Saturday, April 20, 2019
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FORT SMITH (KFSM) – Just days after Southside introduced a new girls basketball coach, they have to go to work to find a boys leader as long time coach Charlie Cooper retired on Thursday.

Cooper led the Mavericks for the past 14 seasons but has made the decision to step away from the game and enter other business ventures. Southside hired Robert Brunk to lead the girls’ program on Tuesday.

“He was the life blood of Southside basketball,” Fort Smith schools athletic director Dr. Darren McKinney said. “He was there everyday and giving it his all. No matter if he had a good team, a bad team, a team that was struggling, you knew what you were going to get out of him. He would bring his lunch pale to work and get after it.”

Southside went 6-21 in the 2018-19 season and finished eighth in the 6A-Central, the conference that produced both teams in the state finals including cross-town rival Northside.

“It was a little by surprise,” Dr. McKinney said. “There was an opportunity for him to do something different. We visited about it and I said ‘you’ve got to do what’s best for yourself. I hate to lose you but do what’s best for you.’”

Dr. McKinney said the search will start early next week and they look to have a new head coach before school is out for the summer.

“They are already into offseason, applying for team camps and summer workouts,” Dr. McKinney said. “We want that continuity for the coaches. With somebody new, you at least want to get to know the team before the summer and that’s when they install their plan with all the X’s and O’s.”

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) — Roughly six years after his arrest, a Rogers man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for possessing more than a dozen files of child pornography.

Larry Johnson, 55, pleaded guilty last week in Benton County Circuit Court to 10 counts of distributing, possession or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

Judge Brad Karren also handed Johnson a seven-year suspended sentence that will begin when Johnson is released from the state Department of Correction.

Johnson also will have to register as a sex offender and is barred from any unsupervised contact with minors.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office arrested Johnson in May 2013 after investigators linked child porn being shared online to Johnson’s home, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Investigators searched hardware and software seized from Johnson’s home, finding more than 10 sexually explicit photos of children and four videos of child pornography.

In Arkansas, distributing child porn is a Class C, which are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000, according to Arkansas Code Annotated 5-4-401.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — The threat to Colorado schools and the metro area is over after law enforcement found 18-year-old Sol Pais with a self-inflicted gunshot wound near the base of Mount Evans.

Law enforcement confirmed to 9Wants to Know that Pais had been found late Wednesday morning. She had expressed an “infatuation” with the 1999 Columbine school shooting and purchased a shotgun near the school shortly after arriving in the state earlier this week. Under Colorado law, individuals need to be at least 18-years-old to buy a shotgun. They must be 21 to purchase a handgun. 

She was then “taken” to the foothills, according to FBI Denver Special Agent In Charge Dean Phillips. That’s where law enforcement found her body. 

RELATED: All major Denver-area school districts cancel class Wednesday

The FBI in Denver was first alerted to Pais on Tuesday morning from the FBI office in Miami. Denver FBI agents began investigating the threat and determined it was credible. They then started notifying local law enforcement. 

Pais was believed to have made unclear and nonspecific threats against schools in the Denver metro area. 

In a press conference Tuesday evening, Phillips described the search effort as a “massive manhunt,” involving multiple law enforcement agencies from across the Denver metro area. 

Sol Pais

Courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms confirmed to 9Wants to Know that Pais purchased the shotgun and ammunition legally in Littleton. Shrader said at a press conference he thought she purchased the weapon near Columbine High but would not say where.

Colorado Gun Broker in Littleton told 9Wants to Know they sold the gun to Pais — the gun store said she passed a background check and that they “had no reason to suspect she was a threat to either herself or anyone else.”

Late Tuesday night, several school districts, including Jefferson County, announced classes were canceled Wednesday. At the time, schools were still on high alert due to Pais’ vague threats. Several school districts have said they were still assessing the situation and would make a call about the rest of the week later on Wednesday. 

RELATED: All major Denver-area school districts cancel class Wednesday

The threat prompted the Colorado Department of Education to tweet a recommendation that all area schools should go on alert on Tuesday. 

“The Department of Public Safety recommends all schools in the Denver metro area conduct a lockout and controlled release immediately,” the tweet said.

Jefferson County, where Columbine High School is located, held a press conference with Sheriff Jeff Shrader, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jason G. Glass and Executive Director of JeffCo Schools Safety and Security John McDonald late Wednesday morning.

Also in attendance near the end was Frank DeAngelis, the principal at Columbine during the 1999 mass shooting. He said the gathered media that he was actually at the school when it was placed on lockout Tuesday.

RELATED: Sol Pais purchased gun from Littleton store; Here’s what it takes to buy a gun in Colorado

He expressed his feeling that there were so many more safety procedures since his time at the school. He also began checking on the 15 or so staffers who were still at the school since the 1999 shooting.

McDonald said that since the Columbine shooting, there have been so many more procedures put in place to protect students.

“We’ve learned a lot of lessons,” he said. “It’s part of the learning, part of the training we do each and every day.”

Shrader explained that law enforcement believed she was in the area alone and without help.

“One of the goals of public safety is not just to reduce crime,” he explained near the tail end of the presser, “but reduce the fear of crime.”

SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Local stories from 9NEWS

GATEWAY (KFSM) — The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a toddler drown Monday (April 16) near Gateway.

The 18-month-old was found at around 3 p.m. in a small pond outside their house and flown to a hospital.

The sheriff’s office is waiting on an autopsy report.

Gateway, a town of about 400, is in far northeast Benton County, just south of the Missouri border.

Neighbors told 5NEWS it was a freak accident that could have happened to anybody.

” About a year and a half ago they moved into the house and they have been good neighbors ever since. I feel for them they need prayers and thoughts,” Cody Griffin said.

