Category: Meanwhile… In Florida

Man shoots rats in his yard, accidentally causes 8 hour standoff

Stephen Jonas of Palm Harbor, Florida, allegedly took a rifle and began firing rounds around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, authorities said. At least one bullet struck a neighbor’s backyard, but no one was injured according to a statement by Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies set up a perimeter around Jonas’ home and evacuated the neighbors. A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman told ABC News police attempted to use a PA system to get Jonas to come outside and surrender. But Jonas had apparently fallen asleep for eight hours, and not heard the police on the PA system the spokeswoman told ABC News.

The deputies were finally able to connect with Jonas, 51, who was impaired when he “walked out of his home and was taken into custody without incident,” according to the police statement.

A further search of the home turned up “many other weapons” that the spokeswoman described as at least 15 rifles, handguns, one shotgun and 1,300 rounds of ammunition. All were confiscated as evidence, she said. The spokeswoman also said that Jonas possessed more than 30 grams of marijuana and over 30 grams of pills that were believed to be Xanax.

While in custody, the spokeswoman confirmed Jonas was “cooperative” and allegedly “told deputies that he was shooting rats in his backyard.”

He faces one count of shooting into an occupied dwelling as well as felony possession of marijuana and felony possession of a controlled substance, the spokeswoman said.

He was brought to Pinellas County Jail but posted bail the same day, the spokeswoman said.

Florida Woman tries to ride horse on the highway 

LAKELAND, FL — A 53-year-old woman riding a horse down a busy Florida highway has been arrested and charged with driving drunk.

Polk County Sheriff’s officials said in a news release that someone called 911 about a woman, who appeared confused and possibly in danger. When deputies arrived they found Donna Byrne riding her horse in the road.

Officers did a sobriety test and said she gave breath samples that registered blood alcohol level of .161 — much higher than Florida’s legal limit of .08.

Byrne is charged with DUI and animal neglect for endangering and failing to provide proper protection for the horse.

Deputies took the horse to the Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control livestock facility. She was booked into the Polk County Jail. It’s unclear whether she retained an attorney.

Boy steals gun, brings it to school

Florida- An unloaded .45-caliber handgun was found Tuesday morning in the backpack of a third-grader at Swimming Pen Creek Elementary School, according to a Clay County Schools spokeswoman.

The 9-year-old boy told Clay County deputies that the gun belonged to his grandfather, who was visiting their family. the boy told a teacher about the gun and it was confiscated without any children ever being in danger or the school needing to be placed on lockdown.

The boy was not arrested and released to his parents. He may face discipline according to the school district’s code of conduct.

School officials said there were no threats to students on or off campus and the school. All parents were notified of the incident by phone though the district’s parent link app.

“Very scary,” said Joseph Jacoway, who has a daughter in kindergarten at the school. “Disappointed, especially at an elementary school. Something you will usually think at a junior high or high school. So definitely, at that young of an age, to have to start thinking about it now is getting us thinking about homeschooling.”

The case was taken over by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

The News4Jax I-TEAM found there were two gun-in-school incidents in Clay County last school year. One resulted in an arrest, the other did not. There were also two incidents in which a BB gun and air soft gun were found in a student’s possession.

Judge believes Casey Anthony may have been guilty

Retired Orange County Judge Belvin Perry told WFTV  he believes that Casey Anthony “may” have accidentally killed her two-year-old daughter with chloroform, but he doesn’t find fault with the verdict, believes there was enough evidence to file a murder charge against Anthony.

“The question was asked, ‘Was there sufficient evidence to submit the case to the jury on the theory of murder in the first degree?’” Perry said. “The answer to that question is yes.”

In 2011, a jury acquitted Anthony of murdering her two-year-old child Caylee Anthony in June 2008. Instead, the jury convicted her of four misdemeanor counts of lying to police.

Anthony was accused of killing Caylee in June 2008. Caylee’s body was found months later in woods near the Anthony home, but authorities were unable to determine a cause of death. The prosecution team said Anthony dumped Caylee’s body there and tried to resume her normal life. During the trial, evidence was presented that showed Anthony researched using chloroform, which was once used as an inhaled anesthetic during surgery.

Man blames dog for accidental shooting

According to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office incident report, a man told police that his dog shot his girlfriend in the leg.

It happened late Tuesday night at a home on Patuou Drive West in the Herlong neighborhood on the city’s Westside.

