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Local News

    Update 6/16/2019 3:30 p.m.: In a briefing Sunday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the officer-involved shooting on Lem Turner Road on Saturday night was the end of a series of armed robberies where the suspects used social media to lure victims. Police said the robbers used the account name 'Mike Brown 23' on Facebook, OfferUp and Letgo to pose as potential buyers. They successfully robbed at least eight different social media users before police put a stop to the crime spree. Undercover officers used those same social media sites to pose as sellers and tracked the suspects to a store off Lem Turner Road, according to JSO. When the robbers approached the officers' car, the deputies noticed one of the men holding what looked like a gun in his waistband. The officers got out and ordered them both to get on the ground. One suspect immediately got on the ground, while the other took off on foot, JSO said. Police said while chasing the suspect, Officer K.L. Semones fired eight shots from a rifle, hitting him several times. Semones has worked for JSO for three years and has not had any prior officer-involved incidents. JSO said the person who was shot is in stable condition. No charges have been filed, as police are still actively investigating the situation. Original Story: The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said they are investigating a police involved shooting in the 9200 block of Lem Turner Road. This comes after two men were noticed by police as suspects in several armed robberies in the area. Police told the suspects to get on the ground. One did and was arrested, while the other ran off. Officers chased the suspect and someone yelled 'he has a gun.' An officer then shot the suspect, who is now in stable condition. JSO said no officers were injured in the shooting and the suspect has been transported to the hospital. Action News Jax is working to bring you the latest updates on this developing story.  At the corner of Lem Turner & Soutel there is a very large police presence and we’re told it’s because of an officer involved shooting. Police will give an update soon with more details. Stay tuned to @ActionNewsJax for the latest. pic.twitter.com/FisYLxWpxm — Brittney Verner (@BrittneyVerner) June 16, 2019 JSO is working a police involved shooting in the 9200 block of Lem Turner Road. No injuries to officers, suspect has been transported to the hospital. — Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) June 16, 2019 TRENDING:  Jacksonville man, 23, killed in motorcycle crash at St. Johns Bluff Road and Morocco Shrine Circle Grandparents fight off man who tried to abduct 6-year-old girl, police say 246,000 pounds of breakfast wraps recalled after 'small rocks' found Teacher working at night as waitress gets $100 tip Abandoned, neglected donkey, ‘Mr. Walter,' in ‘bromance' with another rescued animal STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • Update 6/15/2019 11 p.m.: The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said they worked with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to find the vehicle that was involved in a hit-and-run on Race Track Road that killed two bicyclists. However, the occupants of the home where police found the car weren't there when they served a search warrant. TRAFFIC HOMICIDE UPDATE: SJSO Detectives, along with officers with the JSO have served a search warrant and recovered the vehicle (2016 Hyundai) from today’s hit and run crash of two bicyclists. The occupants of the home were not present; more info. will be released when avail. pic.twitter.com/1xdmtVqy3p — SJSO (@SJSOPIO) June 16, 2019 Update 6/15/2019 7 p.m.: Deputies are searching for the driver of a 2016 black Hyundai Azera believed to have hit and killed two bicyclists on Race Track Road. The area between the I-95 and 9B flyovers where the bicyclists were hit is known as the old Racetrack Road. It drops down to two lanes and there’s a thin shoulder – a few feet on each side. “The first thing that always happens in the cycling community, we try to figure out, is it somebody we know?” Heather Neville said. As detectives were working to track down the hit-and-run driver, Neville was checking on her friends. She's a cyclist herself and works with the county to plan bike and pedestrian routes. She said she no longer bikes the stretch of Race Track Road. “Somebody hit their sideview mirror on my handlebars when I was on Race Track, and I was in the lane. They came around me too tight,” she said.   Bicyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Florida law says bicyclists should ride in the roadway when there is no bike lane. Neville said it’s crucial to their safety. “Ride two-by-two in the motor vehicle lane because what that does is you can be seen especially on long stretches of road,” she said. “The cars can then go around safely rather than trying to squeeze between oncoming traffic and the bicycle.” Neville said the county has come a long way in bicycle and pedestrian safety but there is a lot of work to be done. “It’s just mission critical that everybody get involved in this conversation whether you ride bicycles or not,” she said. Deputies have not yet identified the two people killed. Update 6/15/2019 5:25 p.m.: The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office tweeted that Racetrack is open and traffic is flowing in both directions. (Cont) Detectives have reason to believe the vehicle is localized to the area of Racetrack Road and the Bartram Park area (SJC or Duval travel patterns). Anyone with information/Video to share is asked to contact Detective James Jackson at 209-2142. *Photo not the actual vehicle. pic.twitter.com/FBHtcL0enw — SJSO (@SJSOPIO) June 15, 2019 TRAFFIC UPDATE: Racetrack Road is now open in both directions from US1 North to SR13. pic.twitter.com/uuozjxp2Lz — SJSO (@SJSOPIO) June 15, 2019 Original story: Two bicyclists are dead after a hit-and-run crash at 5401 Racetrack Road, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Department. The crash happened between I-95 and the 9B flyover. Right now Racetrack Road is closed from Bartram Park Boulevard to U.S. 1.  BE ON THE LOOKOUT: The SJSO is on-scene of a fatality crash involving a hit and run vehicle on Racetrack Rd. The current description is of a dark colored mid-sized sedan (possibly a cross-over style vehicle), driven by a black male wearing an orange shirt. (More). — SJSO (@SJSOPIO) June 15, 2019 Action News Jax saw half a dozen witnesses at the crash site. Deputies say they are working to notify family. (Cont.) The vehicle struck bicyclists along Racetrack Road near Bartram Springs. The vehicle was last seen heading westbound on Racetrack and should have front end damage. Racetrack Road is closed in both directions from US1 North to Bartram Springs. pic.twitter.com/jw7zft4KOg — SJSO (@SJSOPIO) June 15, 2019 Deputies are searching for a driver who hit & killed two bicyclists on Race Track Road, per @SJSOPIO. - believed to be in dark colored mid sized sedan - hit bicyclists on Race Track Road between 95 and 9B - deputies talking with half a dozen witnesses @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/FxdJb8i97j — Brittney Donovan (@brittneyANjax) June 15, 2019 This story is developing. Check back for more updates or follow us on Twitter @actionnewsjax .  #BREAKING NEWS: Deputies say a driver hit two bicyclists on Race Track Road in St. Johns County and fled. Sheriff's office says significant injuries involved. Working to get more info from FHP, the agency working the case @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews — Brittney Donovan (@brittneyANjax) June 15, 2019 STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • A stretch of wet weather in Northeast Florida doesn’t mean a wildfire won’t break out. You need to be prepared for one at all times, especially if you live near a wooded area, says Julie Allen, a wildfire mitigation specialist for the Florida Forest Service. “Unlike western states like California, Wyoming and Arizona, we don’t have a wildfire season,” Allen says. “Wildfires happen year round here in Florida.” She says just like you prepare for hurricane season, you should always be prepared for a wildfire. That means making sure your roof is clear of any debris and you have an evacuation plan in case a fire gets too close to your home. “We have those afternoon thunderstorms through June and July where there’s a lot of lightning, and sometimes those lightning strikes cause wildfires,” Allen says. She says if you see smoke or another sign of fire, you should call 911 to let your nearest fire department determine if it’s actually a wildfire.
  • A two month, multi-agency investigation has ended with the arrests of two suspects involved in a Romanian skimming ring that affected nearly 400 residents across Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.   Specifically, more than 80 Putnam County residents were affected with more than 300 others in areas like Jacksonville, Keystone Heights, Newberry, and into Southeast Georgia. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office plans to release further details on Monday, June 17th, but WOKV has learned the identities of the two suspects arrested.  Arrest reports from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office identify the two as 35-year-old Elena Matei and 18-year-old Plopsor Matei.  Both are facing a variety of charges, from using or possessing a skimming device to bank fraud.  While the arrest reports are heavily redacted, it does show Capital City Bank told investigators they’ve had to reimburse their customers about $46, 360 due to cards being compromised due to skimmers. The reports also show that SunTrust Bank told investigators it is at a loss of $6,230. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office says in addition to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the US Secret Service, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Clay County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the North Florida Financial Crimes Task Force also helped with the investigation.
