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2001: 9/11 and a police scandal - Odessa American: 75th Anniversary

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2001: 9/11 and a police scandal

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Posted: Saturday, September 19, 2015 9:05 am

The tragic 9/11 images that are now iconic took our breath away. Odessa American staffers quickly came up with a plan and put out an Extra! that was on newsstands before 5 p.m. that day. That edition would be the first Extra! printed since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Odessans responded in a big way with drives for everything from money to blood.

Chief troubles: That fateful day was also one of other distressing news — Odessa Police Chief James Jenkins, who had been chief for 10 years, was arrested for possession of child pornography.

He would quickly plead guilty to the charge and resign from Odessa’s top cop position.

Sheriff Mark Donaldson took office that year and shook things up a bit by reorganizing the staff.

Murder and mayhem: On July 6, 31-year-old Jessica Ann Young’s brutal murder became the first homicide of the year. She was reportedly beaten and stabbed by her boyfriend, 39-year-old Marcial Delgado Jacinto, and her body was extracted from underneath the floorboards of her kitchen at 705 Juarez St. after family members found her. They had been searching for her for hours.

OPD officer Chris Myers fatally shot 31-year-old Dewayne Robert Barbee after responding to a disturbance call at 607 N. Lauderdale Ave. Barbee purportedly confronted Odessa Police, brandishing a gun and a sword. Myers fired one shot, which struck Barbee in the upper chest. Barbee was pronounced dead at the scene. Six weeks later, Myers was exonerated by an Ector County grand jury. “This wasn’t a surprise considering the circumstances,” said District Attorney John Smith.

“The officer was put in a position of defending himself.”

Other Odessans found themselves thrust into the police spotlight in 2001.

On Oct. 8, two young Odessans were beaten, doused with gasoline and set on fire in front of their apartment at 4590 N. Texas Ave.

In what family members said was not a gang-related event, five men reportedly arrived just before midnight to 23-year-old Jennifer Enriquez’s apartment and began to beat her and her 17-year-old brother, Adam Viera on her front porch.

The two were then doused with a flammable liquid — what next-door-neighbors said smelled like gasoline — and set on fire.

“Never in my life have I seen anything like that,” said a neighbor who witnessed the attack and made the 9-1-1 call. “I just can’t express how horrible it was.”

Enriquez suffered third-degree burns to her arm and was later released from a Lubbock hospital after receiving skin grafts.

Viera suffered third-degree burns to 30 percent of his body and was sedated and restrained during his month-long recovery in a Lubbock burn unit.

The FBI teamed up with Odessa Police and the Department of Public Safety in 2001 to make one of the most noteworthy drug arrests of the year.

On Aug. 13, 2001, federal agents arrested and charged Samuel Carrasco, 53, of Odessa, with organizing a conspiracy to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. No marijuana was found in the home. Agents carted out boxes of money out of his two-story brick home on the corner of Brittany Lane and Preston Oaks Circle.

Sept. 11 aftermath: Police were also busy with local reactions and hoaxes after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. For a little more than a week, the Odessa Fire Department received a lot of practice in hazmat procedures as it was called out on numerous possible biohazard calls, including an anthrax hoax.

One of the calls was when OFD responded to a biohazard call at Bonham Junior High. After questioning, a 15-year-old boy admitted to crushing hard candy and leaving it on a desk for a fellow student to find. Next to the candy he had written “anthrax.” The boy was charged with false alarm or report, a state jail felony, and was sent to attend classes at the Ector County Alternative Center.

Big bond news: An $89.5 million bond to fund renovations at Ector County Independent School District campuses passed.

Of three proposed bonds, totaling $117 million, one was approved by the public in October. This bond would fund renovations and improvements at elementary schools, high schools and Bowie Junior High, as well as the construction of a new elementary school campus and a new early education school.

New building: The University of Texas of the Permian Basin added a library and student union building to its campus, and, partnering with the Presidential Museum, they broke ground on the site of the new Presidential Museum and Leadership Library. The university also appointed a new president in February: David Watts.

McGuire out: Odessa City Manager Jerry McGuire was forced to resign at the request of Mayor Larry Melton and four of the city’s five council members.

Melton and council members Jim Morris, Bill Cleaver, Brandon Tate, and Royce Bodiford said they took action because they disapproved of McGuire’s managerial style.

New hospital: Plans for the 50-bed Alliance Hospital were unveiled. The $37.5 million hospital would eventually be built at Fifth Street and Muskingum Avenue, across the street from Odessa Regional Medical Center. Alliance officials said they expected to create 300 new jobs with an annual payroll of more than $10 million.

Headlines

  • Odessa High School head football coach and campus athletic coordinator Jim Carson asks to be reassigned and tenders resignation.
  • The Permian Basin received the second-largest
  • 24-hour snowfall on record.
  • George W. Bush is inaugurated as the 43rd president of the U.S.
  • The Ravens defeat the
  • Giants 34-7.
  • Stephen King releases “Dreamcatcher.”
  • The animated film “Shrek” is released.
  • Lance Armstrong wins the 88th Tour de France.
  • Eric Crouch wins the Heisman.

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