Categories
Journalism

Photos: Freight train derails in Anaheim Hills

Workers were assessing damage done to train tracks in Anaheim Hills on Wednesday morning after a BNSF freight train derailed there Tuesday night, the Orange County Register reported.

Photos by Tim Worden. Contact: timrworden@gmail.com.

train2web
A commuter train passes by the derailed freight train on Wednesday morning.
train4web
Closeup of damage done to the train tracks.
train3web
A worker surveys the derailed train on Wednesday morning.
train1web
A Metrolink train passes by the derailed freight train on Wednesday morning.
Categories
Journalism

iPhone 6 craze hits the Brea Mall

Apple customers enter the Brea Mall on Friday, Sept. 18.
A wave of about 20 people is allowed to enter the Brea Mall to the Apple Store on Friday morning, Sept. 18.

About 3,500 people lined up at the Brea Mall on Friday morning to pick up Apple’s new flagship smartphones the iPhone 6 and its new big 5.5-inch brother the iPhone 6 Plus.

Brea police officers, some armed with batons, patrolled the mall. No arrests were made and no fighting in the crowd was reported, according to the Orange County Register, although this reporter witnessed police escort out one apparently unruly person, who was holding what appeared to be an iPhone.

It is not known why the man was escorted off the parking lot premises, although at two points he came close to the line of police guarding the entry to the mall. At the second of these encounters, a police officer approached him and, asking, “Do you want to go to jail?,” clutched the man’s right arm and led him down the parking lot.

A Brea police officer escorts a man off the premesis of the mall's parking lot on Friday, Sept. 18.
A Brea police officer escorts a man off the premesis of the mall’s parking lot on Friday, Sept. 18.
A Brea police officer, far right, chats with an Apple Store employee as a wave of about 20 customers, left, is allowed to enter the mall around 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 18.
A Brea police officer, far right, chats with an Apple Store employee as a wave of about 20 customers, left, is allowed to enter the mall around 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 18.

An Orange County Reddit thread reported that several Orange County Apple and other retail stores had also been swarmed Friday morning.

The phones were already being sold out at stores around the nation by Friday morning, Businessweek reports.

Brea Mall iPhone Launch

Photos and reporting by Tim Worden.

Categories
Blog Journalism

tworden: 4 year anniversary + vision statement + announcement

These photos show how time has changed a bend of Fairmont Boulevard in central Yorba Linda. From top to bottom, these photos were taken on: Feb. 11, 2014; Feb. 22, 2014; and Aug. 8, 2014.
These photos show how time has changed a bend of Fairmont Boulevard in central Yorba Linda. From top to bottom, these photos were taken on: Feb. 11, 2014; Feb. 22, 2014; and Aug. 8, 2014. Click for full-size image.

Take a look at the photo collage to the left. As this picture shows, time can transform a person or a place beyond any of our pre-held comprehensions, for good or, unfortunately, for bad. Fortunately, though, we, having hope and faith, are able to overcome pain or death.

As King David said three thousand years ago: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you, God, are with me.”

But hold that thought for a second. First, I want to announce that this blog is celebrating its fourth anniversary.

It lived its first three years as timothyworden.wordpress.com before becoming timothyworden.com last August. In the past month I have transferred my domain to the less wordy tworden.com.

In this blog’s four years, I have had more than 17,000 page views.

The most page views I have had in a single day is 290, which came in February 2014 when I blogged about a memorial that had been set up in Yorba Linda in honor of a 22-year-old man who died in a motorcycle crash.

Recently, that man’s friends and family set up a roadside cross memorial at the spot of the crash.

A visual journey of what that scene has looked like in the past six months is presented in the photo to the right.

I pray that his friends and family, including his son, will find comfort in what has happened.

As a journalist who has covered several homicides and death investigations, I have found that death is an unfortunate occurrence in our lives, but one that gives us a choice:

We can become overcome by our circumstances, or we can take this event and grow from it, attempting to make the world a better place for the rest of us who are living.

