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Plea deal in airport shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE — Federal prosecutors filed court documents Monday in which an Alaska man agreed to plead guilty to a Florida airport shooting rampage that killed five people in exchange for a life prison sentence. The agreement says that Esteban Santiago, 28, will plead guilty to 11 of the 22 counts against him in the[…]

Florida crime down overall, but more rapes reported in ’17

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s crime rate is the lowest it’s been since the state began keeping statewide statistics 47 years ago. Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that the number of crimes in Florida dropped by 4.5 percent in 2017. Overall, the number of crimes per resident dropped by 6 percent. Nearly every major crime was[…]

Alleged Ocala school shooter officially charged

OCALA — A 19-year-old who allegedly fired a shotgun in a Florida high school and injured a student has been officially charged. Sky Bouche was arrested April 20 after the shooting at Forest High School in Ocala where a 17-year-old student was shot in the ankle. Bouche was charged Friday with armed burglary of a[…]

AG Putnam says state must fix ‘talent gap’ to keep jobs, growth

TALLAHASSEE — Contending that Florida has a “talent gap” when it comes to jobs, the top Republican contender for governor wants the state’s middle and high schools to dramatically boost their vocational and technical education programs. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was rolling out details of his plan Monday at campaign stops in the Tampa area[…]

Judge bars ex-student from school for threat

WEST PALM BEACH — A Florida judge granted a temporary injunction barring a former student of a Jewish academy from the school’s campus following his obscenity-laced social media posts. The Palm Beach Post reports Judge Edward Garrison’s ruling on Wednesday says 20-year-old Jared Reichenbach will be arrested and have to pay a $5,000 bond if[…]

Hate crime charges filed in gay pride parade attack

MIAMI BEACH — Hate crime charges have been filed against four men accused of attacking two men and shouting anti-gay slurs following Miami Beach’s gay pride parade. The enhanced hate crime charges mean the four could face as much as 30 years in prison if convicted. The attack happened April 8 and was captured on[…]

Video game champ stripped of record scores fights back

FORT LAUDERDALE — South Florida’s Billy Mitchell, once declared the Video Game Player of the Century, is now facing the ultimate test of his skills: salvaging his reputation. Twin Galaxies, competitive gaming’s governing body, found him guilty of cheating. On April 12, it banned Mitchell for life and removed all his high scores from their[…]

Report: Agency clearing out jobs for Scott employees

TALLAHASSEE — A newspaper is reporting that a Florida state agency removed top employees and kept positions vacant in order to make room for employees who worked for Gov. Rick Scott. The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald reported Tuesday that Department of Revenue officials replaced employees with people who have little experience in tax administration. Scott[…]

House speaker won’t run for governor, set to support Putnam

TALLAHASSEE — After months of considering a run for governor, Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran will stay out of the race and instead back Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Corcoran stood with Putnam Wednesday morning as he announced his decision. Corcoran said it’s expensive to run for a statewide office and he didn’t think he’d have[…]

Body found on mattress on fire near I-4 overpass

ORLANDO — A body was found on a burning mattress under an Interstate 4 overpass. An Orlando Fire Department crew found the body early Wednesday near downtown Orlando after finding the mattress on fire. The Orlando Police Department is investigating. Authorities say the area is often frequented by homeless people.