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Erika winds affect Virgin Islands, approach Puerto Rico

<p> Tropical Storm Erika produced very heavy rains over portions of the Leeward Islands Thursday as the cone continues to show the storm approaching Florida.</p><p> [WEATHER INFO: <a href="" target="_blank">Sandbag locations</a> | <a href="/weather/central-florida-prepares-ahead-of-tropical-storm-erika/34958520" target="_blank">Central Fla. prepares</a> | <a href="/news/emergency-phone-numbers/34954748" target="_blank">Important Numbers</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">Live radar</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">Get alerts</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">Free Hurricane Tracker, Storm Tracking apps</a> | VIDEO:<a href="" target="_blank"/><a href="/weather/local-6-weather-webcast/34944902" target="_blank">Local 6 weather webcast</a> | SHARE: <a href="" target="_blank">Storm photos</a> |<a href="" target="_blank"> Hurricane names of 2015 </a>]</p><p> At 11 p.m. Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said Erika had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and was moving west at 17 mph. It was located 135 miles south-southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.</p><p> Officials expect Erika to continue moving west-northwest for two days. Erika should approach the Virgin Islands later Thursday.  It is then expected to pass Puerto Rico on Thursday night and the Dominican Republic by Friday.</p><p> <a href="" target="_blank">On Thursday, four people were killed </a>in Dominica in severe flooding and mudslides caused by Erika as the storm made landfall.</p><p> Little change in strength is expected over the next two days as the storm moves toward Florida.</p><p> The latest projection from the NHC shows Erika as a hurricane, with the eye of the storm just off Central Florida's Flagler County coast on Tuesday.</p><p> "Here's what you want to see, the brand new track, notice how it's very tightly wound through Puerto Rico in the next 24 to 48 hours and over to the Dominican Republic and out," said Local 6 Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells. "If the storm survives until Friday into Saturday ... we ought to have a good idea of what's going to happen with it."</p><p> Gov. Rick Scott held a news conference Thursday to address Floridians about the storm.</p><p> "We've been very fortunate for a long time, and we've got to get prepared," he said. </p><p> Scott said the Florida National Guard can used if Erika were to impact Florida.</p><p> Tropical storm warnings -- meaning sustained winds of 39 mph or more are expected in the next 36 hours -- were issued for numerous island locales including Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic from the northern border with Haiti eastward and southward to Isla Saona, Southeastern Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy. A tropical storm watch was issued Thursday night for Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Punta Palenque and Central Bahamas.</p><p> The bad news is that this means islanders and vacationers will get soaked and then some. The hurricane center predicts 3 to 5 inches of rainfall, with as many as 8 inches in some locales.</p><p> </p><p> The good news is that while Erika's winds will be strong, they'll be far short of historic.</p><p> That doesn't mean Erika -- the fifth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season -- will sputter out.</p><p> </p><p> Meanwhile, rain chances will increase Thursday in Central Florida to 70 percent as a front in north Florida slowly slides into the region.</p><p> "Expect some storms to linger into Thursday night, with lightning and heavy rain," Bridges said.</p><p> Afternoon high temperatures in Orlando will be near 90 degrees.   The average high for Orlando is 91.</p><p> Rain chances will be 60 percent in the Orlando area from Friday through Monday.</p><p> </p><p> Watch Local 6 News and stay with for more on this story.<a href="/weather/local-6-weather-webcast/34944902" target="_blank">justwxam082715</a></p>

