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News From Action News Jax

    Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed into a law a higher-education package that changes how public universities and colleges will fund construction projects, a top priority of House Speaker Jose Oliva., R-Miami Lakes. The bill (SB 190) was prompted, in part, by a high-profile financial scandal at the University of Central Florida. TRENDING:  Southeast Georgia woman dies after being bitten by rattlesnake FBI arrests Syrian refugee for allegedly planning terror attack on Pittsburgh church in name of ISIS St. Augustine man arrested on battery on a reporter charges at President Trump 2020 campaign rally New nonstop flight coming to Jacksonville International Airport The university was found to have misused millions of dollars in state funds for a construction project. Other changes approved by the governor in the bill include revised student eligibility requirements for the Bright Futures scholarship program. The revisions will make it harder for students to get the scholarships. A staff analysis said the initial year the changes affect incoming freshmen, “the Bright Futures program funding may be reduced by $40 million based on approximately 7,000 fewer total students receiving scholarships.' STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories In six years, when the changes to the scholarship program are fully implemented, the state is expected to save $111 million annually, the analysis says. The bill was one of 11 measures that DeSantis signed into law Tuesday from the legislative session that ended May 4.
  • A Jacksonville mother of a child with autism said her car was stolen.  Adrien Wright relies on the car to get her 4-year-old son, Mason, to his doctor’s appointments.  “My car was more important than my house is. I’d rather have a vehicle than a roof over my head because getting him to his appointments and keeping up with his stuff is so much more detrimental,” Wright said.  TRENDING:  Southeast Georgia woman dies after being bitten by rattlesnake FBI arrests Syrian refugee for allegedly planning terror attack on Pittsburgh church in name of ISIS St. Augustine man arrested on battery on a reporter charges at President Trump 2020 campaign rally New nonstop flight coming to Jacksonville International Airport With autism decals on her car, it makes her wonder who would steal it. “It’s honestly disgusting that somebody could do this,” Wright said.  She let her fiancé borrow the car Tuesday so he could go to work. He left the car running on Acosta Street while he ran inside a shop. By the time he came back outside, the car was gone. The car had distinct pink rims and a front grill, but Wright said the suspect spray=painted it blue to disguise it.  STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories Wright posted about the theft on Facebook. She said an anonymous tip led police to a home in Moncrief where they found the car later in the day. Wright said a man who had the keys to her car was questioned but not arrested. “They [police] said that it was difficult for them. Their hands were tied because he wasn’t in the vehicle or driving the vehicle,” Wright said.  Wright said the thief totaled her car and trashed the inside. Her son’s medical documents and medication were stolen from the car.  Police said surveillance video shows the a person getting into the car.  However, due to the distance of the cameras, they couldn't get a clear picture of the thief. 
  • The search for 37-year-old Henry Haigler III is now over. MORE: SJSO: Suspected driver in fatal hit-and-run on Race Track Road turns himself in But the investigation is only just beginning. He’s now being held on a $50,000 bond at the St. Johns County jail. TRENDING:  Southeast Georgia woman dies after being bitten by rattlesnake Police: Motorcyclist killed after crashing into power pole in Arlington St. Johns County deputies release picture, name of suspected driver in fatal hit-and-run 15 internet cafes in Jacksonville forced to close Monday Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan said Haigler reached out to a Sheriff's Office detective this morning. “[He] stated that he had a desire to turn himself in. He had already selected a predetermined location, which was a sidewalk in downtown St. Augustine,” said Mulligan. The arrest comes five days after deputies say he hit two female cyclists on Race Track Road and kept going.  His car was eventually found in his garage and a warrant put out for his arrest. “It’s really difficult with hit-and-runs to even catch a suspect, to even have a description of a car. What made the difference in this case?” asked Action News Jax reporter Lorena Inclán. “I would say there were several things. One, the eyewitness accounts,” replied Mulligan. Surveillance cameras also played a significant role in helping deputies put together a crucial timeline. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories “From that, we can almost create a bread trail from the scene to the house,” said Mulligan. We talked to the son of one of the women by phone Wednesday. He tells Action News Jax the suspect lives in his mother’s neighborhood. The victim’s son doesn’t want him to bond out of jail and return to his home. Haigler has hired an attorney. 
