Archive for the ‘Police & Crime’ Category

Car crashes into Antioch house, possibly fatal for driver, Tuesday night

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
Police and fire personnel responded to a car crashing into a house on E. 13th Street at Simmons Street, Thursday night, January 17, 2017 Photos by Bill Goldsby.

Police and fire personnel responded to a car crashing into a house at the corner of Simmons and E. 13th Streets, Thursday night, January 17, 2017 Photos by Bill Goldsby

Car crashes into house close up finalBy Allen Payton

According to a neighbor, following a shooting, a driver crashed a car into a house on Simmons Street at E. 13th Street, near Hillcrest Avenue in Antioch, Tuesday night about 10:30 p.m.

“I hear it was a possible drug deal gone bad at E. 13th and Hillcrest,” said Bill Goldsby, who lives three houses from the scene of the accident.

He believes the driver died as a result of the collision, which resulted in minor damage to the house and shrubs.

Asked if it was a police chase, Goldsby responded, “No. From what I have heard, the driver was selling drugs when someone started chasing them, shot at him, he lost control and then hit the house.”

12:15 AM Update: “Right now City of Antioch crews just brought out the auxiliary lights to light up the area,” Goldsby said via Facebook messenger. “VIPS (Volunteers In Police Service) are manning the road blocks right now.”

A call has been made to the Antioch Police Department for details. Please check back later for updates to this story.

 

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$1M of Measure C funds spent on administration, not more police

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Antioch Council to continue spending same amount, but not from police budget

By Dave Roberts

When 68% of Antioch voters approved the Measure C half-cent sales tax hike in 2013, the ballot measure said the money would be used to hire 22 more police, plus code enforcement officers as well as help economic development and job creation. The ballot wording didn’t mention that the money would also be used for city government administration, but that’s where more than $1 million of Measure C funds is being spent.

The sales tax had raised $13.3 million as of June 30, 2016. This has provided for the hiring of nine additional police officers and filling more than a half-dozen community service officer and code enforcement positions.

But not all of that money is devoted to public safety salaries and benefits. About 8% goes to what the city budget refers to as “internal services.” Nearly half of internal services revenue goes to the city finance department to provide payroll, accounting and purchasing services. The rest is divided among other city departments, including the city manager, attorney, clerk, human resources, city council and facilities maintenance.

The share of Measure C money going to administrative overhead for the police department has increased from 7.1% two years ago to 8.5% last year and 8% in the current fiscal year. Citywide the percentage budgeted for internal services has grown from 5.6% in 2012 to 6.3% from 2013-15 to 7.8% in 2016 and to 8.1% in 2017. The percentages are based on a formula in the city’s Cost Allocation Plan, which was adopted in 2005, and the growth in the internal services departments.

The increased cost of administration, particularly paid for with Measure C funds, created concerns at last week’s City Council meeting. Sal Sbranti, a former member of the Measure C Citizens Oversight Committee, acknowledged to the council that Measure C funds can be used for administration, but he questioned whether city administrators are taking advantage of the increased sales tax funding for public safety to beef up their own departments.

“The question deserves to be asked as to why this [administrative] allocation continues to rise at such a rate,” he said. “Every year the amount going to citywide administration goes up regardless of whether it meets Measure C guidelines or not. The committee formal report stated that due to the way the city budgets the police department for Measure C, the committee has some concerns as to whether all Measure C monies are being properly utilized to meet the objective of this measure.

“We the citizens of Antioch voted for Measure C to reduce crime, increase code enforcement, reduce 911 response times and to minimize blight. What do we get? More money spent on HR, city manager’s office, city council, city attorney – just amazing. In the last six years citywide administration has gone from $1.44 million to $3.152 million. That’s you guys approving a budget. You approved them to double their budget in six years. In the same period of time the police department only went up 52%. So who’s putting the control on citywide administration, HR, all those functions?

“Measure C is to take care of the crime in the city of Antioch. If we continue to spend money on HR, finance, the attorney and other citywide administration, at the end of the Measure C sunset [in 2021] we’ll not have the money to continue with the number of police that we have. They should not be taking Measure C money to do this. That was not what the City Council told us they were going to do. That is not what we voted on.”

Sbranti’s concerns were shared by several council members.

