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Latest from Stephanie Brown

    There’s an active investigation underway in Fleming Island, where we’re told a person was stabbed. The condition of that victim isn’t clear at this time. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office says they’re speaking with several people, but there have not been any arrests at this time. This appears to be an incident between acquaintances, so there is no ongoing threat to the community. CCSO doesn’t yet know the motive. Initially, CCSO reported this incident as two people who were stabbed. They’ve since revised that to show one of the victims had been cut in a prior, unrelated incident that didn’t take place in Clay County.
  • Nassau County Emergency Management says they’ve received several reports of people claiming to be with FEMA, trying to scam residents. We’re told letters that claim to be about applications for disaster benefits are being sent out. Nassau County Emergency Management says you can tell letters are fraudulent if there is any request for money or payment information. Federal and state workers do not ask for or accept money, including for disaster assistance applications, home inspections, or assistance with disaster relief. Emergency Management says you should not respond to any correspondence asking you for debit or credit card information or claiming benefits will be issued on Green Dot Cards. They’re also warning that there is no shortcut to speeding up insurance, disaster assistance, or building permits, so you should not fall for anything promising that. If you suspect fraud, you’re asked to report it to the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or disaster@leo.gov. You can also report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. Florida also has a disaster fraud hotline at 1-855-352-7233. Additionally, suspected fraud or criminal activity can be reported to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office at 904-548-4009.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is searching for 28-year-old Tony Torrell Ansley, who has an active warrant for sexual battery and false imprisonment.  Details on the incident Ansley is being sought in connection to haven’t been released by police. JSO says he’s known to frequent the Jacksonville and Orlando areas. Ansley is described as a black man, 6’, 242 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. If you have any information about Ansley’s location, you’re asked to contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. You can also submit an anonymous tip and be eligible for a possible $3,000 reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • It’s news that drivers have been waiting for. The Florida Department of Transportation says northbound lanes of the Overland Bridge are set to open by Saturday morning. They will shift traffic overnight, beginning Friday at 8PM, with the goal of opening the new lanes by 6AM Saturday, weather permitting.  Once the newly rebuilt lanes of the highway are open, that will be how drivers travel to get to the Fuller Warren and beyond. The lanes that currently carry I-95 northbound traffic will convert to serving as dedicated access for Downtown. The existing lanes will not reconnect to the new lanes at Downtown- it will drop all traffic off in Downtown. The FDOT will have new signage up to help drivers navigate the changes. The southbound lanes remain under construction. The FDOT says the overall project is slated for completion in early 2018.
  • JEA is looking at expanding its solar footprint by more than 600%. The Board took a series of actions Tuesday to change the utility’s Energy Mix Policy, and specifically boost solar in the future. They first agreed to alter a 2010 resolution that required up to 30% of JEA’s energy to be supplied by nuclear energy generation by 2030. Instead, they’re now adding some flexibility by committing that 30% target can be achieved through carbon-free and carbon-neutral means, which will also incorporate solar, biomass, landfill gas, wind, or other clean sources. Looking specifically at solar, the JEA Board has authorized the Managing Director to negotiate to buy two parcels of land, which will be used for new solar developments. These two parcels will go along with two others already in JEA’s property portfolio, with each of the four expected to host at least 50 MW. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. JEA is also trying to lock down a fifth property. JEA will own the property, but lease it to solar companies, who will be responsible for developing the solar farm. JEA will then buy the power at a negotiated rate. In expanding their solar portfolio, JEA noted universal solar allows them to lock in the current rate for a portion of their generation requirements. JEA says the current rate is low and competitive, and on par with JEA’s fuel rate. The Board has authorized up to $50 million be spent to acquire the two properties. The utility believes that expanding their solar generation will not only promote their new Energy Mix Policy, but will also help lower the cost of the JEA SolarSmart offering. In all, they say this will mean benefits for customers and the environment. This solar expansion comes on the heels of the Trump Administration reversing course on rules from the prior Administration that were designed to cut back on carbon emissions. Regardless of that reversal, JEA has continued to move forward on cleaner energy. In partnership with FPL, they’re also closing the St. Johns River Power Park in the coming months. JEA also says their newest solar farm just came online Friday.
