Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Suspect in Antioch October attempted murder shooting turns himself in

Friday, January 17th, 2020

Suspect Kevion Blocker. Photo by APD.

By Sergeant James Stenger #3604, Antioch Police Violent Crimes Unit (Investigations Bureau)

On January 14, 2020, Kevion Blocker, the suspect in the attempted murder shooting of a 20-year-old man in Williamson Ranch shopping center of Antioch in October turned himself in at the County Jail in Martinez with the assistance of an attorney. (See related article).

On January 16, 2020, this case was presented to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and Blocker was charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with enhancements and his bail was set at two-million dollars.

This information is made available by the Investigations Bureau. Anyone with information regarding this case can contact Detective Smith at (925) 779-6876. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch’s “Birdman” named for flipping off people dies at age 29

Monday, January 13th, 2020

Kenny ‘Birdman’ Booker with his usual greeting (photo from Facebook) and with reporter Luke Johnson and Marcus Malu. (Photo from Luke Johnson)

By Luke Johnson

One of the most legendary figures in Antioch has died.

Kenny Booker, 29, better known as the “Antioch Flip Off Guy” or “Birdman” passed away Saturday from congestive heart failure, the family confirms.

Booker became a local legend for saluting people with his middle finger in Antioch and parts of Pittsburg.

“He was a loving kid,” said his father, Kenneth Booker Sr. “Never hurt no one. He just did that thing with his finger, but that was his way of saying, ‘Hi.’”

Kenny Booker was dealing with borderline bipolar and schizophrenia disorders, his father said.

Although he was notorious, Kenny Booker was “well liked.” After his death was reported to the public Monday, his father said many people came to his house to give their condolences.

The Contra Costa Coroner and Pittsburg Police Department also confirmed his death. Pittsburg PD said Kenny Booker was dealing with ongoing health problems for the past few years. His father said he thinks it was caused by his son’s recent weight gain.

Kenny Booker was described by many to be a “gentle giant.”

“He was smarter than people thought he was,” said Marcus Malu, a close family friend. “I had full conversations with him. He loved to talk smack. He was also a big Niner fan.”

 

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Wanda Hom, Ralph Garrow chosen Antioch Citizens of the Year, Rick Fuller Real Estate Team is Small Business of the Year

Monday, January 13th, 2020

2019 Antioch Citizens of the Year for Most Impact Wanda Hom and for Lifetime Achievement Ralph Garrow. Photos from Facebook.

Antioch Chamber announces annual awards; winners to be honored at annual gala, March 13

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2019 Annual Award winners:

Citizen of the Year

Lifetime Achievement – Ralph Garrow

Most Impact – Wanda Hom

Veteran of the Year

Denny Hollison, US Army Vietnam Veteran, VFW Commander

Youth of the Year

Chris Garcia, Antioch High School

Non-Profit of the Year

Fellowship Church

Jennifer and Rick Fuller and the Rick Fuller Team real estate brokerage, 2019 Antioch Small Business of the Year. Photo courtesy of Rick Fuller.

Business of the Year

Large/Corporate Business – Travis Credit Union

Small Business  – Rick Fuller Team

Ambassadors of the Year

Tom McNell, Edward Jones

Jose Solorio, SERVPRO of Antioch

“I’m honored but I don’t necessarily believe I deserve it. I care a lot about Antioch, so, maybe my life has reflected that,” Garrow said, when reached for comment.

Hom is the Accounting Activities Specialist for Deer Valley High School and works with the student clubs and athletics to manage all the funds they bring in.

“Oh, man, I don’t believe it,” she said with a laugh. “I’m very honored and don’t feel deserving. There are so many others in Antioch who are more deserving. But, I’m happy to highlight Deer Valley High School and all of the things we do, here.”

Asked about her activities this past year, Hom responded, “it would be our educational foundation and its support for the school and the Every 15 Minutes driving safety program.

“The Deer Valley Educational Advancement Foundation, which was started by the parents, has been around about 14 years, supporting the school,” she explained. “This year they’ll be raising funds for the choir to pay for risers with backs on them for safety. We’re always a place for homeless and foster students providing them with supplies and materials, such as backpacks.”

Fuller offered his thanks for the honor.

“I have a lot of respect for local businesses in Antioch and it’s very humbling to featured. I’d like to give thanks to my incredible team, amazing clients and my wonderful family,” he said. “I thank the Lord for His blessing and favor on our lives.”

Fuller has had the Rick Fuller Team for over 10 years and served 250 families and about $125 million in sales, last year. He also shared they have almost 1,000 five-star online reviews and have sold over 1,000 homes in their 10 years of business.

