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Man shoots girlfriend outside Casselberry apartment complex, police sayFHP: Brevard deputy dies after blown tire sends semitruck out of controlMan believed to be armed fatally shot by Cocoa Beach officers, chief saysCrooks posing as workers to distract homeowners during burglary, deputies sayCocoa police identify Dixie Motel homicide suspectThree arrested in connection with stabbing outside Melbourne restaurant

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 18:36:45 GMTSat, 17 Feb 2018 22:04:52 GMTSat, 17 Feb 2018 15:35:14 GMTSat, 17 Feb 2018 04:23:19 GMTSat, 17 Feb 2018 01:36:16 GMTSat, 17 Feb 2018 01:10:06 GMT

A man accused of fatally shooting a woman Saturday at an apartment complex in Seminole County is in custody, according to the Casselberry Police Department.

Police said they were called just before 11 a.m. to the Regency Oaks Apartments, where the incident reportedly took place.

"What I heard when we were in the apartment, me and my 17-year-old son, you can hear the gunshots," Ted Vader said.

Vader had just moved to the apartment complex Friday and woke up to the scene Saturday morning.

The woman, who was not immediately identified, died at the scene, according to police.

Officers said the suspect, John Murray, 29, was her boyfriend and surrendered without incident.

According to the press release, the couple had been arguing in their apartment before going outside. That's where investigators said Murray shot his girlfriend several times.

"The neighbor that lives above me said it was her best friend that got shot and her two kids were seeing the whole thing." Vader said.

Murray was booked into the Seminole County Jail. As for the victim, police have not released her name yet.

Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates on this developing story.

A Brevard County deputy died Saturday morning in a crash involving a semitruck partially filled with car parts, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Authorities are investigating after a man was killed Friday night in a Cocoa Beach officer-involved shooting at a condominium complex, according to the agency's police chief.

Distraction thefts are a problem that is now expanding to three different area counties.

Cocoa police say they have identified the homicide suspect who they believe killed a 65-year-old Ocala man at the Dixie Motel last week. 

Three men were arrested Friday afternoon in connection with a stabbing that occurred earlier in the week outside Lizzy’s restaurant in Melbourne. 




FHP: Brevard deputy dies after blown tire sends semitruck out of controlToxicology expert testifies in Isleworth millionaire murder retrialOpening statements presented in Bob Ward's murder trialJury selection to begin in second murder trial for Bob WardHearing bumped for Isleworth millionaire Bob Ward

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 13:12:13 GMTFri, 09 Feb 2018 18:31:05 GMTWed, 07 Feb 2018 17:03:10 GMTMon, 05 Feb 2018 12:41:18 GMTWed, 31 Jan 2018 13:48:48 GMT

A Brevard County deputy died Saturday morning in a crash involving a semitruck partially filled with car parts, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Troopers said Deputy Kevin Stanton, 32, was in his marked patrol vehicle driving to Viera to work his shift when the crash took place around 5:15 a.m. along southbound I-95 in Titusville, just north of State Road 50.The 26-year-old driver of the semi was transported to a nearby hospital later for pain in his back, troopers said. His passenger was also taken to a hospital.I-95 South was shut down following the crash, according to the Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash, but troopers said it appears that the tread on the front left truck tire separated, causing the tread to wrap around the axle and driver to lose control.The driver immediately steered to the left and hit the back of Stanton's patrol car, according to the Highway Patrol.Troopers said it was too early to know if the driver would face charges, but said, as of Saturday morning, the crash appeared to be an accident.No other details about the crash were immediately released. Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey called the incident a "horrific accident," and said Stanton's family, fellow deputies and first responders and community were mourning."You try and put your arms around it and think about the smiles you would see on Kevin's face, think about his passion for this job," Ivey said. "You think about the 1,500 members we have in this agency that are each, right now, gut-punched, that are each, right now, trying to grasp what happened."The sheriff said he was especially hurting for the deputies, some of whom were the first to arrive at the scene of the crash."They managed the scene. They managed their emotions. As you look in their faces, you see the hurt, you see the pain that they're dealing with and you hurt for them," Ivey said.Ivey held back tears as he spoke about Stanton's accomplishments during his more than 10 years of service with the agency.Stanton was working as a field training officer, training new deputies on how to do their jobs safely, but had done some temporary work as an agent and was working toward earning a full-time agent position, the sheriff said.Deputies said Stanton had received numerous letters of commendation and commendable service awards, and was nominated for a Life Saving Award. The sheriff said he is working with Stanton's family to get through the tragedy and help in any way they can.“You’re on the road a lot in our job and accidents happen, and we’re just trying to help them all get through it," Ivey said. "And it will be tough, but together we’ll get through it.”Ivey said funeral plans were still being made, but would be announced once they were in place.Law enforcement officers from nearby agencies expressed their condolences Saturday to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.Thoughts and prayers go out to all members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the family of the fallen Sheriff’s Deputy who was tragically killed this morning in a traffic crash on Interstate 95.— Titusville Police FL (@TitusvillePD) February 17, 2018 Watch News 6 and stay with ClickOrlando.com for updates.[...]