“I understand the Cost Allocation Plan, I understand the purpose of it,” said Mayor Sean Wright. “As somebody who worked on Measure C to help get it passed, I also understand the consternation of watching Measure C money get spent on other sources that are not helping to directly improve the safety of our community.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who had asked that the issue be placed on the council agenda, shared the mayor’s understandings and suggested two budgeting options.

“I asked for Measure C just to go toward these officers,” she said, “and the other one was to just flat out remove the Measure C cost allocation of the citywide administration fee. Or to keep doing it the way we’ve been doing it. I do trust that [city administrators are] doing it correctly and that the percentage has not changed. I understand the math where if the funds go up, the amount is going to go up. It does make sense. I do understand what people are saying the [administration] funds should not come out of Measure C funds. I have agreed with that.”

Also concerned was Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe who questioned why administrative costs had risen so much when the police department only had a net increase of less than a dozen police officers.

City Finance Director Dawn Merchant responded, “The police department has the largest share of employees of any department in the city. So we spend more resources with police department payroll versus other departments. It’s not just payroll. We pay accounts payable invoices, any money they collect we do the billing. There are a wide variety of services that finance does.”

Thorpe was skeptical, asking “For 10 additional people?”

Merchant responded, “It’s not just 10 additional people. It’s in total for the entire police department.”

City Manager Steven Duran jumped in, saying, “It doesn’t matter if there’s 10 additional people or 10 less people. The pie that’s divided is the cost of internal services. And the formula is the Cost Allocation Plan. Whether Measure C ever existed or not, the formula stays the same. So it’s nothing that anybody does except apply the math that’s in the plan. It doesn’t matter how many hires we’ve had.

“I think one of the things that some of the detractors have been emphasizing is how much it went up since 2012. That’s because when there were layoffs and furloughs prior to that, it went down. So, for instance, the city attorney has been sharing half of an administrative person and gone without a legal secretary for several years. In this year we budgeted for a legal secretary, therefore the city attorney’s budget is going up. Therefore every other department that pays internal services, they are going to pay a little more for the city attorney – police department, water, sewer, everyone. The formula doesn’t change, and it doesn’t matter what the other departments are doing or how many they have added.”

Thorpe seemed mollified, but he took exception to Duran’s characterization of the people concerned about Measure C money going to escalating administration.

“I hear you and I hear the point that if they hired no police officers and I guess if they had no additional invoices to process, it would still be the same,” said Thorpe. “I was trying to figure out how the formula [came to be] and who decided the percentage. And you’re telling me that it’s a formula that already exists, so I’m understanding that.

“I just have to point out that these are not detractors, Mr. City Manager. These are residents who have concerns, and they bring those concerns to us. So we have to take those concerns seriously. So if it frustrates you that we ask these questions, I’m sorry. But we are going to ask these questions. So I want to make clear that there are people who have concerns out there. I ask these questions to be open and transparent so that folks understand what the process is.

“So now I understand that there’s a formula. Whether it should be applied to Measure C is a starting point that I would like to discuss. Because that seems to be a concern that residents have.”

To address that concern, Wright made a motion that was unanimously passed by the council to direct Merchant to not include the administrative cost charges in the Measure C budget.

Merchant told the council that the administrative overhead would instead be shown to come out of the general fund budget, but the money being spent on administration in the overall budget would remain the same. “The expenditure is going to be there,” she said. “It’s just whether we say it’s a part of the equation for Measure C.”

Councilman Tony Tiscareno echoed Merchant, saying, “I want to make it clear that the public needs to know that there isn’t going to be a difference in cost allocation. It’s going to be the same. It’s coming from one column to another column. The reason I didn’t question the Measure C cost allocation at the time is because it was transparent to me, I saw firsthand where the money was going, knowing the money was being spent like it was supposed to be spent. We wanted to use it for hiring police and code enforcement. And I think we’ve done so.

“But we need to be transparent about all our expenditures where the money goes. This just makes it a little simpler for me to view it. But for folks that believe that this may help extend Measure C, I’ll play. But it’s still money being spent that has to be spent.”

The council is scheduled to begin reviewing the 2017-19 budget in April and to adopt it by July.

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Antioch man shoots, kills himself following Hwy 4 CHP chase for DUI, Thursday night

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Pursuit began in Pittsburg, ended in Concord

Thursday night, January 12, 2017 at about 11 pm, CHP began a DUI investigation of a driver suspected of driving impaired at Harbor Court and Harbor Street in the city of Pittsburg. The driver showed signs of impairment and CHP requested him to exit his vehicle for a DUI investigation. The driver refused to exit and fled the scene prompting CHP to pursue him on westbound Highway 4.

