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Latest from Rich Jones

    Hours after a 7-year-old boy died from injuries in a shooting in the Durkeeville area, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry called for the community to come together and stop senseless violence.  Curry sent a series of tweets before sunrise, saying we have to break through to these young people, intimating that the suspect was young.   The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has not released a description of the suspect.  Detectives say a dark-colored SUV pulled up to a home on Mt. Herman Street after dark on Sunday night and someone inside started shooting.  7-year-old Tayshawn Gallon died from his injuries at the hospital.  A 23-year-old man who was also in the front yard of the home had non-life threatening injuries.   This is the fourth child-involved shooting in the past two weeks, according to JSO.  
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has released surveillance images from the Wells Fargo on Blanding Blvd. following a Thursday robbery.  Police say the suspect approached a teller and demanded money around 2:30pm.  When the teller hesitated, he pointed a gun at the teller.  He walked out of the bank after being handed the money.  JSO says the suspect was seen leaving in an older green vehicle.  Police say he’s 5’9’’, 170-180 lbs. and was wearing a black Nike hooded jacket, dark hat, dark, pants, sunglasses, and blue medical gloves.  Call police if you have any information about this suspect at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 
  • Breaking at 1pm:  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reports the stolen van and the body have been located.  A citizen spotted the van abandoned on Merrill Road and call police.  A spokesperson with JSO says no arrests have been made at this time.   ORIGINAL STORY:   As the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office continues to search for a stolen van, the owner of Affordable Cremation Solutions says they are feeling great stress following a very unfortunate situation.  Police are searching for a 2006 silver Honda Odyssey Van, with the Florida tag NIS5N, after it was stolen from the company’s property on the Arlington Expressway late Monday morning.  According to the incident report, the vehicle was left running outside the business, as the driver ran inside to drop off some paperwork. When he came back outside, the van was already driving off.  The driver told police he didn’t see who was inside, but the report says he saw a white male and white female walking in the area, shortly before it was stolen. Owner Wilford McCormick tells WOKV News that the driver got in another vehicle and tried to pursue the stolen van, and he also called police.  McCormick says his drivers don’t always lock vehicles on their property at all times and that the driver had taken less than 20 steps inside when the van was stolen.  The driver is still employed with Affordable Cremation Solutions, and McCormick says any decision about his employment will be decided at a later date.  He says they are hoping to locate the body and bring closure for the family. 
  • An alert convenience store worker is credited for alerting the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to a suspicious incident that, ultimately, ended with the safe recovery of a woman.  The Kangaroo Express employee saw a woman in a car mouthing “Help” in a parking lot at Beach near Hodges early Sunday.  He called 911 and gave police a detailed description of the car.  An officer located the vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop but the driver fled from the area.  The pursuit ended at Leon Road and Byrnes Road in Arlington and the driver was taken into custody.   Jose Ramos Sandoval was arrested for False Imprisonment, Fleeing Police, and Violation of Probation.  The woman told police she was walking from one local beach pub to another when Sandoval pulled up to her and asked if she needed a lift somewhere.  She thought the man was a known acquaintance to another friend of hers so she got in.  The woman told police she began to fear for her safety when they drove away from her destination.  When she tried to get out of the car, she said the suspect grabbed her hair, and refused to let her leave.  When they pulled into the Kangaroo parking lot, she says she mouthed the word “Help” to the employee.    JSO pubicly thanked the alert employee for making a difference but did not release his identity in this Facebook post. 
