Sheriff: Two People Shot By Century Correctional Officer At Birthday Party Near Flomaton

January 31, 2021


Two people were shot at an adult birthday party near Flomaton Saturday night, and the suspect was identified as a correctional officer.

The adult males were shot outside a home on McMurphy Lane off Old Atmore Road, about four miles west of Flomaton.

James Scott Lassiter, age 51 of Flomaton, was charged with two counts of attempted murder. Lassiter was identified by Escambia County (AL) Sheriff Heath Jackson as a correctional officer at the Century Correctional Institution.

Jackson told shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday that Lassiter had just been taken into custody after he was located by a K-9. The sheriff said a motive for the shooting had not yet been established.

Both victims were transported to area hospitals in critical condition. Their names have not been released.

Lassiter was booked into the Escambia County (AL) Detention Center in Brewton without bond.

McMurphy Lane is about two miles north of the Florida-Alabama line.

Traffic Alert: Here Are This Week’s Road Construction Trouble Spots

January 31, 2021

Drivers will encounter traffic disruptions on the following state roads in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties this week as crews perform construction and maintenance activities.

Escambia County:

  • U.S. 98 Pensacola Bay Bridge Replacement – The intersection of North 17th Avenue and Bayfront Parkway will remain closed until spring 2021 as construction continues for the new 17th Avenue interchange. The Visitor’s Center remains accessible from 17th Avenue. In addition, the ramp from 17th Avenue to East Gregory Street remains open. Eastbound drivers on Bayfront Parkway should use North 14th Avenue and Cervantes Street (U.S. 90) as a detour route. The bridge remains closed until March 2021.
  • U.S. 29 Widening from Interstate 10 (I-10) to Nine Mile Road (U.S. 90)- Traffic impacts for the week of Sunday, Jan. 31 include:
    • The U.S. 29 median crossover at Hood Drive will be temporarily closed until 7 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1 to adjust the elevation of the median crossover at this location.  Motorists approaching U.S. 29 from Hood Drive will be required to turn right onto U.S. 29. The signal will be placed in flash-mode and signage will be in place.
    • Motorists can expect intermittent lane closures and shifts, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., on U.S. 29, between I-10 and Nine and Half Mile Road, and on Nine Mile Road at the U.S. 29 Overpass.
  • East Nine Mile Road (U.S. 90) Safety Project from North Palafox Street to Chemstrand Road – Motorists will encounter intermittent right turn lane closures beginning Monday, Feb. 1.
  • Nine Mile Road (U.S. 90) Widening from Pine Forest (State Road (S.R.) 297) to U.S. 29 -Drivers will experience intermittent traffic stoppages at the intersection of Nine Mile and Pine Forest roads from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 31 through Wednesday, Feb. 3 as crews pave the intersection.  Traffic control officers will be on-site to direct traffic. Additionally, the Nine Mile Road westbound right turn lane to access Pine Forest Road will be closed during these same hours as crews reconstruct the turn lane.

Santa Rosa County:

  • U.S. 98 Widening from Bayshore Road to Portside Drive- Early construction activities including utility relocations, clearing, excavation, and drainage improvements have begun. Clearing and excavating of areas for the stormwater ponds are currently underway. There will be no traffic impacts associated with the construction of the ponds, but nearby residents and businesses may experience some noise. Access to residences and businesses will be maintained. Major roadway construction activities are anticipated to begin summer 2021.
  • Pensacola Bay Bridge Replacement – For the latest information visit Bay.
  • S.R. 87 Mardi Gras Parade From Stewart Street in Milton between Raymond Hobbs Street and Elva Street – Motorists will encounter lane closures Saturday, Jan. 30 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. for the Mardi Gras parade.
  • U.S. 90 Bridge Maintenance over Saltman Bayou – Motorists will encounter a westbound lane closure from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2 for bridge maintenance.
  • U.S. 90 Bridge Repair and Rehabilitation over Pond Creek – Motorists will encounter a westbound lane closure from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3 while crews perform bridge repair work.
  • S.R. 87 Bridge Maintenance over East Bay River – Motorists will encounter a southbound lane closure from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3 for bridge maintenance.
  • S.R. 87 Bridge Repair and Rehabilitation over East Bay River – Motorists will encounter a northbound lane closure from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4 while crews perform bridge repair work.
  • U.S. 90 (S.R. 10) Turn Lane Construction for New Discount Tire Store – Motorists will encounter nighttime, intermittent lane closures from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Wednesday, Feb. 3 and continuing to Thursday, Feb. 18 as crews construct an east and westbound turn lane for the New Discount Tire Store.
  • S.R. 89 North, S.R. 87 North and S.R. 89 Bypass Roadway Maintenance Operations- Drivers may encounter intermittent lane restrictions through Sunday, April 25 as crews perform roadway maintenance activities along the corridors. Off duty law enforcement will be on-site to assist with traffic control.

