The Bizarre World of Florida

Pregnant woman shot …. after a Facebook argument April 26, 2014

A pregnant woman is in critical condition after being shot in an argument that started on Facebook, according to Jacksonville police.

30 million Facebook usersPolice were called to the shooting in the 9100 block of Castle Boulevard in Northwest Jacksonville about noon Wednesday.

They said two women got into an argument on the social media site Tuesday night, and the pregnant woman went to the other’s home Wednesday to discuss the disagreement.

Police said the dispute turned physical, and the other woman shot the pregnant woman, Local 6 sister station WJXT-TV reported.

“I know the victim was definitely shot in the abdomen. That’s the one gun shot that I know of. That’s why the consideration and concern for the unborn child’s health,” said Homicide Sgt. Michael Paul.

Lillian Jordan said she is the shooter’s mother. She said she is just as confused about the shooting at her family’s home as anyone else.

“My son called me and I was very disturbed about this because this is not the way I was raised, and they (were) not raised like this,” said Jordan. “Somebody had to provoke my child … to do what she (did). I don’t know if she was trying to defend herself, or if they (were) trying to jump on my child, I can’t say.”

The pregnant woman was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with life-threatening injuries, and police said she and her unborn child were in surgery.

Jim Fields, a neighbor who spoke with WJXT, says he’s shocked that this happened in the neighborhood he grew up in.

“Shocked to know that. We grew up amongst one another and something like this could actually happen,” said Fields. “We try to stay in communication with a lot of the people in the neighborhood. We come back regularly to visit the neighborhood, of course I do because my mom stays here. We definitely try and keep up with them to make sure things are OK though we can’t pinpoint everything but we do our best.”

Police said the other woman was in custody but has not yet been charged. Investigators said they would determine if the shooting was the result of self-defense.

“We’re going to interview the suspect and see what the situation is and see what we have. Not jumping to any conclusions at this point. We know she was here, she was involved in the shooting, but the circumstances, we don’t know at this time,” said Sgt. Paul.

“I pray that God continues to bless the families and everyone can learn to get along. Sometimes it’s best to just walk away from the problem than to try and solve it yourself. Looks like the enemy had his way today but I’m continuing to pray for the neighborhood and the family in their time of need,” said Fields.

Police said they have not found the weapon yet.


Couple used tree in public park for target practice April 22, 2014

A man and a woman have been charged with getting drunk and shooting at a tree at G.T. Bray Park in Bradenton, according to police.

About 11:10 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to reports of gunfire at the park, 5502 33rd Ave. Drive W.

As they arrived, officers stopped a car as it was leaving the park.

Inside, they found that the driver, identified as Ian Tucker, 29, was drunk and openly carrying a gun, according to a report.

“He explained that he and his female passenger had been shooting at a tree within the park,” the report states.

Tucker and the woman, Rachelle Lacasse, 29, were each charged with openly carrying a weapon, discharging a firearm in public or on residential property and improper exhibition of a weapon.

They were released from the Manatee County jail after posting bonds totaling $1,120 each.



Off-Duty Deputy Shoots Man After Catching Couple Having Sex in Community Pool March 31, 2014

reflections+of+boca+del+marAuthorities say an off-duty deputy shot a man after a confrontation with a couple that was having sex in the pool of a Boca Raton housing complex, according to NBC affiliate WPTV.

The deputy, who lives in Reflections of Boca del Mar at 5500 Pacific Blvd, said he found the couple engaging in sexual activity, WPTV reported. He told the couple that he is a deputy and asked them to leave the premises.

Although they left reluctantly, the couple returned a short time later and the man approached the deputy, who was sitting in a lounge chair, according to WPTV.

The man was reportedly hovering over the deputy in a threatening manner, leading to a confrontation in which the man attempted to strike the deputy and the deputy opened fire.

The man is now in critical condition at Delray Medical Center, according to WPTV.

Detectives are investigating the incident, and the unnamed deputy has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol.



The man was reportedly hovering over the deputy in a threatening manner, leading to a confrontation in which the man attempted to strike the deputy and the deputy opened fire.

