News Update for 07/08/24

An investigation into a domestic violence battery case by the Polk County Sheriff’s office involving deputy sheriff Anthony Martinez, has resulted in an arrest. Two female victims were identified in the investigation. One of the victims contacted PSCO on July 3rd and reported several incidents. Martinez was then interviewed and admitted to several of the allegations. Martinez has been charged with 6 counts of DV Simple Battery, 2 counts of DV False Imprisonment, 1 count of Culpable Negligence, 3 counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and 2 counts of Improper Exhibition of a Firearm. Upon his arrest, Martinez resigned.

One person is dead and two others are hurt after an argument in a nightclub turned violent in Manatee County. The three were shot yesterday morning in Bradenton on 14th Street West outside the Touch of Class Lounge. The sheriff’s office says a 30-year-old man died at the scene. A man and a woman were also shot, but both are expected to survive. No arrest has been announced, but deputies say they have identified persons of interest.

A second person has been bitten by a shark in the waters off Florida’s New Smyrna Beach. Officials say a 26-year-old man was in an inner tube in about five feet of water late Friday afternoon when a shark bit his foot. The man’s injuries were non-life-threatening. It was the second shark bite within 24 hours at New Smyrna Beach. Elsewhere, swimmers were sent rushing to get out of the water at South Padre Island along the Southeast Texas coast on the Fourth of July. Texas Parks and Wildlife officials say two people were bitten there and two others had serious encounters with what is believed to have been a bull shark.

Beryl is now a Category-1 hurricane as it moves closer to making landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas. With winds around 75 miles-per-hour, Beryl is expected to make landfall today. Winds are expected to intensify before the storm reaches land. The National Hurricane Center says that dangerous storm surge, flash flooding and strong winds can be expected. Forecasters say Beryl will turn northeastward and move farther inland over eastern Texas and Arkansas late today and Tuesday.

Firefighters are credited with rescuing two pets in Tampa. A fire started yesterday afternoon in Tampa Heights at on North Morgan Street. Tampa Fire Rescue believes the fire started in a shed and spread to two homes. Firefighters rescued two cats from one of the homes and put out the fire in 15 minutes. No one was hurt. There’s no word on how the fire started.

Divers in South Florida are keeping an eye out for an invasive species. Pulse coral has been found in the Caribbean off Cuba, and scientists at the University of Florida are worried it could already be off our coast. The species can reproduce quickly and wipe out seagrass beds, mangroves and native coral reefs. Ana Zangroniz is a Miami-Dade County Florida Sea Grant Extension agent, and she says there are also economic concerns. She says Florida’s Coral Reef generates 60-thousand jobs, two billion dollars in local income, and we need all eyes underwater to be on the lookout for this invader.

Orlando is coming off a historically hot day. The city reached a high of 97 degrees yesterday. That ties the record set in 1969. Today could be just as hot. The National Weather Service expects a high of 96 and heat index values as high as 108. Meanwhile, Heat Advisories have been posted for South and North Florida today.

A viral moment has a Tampa Bay Rays ballboy heading to the Major League Baseball All Star Game. Braden Coles achieved internet fame in March when he made a diving stop of a ground ball hit toward the Rays bullpen down the right-field line at Tropicana Field. As a result, the 20-year-old was invited to be part of the All Star Game ballboy crew in Arlington, Texas next Tuesday.