Anniversary event will honor victims of Pulse massacre

This memorial to the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre was set up at Orlando’s Lake Eola Park last June. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

ORLANDO – A little more than a year after a devastating shooting massacre at a gay nightclub claimed the lives of 49 people, the City of Orlando and Orange County Government will organize a special event to bring the community together in remembrance of the victims.
Orlando United Day – A Day of Love and Kindness will begin with a dedication ceremony on Monday, June 12 at the Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando. This event, which the city and county governments are doing in collaboration with Pulse, the nightclub that was the scene of the deadly shooting, will start with a formal dedication to the memory and honor of the 49 innocent lives taken at Pulse.
There will also be a strong spiritual element to the day’s events.
The office of Mayor Buddy Dyer also noted that this event “reaffirms the community’s commitment to survivors and loved ones, as well as recognizes the global compassion and love displayed in the wake of the tragedy.”
On June 12 2016, a 29-year-old security guard from South Florida, Omar Mateen, went to Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando’s Sodo neighborhood, and shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. Mateen was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department officers after a three-hour standoff. Continue reading

Facebook post leads to teen’s arrest on theft charges

Aaron Atkinson, 16, was arrested and charged with grand theft of a firearm after he posted this photo on his Facebook page. (Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.)

BARTOW – While social media sites like Facebook have enabled businesses to find new clients, artists to introduce their work to a larger audience, and charitable organizations to raise money, experts have long warned people, particularly teens, to be careful about what they post.
That turned out to be smart advice that Aaron Atkinson, 16, of Bartow, should have followed. On March 10, the Bartow teen was arrested by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and charged with armed burglary, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and grand theft of a firearm.
His arrest was directly linked to a photo that Atkinson posted on Facebook showing himself holding a gun – the same firearm that the sheriff’s office was searching for after it had been reported stolen from the victim’s car when it was parked in her driveway.
The sheriff’s office noted that after Atkinson posted the photo of the stolen gun on Facebook, one of his friends commented that he was “doing too much on Facebook” and the “polk sheriff” would be on his tail.
Atkinson replied, “[expletive] ’em”.
In her report on the arrest, Carrie Horstman, the public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, noted that detectives say that on the evening of March 9, Atkinson approached a 2016 Nissan Rogue parked in a driveway in Lakeland. He was there with another teen, later identified by the sheriff’s office as Raven Scott, 16, who stayed nearby on his bicycle. Continue reading

FDLE urging public to “Say something”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is relaunching a major public safety campaign to combat terrorism.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is relaunching a major public safety campaign to combat terrorism.

TALLAHASSEE – If there was a generational code that kids have traditionally employed throughout elementary school, it’s not to be a snitch and tattle to the teacher against your own classmates.
But for children and adults alike, the state’s top law enforcement agency is urging quite the opposite these days. If fact, they want all Florida residents to become snitches as often as possible.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement just announced that it would relaunch the four-year-old public awareness campaign known as “If You See Something, Say Something” – in response to the very high profile and brutal terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernadino, Calif.
Originally launched in 2011, the campaign is designed to encourage residents to quickly report anything that they believe could be be suspicious or potentially dangerous behavior. Continue reading

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