Weekly Review: Army Confirms Guillen Harassment, Aguilar Charged With More Charges, More | Local News


Heights officials cancel games after gun incident at recreation center

Following a gun incident on Saturday at a Harker Heights volleyball tournament, the Harker Heights Recreation Department canceled all remaining games and practices for the week.

“Parks and Recreation staff are currently discussing ways to better ensure the safety of participants and spectators in the future,” Harker Heights Deputy City Manager Jerry Bark said Monday. “We have suspended all games and training this week so that the staff have the opportunity to regroup. “

Harker Heights Police arrested two men on Saturday after they allegedly drew their guns at a youth volleyball tournament at a Harker Heights gymnasium. The incident happened shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday at the Harker Heights Recreation Center, 307 Millers Crossing.

“Officers have been dispatched to block 300 at Miller’s Crossing in connection with an armed subject inside the gymnasium,” according to a press release from the Harker Heights Police Department. “As officers were on their way to the call, another call came in that there were two men with handguns pointing them at each other. Several citizens called the Bell County Communications Center to report seeing two subjects armed and possibly a gunshot. “

Police said the two men were taken into custody for unlawfully carrying a weapon and assault. A preliminary investigation revealed that the men argued inside the building and, at one point, handguns were presented.

Bark said the city is considering options to increase security at future Heights sporting events.

The city cannot prevent people from carrying guns at local sporting events because state law prohibits cities from banning guns in certain public facilities, including recreation areas. Licensed wearing is permitted in most public areas of Texas, as long as the handgun is concealed or in a holster.

“Beginning September 1, Texans will be able to carry handguns without a license or training if they are not prohibited by federal and state law from owning a firearm,” Bark said.

Killeen City Council approves hiring of new communications director

Killeen City Council unanimously approved the appointment of a new communications director on Tuesday. The council also discussed the possibility of moving the Bell County Annex downtown.

In a 6-0 vote, the council voted to confirm the appointment of Janell J. Lewis Ford as the city’s new communications director. She will take up her duties on July 19 and will receive an annual salary of $ 105,000.

Pro Mayor Tem Debbie Nash-King was not in attendance for Tuesday’s meeting.

The city’s current communications director, Hilary Shine, is retiring on August 1 after 20 years of serving the city.

Ford had lived in Killeen as a child due to the fact that both of his parents were stationed at Fort Hood. Now, she’s back and ready to take on her role on July 19th.

Ford, who was a civilian working for the military, said her husband is currently stationed at Fort Hood and served in the US military for 25 years. She said she and her family plan to stay in Killeen once he retires.

“I can’t wait (to serve at Killeen) because it’s a bit of nostalgia for me,” said Ford. “I can’t wait to make sure that everything great about Killeen is known to everyone. Everything positive about Killeen, everyone knows.

Ford has extensive media experience. Most recently, she worked as an information officer at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. She has also worked for several television stations including CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox News.

Ford holds a BA in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University and an MA from Winston-Salem State University in Mass Communications.

“I want to make sure we reach as many people as possible. I know we already have a presence. I just want to develop that and make sure we’re face to face with the community and communicating with everyone at all levels, ”said Ford.

Army confirms Guillen was sexually harassed before her death

The military has confirmed that Spc. Vanessa Guillen, a soldier from Fort Hood of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment found murdered last year, was indeed sexually harassed before her death.

The Army’s internal investigation, known as the AR 15-6 investigation, was initiated by US Forces Command and led by General John Murray, commander of Austin-based US Army Futures Command. The investigation determined that Guillen had been sexually harassed before her murder, but it had nothing to do with her death.

Murray and other military officials met with Guillen’s family in Houston on Tuesday to explain the results.

Guillen’s family and their lawyer, Natalie Khawam, then held a press conference, during which Khawam thanked Murray for his openness and transparency in his dealings with them, according to reports from several media outlets.

The investigator highlighted several important events regarding the findings.

The investigation concluded that “at the end of summer 2019, SPC Guillén (then a private first class class) was in his troop command room when one of his supervisors made an inappropriate sexual comment. in Spanish that the SPC Guillén translated by a request for her to participate in a “trio”. Following this incident, another supervisor noticed a marked change in her behavior, which prompted the supervisor to ask her if she was okay. It was then that SPC Guillén reported the incident to his supervisor and another soldier. She then confided in selected peers. Between September 16, 2019 and October 9, 2019, two soldiers reported this incident to the leadership of his unit, which did not open an investigation.

“The investigator determined that SPC Guillén’s supervisor was unprofessional and that the supervisor’s counterproductive behavior harmed SPC Guillén and others. This supervisor specifically targeted her, called her out in front of her peers, and constantly made her an example.

“During a field training exercise, this same supervisor encountered SPC Guillén while she was doing personal hygiene work in the timber line and SPC Guillen reported that it was making her feel bad. easy. During this time, she was safe in the wood line.

“Although the investigator found evidence of sexual harassment and mistreatment of SPC Guillen, after reviewing all of the evidence and witness statements, he determined that these incidents were unrelated to his murder.”

Due to the inaction of Guillen’s unit, 21 non-commissioned officers and officers were reprimanded or dismissed.

Aguilar indicted on multiple counts related to Guillen’s murder

A woman from Killeen was re-indicted this week on other counts relating to the death of Fort Hood Private Vanessa Guillen last year.

Cecily Aguilar, 23, was originally charged on July 14, 2020 on one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence and two counts of tampering with evidence. Almost a year later, in a substitute indictment on Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted Aguilar on 11 counts: conspiracy to falsify documents or proceedings (Count 1); falsification of documents or procedures (counts 2 and 3); complicity after the fact (counts 4, 5 and 6); destruction, alteration or falsification of records in a federal investigation (Count 7); and misrepresentation or representation (counts 8, 9, 10 and 11).

All of the charges stem from how Aguilar allegedly helped her boyfriend, Army Spc, 20. Aaron Robinson, dispose of Guillen’s body after he killed her with a hammer in a Fort Hood weapons room on April 22, 2020, investigators said. Police said Aguilar repeatedly lied to investigators to cover up the crime.

The new seven-page indictment lists each count as well as the date of the charge, all of which occurred between the dates of April 22 and June 30, 2020.

Five of the charges relate to Aguilar allegedly helping Robinson to cover up and destroy Guillen’s body and four others relate to false statements made to police during their investigation, according to the act. charge.

Months after Guillen, 20, was reported missing on April 23, 2020, her remains were discovered on June 30, 2020 by contractors working along the Leon River near Belton.

Robinson died on July 1, 2020 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being confronted by Killeen police.

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