<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - South Florida News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Sat, 23 Aug 2014 03:37:31 -0400 Sat, 23 Aug 2014 03:37:31 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[3 Teens Injured After Being Hit by Car in Doral]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:25:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/teens+hit+by+car.jpg

Three teenagers were struck by a car, leaving two seriously injured.

Witnesses said the three teens were driving in a Volkswagen when they stopped and got out of the car at the corner of 117th Avenue and Northwest 59th Street in Doral Friday night. A short while later, they were hit by a Honda.

The teens were taken to Kendall Regional Hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, the driver of the Honda remained on scene and is cooperating with investigators.

No further details were immediately available.

Stay with NBC6.com for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[CrossFit Competition Takes Over Sunrise]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 22:45:44 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/crossfit3.jpg

The Crush Games are back: bigger and badder than ever!

The fourth annual event runs through Sunday at the BB&T Center.

More than 1,000 of the nations top athletes will be competing this weekend for a three-day long battle, testing their physical and mental stamina.

The trending fitness program is a strength and conditioning regimen at many police academies and tactical operations teams. CrossFit's mission is to fuel a revolution in fitness with a varied, intense, functional exercise program.

Tickets are now on sale at the BB&T Center's box office. $25 gets you a weekend pass. $15 for a day pass. The competition starts at 8:15 a.m. and runs through 6 p.m. each day.

<![CDATA[Woman Sues Mental Health Facility After Brother's Death]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:04:44 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/morris+celnikier.jpg

A South Florida woman is suing a mental health facility in Pembroke Pines after she says her brother died from injuries sustained while he was supposed to be under the watch of a caregiver.

Vivian Mechaber said her 62-year-old brother Morris Celnikier, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was left unsupervised in a locked room at South Florida State Hospital in December of last year. Celnikier died just four months later, and his sister claims his death was caused by injuries sustained in the 40 minutes he was left alone.

In video footage obtained exclusively by NBC 6 investigator Willard Shepard, Celnikier can be seen falling and hitting his head several times, banging on the walls, and apparently looking for some way out the locked room.

"I'm flabbergasted," Mechaber said. "He was in such a weak condition. This weakened him even more."

In the video, Celnikier can be seen pulling the mattress off his stationary bed and attempting to move the bed.

"When I saw him in that little four-by-six, knocking [on] the doors and trying to climb for help from the windows, it was terrible," Mechaber said.

She said four days went by before her brother was taken to Memorial Hospital in Hollywood for treatment.

According to the lawsuit filed by Mechaber against GEO Care, LLC, Celnikier was treated for multiple spine fractures. The lawsuit also alleges that while Celnikier was at South Florida State Hospital, he was physically battered. It says he was "manhandled, pushed into others and pulled around by his clothing."

"It's sad. This is something that cannot happen," said Mechaber's lawyer Paul Layne. "What we are looking here is just a total breakdown in the procedures and the performance and duties by multiple employees."

Celnikier never returned to the privately-owned South Florida State Hospital, where he had been staying since September 2012. Instead, he went to other rehabilitation facilities and died shortly after.

One of South Florida State Hospital's employees, Debra Judge-Thomas was charged with neglect and abuse of an elderly person following the December incident, but has said she is not guilty. It is unclear if she has an attorney.

In a statement, a South Florida State Hospital spokesperson said:

"GEO Care has always been committed to providing high quality mental healthcare to the persons served in our facilities. Our company's facilities strictly abide by contractual and regulatory requirements and adhere to leading industry standards set by independent accreditation entities, including The Joint Commission. As a matter of policy, our company is unable to comment on specific litigation or personnel related matters."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

<![CDATA[Miami Journalist's Life Remains on the Line]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:03:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/steven+sotloff.jpg Miami Journalist Steven Sotloff's life is on the line after being featured in a video released Tuesday that shows the beheading of a man believed to be freelance journalist James Wright Foley. NBC 6's Steve Litz reports.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Shooting Investigation Near Carol City High]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:50:07 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000014318690_1200x675_321126467894.jpg Police are investigating a shooting that happened near Carol City High School in Miami Gardens. NBC 6's Justin Finch reports.]]> <![CDATA[Is Florida Prepaid the Best College Savings Plan?]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:54:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tuition1023999jpg_bim.jpg

The price of a four-year Florida Prepaid college tuition plan is going down.