Police said a man and a woman were sleeping when they were woken up by the man’s dog, Diesel.

The man told officers that he got up to let the dog outside, and when they came back inside, Diesel walked back into the dark bedroom where the man’s girlfriend was still sleeping.

The man then saw a “flash and a bang” — it’s believed that the dog jumped up on the nightstand, causing a Springfield XD40 to discharge, according to the report.

The 25-year-old woman was hit in the leg. She was taken to Orange Park Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

The woman told police that she didn’t know how it happened. She said she was sleeping and was awakened by a throbbing pain in her leg.

Neighbors said they feel like it was an accident.

“I think, either way, there was a weapon involved,” neighbor Donald Hanlon said. “I don’t think it was intentional, but I don’t think the dog could do it.”

The dog’s owner does have a child, but the child was not at home at the time.

The JSO report obtained Wednesday is purely an information report. safety analyst Gil Smith said it’s possible that officers will continue the investigation by testing the gun, for example, to see if it’s possible the dog could have fired the weapon accidentally.

Smith wasn’t surprised by the case, saying, “stranger things have happened”

Florida plans to poison drinking water with radioactive waste

South Florida sits atop two gigantic underground stores of water: the Biscayne and Floridan Aquifers. Miamians get most of their drinking water from the upper Biscayne Aquifer, while the government has used the lower portion of the Floridian to dump waste and untreated sewage — despite the fact that multiple studies have warned that waste could one day seep into the drinking water.

So environmentalists are concerned that Florida Power & Light now wants to dump full-on radioactive waste into the that lower water table, called the Boulder Zone. A small group of activists called Citizens Allied for Safe Energy (CASE) tried to stop FPL’s plan, but their legal petition was shot down.

According to NRC documents, CASE’s petition was dismissed for being filed “inexcusably late” in FPL’s application process.

“This was thrown out on procedural grounds,” says CASE’s president, Barry J. White. “The science is still there.”

CASE had filed a petition with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the NRC on Friday threw out CASE’s complaint, saying the environmental group had filed too late in FPL’s approval process.

The fight stems from the energy company’s plan to build two nuclear reactors at the controversial Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station south of Miami by roughly 2030. The towers might not be operational for a decade or two, but that doesn’t mean the public should stop paying attention to them. FPL is submitting numerous proposals about the project to the government.

As part of that package, FPL told the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it plans to store contaminated water used to clean the reactors, as well as radioactive waste (“radwaste”) in the Boulder Zone. In October, the NRC issued a report, stating FPL’s plan would pose “no environmental impacts” to the South Florida environment.

“Everything will be put into a supposedly ‘hermetically sealed’ Boulder Zone,” White told New Times in December. “But anybody who lives in South Florida knows nothing below us is hermetically sealed.” Environmentalists say the plan could leak carcinogens such as cesium, strontium 90, and tritium right into the drinking-water aquifers.

CASE’s November complaint cited both government data and FPL’s own engineers, who admitted in separate hearings that waste could leak upward from the Boulder Zone into the Biscayne Aquifer.

Since filing that complaint, CASE also uncovered yet another government study, which confirms the Boulder Zone can leak into “underground sources of drinking water” in South Florida.

The 2015 study, from the United States Geological Survey, says that numerous tectonic faults and other fissures exist under Biscayne Bay and the “Miami Terrace,” the seafloor immediately east of the Miami shoreline.

An FPL spokesperson Friday provided the following statement to New Times

“After an exhaustive and comprehensive review of the proposed Turkey Point Units 6 & 7 project, including the plans to safely use reclaimed water for cooling, the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s staff concluded ‘…there are no environmental impacts to preclude issuing Combined Licenses to build and operate two reactors next to the existing Turkey Point nuclear power plant.”

Now, White says, he and CASE plan to lobby state lawmakers to try to outlaw injections into the Boulder Zone through state law. To put things mildly, CASE is fighting an uphill battle: FPL is one of the largest campaign donors in Florida politics.

Florida man plans terrorist attack on target

A Florida man made at least 10 explosive devices in hopes of blowing up Targets along the East Coast in an elaborate and deadly scheme to buy cheap stocks of the company, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mark Charles Barnett, 48, was charged with possession or a possession of a destructive device affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon.

He faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.