CHP pursued the Honda sedan as he exited Port Chicago Highway, drove to and parked in a driveway located on Gratton Way in Concord. At that point, two CHP units and a CHP supervisor were parked behind the suspect vehicle. While still in his Honda, the suspect (a 45-year-old white male from Antioch) brandished a semi automatic pistol, turned it on himself, discharged it and suffered a self-inflicted wound and subsequently killed himself.

No CHP Officers were injured nor did any CHP officers fire their weapons. CHP’s Golden Gate Divisions Special Investigative Unit (SIU) is conducting a full investigation. This is still an open investigation. A call into the CHP Contra Costa for the suspect’s name and any other details was not returned before press time and that is all the information the CHP has released as of now.

 

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Shooting victim shows up at Antioch hospital Wednesday, won’t cooperate with police

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

By Sergeant Rick Smith, Antioch Police Community Policing Bureau

On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at approximately 1:05 PM, Antioch Police Officers were advised of a possible shooting victim that had been brought into the Kaiser Hospital Deer Valley Emergency Room by car for treatment. Officers contacted an uncooperative male adult in the Emergency Room with a single gunshot wound.

Exact details of what occurred are still being investigated at this time and are vague. No further information will be released at this time.

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Antioch Police at (925) 778-2441. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Two same-day Macbook Pro thefts at Starbucks among Antioch Police calls for service for week of Dec. 22-28, 2016

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Plus armed robbery, shoplifting, trespassing, drugs, stolen vehicles and many outstanding warrants

Antioch Police calls for service highlights as published in the Weekly Report by Assistant City Manager Ron Bernal dated December 30, 2016 and provided by Chief of Police Allan Cantando.

Calls for Service and Arrest Data Summary

Time Period: 12/22/16 00:00:00 – 12/28/16 23:59:59

Number of Calls for Service: 1,471

Number of Case Reports: 247

Number of Arrests: 70

Felony: 29

Misdemeanor: 41

Arrests with

DUI charge: 4

The data is based upon unaudited CAD/RMS data at time of report generation.

●12/28/16 at 11:46 pm, an officer contacted 38 year old Lewis Wright during a pedestrian stop at Jack’s Car Wash on Fitzuren Rd. Wright was found to have two warrants for his arrest. Wright was arrested and booked into County Jail.

●12/28/16 at 1:57 pm, officers contacted 46 year old Chris Osborne on a traffic stop on A St. and determined him to be on parole. A search was conducted and officers located methamphetamine for sales. Osborne was arrested for narcotics sales and booked into County Jail.

●12/28/16 at 12:39 pm, officers contacted 40 year old Matthew King on a pedestrian stop near 7-11 on Sunset Lane and found him to have a warrant for his arrest. King was booked into County Jail.

●12/28/16 at 2:24 am, 46 year old Shannon Johnson called the police because he believed his girlfriend was hiding in his brother’s bedroom. Officers made contact with Johnson and soon realized he displayed the symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance. A check of the residence, including brother’s room, revealed no girlfriend but a parole check of Johnson’s person revealed an amount of methamphetamine for personal use. Johnson was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and Parole placed a hold on him for the violation. Johnson was transported to County Jail.

●12/28/16 at 1:30 am, Sutter Delta Hospital security called APD because 65 year old Andrew Norwood refused to leave the property of the hospital after being discharged. Security placed Norwood under citizen’s arrest for trespassing and officers took custody of him. Norwood was transported to County Jail for trespassing.

●12/27/16 at 8:43 pm, an officer conducted a traffic stop on Manzanita Way And Mahogany Way on a motorcycle for having no license plates. A check of the VIN revealed the motorcycle was listed as stolen out of Burlingame. 37 year old Michael Siscar was arrested without incident and claimed to have recently purchased the motorcycle for $100 from a neighborhood resident. Siscar was transported to County Jail for the stolen vehicle.

●12/27/16 at 3:23 pm, an officer located a stolen vehicle at the gas pumps at the Shell Gas Station on Auto Center Dr. 25 year old Ross Funcannon was seated in the driver seat of the vehicle and attempted to walk away after seeing the officer. Funcannon was detained without incident and found to be on parole for burglary. He was arrested and booked into County Jail for the stolen vehicle as well as a violation of parole.

