Father Finds 2 men in Daughters Room - 2 uniformed LEOs

This is a discussion on Father Finds 2 men in Daughters Room - 2 uniformed LEOs within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet...=1045855934842 Couple sues deputy after terrifying night Botetourt family says 2 men entered home without a warrant BY REX BOWMAN TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Saturday, February ...

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Thread: Father Finds 2 men in Daughters Room - 2 uniformed LEOs

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Father Finds 2 men in Daughters Room - 2 uniformed LEOs

    http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet...=1045855934842

    Couple sues deputy after terrifying night
    Botetourt family says 2 men entered home without a warrant
    BY REX BOWMAN
    TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
    Saturday, February 24, 2007


    ROANOKE -- A Botetourt County couple is seeking $10 million from a sheriff's deputy they say stole into their 10-year-old daughter's bedroom one night this month and terrified the girl.

    In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Roanoke yesterday, Mark and Cheryl Hunsberger said Mark Hunsberger bolted into their screaming daughter's bedroom at 1:16 a.m. Feb. 2 to find Deputy J.A. Wood, in uniform, aiming a flashlight at the girl while another man tried to yank the bed covers off her.

    "The child was terrified, and Mrs. Hunsberger spent some time comforting their daughter," according to the lawsuit. "When Mrs. Hunsberger said something about calling the police, Deputy Wood responded, chillingly, 'I am the police.'"

    Botetourt Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said the lawsuit does not tell the whole story. "We had a reason to be there, but I'm not going to say any more."

    Wood told the Hunsbergers he had knocked on the door for 30 minutes but no one answered, yet the Hunsbergers heard no knocking, according to the suit.

    The lawsuit states that neither Wood nor the man who accompanied him had a warrant to enter the Hunsberger home. The suit seeks $10 million as compensation for the violation of their constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure.

    Mark Hunsberger ordered Wood and the unidentified man, named as defendant John Doe, to leave, and the Hunsbergers later learned that "several other deputies apparently waited outside the Hunsberger home while Deputy Wood and John Doe broke into the Hunsberger home," the suit states.

    According to the suit, the Hunsbergers live in a four-bedroom home in a subdivision of Botetourt and they have three children, ages 18, 16 and 10. The 10-year-old daughter's bedroom is adjacent to theirs.

    The suit states that, after ordering Wood and the other man to leave, Mark Hunsberger dialed 911 to report a break-in. A deputy came to the home and took their criminal complaint, but the Hunsbergers have heard nothing about it since, according to the suit. The suit also states that the couple now believe the deputy who responded to their call might be related to the unidentified man who accompanied Wood.

    The suit states that the Hunsbergers received a letter from the sheriff's office saying the incident would be investigated, but they have received no word of the inquiry; nor have they received any explanation as to why Wood was in their daughter's bedroom.
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  3. #2
    Member Array foreveryoung001's Avatar
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    I personally think these LEO's are lucky to be alive to be sued over this. The news report is a little sketchy on the details, but I know this. If the police showed up to my home, whether they had to knock for 30 minutes or not, if they then come in and go right to my daughter's bedroom... my 1911 will be asking the questions in a very loud barking voice.

    Not being an LEO, I do not know all of the proceedures about entering a house, but it sure seems like you would look for the biggest threats first, and make sure they are secured. In other words... get the adults rounded up before you go after the kids... Just my $.02... maybe some LEO's on this site could offer some better explanation.
    When the messenger arrives and says 'Don't shoot the messenger,' it's a good idea to be prepared to shoot the messenger, just in case.

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    VIP Member Array Tom G's Avatar
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    This sounds real fishy. Any good cop would know better then to do this. If this is true why did the other cops stand by and let it happen. I think there must be a lot more to this story.What brough so msny cops to this address to start with? Was it a raid? why no warrent? I would like to see more about this.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Hey ... Botetourt ... Roanoke. Isn't this the same place that has that POS newspaper The Roanoke Times? You know, the ones that just published the full and complete list of the concealed-carry licensees online?

    Hopefully, there's going to be Hell to pay.
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    VIP Member Array Tom G's Avatar
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    There was a LEO shot in Daytona Bch. by the owner when the cops raided the wrong house. This happened a few years back and I can't remember the exact date.

  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    [url]
    In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Roanoke yesterday, Mark and Cheryl Hunsberger said Mark Hunsberger bolted into their screaming daughter's bedroom at 1:16 a.m. Feb. 2 to find Deputy J.A. Wood, in uniform, aiming a flashlight at the girl while another man tried to yank the bed covers off her.
    Botetourt Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said the lawsuit does not tell the whole story. "We had a reason to be there, but I'm not going to say any more."
    The lawsuit states that neither Wood nor the man who accompanied him had a warrant to enter the Hunsberger home. The suit seeks $10 million as compensation for the violation of their constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure.
    I'm with Foreveryoung on this one, these guys are lucky to be alive, runing into my childs room because they are screming, and seing someone with a flashlight trying to remove the covers. It would have the potentiol to get real ugly real fast.