Remarkably, it is often those who are closest to the victim who understand this, I have found.

Just this week, a man was killed and two women were injured when an assailant walked up to their parked car and shot them 7-10 times in Santa Ana, police said.

About 20 hours after that shooting, on Wednesday, Aug. 13, I happened to pass the scene on my way home from work in Santa Ana. I had my camera and reporter’s notebook with me, as I always do, so I decided to check out the spot to see if there was a vigil going on.

Inching down the residential street a block off the busy Main Street downtown area, I saw a few people gathered. I saw them give hugs to each other. They were holding flowers. A woman, who looked to be no older than 21 or 22, was fighting back tears.

It struck me.

Workers break up a tree that fell as the result of a school bus crashing into a tree in Anaheim Hills in April 2014, resulting in about a dozen injuries.
Workers break up a tree that fell as the result of a school bus crashing into a tree in Anaheim Hills in April 2014, resulting in about a dozen injuries.

In the past year I have watched as police and emergency responders have cleaned up fatal car/motorcycle crashes and house fires [here, here, here and here]. I have watched SWAT teams wielding tactical assault rifles pursue robbery suspects [here and here]. I have even seen a school bus lodged into the trunk of a tree, the result of the driver allegedly losing control going perhaps 70 or more miles per hour down a steep hill, crashing, and injuring a dozen children [here]. (Thankfully, the children were OK.)

But this gathering of friends consoling each other really brought it home. I shelved any notions of reaching for my camera, and instead drove off. The whole encounter must have lasted 15 seconds.

I say this to draw attention to the fact that life is frail. Our friends, or we ourselves, can be taken at any moment.

As I go forward in this blog, I am determined to, in the event of covering a death or traumatic experience, honor the life not only of a victim, but of his or her friends and family who are left to cope with a difficult situation as well.

It is my wish to leave a positive contribution to the world, and, however small it may be, I intend to use this blog for that purpose.

I can’t do that on my own, however. Jesus, who is God, gives us hope and strength. No matter how it looks to us today or tomorrow, Jesus, who has resurrected and conquered death, has a plan to work everything out for good.

King David had this faith:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,” he said in Psalm 18.
“My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
“My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Thank you for reading this.

________________________

P.S. Here’s a preview of my upcoming project: 

I am finishing up a feature report on the recent murder trial of the beating death of a 23-year-old Orange County woman. This report will examine the media implications that trial has had, reflecting on how technology has impacted not only our daily lives, but that of the police and legal system.

It will be published in three parts beginning with an expected date of Monday, Aug. 25, 2014.

-Tim

Text and photos by Tim Worden.

Categories
Journalism News

Isla Vista shooting resurfaces old debates about gun control, mental health and … the media?

As members of the news media converged to the college town of Isla Vista, a hometown college newspaper decided to withdraw

A screenshot of a Santa Barbara Independent photograph by Paul Wellman showing Isla Vista residents protesting the constant presence of TV crews in the area, according to the photo's caption.
A screenshot of a Santa Barbara Independent photograph by Paul Wellman showing Isla Vista residents protesting the constant presence of TV crews in the area, according to the photo’s caption.

A massacre in the college town of Isla Vista, California, over the weekend has renewed well-oiled debates about gun violence and mental health issues in America. But it has also raised another question: How should the media cover these tragedies?

It is a question that often gets asked in the wake of tragedies of this magnitude — seven were left dead, including the gunman, and 13 injured in the Friday night attacks — but hardly ever this quickly, with bullet holes only just being dislodged from the scene of the shootings and with victims still recovering in the hospital.

For many news organizations, the initial report of a shooting is nothing out of the ordinary: In the Los Angeles region, an hour and a half south of Isla Vista and Santa Barbara, a photographer or TV cameraman is often at the scene of such reports within the hour, if not sooner.

