POLICE CHIEF FIRED OVER FATAL CITIZENS ACADEMY EXERCISE
Punta Gorda City Manager Howard Kunik announced Tom Lewis’ termination on the city’s website Wednesday after an internal investigation. Authorities say former Officer Lee Coel mistakenly shot and killed 73-year-old Mary Knowlton during a role-playing scenario last August. Lewis, as Coel’s boss, had been charged with misdemeanor culpable negligence, but a jury acquitted him in June.
POLICE: FLORIDA MAN FATALLY STABS AUNT, INJURES HIS FATHER
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told news outlets a Florida Highway Patrol trooper found 46-year-old Pedro Vega Jr. in a truck on the side of a road early Wednesday. Judd said Vega stabbed 70-year-old Pedro Vega Sr. before repeatedly stabbing 59-year-old Rosa Vega in a home near Davenport, east of Tampa. She died at the scene, near a 4-year-old girl she was watching. The girl wasn’t injured.
MAN BILLED NEARLY $60,000 FOR COST OF PUTTING OUT WILDFIRE
The Florida Forest Service sent 55-year-old Brian Sparks a bill Monday to pay for the personnel and machinery used to extinguish the blaze. He also received a misdemeanor citation for failure to obtain a department permit and reckless land burning. Officials say Sparks had been burning old paperback books and clutter outside his Bryceville home in March when the flames got out of control.
EVALUATION ORDERED FOR MAN ACCUSED OF KILLING OFFICERS
Orange-Osceola Circuit Court officials announced Tuesday that a judge will then review the evaluation of 45-year-old Everett Miller. Miller is accused of gunning down Kissimmee Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard on Aug. 18. Baxter died that night and Howard passed away the next day. Officials said Miller is a veteran who spent 21 years in the Marine Corps.
TOUGH SEA TURTLE NAMED CHUCK NORRIS RETURNED TO OCEAN OFF FLORIDA KEYS
The sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle named for the actor and martial artist was released Monday evening. It was rescued in March off the Lower Keys by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers after it suffered a severe boat strike. Officers who transported the turtle to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon told staff there “to pick the toughest-sounding name” they could, because the reptile had a lot to overcome to get better.