  • The City of Jacksonville says its inspectors were out Wednesday making sure businesses deemed a danger have shut down. Action News Jax reported earlier this week 15 Jacksonville internet cafés doing business without ‘Certificates of Use’ (COU) were forced to close by the City by Monday at 5 p.m. The City said café owners had 24 hours to remove personal belongings, or face possible arrests for trespassing on condemned properties. City officials call internet cafes a nuisance, but customers we spoke to disagree. “I don’t like it,” said a café customer who asked not be named when discussing closures happening around Jacksonville. The City tells us its inspectors started making their rounds on Tuesday after Monday’s shutdown by visiting 14 businesses. According to the City, inspectors found four of the 14 cafés up and running. The City says those businesses were shut down without arrests. Moreover, the City tells us eight of the 14 visited by inspectors Tuesday were closed and appeared to no longer be operational, while two of the 14 cafés were shut down for fire and building code violations. We’re told the cafés that closed for code violations had COUs. TRENDING:  Southeast Georgia woman dies after being bitten by rattlesnake Police: Motorcyclist killed after crashing into power pole in Arlington St. Johns County deputies release picture, name of suspected driver in fatal hit-and-run 15 internet cafes in Jacksonville forced to close Monday Action News Jax Investigator Ryan Nelson hit the streets this afternoon looking for cafés that may be operating illegally. Nelson first went to a University Blvd. café which, according to City documents, was denied a COU. There he found locked doors, boarded windows and a sign reading “We will open soon!” He went to another café in Spring Park. There he found signs saying a cease and desist order was issued, and the building was condemned. “We’ve got nothing to do here in Jacksonville,” said the local customer. “This is the only place we can go at night!” The City says cafés with COUs have until February 1st, 2020, to shut down. Action News Jax will follow up with the City for details on Wednesday’s inspections. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • Banning beach driving and parking in Fernandina Beach, it’s what Vice Mayor and city commissioner Len Kreger says he wants done. Kreger says safety is the main reason for wanting no driving on the beach  after two women were ran over earlier this year.   TRENDING:  Southeast Georgia woman dies after being bitten by rattlesnake Police: Motorcyclist killed after crashing into power pole in Arlington St. Johns County deputies release picture, name of suspected driver in fatal hit-and-run 15 internet cafes in Jacksonville forced to close Monday “We had a woman run over at Peters Point,  we had a woman run over at Seaside Park, beach parking isn’t an environmentally sound thing.” Kreger said. Kreger knows it might not be a popular idea for many beach goers, but Kreger says believes something needs to change. “I’m not going to get a kid run over on my watch without saying anything,' Kreger said. Tuesday, the potential ban was discussed at the City Commission meeting. No decisions were made, but Kreger says it will be discussed again in August. ​ STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • A local man said he’s exposing the people who prey on children. Wesley Hoag, founder of North Florida Predator Hunters told Action News Jax he livestreams confrontations with men who think they’re meeting up with teens they’ve talked to online. TRENDING:  Southeast Georgia woman dies after being bitten by rattlesnake Police: Motorcyclist killed after crashing into power pole in Arlington St. Johns County deputies release picture, name of suspected driver in fatal hit-and-run 15 internet cafes in Jacksonville forced to close Monday “Instead of meeting a 14, 16 year old, they meet up with myself, which, I livestream it on our public Facebook to expose who these people are,” Hoag said. The videos get thousands of views. When asked why he got involved in “predator hunting,” Hoag replied, “Personal experience, having friends, family as well that have fallen victim to sex crimes.” According to the NFPH founder, decoys, who are over 18, use their own photos on dating apps and sites like Craigslist. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories He said a man he previously confronted turned out to be a registered sexual predator.“He gave us the usual line of ‘I was here to tell her this was a bad idea,’” Hoag said. He said he brings his information to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and also reports to Crimestoppers. Action News Jax reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. A spokesperson sent the following statement: “We have not heard of this organization.   “We would ask that individuals not put themselves in harm’s way by attempting to lure subjects into possible criminal behavior.  As there are very specific requirements that would need to be met in order for an arrest to take place for this type of violation – the information received by anyone setting these individuals up would not be able to be used as probable cause for an arrest.  