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Manhunt continues in Tice after carjacking, shooting

The manhunt continues for the gunman who shot a Lee County driver in the leg before taking off in their car.

“Deputies and ambulance and everything, they had the street blocked off,” said witness Stephan Pierce.

People who live near Tammie Lane and Glenwood Avenue in Tice say they saw the chaos after a driver was shot in the leg around Friday night. The victim’s car was then stolen by the suspect.

“I had a firearm stolen out of this car,” Pierce said.

He added that he’s leaving nothing to chance and is now taking extra precaution in his neighborhood.

“I be a little afraid at night coming out. I run to my car right quick and get in,” said Marsha Peoples.

Two miles away at Vermont Avenue and Madonna Drive, K-9s and choppers led Lee County deputies to the stolen car abandoned behind the Morse Shores shopping plaza. Once it was found, it was towed away for clues.

And still, no sign of the gunman.

“Somebody has seen something, though,” Peoples said.

Shoppers who frequent the plaza are worried knowing the shooter was last seen in the busy area.

“It makes me nervous, but I think that everybody needs to be on their guard, especially today and in this area,” said shopper Lisa Jolly.

The victim was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital for the injuries to their leg.

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Estero house fire deemed accidental

Flames erupted from a Lee County home after a fire broke out in the garage.

Neighbors there heard a loud explosion just after 3 p.m. in the Lakes of Estero community near Williams Road and Three Oaks Parkway.

An arson investigator was present at the home as firefighters tried to pinpoint what sparked the fire.

Firefighters say the woman living there had just returned from the store and was unloading groceries from her car when she started smelling smoke.

After smelling the smoke, investigators say the woman living in the home left for a bit. But after returning to the garage a short time later, she found it engulfed in flames.

A neighbor shot video of the scene showing smoke billowing from the garage almost completely covering the home.

Firefighters say she was the only one home at the time and was able to get out safely.

While a nearby palm tree did catch fire, crews extinguished the flames before they were able to spread to nearby homes.

The Estero Fire District says the fire was deemed accidental.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Estero house fire deemed accidental

Flames erupted from a Lee County home after a fire broke out in the garage.

Neighbors there heard a loud explosion just after 3 p.m. in the Lakes of Estero community near Williams Road and Three Oaks Parkway.’

An arson investigator was present at the home as firefighters tried to pinpoint what sparked this fire.

Firefighters say the woman living there had just returned from the store and was unloading groceries from her car when she started smelling smoke.

After smelling the smoke, investigators say the woman living in the home left for a bit. But after returning to the garage a short time later, she found it engulfed in flames.

A neighbor shot video of the scene showing smoke billowing from the garage almost completely covering the home.

Firefighters say she was the only one home at the time and was able to get out safely.

While a nearby palm tree did catch fire, crews extinguished the flames before they were able to spread to nearby homes.

The Estero Fire District says the fire was deemed accidental.

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Top stories of 2016

1. NWS: EF2 tornado touched down in Cape Coral

Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday, January 10, toured Cape Coral, where an estimated $5.5 million in damage had been left behind from that Saturday’s tornado.

The National Weather Service estimated the EF-2 tornado had maximum winds of 132 mph, causing significant damage to a large portion of the southwestern Cape when it touched down around 6:45 p.m. 

According to the NWS preliminary report, the tornado lasted just seven minutes and was on the ground for 3.4 miles. It damaged 178 structures, destroying one home and leaving 14 with major damage. More than 100 power poles were knocked down.

2. Collier County walloped by latest line of storms

Cleanup across Collier is the priority of the day after the National Weather Service confirmed on January 17, that damage was caused by straight-line winds similar to an EF-1 tornado.

Many in Golden Gate said the storm sounded and felt like a twister as it rolled through.

Trees, branches, and debris remain scattered across 25th Place SW and power crews said they’ll have to rewire most of the neighborhood because fallen trees took down several lines with them.

3. Good Samaritan shoots, kills suspect attacking deputy

A Good Samaritan with a concealed carry permit shot a man who was attacking a Lee County deputy on an I-75 off-ramp November 14.

Witnesses who say they saw the whole thing happen told us a deputy tried to pull over a man near the Corkscrew exit.

The suspect took off in his vehicle, reaching speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Eventually, the driver got out of his car on an off-ramp and attacked the deputy.

That’s when witnesses say a third person came over and shot the suspect, who later died.

4. Human trafficking at core of S. Fort Myers HS sex scandal

A community firestorm erupted after hearing of a 15-year-old girl having sex with boys in the bathroom at South Fort Myers High School in May.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is even involved after images of the sex acts ended up on social media. (Update: A 16-year-old student was arrested Friday and faces several charges in the case.)

A lot of people have commented and shared the story, many casting judgment about the young girl.

Her mother reached out asking us to tell her story and set the record straight.

5. Hurricane Matthew: NBC2 on Florida’s east coast as damage assessed

NBC2 had a team of reporters along Florida’s upper east coast on Friday as Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm, moved up the coast.