  • In recent weeks, we’ve seen on-and-off parking closures at the Jacksonville International Airport, because lots and garages have reached capacity. In response, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority is preparing to open up an additional lot that’s generally only used during the winter holidays. The capacity closures have affected not only the hourly and daily parking options near the terminal, but one or both of the Economy lots. JAA Director of External Affairs Michael Stewart says there are several factors driving the high lot traffic, including the high flight travel volume. “Rapid growth that we’ve had at the second half of last year and the beginning of this year,” he says. While JAX can anticipate how many travelers will move through the airport each day, Stewart says it’s hard to predict how many people may come with them to either drop them off at the security gate, or pick them up after a flight. Those visitors will generally use the Hourly Garage and Daily Garage near the terminal. There’s an additional pressure on that area right now, though, because of major repairs and renovations taking place. Stewart says sections of two floors of the Hourly Garage are currently closed, as part of that project. Seeing this high capacity, he says the JAA is planning to soon open Economy Lot 3 for daily use. “We’re going to put that in to service to try to relieve some of the challenges on the existing Economy lots and the surface lot behind the Hourly Garage,” he says. PARKING OPTIONS: Rates and options to park at Jacksonville International Airport Economy Lot 3 is generally used during Thanksgiving and the Christmas to New Year’s stretch. Stewart says they will open it for a daily rate- which is currently expected to be $5- and it will be served by the same shuttles that serve Economy Lot 1 and Economy Lot 2. Stewart estimates this will mean an additional 1,000 available spaces. He says they expect to open the lot this month, potentially as early as next week. It will remain open as long as its needed. “This will certainly get us there, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation to try to improve the situation for our travelers,” Stewart says. While the construction is a factor in the parking capacity problems, the higher travel volume is a more lasting pressure. Stewart says travelers need to understand that arriving early should be their “new normal”. “We have been used to, for years, getting here an hour before our flight, and getting through security pretty easy. If you’re parking, getting your first option. But now, that’s changed,” he says. FULL STORY: JAA moving closer to adding a new concourse at JAX He recommends getting to the airport at least two hours before your flight, so that you can secure parking and get through TSA. He says security lines tend to be longest between 5AM and 7AM, and 11AM and noon, so that could require more time. He further says Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to be busy at JAX, because those are peak days for low-cost carriers, so they typically see pressure on Economy lots then. Stewart didn’t want to characterize the recent parking capacity issues as unusual, although he did say it’s the first time they’re even seeing capacity use of their valet option. Instead, he says it’s unpredictable. He says demand on JAX is growing, and they will continue to look at how to address that.
  • There are two active investigations taking place in Orange Park right now, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office believes the same person is responsible for both crimes. Robberies have been reported at the Wells Fargo on Blanding at Kingsley, and at the Home Depot on Wells Road near Blanding. The businesses are just over two miles apart. CCSO says nobody was hurt in those robberies, and the suspect fled in an unknown direction. Investigators are not sure if the suspect is armed, but we’re told he implied he had a gun. If you have any information about this incident, you’re asked to contact CCSO at 904-264-6512 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. You can also submit a tip through the “See Something, Say Something” banner on the CCSO website. These robberies were reported not long after a Wells Fargo bank in the San Marco area of Jacksonville was robbed. CCSO says they believe the Orange Park robberies were carried out by a different person.
  • A day after the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced an arrest in the murder of a Westside grandmother, the suspect's arrest report is revealing new disturbing details. According to 24-year-old Darnell Johnson's arrest report, a family member cited concerns about his behavior around the same time as Shirley Blakely’s death.  The report says the individual had called police about Johnson and was attempting to have him 'Baker Acted', but Johnson left before that could happen. She told police that he had been pacing the floor, talking about the neighbor putting 'Voodoo' on him, just prior to him leaving.  The individual told police she then went driving around looking for Johnson. The report says he was eventually found behind Blakely’s residence.  Johnson has denied any involvement in Blakely's death, according to the report. WOKV told you last week that Blakely’s family said the man responsible for her murder believed he had been ‘cursed.’
  • Helping to get sailors the care they may need. A new inpatient mental health facility is expected to open soon at Naval Hospital Jacksonville. The facility will house eight beds and is designed with safety in mind. Naval Hospital Jacksonville Commander Captain Matthew Case says they could have opened the facility in February, but they wanted to make sure it was as safe as could be. He says the facility will allow them to address the serious stresses that may come with being in the military.  “A fully ready service member has to be comfortable to go do their mission, can’t worry about other things that are happening.” Capt. Case says.  He says having this facility will help to keep military members in their network and keeps from having to send them to other facilities in the private sector. The new unit is expected to open in early July.