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) – Schools in the Denver area are on heightened alert after authorities said a young woman who is “infatuated” with the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School made threats just days before the 20th anniversary of the attack that killed 13 people.

Authorities are looking for Sol Pais, 18, who is thought to have made undisclosed threats that prompted Columbine and more than 20 other schools outside Denver to lock their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon.

All schools in the Denver area were urged to tighten security because the threat was deemed “credible and general,” said Patricia Billinger, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

Some schools released their students after additional security was called in and canceled evening activities or moved them inside.

“We always have heightened awareness close to high-profile anniversaries like this,” Billinger said.

Pais traveled to Colorado from Miami on Monday night and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. She was last seen in the foothills west of Denver, was considered armed and extremely dangerous and should not be approached.

“This has become a massive manhunt … and every law enforcement agency is participating and helping in this effort,” Dean Phillips, special agent in charge of the FBI in Denver, said late Tuesday night.

The FBI’s Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force issued a notice Tuesday describing Pais as “infatuated with (the) Columbine school shooting.” The alert also said police who come into contact with her should detain her and evaluate her mental health.

Sheriff’s spokesman Mike Taplin said the threats she made were general and not specific to any school.

The Denver Post reported that a call to a phone number listed for Pais’ parents in Surfside, Florida, was interrupted by a man who identified himself as an FBI agent and said he was interviewing them.

The Associated Press left messages at two numbers listed for Pais’ relatives in Florida, while another number was disconnected.

The doors were locked at Columbine and more than 20 other schools in the Denver area as the sheriff’s office said it was investigating threats against schools related to an FBI investigation.

Columbine students continued attending classes in the afternoon and left school on time, but after-school activities were canceled on the campus in Littleton, Colorado.

Two teenage gunmen attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher.


Associated Press writer Thomas Peipert in Denver contributed to this report.

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VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man has died days after he was accidentally shot outside a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant when a gun discharged inside a baby’s diaper bag. quotes the Jefferson County coroner’s office as saying Tuesday that 22-year-old Timothy Roshun Smith Jr. has died.

Police in the Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills say Smith was preparing to change his daughter’s diaper in a car outside the pizza restaurant Saturday when a gun stored in the diaper bag went off, hitting them both.

Police say the girl was shot in the leg and the man in the chest. The girl’s injuries weren’t considered life threatening.

Lt. Michael Keller says investigators believe the man was searching inside the diaper bag when he hit the weapon and it fired accidentally.

One year after the Trump administration announced its controversial “zero tolerance” immigration policy, the total number of families separated is unknown. CBS News met a father and son who spent nearly 11 months apart.

Jose Alvizures arrived in Calexico, California, on Friday, 324 days after being separated from 10-year-old Ervin. His journey to reunite with his son started in Guatemala, after he was deported in May of last year. Alvizures said he crossed the border with Ervin to seek asylum after getting death threats from gangs that control his town.

He told CBS News that once he was in custody, an officer approached him, gave him five pages and was told to sign the paperwork. But he said he didn’t know what it was since he couldn’t speak or read English.

It was his own deportation order, sending him back to Guatemala, while keeping his son in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. Alvizures said he just hugged his son, and told him to take care of himself.

“The big wild card out there is whether there may be thousands more who have been separated. The government has remarkably asked for two years just to identify these new thousands of families,” said Lee Gelernt with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ervin was in government care for five months before being released to an uncle in Arkansas. On Sunday, Alvizures finally flew there and reunited with his son, with the help of Al Otro Lado, a non-profit now working their asylum case.

Ervin’s family does not believe he was mistreated while detained, though they said he has nightmares. Ervin said each night, he and other children said a prayer — some would cry.

Now, 326 days later, Ervin and his father are back together, awaiting the next hearing in their asylum case. On Tuesday in federal court, the ACLU said it will push for the government to speed up the process of identifying and reuniting any families that remain separated.

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A cyclist was taken to a hospital with minor injuries after being hit by a vehicle early Tuesday (April 16) morning near Sycamore Street and Gregg Avenue, according to Central EMS.

Eyewitnesses said a truck appeared to hit the cyclist, but the man’s eyes were open while he was on the ground, and he was talking to a Fayetteville police officer who happened to be at the intersection.

The witness said the collision was so strong that the cyclist’s water bottles exploded from the impact.

Last month, a cyclist working for Jimmy John’s was injured after being hit by a car on Meadow Street and Church Avenue.

Beginning July 1, Act 650 will allow Arkansas bicyclists will be allowed to proceed at stop signs and red lights after yielding as long as traffic is clear and the move doesn’t create an immediate hazard.


NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) — One year after the Trump administration announced its “Zero Tolerance” immigration police, the total number of families separated is still unknown but one father is reunited with his son in Northwest Arkansas.

Jose Alvizures arrived in Calexico, California on Friday (April 12), 324 days after being separated from his 10-year-old son, Ervin, who has been in Arkansas.

Jose traveled over 1,000 miles to reunite with his son.

They left Guatemala in May 2018 after Jose says they received death threats from gangs.

Jose was sent back to Guatemala after arriving in the United States, but Ervin was kept in ICE custody for five months before being released to his uncle in Arkansas.

Recently, Jose was able to fly to XNA to meet his son. A non-profit is now working their asylum case.

Tomorrow in federal court, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it will push for the government to speed up the process of identifying and reuniting any families that remain separated.

Police are on scene near the corner of 10th and Abigail streets after a shooting occurred.

Little Rock police tweeted that the SWAT team was called out to the scene.

According to reports, a black male in his twenties was shot in the lower leg and has been taken to the hospital. 

A group of five suspects was identified while the victim was being treated. Police gave chase to the group into a house, where 4 of the 5 suspects came out, according to the Little Rock Police Department.

Police say that one suspect is still in the house with negotiators there.

We will update the article with more information as it becomes available.