Category Archives: Community Losses

DART Honors Police Officers at 5th Anniversary Memorial Service

On Wednesday, July 7, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Police department held a memorial service honoring the sacrifice of the police officers from both the Dallas and DART police departments following a protest march in Dallas on July 7, 2016.

Dallas Police Sergeant Michael Smith, Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, Officer Michael Krol, Officer Patricio Zamarripa, and DART Police Officer Brent Thompson sacrificed their lives to protect the lives of others.

DART Police Officer Thompson, 43, became the first DART police officer killed in the line of duty when he gave his life, saving the lives of countless civilians and fellow officers.

[Editor’s Note: I attended the Thompson funeral. He was gone too soon. May they all Rest in Peace in the presence of St. Michael.]

‘The Eagle’ Radio Host Russ Martin Dies at 60

Russ Martin, a radio host on 97.1 The Eagle, was found dead in his home early Saturday morning, February 27, according to Frisco police.

A friend of Martin’s went to check on him at his home in the 6300 block of Douglas Avenue and found him unresponsive, police said.

Police responded at about 12:30 a.m. and Martin, 60, was pronounced dead at the home. His cause of death has not been determined, but police said no foul play is suspected.

During a 1 p.m. broadcast on The Eagle, several members of the show paused the programming to announce Martin’s death and remember their friend.

Through emotional tributes, the group remembered Martin’s life — the good moments and his struggles — and the emotions they went through after they learned of his death. They said they plan to find a way to hold a proper tribute for Martin, who hosted The Russ Martin Show on 97.1.

Following the broadcast, Dan O’Malley said the news was shocking but not unexpected for those who were close with Martin.

“Russ has been dealing with a lot of health issues over the last few years, so it’s sad that it comes to its inevitable end. But at the same time, we’re trying to find solace in knowing that he’s at peace and that he’s no longer in pain,” O’Malley said.

He said in Martin’s prime, there was no one better on the radio.

“It’s interesting too because he’s very polarizing. So whether you loved him, you hated him, you loved his show, you hated his show, you at least knew of him. And you had an opinion on it. And he wasn’t afraid to give his opinions on things either. It’s part of what made him so successful,” O’Malley said.

A post on The Eagle’s Facebook page and website asked for fans to share their favorite memory of Martin.

Martin was taken off the air in 2008 when his old station, Live 105.3, switched to sports talk. He had been with the station since 2000. He returned to radio on KEGL 97.1 in 2010.

The Russ Martin Show Listeners Foundation, which supports the families of Dallas-Fort Worth police officers and firefighters who have died in the line of duty, has been around since 2002 and has given more than $500,000 to the families of fallen DFW first responders. 

O’Malley said both the foundation and show will continue.

For those looking to show their support, O’Malley encourages making a donation to Martin’s foundation.

Anyone with information about Martin’s death may call Frisco police at 972-292-6010. Anonymous tips may be made by texting FRISCOPD and the tip to 847411 or through the Frisco PD app.

Southlake Police Officer Dies After ‘Sudden Medical Event’

A Southlake police officer who had been with the department for about 21 years has died after a “sudden medical event,” the city said.

On Sunday, the City announced the death of Sgt. John Stokes, who joined the police department in 1999. The city did not release the cause of death but said it was not related to COVID-19.

Stokes was most recently a school resource officer supervisor (SRO) for Carroll ISD schools, the city said. He was named the Southlake Police Department Supervisor of the Year in 2018.

Read more from CBSDFW…

[Rest easy, John. They’ll take it from here.]

Memorial service held for “forgotten” homeless man

JonesAnthony Craig Jones was known around the Irving area for almost four decades as a local homeless person that residents often saw as they drove or walked through town. He was most likely mentally ill, but was a peaceful person.

His body was discovered last month in a building on a property across from an elementary school. The medical examiner estimated that he had been dead for about six months. He was identified using his dental records.

No one knows exactly what happened, but Jones was found under a blanket in a sleeping position. His death is not currently considered a homicide, and there is no information about any involvement with drugs and/or alcohol. He was estimated to be in his late 50’s at the time of discovery.

Shack

The building where Jones’s body was discovered

Those who knew him have said that he was a good guy with a lot of problems and no real resources.

“Anthony was a special spirit and it saddens me to hear of the manner in which he was discovered deceased in the old African American Community of Bear Creek recently,” said Anthony Bond, who is a leading Irving civil rights activist and founder of the Irving Chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “Most of the black residents in Bear Creek, both on the Irving and Grand Prairie side, were familiar with, or knew Anthony. Jesus loves the homeless like Anthony just as much as He loves all of His children.

“I pray that Anthony’s passing will awaken the desire in us here in the City of Irving to do more for our growing homeless neighbors. Irving needs some transitional housing [or something similar] for the homeless,” Bond said.

A Memorial was held for Jones on Saturday, August 8, arranged by Irving City Councilman Dennis Webb, who is also the pastor of Bear Creek Community Church. Webb also officiated. Many citizens came out to remember and pay their respects for Anthony’s life.