From Daytona Beach on down to Clewiston, more than 1 million people were without power. Cities were boarded up and shut down and curfews were enacted as the hurricane approached.

6. Fort Myers Club Blu shooting

Two teenagers died in late July in a nightclub shooting that left at least 18 others injured in Fort Myers.

The deceased victims were identified as 18-year-old Stef’an Strawder and 14-year-old Sean Archilles.

The two were at Club Blu late Sunday for a teen party when the shooting occurred.

A suspect tied to the shooting was arrested in September on drug charges.

7. Confirmed tornado strikes parts of Charlotte County

Multiple light poles knocked over, metal girder in a tree, and part of the SunTrust building’s roof in a median down the street in late February.

Such was the aftermath near Murdock Circle in Port Charlotte after significant storms rolled in off the Gulf of Mexico and wreaked havoc across several parts of Charlotte County.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornado touchdowns during the midday tumult, and Charlotte County Fire and EMS officials said there were two main areas of damage — one in the Deep Creek area of Punta Gorda and the second near US-41 and Murdock Circle.

8. New federal requirements for food stamp benefits

The unemployment rate in Florida is down, and that means some people on food stamps face new requirements to keep those benefits. The change impacts thousands of people in Lee County.

Florida received an exemption in 2009 from federal requirements that required people receiving snap benefits to engage in work-related activities. That exemption ended on January 1, and now, all able-bodied adults without kids will have to do some work to receive assistance.

9. 3 dead, including gunman, in Cape Coral shooting spree

Three people died, including the gunman, after a shooting spree in Cape Coral in early June.

The Cape Coral Police Department held a news conference to detail the deadly rampage. When asked if it was a random or planned shooting spree, Sgt. Dana Coston said that remains under investigation.

The spree spanned across three scenes – one in which witnesses said they saw 10 to 12 police cars drive down Skyline Boulevard. Seconds later, they heard between 50 and 60 shots.

10. Million-dollar drug operation busted in Bonita Springs

An 8-month investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking operation ended Thursday with seven arrests, seven vehicles impounded and more than a million dollars worth of drugs taken off the streets, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Erick Nunez-Nino, the alleged leader of the organization, was taken into custody along with Enrique Elvira-Gonzalez and other suspects the sheriff’s office considers “lower-level subjects.”

Investigators said Elvira-Gonzalez and Nunez-Nino would handle the acquisition and distribution of the drugs but would not get involved in minimal transactions, having other people act for them.

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Fort Myers police geared up for New Years festivities

The end of 2016 is Saturday night and Southwest Florida is ready to ring in the new year.

Downtown Fort Myers has many events to take part in and police are gearing up for the celebration.

We spoke with the Fort Myers Police Department who say they’ll have extra officers out downtown to help with security – in addition to the 39 cameras placed throughout the area.

The extra surveillance was installed after the shooting at ZombieCon that injured six people and left one dead.

They are recording 24/7 and feed the footage back to the police department. Police say the devices are a good deterrent against crime.

People we spoke with say they are glad to have the cameras downtown.

“Down here I definitely feel a lot safer because I come down here a lot at night sometimes,” said Ben Pisaris.

“It’s a good idea if something happens and they catch someone’s face, but other than that, I don’t think they necessarily make me feel safer,” said Chase Taylor of Fort Myers.

FMPD say they’re ready for the night and have been prepared for New Years events like this for the past 10 to 15 years.

The celebration takes place from 8 p.m. until the ball drops at midnight in downtown Fort Myers. There will also be five stages for live music, food, drinks, and local vendors. It is also free to the public.

Organizers say glowsticks are permitted, but leave your own fireworks at home.

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Fort Myers police geared up for New Years festivities

The end of 2016 is Saturday night and Southwest Florida is ready to ring in the new year.

“Starting a new year, bringing a close to 2016,” said Jared Beck with the River District Alliance, the group responsible for making the downtown countdown possible.

Downtown Fort Myers has many events to take part in and police are gearing up for the celebration.

The closer to midnight, the more the streets will fill up. The alliance says that people pack in shoulder to shoulder with an estimated 10 to 15,000 expected to attend.

With all of those people, Beck says they aren’t taking any chances when it comes to safety.

“We certainly have enhanced police protection tonight throughout the river district. We also have private security hired to be throughout,” Beck said.

We spoke with the Fort Myers Police Department who say they’ll have extra officers out downtown to help with security – in addition to the 39 cameras placed throughout the area.

The extra surveillance was installed after the shooting at ZombieCon that injured six people and left one dead.

They are recording 24/7 and feed the footage back to the police department. Police say the devices are a good deterrent against crime.

People we spoke with say they are glad to have the cameras downtown.

“Down here I definitely feel a lot safer because I come down here a lot at night sometimes,” said Ben Pisaris.

“It’s a good idea if something happens and they catch someone’s face, but other than that, I don’t think they necessarily make me feel safer,” said Chase Taylor of Fort Myers.