  • An Uber driver has confessed to pulling a pocket knife on a customer, according to St. Augustine Police. Investigators say they were called to Martin Luther King Avenue and Bridge Street early Saturday morning because of a reported assault. The victim and two friends told police that they were in an Uber heading to their Airbnb, when their Uber driver pushed him to the ground and pulled out a small knife.  Police found the suspect- 52-year-old Ronald Patterson- at his home, based on the tag number given by the victim and his friends. The arrest report says Patterson became angry when the passenger door in his vehicle opened twice during the trip. One of the men in the car said Patterson said they “couldn’t mess with him”, and he then stopped and pulled one of them out of the car. The other men got out of the car to help their friend, at which point Patterson allegedly pulled the knife. The arrest report says Patterson told police the group was drunk and acting belligerent, and he pulled the knife to defend himself. Police say the men appeared to be calm and not intoxicated.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a deadly hit-and-run on Capella Road in Orange Park. Troopers say 26-year-old Dorrien Mann, from Middleburg, was found unresponsive just before 8AM. Fire Rescue pronounced the victim dead a few minutes later. FHP believes the man was hit by a vehicle that then fled the scene. There’s no information immediately available about the suspect or suspect vehicle.
  • A long time in the making, the first phase of redeveloping the Barnett Building and Laura Street Trio in Downtown Jacksonville gets underway this week. WOKV first told you about the redevelopment plans in January. The $90 million project includes adding parking and a signature hotel, converting the historic buildings to office space, residential space, dining, retail, and more. The City of Jacksonville has committed to $10 million in incentives for the completion of the entire project. Now, the SouthEast Development Group of Jacksonville and The Molasky Group of Companies of Las Vegas say they’ve contracted local construction management firm Danis to get the project in motion. We’re told the early work won’t be visible to the public, because it will be concentrated on interior remediation and improvements. The Barnett Building is slated to open during the last quarter of 2018. A new parking structure housing at least 550 secure spaces and retail space will also open at that time. The Laura Street Trio- collectively the Bisbee Building, Florida Life Building, and Marble Bank Building- will be developed in a later phase of the project. “After years of planning and preparation, the transformation of Jacksonville’s Central Business District is at hand. Rehabilitating these irreplaceable historic structures and bringing the properties back into service is a tangible example of how private investment and public commitment can achieve great things when leveraged together,” says a statement from SouthEast Development Group’s Principal and Managing Director Steve Atkins. The CFO and President of Covernment Projects for The Molasky Group of Companies, Bradley Sher, believes this project will be “the crown jewel of downtown”. The Jacksonville Historical Society tells WOKV the current plans embrace the historic elements of the complex, while bringing in more life. “More people Downtown, more restaurants Downtown, a more vibrant Downtown- and that corner is the heart of that story,” says Jacksonville Historical Society Executive Director Emily Liskka. When combined with other redevelopment projects underway in Jacksonville, like the Cowford Chophouse poised to open in the old Bostwick Building, Liskka says Downtown has an energy like we haven’t recently seen. She says it’s “fortunate” this revitalization is coming with new life for historic buildings.
  • If you’re well was affected by Irma in Clay County, you can now get help making sure the water is safe. University of Florida IFAS Clay County Extension and Virginia Tech are offering free testing for private well users. You can pick up a water sampling test kit for free through October 20th at the Clay County Extension Office at 2463 SR 16 West in Green Cove Springs. The samples must be returned to the Extension Office between 8am and 11am Monday, October 23rd. The kits are first-come, first-served. The testing will look for disease-causing bacteria that could be carried in to wells by floodwaters. Wells will need to be properly disinfected, if there are contaminants found.
  • Obstacle and endurance athletes get ready. Spartan Race has announced a “Sprint and Super” weekend in Jacksonville April 28-29, 2018. The event include a 3+ mile, 20+  obstacle “sprint”; a 12+ mile, 30+ obstacle “beast”; and Spartan Kids races for children 4-13 years old. The competition will take place at the Diamond D Ranch, which is near the Clay-Duval County line on the Westside. Event coordinators expect the weekend will attract around 10,000 competitors. Spartan Races feature obstacles through the course, including the Spear Throw, Bucket Brigade, and Barbed Wire Crawl. “With Jacksonville’s incredible sports landscape and opportunities for outdoor adventure, we’re excited to bring a Spartan event to the city, which we know will embrace our lifestyle,” says Spartan Founder and CEO Joe De Sena, in a press release from the company. A statement from the Jacksonville Sports Council Chairman says the event will showcase the city to thousands of people who come in from out of town, and they continue to look at attracting all different kinds of sporting events.
  • Stephanie Brown

    Assistant News Director

    Stephanie Brown is the WOKV Assistant Director of News and Afternoon Reporter. She guides the direction of WOKV’s news content, frequently contributes to social and digital platforms, and is a leading voice on-air. Stephanie has been with the team full-time since May 2012, which is when she graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in telecommunication and political science. When she’s not enterprising story ideas or digging in to an investigation, she’s likely cooking or enjoying downtime with her dog.