The plan is down to $35,000 from $54,000 after a new law passed the state legislature just a couple of months ago. Now, families will pay $250 per month instead of $350.

"Affordability is an issue for our families," said Albert Collazo, Florida Prepaid spokesman.

To Casandra Perez, the Florida Prepaid Plan is worth it. Like many parents, Perez and her husband opened a Florida Prepaid account to pay for their 2-year-old daughter Eva's college education before she was even born.

They said they chose to place $250 per month into a Prepaid plan over opening a private 529 investment plan because they feel more secure with it.

"Knowing that the 529 basically goes with how the economy's doing, we didn't want to risk it, just in case," Perez said. "We're dead set on having money aside, no matter what happens otherwise in our lives."

But is Florida's Prepaid program the best option to save for college? Financial adviser Sebastian Guerra said private investment accounts are better. Although there's more risk, Guerra said, they can earn a higher investment return and they don't restrict children to Florida schools.

"How many of them decide not to go to school at all or get accepted to a great school like Harvard?" Guerra said. "Those things are limited once you choose one of these paths."

Guerra said that if families put equal amounts into a Florida Prepaid account and a mutual fund that earns an average return, the mutual fund investment would be worth about $90,000 over 18 years.

Student Daniel Amador said he learned about the limitations of the Florida Prepaid Plan after a year at the University of West Virginia. He returned to South Florida to study at Florida International University because the Prepaid Plan takes care of his bills at the state university.

"I don't have that constant pressure of having to work one, maybe two jobs just to be able to pay for rent or for books or anything else related to school," Amador said.

One undeniable advantage of the Florida Prepaid Plan is that it guarantees that families pay today's tuition rates, even if a child isn't going to college for another 17 years, when the cost of four years of tuition at a state school is expected to be about $78,000.

"We're just happy that it's locking in today's rate, because we know obviously that prices are going to go up," Perez said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Mayor Calls for Officer Body Cameras]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:54:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Richland+Police+Cameras.jpg

In light of the recent police-involved shootings in Ferguson, Mo., Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez is calling for all county police officers to wear body cameras on the job.

The mayor says he's ordering 500 cameras that would attach to a pair of sunglasses for his patrol officers.

"The body cam is a way to assure that there's confidence in the police department, that if they had been wearing a body cam say in the incident that happened in Missouri, there would be no debate to what exactly happened," Gimenez said.

Earlier this month, a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, sparking protests across the St. Louis suburb. The death remains under investigation.

Gimenez said some Miami-Dade officers have already been testing out different types of body cameras, but not everyone is sold on the idea.

John Rivera, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said the association is concerned over officer safety while using the cameras.

"Can the cord choke an officer? How many seconds is it going to take to activate? Because we've known for many years statistically that an officer can get killed within a one or two second period of time," Rivera said.

Rivera questioned whether now is the time to spend dwindling budget dollars on what he calls a "trinket."

"There's other pressing issues, like for example, they've spent millions of dollars on our radio systems, and they are malfunctioning," Rivera said. "Why don't we fix that first before we go onto another project?"

Gimenez said he hopes to use grant money to pay the $1 million cost to buy the cameras. Otherwise, it will come out of next year's budget.

"It has ramifications in terms of actually saving money in the end because it could lead to faster conviction times," he said.

The mayor said he eventually wants every patrol officer in the county to have a body camera.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[1,000-Foot Tower Decision on Tuesday Ballot]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:48:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/miami+skyrise+tower.jpg

While City of Miami commissioners have approved a deal to construct a 1,000-foot tower at Bayside Marketplace, the final decision will go before Miami-Dade voters Tuesday.

The City of Miami currently has 46 years left on an existing lease with Bayside. If approved, the referendum would allow for the construction of the SkyRise Miami tower, plus extend the lease with Bayside to 99 years, bringing in at least $10 million to the city upfront.

"By approving this, the amount of revenue that the city will be receiving will be a lot more," said Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo.

Bayside operators have also committed to $27 million in renovations, and both Bayside and SkyRise Miami developers have agreed to give $40 million to the Liberty City trust.

