November 22, 2014
William Jonathan Ammons of Perdido was pronounced deceased following the 5 a.m. crash on Baldwin County Road 47, near Perdido Elementary School. According to Alabama State Troopers, Ammons lost control of his 2007 Honda Civic, left the roadway, struck a culvert and collided with a tree.
There were no passengers in the vehicle.
Pictured top and below: A 2007 Honda Civic after being removed from a wooded area Friday morning in a fatal Perdido, AL, crash. Pictured inset: The vehicle still in the wooded area. Reader submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
November 22, 2014
Authorities across the Gulf Coast are on alert for 27-year old man wanted in connection with an armed robbery Thursday in Baldwin County, AL.
William “Jake” McMillian of Bay Minette was identified on surveillance video as the suspect who robbed the Lillian Pharmacy at gunpoint, demanding all of the store’s hydrocodone. The suspect fled the store in charcoal gray Ford pickup truck after getting 1,700 hydrocodone pills during the robbery.
A short time before the robbery, he allegedly took an undisclosed amount of cash from a register and safe from his workplace, the Las Vegas Discount Golf & Tennis at Tanger Outlets in Foley.
McMillian is wanted for first degree armed robbery and theft. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office at (251) 937-0202 or their nearest law enforcement agency.
November 21, 2014
A shooting death Friday afternoon in Beulah was an act of domestic violence, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies responded to the 7500 block of Mobile Highway, near Beulah Elementary School, to find one person deceased from an apparent gunshot wound. A “person of interest” was taken into custody at the scene.
Authorities have not released any names in the incident, and they have not revealed the relationship between the victim and the person of interest.
Beulah Elementary School was under a brief lockdown for a short time period, and Mobile Highway was closed temporarily as a result of the shooting.
Pictured: A fatal shooting occurred on Mobile Highway Friday afternoon. Photo courtesy WEAR 3 for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
November 21, 2014
Molino Park Elementary School celebrated the receipt of a $25,000 technology grant Thursday night that is allowing students to reach for the stars.
The grant from the Monsanto Fund’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program was used to purchase iPads to advance technology in implementing core standards in reading, science and math for third and fourth grade students.
Earlier this year, Molino Park turned to NorthEscambia.com to encourage local farmers to nominate and support the school’s efforts to win the grant.
“I appreciate the farmers showing their support in taking their time to nominate us as this solidifies the community spirit at Molino Park that continuously carries us,” said Principal Alice Woodward. “Farmers are the heartbeat off our community, and their actions have allowed us to continue to flourish in our endeavor to educate students.”
Molino Park also held a stargazing event Thursday night, with students creating space related crafts indoors, and heading outdoors for hands-on activities. They were able to use an iPad app to see a virtual sky map as they panned from horizon to horizon, and telescopes were set up behind the school for a closer looks at stars and planets.
Pictured top: Molino Park Elementary School was presented a symbolic $25,000 check Thursday night from the Monsanto Fund to purchase iPads. Pictured inset: The actual funds were previously received from the grant, and the iPads are already in use. Pictured below: A time lapse photo showing a group in near total darkness star gazing behind Molino Park Elementary Thursday night. Pictured below: A student uses an iPad with a star mapping application to map the night sky. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.
November 21, 2014
Trial has been delayed for on Molino murder suspect, while another suspect awaits sentencing next month.
Zachary Greer, 24, was due in court this week, but his next court appearance was continued at the prosecution’s request to late December. He is charged with first degree murder in the 2013 death of Harvey Ray Smith.
His co-defendant, 24-year old Debra Burge, has pleaded no contest in September to a lesser charge of second degree murder charge in the death of Harvey Ray Smith. She will be sentenced in December.
The body of Smith, age 43 of Pace, was found stuffed into a trunk behind a Motel 6 on Davis Highway the morning on May4, 2013. Smith had been reported missing in Santa Rosa County. Family members located his vehicle at the motel and then discovered the body.
Reports state Burge and Greer conspired to rob Smith. Burge allegedly lured Smith, her acquaintance, to her home in the 3900 block of Highway 97 in Molino. She told deputies she went inside while Smith and Greer remained outside. When she later exited the home, she found Smith on the ground of the Molino home bleeding. She told Sheriff’s investigators that Greer told her he stabbed Smith and put his body in the trunk of the car that was later driven to the Motel 6 on Davis Highway in Pensacola.
November 21, 2014
An attorney who graduated from Florida State University in 2005 was identified as the gunman who opened fire at the campus library early Thursday, injuring three people, including one critically, before he was killed by police.
But Tallahassee and university officials expressed relief that the shooting, which came as at least 450 students studied for exams shortly after midnight at Strozier Library, wasn’t a bigger tragedy.
“Mr. May was in a state of crisis,” DeLeo said. “We have not found any information at this time to indicate why he chose this morning to act, or why he chose the Strozier Library as the place for his actions. Based on all our evidence at this time, we continue to believe that Mr. May acted alone, and there is no further threat to the students, the university, the workers or the community.”
State Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican and Florida State graduate, said on Twitter that May was an FSU student senator in 2002.