  • All law enforcement agencies in Florida will have to cooperate with federal immigration authorities under a bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday during a ceremony that often felt like a campaign rally for him and President Donald Trump. The bill prohibits local governments from enacting 'sanctuary' polices that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. It will require law enforcement to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for undocumented immigrants who are arrested or convicted of a crime. It exempts crime victims and witnesses. 'Sanctuary cities basically create law-free zones where people can come to our state illegally and our country illegally, commit criminal offenses and then just walk right out the door and continue to do it,' DeSantis said. 'In Florida, that will not happen.' The bill was signed in the Okaloosa County Commission's meeting room with an overflow crowd dotted with red 'Make America Great Again' hats. Okaloosa, in the western Panhandle, is one of the state's most conservative counties. The crowd cheered wildly in support of the bill and equally as loud at the mention of Trump. Trump, who has made illegal immigration a top priority, helped DeSantis win the GOP primary last year and campaigned for DeSantis in the general election. Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, another close Trump ally and who campaigned across the state for DeSantis, also spoke at the ceremony. 'It felt more like a political rally than an actual bill signing,' said Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani, who watched the event on her cellphone. She questioned why it was held in Okaloosa, which doesn't have a large immigrant population. 'It seemed more like, 'I want politically supportive people in the room,' versus an environment where advocates would be protesting outside, advocates would be inside protesting, immigrant communities would be heard.' DeSantis also introduced Kiyan Michael of Jacksonville, whose son Brandon was struck and killed by a driver who had been deported twice and illegally returned to the country again. 'We're blessed to have the best president, we believe, since Ronald Reagan,' she said as the crowd roared. 'Our fight is not over. Our immigration laws have to be reformed, they have to be changed, so you all don't become us.' The bill caused protests among immigrants and their advocates at the Capitol when it was before the Legislature. They feared it would encourage law enforcement profiling, force people to be deported for minor offenses like traffic infractions, and discourage crime victims and witnesses from coming forward. Opponents also argued that holding people based on an immigration detainer was unconstitutional. They also pointed out that Florida doesn't have any sanctuary cities. Critics said the bill was politically motivated. Republican Sen. Joe Gruters, who also chairs the Republican Party of Florida, sponsored the bill and repeatedly argued it was simply about following the rule of law. At the bill signing, he said the bill was about 'making sure we protect American citizens from the very bad, criminal illegal aliens that are here committing the worst crimes imaginable. This is not about illegal aliens who are here trying to provide for their families.' Eskamani said the bill will affect immigrants far beyond those who commit violent crimes, and said comments like the one Gruters made could increase anti-immigrant resentment and possibly spur hate crimes. 'When you perpetuate this type of rhetoric, when you escalate situations for political banter, people will get hurt. They'll get caught in the crossfire, quite literally,' she said.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has released surveillance footage of a suspect who robbed a bank in San Marco. The suspect’s face was not covered, so they’re hoping the photos will help track the man down. The robbery happened around 9:30AM at the Wells Fargo on Atlantic, near Hendricks. The suspect reportedly passed a teller a note demanding money, and then fled with an unknown amount of cash. The suspect did not indicate he was armed, according to JSO. Several employees were in the bank at the time, but nobody was hurt. JSO says police responded within minutes of a teller pushing a panic button in the bank, but the suspect was able to flee in an unknown direction. Police are checking surveillance from nearby businesses and along Philips Highway, in an effort to track that man down. The suspect is described as a black man who’s 40-50 years old, medium build, 180 lbs. and between 5’11” and 6’. He’s bald, has a mustache, and was wearing a fluorescent yellow shirt, blue jeans, and boots, according to investigators. If you have any information about this bank robbery or suspect, 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 reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

The Latest News Headlines

  • An Alabama woman was charged in the shooting death of her husband, an Army sergeant stationed at Fort Benning, just days after he filed for a restraining order against her.  >> Read more trending news  Brittnay Ryals Paonessa, 27, was charged Friday with the murder of 26-year-old Brandyn Paonessa, The Associated Press reported.  Brandyn Paonessa died Thursday afternoon after getting shot in the abdomen with a shotgun in the front yard of a Phenix City home, authorities said.  Local media outlets reported the shooting occurred just three days after the soldier filed for an emergency protection from abuse order against his wife. The court filings indicate Paonessa was concerned with his wife’s mental well-being, and said she was “very unstable,” Montgomery-based WSFA reported.  He reportedly accused her of stalking him and his family, as well as driving a truck into their home with their children inside. The couple married in 2013 and the youngest of their four children is two months old.  The infantryman joined the Army in September 2013 and completed two combat deployments to Afghanistan, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.  Brittnay Paonessa is being held at the Lee County Detention Facility on a $150,000 bond.