All activities are weather dependent and may be delayed or rescheduled in the event of inclement weather.

Pictured: Approaching the intersection of Nine Mile Road and Pine Forest Road as seen on Thursday. photo.

NAS Pensacola, Whiting Field Conducting Anti-Terrorism Exercise

January 31, 2021

Naval Air Station Pensacola and Whiting Field will hold an annual force protection exercise February 1-12.

Exercise Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2021 will be conducted on Navy installations in the continental U.S. It is a regularly scheduled exercise and is not a response to any specific threat.

Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions within local communities and to normal base operations, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around bases or delays in base access. Area residents may also see or hear security activities associated with the exercise. Advanced coordination has taken place with local law enforcement and first responders.

Photo: U.S. Navy.

Clearing And Turning Colder

January 31, 2021

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 39. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 50. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 31. Wind chill values between 25 and 30. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 52. Wind chill values between 20 and 30 early. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph.

Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 31. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 58. North wind around 5 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 38. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming southeast after midnight.

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 67. South wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Thursday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 56. South wind around 10 mph.

Friday: A 40 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69.

Friday Night: A 50 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 50.

Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 64.

Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 45.

Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.

ECSO K-9 Sadie Visits Molino Cub Scout Pack

January 31, 2021

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tommi Lyter, K-9 Sadie and Deputy Matthews recently visited Molino Cub Scout Pack 430 Tuesday evening at Aldersgate United Methodist Church.

The visit allowed members of the pack to work towards their Hometown Heroes requirements, Safe and Smart belt loop and Building a Better World pin. K-9 Sadie also helped the pack earn their Critter Care requirements.

Photos for, click to enlarge.

Florida Forest Service: The Trials And Joys Of Trees

January 31, 2021

|submitted by the Florida Forest Service|

Trees often are low on priority lists – unless you had tree damage as a result of Hurricane Sally. However, you might be surprised to learn that trees played a beneficial, if somewhat behind the scenes, role for good this year and every year. And celebrating the good, while not ignoring potential problems, is important when making decisions involving trees.

Often trees are disparaged, especially after a severe storm. Many trees fell during Sally, causing costly clean up and often significant damage. Some trees were damaged: causing hazardous conditions, opportunities for the tree disease and insect infestation, or simply aesthetically unpleasant disfigurement. Even without storms, trees require care, can interfere with utilities and foundations, and require extra clean up certain times of year. Yet, healthy well-maintained trees might reduce wind speeds and damage for property underneath or on the leeward (downwind) side of trees. Trees also significantly reduce erosion and absorb stormwater.

Trees often give more than they take. Many studies have been done on the effects of green space on a person’s well-being, including lowering blood pressure, speeding up recovery times, and lessening depression and anxiety. Other social benefits include lowering crime rates, increasing property values, creating beauty and space for recreation and relaxation, and lowering cooling bills. They provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. We haven’t even begun to mention the material benefits such as fruit, nuts, wood, and the 5,000 plus commercial products made from trees (wood, roots, leaves, and saps).

So, celebrate trees this year! Winter is a great time to improve existing trees and to plant new ones. Florida Arbor Day is celebrated the on the third Friday in January – January 15, 2021. National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April. While you might not be able to attend a public event, you still can get out and celebrate trees. Below are some ideas.

Existing Trees

  • Care for storm damaged trees.
  • Contact an arborist for evaluation of potential hazards
  • Properly prune out broken limbs to create a smooth surface
  • Some trees may not be able to be successfully treated and need removal
  • o Most trees will recover, but might need time and/or multiple treatments
  • Learn about proper pruning techniques to take care of smaller trees yourself
  • When hiring a professional is required, hire a reputable company with a certified arborist on staff. Ensure the company has both Personal and Property Damage Liability Insurance and Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture can be found at
  • Take care of tree roots. Don’t compact the soil by parking or piling things in the root zone. Use caution when applying any chemicals (fertilizer, herbicide, pesticides) to the soil or lawn. Read the label to ensure it will not harm your tree.

New Plantings

  • • Decide what species of tree is right for you, considering the soil type, size of opening, climate, and eventual size of tree.
  • • Plant the tree at the right depth, not too deep or too shallow.
  • • Keep it simple. Soil amendments, fertilizers, and staking are usually unnecessary, especially for small native trees.
  • • Mulch lightly over the root zone, but not against the trunk.
  • • Water regularly until the tree is established. (Three gallons per inch of tree diameter weekly – applied slowly at the root ball)


  • Take a photo of your favorite tree to post on social media. Tag the Florida Forest Service!
  • Take a hike in the woods or a nearby park.
  • Have a picnic with friends or family by a tree.
  • Be grateful for your tree and its benefits.
  • Teach a child about trees. There are many activities that can be used. Check out Project Learning Tree Activities for Families – Project Learning Tree ( or the Arbor Day Foundation for a few ideas.
  • Plant a new tree.