Published: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 04:11:10 GMT

1 slain at Orlando apartment complex, 3 in custody, police say

<p> Orlando police said someone was murdered Thursday at the Landmark at Siena Springs apartments on Westgate Drive in Metrowest.</p><p> "I just heard about four or five shots and then it stopped, and it started again," said one resident, who asked to remain anonymous.</p><p> From his apartment, he watched as one man lay bleeding on the ground near the center of the complex and another took off running.</p><p> "He had shot wounds on him and I saw police officers moving him around and trying to help him out, so I think he's probably the one that passed away," the man said.</p><p> For hours, homicide detectives sealed the area. Residents were allowed into their homes but were given restricted access and even less information.</p><p> "They just said a crime, we don't know what's going on," said a woman leaving the complex.</p><p> Details only came from a police tweet that said, "Homicide. 1 dead and 3 suspects in custody."</p><p> Police said they believe they have caught everyone involved.</p><p> Down the road, police searched a car for evidence near Kirkman Road and Westgate Drive. Witnesses said police handcuffed and hauled off suspects -- one in an ambulance.</p><p> For some, the crime is a sign the area is not what it used to be.</p><p> "For people to come over at two, three in the morning, multiple people, and centralize in a certain places, you're left to assume what's going on. But if it looks like a duck, it's a duck," said Arien Gilotte. "You let people with questionable activities move in, what do you expect?"</p><p> "We are heartbroken to learn of this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family during this difficult time," apartment management said in a statement.</p><p> Police wouldn't release any additional information.</p><p> Stay with Local 6 News and for updates on this story.</p>

Published: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 03:24:24 GMT

Crews urge residents to prepare for TS Erika; sandbags provided in Central Florida

<p> Emergency crews across Central Florida aren't waiting to see where Erika heads next, they are urging families to prepare.</p><p> [WEATHER INFO:  <a href="" target="_blank">Live radar</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">Get alerts</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">Free Hurricane Tracker, Storm Tracking apps</a> | VIDEO:<a href="" target="_blank"> Local 6 weather webcast</a> | SHARE: <a href="" target="_blank">Storm photos</a> |<a href="" target="_blank"> Hurricane names of 2015 </a>]</p><p> In Volusia County, crews have made sandbag filling locations available to help families prepare for soaking rain.</p><p> A few people came by Thursday afternoon, but the spots begin to open Friday morning.</p><p> As the possible threat of Erika looms, Dave Houser was getting to work.</p><p> "Hoping she doesn't come our way, but if she does, do a little preparation for it," Houser said.</p><p> Houser was filing up 15 bags of sand to keep his DeLand home from flooding. Living here for 10 years, he's done this before.</p><p> "We didn't know what to expect, so we come out and did the same thing but it kind of blew over that year," recalled Houser.</p><p> This year, he has seen what Erika can do and has done, drenching in Dominica. Houser's daughter works at a school, she's in limbo.</p><p> The Volusia County School District said it would decide about school closures by Sunday afternoon.</p><p> In Lake County, by Friday afternoon, schools would find out if they'd be used as shelters. Seminole, Osceola, Flagler, Orange and Brevard County School representatives said they are monitoring Erika. Local 6 News is still waiting to hear back from Marion County.</p><p> In the meantime, Houser said he is "stocking up on the essentials, water, perishables, food that we can eat right there."</p><p> He's not the only one. In South Florida, shoppers noticed empty shelves when trying to prepare themselves.</p><p> "Do a little planning ahead of time just in case it comes, that way you'll have that much out of the way," said Houser.​</p><p> A list of sandbag locations, county-by-county, is available below.</p><p> VOLUSIA COUNTY:</p><p> The Public Works Department will provide free sand and bags to county residents from 7 a.m. to dusk. Residents are asked to bring their own shovels and fill and transport the bags themselves.</p><p>530 N. Dixie Freeway, New Smyrna Beach<br/>455 Walker St., Holly Hill<br/>2560 W. State Road 44, DeLand<br/>200 State Road 415, Osteen</p><p> ORANGE COUNTY:</p><p> Orange County Public Works will distribute sandbags at all eight Maintenance Unit locations on Friday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The locations are:</p><p>Apopka Maintenance Unit, 3258 Clarcona Road Apopka, FL 32703<br/>Bithlo Maintenance Unit, 18753 Old Cheney Highway, Bithlo, FL 32820<br/>John Young Maintenance Unit, 4200 S. John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL 32839<br/>Taft Maintenance Unit, 11442 Intermodal Way, Orlando, FL 32824<br/>Three Points Maintenance Unit, 4737 S. Goldenrod Road, Orlando, FL 32822<br/>West Orange Maintenance Unit, 644 Beulah Road,  Winter Garden, FL 34787<br/>Zellwood Maintenance Unit, 3400 Golden Gem Road, Zellwood, FL 32712<br/>Goldenrod Maintenance Unit, 2530 N. Forsyth Road, Orlando, FL 32792<br/></p><p> The city of Apopka will provide 10 sandbags per resident and business starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Public Services facility located at the corner of South Highland Avenue and East 8th Street.</p><p> MARION COUNTY: </p><p> The city of Ocala will provide 10 sandbags per household on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The two locations are:</p><p>SW corner of NE 8th Avenue and NE 14th Street<br/>E.D. Croskey Recreation Center, 1510 NW 4th Street<br/></p><p> More locations will be added as Local 6 and receive updates from counties.</p>

