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Three Officers Arrested and Facing Criminal Charges in the Murder of Unarmed Black Man, Manuel Elijah Ellis

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Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed felony charges in Pierce County Superior Court on Thursday against three officers with the Tacoma Police Department.

What We Know:

  • Christopher Burbank, Matthew Collins, and Timothy Rankine have all been arrested and charged in the death of an unarmed Black man named Manuel Elijah Ellis. Ellis died while being restrained and claiming that he couldn’t breathe. The officers involved have an arraignment scheduled on Friday. The judge has marked their bail for $100,000 each and also restricted travel to any neighboring counties.
  • Burbank and Collins were both charged with second-degree murder, while Rankine was charged with first-degree murder. They are not allowed to have contact with witnesses or each other unless their attorneys are present. This incident marks the first time the Washington State Attorney General’s office has charged police offices with unlawful use of deadly force. The Tacoma Police Union has called the incident “a politically motivated witch hunt.”
  • The Union also said in a statement that the officers “acted in accordance with the law, their training, and Tacoma Police Department policies.” Ellis was killed on March 3rd, 2020. He was 33 years old and had two children. Prosecutors say that Burbank and Collins claim to have been attacked by Ellis while they were at a red light stop.
  • Witnesses give contradicting statements on the case, according to prosecutors. They describe the initial encounter between Ellis and the two officers as peaceful and respectful. But as Ellis began to walk away, witnesses say he was knocked down by Burbank’s side door, and afterward, Burbanks proceeded to get on top of Ellis when he tried to get up. Video footage released of the attack shows the officers slamming Ellis into the ground and striking him repeatedly. Ellis kept repeating, “I can’t breathe,” and according to video evidence, it’s the last words he ever spoke.

The Pierce County medical examiner later ruled Ellis’s death a homicide due to “hypoxia.”

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Crime

Man Arrested After Shooting At Gilroy Cops During Pursuit

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A 36-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night after he led Gilroy police officers on a high-speed pursuit.

What We Know:

  • The chase occurred around 9 p.m after police attempted to stop a man named Joshua Munoz. According to authorities, Munoz had warrants out for his arrest and was wanted for outstanding felony and misdemeanor charges.
  • Munoz was charged with possession of a firearm, resisting arrest, child endangerment, brandishing a weapon, burglary, and violating probation. Munoz was pursued by officers onto Highway 101 where he allegedly opened fire. Reportedly, he held a pistol out of the driver’s side window and fired a round at officers. Nobody was injured during the incident.
  • The pursuit reached Monterey County and then the California Highway Patrol took over the chase. Munoz eventually lost control of his vehicle and crashed. Afterward, Munoz attempted to flee, but officers managed to capture him.
  • Police recovered a handgun and rifle on the scene. Munoz was later booked into Santa Clara County jail. In addition to previous warrants, Munoz has also been charged with attempted murder of a police officer, felony evasion, felon in possession of a firearm, and resisting arrest.

Police are still investigating and are asking anyone with additional information to contact detectives at 408-046-0335 or the anonymous tip line at 408-846-0330.

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Crime

Teen Couple Joked About Dad’s Killing in New Video Evidence

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A 16-year-old girl and her 18-year-old boyfriend allegedly stabbed her father to death in April.

What We Know:

  • The couple allegedly made vlogs about the crime in the aftermath of the incident. The videos are being used as evidence in the case and have been presented to a Nevada grand jury this week. The videos were recorded with the intent to post them online but were never posted.
  • Aaron Guerrero and Sierra Halseth are charged with murdering Daniel Halseth, Sierra’s father. The couple then burned down the Halseth’s home, which incinerated Daniel’s corpse. In the video, Guerrero can be quoted as saying, “It was worth it.”
  • Sierra and Aaron both face counts of conspiracy to commit murder. Other charges include murder with a deadly weapon, first-degree arson, fraudulent use of credit cards, conspiracy to commit robbery, and robbery with a deadly weapon. The couple was caught on surveillance footage from Home Depot and WinCo purchasing the supplies needed to start a fire.
  • According to CBS 8, the couple’s credit card and debit card receipts match the purchases. Authorities revealed that the couple had been dating for seven months before their parents agreed they shouldn’t date. After the incident, the couple fled to Salt Lake City. The pair was arrested in Utah, and a bloody rug was found in the teenager’s trunk.

The couple was extradited to Clark County, Nevada, and denied bail.

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Crime

Man Accused of Kidnapping Dallas Boy Faces New Murder Charge

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A Dallas man initially accused of kidnapping four year old Cash Gernon is now being charged with capital murder.

What We Know:

  • An 18-year-old from Dallas allegedly kidnapped a sleeping Gernon from his bed last month. He is now being charged with capital murder after the toddler was found stabbed to death a few blocks away. Darriynn Brown’s charges have been upgraded on Wednesday night. This is after new evidence has been found linking him to the murder.
  • Dallas police say “evidence submitted to the lab has been returned linking” Brown to the young boy. Authorities have not specified what DNA evidence they have. Police did not immediately identify Brown as the suspect. Brown was identified later on via surveillance footage taking Gernon from his bed around 5 a.m.
  • Two hours after the incident, a jogger came across Gernon’s dead body lying in the street with multiple stab wounds. At the time, Cash and his twin brother Carter were staying with their father’s girlfriend, Monica Sherrod. Their father allegedly skipped town to outrun drug charges. Carter is now in the custody of his mother, Melina Seagroves.
  • Police allege that Brown knew Sherrod and her teenage son, but their exact relationship is unclear. Before the DNA was returned, Brown was already facing kidnapping and burglary charges. In February, Brown walked into another Dallas home attempting to snatch a two year old girl but was stopped by her grandfather. Brown attacked the man and fled the scene without the girl.

Brown was charged with burglary and injury to an elderly person in that incident.

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