Ex-police chief pleads guilty to punching the father who tried to drown his baby in an icy pond

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KANSAS CITY, MO– In June 2019, Law Enforcement Today reported on a former suburban Kansas City police chief who helped rescue a baby from an icy pond after the baby’s father entered the police station claiming he tried to down his 6-month-old daughter. 

Following a successful rescue, former Police Chief, 51-year-old Greg Hallgrimson, assaulted the man back at the station. In 2019 the former Chief was charged with a single count of violating the civil rights of Jonathon Zicarelli, the baby’s father.

On Wednesday, July 28th, Hallgrimson plead guilty to the charge in federal court.

Zicarelli remains in Jackson County jail on pending felony charges of domestic assault and child abuse.

Here is the original story Law Enforcement Today brought you in 2019:

A police chief in Missouri has stepped down from his role after allegedly striking a suspect who was had attempted to drown a baby girl.

According to reports, Greg Hallgrimson had been on administrative leave since December 26, 2018, following the incident. He officially quit his position as the Greenwood police chief on May 29.

The story goes like this:

Hallgrimson and a fellow officer responded to an icy pond on December 17 after Jonathon Stephen Zicarelli told authorities he had tried to drown his 6-month-old daughter. When they got there, they found the child floating face up in the freezing water, unresponsive. 

Chief Hallgrimson reportedly removed the infant’s wet clothes and used his own shirt to provide any bit of warmth for the child.

She was recovered from the pond and rushed to a local hospital where she was treated for severe hypothermia. Authorities say she had been in the water for nearly 10 minutes. 

Zicarelli was taken into custody and brought to the local department. Video footage allegedly then shows Hallgrimson attacking Zicarelli, striking him multiple times. Reports noted that Zicarelli was handcuffed when the alleged beating took place.

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The Kansas City Star published that Dixon Land, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Kansas City, and Don Ledford, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri, separately said they could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

Reports indicated that the chief had to be pulled off of the suspect. Video footage of the alleged attack has not yet been released to the public.

Zicarelli’s attorney Susan Dill said that Hallgrimson told the defendant, “you deserve to die,” during the altercation.

Zicarelli has since pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic assault and abuse or neglect of a child. He allegedly told investigators he had been planning on killing his daughter for over 24 hours.

Zicarelli said that he had “bad thoughts,” and that he felt pressure because of the holidays, charging documents said. Dill noted that Zicarelli suffered from mental health problems.

Ex-police chief pleads guilty to punching the father who tried to drown his baby in an icy pond
Hallgrimson (left) reportedly attacked Zicarelli (right). (Greenwood PD)

 

She said that if the arresting officers had known of Zicarelli’s issues, they might have treated the situation differently.

“I think if they understood what my client was going through mentally and emotionally that they might have more compassion for him,” Dill said.

“I know many police officers, myself included that would be tempted to deck this killer.” – Retired Sergeant

Hallgrimson hasn’t been hit with any criminal charges as of yet but is being investigated for the excessive force claims. Zicarelli is set to appear in court in December.

Other officers from across the country have weighed in about the situation, most admitting that it would be incredibly difficult to refrain from lashing out at someone who could commit such an atrocious crime against a defenseless child.

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Heroes: Police and bystanders lift car to free baby trapped underneath after drunk driving crash

July 27, 2021

YONKERS, NY – Two Yonkers Police officers and bystanders worked together to help lift a vehicle where a baby was trapped underneath following a suspected drunk driver crashing into the child and her mother and plowing through a local business’ storefront.

The crash was captured by surveillance footage, with the two officers’ bodycams catching the heroic rescue in action following the wreck.

On July 23rd at approximately 8:30 a.m., a 43-year-old male, identified as David Poncurak, was reportedly behind the wheel of a Hyundai Elantra on Lake Avenue when he struck a curb and parked vehicle while making a turn.

After colliding with the vehicle, video shows the driver hit a 36-year-old woman who was with her infant daughter, then crashing into the façade of a barbershop.

It just so happened that Yonkers Police Officers Rocco Fusco and Paul Samoyedny were having breakfast nearby where the crash occurred and ran over to the scene where they found that the infant was trapped underneath the vehicle.

Both of the officers, as well as bystanders inside of the barbershop, worked together to get the vehicle hoisted up so the young girl could be pulled out from underneath the vehicle.

Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller described the actions as “nothing short of heroic” in a statement following the incident:

“It is always a tragedy when someone is injured by the reckless and criminal acts of another person, and that is only amplified when those injured include an infant.”

“Luckily, two veteran officers of Yonkers’ finest just happened to be getting breakfast next door and quickly took action along with members of the community to rescue a child trapped under the vehicle and render aid to her mother. The actions taken are nothing short of heroic.”

“The individual arrested in this incident will now have to face the consequences of his alleged behavior.”

The infant sustained a skull fracture and burns to her back and foot, while her mother suffered a broken leg.

While the injuries are serious and both the mother and child are still hospitalized, police officials said on July 25th that they’re “doing extremely well” in light of the circumstances.

Poncurak and the female passenger with him during the crash were reportedly no injured during the crash. There was also reportedly an open container of alcohol found inside of the suspects vehicle following the collision, according to reports. 

The suspect has since been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, second-degree vehicular assault, and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.

This incident is reminiscent of another law enforcement officer that hoisted up a vehicle following a crash to help a trapped passenger.

And just as the incident in Yonkers, this May incident that occurred in Virginia also allegedly involved an intoxicated driver. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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GLOUCESTER COUNTY, VA – A sheriff’s deputy in Virginia is getting some well-deserved accolades and being hailed as a hero, after he single handedly lifted an overturned vehicle where a woman’s head was trapped in a portion of the sunroof and thus obstructing her breathing.