For more information on the benefits of trees, visit or

FDOH Reports 10 Additional COVID-19 Deaths, Another 402 Cases In Escambia County

January 31, 2021


There were 10 more COVID-19 deaths and 402 additional coronavirus cases in Escambia County reported Saturday by the Florida Department of Health.

Here is the latest data:

Escambia County cases:

Total cases: 30,783 (+402)
Non-Florida residents: 3,200
Recovered: 23,104*
Total deaths: 528 (+10)
Long-term care facility deaths : 227 (+3)
Current hospitalizations: 191 (+6)
Number of tests reported last day: 2,651
Percent positive reported last day:  12.0%
Percent positive reported last week: 17.5%

Escambia County cases by location*:

Pensacola: 22,844 (+320)
Cantonment: 2,788 (+26)
Century: 1,118 (+1)
—-including 774 Century prison inmates
Molino: 425 (+5)
McDavid: 184 (+3)
Bellview: 52 (+1)
Walnut Hill: 48 (+1)
Perdido Key: 21
Gonzalez: 12

Santa Rosa County cases:

Total cases: 15,391 (142)
Non-Florida residents: 192
Total deaths: 211 (+2)
Long-term care facility deaths: 66 (+1)
Cumulative Hospitalizations: 678*
Number of tests reported last day:  1,156
Percent positive reported last day:  10.8%

Santa Rosa County cases by location*:

Milton: 7,422 (+54)
Navarre: 3,085 (+30)
Gulf Breeze: 2,870 (+36)
Pace: 1,225 (+14)
Jay: 477 (+4)
Bagdad: 31

Florida cases:

Total cases: 1,713,589
Florida residents: 1,682,096
Deaths: 26,360
Hospitalizations: 72,135*

*“Hospitalizations” in the statewide and Santa Rosa County totals is a count of all laboratory confirmed cases in which an inpatient hospitalization occurred at any time during the course of illness. Most of these people are longer be hospitalized. The FDOH does not provide a count of patients currently hospitalized. The Escambia County number is current data compiled each day from the local hospitals.

**On cases by location, the city is based upon zip code and is not always received as part of the initial notification. There may be a delay in reporting locations, and locations will not total the daily case increase as a result.

***The Florida Department of Health does not have a clear standard or definition of “recovered” and does not report a number of recovered individuals. Escambia County is reporting an approximate recovery number defined as the total cases prior to last month, minus deaths. In other words, anyone that tested positive more than a month ago is presumed to have recovered by Escambia County.

**Data Sources: Florida Department of Health, Escambia County, City of Pensacola, local hospitals.

Willie Hamilton Jones

January 31, 2021

Willie Hamilton Jones, 95, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, January 27, 2021,
with his wife, Donna, by his side.

Willie was born on November 10, 1925, in Hartford, Alabama, to Ira and Dora (nee Godwin)

Willie is preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Ford, Langford, and Bob, his loving
sisters, Martha Gavin and Myrtle Allen, and his grandson, Alonzo Lee Kent, III. In addition to
being survived by his wife, Donna (nee McNary), to whom he was married for thirty-seven
years, Willie is survived by his sons Jerry (Cathy), Jimmy (Becky) and Joe (Cathy), and his
daughters, Janice (Alonzo “Lonnie”), Kimberly (Tom) and Tammy, as well as his eleven (11)
grandchildren, thirteen (13) great-grandchildren, and his loyal companion, Princess.

Willie served in the United States Merchant Marines traveling around the world providing
support to Allied troops toward the end of World War II. Willie remembered details from each
port of call and enjoyed sharing stories from his adventures across the globe.

Willie is recognized as being a pioneer in the farming community. He farmed cotton, peanuts,
corn and soybeans across Northwest Florida and Southeast Alabama. In addition to his crops, his
operations, among others, included Turkey Trot Ranch in Monroeville, Alabama, and Jones
Flying Service, in Jay, Florida.

Willie loved feeding things (two- and four-legged alike), bringing home orphaned animals, and
had a habit of buying the craziest heifer at the livestock auction. A twinkle in his eye meant a
horse had a new home at Willie Way. And there was rarely a muddy hole in which he didn’t find
himself stuck.