The annual Chamber gala will be held on Friday, March 13, 2020 at 6pm. Tickets are $75 per person, or $600 for a reserved table of eight. Purchase of gala tickets can be made online at https://antiochchamber.com/2020-inaugural-gala-and-awards-ceremony/, by calling (925) 757-1800, or emailing frontdeskadmin@antiochchamber.com. Ticket sales will end March 2, 2020 at 5pm.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Pittsburg Police arrest shooting suspects following chase into Antioch Friday morning

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

ittsburg shooting suspects flee overturned vehicle. Photo: Pittsburg PD

Antioch Police Officers assisted

By Pittsburg PD

Early Friday morning, graveyard Officers were dispatched to the report of shots fired in the area of Gladstone Drive at Loveridge Road. Officers were circulating the area when a witness pointed out a vehicle that was traveling at a high rate of speed through the neighborhood and was related. Officers attempted to initiate a traffic enforcement stop, at which time the vehicle fled from Officers and a pursuit ensued. The pursuit continued into the city of Antioch where the vehicle collided into the curb and flipped over.

Both suspects (see photo) fled on foot but were subsequently taken into custody after a brief search. A search of the vehicle was conducted, and several shell casings and live rounds were located. Both suspects were placed under arrest for several charges. Thank you @antiochpdca for the assist!

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Park Middle School’s Kai Montgomery named administrators association’s Vice Principal of the Year

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

Kai Montgomery Vice Principal of Park Middle School. Photo: AUSD

By AUSD

She had wanted to be a teacher all her life, so Kai Montgomery went after the credential … and then another … and finally a graduate degree. But after those qualifications helped her land a couple of jobs in Antioch Unified’s District Office, Montgomery realized something was missing amid all the paperwork and policy making: The children.

These days the former instructor is back on campus, for the past four years as a vice principal at Park Middle School where she has won recognition from the Association of California School Administrators.

“I really missed being with students because of the individual conversations,” she said.

Montgomery moved around a lot as a child but even though she had attended 10 schools by her senior year, the environment offered a comforting routine in her ever-changing world. “School can be a solace for you when there’s a lot of other things going on,” she said.

Now she’s trying to foster the same caring environment, which makes it easier for young people to learn, Montgomery said. It’s a goal she always carries with her: Tattooed on the inside of her wrists are the words “empathy” and “kindness.”

Children must have their emotional needs met — to be understood, for example, or know how to cope with anxiety — before they can tackle academics, Montgomery said.

To that end she assembled teachers, a special education instructor, a psychologist, therapists and academic counselors last year. Some are Park Middle School employees, others are from outside agencies, but they all work together on behalf of the students who are referred to them for behavior or academic problems.

CARE, as the group is known, meets twice a month to map out ways of getting youngsters back on track. The practical help ranges from putting low-income families in touch with organizations that provide food, clothes or other necessities to arranging for a kid who’s having trouble managing anger to work out that aggression at a boxing center.

In addition, Montgomery is establishing the so-called “restorative” approach of moderating conversations between students who have caused trouble and the classmates or teachers they have hurt so each can share his or her point of view, come to a mutual understanding and repair the relationship.

She also is planning to train teachers how to diffuse conflict in their own classroom using these practices. Montgomery readily acknowledges the difficulty of continuing to pursue help for students when previous efforts have failed. “You just don’t give up,” she said.

And the best part of the job is when that persistence pays off.

“You try five different things and the sixth works. You feel great!” Montgomery said.

Montgomery is the married mom of a 17-year-old daughter and 21-year-old stepson.

She is also a travel bug who goes “anywhere I can have good food.” Dreams of sampling culinary delights have taken her on cross-country road trips in the U.S. as well as a month’s trip to Europe and, most recently, a week-long cruise to Mexico. Next stop? Bangkok, Thailand’s on the short list!

#WeAreAUSD

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BART to move 10 community service officers to new “ambassadors” on trains program beginning next month

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

Will be unarmed and given de-escalation and anti-bias training

BART will launch an ambassador program next month to increase the presence of uniformed personnel on trains to address customers’ concerns about safety and security. The BART Board voted unanimously today to move forward with a six-month pilot program that’s targeted to begin February 10th.

The ten ambassadors will be recruited from the ranks of the BART Police Department’s Community Service Officers, non-sworn personnel who perform a variety of police services including writing parking tickets. The ambassadors will receive additional de-escalation and anti-bias training. The effort is in addition to the team of 12 officers to begin patrolling the trains on Monday, Jan. 13. (See related article).

“This team will be police employees and trained to provide a sense of safety and security for our riders on-board trains and deter crime,” said Interim Police Chief Ed Alvarez. “I worked closely with our Board members, the General Manager, and police unions to develop a program that is responsive to our riders and is able to launch seamlessly, safely, and quickly.”

The ambassadors will walk trains in teams of two, seven-days-a-week from 2 pm to midnight, with extra coverage on Saturdays. They will focus their patrols on the most heavily travelled section of the system, the transbay corridor between 12th St. Oakland and Civic Center stations. During crowded evening commute hours, they will increase their coverage areas to other sections of the system such as Coliseum to Union City and Walnut Creek to Pittsburg/Bay Point.

“Our ambassadors will serve as extra eyes and ears on-board trains,” said BART Board President Lateefah Simon. “It’s a promising, first-of-its kind program at BART that will provide a welcoming presence focused on customer service and curbing inappropriate behavior.”

The ambassadors will wear easily-identifiable uniforms distinct from those of Community Service Officers or Fare Inspectors. They will be equipped with radios to report safety and security concerns or biohazards. The ambassadors will also be trained to respond to customers’ questions, complaints or requests for service.  They will observe and report and call upon an officer when enforcement is needed.