FMPD say they’re ready for the night and have been prepared for New Years events like this for the past 10 to 15 years.

The celebration takes place from 8 p.m. until the ball drops at midnight in downtown Fort Myers. There will also be five stages for live music, food, drinks, and local vendors. It is also free to the public.

Organizers say glowsticks are permitted, but leave your own fireworks at home.

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ABC-7 | WZVN

Child found, arrests made in drug raid at Tice motel room

Lee County deputies say a drug operation at the Palm Beach Motel in Tice put a child in harm’s way and all three people involved are in jail.

Serious charges await those suspects, including intent to sell cocaine and felony possession of a firearm.

Ivan Diaz, Otis Maldonado, and Alexis Murphy appeared in court Friday. After an undercover operation, authorities served a warrant to seize ill-gotten gains, including narcotics.

Here’s what they found:

11.0 grams of crack cocaine;
5.6 grams of marijuana;
a Lorcin;
.380 handgun;
cocaine manufacturing type drug paraphernalia;
18.8 grams of suspected Molly;
24.2 grams of suspected bath salts;
$1,218 in cash.

Investigators point to numerous complaints from the Tice community about drug deals at the motel. People are disgusted to know a child was present during this latest bust.

“That’s horrible, and I’m so sad for that poor little child,” said Terry McCauley.

Ivan Diaz, and the child’s parents, Otis Maldonado and Alexis Murphy, are in jail.

The motel manager did not want to go on camera but said he didn’t know the operation was happening. A police report reveals two suspects paid him for their room for three months.

People in Tice say they’re sick of drugs in their community.

“I want to get the hell out of here,” said McCauley. “It’s sad. Really sad.”

Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and intent to sell cocaine are just two charges the suspects face.

Murphy and Maldonado also face child neglect charges.

The Florida Department of Children and Families has been contacted in this case. ABC7 reached out to them but we have not heard back.

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Parents in uproar over pot-plant leggings for kids

Pot pants for kids?

Southwest Florida parents are smoking mad after a pair of marijuana leggings began selling on a popular online site.

A grandmother first spotted the pants after searching for kids leggings on Amazon for her granddaughter.

The seller, JTC Happy at Life, is from the U.K. and describes the pants as ‘Kids green leaf design,’ marketed for kids as young as three.

The grandmother complained to Amazon, flagging them as inappropriate for young people. The Huffington Post picked it up and now people across the country are talking about it, including drug-free groups.

“This was from Amazon. I buy from Amazon all the time and I’m always searching for kids stuff there, and it’s just crazy how that popped up,” said Natalie Peterson.

“Now kids clothes have marijuana leaves, so now who are they targeting, the kids?” asked Jennifer Harry.

ABC7 reached out to Amazon, but they have not responded. The site has said the item is not being delivered to the U.S., citing restrictions in place due to the nature of some products.

Categories
NBC-2 | WBBH

Parents in uproar over pot-plant leggings for kids

Pot pants for kids?

Southwest Florida parents are smoking mad after a pair of marijuana leggings began selling on a popular online site.

A grandmother first spotted the pants after searching for kids leggings on Amazon for her granddaughter.

The seller, JTC Happy at Life, is from the U.K. and describes the pants as ‘Kids green leaf design,’ marketed for kids as young as three.

The grandmother complained to Amazon, flagging them as inappropriate for young people. The Huffington Post picked it up and now people across the country are talking about it, including drug-free groups.

“This was from Amazon. I buy from Amazon all the time and I’m always searching for kids stuff there, and it’s just crazy how that popped up,” said Natalie Peterson.

“Now kids clothes have marijuana leaves, so now who are they targeting, the kids?” asked Jennifer Harry.

NBC2 reached out to Amazon, but they have not responded. The site has said the item is not being delivered to the U.S., citing restrictions in place due to the nature of some products.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Manhunt continues in Tice after carjacking, shooting

The manhunt continues for the gunman who shot a Lee County driver in the leg before taking off in their car.

“Deputies and ambulance and everything, they had the street blocked off,” said witness Stephan Pierce.

People who live near Tammie Lane and Glenwood Avenue in Tice say they saw the chaos after a driver was shot in the leg around Friday night. The victim’s car was then stolen by the suspect.

“I had a firearm stolen out of this car,” Pierce said.

He added that he’s leaving nothing to chance and is now taking extra precaution in his neighborhood.

“I be a little afraid at night coming out. I run to my car right quick and get in,” said Marsha Peoples.

Two miles away at Vermont Avenue and Madonna Drive, K-9s and choppers led Lee County deputies to the stolen car abandoned behind the Morse Shores shopping plaza. Once it was found, it was towed away for clues.

And still, no sign of the gunman.

“Somebody has seen something, though,” Peoples said.

Shoppers who frequent the plaza are worried knowing the shooter was last seen in the busy area.

“It makes me nervous, but I think that everybody needs to be on their guard, especially today and in this area,” said shopper Lisa Jolly.

The victim was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital for the injuries to their leg.