York men address complex question: ‘How do we stop the next killing?’

A group of about 20 black men organized themselves on Facebook to meet at Studio 29 Tuesday. It was one night after the fatal shooting death of NaGus Griggs, an 18-year-old York man.

They were there to answer a complex question: “What can we do to stop the next killing?”

Griggs, a stand-out basketball player at New Hope Academy, was shot and killed Monday night in the city. He was the second former athlete and York resident lost to a shooting in the last two months. Griggs, and Dashaun Davis, 23, were both killed while sitting in a car.

The latest killing was decried by York Mayor Kim Bracey who called upon the community.

On Tuesday night, at the impromptu meeting, the men, who included football coaches, local pastors and school principals, never addressed a specific murder. Instead, they discussed ways of reaching a common goal – reducing the violent, street mentality-driven culture being bred in the city of York among its youth.

I could hear it in their voices – it was determination, deep-seated passion, even desperate at points. The men weren’t afraid to voice their own opinions. Rather, they were eager to listen to each other.

One of the men, Rev. Oscar Rossam, who is cousins with Griggs, attended the meeting. He noted how there is a very noticeable change in young men from when they are in elementary and then when he sees them in middle school. They have lost all respect for their elders and their attitudes are “crazy,” the Reverend said.

As the meeting continued, some more steps for reaching the youth were brought up. Fathers and mothers need to model what the kids will become, it was said. The older generation needs to be present for the kids. A simple introduction and asking them how they are doing works.

For Kerry Glover, president of the Boys Club of York, it’s not a matter of preaching to the troubled kids who are using guns to solve problems.

“Too much free time is the most dangerous thing. Not guns,” Glover said Tuesday night. “We respond to what the kids give us.”

Glover’s plan is to listen to the young men and women of York, providing them with a safe environment to talk about their issues.

From there, an action plan can be formed, Glover said.

The meeting is only the start. Hopefully, by word of mouth, the group will grow over the coming weeks. The problem, I think, will not be fixed over night. It’s going to take a step-by-step approach.

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York County crime watch 9/5/14

Take a look at what’s happening in York County district courts.

Judge Jeff Joy:

Judge Jeff Joy's crime watch 9/5/14

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Live Coverage of the Joshua Cochran and Amy Funt child abuse trial

The parents of a 2 1/2-year-old girl are being prosecuted for allegedly seriously injuring her when she was 2-month’s old.

Follow live coverage of their trial below.

Amy Marie Funt, 29, and Joshua Allen Cochran, 30, reportedly “abruptly and unexpectedly” left their Loganville Borough home with their daughter on April 25, 2012, abandoning employment and family, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Amy Marie Funt

Amy Marie Funt

They resurfaced five days later in Waterloo, Iowa, when Funt took the little girl to a medical center for respiratory distress, police said.

Joshua Allen Cochran

Joshua Allen Cochran

Medical staff there discovered the girl had multiple rib fractures and multiple healing fractures to her arms and legs,Trooper Christopher Colarusso reported in his criminal complaint.

The staff at the Covenant Medical Center eliminated any genetic disorder as the cause of the fractures and dated the injuries as several weeks old, meaning they were inflicted in York County.

Colarusso said Funt and Cochran could not give the Iowa doctors any logical reason for the injuries.

Colarusso said doctors told him the infant’s injuries would have been extremely painful when the child was handled.

Funt and Cochran were returned to York County on charges of aggravated and simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Both Cochran and Funt were released on $1 nominal bail in March when their case did not come to trial within 180 days

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York County crime watch 8/29/14

Take a look at what’s been happening in district courts around York County.

District Judge Robert Eckenrode:

District Judge Robert Eckenrode's crime watch 8.29

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York County crime watch 8/23/14

Take a look at what’s been happening in York County district courts.

Judge Jeffrey Oberdorf:

District Judge Jeff Oberdorf's crime watch

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U.S. Marshals capture “War Machine”

I’m a crime writer and also a fan of the sport of mixed martial arts. But typically, when the two meet, it’s not a good thing.

MMA fighters are no different than other athletes — many are college-educated, have competed in the Olympics, and run their own businesses — while others have had a disadvantaged start to their lives.

