Cantonment SWAT Standoff Ends, Suspect In Custody (With Photo Gallery)

March 31, 2011

A domestic violence suspect is in custody after being barricaded inside a Cantonment home for about eight hours Thursday morning as a SWAT team and negotiators tried to get him to surrender.

Brett Justin Salter, 32, was taken into custody without incident about 12:10 p.m. A Sheriff’s Office robot that made entry into the home discovered that Salter was hiding in the attic of the home in 1700 block of Pauline Street. When deputies fire tear gas into the attic, he quickly surrendered. Salter is facing a variety of charges, including battery after an incident that began in the early morning hours. He is also charged with kidnapping, criminal mischief, burglary and larceny. He is being held in the Escambia County Jail without bond.

For a photo gallery from the scene, click here.

About 3:30 a.m. a woman called 911 from a Circle K in the 2000 block of Highway 29 to report that she was a battery victim. Deputies responded to the suspect’s home on Pauline Street, where Salter refused to exit the resident. The SWAT team was called to the residence about 7 a.m.

Throughout the five-hour standoff with SWAT, deputies could be heard on a loudspeaker saying “B.J., come to door” and “B.J., we have a warrant for your arrest.” Multiple rounds of tear gas were fired into the home over about a three hour period.

By mid-morning, the Sheriff’s Office robot had entered the brick home, giving deputies a look inside the residence. They were able watch a live video feed as the robot searched each room of the home. Eventually, deputies notice insulation on the floor of the garage and determined that Salter was in the attic.

According to court records, Salter has a long criminal history in Escambia County, including charges of lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a child under 16, sexual battery, resisting arrest, battery and disorderly conduct.

For a photo gallery from the scene, click here.

Pictured top: The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team at the scene of a standoff in Cantonment Thursday morning. Pictured inset: Deputies  watch a live video feed from a Sheriff’s Office robot inside the house. Pictured below: A man kept deputies at bay for hours at this Cantonment home. photos, click to enlarge.

Former Century School Still For Sale; College Considers But No Offer

March 31, 2011

Despite efforts to see it used as a satellite college campus or an elementary school, the Carver/Century K-8 School has sat empty for a couple of years with the Escambia County School District  unable to find a buyer for the facility.

“We’ve tried to find a buyer,” Superintendent Malcolm Thomas said recently, “but so far we’ve not had any success.”

Two “good possibilities” for the building did not materialize into a purchase offer, Thomas said. Pensacola State College considered the building as a campus location, Thomas said. But that idea failed due to a faltering economy.

“We also tried to interest the Byrneville Charter School in the building, but that did not work,” the superintendent said.

“The economy has really been the deciding factor in finding a buyer for the building,” he said.  Thomas did not specify the asking price for the facility.

Carvery/Century K-8 School closed as an educational facility in May, 2009, but had remained available as an evacuation shelter until last month.

Earlier this year, the school district  decided to  no longer keep kitchen facilities, emergency food commodities and janitorial supplies available — resulting in the facility no longer being available as a county emergency shelter. The nearest emergency shelter to Century is now Northview High School in Bratt.

“Up until now, the building has been available as a shelter,” said John Dosh, Escambia County Emergency Management director. “But without food and supplies, it is no longer a viable shelter and feeding space.”

Thomas said it was no longer economically feasible for the district to maintain the kitchen equipment and required health department inspections on the facilities.

Pictured: The former Century Elementary School. photo, click to enlarge.

Preliminary Autopsy: Atmore Native’s Death Was Accidental Drowning

March 31, 2011

Preliminary autopsy results show that accidental drowning was the cause of death of an Atmore native found Tuesday night in Bayou Chico.

John Thomas Hawkins IV, 35, reportedly jumped from a sailboat Monday night.

Pensacola Police Capt. Paul Kelly said a Thursday morning autopsy did not indicate any signs of foul play. Toxicology results are anticipated to be available in about six weeks, Kelly said.

A man called 911 around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday after finding Hawkins in Bayou Chico, said Sgt. Stephen Davis.

Police were initially dispatched to the Pensacola Shipyard area, 700 S. Myrick St., around 7:25 p.m. Monday after receiving a call that Hawkins had jumped into the water and could not be found.

Hawkins and his wife Angela, also 35, had been staying on a friend’s docked sailboat. Angela Hawkins told police she and her husband had been swimming all day and that her husband had been drinking. She said she was near the rear of the boat when she heard her husband, who she said was a good swimmer, jump from the front.

After about 10 to 15 minutes, Angela Hawkins said she began looking for her husband but couldn’t find him. At that point, she notified a security guard and when they still could not locate him, police were called.

Deputies: Alleged Battery Of A Student By Northview Teacher Did Not Happen

March 31, 2011

A reported battery of student by a teacher this week at Northview High School did not happen, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

A 16-year female student first told the school resource officer that she and the teacher got into a verbal argument over poster board at which time the teacher snatched the poster board out of her hand. The student also alleged that the teacher stated that she was going to hit her.

