TAMPA — The FBI is offering $20,000 for information leading to the recovery of the handgun used to kill two police officers and a third victim.
FBI agents in Tampa said Thursday the same gun, using .38-caliber bullets, was used in the June 29 fatal shootings of police Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab and the May 18 killing of 21-year-old Derek Anderson.
Dontae Morris has been arrested in connection with the homicides. He pleaded not guilty Thursday to first-degree murder.
The FBI asks anyone with information to contact the Tampa FBI office at (813) 253-1000. Tips can be anonymous.
Ruling means new legal hurdles for smokers
MIAMI — An appeals court ruling has set new legal hurdles for 4,400 federal lawsuits pitting Florida smokers or their survivors against cigarette companies.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision Thursday could sharply limit whether juries must accept as fact in each case that tobacco companies sold dangerous products and hid smoking risks from the public.
The Florida Supreme Court decided in 2006 that smokers wouldn’t have to prove those facts in individual cases when it tossed out a record $145 billion class action damage award in favor of separate trials. Smokers instead must prove an addiction to cigarettes, fault and damages owed.
Underwater photographer Wesley Skiles dies
WEST PALM BEACH — Wesley Skiles, a well-known underwater photographer, cinematographer and explorer, has died.
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office on Thursday said Skiles, 52, died the day before while on a dive.
Authorities say Skiles motioned to one of his divers that he was ascending because he was out of film. Several minutes later they saw Skiles’ body lying motionless on the ocean floor.
They rushed him to the surface and administered CPR. He was transported to a hospital and pronounced deceased.
Cocoa man, woman critical after son stabs them
COCOA — A Cocoa man and his wife are in critical condition after their son stabbed them during a fight.
Authorities say the man stabbed his parents Thursday and was arrested in Manning, S.C.
Investigators said the son and father were arguing shortly after midnight. At some point, he became enraged, grabbed a knife and stabbed his father multiple times. Authorities say his mother stepped in to stop her son and he stabbed her as well.
Troubled past at home where boys found with body
BUNNELL — Sheriff’s deputies were called 52 times in two years to the central Florida home of a man who was found dead with his three boys alone with the body for two days.
Flagler County sheriff’s deputies found 24-year-old John Jason Uriarte lying on a mattress this week. His 3-year-old son — one of a set of twins — was curled up next to him. Uriarte and his wife were separated and had a tumultuous past.
In 2008, a man told deputies he was baby-sitting when one of the babies fell out of bed. Doctors said the baby — the twin beside his father’s body — suffered brain damage caused by shaken baby syndrome. He has been charged with child abuse.
Man arrested with his own handcuffs
PORT RICHEY — A Pasco County man was arrested with his own handcuffs after flagging down a deputy to help get them off.
The sheriff’s office reports 25-year-old Shawn Martines chased down a patrol car on his bike Tuesday night, hoping the deputy would take off the cuffs.
Martines told the deputy he allowed a woman to put the cuffs on him, thinking they were fake. Besides being real, the woman didn’t have a key. Martines apparently picked one cuff but then went for help with the second.
Before uncuffing Martines, the deputy asked to pat the man down for weapons. That’s when the deputy reportedly found a hypodermic needle and nine Xanax pills.
The deputy then put the loose cuff back on Martines’ free wrist and took him to jail on drug charges.
— Herald wire services