Just because they are fighters doesn’t mean they get into fights outside of the cage any more than their professional counterparts. As a matter of fact, many of them have been bouncers in bars, getting rid of rabble-rousers, and often use their skills to prevent crime when they come upon it.

I say all this because of the broad brush with which fighters are sometimes painted in the media. Since MMA debuted in the U.S, in 1993, the image of the MMA has improved in the public eye, I would say. However, one guy in particular, though, has sent a lot of the hard work down the drain.

He calls himself “War Machine,” although he has never served in the military. And knowing several true soldiers, I doubt anyone who served would legally change their name to that — most soldiers are humble, don’t glorify warfare and don’t like to draw attention to themselves.

Not Jon Koppenhaver, aka War Machine. This guy has a penchant for beating people up at the drop of a hat. I was horrified at the alleged events that unfolded over the past week or so. Police say Koppenhaver broke into ex-girlfriend Christy Mack’s home, beat up a guy who was there, ordered him to leave. Then, he brutally assaulted Mack, breaking bones in her face, cutting off her hair, and then sexually assaulted her, police said.

He then left, and hid out for several days, instead of facing justice like a man. The U.S. Marshals found him in California and brought him back to Las Vegas, where the alleged crimes took place.

I’m aware that Koppenhaver has said he was “fighting for his life” inside Mack’s home, that he had gone there to propose to her, and that he doesn’t think the justice system will give him a fair shake.

But what he needed to do as soon as the incident was over was hire a decent lawyer and turn himself in. It would have looked better for him — avoiding being named a fugitive from justice — and it would have started the justice process moving a lot sooner.

Even if he is totally innocent of the charges, he owed at least that to Mack, as she lay in a hospital bed, her eyes shut from repeated punches, a broken rib and ruptured liver.

Click here to see War Machine’s mugshot.

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On the digital beat, York County cops embrace social media

Note: This post is the first in a series of articles focusing on cops in York using social media.

Carroll Township Police frequently post on its Facebook page. The department is one of many across York County that use social media to get information out to the public.

Carroll Township Police frequently post on its Facebook page. The department is one of many across York County which use social media to get information out to the public.

Information is power, says Carroll Township Police Department spokesman David Smith.

And the quicker that information can get out to the public, the better, the sergeant said recently.

It seems today that just as a cop might reach for a set of handcuffs or pen and paper, he might also be grabbing his cellphone and thumbing out a Tweet.

“Social media is kind of taking over with law enforcement because you can get information out almost real time,” Smith said.

The Carroll Township Police department is on the smaller side — it employs 11 officers and covers Dillsburg Borough along with Monaghan and Carroll townships. The department has yet to launch a Twitter account, but its Facebook page has garnered 1,253 likes.

On one of the page’s latest posts, the department shared an image of a cellphone which had been found on the street in Carroll Township. Later that same day, after 13 people shared the picture and information, the department commented that the phone had been returned to its owner.

Earlier this month, Carroll Township police posted this image of a lost cell phone. Later that day, thanks to sharing of the image on Facebook, the phone was returned to its owner.

Earlier this month, Carroll Township police posted this image of a lost cell phone. Later that day, thanks to sharing of the image on Facebook, the phone was returned to its owner.

“It’s new for us so we’re experimenting with it,” Sgt. Smith said. “As technology has grown, we have to figure out how we’re going to use it.”

For Smith, one of the best aspects of hopping on the social media wagon is that it provides another set of eyes during a police incident or investigation. Afterall, “the police can’t be everywhere at once,” he added.

To better understand the growing trends of social media, Smith said he attended a course with a group out of Maryland in March. The group, Smith said, is comprised of Baltimore city officials and the course also featured a local reporter who spoke about how social media has changed the manner in which information gets out to the public.

“If you look at everybody, they’re always looking at their phones,” Sgt. Smith said. “It’s the wave of the future. I’d like to use it more.”

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York County crime watch 8/15/14

Take a look at what’s been happening in York County district court this week.

Judge Robert Eckenrode:

Crime watch for Judge Robert Eckenrode

Judge Barry Bloss Jr.:

Crime watch for Judge Barry Bloss Jr.

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York County crime watch 8/8/14

Take a look at what’s happening around York County district courts.

District Judge Barry Bloss Jr.:

District Judge Barry Bloss Jr.'s crime watch 8/4/14

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Don’t wear your PJs to district court

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