A Year in Review: Top Stories of 2011 - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

A Year in Review: Top Stories of 2011

Clockwise from top: Investigators on scene following 5-year-old Allison Griffor's (inset) shooting death, SWAT teams search for Dean Arte Lampkin Jr., Craig Robinson stands near a demolished St. Stephen church and a big turnout for Boeing's plant opening. Clockwise from top: Investigators on scene following 5-year-old Allison Griffor's (inset) shooting death, SWAT teams search for Dean Arte Lampkin Jr., Craig Robinson stands near a demolished St. Stephen church and a big turnout for Boeing's plant opening.

As 2011 comes to a close and we get set to ring in 2012, we would like to look back on a big year in the LowCountry. Below are stories on Live5News.com that made waves in the Lowcountry for 2011.

1) Boeing opens new North Charleston assembly plant

A year and a half after construction crews broke ground on Boeing's North Charleston manufacturing plant, the facility was finally completed this past summer.

The plant is the size of 11 football fields and large enough to hold the water of 450 Olympic swimming pools and now the Boeing final assembly building for the 787 Dreamliner is open.

"In this building, our talented Boeing South Carolina teammates are going to assemble the finest, most technologically advanced commercial widebody airplane in history," said Jack Jones, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina.

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2) Dash cam video shows suspect fight cop, steal cruiser

Next on our list is a story featuring dash cam video showing a 38-year-old man fighting with a police officer, then stealing the officer's patrol car and crashing it into a truck.

According to police, the incident started when Arthur Lee Thompson attempted to steal a computer from a Summerville Wal-mart.

Dash cam video released from a stolen Summerville police cruiser shows Thompson fighting a police officer then crashing the stolen car into a landscaping truck at a high rate of speed.

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3) Sheriff's office offers reward in 5-year-old's shooting death

A heartbreaking story from the fall of this year where a 5-year-old girl was killed in a shooting. The Charleston County Sheriff's Office announced a reward in October for information leading to the arrest of whoever shot and killed 5-year-old Allison Griffor.

Allison was shot in the head while sleeping in her West Ashley home.  Sheriff Al Cannon says the pellets used in the shooting are similar to deer shot pellets.

The sheriff said if the killer's friends know something and don't come forward, they will be prosecuted. 

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4) Video shows detention officer hitting inmate

A Berkeley County sheriff's corrections officer was assigned to desk duty after being accused of slapping and punching a handcuffed suspect who spit in his face in January.

According to authorities, 44-year-old Thomas Howard Simmons was at the intake room of the Hill Finklea Detention Center on Jan. 20 arrested for disorderly conduct when he spit on an officer.

On video released by officials, it appears that Officer Robert Thomas slaps Simmons in the face with an open hand and punches him in the back of the head before holding his head down until help arrives.

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5) The Citadel on ReVille case: 'We're profoundly sorry'

In early November, The Citadel's President, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, said that the school was "profoundly sorry" that it did not follow up on a 2002 case that involved suspected child predator Louis "Skip" ReVille.

The Citadel held a press conference to discuss a 2002 incident, that was reported in 2007, that involved two summer camp kids that reportedly watched pornography with ReVille on his computer and engaged in sexual activities.

"We're profoundly sorry. We're sorry we didn't pursue it more," Rosa said. "We acted on our best information and after the fact we did not follow on this."

ReVille, a former coach and private school principal, was arrested in November. ReVille is facing charges in Mt. Pleasant and Hanahan. Summerville police also are investigating the former coach and assistant school principal.

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6) Survivor prayed to God, escaped through doors that were locked before

Craig Robinson was doing his normal routine of cleaning up the Refuge Temple for Sunday worship, when he began to hear wind which came from a tornado that would eventually destroy the St. Stephen church.

"I was working my way back from the sanctuary and I noticed the rain was coming down," Robinson said. "I moved up front to the door and I noticed that the whole roof had collapsed. I went down on my knees and asked the lord to have mercy."

The tornado destroyed the church but left a small piece of the front entrance intact where Robinson says he was able to get out.

"When it was all over, I just stood up and noticed that the front door was opened up," Robinson said."The lord just opened up the front door for me, because I usually have it locked. So I just walked out and looked around and said,'Wow.'"

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7) Man who escaped SWAT teams in Moncks Corner caught during traffic stop

A man who escaped SWAT teams during a five hour standoff in Berkeley County was caught following a traffic stop.

Police say it all started in May during a routine traffic stop when 24-year-old Dean Arte Lampkin Jr. got out of his car and started running into the woods.

Investigators say that the suspect was carrying two guns as he entered the woods.Police dogs and the license plate of the car Lampkin Jr. was driving led authorities to a home in St. Francis Villa.

After a five-hour wait, SWAT teams shot two canisters of tear gas into the residence to try to get force the suspect out. Authorities then forced themselves into the the home, but the suspect was nowhere to be found.

A month later, authorities arrested Lampkin Jr. after a K-9 unit deputy stopped a suspected stolen vehicle in the Russelville area.

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8) Cops: Hoax had bomb squad searching bank, evacuating streets

A chaotic day in downtown Charleston in July ended up as nothing more than a hoax.

Authorities arrested two men at the Wachovia Bank on Meeting and Market Streets and searched the building for a possible bomb. 

Police say it all started when Tony Murray, 45, walked into the bank and told the clerk that the man he was with was holding him hostage. According to law enforcement, Murray claimed the man had a gun and told him to withdraw money from his account.

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9) Women fall to the ground after being sentenced to life in child's death

Two women collapsed in court in November after receiving life sentences for the death of a 3-year-old girl.

Shanita Latrice Cunningham and Erica Mae Butts were sentenced for the death of Serenity Richardson.

Shortly after being sentenced to life, both Butts and Cunningham fell to the floor with emotional outcries coming from family members. Both women had to be wheeled out of the court room.

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10) Man sentenced to 30 years for stabbing music director to death

A 30-year-old man was sentenced in June to 30 years in prison for murdering a church music director who was found stabbed 92 times. 

Tommy Montgomery pleaded guilty, but mentally ill to murder.

According to doctors, Montgomery suffered from depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

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