●12/27/16 at 2:42 pm, officers responded to Starbucks on A St. for a report of a female on the phone asking for the police. Upon arrival, officers contacted an adult male subject and 28 year old Jessie Elery. After speaking with the pair, officers learned no crime was committed; however, Elery was found to have a warrant for her arrest. She was arrested without incident and booked into County Jail.

●12/27/16 at 10:40 am, officers responded to 7-11 on Sunset Lane for a suspicious vehicle possibly involved in narcotics sales. Officers contacted 24 year old Dylan Douglas who was found to have a felony warrant for his arrest. He was arrested and booked into County Jail.

●12/27/16 at 2:20 am, an officer was patrolling the parking lot of the Shell Gas Station on Hillcrest Ave. when he ran the plate on a U-Haul van parked at the gas pumps. The van returned as a stolen vehicle, and 51 year old Annette Corriveau was contacted in the driver seat. She was arrested without incident and transported to the County Jail for the stolen vehicle.

●12/26/16 at 7:52 pm, officers were dispatched to a fight on the front porch of a residence on Greystone Drive. 27 year old Antwon Redmon was contacted on the porch, and it was determined that there was no fight. A records check of Redmon revealed a warrant. He was arrested and booked at County Jail.

●12/26/16 at 2:20 pm, the victim was sitting in her vehicle near Taco Bell on Lone Tree Way when an unknown male approached her driver window. The male lifted his sweatshirt to expose a handgun in his waistband while demanding property from the victim. The victim gave the male some cash and he walked off towards Taco Bell. The victim drove home and then reported the incident. The responsible was not located.

●12/26/16 at 2:03 pm, two suspects entered Sears on Somersville Road with a suitcase and selected numerous items. They stuffed all the items in the suitcase and attempted to leave the store. A loss prevention officer attempted to stop the couple resulting in the merchandise spilling out on the floor. The female suspect started punching the loss prevention officer while the male half collected the stolen items. Eventually, the female reached in her purse and threatened to shoot the loss prevention officer, but no gun was seen. The two suspects fled the store on foot towards Potomac Ct. The suspects were not located.

●12/26/16 at 2:02 pm, officers were working a proactive detail when they located 47 year old James Gregory on K St. and 10th St. He was found to have two warrants and booked in County Jail.

●12/26/16 at 8:16 am, officers were dispatched to Cataline Ave. for a suspicious vehicle in the area. They made contact with 23 year old Tony Brooks. During a consent search, officers located methamphetamine and heroin. Brooks was arrested and given a citation.

●12/26/16 at 7:53 am, the victims were at 5th St. and L St. trying to meet up with a friend. While they were parked on the side of the road, a white pickup pulled up and the suspects got out. One male suspect and one female suspect were armed with guns. The victims were assaulted, ultimately resulting in the suspects taking the victim’s white 2003 Ford Taurus. The suspects fled in the victim’s car and in the pickup. Officers circulated the area but were not able to find the victim vehicle.

●12/25/16 at 8:51 pm, 19 year old Luis Morales was contacted during a traffic stop for erratic driving. He displayed objective symptoms of being intoxicated and refused field sobriety tests. He was arrested for DUI and consented to a blood draw. He was subsequently booked into the County Jail.

●12/25/16 at 11:53 am, officers contacted several subjects in front of a residence on Manzanita Way 44 year old Jeffrey Rice was found to have a warrant for his arrest. He was released with a new court date.

●12/25/16 at 7:15 am, an unknown suspect entered 7-11 on E. 18th St. and went to the bathroom where he stayed for approximately 30 minutes. The suspect came out of the bathroom, approached the clerk and pointed a revolver at him. The clerk ran into the back room and locked the door. The suspect attempted to open the register, but when he couldn’t get into it, he fled the store on foot westbound on E. 18th St. Officers circulated the area, but the suspect was not located. There was no loss for the business.

●12/24/16 at 10:23 pm, an officer conducted a traffic stop on a van with paper plates at the Hillcrest Ave. and E. Lake Dr. A check of the VIN revealed it to be stolen out of Antioch from Templer’s Tow a few days prior. The driver, 30 year old Adam Renfroe, was arrested without incident and transported to the County Jail. During an inventory search of the vehicle, a suspected stolen safe and compressor were located. A Trak flyer was completed in an effort to identify an owner of the suspected stolen property.