“Shocked that Myron May has been identified as the FSU shooter,” Gaetz tweeted. “I knew him in undergrad. He was so kind. This is just awful for everyone.”
University police chief David Perry said two students and one university employee were shot. One was treated and released, and two were being treated at local hospitals. He said their families had been notified but their names had not been released Thursday afternoon.
Classes were canceled Thursday, but will resume Friday. Perry said Strozier Library also will re-open Friday and that university President John Thrasher and Provost Garnett Stokes would be there — along with a beefed-up police force — “to welcome our students back to having some sense of being normal in a safe environment.”
“We are going to get back to normal tomorrow,” Thrasher said during an afternoon news conference. “We’re moving ahead and continuing to pray for the victims and Florida State University, but we are going to get through this with the great family we have.”
Thrasher thanked Gov. Rick Scott, who had visited the campus that morning. He also said supportive messages poured into Tallahassee from people all over the country.
Thrasher, DeLeo, Perry and Stokes were flanked by Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, Mayor-elect Andrew Gillum, city manager Anita Favors-Thompson and Allan Bense, chairman of the FSU Board of Trustees.
Perry praised the university’s emergency response system, which enabled 55,000 people to receive notifications within five minutes of the shooting. By then, the gunman was down.
“I think it’s appropriate to note that 13 days ago, the FSU Police Department conducted active-shooter training for situations just like this,” Perry said.
The law enforcement officials said May never got further into the library than the front desk, where he shot one person, then went outside and shot two more.
May, 31, had returned to Tallahassee in recent weeks from Texas, where he graduated from the law school at Texas Tech University in 2009 and practiced law. He’d shown up twice in FSU police records, Perry said, once on suspicion of using marijuana in 2002 and as the victim of a vehicle burglary in 2003.
But a journal May kept and his recent postings on Facebook showed that “Mr. May’s sense of being and place in our community was not what most people would refer to as a normal status,” DeLeo said. “He was in a sense of crisis, and he was searching for something.”
May’s Facebook posts included a number of Bible verses, a quote from the late Black Panther Bobby Seale and, on Veterans Day, a note of gratitude for the military service of his family members.
“IS OUR GOVERNMENT VIOLATING ORDINARY CITIZENS’ RIGHTS?” he demanded Saturday on Facebook. “UNFORTUNATELY, THE ANSWER IS YES!”
On November 7, May posted a comment about FSU’s star quarterback, Jameis Winston.
“Now, either Jameis is one of the most depraved people to ever play college football or someone is really out to get this fellow,” he wrote.
Hundreds of students held a prayer circle around the fountain on Landis Green, across from the library, on Thursday morning. Many prayed. At one point, they softly sang the FSU war chant.
Christian Guya, a freshman from Naples, said the shooting had brought the campus together.
“It’s really scary, because seeing the pictures and videos that were sent to me, it could have been any of us,” Guya said.
Keanu Jackson, a freshman from Fort Pierce, said he was in his dorm when he learned of the shooting.
“People weren’t responding to messages, and you worried that it could have been them that got hurt,” he said. “It was just a tense, tense night for everybody. I didn’t get to sleep until 5 a.m.”
Gillum, who will take office Friday, said the community was “extremely fortunate that the victims were kept to such a small number.”
“Obviously, any victim is a tragedy, but you can imagine the potential for great bodily harm to so many individuals were it not for the quick response time and the courage of the students who followed good instructions,” Gillum said.
by The News Service of Florida
November 20, 2014
Ten sites in Escambia County are being considered for possible locations for a new jail, including sites in Molino and Cantonment.
The Central Booking and Detention was damaged beyond repair during a natural gas explosion following flooding on April 30, forcing the county to find temporary housing for about 600 inmates. Now, the county is vetting 10 pieces of property as possible locations for a new detention facility.
As part of that vetting process, the county is looking at the drainage and flooding potential, zoning and traffic patterns for each site.
- Highway 29, just north of Barrineau Park Road. The 195 acre parcel sits west of Highway 29 between the neighborhoods on Duxbury Avenue to the north and Weeping Willow Court and Windham Drive off Barrineau Park Road to the south.
- Central Commerce Park, Phase II off Highway 29 in Cantonment. The 181 acres is within the park, accessible from Highway 29.
- Near Highway 29 and Becks Lake Road, with likely access from Beck’s Lake Road. Reviewers have noted that alternative access would be needed because of the potential of trains to block Becks Lake Road.
- Perdido Landfill Area, accessible from Beulah Road. Future access could be expanded by exit ramps from I-10 to Beulah Road.
- Old Soccer Complex, Highway 29 and W Street. Formerly owned by the county, the site now belongs to Gulf Power
- Old Palafox and Airport Boulevard. The site fronts both roadways.
- Old Jail Site, on Leonard Street. Stormwater concerns would be addressed.
- McDonald’s Shopping Center site on West Fairfield Drive.
- Superfund site on Palafox.
- Some 68 acres north of the Superfund site in the area of Beggs Lane and Spruce Street.
Discussion on a new site are in the preliminary stages on potential sites with no timetable for a final choice.