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  • Neighbors in St. Johns County are outraged after hearing about plans to possibly build a massive gas station right across the street from where they live. The Texas based chain Buc-ee’s filed a pre-application to open the convenience store near World Golf Village. A massive gas station called Buc-ee's that houses 120 fuel stations could be coming to St. Johns Co @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/ctx1x71VuD — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) October 19, 2017 'I don't want it, it's getting too congested now,' neighbor Nancy Kohlbeck said.  And hundreds of people living in World Golf Village feel the same way about the Texas convenience store chain. 'Trying to be upscale and this will just kill the whole flavor of the neighborhood,' neighbor Michele Thomas said.  I spoke to neighbors about the site plans & they tell me they don't want it to be built in their area @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/Lqxr2HPw0Y — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) October 19, 2017 In less than 48 hours, close to 1,000 people signed a Change.org petition to stop it from being built near their neighborhood.  'I know that development is inevitable here, but I think it's our chance to control what kind of development we have,' neighbor Aaron Enos said.  The Texas based chain Buc-ee’s filed a pre application to open the convenience store near WGV https://t.co/wPVhW1YKmx @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/yvL1El3auV — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) October 19, 2017 Buc-ee’s filed a pre-application for the 120 gas pump station and at about 53,000 square feet, it’s about the size of a football field.  'It will drive down our property values. There's no way people will want to live near something that huge,' Thomas said.  The property off Interstate 95 near World Golf Village is where the gas station would be built.  'I'm not against business, but put it in the right area,' Kohlbeck said.  Some neighbors call this a sign of the unstoppable growth in St. Johns County.  'It's just progress, it’s going to happen,' neighbor, Van Fuller said.  Others just wish the growth would come at a little smaller pace. 'Maybe we can have something like local businesses,' Enos said.  The petition will go before county commissioners in hopes of halting the construction. Michael Ryan, Communications Manager for the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, released the following statement on the proposed Buc-ee's station: “We are aware of community interest in the proposed service station project, but at this point in time we are only in possession of a pre-application and have not been provided with specific details related to the project. Once an application is filed, the project will undergo development review and will be subject to land use and zoning requirements. Should the developer request variances, those items will be considered by the Board of County Commissioners, where the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback. Residents are encouraged to email or call County staff or their Commissioner with any comment they may have about this project.”
  • A man accused of murdering a New Orleans police officer in 2015 halted jury selection in his trial Wednesday by smearing feces on his face, head and mouth, horrifying potential jurors and courtroom spectators.  Travis Boys, 35, apparently put the feces, wrapped in tissue, in his pocket during a bathroom break earlier in the day, NOLA.com reported. He was seated at the defense table with his attorneys when he pulled the tissue out and silently rubbed the waste on himself.  >> Read more trending news Boys is charged with first-degree murder in the June 20, 2015, shooting death of Officer Daryle Holloway. The officer was transporting Boys to jail when Boys allegedly shot him inside his police SUV.  Boys escaped custody and was at large for about 24 hours before being recaptured. If convicted, he faces life in prison.  The Advocate reported that criminal defense lawyer David Belfield, who is Holloway’s uncle, witnessed the incident. Belfield said he believed Boys was trying to sway potential jurors.  “It’s calculated, and it shows that he’s not insane, not crazy,” Belfield told the newspaper.  Boys has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity, the Advocate reported. District Court Judge Karen Herman ruled last month that Boys was competent to stand trial in Holloway’s slaying.  After halting the proceedings Wednesday, however, Herman ordered that another competency hearing be held on Thursday. His attorneys have argued that Boys suffers from low IQ and mental health problems.  Though Herman ruled him competent to stand trial, she is allowing the defense to present evidence of schizophrenia in Boys’ family, the Advocate said.  The judge dismissed the panel of potential jurors who witnessed Boys’ actions on Wednesday.  The Advocate reported that the odor of bleach clung to the air an hour after the incident. 
