Florida

Officials to talk to three in murders

PENSACOLA — A Panhandle couple known for adopting 13 special needs children and killed in a home invasion by masked men dressed as ninjas had helped one of the suspects open a martial arts studio, according to court records released Monday.

In an affidavit for a warrant to search the home of Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr., investigators wrote that Gonzalez told them he knew Byrd and Melanie Billings because he had received financial support from them to open a martial arts studio.

Monday’s affidavit was the first indication that the couple had financial ties with any of the men.

2 Miami firefighter treated for heat exhaustion

MIAMI — Officials say two Miami firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion after battling large cargo trailer fire.

Officials got a call of a warehouse fire Monday morning.

Authorities say it took about two hours to extinguish the blaze. One firefighter was treated at the scene and the other was taken to a hospital, where he is in stable condition.

Woman arrested with gun in her purse at airport

ST. PETERSBURG — Authorities say a 55-year-old woman has been arrested for trying to bring a handgun through a security checkpoint at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says Frances A. Fuller, of Tampa, was arrested Monday morning and charged with a misdemeanor concealed weapons permit violation, which prohibits bringing guns into an airport.

The woman, who has a concealed weapons permit, told authorities she forgot the gun was in her purse. They say she was cooperative. She was booked, then released on bail.

Snorkeler dies off Keys; second one this month

KEY WEST— An Ohio woman died Sunday morning while snorkeling with her family at Sand Key Light, becoming the second Keys snorkeling fatality this month.

According to witness reports, 58-year-old Lana Gandert from Edison, Ohio, was on a commercial snorkeling trip with Sunset Watersports about eight miles southwest of Key West. Also along were her husband and two sons.

About 10:30 a.m., one of her sons noticed she wasn’t moving in the water and found her unresponsive. She was pulled into the boat and crew members began administering CPR, says Becky Herrin, spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded and she was taken to Key West; however, she wasn’t able to be resuscitated and paramedics who met them at the dock pronounced her dead.

— Herald wire services

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