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Florida school shooting defendant in court on deputy attack

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz was back in court on charges that he attacked a corrections officer in jail. Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer heard several motions Monday but did not issue any rulings. Another hearing is set for Feb. 24. A police report says Cruz punched the corrections officer repeatedly and took the officer's stun device but did not use it. Cruz is charged with assault and battery on a law enforcement officer. He is charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.


Life sentence for crash that killed linemen after hurricane

CHIPLEY, Fla. (AP) — A man who prosecutors say was high on drugs when his pickup truck fatally struck three utility workers fixing power lines in the Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael has been sentenced to life in prison. Court records show 38-year-old John Goedtke was sentenced Monday in Florida's Washington County. He pleaded no contest last week to DUI manslaughter and other charges. Investigators say the Florida man was pulling a trailer at high speed just before he crashed his pickup truck in October 2018, striking the three workers as they were repairing lines north of Panama City.


Florida could use drones to fight pythons, invasive species

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is looking to take to the air to fight pythons on the ground. A state Senate committee approved a bill to allow two state agencies to use drones to manage and eradicate invasive plants and animals. Republican Sen. Ben Albritton said that could include identifying Burmese pythons that have become a scourge in the Everglades. The bill would create an exception to a current law that prohibits law enforcement from using drones to gather information and that bans state agencies from using drones to gather images on private land.


Florida lawmakers tackle heat strokes among student athletes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida mother is urging state lawmakers to do more to prevent student athletes from succumbing to deadly heat stroke. Laurie Giordano says her 16-year-old son, Zach Martin, died in the summer of 2017 after collapsing during football practice. She says her son would still be alive if he had received immediate help. Now, she wants lawmakers to require schools across the state to have basic equipment on hand during practices to treat heat-stroke emergencies. Since 2011, four students have died in Florida from “exertional heat stroke” — the most of any state.


Prince Andrew called uncooperative in Jeffrey Epstein probe

NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. prosecutor overseeing the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking investigation says Prince Andrew has been uncooperative in the inquiry. Speaking at a news conference outside Epstein's New York mansion, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said prosecutors and the FBI had contacted Andrew's lawyers and requested to interview him as part of the investigation. Berman said that “to date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation." Andrew announced last year that he was withdrawing from his royal duties amid renewed attention of his friendship with Epstein, and a woman's claim that she had several sexual encounters with the prince starting when she was 17. Andrew has denied any sexual contact with the woman.


Police: Elderly Florida couple die from carbon monoxide

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — An elderly Florida couple died from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning after police say they left their car running inside their garage. The New Smyrna Beach police say 93-year-old William Whitehurst and his 91-year-old wife, Dorothy, were found dead Sunday inside their home by a neighbor who went to check on them. There was no sign of trauma. An officer checked the garage and found that the car's ignition was turned to the ‘on’ position, but had run out of gas and the battery was dead. Officers said a test of the vehicle interior showed levels of carbon monoxide that would incapacitate or kill.


Florida prison guard allegedly poured bleach on inmate food

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida prison guard is charged with pouring bleach in an inmate's cup after the two argued. Twenty-eight year-old Qualesha Williams was taken into custody Saturday at Lowell Correctional Institution. According to interview with an agent for the Florida Department of Corrections, Williams admitted putting a cleaning agent into a cup, but said she would never hurt anyone. The state agency said it obtained video showing Williams arguing with the inmate earlier in the shift, telling the prisoner she had something for her. According to the report, an officer saw Williams spray bleach on a cup. It's unclear if Williams has retained an attorney to comment on the charge.


Fatal crash shuts down entrance to Tampa Airport

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A fatal car crash has closed down a highway entrance to Tampa International Airport. Tampa Police say two people died in Sunday morning's crash. The entrance to the airport from I-275 was closed for several hours and travelers were directed to an alternate route. No details about the crash were released.


Deputy shoots dog after it attacks police horse at parade

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida deputy has fatally shot a dog after it attacked a police horse following the Gasparilla parade on Saturday. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s authorities say the pit bull broke free and charged at the horses three times Saturday. The area was crowded for Tampa's annual pirate celebration and several officers were patrolling the parade on mounted horses. A deputy tried to Taser the dog but was not successful. Another deputy on horseback shot the dog when it returned and bit a second horse. Authorities said the dog's owner is homeless and was hospitalized involuntarily after the shooting for allegedly threatening deputies.


Bloomberg vows steadfast commitment to US aid for Israel

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Bloomberg is vowing not to revisit U.S. aid to Israel as he makes his case for the presidency to fellow Jewish Americans. It's an approach in contrast to several of his Democratic rivals, including Bernie Sanders, the race's other Jewish candidate. Bloomberg's remarks came in a Sunday speech in Florida aimed at Jewish Americans. His wide-ranging speech touched on acts of violence against Jews, criticism of President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, and Bloomberg's own vow for a strong defense of Israel.