●12/24/16 at 5:37 pm, an officer contacted 46 year old Joseph Simoni and another subject in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Ramada Inn on Mahogany Way. Simoni was found to have a warrant. He was arrested and booked at County Jail.

●12/24/16 at 3:33 pm, several witnesses called to report a fight at the Big Lots on Somersville Rd. Responding officers located 36 year old Melody Brown nearby and she matched the description of one of the responsibles. A 71 year old male was contacted at the store and determined to be the victim. He had minor injuries, was not cooperative, and refused to conduct an infield. Brown was found to have three warrants and was booked at County Jail.

●12/24/16 at 3:09 pm, 58 year old Don Gonzales was stopped by officers for vehicle code violations near 1500 W. 4th St. He was found to have a warrant for his arrest. He was arrested and sent to County Jail.

●12/24/16 at 2:30 pm, Walmart security called to report 26 year old Jagurtha Sbili was on the property and had already been warned for trespassing. Officers made contact with Sbili and detained him without incident. Security signed a citizen’s arrest for Sbili and he was booked in County Jail for likely to continue.

●12/24/16 at 1:22 pm, 49 year old Kevin Baity was contacted by police at a home on Pinecrest Ct. during a suspicious circumstance call. Baity was found to have a cite/release warrant out of Oakland. He was arrested and released with a new court date.

●12/24/16 at 7:59 am, the victim called APD from the Red and Green on 4th St. to report she was in an altercation with a female subject outside the store; and during the incident, her vehicle was stolen. Officers were able to identify the female suspect as 39 year old Shadia Mitchell-Richards who has been arrested numerous times in the past. A report was taken and officers circulated for the car. At 2:01 pm, an officer saw the stolen vehicle driving towards him on 2nd St. near L St. The officer gestured for the driver to pull over and she complied. The driver was found to be Mitchell-Richards and she was arrested without incident. The passengers, 54 year old Michael Jiles and 37 year old Gregory Eutsey both had felony warrants and were also arrested without incident. All were booked into County Jail.

●12/23/16 at 8:31 pm, 45 year old Rachel Stanko was contacted during a vehicle stop and found to have a warrant for her arrest. She was taken into custody without incident and booked into County Jail.

●12/23/16 at 7:56 pm, the victim was seated inside Starbucks on Lone Tree Way facing away from the door when a male entered the store. The male reached over his shoulder and grabbed his Macbook Pro. The suspect attempted to flee to a waiting vehicle but the victim was too close so the male continued to run towards Lone Tree Way. Eventually, he was picked up by the getaway vehicle and driven away. The victim attempted to track the computer but it was moving and unable to be located in one particular area. Both this case and an earlier incident are under investigation.

●12/23/16 at 5:25 pm, the victim was sitting in Starbucks in the Bluerock Center working on his homework at a table. He saw two males near the bathroom. He also observed a white sedan pulling into the front parking lot. He believes the vehicle was an older model Toyota. As soon as the vehicle pulled into the parking lot, he heard one of the males saying, “Let’s go”. They both ran and grabbed his Apple Macbook Pro from the table. The two males got into the passenger seat of the vehicle. The vehicle sped away towards Lone Tree Way.

●12/23/16 at 9:57 am, the reporting party called to report 28 year old Moises Sanchez was trespassing again at the Food Maxx on Lone Tree Way. Sanchez was contacted by police and arrested at the reporting party’s request. Sanchez was booked at the APD jail and later released on a citation.

●12/23/16 at 12:15 am, officers responded to a silent alarm at a building in the business park off Verne Roberts Circle. 46 year old Lee Cash and 31 year old Michael Hamilton were contacted in the complex walking away from the area of the business. Neither offered a reason for them to be in the complex after hours. Both had broken glass and sheetrock on their clothing. A smashed window was found at the business with a hole kicked into a back wall. An extension cord was also found in back of the business that was setup as a climbing rope. The roof hatch was also found open. A subscriber responded and confirmed a camera was missing from a desk. Cash and Hamilton denied being in the business, smashing the window, or being on the roof. An area check was made for the missing camera with negative results. Cash and Lee were taken into custody and booked into County Jail for burglary.

●12/23/16 at 12:14 am, an officer saw 40 year old Jose Hernandez at an apartment complex on Mahogany Way. He knew Hernandez from prior contacts and knew he had a cite-able warrant for his arrest. Hernandez was contacted and issued a new court date.