  • The woman arrested for the 1998 abduction of baby Kamiyah Mobley from a Jacksonville hospital has pleaded guilty.  Gloria Williams was scheduled to begin trial this week, but during a disposition hearing she withdrew her original not guilty plea and changed it to guilty.  Prosecutors say Williams pretended to be a hospital worker and took Kamiyah Mobley from University Hospital, raising her in South Carolina. A judge will sentence Williams in early May.  She faces 0-22 years in prison.  
  • There are several new developments in the case of woman accused of kidnapping a newborn from a Jacksonville hospital 20 years ago.  During a pretrial hearing for Gloria Williams, jury selection for next Monday was canceled after the defense asked for a continuance.  The state agreed.   That same morning will be a disposition hearing in the case. Prosecutors say Williams pretended to be a hospital worker and took Kamiyah Mobley from University Hospital, raising her in South Carolina.
  • If you've lived here long enough you know there is a perception that Jacksonville doesn't have a strong national identity. But our community's marketing organization, Visit Jacksonville, thinks that is about to change.  It has debuted a new advertising campaign that highlights our relaxing nature, calling Jacksonville a place where you won't have to deal with long lines and unbearable traffic. A new TV commercial will be seen in cities like New York and Atlanta promoting, “Jax, It’s Easier Here”.  “We wanted to convey the accessible nature of Jacksonville, while also communicating the diverse experiences that visitors can enjoy in our destination,” said Katie Mitura, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at Visit Jacksonville. “Jax offers a robust arts and culture scene, top spectator sports and entertainment events, and outdoor experiences that really set us apart. Our new campaign seeks to capitalize on these unique destination elements, while reinforcing the city’s easygoing nature. It really is time for visitors to come see it all for themselves!” See the commercial and leave a comment, or share with your friends and family who live outside of the area.  
  • Teachers and paraprofessionals in the Duval County Public School District can expect to see an increase in pay as a result of a three-year contract agreement approved by the school board.  The 2017-2020 Bargaining Agreement with Duval Teachers United outlines salary changes for approximately 1,165 paraprofessionals.   The union ratified the agreement prior to Board approval.  Changes include an increase in the starting hourly rate from $8.30 to $10 per hour over a three year period.  The estimated financial impact is more than $3 million. For more than 8,100 teachers, the three-year contract includes salary adjustments.  The estimated financial impact of the salary increases is expected to be $9 million this current school year, and $10 million in the 2018-2019 school year.  This includes benefits.  The union ratified the three-year agreement prior to board approval.   The school district will conduct a salary study of instructional personnel and then present it to the school board. 
  • Jacksonville police are working to find whoever is responsible for a deadly shooting Sunday night at an extended stay hotel near the St. Johns Town Center.   Police were called around 8pm to Extended Stay America on Skinner Lake Drive regarding a shooting.  36-year-old Cedric DeVonne Walker was found dead inside a room.  Walker’s last known address was in Brandon, near Tampa.   The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is now calling this a murder investigation.  Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
  • A man from Orange Park died in Sunday’s collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a CSX freight train.  36-year-old Michael Cella was the Amtrak conductor.  The Amtrak train was traveling through central South Carolina when it collided with a CSX freight train early Sunday, according to a statement by the railroad company. At least two people were confirmed dead and more than 110 people were taken to hospitals, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.  Amtrak train No. 91 was carrying 139 passengers and eight crew members when it derailed in Cayce, which is located southwest of the state capital of Columbia.   The accident occurred at 2:35 a.m., the railroad said. Injuries were reported after the lead engine of the Amtrak train derailed, along with some passenger cars, according to the statement.
  • Rich Jones