We have officers specifically trained in this type of investigation and we work hand in hand with the State Attorney’s office when making arrests to ensure positive outcomes during future prosecutions. “We would always ask that if someone suspects this type of behavior has been exhibited by an individual, to contact their local law enforcement agency for follow-up investigation.” “We have police and we shouldn’t take the law into our hands,” Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said. “You could compromise the investigation by thinking you’re going out and getting the bad guys.” Hoag said he plans on continuing the work, making the community aware. Action News Jax asked Hoag if he considers himself a vigilante. “To a point. I honestly, what I would consider myself is a concerned citizen that’s willing to take action upon myself,” Hoag said. A local man says his group, North Florida Predator Hunters, is exposing the people who prey on children. @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/P7LzJvuLFN — Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) June 19, 2019 Wesley Hoag tells @ActionNewsJax he livestreams his confrontations with the the men who think they're meeting up with teens they've talked to online. @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/1Q4jTporOd — Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) June 19, 2019 Hoag says earlier this week he exposed a man who is a registered sexual predator. @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/fQA1C5hEnD — Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) June 19, 2019 Police tell me they can't use Hoag's information or videos to make arrests. I'll tell you why AT 5 on CBS47 @ActionNewsJax .https://t.co/MiNsR0mxtW — Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) June 19, 2019
  • Authorities in Florida say a man was arrested outside the arena where President Donald Trump made his reelection announcement for trying to slap a cellphone out of a journalist's hand. The Orlando Police Department said Wednesday that 51-year-old Daniel Kestner is facing a battery charge for trying to slap the phone out of the hand of Orlando Sentinel reporter Michael Williams. He was detained by the Secret Service and arrested by @OrlandoPolice on a misdemeanor battery charge. pic.twitter.com/fGsv56ThGt — Michael Williams (@michaeldamianw) June 19, 2019 An arrest report says Williams was filming Kestner arguing with another man outside the Amway Center. In a tweet, Williams said he was recording Kestner, a Trump supporter, being kicked out of the arena Tuesday evening. TRENDING:  Southeast Georgia woman dies after being bitten by rattlesnake Police: Motorcyclist killed after crashing into power pole in Arlington St. Johns County deputies release picture, name of suspected driver in fatal hit-and-run 15 internet cafes in Jacksonville forced to close Monday Online court records showed no attorney listed for Kestner. In a separate incident, a man was arrested for disorderly conduct for shoving another man about a block from the arena. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • A woman says she had to jump out of the road to avoid being hit by a truck when her dog was hit and killed. She and her pitbull/lab mix were on a walk crossing a road to come back home when she says a new model black Dodge Ram truck hit her dog and drove off.  A memorial for where a dog was hit and killed on the southside. On @ActionNewsJax at 5:30 the owner says the driver never stopped after the crash. pic.twitter.com/SX1GyARV4E — Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) June 19, 2019 There is no crosswalk in the area which is in a residential area on the Southside. “The guy hit him right in front of me, if I didn’t jump out I would be dead and hit too.” Olga Shapka, the dog’s owner, said. TRENDING:  Southeast Georgia woman dies after being bitten by rattlesnake Police: Motorcyclist killed after crashing into power pole in Arlington St. Johns County deputies release picture, name of suspected driver in fatal hit-and-run 15 internet cafes in Jacksonville forced to close Monday Shapka says her dog was on a leash at the time, she rushed him to an animal hospital where he died. She says she reported the crash to police. Action News Jax Law and Safety expert Dale Carson says if the driver is caught he could be charged with hit-and-run with property damage.  Carson says pets are considered property in the state of Florida. Shapka wanted to speak out to warn other people in the area to be watchful while out, and for drivers to pay attention. “Today he killed my dog and almost killed me. Tomorrow he might kill a child.” STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories

The Latest News Headlines

  • A California police officer has died after a shooting in Sacramento, multiple news outlets reported early Thursday. According to The Associated Press, Sacramento police Officer Tara O'Sullivan, 26, was shot about 6 p.m. Wednesday when a gunman opened fire during a domestic dispute call involving a man and a woman. O'Sullvian, who was seriously injured, was taken to a nearby hospital and later died, authorities said. >> Read more trending news Police said O'Sullivan, who was in training, had been helping the woman gather her things from a Redwood Avenue home when the shots rang out.  Hours later, the gunman was still firing shots. As of late Wednesday, officers were unable to contact him, the AP reported. Residents of the neighborhood have been evacuated to a nearby elementary school, KTXL reported. Early Thursday, the Police Department tweeted that officers are 'devastated' about O'Sullivan's death. 'Our hearts are with Tara's family, whose pain can hardly be imagined,' the department tweeted. 'Please hold her family in your thoughts and prayers.' Read more here or here. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The smell of smoke and the sounds of fire alarms are still in the air in Mandarin early Thursday morning after smoke from an a/c duct prompted 32 residents to be moved from their homes at The Terrace of Jacksonville senior living facility. A representative from the facility says no one was injured in the incident on Old St. Augustine Road near Hood Road and they are currently in the process of returning residents back into their rooms.  The representative says Jacksonville Fire Rescue has checked air quality and everything is safe for the people who live at the facility.   