Barnett concocted a plan to place explosives disguised as food items in Target stores along the East Coast from Florida to New York, thinking the plot would cause stock prices for the retail-store giant to plummet and he could buy cheap shares of the company before they rebound, a federal complaint alleges.

He paid a man $10,000 to place the bombs on shelves, the complaint said.

On Feb. 9, Barnett gave the man at least 10 explosives, a bag of gloves, a mask and a license-plate cover, which would be used to cover up the man’s identity, prosecutors said.

But before the plan moved forward, the man went to the authorities and gave them the bombs and explained Barnett’s plan, federal agents said.

The bombs could have caused property damage, and serious injury or death to those nearby, prosecutors said. Agents also found bomb-making materials in Barnett’s home, records show.

Barnett is being held in the Marion County Jail for nine parole violations.

“The cooperation between the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies involved in this case was instrumental to quickly identifying this individual and resolving any potential threat to the public,” said Charles Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division.

Florida Man arrested to harassing police, 4,000 round of ammunition confiscated.

Florida man, Ricky Weinberger of Miami Beach has been accused of making dozens of harassing phone calls to the police station and, most recently, posting expletive-laced threats against officers on an online law-enforcement bulletin board.

Weinberg, it turns out, had also stockpiled massive firepower. Inside his tiny North Beach apartment, detectives found around 4,500 rounds of ammunition and 16 guns, including six assault rifles, authorities told a judge on Monday.

“We truly feel our department potentially averted a catastrophic crisis,” said Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez.

Weinberger appeared in court Monday charged with threatening law-enforcement and harassing witnesses. He’ll be held in jail, for now, while he faces three open criminal cases stretching back over the past year.

The 54-year-old first became known to police over one year ago after he repeatedly made threatening and lewd phone calls to Miami Beach city employees. He was arrested on another occasion and was found with a loaded Smith & Wesson handgun, a stun gun and pepper spray.

Also in November, he was arrested on charges of hitting a woman. He was found with a Taser stun gun, but the case was later dropped.

That same month, an employee at the Deauville Hotel in North Beach also complained about his threats. Police brass and even the department’s lawyer asked him to stop, to no avail, according to a police report.

“The victim and her staff stated that [Weinberger] frequently stalks by sitting on the sidewalk in front of the hotel, staring at employees,” according to an arrest report. “This is happening at odd, non-business hours.”

A Miami-Dade judge had ordered him to stop contacting police. But according to investigators, he started making threats in January and February on LeoAffairs.com, a non-official website that serves as a bulletin board for news and gossip for individual police department. Many of the comments were profane sexual threats.

And when he was arrested Sunday night, police said he told a detective, “Don’t rip the jacket or I’ll f***ing kill you.”

Woman robs Arby’s restaurant, flees in taxi cab

A Florida woman faces armed robbery charges after police say she robbed an Arby’s restaurant in Gainesville and then hailed a cab to get away.

A Gainesville police report says 20-year-old Keshunte L. Taylor pointed a gun at a clerk on Sunday morning and demanded money.

Authorities say Taylor took more than $200 from three registers at the fast-food restaurant.

The Gainesville Sun (http://bit.ly/2dgzj5f ) reports Taylor hopped in a cab, which police stopped a couple of blocks away.

Police say they recovered a gun and $219.

Taylor remains in the Alachua County Jail. Records don’t indicate whether she’s hired a lawyer.

Because 10,000 Bombs N’ Stuff

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Another apparent earthquake off Florida’s Atlantic coast has been attributed to the U.S. Navy testing the seaworthiness of a new vessel.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports the Navy conducted a shock trial Sept. 4 on the USS Milwaukee off the Volusia and Flagler county coastlines.

Paul Caruso at the National Earthquake Information Center says sound waves from an explosion that’s part of the test registered as a 3.8 magnitude earthquake on U.S. Geological Survey seismographs as far away as Kansas.

A Navy spokeswoman says three tests are scheduled for the USS Milwaukee, each involving a 10,000-pound explosive charge.

Shock trials on another Navy vessel this summer also registered as earthquakes.

CBS Orlando affiliate WKMG reports that in April a magnitude 3.7 earthquake was detected off Daytona Beach, although it’s not clear if that too was related to Navy tests.

Some dolphins and small whales stranded along Florida beaches in 2008 after similar tests, but officials couldn’t determine what killed the animals.