Testimony continued Friday in the retrial of Isleworth millionaire Bob Ward, who's accused of murder in the 2009 death of his wife.

Opening statements are presented in the retrial of Isleworth millionaire Bob Ward.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the retrial of Isleworth millionaire Robert "Bob" Ward.

A hearing is canceled for a former Isleworth millionaire accused of killing his wife.




Timeline reveals how tragedy unfolded during Florida school shootingParkland school shooting victims: 17 lives lost too soonPresident Trump to visit South Florida after mass school shootingFlorida school shooting suspect was member of white nationalist militia, leader saysVideo shows moment when gunman opened fire inside Florida schoolHow Florida agencies are helping in response to school shooting

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 23:43:57 GMTFri, 16 Feb 2018 16:17:23 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 22:28:00 GMTFri, 16 Feb 2018 04:02:16 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 21:37:11 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 20:25:01 GMT

In a matter of minutes, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School went from having a normal Wednesday to experiencing the most terrifying day they would ever experience at school when they began fighting for their lives.Bullets sprayed the inside of one of the school buildings when a former student opened fire with an AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people, both adults and children, and injuring several others, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office.On Thursday, deputies released the following timeline of how Wednesday's tragedy unfolded, according to video and other evidence collected throughout the investigation:Wednesday, Feb. 14.2:19 p.m.An Uber driver dropped 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz off at the high school.Cruz, the suspect, then entered the east stairwell of building 12 with the rifle, which authorities said was purchased legally within the state last year, inside a black soft case.When Cruz exited the stairwell, he removed the rifle from the case.2:21 p.m Cruz readied the rifle for firing and began shooting into rooms 1215, 1216 and 1214. He then returned to fire more shots into 1216 and 1215 before shooting into room 1213, according to investigators.After firing several shots into the rooms, the suspect took the west stairwell to the second floor and shot one victim in room 1234.Cruz then took the east stairwell to the third floor, dropped the rifle and his backpack and ran down the stairs before leaving building 12 completely and running toward tennis courts.Deputies said he then began fleeing southbound on foot until he crossed fields and began running with a group of students who were running in fear of their lives.The sheriff said Cruz tried to blend in with the group of scared students until he eventually ran to a nearby Walmart and bought a drink at the Subway restaurant inside the store.The suspect fled from the store on foot after purchasing the drink and ran to a nearby McDonalds, where he stayed for a while.2:53 p.m. The Broward County Sheriff's Office begins investigating reports of an active shooter at the school. When deputies arrive, they see hundreds of students fleeing.3:01 p.m. Cruz left the McDonalds on foot.The alleged gunman mixes in with the students and staff running out of the school.3:11 p.m. The FBI and dozens of police vehicles respond to the shooting.Video shows some students lying on the ground, being treated for injuries and moved into ambulances.White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident and is monitoring the situation.3:15 p.m. The gunman is still at large.3:40 p.m. The school begins dismissing students. Buses take them to a nearby hotel where they reunite with their families.3:41 p.m. The suspect was taken into custody by Coconut Creek police officers at 4700 Wyndham Lakes Drive in Coral Springs, deputies said. Investigators did not say whether they knew where Cruz was from the time he left McDonald's until he was detained.3:50 p.m. President Trump tweets, "My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school."3:53 p.m. Law enforcement searches the school's buildings to evacuate students from classrooms.[READ: How Florida agencies are helping in response to school shooting]4:10 p.m. Authorities find Cruz in a nearby neighborhood and arrest him without incident. They identify him using school security videos.He is taken to the Broward Health North hospital because he has "labored breathing." Cruz is treated and released to police custody.4:20 p.m. Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie says the school received no warnings and that he was not aware of any threats against the school.5:18 p.m. Florida Gov. Rick Scott travels to Broward County to be briefed about the shooting.6 p.m. Authorities identify the alleged gunman as Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former studen[...]