  • Former President George W. Bush warned Americans to be wary of growing trends toward nativism and isolationism on Thursday during a speech at the Bush Institute’s national forum. >> Read more trending news “Bigotry seems emboldened,” Bush said. “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.” The speech was widely interpreted as a veiled message aimed at the politics of President Donald Trump, who has often touted an “America first” view of world politics. However, Trump was not named in the speech. Read Bush’s full remarks from the forum, “Spirit of Liberty: At Home, in the World”: Thank you all. Thank you. Ok, Padilla gracias. So, I painted Ramon. I wish you were still standing here. It’s a face only a mother could love – no, it’s a fabulous face. (Laughter.) I love you Ramon, thank you very much for being here. And, Grace Jo thank you for your testimony. And, big Tim. I got to know Tim as a result of Presidential Leadership Scholars at the Bush Center along with the Clinton Foundation, with help from 41 and LBJ’s libraries. I am thrilled that friends of ours from Afghanistan, China, North Korea, and Venezuela are here as well. These are people who have experienced the absence of freedom and they know what it’s like and they know there is a better alternative to tyranny. Laura and I are thrilled that the Bush Center supporters are here. Bernie (Tom Bernstein), I want to thank you and your committee. I call him Bernie. (Laughter.) It’s amazing to have Secretary Albright share the stage with Condi and Ambassador Haley. For those of you that kind of take things for granted, that’s a big deal. (Laughter and applause) Thank you. We are gathered in the cause of liberty this is a unique moment. The great democracies face new and serious threats – yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence. Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate, and they are made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand. Since World War II, America has encouraged and benefited from the global advance of free markets, from the strength of democratic alliances, and from the advance of free societies. At one level, this has been a raw calculation of interest. The 20th century featured some of the worst horrors of history because dictators committed them. Free nations are less likely to threaten and fight each other. And free trade helped make America into a global economic power. For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism. We know, deep down, that repression is not the wave of the future. We know that the desire for freedom is not confined to, or owned by, any culture; it is the inborn hope of our humanity. We know that free governments are the only way to ensure that the strong are just and the weak are valued. And we know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy. This is not to underestimate the historical obstacles to the development of democratic institutions and a democratic culture. Such problems nearly destroyed our country – and that should encourage a spirit of humility and a patience with others. Freedom is not merely a political menu option, or a foreign policy fad; it should be the defining commitment of our country, and the hope of the world. That appeal is proved not just by the content of people’s hopes, but a noteworthy hypocrisy: No democracy pretends to be a tyranny. Most tyrannies pretend they are democracies. Democracy remains the definition of political legitimacy. That has not changed, and that will not change. Yet for years, challenges have been gathering to the principles we hold dear. And, we must take them seriously. Some of these problems are external and obvious. Here in New York City, you know the threat of terrorism all too well. It is being fought even now on distant frontiers and in the hidden world of intelligence and surveillance. There is the frightening, evolving threat of nuclear proliferation and outlaw regimes. And there is an aggressive challenge by Russia and China to the norms and rules of the global order – proposed revisions that always seem to involve less respect for the rights of free nations and less freedom for the individual. These matters would be difficult under any circumstances. They are further complicated by a trend in western countries away from global engagement and democratic confidence. Parts of Europe have developed an identity crisis. We have seen insolvency, economic stagnation, youth unemployment, anger about immigration, resurgent ethno-nationalism, and deep questions about the meaning and durability of the European Union. America is not immune from these trends. In recent decades, public confidence in our institutions has declined. Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy. Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. There are some signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned, especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War, or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning. Some have called this “democratic deconsolidation.” Really, it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers, and forgetfulness. We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions – forgetting the image of God we should see in each other. We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism. We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments – forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge. In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have a great advantage: To renew our country, we only need to remember our values. This is part of the reason we meet here today. How do we begin to encourage a new, 21st century American consensus on behalf of democratic freedom and free markets? That’s the question I posed to scholars at the Bush Institute. That is what Pete Wehner and Tom Melia, who are with us today, have answered with “The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World,” a Call to Action paper. The recommendations come in broad categories. Here they are: First, America must harden its own defenses. Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy. And that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats. America is experiencing the sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country’s divisions. According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systematic and stealthy, it’s conducted across a range of social media platforms. Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed. But foreign aggressions – including cyber-attacks, disinformation and financial influence – should not be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home. We must secure our electoral infrastructure and protect our electoral system from subversion. The second category of recommendations concerns the projection of American leadership – maintaining America’s role in sustaining and defending an international order rooted in freedom and free markets.  