Published: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 04:22:15 GMT

3 hurt in altercation at Orlando apartment complex

<p> Three people were hurt in an altercation that happened at an apartment complex, Orlando police said.</p><p> Officers arrived after 8 p.m. Thursday to Ivey on the Lakes Apartments on South Ivey Lane after receiving an unknown trouble call.</p><p> Police said officers found a man and two women had been involved in an altercation.</p><p> The three had injuries which required treatment by the Orlando Fire Department, police said.</p><p> No other details were given.</p><p> Watch Local 6 News and stay with for updates on this developing story.</p>

Published: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 01:31:19 GMT

Electrofishing is 'safest' way to catch fish, FWC says

<p> Many people flock to Central Florida every year and don't go near an amusement park. Instead of Mickey and Goofy, they hang out with largemouth bass and speckled perch.</p><p> The people in charge of keeping local water stocked with these fish use a machine to catch them.</p><p> It's called electrofishing and Florida Fish and Wildlife says it's the safest way to catch fish.</p><p> Andrew Schaefer, a biologist with Florida Fish and Wildlife says about using nets, "That's a lot more stressful, they fight in the nets and it rubs their scales."</p><p> Here's how electrofishing works: Schaefer and his partner Steve Kramer use a boat with a generator on board. They power up the generator and send about 600 volts of electricity through to metal antennae which reach into the water. Kramer says you have to be careful.</p><p> "If you put your hand in the water, you'll get a good zap," he said.</p><p> Local 6 watched as the two biologists trolled the water. As they cruised along, fish of all shapes and sizes would float to the top of the water. Kramer drove the boat, while Schaefer used a net to catch the fish.</p><p> "He's a good dipper. You need a good dipper because a lot of these fish are partially zapped," Kramer said.</p><p> FWC says it's all for the greater good. The biologists check the size and markings on the fish, then toss them back into the water. The little guys take off quickly, while some of the bigger ones take a few moments to shake off the cobwebs.</p><p> However, this is only legal if you work for FWC. Someone caught electrofishing for their own purposes could face a second-degree misdemeanor charge and face a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.</p>

Published: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 03:38:25 GMT

Orlando Police Department responds to video of bloody scuffle

<p> The Orlando Police Department is investigating claims one of their officers attacked a homeless man, resulting in a bloody fight video being shared on social media.</p><p> Witnesses said Officer James Wilson and Terre Johnson, 44, started arguing in a vacant lot near the corner of Ossie Street and Parramore Avenue Wednesday afternoon.</p><p> "Him and Terre are standing on the edge of the road, face-to-face, talking and arguing, and all of a sudden, he just grabs Terre and slammed him into the ground," said one of the witnesses.</p><p> The cell phone video shows Officer Wilson straddling Johnson, pulling his hair and hitting him in the face.</p><p> It also shows Johnson trying to hit the officer.</p><p> More officers showed up to the scene and helped subdue Johnson, who was hospitalized and transferred to the Orange County Jail.</p><p> "All you are seeing is one small piece of an incident, and that is it," said Orlando police spokeswoman Sgt. Wanda Ford.</p><p> She told Local 6 Wilson's body camera captured the events that happened before the cell phone cameras started rolling.</p><p> She said it was Johnson who started attacking Wilson, and the officer was trying to subdue him and put him in handcuffs.</p><p> "This is one of those instances, where the suspect was aggressive. He's known to be aggressive. He's been arrested before for battery and for resisting against an officer," Ford said.</p><p> Ford said she also worries that people will see the snippet of fight video online and draw wrong conclusions about what happened.</p><p> Ford said the body camera video showing the events before the scuffle will be released to the public after investigators review them for the case against Johnson.</p><p> Johnson is being held in the Orange County Jail on $10,300 bond.<br/></p>