Exclusive: Top Trump campaign adviser close to plea deal with MuellerLawyers for Rick Gates say they have 'irreconcilable differences' with clientTrump steps up war on FBI; Dems have own memo planGates attorneys seek to withdraw from caseNew signs Gates may be negotiating with Mueller's teamManafort, Gates trial could come days before midterm election

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 23:32:04 GMTWed, 07 Feb 2018 22:23:03 GMTMon, 05 Feb 2018 13:56:24 GMTFri, 02 Feb 2018 09:44:06 GMTWed, 24 Jan 2018 04:29:04 GMTTue, 16 Jan 2018 19:32:04 GMT

Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case.Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a "Queen for a Day" interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed.Gates' cooperation could be another building block for Mueller in a possible case against President Donald Trump or key members of his team.Once a plea deal is in place, Gates would become the third known cooperator in Mueller's sprawling probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. It would also increase the pressure to cooperate on Gates' co-defendant Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, who has pleaded not guilty to Mueller's indictment and is preparing for a trial on alleged financial crimes unrelated to the campaign. Gates pleaded not guilty on October 30 alongside Manafort."Nobody (who's charged) goes in to provide incriminating information to the government unless it's part of plea negotiations," said a criminal defense attorney who represents a witness in the case. In a Queen for a Day interview, a defendant can typically admit to crimes with little additional consequences, unless he or she lies.After the interview, there's a very small chance a defendant could turn back toward fighting the charges, according to several lawyers who specialize in federal criminal cases.The White House sees little sign that Gates' cooperation could pose any risk to the President. "There'd be no anxiety here" if Gates cooperated with Mueller in exchange for a plea deal, one White House official said.It's still unclear what Gates, who outlasted Manafort in the campaign and later worked on the Trump inaugural efforts, could share that would be of value to the Russian collusion investigators, outside the Manafort case. The value of what a defendant says factors into the plea negotiation as both sides finalize the deal.After an interview, prosecutors typically investigate the information a defendant provides. They then negotiate the defendant's ultimate charges or potential sentence.Gates' plea deal could be announced in the next few days, given that he's asked a judge for an extension until Wednesday to discuss his in-flux legal representation.At the same time, investigators with the special counsel's office are preparing to file new charges against him, according to people familiar with the probe. The additional charges are tax-related, these people say, which could increase the fines and prison time Gates faces in court. More charges are also being prepared against Manafort related to his work before he joined the Trump campaign, according to another source familiar with the case.The threat of new charges could be used in the negotiation to pressure Gates into cooperating and pleading. With his current set of eight charges, Gates could face 10 or more years in prison if found guilty.The options in a criminal case are "either trial or plea," said Brian Stolarz, a white collar lawyer who specializes in federal cases. "You have to have the heart, the stomach and the wallet to proceed with the trial."Signs of cooperation Several developments of the past months have pointed to Gates pursuing a different path than a trial -- from Gates' lack of focus in court on fighting the charges to his financial situation at home. His court case since then has barely focused on trial preparations, which Judge Amy Berman Jackson noted in court on Wednesday as she urged the lawyers to set a trial date. Gates' legal team quibbled over his bail terms and house arrest for m[...]



Boy brings fake gun to school day after mass shooting, Orlando police sayLake Nona High School student accused of bringing BB gun to campusFlorida school shooting suspect was member of white nationalist militia, leader saysSchool shootings in the US keep happeningThese are the victims of the Florida school shooting

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 18:36:04 GMTFri, 16 Feb 2018 04:02:16 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 18:26:03 GMTFri, 16 Feb 2018 19:53:02 GMT

A day after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at a South Florida high school, a student at Lake Nona High School brought a replica gun to school in his backpack, according to the Orlando Police Department.

Authorities said OPD school resource officers on campus received a tip at 7:10 a.m. Thursday that a student had what appeared to be a gun in his backpack.

When the student was located, officers found a black CO2 BB gun, 24 CO2 cylinders, ammunition and a pocket knife, according to a news release.

