Friday, March 30, 2007

Developments in the Vinson Shooting

The routine drug stop that ended tragically continues to reverberate. From today's ABJ:

    The trail of the .45-caliber handgun that authorities say Demetrus Vinson of Akron used to fatally shoot himself in a standoff with police March 17 led federal and local anti-gang units to raid a Canton house this week.

    The raid on the home of Roy Turner on 16th Street Northeast produced 59 guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition and a convicted sex offender on parole living in the house.
    Dittmore said officers were able to trace the gun from Vinson back to Roy Turner using federal forms that are required when a gun is sold. However, he said it hasn't been determined how many times the gun may have changed hands between Turner and Vinson, 19.
Two thoughts. First this investigation has gone far deeper as a result of both the shooting and the community reaction. Stops out of known drug houses, like the one that started all this are a daily occurance at APD. There's at least a chance the police wouldn't even have been able to search the car. Much police work depends on dumbness on the part of suspects, though rarely dumbness on the vast scale at work here.

Second, the residents of Gunnutistan are convinced that records like place us but a half step from a police state. They should at least acknowledge that the price for eliminating the record keeping requirements would be to lose an important investigative tool which, in this case, uncovered what appears to be a guy selling guns to bad people.

Meanwhile, Eric Mansfield has been teasing us with hints about upcoming developments. Here's Wednesday's post:
    Shooting Update: Sources tell me there have been several significant developments in the investigation into Demetrus Vinson's death. He's the 19-year-old from North Hill who died 11 days ago during a traffic stop with Akron Police. Officers pulled him over after leaving a suspected drug house and shot him when they say he drew a gun. The Medical Examiner later ruled that Vinson actually died from a self-inflicted wound a minute or so after the police fired at him. Vinson's family and some others don't believe it and have been leading a charge for outside investigators and further review. I can't go on the air quite yet with what I'm hearing but let's just say some of these developments are scientific, some are in the courthouse, and some are outside of the city. Stay tuned.
And Mansfield Thursday:
    The net around the Vinson case is widening. Between the house of guns where the gun in Vinson's car was traced and the DNA test officers hope to perform on the 15-year-old witness, does anyone else feel like we're in an episode of Law & Order? I've learned that there's so more lab testing going on that will shed the spotlight on yet another sidecar to this speeding rocket ship too. And don't forget, as soon as the investigation ends, a special investigator from Cleveland gets to review all the evidence.
(I've written to Eric complaining about how his blog doesn't allow linking to specific posts. Needless to say, he's not the tech guy in charge, though he said he would pass it on.)

All of which brings us around to the second Vinson-related item in the in today's ABJ:
    [Chance Baker], [t]he teen in the car when 19-year-old Demetrus Rayshawn Vinson died in what police said was a suicide, will appear in court next week . . . with his lawyer Eddie Sipplen for a probable cause hearing.

    Sipplen is challenging an Akon police search warrant seeking fingerprints and DNA samples from his client Baker.
Presumably police found something that they suspect Baker had in his possession. It will be interesting to see what.