The man is now in critical condition at Delray Medical Center, according to WPTV.

Detectives are investigating the incident, and the unnamed deputy has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol.


Officer’s coffee break leads to bust … Man arrested in shooting of police officer’s car March 27, 2014

sfl-flduh-shooting-cops-patrol-car-20140326-001A 20-year-old Apopka man was arrested Tuesday after police said he admitted shooting up an Apopka police car at a 7-Eleven.

An anonymous tip led officers to Tyler Endsley, who told investigators he was high on Xanax and marijuana when he shot the patrol car with a 10-gauge shotgun about 4 a.m. Sunday, department spokesman Officer Ed Chittenden said.
Police arrested Endsley on charges of attempted armed robbery, use of a firearm during a felony, displaying a firearm in public and criminal mischief. They say he planned to rob the store at 1117 E. Semoran Blvd.

Security video shows someone wearing a hoodie and carrying a shotgun pacing in front of the convenience store and looking inside shortly before an Apopka police officer arrived to get coffee.

The officer heard a shot and, went back outside and found that his cruiser had been struck with shotgun pellets.

At Endsley’s home, officers found the shotgun and clothes they say he was wearing that night, Chittenden said.

Endsley pleaded no contest last year to possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana in two separate cases.


Florida looks to expand Stand Your Ground law, which will now be called the Everybody Is Fair Game law March 12, 2014

gaetzIn Florida Monday, hundreds of protesters gathered at the state capitol, demanding changes in the Stand Your Ground law. The law allows a person to use deadly force to defend himself, even if retreat is possible.

In Florida’s gun-friendly legislature, lawmakers want to allow people in fear of their lives to fire a warning shot at their attacker.

“In Florida, we believe in robust self-defense laws, it’s worked. It’s created a 42-year crime low,” said state Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Gaetz pointed to the case of Marissa Alexander. She was initially sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband.

“I’m more interested in closing a loophole where someone would be punished more for missing with a bullet than they would be for striking someone with a bullet in a self-defense circumstance,” Gaetz said.

Eleven states are considering bills to adopt or strengthen Stand Your Ground laws, but 12 states are deciding whether to weaken or repeal them.

Sybrina Fulton wants Florida’s law gone. As Trayvon Martin’s mother testified before a Florida Senate committee Monday, hundreds of protesters outside rallied in support of repealing it. George Zimmerman, a crime watch volunteer, killed Martin, claimed self defense and was acquitted of murdering the 17-year-old.

“I feel like there’s no justice in Stand Your Ground law,” Fulton told CBS News.

Asked what she thinks would happen in Florida if the law is expanded to include warning shots, Fulton said, “I think everybody is going to go out and buy guns and shoot and say, ‘OK, this is my warning shot.’ And I think it sends an awful message.”

The woman who fired a warning shot toward her husband will be retried in July because of improper jury instruction. This time, prosecutors plan to push for a sentence of 60 years.


You have to go through the zoning board for a lot of things …. but not for opening a firing range in your backyard March 7, 2014

Filed under: Bizzarre,Controversy,Dumb,Funny,Guns,Shooting,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:43 pm

Varrieur and Gordon practice their firing stance with unloaded weapons in the yard of Varrieur's home in Big Pine KeysEvery Wednesday afternoon, Doug Varrieur steps into his backyard in the Florida Keys, aims his .380 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol and fires shots that ricochet through city halls around the state.

Varrieur, 57, discovered a little-noticed part of Florida law which prohibits local governments from restricting gun rights in any way, and in December he set up a personal gun range on his property in a residential subdivision.

Neighbors were outraged by the live gunfire, but their surprise was nothing compared to that of municipal leaders, who were shocked to realize there was nothing they could do about it.

“The rational gun owners I speak to realize this is lunacy,” said Michael Ryan, the mayor of Sunrise, in southeast Florida.

Ryan, a lawyer by trade, is one of numerous city and county leaders now trying to regain some control over recreational gunfire in their communities, particularly in dense urban zones.

