Fundraiser for slain Detroit cop ends early after scammer tried to bilk donors out of money

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DETROIT, MI – Either this swindler is especially stupid or he (or she) is brazen.

Let’s go with stupid. And disrespectful.

Someone has been trying to take advantage of the kindness of people who contributed money to help the family of slain Detroit police officer Loren Courts.

 

The organizer of a memorial foundation raising money to help the Courts family had to warn donors to beware of the scam.

The Collin Rose Memorial Foundation, named for the Wayne State University Police K9 officer who was gunned down in 2016, launched a Loren Courts Memorial Fundraiser on social media after Courts was killed July 6 in an ambush.

Rose’s former partner, foundation organizer and St. Clair Shores police officer Chris Powell, said someone cloned the group’s Instagram account. Powell explained what the scammer is doing:

“They’re emailing people who made a donation on our platform thanking them, and if they respond, they’re running the typical Amazon gift card scam.”

That scam involves a criminal asking the recipient to purchase Amazon gift cards and then give the criminal the serial numbers from the cards.

Powell said he doesn’t think anyone had fallen for the hoax before he shut down the fundraiser. He added:

“We learned about it (Tuesday) and called it out pretty quick and ended the fundraiser. It was going to expire anyway, but we just ended it 12 hours earlier to be safe.”

Powell said people may still donate to the Courts family through the foundation’s website at www.collinrosememorial.org. 

The scam is being investigated, Powell said. He noted:

“It just seems foolish — we’re all active-duty police officers.”

Between the social media campaign, selling Challenge Coins and other fundraising efforts, Powell said his foundation has raised close to $25,000 for the Courts family.

 

The fallen Detroit officer’s wife, Kristine Courts, told Fox 2 News that she cannot imagine how she and her children will go on without their father and husband.

She said in a Facebook post that she and her two children “will never be the same.” She wrote:

“He was an amazing dad, my best friend, and the man I married. All the news articles talk about is a DPD officer. He was so much more to me and the kids. Our Batman!

“I can’t begin to imagine how we are going to live without him. My babies need him. I need him. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up from this nightmare and he’s going to come home.”

Detroit Police Chief James White offered his condolences during a press conference addressing the shooting, saying “this is the worst day of their life.”

Courts’ husband was a five-year veteran of the force whose father had also been a lifelong Detroit police officer before his recent retirement.

While the survivors of officers killed in the line of duty are provided benefits that include a one-time payment of between $350,000 and $425,000 through the federal Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, it often takes months — sometimes years — to cut through the red tape, Powell said. In the meantime, he said:

“The bills still are coming in, and the family still has to put food on the table.”

Incredibly, he said, the family of Rodney “Hot Rod” Jones, a Detroit police officer who died during a department-related motorcycle competition in 2013, only recently received the federal benefit.

About his partner’s family receiving the benefit, Powell said:

“Little things can hold it up. After Collin was shot, the doctor used fentanyl as a painkiller, and because it was in his system they initially denied his benefits. They had to go through the medical records and prove who had prescribed it to him.”

Families of slain officers also have to deal with funeral costs.

Powell said Greater Grace Temple charged the Courts family $5,000 for use of the facility for three days. He said:

“The Roses had to pay about $20,000 out of pocket for Collin’s funeral. Those costs all add up.”

The grim trend of police shootings and deaths comes as law enforcement’s morale is at one of its lowest points ever nationwide, thanks to widespread protests and lack of support from many in government.

https://fundourpolice.com/

Feds charge man with illegally buying pistol that he sold for $50 profit to the kid being accused of murdering a cop

July 11, 2022

DETROIT, MI – According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, the federal government has charged 26-year-old Sheldon Avery Thomas with illegally buying the gun for a 19-year-old who has been accused of fatally shooting Detroit police officer Loren Courts.

Authorities also stated that Thomas allegedly told the teenage boy, “Don’t do nothing (expletive) stupid because my name is (on the gun).” These allegations were detailed in a criminal complaint that was filed on Sunday, July 10th in the U.S. District Court.

According to the complaint, Thomas has been charged with lying about a gun purchase he made in June, pretending he was buying it for himself, but then handing it over to another man outside a White Castle hamburger establishment for a whopping $50 profit.

Authorities allege that that man was 19-year-old Ehmani Davis who has been accused of shooting and killing Officer Courts and then winding up dead himself after other officers shot and killed him.

It appears that Davis allegedly received the gun one month prior to the shooting from Thomas, who made a virtual appearance in court on Sunday, July 10th, and was charged with making false statements during the purchase of a firearm, which is a federal crime.

Thomas has been ordered temporarily detained pending a detention hearing on Tuesday, July 12th.

The criminal complaint, which was filed in a U.S. District Court, states that following the July 6th killing of Courts, federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted a trace on the weapon that was used in the killing — a Romarm/Cigir, Draco, 7.62-caliber pistol.

The ATF agents learned that the gun was purchased from the Action Impact gun shop in Eastpointe on June 7th, just one month before the officer’s death. A review of records and surveillance video from that day shows that Thomas purchased the gun and later met with Davis in a nearby parking lot.

Federal prosecutors stated that Thomas lied when he bought the gun by stating that he was the actual purchaser of it, not that he was actually buying it for someone else. Prosecutors also said that this was not Thomas’ first time in that specific gun shop.

https://fundourpolice.com/

According to the criminal complaint, Thomas had initially attempted to buy a gun from the same shop on May 29th, but the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) gave a “delayed” response, which prevented Thomas from getting the firearm.

Federal agents also reviewed surveillance footage from Action Impact on May 29th, which captured Thomas trying to buy the gun.

Footage also showed Thomas and Davis walking into the store at approximately the same time, with the pair remaining close together while Thomas shopped for firearms and completed the firearms paperwork.

ATF agents reviewed video surveillance from Action Impact on June 7th as well as the paperwork that Thomas filled out when he bought the Draco pistol, which indicated that “he was the actual buyer of the firearm.” The criminal complaint states:

“Thomas signed his name certifying his answers were true, correct, and complete … (and) signed the form acknowledging that providing any false statement on the form was punishable as a felony under federal law.” 

The complaint also states that on the same day, June 7th, surveillance footage from neighboring buildings show Thomas carry the gun and meet with an individual that appears to be Davis in the parking lot of a White Castle.

On Saturday, July 9th, ATF agents obtained a federal search warrant and raided Thomas’ home, recovering the following items:

A Draco pistol sales record for Sheldon Avery Thomas, bearing serial number 21DG-3219;

Receipts from Action Impact for a “Century Arms Draco” containing serial number “21DQ3210,” and two boxes of ammunition; and

The bottom of the Action Impact receipt contained a section that stated, “Loyal Customer: SHELDON THOMAS.”

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