    Botetourt Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said the lawsuit does not tell the whole story. "We had a reason to be there, but I'm not going to say any more."
    Okay, lets asume you have a reason to talk to this 10 year old, it has to be at 1:16 in the morning, you don't find the parents apon entering the home and take it apon yourself to enter the girls bedroom.

    This stinks in a major way.
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    this has nasty written all over it. Personally, I think the cops were intending to intimidate someone without a warrant, got the wrong house, and are trying to sweep it under the rug. The family in question should have every right to a settlement, and some type of discipinary action for the officers involved.

    This could have ended horribly though. If, as has been suggested already, the parents had ran into the dark room, seen two guys standing over their daughter with a flashlight, and had shot one or both of them before being able to see a LEO uniform, what would the rest of the cops outside do? They would probably be in the house and in the room just in time to find you holding your just-fired 1911 over a uniformed officer with holes in him. Not a good place to be.

    Mistaken LEO aggression scenarios are the ones that really scare me. Even if you "win", you're boned, and usually far more so than any "traditional" self-defense scenario.

  9. #8
    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    Update

    It was a 911 call ? (link)

    This sounds like it's going to drag out for a long time.

    Inquiry supports Botetourt deputy
    Officer was justified in entering home without warrant, state police say

    BY REX BOWMAN
    TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Mar 10, 2007


    A Botetourt County deputy being sued for $10 million for entering a family's home without a warrant was justified because he was responding to a 911 report of a possible burglary at the home, a prosecutor concluded yesterday.

    A Virginia State Police report on the incident states Deputy J.A. Wood went to the home of Mark and Cheryl Hunsberger on Feb. 3 to investigate and instead interrupted a teenage drinking party, Botetourt prosecutor Joel Branscom said.

    Branscom said the state police's reconstruction of the incident bears little similarity to the parents' allegation that Wood sneaked into their daughter's room and terrified her.

    "Sergeant Wood, who has been publicly demonized, was simply doing his job, trying to protect the Hunsbergers' prop- erty and any children on the property," Branscom said.

    Terry Grimes, the Roanoke lawyer who filed suit on behalf of the Hunsbergers, dismissed the official account: "That sounds like a post hoc rationalization to me. It's almost amusing."

    Two weeks ago, the Hunsbergers filed a $10 million suit against Wood in federal court in Roanoke, alleging they awoke to their 10-year-old daughter's screams after 1 a.m. and found Wood and an unidentified man in her room. The suit says Mark Hunsberger found Wood shining a flashlight on the terrified girl while the other man tried to pull bed covers from her.

    The Hunsbergers live in a Cloverdale subdivision with their daughter and two sons, ages 18 and 16.

    After reading about the lawsuit, Branscom asked the state police to investigate. According to Branscom's five-page summary of their report, the investigation found Wood went to the home, where he ruled out burglary as the source of the noise and concluded teenagers might be inside drinking.

    After ringing the doorbell 25 to 30 times, Wood went into the home with an unidentified man, referred to as "John Doe" in the lawsuit, because the man believed his 16-year-old daughter was among the teens inside. Her car was parked out front.

    In one bedroom, according to Branscom, Wood pulled the covers below the nose of a girl lying in bed and asked the man if she was his daughter. He said no, and the girl said, "Turn off the lights, they're not here." Wood and the man told investigators the girl did not scream.

    The state police investigation eventually confirmed Wood's suspicion that the 16-year-old was one of six teenagers in the house and all were drinking, Branscom said.

    Yesterday, Grimes said the account of Wood's encounter with the 10-year-old is preposterous.

    "That sounds like a bald-faced lie," said Grimes. "A 10-year-old girl is awakened in her bedroom by two strangers she's never seen before, and one is shining a light in her face, and she has this James Joyce-style conversation with them? On what planet does this 10-year-old live?"

    According to Branscom's summary, events unfolded this way:

    A neighbor called 911 at 10:17 p.m. Feb. 2 to report suspicious behavior at the Hunsberger house and kids being picked up and dropped off in the street. Wood went to the subdivision, where the neighbor told him she thought the parents were away and the cars parked in front did not belong to anyone in the neighborhood. Wood left.

    Ten minutes after midnight, the neighbor again called 911 to report more noise, repeated her belief that the parents weren't there and said a burglary could be in progress.