Another Escambia County Sheriff’s Office deputy, not the school resource officer, that investigated the incident determined that the teacher only touched the 16-year on her arm and directed her to sit down at her desk. The student told the deputy during the interview that she in fact did not hear the teacher say she was going to hit her and at no time did she fear for her safety. Other witnesses in the classroom also confirmed that the teacher did not strike or threaten the student.

According to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office report on the incident, no battery occurred and no charges will be filed against the teacher.

Escambia Health Ranks In Bottom Half Of State

March 31, 2011

Escambia County continues to rank in the bottom half of counties in Florida when it comes to health, according to the annual County Health Rankings, released Thursday by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Out of 67 counties, Escambia County continues to rank 47th on health outcomes, while improving from 43rd to 39th on health factors. Health outcomes account for morbidity and mortality, while health factors include health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment.

The rankings show that Escambia County continues to be strong in the area of clinical care, ranked 6th out 67. This ranking includes statistics regarding the number of uninsured adults, primary care providers to population ratio, the number of preventable hospital stays, and the percent of Medicare enrollees who receive screenings for diabetes and breast cancer.

“We can use this ranking to build on our successes and mobilize community leaders to take action, implementing programs and policy changes needed to continue providing quality healthcare here in Escambia County,” a release from the Escambia County Health Department said.

The rankings also shed light on factors that are making Escambia residents unhealthy and what more we can be doing to make the county a healthier place to live. Premature deaths due to chronic diseases and a high incidence of low birth weight are two critical health outcomes in which Escambia County falls short. Escambia County also ranks low in physical environment, although there is one improvement worth recognizing: the percentage of citizens in Escambia County who have access to healthy foods increased to 78 percent, up from 40 percent last year.

School Sales Tax Holiday Back In Fla. House

March 31, 2011

Back-to-school shoppers could experience the thrill of a three-day sales tax holiday beginning August 12 under a measure approved Wednesday by the House Finance and Tax Committee.

By unanimous vote, the panel approved a measure (HB 733) that would allow back-to-school shoppers to pick up supplies of less than $15, qualified clothing under $75 and textbooks up to $75, a provision that has not been previously included in sales tax holiday events.

The Florida Retail Federation commissioned a study that showed a net gain of $7 million from last year’s three-day holiday, which increases taxable sales by $115 million when compared to the previous year when no holiday was in place.

A Senate version (SB 508) has yet to be heard.

Jay Girl, 11, Top Overall Female In Duathlon

March 31, 2011

Jay student athlete Jorja Agrait finished as the top overall female in the 2011 Inaugural MPI Maritime Deluna Kids Duathlon this past weekend.

A duathlon is a unique athletic event that involves a run-bike-run routine. Agrait raced in the 11-12 Conquerors Division by competing in a half mile run, three mile bike, and one mile run. The younger divisions did a slightly shorter distance.

Agrait also competes on the Jay High School JV track and cross country teams. She is no stranger to being on the winner’s stand — she was the Overall Junior Champion in the Great Pumpkin 5K held in Pensacola back in November, 2010.

The 11-year old’s personal best times are 6:27 for the mile, 13:29 for the two mile run, and has run 21 minutes for a 5K.

Pictured top: Jorja Agrai poses with her bike at the 2011 Inaugural MPI Maritime Deluna Kids Duathlon in Pensacola. Pictured inset: Agrait finished as the top overall female. Submitted photos for, click to enlarge.

Blood Drive Today In Walnut Hill

March 31, 2011

A blood drive will take place today in Walnut Hill.  The Northwest Florida Blood Services Bloodmobile will be at Walnut Hill Fire Department from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The graphic below, provided by Northwest Florida Blood Services, shows some of the benefits of donating blood.

Pro Med Opens Century Dental Clinic Today; Services Still Available In Molino

March 31, 2011

There’s a change to the dental services offered at the Escambia County Health Department in Century. Pro Med Healthcare Services has taken over operation of the clinic that was previous run by the health department.

Pro Med will also continue to offer dental services at their recently opened Molino location.

The clinics serve both pediatric and adult patients who are Florida Medicaid-eligible. New patients are now being accepted at both locations, and may make an appointment by phone.

The two Pro Med dental clinics in North Escambia are:

Century Dental Clinic
501 Church St. Century, FL
Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT

Molino Dental Clinic
3470 Highway 29 Cantonment, FL
Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT

Century Installs 900 Water Meters Ahead Of Schedule

March 31, 2011

The Town of Century has completed a project ahead of schedule to install about 900 new automated water meters. And Wednesday morning, Century Mayor Freddie McCall met with town employees and furnished breakfast in appreciation of a job well done.

“We have a small staff that did an amazing job working together as a team,” McCall said. “I am proud of the work they did and impressed that they finished two weeks ahead of schedule.”

The mayor said the men took an assembly line approach to the task, with one team digging up the old meters, another team removing them and a third team installing new meters.

Pictured top: (L-R) Eddie Hammond, Mayor McCall, Joe Brown, Larry Murphy, WL Tyree and Stacy Seale. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

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