Willie had a nickname for everyone, each as endearing as the next. He was kind, generous, hard-
working, and genuinely interested in the lives of others and nurturing the land. He believed in a
second chance and lending a hand. He was full of wisdom that he earned the Willie Way.

He was, indeed, a Gentle Giant. To love him made you stronger and to be loved by him was

Trahan Family Funeral Home of Milton is handling arrangements.

Graveside services will be held Saturday, January 30, 2021, 1:00 p.m., at Pine Level Baptist
Church, 3300 Pine Level Church Road, Jay, FL.

Pallbearers are Lyonel Kent (Knoxville, TN); Stephen Jones (Jay, FL); Jerod Jones (Jay, FL);
Ryan Siyufy (Pace, FL); Ryan Williams (Monroeville, AL); Tom Maners (Decaturville, TN);
Christopher Payne (Scotts Hill, TN); and Travis Johnson (Flomaton, AL). Honorary Pallbearers
are Roy “Bo” Allen (Jay, FL); Aubrey Adams (Brewton, AL); James E. “Jimmy” Jones
(Chumuckla, FL); and John Jones (Paris, TN).

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Willie H. Jones Future Farmers
Scholarship Fund which will be awarded annually to a graduating
senior who has shown a commitment to farming. #WillieWay

Flomaton Man Violently Fights With Deputies And K-9 During Arrest, ECSO Says

January 30, 2021

A Flomaton man is accused of violently fighting with deputies and a K-9 after attempting to illegally enter an occupied vehicle and illegally enter an occupied home.

Eric Tyler Mathis, 25, was charged with attempted carjacking, attempted burglary of an occupied residence, three counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, and battery on a police dog.

A caller told the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office that a man, later identified as Mathis, was walking in and out of traffic in the area of North 50th Avenue and State Street and had attempted to grab their steering wheel.

A man returned to his home on State Street to find Mathis on his front porch and attempting to enter the home while his daughter was inside.

When deputies arrived moments later, they found Mathis sitting on the steps to a carport door and hiding behind a tarp. He refused to comply with multiple orders from deputies to get on the ground, according to an arrest report.

The report states Mathis then took steps toward deputies in an aggressive manner. He was taken to the ground but continued to resist commands and efforts to place him in handcuffs. He began to push off the ground with multiple deputies on top of him. Two deputies delivered multiple strikes to Mathis’s head and face, ultimately knocking him unconscious.

Mathis regained consciousness as four deputies attempted to place his hands behind his back, and he continued to fight with deputies. Deputies delivered several more strikes to his head and face, knocking Mathis unconscious a second time.

Mathis regained consciousness again and continued to fight back. Deputies tased him, but the taser was ineffective.

Deputies then deployed K-9 Zeek on Mathis, the report states. While Zeek was holding Mathis, Mathis grabbed Zeek around the neck. Deputies were able to regain control over both of Mathis’ hands and placed him in handcuffs after the dog was removed.

“We are glad the vehicle occupant was not harmed and we are glad the homeowner was not harmed,” Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons said. “We are also glad neither the deputies or K-9 Zeek were seriously injured. A person cannot illegally enter another person’s occupied vehicle, cannot illegally enter another person’s occupied home, and cannot fight the efforts of law enforcement officers. Let’s not forget about the victims of these crimes and how terrifying it must have been for them. We value the lives and safety of our residents. I would rather our deputies not have to use any force. I also wish criminals did not put our citizens and deputies in harm’s way.”

Mathis was transported to Baptist Hospital for treatment and then booked into the Escambia County Jail with bond set at $136,000.

K-9 Zeek was uninjured.

Property Tax Discount Deadline Is Sunday, But You May Have Until Monday To Pay

January 30, 2021

An available two percent discount on the payment of real estate and tangible personal property taxes ends Sunday, January 31, according to Escambia County Tax Collector Scott Lunsford.
To receive the two percent discount, payments must be:

  • made online by midnight, February 1, 2021, at;
  • mailed with a January postmark; or
  • left in a drop box available at all locations by close of business, February 1, 2021.

Since all offices are closed on January 31, customers who make their payment in person at any tax collector office on Monday, February 1, 2021, will receive the two percent discount.

Taxpayers are encouraged to visit our virtual office at to pay online 24 hours a day. Our online services allow customers to pay their taxes, search records, print receipts, renew vehicle and vessel registrations and many other services.

Customers who decide to visit one of our four convenient offices can join the line online at and manage their time their way. Citizens select an office location and type of service, receive a message with approximate service time and then continue their regular activities until the service time approaches.

To check the status of your taxes, pay online or print a receipt, visit our payment center at Taxpayers are encouraged to contact the tax collector’s office by email or by phone with any questions.

Pictured: The Escambia County Tax Collector office in Molino. file photo, click to enlarge.

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