Around the Region for Jan. 19, 2011

Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 10:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 10:54 p.m.


Officials: Woman swung fry pan

A Starke woman is accused of arguing with a man with whom she had been drinking and trying to hit him on the head with a frying pan before she was removed from his home.

Alachua County sheriff’s investigators said the woman then returned to the home in a pickup and fired three shots at the man from a .12-gauge shotgun, hitting him once in the right triceps.

Jessica Ann Howard Fletcher, 29, of 1520 SE 151st St. in Starke, was arrested on a warrant early Tuesday charging her with aggravated battery and discharging a gun from a vehicle. According to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the incidents happened Nov. 23 at a home in Newberry.

Fletcher was booked into the Alachua County jail on a $250,000 bond.

— Karen Voyles

Man fires rifle at deputy by accident

A Dixie County man was hospitalized after he apparently fired a rifle through an exterior wall of his home, narrowly missing a deputy.

The incident began around 5:20 a.m. when the 25-year-old man called the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office to report that someone had broken into his home on Southwest 10th Street and was in the bathroom, deputies said.

The first deputies to reach the home said they were on the phone with the man and told him they were outside his home checking the perimeter. Deputy Ricky Downing said he was near the southwest corner of the home when the resident fired the rifle shot, nearly hitting him.

Sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Scott Harden said it took about an hour to convince the man to put down the rifle and walk out the front door.

Harden said it appeared the man was suffering from a mental or emotional episode and that he “had mistaken a drapery from the bathroom as an intruder.”

— Karen Voyles

Vehicles, tools taken at business

Two vehicles and a large collection of hand tools were apparently taken during a burglary of a business in High Springs over the weekend.

The High Springs Police Department said Tuesday it is currently investigating the apparent theft of an SUV and truck and many mechanic-grade hand tools from Southern Specialty Equipment Inc. sometime between Saturday and Monday.

The owner of Southern Specialty called police Monday morning to report that someone had cut the lock to the business’ perimeter fence and entered the business, located at 26003 W. Highway 27.

Aside from apparently taking a 1999 blue 4-door Chevy Tahoe and a 2004 black C5500 Chevrolet 4-door diesel truck with Southern Specialty Equipment decals on both doors, the burglar took approximately $28,000 in power tools, battery chargers, and hand tools, most of which are Craftsman brand, according to High Springs police.

Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to contact High Springs police Lt. Bill Benck at 386-454-7535 or Officer Dustyn Shenk at 386-454-1415.

Callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest by calling Crime Stoppers at 352-372-7867 (STOP).

— Staff report


Lowe to meet with representatives

Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe will be meeting with local congressional representatives Wednesday in Washington, where he will be through the weekend for a meeting of the U.S. Congress of Mayors.

Lowe is scheduled to meet with Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, and will present them with the city’s legislative priorities, city spokesman Bob Woods said.

More than 200 mayors from around the country will be attending the conference, where some members of Congress and President Barack Obama’s Cabinet will speak on a range of topics.

On Thursday morning, Lowe and a number of other mayors will meet Obama in the White House. Lowe will also attend meetings of the Mayors Innovation Project, a mayors’ network focused on sustainability and “efficient democratic government,” in the capital on Friday and Saturday.

— Chad Smith

Cell towers will not go to vote today

Applications to construct two cell towers will not go to a vote of the Alachua County’s advisory Planning Commission today, according to the Growth Management Department.

Jacksonville firm TowerCom has requested a deferral until the Feb. 16 meeting for its application to build a 199-foot-high tower with Sprint as an anchor tenant on a nearly seven-acre homestead at 14806 NW 36th Ave., senior planner Missy Daniels said.

A T-Mobile application to construct a 130-foot tower at the Tower Road Branch Library, 3020 SW 75th St., was not placed on the agenda. It’s unclear when that will go to the advisory board. Both applications would then have to go to the County Commission.

— Christopher Curry


Deputy shot, killed dog during attack

PALM HARBOR — A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a pit bull that attacked a drug suspect’s girlfriend.

Deputies had just arrested Michael P. Walker and were leading him to the patrol car Monday night when they heard growling and yelling inside the house. Walker told deputies it sounded like his dog was attacking his girlfriend.

When Deputy Christopher Brady went inside the home, he found the dog attacking the woman. He tried to distract the dog, but it started attacking him. Brady then shot the dog, which died at the scene.

— The Associated Press

Trial set for man accused of killings

WEST PALM BEACH — A judge set the trial date for a man accused of fatally shooting four relatives at a South Florida Thanksgiving gathering in 2009.

A judge on Tuesday set the date for Paul Michael Merhige’s trial for Aug. 8. The trial is expected to last five weeks.

— The Associated Press

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