This deputy’s sheer motivation and physical feat afforded the woman the opportunity to free herself from the life-threatening obstruction.

The incident occurred during the evening of May 7th in Gloucester County, when Deputy John Holt had responded to a report of an overturned car. Officials released bodycam footage from the incident which show the deputy arriving on the scene.

Once Deputy Holt had exited his vehicle, he was met with frantic cries from those that had managed to escape the overturned vehicle clamoring about the driver that was a trapped and whose breathing obstructed due to her head being caught in a compromising position.

A statement from the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office noted the following about the circumstances:

“The driver was laying underneath the vehicle with her head pinned by the sunroof. Seeing the trauma her child was witnessing, Deputy J. Holt went into overdrive.”

In the release bodycam footage, a child can be seen inside of the vehicle pleading with the deputy to help his mother:

“She can’t breathe. She can’t breathe. Please help.”

While the footage from the body worn camera shows everything from the deputy’s perspective, the groans from the exerting of force can be heard as the deputy lifts the vehicle so as to free the entrapped woman from her life-threatening predicament.

The statement from the sheriff’s office shared the following sentiments regarding Deputy Holt’s actions that likely saved this woman’s life:

“Through sheer will and determination due to fearing the female may succumb to her circumstance in front of her panic-stricken child, Deputy J. Holt took quick action and was able to physically lift the vehicle up enough for the driver to maneuver her head out to safety.”

While the woman was saved, she is also been charged in connection with the incident that caused the vehicle she was driving to overturn.

The driver, later identified as 50-year-old Channelle Parker, was charged with driving under the influence, holding a cellphone while driving, and fleeing the scene of a hit and run she was allegedly involved in.

This isn’t the first time that Deputy Holt has received accolades for lifesaving endeavors.

This past February, deputy Holt had accepted the award for both the local and regional top cop award from the Greater Hampton Roads Regional Crime Line in connection with him saving the lives of two people for my burning house on March 24th of 2020.

In other recent reports regarding rescues, a 5-year-old girl who was kidnapped in Detroit was recovered by police after neighbors found her trapped inside her neighbors home pleading for help. 

Here’s that previous report from July. 

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DETROIT, MI – Thanks to attentive neighbors, a kidnapped 5-year-old girl was rescued by police in Detroit. Authorities say the young girl was held captive inside of house next door to where she lived, possibly for a few days.

Sadly, following the recovery of the child, authorities found the body of the 5-year-old girl’s father inside of her home next door.

And while a suspect is in custody for her kidnapping, the same suspect has not yet been charged with the young girl’s father’s murder. 

It was the drastic calls for help on the evening of June 30th that resulted in the rescue of a 5-year-old girl, who police say was abducted by 29-year-old Dangelo Clemons , that helped prevent what one detective said he couldn’t fathom “what could’ve happened” had locals not alerted authorities.

Dangelo Clemons -Detroit Police
Dangelo Cash Clemons -Detroit Police

One local outside of the crime scene within the 12100 block of Schaefer Highway while it was active shot a video after the police response, narrating the following”

“She was at the window, banging on the window, screaming and crying, ‘Help me, help me, before the monster gets back’.”

A man identified as Alfando Hendricks had apparently tried getting the door open of the duplex where the girl was trapped inside of after hearing her cries for help, telling a local news crew that he couldn’t get the door open:

“I said baby, I can’t come in there cause I tried pulling on the door.”

Hendricks was apparently familiar with the kidnapped girl, telling a local new crew that he’d given the young girl a bicycle roughly a month earlier.

“I had gotten her a bike, about a month ago, because she didn’t have a bike to ride. A little pink bike.”

Authorities say Hendricks ran across the street and called 911 about the captive child, which Detective James Kraszewski with Detroit Police Department said that he didn’t want to think about what would’ve happened to the young girl hadn’t locals notified police:

“I don’t want to think of what could’ve happened. I don’t want to go there. They saved this girl’s life”

Police believe that the girl was held captive for several days.

One of the neighbors who used to babysit the young girl spoke to a local news crew, saying the following: 

“She’s a bundle of joy, actually, I’ve never seen her sad.”

Detective Kraszewski said that when police came inside of them home, the young girl “jumped in the officer’s arms”.

 

After the 5-year-old girl was recovered from the home, bodycam footage caught the moments when she told an officer the following:

“You know what I want to be when I grow up? I want to be a policeman.”

While the young girl was rescued, therein lies the tragedy of her father, Cody Millsap, who was found murdered inside the young girl’s home next door.

Karla Reaves, the godmother of the rescued 5-year-old girl, said she would take the young girl to the park with her daughter, but noted how the rescued girl’s father used to insist upon a pop quiz and some reading before a trip to the park:

“He made sure she did five math problems and read a book before we took her to the park. I love them so much.”

While Reaves is glad the young girl is safe, she’s heartbroken over the killing of the girl’s father and is angry at the man she believes to have murdered him and kidnapped the young girl:

“He needs to know that he hurt this little girl for the rest of her life. Not only did he hurt her, he hurt us and anyone else who loved that little girl because now she doesn’t have anybody.”

Clemons has only been charged with felony kidnapping and child enticement in relation to the incident, according to reports, but has not been charged in connection with Millsap’s killing. 

Prosecutor Kym Worthy commented on the case, noting that cases like these command intense investigation: 

“All allegations like these that confirm why we all do this challenging work. We must protect our children by all lawful means necessary.”

Officials have yet to come forward with any allegations even hinting that Clemons may be responsible for Millsap’s killing.

Clemons was arraigned on the charges of kidnapping and child enticement in 36th District Court and is being held on a $250,000 bail.

This is still an ongoing investigation.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight on this developing case.

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