That was the case with the Isla Vista shooting, as photographers from the Santa Barbara Independent and UC Santa Barbara’s student-run newspaper The Daily Nexus, among several other media organizations, were at the scene late that night.

The Daily Nexus has in the past few days since meticulously covered all aspects of the story, which happened just blocks from the campus, in a magnitude and quality that rivals that of the Los Angeles Times.

In another high-profile news event, a reporter and two TV cameramen try to get a view of a protest at the Kelly Thomas memorial in Fullerton, California, in January 2014.
In a similarly high-profile news story, a reporter and two TV videographers (all three from different agencies) were among more than a dozen members of the media covering a protest in Fullerton, California, in January 2014. (Photo by Tim Worden)

The multitude of photographers and TV stations converging on a national story is nothing new, and is fairly common in the competitive news market in Southern California. But news hit Monday of an odd-man out:

The Bottom Line, UCSB’s student government-run newspaper — a rival of the independently student-run Daily Nexus — came out with an editorial: “Why We Have Not Yet Published Anything on the Isla Vista Shooting.”

“Whenever tragedy strikes,” the op-ed begins, “emergency responders and journalists are some of the first on scene and are, consequently, more likely to suffer from emotional trauma because of it.”

The staff needed time to mourn and process the tragedy, the op-ed added.

Media critics were quick to pounce on the no-reporting stance of the newspaper, with some, such as Calbuzz’s Jerry Roberts, saying the paper was skirting “its role as a community news source,” as cited by media critic Jim Romenesko.

But it’s not like there was an absence of news with The Bottom Line out. (TBL did, however, live tweet it on Twitter and now is covering it on its website.)

The LA Times alone, for example, had at least two reporters and seven photographers covering the story in Isla Vista over the course the three-day weekend, according to an analysis of its reporting and photographs.

Dozens of other photographers, as well as TV crews from the region, were also congregating in the area all weekend, prompting some residents to urge the media to respect their privacy, making signs that read things like “Let Us Grieve in Peace.”

Of course reporting from the scene is necessary, as it is the media’s job and responsibility to tell the account of a story to those who were not there, and this, being a national story, carries an even heavier importance.

But what about over-reporting? Part of The Bottom Line’s reason for not reporting on the tragedy is an ethical reason, as it cited the Professional Journalists Code of Ethics’ guideline of “Minimize Harm,” which says: “Journalists should show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage.”

The Bottom Line should be commended for its boldness in standing apart from the crowd by not heavily reporting the massacre, as it was attempting to minimize the emotional harm to its staff.

And besides, it’s not like interested residents don’t have half a dozen other media outlets at their fingertips to get the story from anyway.

By Tim Worden. Published May 27, 2014 at 2:45 p.m.

 

Categories
Journalism Photography

Police apprehend suspect after SWAT manhunt in Tustin

An Orange Count Sheriff SWAT marksman prepares to aid in the search for a robbery suspect in Tustin on April 10, 2014. Photo by Tim Worden.
An Orange Count Sheriff SWAT marksman prepares to aid in the search for a robbery suspect in Tustin on April 10, 2014. Photo by Tim Worden.

Law enforcement from several agencies apprehended an allegedly armed man in Tustin, California, after a nearly five-hour SWAT manhunt on Thursday afternoon (April 10, 2014).

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department called in its Duke I and II helicopters to assist in the search, as well as its tactical SWAT team. The Irvine Police Department also used its armored vehicle in the search, which was initiated by the Tustin Police Department after an alleged confrontation at the Chevron gas station on Red Hill Avenue just south of the 5 Freeway on Thursday morning.

At one point, the Sheriff Department’s helicopters landed on Red Hill Avenue to load up SWAT marksmen to help in the search.

The Sheriff's Department Duke I helicopter, with SWAT marksmen on board, lifts off from Red Hill Avenue.
The Sheriff’s Department Duke I helicopter, with SWAT marksmen on board, lifts off from Red Hill Avenue. Police used this Stater Bros. shopping center as their command center.

