Assorted crime stories

A large part of my job as a metro/breaking news intern at The Sacramento Bee, especially toward the beginning of my internship when I worked the evening shift, involved covering crimes, accidents, fires, road closures and crashes. I spent a lot of time scrolling through Tweetdeck, monitoring social media accounts of law enforcement officials and California Highway Patrol logs, and calling public information officers. Often, I drove to the scene of the crime or accident to interview witnesses, firefighters and police officers, and I shot photos and videos on my iPhone to accompany my articles. I often live tweet from the scene to provide readers real-time updates.

When we received a tip that a light-rail train was stopped in the middle of the tracks and may have hit someone, I rushed to north Sacramento. Despite not being allowed into the active crime scene, I put together a picture of what happened by talking to reluctant witnesses, and eventually learned the full story from a police lieutenant: Cyclist in critical condition after colliding with light-rail train in Sacramento 

Acting on information from a tweet, I drove out one afternoon to the Sacramento River, where firefighters and divers were searching fruitlessly for a young boy who had disappeared underwater. My video of the tragic scene that the Bee quickly posted on Facebook was watched more than 7,000 times in a matter of minutes. Later, I updated the story when the boy’s body was found: Body of young boy found in Sacramento River after search

When I see a tweet or CHP log that sounds worth pursuing — like a reported fire, in this case — I’ll listen to police or fire scanners online using the website Broadcastify. After hearing that a grass fire was growing fast and threatening houses, I went to the scene. Most of the action was over by the time I got there, so my job was to dig deeper than the TV crews who were there and figure out how the fire actually started and how much damaged it caused. Rather than talk to the PIO, I poked around the wreckage and chatted with neighbors and workers who had seen the blaze: Lawnmower sparks 12-acre grass fire, threatening homes in Sheldon

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