The sophomore student was arrested on a charge of possession of a weapon on school campus. His name has not been released to the media.

Lake Nona High School Assistant Principal Adele Salazar said in a message to the campus community that another student saw the boy on the bus with what appeared to be a gun and alerted staff.

"We understand students may have different reactions to the tragedy in South Florida. Please know that counselors are available for any student who may need to talk to someone," Salazar said.

Police officials said Thursday's incident highlights the importance of the see something, say something campaign.

"Someone saw something, and spoke up, and school administration and OPD officers were able to act swiftly to ensure the safety of students on campus," police officials said in a news release.

Students can report suspicious behavior or concerns about school safety by calling the SpeakOut Hotline at 800-423-TIPS, through the P3Tips App or at www.speakouthotline.org.

Officials from the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Orange County Schools and the Orlando Police Department hosted a news conference at 5:30 p.m. Thursday where they reiterated that safety is a top priority on every campus, but it also requires cooperation from students and parents.

Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said the district had an extensive review of its security procedures in 2014 and has continued to evolve its processes since then. At that time, metal detectors were not recommended but instead, experts suggested random security and weapon searches.

Officials said that Orange County schools are as safe as they can be and regular drills and reviews are conducted. However, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said, no community is immune to the threat of a mass casualty situation.

"Our agencies work proactively with the Orange County schools... to ensure they are as safe as they can possibly be," Demings said, adding that there is a law enforcement presence at every Orange County School.

He urged parents to check their child's backpack before they leave to go to school and he cautioned students against pranks or jokes involving threats because they will be taken seriously.

"We are prepared as we possibly can be to respond to an active shooter situation in this community," Demings said.

The leader of a white nationalist militia says Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was a member of his group.

Here is a (long) list of shootings at elementary, middle and high schools that have resulted in fatalities in the last 20 years. This list does NOT include suicides, gang-related incidents, or deaths resulting from interpersonal conflicts.

A football coach. An athletic director. And young, eager and forward-looking students.


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Army vet teaches life lessons through golfGetting Results Award: Teaching golf, life lessonsMarion woman uses healing horses to get resultsLocal organization transforms donated wedding dresses into angel gownsOrange County schools tout value of digital learning

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 23:00:38 GMTThu, 01 Feb 2018 23:52:39 GMTThu, 01 Feb 2018 22:19:58 GMTTue, 30 Jan 2018 23:37:08 GMT

Robert Biggers, president of Tee-Lo Golf, is this week's Getting Results Award winner

Biggers has been teaching golf to Central Florida kids and using the game as a way to demonstrate life lessons.  

Tee-Lo is a play on words. The program started in Tangelo Park nearly 20 years ago and the name is a nod to the West Orlando community. 

"They were having a lot of problems with the kids and drugs and stuff in Tangelo, and they wanted the kids to have an alternative so we started golf," Biggers said. "We haven't had any golfers who have become professional, but we have had kids who have gone on to college or joined the military."

Biggers said he's probably taught thousands of kids over the years, and some of his former students have been fortunate enough to earn golf scholarships. 

Biggers said he uses the game to teach kids discipline and life lessons.

"There's no referees, so you have to call penalties on yourself. So you learn self discipline, and personal integrity," he said. "They have a little difficulty with it because they don't get it at home. So when they get it with me, sometime it's the first time they've had any real tough love."  

Biggers said his love of the game started when he was young. His father was a caddy in Mobile, Alabama. He perfected his skills while serving 25 years in the Army. 

After retiring and coming home to Orlando, he was searching for a purpose and decided to help the neighborhood kids.

"I felt like it was my duty to assist those kids," he said. "I had been away so long, nobody knew me and I hadn't done anything. So I decided that I was going to try and do something for my community and that's what I did."

Until recently, the lessons were free. That changed when he built a three-hole training center on 2.5 acres located at the New Beginnings Church on Curry Ford Road. The center features artificial turf with sand and water hazards.

Biggers proudly gave News 6 a tour of the course, pointing out all the features.

"We have three 4-inch holes and one 8-inch hole," he said, describing options for different skill levels. "I'm proud that this golf training facility looks like a real golf course. For kids, this is ideal."  

The minimal fee helps pay for maintenance costs.

New Beginnings pastor Howard Harrison said having the center so close to the church's K-8 academy is a benefit for the kids.