●12/22/16 at 4:09 pm, the victim called 9-1-1 advising she was alone and two subjects were trying to get into the residence on Forty Niner Way. She remained on the phone as the subjects continued to try and enter the rear slider. Eventually, the subjects did make entry through a window. The victim locked herself in a bedroom and waited for officers to arrive. Upon arrival, officers detained a juvenile subject on a bike leaving the area. The 14 year old male matched the description of one of the responsibles; however, two other suspects fled on bikes and were not located. The juvenile denied entering the home but was found to have items possibly taken from the residence. The juvenile was arrested and released to his mother with a citation.

●12/22/16 at 11:50 am, 30 year old Zachary Carpenter was contacted by an officer at the Bonfare Market on W. 10th St. and found to have a warrant for vandalism. Carpenter was arrested and booked into County Jail.

●12/22/16 at 10:08 am, a stolen vehicle was located travelling eastbound on Mahogany Way. A traffic enforcement stop was conducted on the vehicle and 28 year old Kia Richardson was contacted driving the car. She stated she borrowed the car and did not know the car was stolen. Richardson was arrested and booked into County Jail on a stolen vehicle charge.

●12/22/16 at 8:12 am, a concerned citizen saw an unusual substance spilled in the roadway on Mandarin Way and flagged down a patrol officer. It was determined there was about a 3 foot by 3 foot area of spilled Mercury. ConFire Engine 83 responded and contacted County Hazmat who responded. The spill took about two hours to clean and it was never determined where the Mercury came from. There was never any danger to the public.

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Man dies in final Antioch murder of 2016, Saturday night, Dec. 31

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

By Sergeant Wisecarver, Antioch Police Special Operations Unit

On Saturday, December 31, 2016 at approximately 7:45 PM, the Antioch Police Department received numerous calls reporting gunshots in the area of a residential apartment in the 2300 block of Sycamore Drive. Officers responded to the reports and located a 20-year old man and a 56 year old man, both bleeding from gunshot wounds.

The officers began treating the injured men and requested paramedics respond to assist. The 20-year-old man was transported by ambulance to an area hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The 56 year old man died at the scene.

No further information will be released at this time as this investigation is ongoing. Anyone with

information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Jason Vanderpool with the Antioch Police Department at (925) 779-6988.

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After being on the run, Antioch man turns self in for Nov. 8th murder of Pittsburg man

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

leslie-simmonsBy Sergeant Tom Fuhrmann, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

On Tuesday, Nov. 08, 2016 at approximately 8:45 PM, Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to an address in the 2100 block of Manzanita Way on the report of suspicious activity around a vacant residence. When officers arrived on scene they found the residence was filled with smoke. The fire department responded and found there had been a fire inside the residence and they located the deceased body of a male that had been burned. The residence had minor damage from the fire and did not affect neighboring homes.

Antioch Police Investigators were called to the scene and are in the early stages of the  investigation into this suspicious death.

The investigation revealed that 33-year-old Pittsburg resident Terrance Hornbeck had been shot and then his body was set on fire inside of the residence. Leslie Simmons, age 33 of Antioch, became a suspect early on in the investigation as he used a false name when calling into the 911 center to report a suspicious circumstance at the location immediately following setting the fire. Simmons left the area before the police arrived. Hornbeck and Simmons knew each other. Simmons has been on the run since the incident and evading police contact.

Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Simmons for the murder of Hornbeck. On Dec. 28th Simmons turned himself into Antioch Police Investigators at the direction of his attorney. He was taken into custody without incident and will be booked into the Contra Costa County Jail on the murder warrant.

No further information will be released at this time. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Colley with the Antioch Police Department at (925) 779-6922. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Belle admits no Bachelor’s degree, agrees to community service, avoids trial, possible fine

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Says he believes he had degree at time he wrote his candidate statement in 2014; retired Dean confirms Belle completed all course work for degree.

Jeff Belle, source Contra Costa County Board of Education

Jeff Belle, source Contra Costa County Board of Education

By Allen Payton

Embattled Contra Costa County Board of Education Trustee Jeff Belle admitted in court on Thursday, December 15, 2016 that he does not have a college degree in political science, as he wrote in his candidate’s statement, when he ran and was elected in 2014. In his declaration, required as part of his agreement and signed under penalty of perjury, Belle wrote, he “believed then that the statement was true.”

“Belle submitted a letter to the court, it was filed with the court and it is an allocution of sorts,” said Deputy District Attorney Steve Moawad who prosecuted the case against Belle. “He admits he did not have a bachelor’s degree. He said he thought he did at the time and it was not his intent to mislead the public.”