Published: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:30:40 GMT

TS Erika kills 4 in Dominica; takes aim at Puerto Rico

<p> Rescue crews fanned across Dominica late Thursday to search for missing and injured people after Tropical Storm Erika pummeled the eastern Caribbean island, unleashing landslides and killing at least four people.</p><p> [WEATHER INFO: <a href="/weather/sandbags-provided-in-central-fla-as-tropical-storm-erika-nears/34955098" target="_blank">Sandbag locations</a> | <a href="/weather/central-florida-prepares-ahead-of-tropical-storm-erika/34958520" target="_blank">Central Fla. prepares</a> | <a href="/news/emergency-phone-numbers/34954748" target="_blank">Important phone numbers</a> |  <a href="" target="_blank">Live radar</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">Get alerts</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">Free Hurricane Tracker, Storm Tracking apps</a> | SHARE: <a href="" target="_blank">Storm photos</a> |<a href="" target="_blank"> Hurricane names of 2015 </a>]</p><p> The storm, <a href="" target="_blank">which forecasters said could reach Florida</a> as a hurricane on Monday, dumped 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain on the small island as it spun west toward Puerto Rico.</p><p> An elderly blind man and two children were killed when a mudslide crashed into their home in the southeast of the island, said Police Chief Daniel Carbon. Another man was found dead near his home in the capital of Roseau after a mudslide, but the cause of death could not be immediately determined, Carbon told The Associated Press.</p><p> Police said another 20 people have been reported missing.</p><p> "Erika has really, really visited us with a vengeance," Assistance Police Superintendent Claude Weekes said in a phone interview. "There are many fallen rocks and trees, and water. It's really chaotic."</p><p> He said crews are trying to reach isolated communities via the ocean because many roads and bridges are impassable.</p><p> "We're going to work throughout the night to see if we can get to the areas," he said. "There are people missing in different parts of the island."</p><p> Erika was centered about 145 miles (235 kilometers) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was moving west at 12 mph (19 kph) with maximum sustained winds of to 45 mph (75 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.</p><p> Erika was expected to move near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Thursday and be near or just north of the Dominican Republic on Friday as it heads toward Florida early next week, possibly as a hurricane.</p><p> Chris Landsea, a meteorologist at the hurricane center, said the storm could dissipate if it passed over Hispaniola or Puerto Rico or it could strengthen and pose a potential threat to Florida next week. "The uncertainties are very high," he said.</p><p> As the storm entered the Caribbean, it did the heaviest damage to Dominica, an island of about 72,000 people of lush forests and steep terrain. Authorities were still conducting a full damage assessment after rivers surged over their banks and walls of mud surged into homes.</p><p> About 80 percent of the island was without electricity, and water supply was cut off, authorities said. Trees and light poles were strewn across streets as water rushed over parked cars and ripped the scaffolding off some buildings. The main airport was closed due to flooding, with water rushing over at least one small plane.</p><p> The main river that cuts through the capital overflowed its banks and surging water crashed into the principal bridge that leads into Roseau.</p><p> "The capital city is a wreck," policewoman Teesha Alfred said. "It is a sight to behold. It's a disaster."</p><p> Erika was likely to hit the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, said chief forecaster James Franklin at the National Hurricane Center.</p><p> "That would certainly not be good news for Hispaniola," he said. "They're very vulnerable to flooding. And even if Erika is a weak system that could be very bad there."</p><p> Officials shuttered schools, government offices and businesses across the region and warned of flash flooding because of dry conditions caused by the worst drought to hit the Caribbean in recent years. Authorities warned power and water service might be temporarily cut off.</p><p> Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the storm could bring badly needed rains to the parched U.S. territory.</p><p> "We're happy given the dry conditions, but it does highlight the need to be on alert," he said, adding that heavy downpours could lead to flash floods. He activated the National Guard as a precaution.</p><p> The storm is expected to hit Puerto Rico's southern region overnight and exit through the island's northwest. The storm's outer bands have already downed several trees and power lines across the island, and small landslides were reported. Garcia said schools and government offices would remain closed on Friday.</p><p> Erika is expected to dump between 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain across the region, with up to 12 inches (31 centimeters) in some areas.</p><p> Dozens of flights were canceled in the region, and the U.S. Coast Guard closed all ports in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.</p><p> Meanwhile in the Pacific, Ignacio strengthened into a hurricane. The storm's maximum sustained winds increased Thursday morning to 90 mph (150 kph).</p><p> Hurricane Ignacio was centered about 1,055 miles (1,700 kilometers) east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, and was moving west-northwest near 13 mph (20 kph).</p><p> Also in the Pacific, a new tropical storm formed Thursday morning. Tropical Storm Jimena had maximum sustained winds near 60 mph (95 kph) and was expected to strengthen to a hurricane by Friday. Jimena was centered about 925 miles (1,490 kilometers) southwest of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.</p><p> ___</p><p> Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Associated Press reporters Ben Fox and Tony Winton in Miami contributed to this report.</p>