    Wood and another deputy arrived. They saw a young male run from the house to the attached garage and then back. They saw lights go on and off in the house, but no one came to the door after they rang the doorbell 25 to 30 times. Wood walked in an open garage door to knock on an interior door and saw a large number of beer cans.

    Three vehicles were parked in front of the house, so Wood ran license checks on the vehicles, then called their owners and discovered that each had a teenage son or daughter using the vehicle. After Wood expressed concern to the owners that their teenagers might be drinking, the parent described as "John Doe" arrived.

    Wood and John Doe heard a door shut in the garage stairwell. Wood knocked on the door, which led to a basement, and, receiving no answer, went in and announced loudly "Botetourt County Sheriff's Department."

    Continuing through the house, Wood repeated that he was searching for the 16-year-old girl and called out her name. In a bedroom closet, he found a teenage boy in boxer shorts. Wood asked him where the girl was and he said he did not know.

    In the next room, they found a young girl, apparently the Hunsbergers' daughter, in bed. After that encounter, Mark Hunsberger came out of his bedroom. Wood told Hunsberger he had been informed that the Hunsbergers were not at home and he was looking for a 16-year-old girl.

    After Cheryl Hunsberger joined them, Wood explained three times the events that led him to enter the house. That account contradicts the lawsuit, in which the Hunsbergers claim they were never told why Wood was in their daughter's bedroom before they ordered him to leave.

    Yesterday, Branscom said an internal sheriff's department investigation of the incident went nowhere because the teenagers involved kept to a code of silence. But after the lawsuit engendered headlines and the state police got involved, some of them started talking.

    Branscom said state police concluded six teenagers were in the home: the two Hunsberger boys, a 15-year-old boy, a 17-year-old boy, an 18-year-old male and the 16-year-old girl. When Wood entered the home, two fled to a friend's home and the other four hid throughout the house, Branscom said.

    When Wood left, Cheryl Hunsberger came downstairs and told the teens to come out, "the cops are gone," according to Branscom's written report.

    Branscom's report said there is no evidence the Hunsbergers knew teenagers were drinking in their home or knew the 16-year-old girl was in the house.

    The report concludes that Wood did the right thing. "His actions interrupted criminal activity (underage possession of alcohol; contributing to the delinquency of a minor) that was occurring in the Hunsbergers' house. All of these teens were a few steps from driving a vehicle home until Sergeant Wood intervened."

    Branscom said if any of the parents "wish to explore criminal charges, I will advise them on how to proceed."

    Grimes said the version of events put together by state police will not affect the Hunsbergers' lawsuit.
    What do you guys think, Some LEO opinions would be appreciated, this sounds like it could be on the level, but as a parent, I don't sleep that soundly that I wouldn't here someone walking through the house calling out a name much less knocking on the door for 30 mins, that part makes me think that maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle of this one.

    I am glad that it didn't end badly, it could have been worse, a lot worse.

    I am still interested in the outcome of the lawsuit too.
    Last edited by 4my sons; March 12th, 2007 at 01:20 PM.
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
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    I'm confused... where does the rapist part come in, as the thread title implies?
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    I'm confused... where does the rapist part come in, as the thread title implies?
    I dont see anything about that either so i will edit the title

  12. #11
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    The part about "rapist" is bogus and confusing, not to mention the whole entire story as reported is very confusing.

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  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    Home intrusion was justified, prosecutor says

    Ruled justified by the commonwealth attourney,

    check it out here

    Home intrusion was justified, prosecutor says
    The commonwealth's attorney brought no charges against the Botetourt County deputy.
    By Laurence Hammack
    981-3239

    A sheriff's deputy accused in a federal lawsuit of barging into a Botetourt County home and terrifying a sleeping 10-year-old girl "took appropriate action based on the information available to him at the time," Commonwealth's Attorney Joel Branscom said Friday.

    Branscom based his findings on a state police investigation that he requested two weeks ago, after Mark and Cheryl Hunsberger filed a lawsuit against the Botetourt County Sheriff's Office.

    The lawsuit claimed that Sgt. J.A. Wood and an unidentified man entered the Hunsberger home without a search warrant or a good reason one night in early February and wound up in the girl's darkened bedroom, where she awoke to find the covers being pulled from her face.

    According to Branscom, Wood was justified in entering the home given all the circumstances: complaints of possible underage drinking, no answer to his repeated knocks on the door, sounds of movement in the garage, a father worried about his unaccounted-for 16-year-old daughter and the possibility that she was inside the Hunsbergers' home.

    "Entry to the house occurred only after Sgt. Wood and the [16-year-old] girl's father heard someone move through the garage into the basement, slam the door and ignore the father's plea to see his daughter," Branscom wrote in a detailed five-page account of what happened that night.