  • Months after an armed home invasion robbery in Fernandina Beach that injured two people, investigators say they've now arrested a third suspect in connection. The Fernandina Beach Police Department has announced the arrest of 24-year-old Cedrice Brown. They say he was taken into custody early Wednesday morning, not far from the University of North Carolina.  Police tell us when he was arrested he was in possession of two stolen guns and booked on various North Carolina charges. A hold has been placed on Brown to have him extradited to Florida, where he faces armed robbery and armed burglary charges.  Police say since the December 22, 2018, incident at a home on Manatee Avenue, they've determined that the robbery was pre-planned due to one of the suspects involved having knowledge of where certain items were.  At the time of the robbery, police 15 people were inside. The victims reported seeing several suspects wearing masks and carrying various weapons, rifles, handguns and knives.  Two people were injured during the robbery, after being hit in the head with guns.  WOKV told you that one suspect was arrested while attempting to flee. A second suspect was arrested at a later time.  Police say they're continuing to work on identifying the remaining suspects, who they believe are from outside the Nassau County-area.
  • Authorities arrested an 11th person Tuesday in connection with the ambush shooting last week of former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. >> Read more trending news  In a press briefing Wednesday evening, the Dominican Republic’s lead prosecutor said that Ortiz was not the target of a shooting.  Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez said the target was another man, dressed similarly to Ortiz, who was seated next to him the night of June 9. Rodríguez said the shooting was orchestrated by a member of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel, who remains on the run. He did not immediately describe a motive. An unidentified official told The Associated Press that Franklin Junior Merán was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of renting one of the cars used in the June 9 shooting in Santo Domingo. Ten other suspects have already been ordered to spend a year in preventive detention as the investigation continues, including the accused shooter. Authorities say they are looking for at least three other suspects, including the man they believe paid the hit men. Ortiz continued recovering Wednesday in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said doctors upgraded Ortiz’s condition to good Tuesday. “We remain grateful to everyone who has helped David through this ordeal, both in the Dominican Republic and here in Boston,” Tiffany Ortiz said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “David’s journey to good health has been bolstered by the many expressions of love that have come to us from across the globe. Your support has lifted his spirits tremendously during this challenging time.” Authorities continue to investigate. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A man said his fiancee put eye drops into his soft drink Saturday at their Rowan County home. >> Read more trending news  The man told authorities he confronted his fiancee, Jaymee Cruz, after he said he watched her put the drops in his Coca-Cola. He then locked himself and their baby in the bathroom and called 911. Deputies said when they arrived at the scene, Cruz at first denied putting eye drops in the drink, but later said she did it to make the man sick. Cruz said she got the idea from the movie 'Wedding Crashers' and did it because she wanted to move out of the home with their daughter, authorities said. Consuming eye drops is extremely dangerous and can be deadly. The main ingredient reduces redness in the eyes, but when ingested it can rapidly reach the blood and central nervous systems. It's not the first time a person has been accused of using eye drops to poison their significant other. Last year, York County investigators charged Lana Clayton in her husband’s death after she said she put eye drops in his water, WSOC-TV reported. Stephen Clayton’s toxicology report showed he had poisonous levels of the key ingredient in eye drops.

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