Bar brawl sends two men to the hospital


Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 11:29 p.m.
A drunken argument Monday night turned into a violent brawl that sent two men to Shands at the University of Florida with serious injuries, Dixie County Sheriff Dewey Hatcher said.
Hatcher said the men, Norman Hamilton III, 39, of the Bell area, and John Missildine, 46, of Horseshoe Beach, will both likely be charged with aggravated battery in connection with the incident Monday night that occurred at a bar at the Horseshoe Beach marina.
Hatcher said he wasn't sure what started the argument, but Missildine cut Hamilton's throat during the fight, and Hamilton then severely beat Missildine in the parking lot.
The men were taken to Shands with serious injuries and later released, he said.
  • State of the art: The Columbia County Sheriff's Office has taken another step forward on its way to becoming a state-of-the-art law enforcement facility, thanks to a detective's graduation from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Analyst Academy.
    "The goal of the Analyst Academy is to establish and provide uniform training for law enforcement analysis," said Sheriff Bill Gootee. "Graduates master specific criminal and intelligence analyst skills that are used by all levels and types of law enforcement to successfully prevent crimes and conduct complicated investigations."
    Detective Debbie Svir is the first employee from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office to graduate from the academy. The skills she acquired will help her track and find sexual predators and offenders as well as other suspects through various computer records.
    "If we have a person we are looking for, Detective Svir can tap into computer records from vehicle registration, employment records, driver licenses from other states and many other computer systems," Gootee said.
  • Grain thieves: The owner of a grain mill in Columbia County can rest easier now that two men have been arrested in connection with missing grain.
    Columbia Grain owner Henry Ward told the Columbia County Sheriff's Office he has noticed grain missing over the past several months, and on Saturday, he saw an employee loading grain onto a truck without weighing it properly.
    Ward decided to follow the truck, which led him to Suwannee County, according to the Sheriff's Office. Ward then called law enforcement.
    Michael Lewis Ritch, 33, an employee at Columbia Grain, was arrested and charged with grand theft. Also arrested was Mario Alonso, 60, of Suwannee County, who was charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property.
    According to the Sheriff's Office, the two men conspired to load Alonso's truck with more than $1,400 in grain, only $160 of which was paid for. Ritch was running the mill at the time of the theft.
    "This was excellent teamwork on the part of the owner, Mr. Ward, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office," Gootee said.
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