Published: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 00:34:01 GMT

Central Florida prepares ahead of Tropical Storm Erika

<p> The Emergency Operations Center said its been busy talking about what Volusia and other surrounding counties are doing, if and when Tropical Storm Erika hits but said because it's still uncertain, the best plan is to err on the side of safety.</p><p> [WEATHER INFO: <a href="" target="_blank">Sandbag locations</a> |<a href="" target="_blank"> Beach erosion </a>| <a href="" target="_blank">Live radar</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">Get alerts</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">Free Hurricane Tracker, Storm Tracking apps</a> | SHARE: <a href="" target="_blank">Storm photos</a> |<a href="" target="_blank"> Hurricane names of 2015 </a>]</p><p> Volusia County residents are preparing for the worst.</p><p> "Bottled water, candles, batteries, I have certain things that run on gasoline," said Linda Ainslie.</p><p> "We have some roll down shutters and we have some manual shutters that we can put up so we can shutter the whole house down in about two hours," Jim Smith.</p><p> Smith lives in New Smyrna Beach and said he remembers the last time a storm hit hard back in 2004.<br/></p><p> "I looked at the ocean and it was as close as I've ever seen it and that was a fairly mild storm surge," he said.</p><p> Smith is a FEMA reservist and said it's never too early to plan ahead especially since it's been a while.<br/></p><p> "People have gotten a little lackadaisical and I think it's probably time to start thinking about what you're going to do in the event that we do get a storm.<br/>I'd say from 24 to 48 hours out, go ahead and get your final preparations in order," he said.</p><p> That's why city and county leaders gathered on Thursday afternoon to talk about a plan of attack.</p><p> "Right now, taking a look at your individual family preparedness plans. What is your plan? Do you have a family preparedness kit? You know, all the provisions that you might need if we were to be impacted by a hurricane," said Jim Judge, Director of Emergency Management.</p><p> Judge said the EOC will be ready to answer any questions residents may have about being prepared and staying safe. Meanwhile, some residents along the coast said they'll be ready for whatever comes their way.<br/></p><p> "We know which items to buy, which ones we already have stocked up on and what last minute things we'll need," said Ainslie.</p><p> County updates are available at Residents wanting local information can call the Emergency Operations Center at 386-254-1500 on Thursday and Friday. Beginning on Saturday, please call the Citizens Information Center hotline at 866-345-0345.<br/><br/></p>

Published: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:21:23 GMT

Former NBA star Darryl Dawkins dies

<p> Former NBA star Darryl Dawkins, who was from Orlando, died Thursday at the age of 58, according to reports.</p><p> <a href="" target="_blank">WFMZ-TV</a> in Pennsylvania first reported Dawkins' death.  His cause of death is not known, and an autopsy is scheduled for Friday.</p><p> Dawkins, known as "Chocolate Thunder" for his powerful dunks, was the first player ever drafted in the NBA out of Evans High School in Orlando.  He was selected by Philadelphia with the fifth pick of the 1975 draft.</p><p> Dawkins  appeared in three NBA Finals with the Sixers, and in 14 NBA seasons, he averaged 12 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.</p><p> After retirement, Dawkins played with the Harlem Globetrotters before getting into the coaching profession.</p>