"It puts them in a position where the areas that they operate, the circles of influence are now broadened because they're learning something else. It puts them in a position to communicate with others that they normally wouldn't have."

Biggers said he's been successful by involving parents. He said he's even taught them the game as well.

"The (children are) easier to work with if their parents are here. If their parents aren't here, then you become a babysitter, and I'm not ready to do that yet!" Beggars exclaimed.

Biggers said he's trying to raise funds to remodel one of the portable classrooms on campus. He hopes to use it for indoor studies.  

Betty Gray is this week's News 6 Getting Results Award winner. 

A local organization transforms donated wedding gowns into bereavement outfits for grieving parents.

Orange County Public Schools are showcasing digital learning efforts to national leaders in education and technology.


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'You are loved:' Florida student makes Valentine's Day cards for entire schoolStudent creates 3,200 Valentine's Day messages to spread love

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 22:59:39 GMT

While many people are thinking about the devastation that happened at one Florida school during Valentine's Day, another student is being recognized for her act of kindness.

"I was just shocked, I just started crying," said Melanie Turngren, who works in the guidance department at Spruce Creek High School in Volusia County. "The sentiments on these hearts were just amazing." 

Each and every locker at Spruce Creek High School had a Valentine's Day card posted on the outside. There was a total of 3,250 cards, each with a saying such as "you are loved."  

"At the core, that's the most important thing we can do for our kids, is for them to feel loved, and supported and that they matter," Turngren said. "These hearts did a lot for these kids."

allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="591" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmelanie.porrecoturngren%2Fposts%2F1655226854526561&width=500" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="500">

All this love was expressed by one big heart. 

"Can't leave anyone out," senior Hannah Harrison said. "If I didn't do a hundred a night, I would double up on the weekends." 

It took Harrison nearly two months to make all the cards as a way to give back to her school and make Valentine's Day a day everyone could enjoy.  

"What a perfect way to twist that and make it positive and have everyone know they're loved, which is true," she said. "I just felt whatever I wrote on each heart is what that person needed that day. People need to know they're loved and to believe in themselves."

When Harrison planned her kind deed, she didn't know a school shooting would happen in South Florida that same day.

"I cried when I saw the hearts, and I cried even more when I heard (about the mass shooting)," Turngren said. "It's sad, it's heartbreaking, it's something that students this age shouldn't have to be dealing with. The things on these lockers are the things students should be feeling and dealing with."

The messages brought some light and love to what ended up being a dark Valentine's Day for many. 

"We can all bring light into the world and we need to all know that you're loved," Harrison said.  


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President Trump to visit South Florida after mass school shootingThese are the victims of the Florida school shootingAuthorities provide new details in Florida high school mass shootingFlorida school shooting: How to helpVideo shows moment when gunman opened fire inside Florida schoolFlorida school shooting: Politicians, social media users react

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 18:10:11 GMTFri, 16 Feb 2018 19:53:02 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 18:08:27 GMTSat, 17 Feb 2018 16:41:07 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 21:37:11 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 15:16:51 GMT

On Thursday morning while addressing the nation, President Donald Trump said that he plans to visit the South Florida city where a mass shooting took place at a school Wednesday afternoon.Trump said that, during the visit, he would meet with victims and their families, as well as local officials to continue coordinating the federal response to the tragedy.During his message to the nation, the president offered words of comfort and expressed his condolences to the families affected Wednesday when a 19-year-old former student opened fire with an AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people and injuring several others.“Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them, a life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise. Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give and talents to share with the world," Trump said. "And each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world. Today we mourn for all of those who lost their lives."The president also said he plans to meet with the nation's governors and attorney generals to discuss safety in American schools, saying it would be their top priority, and mental health.“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference.”He did not elaborate on the changes, if any, he plans to make, but he did address the topic of changing the culture within the country to value life and make more "deep and meaningful human connections."President Trump also addressed the nation's children with the following message:“I want to speak now directly to America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared. I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer or a faith leader. Answer hate with love answer cruelty with kindness.”   Trump did not say when he plans to visit Parkland. He was expected to visit the Orlando area Friday, but did not mention whether his plans had changed. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel also held a press conference Thursday, just before President Trump spoke. During the conference, a special agent with the Miami division of the FBI said the agency was made aware last year of an alarming comment posted on social media. "In 2017, the FBI received information about a comment made on a YouTube channel. The comment simply said, 'I'm going to be a professional school shooter," the special agent said. FBI officials said no other information was available, and that they were unable to track down who made the comment. The special agent said investigators are still looking into the issue and couldn't confirm whether the comment was made by the suspect in Wednesday's shooting. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi also spoke during the conference, saying they met with victims and their families. Scott said he plans to meet with state leaders next week in Tallahassee to have what he called "a real conversation" regarding safety in Florida schools and how they can make sure someone who suffers from mental health issues isn't able to touch a gun. He said he wants to make sure parents can send their children to Florida schools without worrying about them, and doesn't want kindergartners to have to learn that they should be worried about a school shooting. Bondi said she is making arrangements with funeral homes within the state to cover the victims' expenses. She also plans to meet with the victims and families being treated at the hospitals to offer help with medical bills. The attorney general said sh[...]