Former Irving City Councilwoman Sharon Barbosa-Crain said, “No one should die all alone like Anthony did, and that we here in the City of Irving can and must do better in looking out for our homeless neighbors.”

Pastor Webb has created a GoFundMe account to raise money for services for the homeless in Irving in hopes to avoid another situation like Anthony Jones.

**Slideshow of pictures from the Memorial provided by Anthony Bond**

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23-Year-Old Texas Officer Killed In Crash Caused By Wrong-Way Driver

Yarbrough-PowellA 23-year-old Beaumont, Texas officer was killed early Sunday in a crash caused by a driver going the wrong way, police said.

Beaumont Police Chief James Singletary said two of the department’s officers were going northbound on Cardinal Drive near Highway 347 at around 2:30 a.m. when their vehicle was hit head-on by a Ford Mustang going southbound.

Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell died from her injuries, while her partner was treated for “severe” injuries at a hospital. The surviving officer faces a “long road to recovery” after being released from the hospital, Singletary said.

Read more from DFWCBSLocal…

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Grand Prairie NAACP holds rally to protest police brutality

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By Stacey Doud, EDITOR’S CORNER I attended a “Solidarity Press Conference” on June 7 that was sponsored by the NAACP in Grand Prairie (GPNAACP). Not only was it an assignment, but I am also an active volunteer for GPNAACP. “Why?” … Continue reading

Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, dies at 95

By Amanda Jackson, CNN

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NASA Mission Control founder Chris Kraft in the old Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in 2011.

Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, died Monday, two days after the agency celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, according to NASA. He was 95.

“America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of NASA’s earliest pioneers — flight director Chris Kraft,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. “We send our deepest condolences to the Kraft family. Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable.”

Read more from CNN…

2-year-old boy reported missing in Denton found dead in vehicle

By Claire Z. Cardona and Loyd Brumfield

Updated at 8:40 a.m. to indicate that the child has died.

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Sarbesh Gurung (Denton Police Department)

A 2-year-old boy reported missing in Denton was found dead in a vehicle Wednesday morning.

Denton police made the announcement during a news conference shortly after Sarbesh Gurung’s body was found.

The vehicle was in “pretty close proximity” to where Sarbesh lived, Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon said.

Read more from the Dallas News…

Southlake DPS Press Release regarding Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs

PRESS RELEASE

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Editor’s Corner: Officer’s death is another blow to kindness and compassion for others

By Stacey Doud

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Castaneda

A Grand Prairie police officer, AJ Castaneda, age 38, was killed around 10:30am on June 7 while checking radar speeds on the shoulder of the George Bush Turnpike. A 17-year-old driver hit the officer’s vehicle and the officer fell off of the overpass onto the lower highway, about 20 feet below. He died at an Arlington hospital about 30 minutes later.

The person who came upon the accident and reported it was an officer from another city. He had the brains to get into Castaneda’s patrol car and radio directly to Castaneda’s agency in Grand Prairie to let them know what was going on.

I’ve been a law enforcement supporter for many years now, simply because I know I could not to that job, so I admire those that can.

In today’s climate, I often get criticized for supporting the cops; however, I am not a blind follower. I realize that there are bad apples in the policing field, just as in any area of employment. I feel shame when I hear about a cop abusing his or her privileges as peacekeepers.

That being said, I attended a candlelight vigil for Castaneda on June 9, which was held in front of Grand Prairie’s Public Safety Building.

I had never met Castaneda, but when something tragic like this happens, I like to lend my support, even if it’s providing another warm body at an event.

I got there a bit early and parked. As I walked up to the gathering spot, I was overwhelmed with the crowd. Literally hundreds of people, young and old, showed up to pay respects to this officer that I knew nothing about.

As I listened to the speakers, I came to understand that Castaneda was an exceptional officer. He raised money to provide meals every Thursday to the youth of an impoverished neighborhood in Grand Prairie. He saved the life of a choking baby. He earned medals and awards too countless to list.

The question everyone asks themselves when a good person dies popped into my head: Why him? Why him and not the cop that sits in the back of a parking lot all day or night watching movies? But does anyone’s life count “more” than another’s?

The wind was blowing pretty hard that night, and the candles wouldn’t stay lit. The chief suggested that folks turn on the flashlights on their phones instead. What resulted was a beautiful sea of light to honor this exceptional officer.

I cried and cried – not because I knew Castaneda – but because yet another person who had compassion and went above-and-beyond had been taken way too soon. Those traits are hard to find these days.

Remember when customer service existed everywhere? Remember when employees cared about your experiences in their stores? Remember when people would stop to help other folks in distress?

Those days are long gone, and so to lose someone who loved his job, had compassion for his fellow human beings and went farther than necessary to give a helping hand to people he didn’t even know was just another blow to the things we used to cherish, and want to cherish again.

RIP AJ Castaneda. End of Watch: June 7, 2019

They’ll take it from here, brother.

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