Published: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:55:17 GMT

Brevard County medical examiner under investigation

<p> A family says the Medical Examiner's Office in Brevard County never conducted an autopsy on their father when he died two years ago, and now the chief examiner is under investigation.<br/></p><p> John McDonough's death certificate said he died of "accidental leukemia," but the family learned through a private toxicologist that their father had four times the lethal limit of morphine in his system at the time of his death.<br/></p><p> Dr. Sajid Qaiser has been Brevard County's Chief Medical Examiner for the last nine years, but according to state records he's now under investigation after a Florida Department of Law Enforcement panel found him negligent of "substantial work."<br/></p><p> "Medical Examiner's Offices don't fail like this, and for good reason," said Tim McDonough.<br/></p><p> The investigation was prompted by Tim and his siblings after they started asking questions regarding their father's death.<br/></p><p> It started two years ago, when the 85-year-old Korean War veteran was discharged from a rehab center in Brevard County in good condition, but then mysteriously was moved to hospice care.<br/></p><p> Three days after his home hospice admission, records show someone administered double the amount of morphine prescribed by his doctor.<br/></p><p> Eighteen hours later, McDonough was dead.<br/></p><p> "We are victims of a possible homicide," said McDonough.<br/></p><p> Because Dr. Qaiser never performed an autopsy, a criminal investigation was never conducted.<br/></p><p> The family says their father never had cancer and didn't need to be administered to hospice care in the first place.<br/></p><p> "There are a lot of aspects of this thing that are very disturbing," said McDonough. "Not just for us, this is a failure of the community."<br/></p><p> Because of this investigation, the panel found 11 other cases Dr. Qaiser performed that are similar in nature, according to records.<br/></p><p> "It's up to Phil Archer to make a call," said Christopher McDonough. "I know he likes veterans, well he's got a war hero here that's buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Come to the forefront and do the right thing."<br/> </p>

Published: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:26:56 GMT

Photos: Recent Fla. mugshots

<p> Here's a look at some of the individuals who have been arrested recently in the Sunshine State.</p>

Published: Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:44:20 GMT

Osceola County sheriff won't seek fourth term

<p> Osceola County Sheriff Bob Hansell announced Thursday he will retire at the end of his term in January 2017.</p><p> The Sheriff's Office said at that time, Hansell will have served more than 40 years at the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.</p><p> A fourth-generation Floridian and lifelong resident of Osceola County, Hansell was first elected to office in 2005 and is now in his third term as chief law enforcement officer of the county.</p><p> "During my career, it has been an honor and privilege to have worked with the men and women of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office protecting and serving our community," Hansell said. "I am thankful for the tremendous support I have received from the community and I am grateful to the citizens of Osceola County for providing me this opportunity to serve them."</p><p> Hansell has been with the Sheriff's Office since 1976, having worked, supervised or managed all areas of the agency. Authorities said he began as a deputy sheriff and earned promotions to the rank of sergeant, lieutenant and captain during his career, prior to being elected sheriff.</p><p> The Sheriff's Office said Hansell has also served as a member and commander of the agency's SWAT team and as the high-risk incident commander.</p><p> Osceola County has seen a reduction in crime during his tenure within the unincorporated area of the county, the Sheriff's Office said. Hansell has re-established and implemented new programs and services to engage citizens and encourage community involvement.</p><p> "During the remaining 16 months of my term, we will continue to provide the highest level of professional law enforcement services that this county has come to expect," Hansell said.</p>

Published: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:28:30 GMT

Jury finds Bessman Okafor guilty of 1st-degree murder

<p> The jury has found on Wednesday the man accused of killing a would-be witness guilty of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.<br/></p><p> The jury read the verdict Wednesday afternoon, finding Bessman Okafor guilty of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.</p><p> The prosecution in the Okafor murder trial wrapped up its case Monday after calling a series of expert witnesses, and the defense rested its case Tuesday.</p><p> Okafor is accused of shooting three people in 2012, killing 19-year-old Alex Zaldivar.  Prosecutors say Okafor did it to keep them from testifying against him in a home invasion trial.</p><p> Okafor faces the death penalty. Testimony will continue on Thursday for the penalty phase to determine Okafor's sentence.</p>

Published: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:21:55 GMT