Category Archives: Better Laws

Sheriff Deputies Shoot Ax Murderer

.jpg photo of ax murderer
Mark Leo Gregory Gago, 42

Man who murdered 4 in Oregon home,
trying to kill child shot dead by deputies,
police say

A man who killed four people, including a 9-month-old girl, in an Oregon home and was shot and killed by deputies as he was attempting to murder a child on Saturday, police said.

Mark Leo Gregory Gago, 42, was killed following the quadruple murder inside the home near Woodburn, located about 20 miles south of Portland.  Clackamas County deputies said they received a 911 call about 10:15 p.m. Saturday that appeared to be a domestic violence incident that sounded “dramatic, very intense.”

“Deputies knew it was going to be a bad scene,” Clackamas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Jensen said Sunday morning, KOIN reported.

Police arrived at the scene and found four people — identified as 9-month-old Olivia Lynn Rose Gago;  Shaina E. Sweitzer, 31;  Jerry William Bremer, 66;  and Pamela Denise Bremer, 64 — dead inside and Gago attempting to harm another girl. Authorities said all of the victims were related to Gago, but did not release additional information.

“Deputies saved the life of a young girl by using deadly force on the murder suspect as he was attempting to kill her.  All deputies were uninjured, suspect is deceased,” the sheriff’s office said in a tweet.

The child and a woman, who were not identified, survived the incident and were taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.

Jensen said the four people were not killed by gunfire.  He added that he “cannot explain just how horrific it is inside” the house where the murders occurred.

“We’re not sure what was used at this time.  I’ve been told that there were numerous weapons, swords, things of that nature in the residence.  The investigators are trying to determine what exactly was used to kill each person,” Jensen said.

It’s unclear what led to the deadly domestic incident.

The deputies involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave as a standard protocol during the investigation.

Making A Difference For Our Elders

.jpg photo of Texas Attorney General Logo
Texas Attorney General Logo

AG Paxton Issues Consumer Alert on
Social Security Scam

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton today warned Texans to beware of calls from scam artists pretending to be with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and attempting to fool unsuspecting people into giving them their Social Security number and money.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received a large number of complaints from consumers targeted by the Social Security scam.  Crooks tell the would-be victim that their Social Security number has been used in a crime and they must pay a fee to reactivate it or to get a new number.  During the call, the person is asked to give out their Social Security number.

In other instances of the scam, individuals are told that their bank accounts have been seized and they should transfer their money to the caller for safe keeping, or that they could lose their Social Security benefits because their Social Security number was used to apply for credit cards.

Attorney General Paxton’s Consumer Protection Division reminds Texans that the Social Security Administration will never call and ask for a person’s Social Security number, request money, or threaten someone’s benefits.  Be sure to follow these tips from the FTC:

  • Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you.  Don’t confirm the last 4 digits.  And don’t give a bank account or credit card number to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
  • Don’t be fooled by caller ID showing the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213).  Computers make it easy for scam artists to show any number on caller ID, a technique called spoofing.
  • Remember that anyone who calls and tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card or send cash is a scammer, no matter who they say they are.

If you get an unsolicited call from someone who claims to be from the SSA, get off the phone.  Then call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213.  Or, if you’ve detected a scam, file an online complaint with the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint or with the Texas attorney general’s office at:
https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaint

HHS-CPS Violating Freedom Of Religion

.jpg photo graphic of HHS violation of freedom of religion
HHS(CPS) is violating Our guaranteed Freedom Of Religion

AG Paxton Urges HHS to Repeal Rule that
Violates the Religious Liberty of Texas’
Faith-Based Foster Care and Adoption
Service Providers

AUSTIN, TX  –  In a letter today to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Attorney General Ken Paxton urged prompt repeal of an Obama-era rule that violates the religious liberty of Texas’ faith-based foster care and adoption service providers by requiring them to abandon their core religious beliefs as a condition of receiving federal funding under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.

“People of faith should not be required to forfeit their sincerely held religious beliefs as a condition of helping Texas’ most vulnerable children,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “We’re asking HHS to repeal its unlawful rule on child welfare funding or, alternatively, grant the state of Texas an exemption from the rule.”

Attorney General Paxton, in his letter to Lynn Johnson, the assistant secretary at HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, pointed out that the rule on Title IV-E funding exceeds statutory authority, violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and conflicts with Texas law.

Last session, the Texas Legislature enacted House Bill 3859, which protects the religious liberty of child welfare organizations and prohibits the state from granting or refusing to grant funding to such organizations because of their religious beliefs, including the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Texas’ share of Title IV-E funding is administered by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) through its Child Protective Services, which works with secular and faith-based communities to find loving homes for children removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.

Some faith-based providers who receive Title IV-E funding through DFPS require potential foster care or adoptive parents to share a particular religious faith, be a member of a congregation, or agree to the provider’s statement of faith.  But the federal rule requires those organizations to abandon their deeply held religious beliefs as a condition of receiving funding. 

From Bad To Prison Time

.jpg photo of mother accused of Child Abuse
Lindsey Michelle Smith, 38

Police: Mom charged with abuse tried to
have child kidnapped

RALEIGH, NC  –  A North Carolina woman already charged with child abuse is accused of trying to convince someone to abduct her daughter from her foster home and hide her in Florida until she turns 18.

The News & Observer reports 47-year-old Russell Jay Smith and 38-year-old Lindsey Michelle Smith were charged earlier this year with child abuse for inflicting “serious mental injury” on their pre-teen daughter for more than two years.

.jpg photo of father accused of Child Abuse
Russell Jay Smith, 47

They were accused of putting her through “extreme isolation,” forcing her to remain standing for hours, forbidding her from speaking to her siblings and failing to provide her with adequate education.

Lindsey Smith is now charged with soliciting someone to commit a felony and felony obstruction of justice.  She’s been ordered held without bail.

The report didn’t include comment from her.

TN Woman Accused Of Rape, Child Sex Battery

.jpg photo of woman accused of Child Sexual Abuse
Ashley Thomas is charged with child neglect, criminal responsibility for rape of a child, and sexual battery.

Pregnant mother indicted on charges of
sex abuse against child

TIPTON COUNTY, TN  –  A pregnant Millington mother was indicted on 13 sexual abuse charges against a minor.

Ashley Thomas is charged with child neglect, criminal responsibility for rape of a child, and sexual battery.

The charges stem from a case involving her boyfriend David Henson.

Earlier this year, Henson was sentenced to more than 25 years for rape and sexual exploitation.

See video here