    Host of Jacksonville's Morning News

    Rich Jones has been News Director of WOKV AM/FM since October 2006. Since joining the team, WOKV News has been recognized by the Associated Press as the most awarded radio news team in the state of Florida including awards for Best Newscast, Best Reporting, Best Public Affairs Coverage, and Best News Series, among others.

    Rich has been involved in many organizations and causes on the First Coast. He has twice been captain of WOKV's team at the Heart Walk, and has raised funds for the American Heart Association. 

    Rich is “the face” of WOKV in the community and is the Master of Ceremonies for many philanthropic causes such as the Annual WOKV Careathon, a day-long benefit for the Child Cancer Fund of NE Florida, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

    Rich enjoys spending his time away from the studio with his wife, daughters and son as well as watching sports and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Months before authorities said he walked into a Florida high school and killed 17 people, Nikolas Cruz was reportedly filmed shooting what appears to be a BB gun in his backyard. >> See the video here According to CNN, the video appears to show Cruz, the 19-year-old police say was behind Wednesday's deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, pointing a BB gun outside his house. The person in the video waves the replica weapon around, aims and shoots toward the fence surrounding the house. >> VIDEO: Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz shown fighting students in 2016 The footage is thought to have been taken by a neighbor in October 2017. >> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral Cruz reportedly has a history of disturbing behavior. According to police reports obtained by CNN, Cruz was accused of being violent toward his late adoptive mother, who once told Broward County sheriff’s deputies that Cruz had expressed an interest in obtaining a gun and cut his arms 'for attention.' Classmates also said Cruz was abusive toward his ex-girlfriend, the New York Post reported. >> Read more trending news  The Federal Bureau of Investigation was previously alerted to Cruz and threats he allegedly made online, including one about wanting to carry out a school shooting. Read more here.
  • An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer in Atlanta turned himself in Monday afternoon and claims he acted in self-defense, his attorney said. >> Watch the news report here Only WSB-TV's Tom Jones was there when Robert Bivines, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder on Monday. The shooting happened at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead on Saturday night. Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats, and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. Authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said. Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Bivines' attorney, Jackie Patterson, calls this a case of self-defense. 'This is a case where my client had no choice but to defend himself,' he said. Patterson said Thornton was irate about the amount of time it took for his food to arrive. He said Thornton was aggressive, and as Bivines walked away, Thornton made a threatening move.  'He turned around, put his hand in his pocket and said, 'I'm going to [expletive] you up,'' Patterson said. Patterson said Bivines was afraid to wait to see what Thornton had in his pocket, so he said he defended himself. Jones asked Patterson why his client, who had only been on the job less than a week, didn't just drive away. >> Read more trending news  'You can't drive away when someone is coming at you with your window down,' Patterson said. Bivines will be taken to the Fulton County Jail. He will have a first appearance before a judge Tuesday. Uber sent WSB-TV a statement Monday saying Bivens no longer has access to the app: “We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app” A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV that Bivens passed a background check. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers. Uber is working with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation. Morehouse College sent the following statement:  'The Morehouse College community is mourning the passing of Ryan Thornton who was was shot Saturday in Atlanta after ordering a late dinner from UberEATS, according to police reports. 'Thornton, 30, was a recent graduate of Morehouse College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2017, and had started a new job. 'Morehouse faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday were shocked and saddened by the news of Thornton’s death. Employees in Morehouse College’s admissions office said they worked closely with Thornton and described him as being friendly, hard-working, and determined to become a Morehouse Man.  'President David A. Thomas said that the Morehouse community stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time. “ ‘The loss of another young life to gun violence is tragic,' Thomas said. 'Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors. We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.’ ”
  • Years before he was accused of killing one of his Uber Eats customers in Atlanta this past weekend, Robert Bivines had been arrested on aggravated assault charges in DeKalb County, Georgia, according to jail records.  >> Uber Eats driver accused of shooting, killing customer claims self-defense, attorney says But the nearly decade-old offense wouldn’t have been flagged by Uber’s driver pre-screening process because it only tracks criminal records as far back as seven years, according to the company’s website. Potential employees are subject to a driving history screening and, if cleared, undergo a criminal background check in national, state and local databases, according to the Uber website. The company said Bivines passed a background check and had been with the delivery company for only a week before the deadly shooting.  >> On MyAJC.com: Court upholds young mother’s conviction for killing newborn “We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to (Ryan Thornton’s) friends and family,” Uber Eats said in a statement. “We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app.” Details of the 2009 assault case were not immediately available Monday, but Bivines pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of battery in May 2010, according to court records.  >> On MyAJC.com: R. Kelly evicted from N. Fulton homes, owes $30K, court documents show He was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to have no contact with his victim. Bivines was also banned from the five-county metropolitan area. Online court records do not indicate how long the ban was enforced.  Bivines, 36, turned himself in Monday afternoon, two days after Atlanta police say he shot and killed Thornton, a recent Morehouse College graduate, after delivering food to the 30-year-old’s Pharr Court South condominium. The shooting was caught on surveillance video.  About 10:45 p.m. Saturday, Thornton placed an order with Tin Lizzy’s on Piedmont Road through the Uber Eats app, according to an Atlanta police report. Bivines was listed as the delivery driver.  “The victim went down to meet the driver, received his order and began walking away from the vehicle,” Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said in a statement. “As the victim was walking away, it appears words may have been exchanged between he and the delivery driver.”  Thornton went back to Bivines’ car, and that’s when things turned deadly.  Atlanta police said four shots were fired through the passenger-side window. Bullets landed in Thornton’s torso.  >> Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in As Thornton fell to the ground, Bivines drove away in his white Volkswagen, police said. Thornton called his girlfriend, who administered aid. He was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Thornton graduated from Morehouse in May 2017 with a political science degree and had recently started a new job, a spokeswoman for the school, D. Aileen Dodd, said in a statement. While there, he worked closely with those in the admission’s office, who described him as “friendly, hard-working and determined to become a Morehouse Man.”  Morehouse President David A. Thomas said the college “stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time.” “Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors,” Thomas said. “We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.” >> Read more trending news  Bivines’ attorney, Jackie Patterson, said the surveillance video doesn’t tell the full story.  Patterson told WSB-TV that Thornton — upset about the delivery time — threatened his client and motioned toward his pockets: “My client had no choice but to defend himself.”  Bivines is due in court at 11 a.m. Tuesday. 
  • An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer turned himself in Monday afternoon. >> Read more trending news According to WSB-TV, Robert Bivens, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder Monday. The shooting happened Saturday night at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead, Georgia. Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. At some point, authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver. The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said. Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Uber said in a statement on Monday, saying Bivens no longer has access to the app: “We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app.” A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV Bivens passed a background check and had only been an Uber Eats driver for about a week. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers. Uber is working closely with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation.
  • The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development. >> Click here to watch Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled. >> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident. >> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know' According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017. >> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up. >> Read more trending news  The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.

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