Palm Beach and Broward counties in south Florida have a lawsuit pending to overturn the law, noting that it forced them to rescind restrictions, for example, on taking guns into child care facilities.

But in a state known as the “Gunshine State” for its loose gun laws, few expect the Republican-dominated Florida legislature to make any changes.

“You can slice and dice it anyway you want, but there’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Rick Ramsay, the Sheriff of Monroe County, where Varrieur’s gun range is located.

Ramsay and Ryan point to the death of 69-year-old Bruce Fleming in Deltona near Orlando on Christmas morning. Fleming was struck apparently by accident by a shotgun blast from a neighbor’s property. The shooting remains under investigation.

Varrieur, an author of diet books, set up his shooting target on December 26 after he and his wife bought his-and-her pistols for Christmas, and baulked at the 70-mile round trip to the nearest commercial gun range to practice shooting.

Under Florida Statute 790, gun control is solely under state, not local, jurisdiction. The only state restriction on recreational shooting on private residential property is that the bullets cannot fly over a paved public road or an occupied dwelling, and that shots cannot be “reckless or negligent.”

Legislators in 2011 put teeth into the law by imposing a $5,000 fine and authorizing the governor to remove from office any local government official who attempts to restrict gun use.

Although nothing in the state law specifically required him to try to block errant bullets, Varrieur mounted his target on a 7 X 7-foot backstop which he installed against a 12-foot-tall shed. When he fires his weapon, Varrieur is shooting in the direction of a canal used by boaters to reach open water.

Varrieur said he stations his wife and father on the edge of the canal to warn him if a boat is coming. And he said he informs the sheriff’s department of when he will be shooting.

Recognizing that other gun owners will want to follow his lead, Varrieur now offers upon request instructions for building his backstop and his personal set of “Varrieur Range Rules,” which recommend weapons should not exceed a .357 Magnum and a ban on alcohol consumption.

“My passion is to make sure they are safe, safe, safe,” Varrieur said.

After seeing a news account about the controversy in the Keys over Varrieur’s gun range, mayor Ryan wrote in February to Governor Rick Scott asking him to explicitly promise not to exercise his authority to remove from office any local public official who imposes reasonable restrictions on target shooting in residential neighborhoods.

Scott, through his general counsel, responded, telling Ryan it would be “prudent” to wait until the Palm Beach and Broward lawsuits are resolved.

The Broward lawsuit complains that the law is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers by giving the governor the ability to remove local officials from office. Under current law, the governor is only allowed to suspend local officials.

Ramsay said he believes a shooter could be arrested if a deputy witnesses a bullet flying over his or her property lines under the “reckless or negligent” prohibition in the law. But Ramsay said he has instructed his deputies to seek legal advice before attempting an arrest.

“The irony is if someone wants to put in an addition to their home or an in-ground pool, they have to come through code enforcement and zoning. Here we can’t say anything,” Ryan said.


This is what Florida justice is really like ….. March 4, 2014

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Dumb,Sad Story,Scary,Shooting,Weird,WTF? — floridaduh @ 8:51 pm

marissa_alexander-620x412Marissa Alexander could face up to 60 years in prison when her case is retried in July, the Florida Times-Union reports. Florida state prosecutor Angela Corey announced she intends to triple Alexander’s sentence if she is able to convict her for a second time.

Alexander was initially sentenced to 20 years — three separate 20-year sentences that Alexander was ordered to serve concurrently – for firing what the defense argues was a warning shot in the direction of Rico Gray, her estranged husband, during an alleged domestic violence incident. No one was injured as a result of the single shot, which was fired into a wall. Gray has a documented history of violent abuse against Alexander, and admitted in court that he had previously threatened her life.

After sustained pressure from Alexander’s legal team and a national network of activists, the conviction was overturned, and Alexander now awaits a new trial. As the Times-Union notes, Alexander’s conviction was thrown out after the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee “ruled that Daniel made a mistake in shifting the burden to Alexander to prove she was acting in self-defense.” The defendant’s burden is only to raise a “reasonable doubt” concerning self-defense, according to Judge James H. Daniel.

