Latest Florida news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST


Woman accidentally shot by toddler in parked SUV

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a woman was accidentally shot by her toddler in the parking lot of a Florida shopping center. Police say one of two children in a parked SUV got hold of a gun and shot the woman. The father was present, but it wasn't clear where he was at the time of the shooting. WSVN reports that Fort Lauderdale police and fire rescue units responded. The mother was taken to a nearby hospital. She was expected to recover from her injuries.


Report faults Census Bureau for hiring sex offender in NC

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A report says the U.S. Census Bureau didn't follow its guidelines when it hired a registered sex offender in North Carolina last year. The Inspector General's report was made public Thursday. It says the hiring and promotion of the man in the Charlotte office raises questions about the agency's judgment. The man had disclosed his prior arrest, and fingerprint results showed his 2013 conviction for sexual misconduct with a child. But a bureau employment staffer never followed up on those red flags, and neither did an investigative supervisor. The Census Bureau didn't respond to an email seeking comment.


$103 million settlement approved for bridge collapse victims

MIAMI (AP) — The families of six people killed, along with 10 people injured, when a bridge collapsed at a Miami university are set to receive a nearly $103 million settlement. A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Miami approved a reorganization plan Thursday for Magnum Construction Management, formerly known as Munilla Construction Management, that includes the settlement. The plan will go into effect Dec. 28, and the settlement should be split up by next month. A pedestrian bridge that was being built at Florida International University collapsed and crushed eight vehicles in March 2018. The National Transportation Safety Board issued a final report last month blaming design problems and inadequate oversight.


New Jersey attackers linked to anti-Semitic fringe movement

The deadly rampage at a New Jersey kosher market has cast a spotlight on a fringe movement known for its anti-Semitic strain of street preaching. Investigators believe the man and woman who killed three people at the Jersey City market and gunned down a police officer at a cemetery hated Jews and law enforcement and had expressed interest in the Black Hebrew Israelites movement. However, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Thursday that authorities haven't “definitively established” any formal links between the attackers and any groups. Many Black Hebrew Israelites subscribe to an extreme set of anti-Semitic beliefs. Those followers view themselves as the true “chosen people."


Hallandale Beach mayor reinstated after acquittal by jury

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has reinstated Joy Cooper as mayor of Hallandale Beach, weeks after a jury acquitted her of accepting illegal campaign contributions. Cooper was reinstated Thursday. She was arrested in a corruption sting in January 2018 and removed from office by then-Gov. Rick Scott. The city's attorney says Cooper will be owed back pay and taxpayers could be on the hook for her legal fees. Voters elected a new mayor Joy Adams to serve until either Cooper was reinstated or the term runs out in November 2020. Cooper will run the next commission meeting on Dec. 18.


Judge recommends Georgia prevail in water war with Florida

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A federal judge is recommending that Georgia prevail in a longstanding legal battle with Florida over water use from rivers shared by the states. U.S. Circuit Judge Paul Kelly Jr. ruled Wednesday that Florida failed to prove harm from Georgia's consumption from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin that flows from north of Atlanta to the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Supreme Court appointed the judge to review the case and will decide whether to accept his recommendation. Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein says state officials are “extremely disappointed.” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp applauded the ruling.


Black bears in Florida to remain off limits to hunters

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Black bears in Florida will continue to be off limits to hunters. The bears used to number only in the low hundreds and were once declared a threatened species in the 1970s. But since then, their numbers have exploded, and there are now about 4,000 of the animals roaming the state. The population explosion has been a concern. Commissioners adopted a 10-year management plan Wednesday that they say takes a scientific approach in controlling the rising numbers. For now, though, that plan won't include hunting _ although commissioners say the matter may be revisited.


'Turf wars' alarm Florida panel probing Parkland shooting

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida grand jury looking into last year's Parkland school shooting says systemic problems continue to plague schools and local law enforcement. The statewide grand jury in a report released late Wednesday says continued squabbling over jurisdiction, financing and other "turf wars" could hamper the response to another crisis. In its report, the grand jury says the matter was urgent enough that it chose not to wait until the end of its term to speak. Shortly after taking office, Gov. Ron DeSantis requested that the Florida Supreme Court convene a statewide grand jury to look into school safety.


Naval Academy to honor shooting victims at Army-Navy game

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Academy will honor the victims in last week's shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola during the Army-Navy football game. Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson was a recent academy graduate. Airmen Mohammed Haitham and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters also will be honored at the game Saturday in Philadelphia. Watson's shipmates from the academy's 10th Company will wear red, white and blue ribbons pinned to their lapels. Navy defensive co-captain Nizaire Cromartie will wear a memorial patch from the Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, Florida, where the three men were assigned. Academy leaders and midshipmen will wear NASC patches from flight suits of Watson's Pensacola classmates.


PGA golfer arrested in Florida prostitution sting

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — A professional golfer was one of 124 people arrested in Florida in a prostitution and human-trafficking sting. Tommy “Two Gloves" Gainey was arrested Sunday and charged with first-degree misdemeanor solicitation. The Polk County Sheriff's Office says Gainey was arrested in an undercover sting called “Operation Santa's Naughty List," which lasted six days. County Sheriff Grady Judd says the South Carolina native was in Florida for a charity golf event. Gainey joined the PGA tour in 2008. He's known for wearing two gloves, hence the nickname. It's unclear whether Gainey has an attorney.