Road, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said.

“Our dive team was called to search the water, and sadly, the child’s body was found,” Lucas said Wednesday night.

Odin was reported missing at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and ground and air searches began shortly after that. His family’s home is in the 1600 block of Brushy Valley Road near Interstate 75. [Read more…]

Anderson County, others search for missing five-year-old

Olin Elwood Fitton

Odin Elwood Fitton

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies are searching for a missing five-year-old boy who apparently wandered away from home at about lunchtime Wednesday.

Authorities have conducted several ground searches on foot with K-9s as well as by ATV and horseback, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said Wednesday evening. Knox County Sheriff’s Office Airwatch is assisting by helicopter. The searches are continuing to use assets from several agencies, including the Knoxville Police Department Search and Rescue team, Lucas said.

The child was reported missing around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and ground and air searches began shortly after that. The home is in the 1600 block of Brushy Valley Road near Interstate 75.

The child information is as follows: [Read more…]

Report: Scammers extorting money after claiming missed jury duty

Oak Ridge officials say unknown suspects have been contacting residents claiming to be representatives of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and claiming to be contacting people who failed to show up for jury duty. The suspects have allegedly extorted money from victims in return for supposedly excusing them from jury duty, a press release said.

The press release said that anyone who is asked to pay money in return for being excused from jury duty should contact their local law enforcement agency immediately. Oak Ridge citizens are encouraged to report any suspicious activity to (865) 425-4399, or dial 911 if it is an emergency.

NAACP has forum on voting rights restoration on Thursday

Tom Marshall

Tom Marshall

Have you been convicted of a crime and are now unable to vote, or having trouble getting a job?

On Thursday, the Oak Ridge/Anderson County chapter of the NAACP will present the first in a series of public forums designed to help you. The forum starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at Spurgeon Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church at 100 South Benedict Avenue in Oak Ridge.

Tom Marshall, District 7 Public Defender, will provide information on how people having served their sentence can potentially get their voting right restored and their record expunged, a press release said. Additional agencies are providing information. [Read more…]

Bear spotted in Rocky Top on Friday

Bear in Rocky Top on June 19, 2015

A bear was spotted at 320 Norris Freeway in Rocky Top, across from the Dollar Store, at about 12:30 p.m. Friday. (Photo courtesy Raymond Jobe)

A bear was spotted in Rocky Top on Friday.

Authorities received a report of a bear near the intersection of U.S. 441 (Norris Freeway) and North Main Street at about noon Friday, a Rocky Top dispatcher said. It was across from Advance Auto Parts.

Dispatchers contacted the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which recommended leaving the animal alone. TWRA said the bear was probably looking for food, and berries will “come out” in about another two to three weeks.

The dispatcher said the bear drifted off from that intersection downtown and was seen elsewhere around Rocky Top (the former Lake City) before disappearing. [Read more…]

TWRA: Removing white-tailed fawns from wild does more harm than good

White-tailed Deer Fawn

Safe and sound. While many people might consider it abandoned, the mother is nearby nourishing herself while the fawn rests in a safe place in thick cover. (Photo credit: TWRA/Sterling Daniels)

 

MORRISTOWN—Calls reporting abandoned white-tailed fawns are pouring in, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is reminding people to think twice before removing them from the wild in an attempt to rescue them, even when it seems like they’ve been abandoned.

TWRA Wildlife Biologist Sterling Daniels offers this information to those who may be considering “rescuing” a fawn that in most cases, would have been better left alone: “White-tailed deer have a very effective survival strategy for their offspring that may be misinterpreted by many people and it is very rare for a doe to ever abandon a fawn. Fawns are typically born May through July, with June being the most common month. For the first weeks of a fawn’s life, the mother will keep her distance from the bedded newborn only returning for just a few hours each day for nursing. This survival strategy reduces the chance of leading predators to their location. If someone encounters a fawn, the best thing to do is leave it alone.” [Read more…]

Firefighters, business owner to lead fire safety seminar for businesses

Josh Waldo

Josh Waldo

A business owner and firefighters from Oak Ridge and Clinton will lead a fire safety seminar for businesses in Clinton on Tuesday.

The seminar is titled “Fire Safety and Prevention in Your Workplace and Business.” It will be led by Chip Dooley, owner of Life Safety Inspections in Oak Ridge; Josh Waldo, deputy fire chief for the Oak Ridge Fire Department; and Daniel Adams, firefighter for the Clinton Fire Department.

The seminar is scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce in Clinton. It’s part of the Chamber’s summer business safety series, and it’s sponsored by Life Safety Inspections.

“The best way to practice fire safety is to make sure one doesn’t break out in the first place,” a press release said. “This means being aware of potential hazards in your business.” [Read more…]