  • A Springfield, Ohio, man who pleaded guilty to killing his neighbor’s dog with a baseball bat in April avoided jail time and was sentenced to community service. Jeffrey Sagraves was ordered to 40 hours of community service and to pay $300 in fines for burglary and cruelty to a companion animal. >> On WHIO.com: Springfield man accused of killing dog with baseball bat He was facing a maximum of 18 months in jail for burglary and 12 months for cruelty to a companion animal. In October, Sagraves called 911 to report that there were two pit bulls in his backyard attacking his cat, according to Clark County Common Pleas Court documents. During the call, he reportedly told dispatchers that the dogs belonged to his neighbor and threatened to kill the dogs if police didn’t show up soon The cat died during the attack, according to court records. >> Read more trending news  Minutes later, a neighbor, Lisa Marie Everhart, called 911 and said a man identified as Sagraves reportedly broke into her home and hit her dog in the head with a wooden bat. She was visibly upset, as well as her young children, who were screaming and crying, according to a court affidavit. Everhart was charged with a misdemeanor for failing to confine her dogs.
  • President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to slam The New York Times for its report that the United States has increased cyberattacks on Russia's power grid. >> Read more trending news  'Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,' Trump tweeted shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday. 'This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.' He continued: 'ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!' >> See the tweets here Earlier Saturday, the newspaper, citing 'current and former government officials,' reported that the U.S. 'is stepping up digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid.'  The news comes at least seven years after U.S. officials began putting 'reconnaissance probes' in Russia's grid, the Times reported. 'But now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before,' the Times reported, adding that the move is part-warning, part-preparation for launching U.S. attacks 'if a major conflict' with Russia develops. Two unnamed officials with the Trump administration said they did not think the president had received detailed briefings about the U.S. implants in the Russian electric system, according to the Times.  Officials have hesitated to give him the details over worries that he might divulge information to foreign officials or react unfavorably, sources told the Times. Read more here.
  • A two month, multi-agency investigation has ended with the arrests of two suspects involved in a Romanian skimming ring that affected nearly 400 residents across Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.   Specifically, more than 80 Putnam County residents were affected with more than 300 others in areas like Jacksonville, Keystone Heights, Newberry, and into Southeast Georgia. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office plans to release further details on Monday, June 17th, but WOKV has learned the identities of the two suspects arrested.  Arrest reports from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office identify the two as 35-year-old Elena Matei and 18-year-old Plopsor Matei.  Both are facing a variety of charges, from using or possessing a skimming device to bank fraud.  While the arrest reports are heavily redacted, it does show Capital City Bank told investigators they’ve had to reimburse their customers about $46, 360 due to cards being compromised due to skimmers. The reports also show that SunTrust Bank told investigators it is at a loss of $6,230. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office says in addition to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the US Secret Service, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Clay County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the North Florida Financial Crimes Task Force also helped with the investigation.
  • A 16-year-old Indiana boy died Wednesday when he and his father were robbed during an arranged meetup with someone they’d met through an online sales app, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news Gary police and the Lake County Coroner’s Office told the Chicago Sun-Times that Johnny Peluyera, of Merrillville, Indiana, and his father had arranged to sell an Xbox. After arriving at the meetup location, they were robbed by two men, the newspaper reported. Authorities responded around 6 p.m. Wednesday to reports of the shooting, which took place near the intersection of 51st Avenue and Maryland Street, according to the Post-Tribune. In a statement obtained by the northwest Indiana newspaper, Gary police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said Johnny was reportedly sitting in the front passenger side of his father’s vehicle when he was shot in the back. The robbers fled the area and remained at-large Friday. “I just completely don’t understand,” Johnny’s mother, Kelly Arroyo, told WGN-TV. “I don’t understand how somebody – over an Xbox – can take somebody’s life.” Arroyo described her son to WGN-TV as a “wonderful kid who loved video games and cars.” She said he had recently gotten his driver’s license. Johnny is survived by his parents and a sister, according to WGN-TV. Gary police told the Post-Tribune that online buyers and sellers should only agree to meet in public places, such in a police station parking lot. Authorities continue to investigate.

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