Photos by Tim Worden. All rights reserved.

Categories
Journalism Photography

Two OC Sheriff deputies injured in Yorba Linda house fire

Yorba Linda House Fire
About 35 firefighers responded to the house fire in western Yorba Linda, according to authorities.

Two Orange County Sheriff’s deputies sustained minor injuries this morning while attempting to rescue an elderly woman trapped in a house fire in Yorba Linda, Calif.

Upon arriving at the house on the 21000 block of Todd Ave., in eastern Yorba Linda, a man told deputies that his mother was trapped on the second story, OCSD Lt. Jeff Hallock said. One deputy tried to reach her from the roof on the second story and the other tried getting in through the back, he said.

They were transported to a local hospital with injuries relating to smoke inhalation and were released around noon on Tuesday, April 1, according to authorities.

The woman and her son also suffered injuries, according to the Orange County Register. A cause of the fire was under investigation, the Register reports.

OC Sheriff's deputies Robert Miranda, left, and his partner Zack Bieker talk to the media following their release from the hospital on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 1, 2014.
OC Sheriff’s deputies Robert Miranda, left, and his partner Zack Bieker talk to the media following their release from the hospital on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

Photos and reporting by Tim Worden.

Categories
Journalism Photography

Yorba Linda: Supporters push to build skatepark in honor of teen

Skatepark For Logan


UPDATE (THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2014): A Change.org petition to tell the Yorba Linda City Council to build a skatepark in Yorba Linda in honor of Logan Wells has more than 15,000 signatures in its first week.

ORIGINAL POST (MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2014): Friends, family and supporters have set up a memorial in Yorba Linda for a teenage skateboarder who was killed riding on Bastanchury Road there on Sunday morning.

Authorities say a 61-year-old driver struck the skateboarder, identified as Logan Wells, 16.

The site of the crash, an upscale residential neighborhood at Bastanchury Road and Secretariat Way known for its mansions and horse trails, now has a memorial full of Hawaiian shirts, hats and skateboards with messages written in chalk.

A nearby turn signal pole has also been emblazoned with messages of support, including a drawing of a skateboard symbolizing the fallen skateboarder on the pole’s pedestrian signal.

 

Categories
Journalism Photography

Bill Nye the Science Guy Speaks at CSUF

Bill Nye at CSUF
 Bill Nye “the Science Guy” Thursday night used his keynote address at Cal State Fullerton’s 11th annual math and science symposium to encourage college students to pursue innovation in engineering, space exploration and asteroid-defense strategies.

This post will be updated.

Student leaders give Bill Nye a CSUF lab coat following his keynote.
Student leaders give Bill Nye a CSUF lab coat following his keynote.
Categories
Journalism

City tightens security in downtown Santa Ana in response to fatal beating; Memorial grows

Pictures, flowers and candles were set up on Monday night.
Pictures, flowers and candles began being set up at a make-shift memorial on Monday afternoon. Here is the memorial early Monday evening.

UPDATE – WEDNESDAY, JAN. 22:
The memorial for Kim Pham, who was allegedly fatally beaten in front of The Crosby in downtown Santa Ana over the weekend, continued to grow Wednesday, as an increased police and private security presence was noticeable in the downtown area surrounding the Starbucks and memorial.

The increased police presence is the result of Santa Ana police Chief Carlos Rojas’ Tuesday night announcement that the police department will have an increased police presence and will expand the use of technology to monitor the downtown district, according to a news release.

At least three private security guards were stationed within eyesight of the memorial on Wednesday night.

Additionally, the city has agreed to pledge a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of other suspects in the alleged beating to match a separate $5,000 reward that would be given from Downtown Inc.

Pham, a Chapman graduate and writer, was a contributor to the website Elite Daily, which Wednesday posted her final, unpublished at the time of her death, article. Her story was an opinion piece on the Kelly Thomas trial and verdict: “Kelly Thomas, You Are Remembered. Was This Just?”