Florida school shooting suspect was member of white nationalist militia, leader saysShooting survivor: I was destined to get home17 killed in Florida school shootingTrooper Steve describes response to mass shootingStudent, mom describe panic outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High SchoolThese are the victims of the Florida school shootingPresident Trump to visit South Florida after mass school shootingIn shooting's wake, Trump urges children to seek help if they feel 'lost, alone, confused'Authorities provide new details in Florida high school mass shootingVideo shows moment when gunman opened fire inside Florida schoolHow gun background checks work

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 18:23:15 GMTFri, 16 Feb 2018 19:53:02 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 22:28:00 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 18:05:05 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 18:08:27 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 21:37:11 GMTThu, 15 Feb 2018 18:02:08 GMT

The leader of a white nationalist militia says Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was a member of his group and participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee.Jordan Jereb told The Associated Press on Thursday that his group, the Republic of Florida, wants Florida to become its own white ethno-state. He said his group holds "spontaneous random demonstrations" and tries not to participate in the modern world.Jereb said he didn't know Cruz personally and that "he acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he's solely responsible for what he just did."He also said he had "trouble with a girl" and he believed the timing of the attack, carried out on Valentine's Day, wasn't a coincidence.Nineteen-year-old Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the shooting. A judge ruled Thursday afternoon that Cruz be held on no bond. FBI was warned months agoThe FBI was warned in September about a possible school shooting threat from a YouTube user with the same name as the suspect in Wednesday's campus massacre in Parkland, Florida, according to a video blogger.Ben Bennight, the 36-year-old YouTube video blogger from Mississippi, noticed in September an alarming comment on a video he'd posted. He told CNN he immediately contacted the FBI."Im going to be a professional school shooter," read the comment, left by a user with the name Nikolas Cruz, the same name of the suspected shooter who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people.It was one of at least two alleged threat reports about the suspected shooter that the FBI received, according to a law enforcement official. In both cases, the FBI did not share the information with local law enforcement, the official said.Bennight emailed a screenshot of the comment, which he shared with CNN, to what he thought was an FBI tip line, but the email address was invalid, he said. Bennight said he followed up with a phone call to the FBI. The comment on YouTube has since been pulled down.[THE LATEST:  Mass shooting at Fla. school | Video shows moment gunman opened fire]According to Bennight, agents from the FBI's field office in Mississippi contacted him and came to his office to conduct an in-person interview the next morning. Bennight told the agents he didn't know anything about the user, he told CNN.That was the last contact he had with the FBI until Wednesday, he said.The FBI special agent in charge of the Miami division, Robert Lasky, confirmed Thursday morning that the bureau received a tip last year about the YouTube comment."No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment," Lasky said during a news conference. "The FBI conducted database reviews, checks but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment."It's not clear whether the FBI ever identified the suspect in the other alleged threat report.On Wednesday afternoon, after Cruz was arrested, Bennight got a call from an agent in the FBI's Miami field office, who wanted to follow up on the September incident, he said. A few hours later, FBI agents from the Mississippi office paid Bennight another visit."I saw the story kind of go across my newsfeed, but I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it," he recalled Thursday in a phone interview with CNN. "But when the FBI said it was the same name, the first thing that went through my mind was, 'Wow, I hope you were at least watching this guy that I alerted you to months ago.""I think in today's online world, it is very difficult to narrow down who does what without more information," Bennight told CNN's Jake Tap[...]


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