    Branscom brought no charges, leaving the dispute to play out in civil court.

    The 16-year-old's father is also being sued by the Hunsbergers. Identified only as "John Doe" in the lawsuit, he is accused of entering the home with Wood and pulling the covers from the 10-year-old girl's face as the deputy shined a flashlight on her bed.

    According to the state police investigation, sheriff's deputies went to the Hunsberger home the night of Feb. 2 after a neighbor called 911 and reported noise and possible underage drinking. The lawsuit claims that the events happened the night of Feb. 1.

    The neighbor told deputies that the parents were away. Finding the lights on and the house quiet, the deputies left a short time later.

    Shortly after midnight, a second 911 call reported more noise. This time, deputies spotted a young man running into the house shortly before the lights went out. After repeatedly ringing the doorbell but getting no response, the deputies began to identify the owners of the cars parked outside by their license plate numbers.

    Deputies called the father of the 16-year-old girl and told him that she might be involved in underage drinking at the Hunsberger home. Thinking his daughter was staying with another friend that night, the father drove out to the Hunsbergers' home in a subdivision near Cloverdale.

    After calling for his daughter and getting no response, the man apparently followed Wood into the home and then upstairs to a bedroom where the Hunsbergers' 10-year-old daughter was sleeping.

    It was Wood, not the father, who pulled the covers from the sleeping girl's face, state police determined. Wood asked the father if that was his daughter and he responded "No," according to Branscom's summary. Both Wood and the father denied that the girl screamed for help, as described in the lawsuit.

    According to them, she simply said: "Turn off the lights. They're not here."

    Terry Grimes, a Roanoke attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Hunsbergers, questioned that account.

    "All I can say is, imagine a 10-year-old girl asleep in bed and two grown men standing over her and pulling the covers off her, and she is having a lucid conversation with them," Grimes said. "I don't think that 10-year-old girl exists. Not on this planet, anyway."

    In a written statement, Grimes and his partner, Melvin Williams, went on to say that calling the actions of Wood and the unknown man justified is "inconceivable."

    "Actions like this involving law enforcement only serve to create fearful citizens who perceive no recourse when government oversteps its constitutional bounds," they wrote.

    A lawsuit filed by the Hunsbergers in U.S. District Court in Roanoke seeks $10 million in damages on claims of trespassing and violation of their constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches.

    "The police have said they had a good reason to enter the house," Grimes said. "Time will tell whether they had a constitutional reason."

    Although the scope of Branscom's inquiry was to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against anyone involved in the incident, the prosecutor also addressed to some degree the constitutional issues raised in the lawsuit.

    "Warrantless searches are frowned upon," Branscom's statement read, "but the courts have always recognized that circumstances can make a warrantless search reasonable."

    Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle, who has declined to comment in detail about the case because of the ongoing investigation, said Friday he was pleased that the findings by state police mirrored the conclusion reached by his own department.

    As for the father, he had no criminal intent when he entered the home and then left when asked to, Branscom wrote.

    The prosecutor also noted that the state police investigation confirmed there was underage drinking going on in the basement of the Hunsberger home -- apparently unknown to the adults -- and that the 16-year-old girl was in fact present. While the Hunsbergers slept, the teens apparently ignored the knocks on the door by police and then hid because they were concerned about getting caught.

    After the police finally left, Cheryl Hunsberger went downstairs and told the teens "the cops are gone" and they could come out, Branscom's summary states. And about 3 the same morning, Cheryl Hunsberger dropped the 16-year-old off at the driveway of her home, where her father had returned still not knowing where she was, according to the summary.

    "Ultimately, the blame for this incident lies with the participants in the underage drinking party in the basement and whoever provided the alcohol," Branscom wrote, adding that he would advise any parents who might wish to pursue charges on what to do next.

    "I regret that anybody was startled," Branscom wrote. "I do not want officers entering peoples' houses needlessly."

    But at the same time, Branscom said the version of events as described in the Hunsbergers' lawsuit was incomplete to the point of being deceptive.

    "Sgt. Wood, who has been publicly demonized, was simply doing his job," the prosecutor said
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
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  14. #13
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    Looks like there is lots of blame to go around here, but I find it hard to believe that a warrantless search was appropriate given the circumstances. My guess is this department is going to pay out a significant settlement to make this go away.

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    I don’t think anything was done under a premise of a search. Nothing was said about a search. Warrant or not, the can enter under certain circumstances, as claimed by the LEO's.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array Zundfolge's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but when the hell did "underage drinking" become a serious enough crime for the police to commit breaking and entering to search for these alleged drinking teens?

    Can they kick in doors for Jaywalking or driving without wearing a seatbelt too?

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