In her article, she questions the Fullerton police’s use of force while beating Kelly Thomas, which led to his death.

“Kelly Thomas, I hope you truly rest in peace and your family finds solace in all of this,” she wrote, according to Elite Daily. “May you have found serenity in every single way possible, wherever you are now. We think of you.”

People wishing to donate to Pham’s family in their support can visit a webpage set up by her friends here.

Memorial

A Santa Ana police car drives by the memorial on Wednesday night.
A Santa Ana police car drives by the memorial on Wednesday night.

ORIGINAL POST – MONDAY, JAN 20:
Friends and supporters gathered Monday night at a memorial set up for a woman who was fatally beaten outside a Santa Ana bar on Friday night. Many people brought flowers, candles and notes in their support.
Santa Ana memorial
At one point on Monday night, a long-haired Asian man riding a skateboard rode up to the memorial site and said that since, as Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. day, people there should try to change things like this from happening in the future.

“None of us here should let anything like this ever happen again,” the man said, before skating off. It was not known if he was a friend of the woman.

Police at this time have not officially released the woman’s name. They are asking for residents who may have any information on the incident to contact the Santa Ana Police Department or the Orange County Crime Stoppers.

Santa Ana Memorial
Friends and supporters visit a memorial set up in front of Starbucks and The Crosby on Broadway and Fourth in Downtown Santa Ana on Monday night.

By Tim Worden. Published Jan. 20, 2014. Updated Jan. 22, 2014 at 9:30 p.m.

Categories
Journalism

Kelly Thomas supporters gather in Fullerton to protest jury’s ‘not guilty’ verdict

Kelly Thomas
Kelly Thomas supporters sign a memory support book soon after hearing the jury’s verdict that two former Fullerton police officers were not guilty in the homeless man’s 2011 death.


By Tim Worden. Published Jan. 13, 2014 at 4:15 p.m. Updated Jan. 14, 2014 at 8 a.m.

In an emotional show of support, Ron Thomas, father of Kelly Thomas, spoke to a crowd of more than 100 supporters Monday night saying that he will bring justice to Kelly, a homeless man who was killed in a 2011 police confrontation that has rippled through the city of Fullerton for two and a half years.

While speaking to the crowd, Ron Thomas, wearing a pin that read, “I am the voice for Kelly Thomas,” said he will pursue other means of bringing justice to his son, such as seeking to change the California peace officers’ bill of rights.

“I want to change things,” Thomas said.

The gathering was sparked by a jury’s verdict Thursday afternoon that former Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cincinelli are not guilty on all counts in the 2011 death of homeless man Kelly Thomas.

The counts ranged from excessive force  to involuntary manslaughter and 2nd degree murder.

Supporters, who began trickling in to the makeshift Kelly Thomas memorial shortly after the verdict was reached on Monday afternoon, quickly set up a podium with a Kelly Thomas guestbook for people to write down their support.

One supporter carved “Kelly” into the sidewalk with wax from a candle.

Members of the media record a supporter talking.
Members of the media record a supporter talking.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Orange County’s highest attorney, personally served as the prosecutor alleging that Ramos and Cincinelli acted beyond their authority in the encounter.

“(The case) is not an indictment of the Fullerton Police Department or the police in general,” Rackacuckas said in his closing arguments rebuttal. “This is about a defendant, namely Ramos, who acted as a police officer but abused his authority,” Rackauckas said. “And it’s about another police officer who … unnecessarily increased that level of force … and that played a substantial part in the death of Kelly Thomas.”

Defense attorney John Barnett at the conclusion of the arguments phase of the trial said that the two officers acted by the book and according to their training in their encounter with Thomas.

“They did as they were taught, they did as they were told,” Barnett said.

Ron Thomas, father of Kelly Thomas, speaks to the media in downtown Fullerton on Monday night.
Ron Thomas, father of Kelly Thomas, speaks to the media in downtown Fullerton on Monday night.