“I am pleased existing Community Service Officers who are vetted, hired, trained and supervised by sworn police officers will be on trains on nights and weekends,” said BART Director Debora Allen. “I’ve been urging BART to add additional layers of security on board trains since I was elected to the board, and our vote today is a step in the right direction.”

The Board voted to fund the six-month pilot at a cost of $690,000 as well as an additional $810,000 to expand the paid area at Coliseum Station and enclose the elevator, using a new swing-style prototype faregate, into the paid area to prevent fare evasion.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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BART announces hiring of new Chief of Police, team of 12 officers to begin patrolling trains Monday

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

New BART Chief Ed Alvarez. Photo: BART.gov

BART’s General Manager Bob Powers announced today the hiring of Ed Alvarez as Chief of Police and tasked the new chief with immediate changes to increase officer presence on board trains and other strategies to reduce crime on the system and improve the rider experience.

Alvarez is a 22-year veteran of the BART Police Department, an East Bay native, and has spent his entire law enforcement career moving up the ranks within BART Police. He was serving as Interim Chief of Police and was previously the Deputy Chief in charge of the Support Services Bureau.  The selection is the result of a nationwide search process involving BART’s Police Citizen Review Board and Independent Police Auditor.

“Alvarez knows the system and has a vision for safety that includes short-term and long-term strategies to grow the department into a fully staffed, progressive agency serving diverse communities,” said General Manager Bob Powers.  “We must do more to ensure all riders feel safe and to prevent crime on BART.  Ed Alvarez brings the internal knowledge coupled with the creative thinking to better serve our riders, support our officers, and increase accountability without delay.”

The appointment is effective immediately and Alvarez is swiftly putting into place new deployment strategies responding to concerns voiced by riders in Customer Satisfaction surveys and the General Manager’s Listening Tour. Changes include:

  • Beginning Monday, a newly created team of 12 sworn police officers will be dedicated to riding trains in pairs and walking platforms on nights and weekends. This team will supplement the newly approved ambassador program which Alvarez was instrumental in creating and begins February 10, utilizing unarmed non-sworn police staff to prevent and de-escalate problems on board trains.  Coupled together, both programs offer 22 police staff dedicated to riding trains, representing a new shift in the deployment strategies of the police department.
  • Immediate evaluation of patrol staffing to determine the feasibility for the creation of newly assigned fixed post assignments at key stations such as Coliseum, where data shows a high volume of calls for service. The assigned fixed post officer would be responsible for the safety and security of a specific station, opposed to current roving patrols. The fixed post assignments will create greater station ownership and on-going community engagement.  The evaluation will include how to improve response times, reduce crime, and increase presence.
  • Increased visibility and engagement with riders to prevent cell phone snatching, especially between Balboa Park and Powell stations where there has been an uptick in the number of juveniles snatching phones, running to make a quick escape, and selling them along Market Street for cash. In 2019 59% of violent crimes at BART were attributed to electronic thefts.  If we are successful in stopping cellphone thefts, the violent crime rate at BART will dramatically drop. 2019 BART crime stats show crime is up 11% with violent crime up 4% compared to 2018.

“I am excited for the opportunity to move the department forward and improve the relationship with our riders and our employees as we work together to make BART the safest transit system in the country,” said Alvarez.  “Our officers take great pride in protecting and securing our busy system, they are skilled and committed, and I will do everything I can to support their efforts.”

As Interim Chief of Police, he oversaw the record-breaking acceleration of hiring, outpacing attrition to increase the number of officers available for patrol; the on-going process and commitment to BPD’s prestigious accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA); the improvement of surveillance video recovery time; and the roll out and life-saving deployment of Narcan.

As a BART detective, he investigated, arrested, and helped get the conviction of a human trafficker that targeted a young juvenile.  As a sergeant he’s credited with starting the Critical Asset Patrol team that provides additional uniformed presence within the stations and on trains in the core of the BART system which includes the downtown San Francisco and downtown Oakland stations.

Alvarez is a first generation Mexican-American, fluent in Spanish, and grew up in Newark riding BART to A’s games and into San Francisco.  He understands the needs of the riders and the complexities involved with transit policing. It is Chief Alvarez’s goal to improve engagement between BART police and the public through increased outreach and accessibility.

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Antioch Council to consider changing how the mayor pro tem will be chosen

Friday, January 10th, 2020

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday night, Dec. 14 the Antioch City Council will discuss and consider how they will choose the next mayor pro tem following next year’s elections. Until now the top vote getter in the council elections was then voted by the council members to be the mayor pro tem for the following two years. But, this year since the council members will no longer run citywide but be elected by district, the council needs to change the way the position is filled. Mayor Pro Tem ACC011420 Agenda Item #10

The mayor pro tem acts in place of the mayor during his or her absence with the full power and authority of the mayor.

One option is to fill the position on a rotation basis, as is done in other cities, which give the position the title of either mayor pro tem or vice mayor.

Council meetings are currently held in the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Park beginning at 7:00 p.m. or you can watch it live on local Comcast/Xfinity cable channel 24 or livestream on the city’s website.

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