Belle was approved for a diversion program in which he agreed to perform 20 hours of community service and to write the declaration saying he does not in fact have a bachelor’s degree and to obey all laws.

Once he submits proof of his community service, the case will possibly be dismissed in either June or December of next year.

“Diversion is normally a year or 18 months or something along those lines. That’s what we envisioned,” Moawad explained. “Belle asked the court for early diversion, which would dismiss the case earlier.”

However, Moawad wouldn’t commit to that.

“The judge asked if Mr. Belle does more than the 20 hours of service, would you consider dismissing in June,” Moawad continued. “I agreed to keep an open mind about that. It would be my expectation that if he wants the case dismissed in June he would do more than 20 hours of community service.”

In Belle’s Declaration, he wrote:

“I, Jeffrey Belle, state that in 2014 I filed my candidate’s statement for the office of Trustee to the Contra Costa County Board of Education. I drafted the statement to be accurate, true, and complete. I stressed my experience as an educator and also mentioned some of my educational achievements. I mentioned, among several other achievements, that I had earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. I believed then that the statement was true.

When I drafted my statement, I believed that I had earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Oklahoma City University (OCU). In my senior year, I was told by the Registrar’s office at OCU that I would be graduating in August of that year, however the OCU’s registrar’s office also advised me that they were waiting for the certified transcript from American University (AU) where I had spent a semester studying. I walked for my graduation at OCU on May 6, 1989. I believed my graduation was effective in August of 1989 as stated in the graduation program and as I had been told by

the registrar’s office at OCU.

However, it has now been clarified that I do not have a Bachelor’s Degree from OCU. It was not my intent to misinform the voters regarding my degree. In the future I will be more careful about my statements to ensure no misinterpretation.

I state and declare under penalty of perjury, under the laws of the State of California in Contra Costa County, that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

signed
Jeffrey Belle

December 15, 2016

He claimed on his ballot statement that he “earned” a “Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.”

However in an October, 2015 interview for an article with this reporter, Belle said, “I still owe American University for room and board for that semester of almost $3,000. However, in 1989 I walked in the graduation, and they acknowledge it, but they won’t confer the degree, until then.”

Belle referred questions about his letter to his attorneys.

“Talk to Carol or Marsaane about (the) letter,” he said in a message.

By participating in the diversion program, Belle avoids a trial and the maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine. However, the case has cost the taxpayers much more than that.

The DA’s office began the investigation of Belle’s lie in early 2015 and the prosecution began six months later. The case has included multiple court dates, with Belle and his attorneys delaying the process asking for continuances, until Thursday.

The most recent delay in the case included a claim that he’s had cancer has been in the hospital for the past two months getting treatment.

Carol Hehmeyer, one of Belle’s attorneys, said, “He was charged with violating section 18351 of the Elections Code, which is not lying but making a statement that you knowingly know is false when you make it and thought it would have influenced the election.”

That section of the elections code reads as follows:

“Any candidate in an election or incumbent in a recall election who knowingly makes a false statement of a material fact in a candidate’s statement, prepared pursuant to Section 11327 or 13307, with the intent to mislead the voters in connection with his or her campaign for nomination or election to a nonpartisan office is punishable by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000).”

“He did earn it,” she said referring to his degree in political science.” He walked for graduation. His family members were there. They provided declarations under penalty of perjury.”

“We have the declaration from the Dean of the Department of Political Science Larry Eberhart, who retired before this exploded,” Hehmeyer continued.

“Jeff does not need the courses they’re now saying he needs,” she explained. “They’re eliminating some of the credits he did get. They’re not going to recognize the credits that were transferred from another college because the school is no longer in business.”

“The DA’s office spent a year trying to find something wrong about the candidate’s statement,” Hehmeyer added. “The first judge that heard this wanted to get rid of this and wanted diversion.”

Which is what Belle ultimately accepted instead of going to trial.

“We didn’t have the money for a trial,” she said.

The confusion in the case and accusation against Belle stem from the use and definition of the term “earn” versus “confer” when referring to his college the degree. He only used the phrase “have earned…Bachelor’s degree in Political Science,” when Belle wrote and signed his ballot statement in summer, 2014 at the beginning of the campaign.

Belle is currently the Vice President of the county school board. His term ends in 2018.

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