Our security and prosperity are only found in wise, sustained, global engagement: In the cultivation of new markets for American goods. In the confrontation of security challenges before they fully materialize and arrive on our shores. In the fostering of global health and development as alternatives to suffering and resentment. In the attraction of talent, energy and enterprise from all over the world. In serving as a shining hope for refugees and a voice for dissidents, human rights defenders, and the oppressed. We should not be blind to the economic and social dislocations caused by globalization. People are hurting. They are angry. And, they are frustrated. We must hear them and help them. But we can’t wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the agricultural revolution or the industrial revolution. One strength of free societies is their ability to adapt to economic and social disruptions. And that should be our goal: to prepare American workers for new opportunities, to care in practical, empowering ways for those who may feel left behind. The first step should be to enact policies that encourage robust economic growth by unlocking the potential of the private sector, and for unleashing the creativity and compassion of this country. A third focus of this document is strengthening democratic citizenship. And here we must put particular emphasis on the values and views of the young. Our identity as a nation – unlike many other nations – is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility. We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence. We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U.S. Constitution. We become the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed. (Applause.) And it means that the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation. We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them. Finally, the Call to Action calls on the major institutions of our democracy, public and private, to consciously and urgently attend to the problem of declining trust. For example, our democracy needs a media that is transparent, accurate and fair. Our democracy needs religious institutions that demonstrate integrity and champion civil discourse. Our democracy needs institutions of higher learning that are examples of truth and free expression. In short, it is time for American institutions to step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation. Ten years ago, I attended a Conference on Democracy and Security in Prague. The goal was to put human rights and human freedom at the center of our relationships with repressive governments. The Prague Charter, signed by champions of liberty Vaclav Havel, Natan Sharansky, Jose Maria Aznar, called for the isolation and ostracism of regimes that suppress peaceful opponents by threats or violence. Little did we know that, a decade later, a crisis of confidence would be developing within the core democracies, making the message of freedom more inhibited and wavering. Little did we know that repressive governments would be undertaking a major effort to encourage division in western societies and to undermine the legitimacy of elections. Repressive rivals, along with skeptics here at home, misunderstand something important. It is the great advantage of free societies that we creatively adapt to challenges, without the direction of some central authority. Self-correction is the secret strength of freedom. We are a nation with a history of resilience and a genius for renewal. Right now, one of our worst national problems is a deficit of confidence. But the cause of freedom justifies all our faith and effort. It still inspires men and women in the darkest corners of the world, and it will inspire a rising generation. The American spirit does not say, “We shall manage,” or “We shall make the best of it.” It says, “We shall overcome.” And that is exactly what we will do, with the help of God and one another. Thank you.
  • There’s an active investigation underway in Fleming Island, where we’re told a person was stabbed. The condition of that victim isn’t clear at this time. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office says they’re speaking with several people, but there have not been any arrests at this time. This appears to be an incident between acquaintances, so there is no ongoing threat to the community. CCSO doesn’t yet know the motive. Initially, CCSO reported this incident as two people who were stabbed. They’ve since revised that to show one of the victims had been cut in a prior, unrelated incident that didn’t take place in Clay County.
  • An Alabama man gunned down outside a gas station in broad daylight Tuesday afternoon had previously been shot 10 times in a six-month period.  Antoine “Twin” Collier, 29, of Birmingham, was killed when two unidentified gunmen fired more than 40 bullets in the parking lot of an Exxon service station in the city, AL.com reported. He died on the sidewalk in front of the store.  A Birmingham police spokesman said the shooting took place just before 1:30 p.m., as Collier and his girlfriend were entering the convenience store. AL.com reported that Collier’s girlfriend was not injured, but a female bystander who had just gotten food at a pizza place adjoining the Exxon was struck multiple times. The unidentified woman was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition.  >> Read more trending news Police officials were familiar with Collier, who investigators believe was the target in the shooting that ultimately took his life. “These guys were looking for him,” Lt. Sean Edwards, a police spokesman, told AL.com. “It’s obvious they were looking for him. They definitely targeted him.” In at least two of the previous shootings in which Collier was injured, he was accused of stealing illegal drugs from another person, police officials said. Birmingham police Chief A.C. Roper said the circumstances that may have led to his killing do not matter. “It’s a tragedy for his family, but regardless of the circumstances that led to his murder, we need to bring the killers to justice,” Roper told AL.com.  In April, Collier’s mother, Kimberly Flowers, spoke out about her son’s past.  “I’m the mother who hates to answer the phone,” Flowers said at the time. “You worry about your child.” Her son, whose name was not made public at that time because he was a target for harm, had been released from prison a year before, but kept finding himself in trouble. The most recent shooting prior to Tuesday’s fatal one had been the most serious, with Collier suffering a gunshot wound to the face.  At the time of Flowers’ April media interview, Collier was still recovering from that shooting in a protective rehabilitation facility, AL.com reported. In a text message, Collier expressed hope that participation in the city’s Violence Reduction Initiative could help him turn his life around. “I’ve cried till I can’t cry anymore, ‘cause I’m blessed,” Collier wrote, according to AL.com. “I think when my health gets better, I wanna speak to young black males about violence.”  Collier was released from the rehab facility this summer. 

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