Corey has said that if Alexander is convicted in July on the three counts of aggravated assault, she will request that Alexander serve the three 20-year sentences consecutively rather than concurrently.

“It’s unimaginable that a woman acting in self-defense, who injured no one, can be given what amounts to a life sentence,” Free Marissa Now spokeswoman Helen Gilbert said in a statement on the proposed sentence. “This must send chills down the spine of every woman and everyone who cares about women and every woman in an abusive relationship.”


Hunter mistakes man practicing turkey calls for a deer, shoots him twice with a high-powered rifle February 19, 2014

969039-0-20140218184430A hunter in Tampa, Fla., mistook a man practicing turkey calls for a deer Sunday night and shot him—twice—with a high-powered rifle. Amazingly, he survived, Opposing Views and the New York Times report. Clint Galentine, 37, was walking with a friend in a wildlife management area when the bullets hit him in the left side; one shot passed through his arm and broke a bone. The hunter, 43-year-old Michael Trott, rushed over and apologized as Galentine and his buddy wrapped up his arm. “I don’t know how he mistakenly thought we were animal[s],” Galentine said.

What’s more, Galentine says he saw a sign on the trail reading “Boundary Closed to Hunting”—but he overlooked the fine print that said, “access is provided at designated access points.” And Trott, 43, had the required firearm and hunting licenses, officials say. Now Galentine, who often walks the path with his 8-year-old daughter, is having trouble speaking and may have suffered permanent damage. “I do not know who enforces those rules, but it definitely needs to be stepped up,” he said. “[If] I was there with my daughter, she would not be here right now.”


Duck and cover: Grown-ups ruin kids’ hunt February 17, 2014

Filed under: Bizzarre,Controversy,Dangerous Nut,Dumb,Florida Nut,Guns,Scary,Shooting,WTF? — floridaduh @ 6:40 pm

The eight kids showed up in western Palm Beach County, ready to participate in a duck hunt restricted to those under age 16.

sfl-flduh-duck-cover-hunt-20140216-001But they ended up ducking gunfire instead of bagging birds. The four grown-ups who were supposed to help them opened fire and killed about 25 ducks before the kids had a chance to shoot.

Two Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers in plainclothes witnessed the Feb. 1 hunt.

“These four adults killed 99 percent of the roughly 25 ducks that were harvested,” states an agency report. “The youth hunters were unable to harvest the ducks because the adults would shoot them before the youths had a chance to. Several times I witnessed the youth hunters crouching down out of the way as the adults shot over their heads.”

The conservation commission issued citations to the four adults for hunting out of season. Maximum penalties are a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.


Beer prank led to …… remember, this is Florida …….. a shooting February 6, 2014

Deputies say a man chased a Jeep and fired at it after the people inside poured beer on him while he was doing yardwork near the road outside his Palm Springs home.

sfl-flduh-beer-prank-shooting-20140205-001Jose Estrada, 51, was arrested after deputies say he admitted to the shooting, which sent a bullet through the front windshield and out the passenger side window of the Jeep. He told deputies it was a “mistake,” according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

It was around noon Saturday when a 20-year-old man and a buddy drove down the 3000 block of Dolan Road and noticed Estrada using a leaf blower near the street. The driver slowed down and, as they went by the man, one of the passengers dumped a Budweiser on him.

It was a “very stupid prank,” the two later told cops, but they didn’t think it would escalate the way it did.

They were at the intersection of Dolan Road and Congress Avenue when an Expedition pulled up beside them, the report said. Estrada was inside. He asked why they threw beer at him, then pointed a gun at them.

The duo sped off, breaking traffic laws to get away from Estrada. They thought they’d lost him and headed back to the driver’s house, but ran into him again on the way there. The driver told deputies he held his hands up as he passed, and then heard a loud popping noise.

He threw the bottle of Budweiser his friend was drinking at Estrada, then hurried home, according to the report.

In his interview with deputies, Estrada, who has a concealed weapons permit, said he shot at the Jeep because he thought it was coming right for him.

Estrada is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of firing a missile into a vehicle and one count of discharging a firearm from a vehicle. County records show he was released from jail Sunday afternoon.



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