Developer Jeff Berkowitz plans for the SkyRise tower to include three observation decks, a restaurant and theme park-style rides.

"It will be the iconic symbol of the new Miami," Berkowitz said.

But some don't like the idea of an entertainment center on public property.

"This is another exclusive intrusion into public space and Miami has too many of them as far as I'm concerned," said Greg Bush, Vice President of the Urban Environment League.

Others, like architect Charles Corda who filed a lawsuit against the city last month, feel the Bayside lease and the SkyRise project should have been placed on two separate ballot questions.

Polls officially open Tuesday at 7 a.m., but Miami residents can vote early through Saturday. For early voting locations, click here.

Photo Credit: Arquitectonica]]>
<![CDATA[Man Beat 'Possessed' Roommate, Killed Cat: Police]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:44:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082214+joshua+diaz.jpg

A Miami man was arrested after he killed a cat and attacked his elderly roommate, police said.

Joshua Diaz, 24, is facing charges of animal cruelty, battery and battery on a person over 65 following his arrest late Thursday, Miami-Dade Police said.

Diaz was being held on $5,000 bond Friday and it was unknown if he has an attorney.

According to an arrest report, Diaz choked 72-year-old Elanor Wallace, his roommate, on Monday causing her to lose consciousness for a couple of minutes. When the woman woke up, Diaz was on top of her trying to wake her up, the report said.

Diaz told the woman if she called police he would kill her, the report said.

"He told me, 'If you cry... If I see even a tear or fear in your eyes, I will kill you right now,'" Wallace said.

Diaz later admitted to killing the cat, saying he did so because it scratched his head, the report said. The cat's body was found in a bag in a trash can, the report said.

He was also asked by officers if he had attacked his roommate.

"[Diaz] stated he did not, but believed that the victim was possessed," the report said.

A judge told Diaz in bond court he could not continue living with Wallace. When Diaz said he could stay with his uncle, the judge asked, "Your uncle doesn't have any cats, does he?"

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Woman's Car Firebombed: Miami-Dade Police]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:32:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082214+miami-dade+car+arson.jpg

Miami-Dade Police are investigating the firebombing of a woman's car that was caught on camera.

The incident happened back on July 5 in the 11700 block of Southwest 15th Street, Miami-Dade Police said Friday.

According to police the victim, 29-year-old Yannis Tapanes, was staying at her sister's house when she heard a car alarm and looked outside and saw her car engulfed in flames.

Family members were able to extinguish the fire, and no one was injured. The car was a complete loss.

Police reviewed surveillance footage and saw two suspects toss and incendiary device at the car and fleeing from the scene.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Police]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Found Shot, Stuffed in Bag in Key Largo]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:10:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082214+dog+found+key+largo.jpg

Authorities are investigating the case of a dog that had to be euthanized after it was found stuffed in a plastic bag with a possible gunshot wound to the head in Key Largo.

The dog, a female pit bull, was found along Gun Club Road early on the morning of July 22, Humane Animal Care Coalition's Marsha Garrettson said.

In addition to the possible gunshot wound, the dog had puncture marks and had it's mouth muzzled with tape, Garrettson said. The man who found her, Daniel Rossler, removed her from the bag and took the tape off her mouth, Garrettson said.

Garrettson was called to the scene by Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies and found the dog lethargic but said it was eating and drinking.

After assessing her head injuries, the dog had to be euthanized, Garrettson said.

"The injuries were so severe that the dog couldn't be saved," she said.

Garrettson said it's likely the pit bull was used in dog fighting and had been shot after it was injured.

"It doesn't look like it was cared for, it doesn't look like somebody's pet," Garrettson said.

The Humane Animal Care Coalition is working with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office to investigate the case, but so far there are no eyewitnesses and no suspects.

"It's a shame that people do that to animals," Garrettson said. "They can't speak for themselves, we're their voice."

Photo Credit: Daniel Rossler]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade County Breaks Ground on New Animal Shelter]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:00:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Animal+shelter+dog.jpg

Miami-Dade County broke ground Friday on a new animal shelter in Doral, with the goal of easing frequent overcrowding.

Construction is set to begin shortly at the site of the new shelter at 3652 NW 79th Avenue. The new location will be 70,000 square feet, double the size of the current 50-year-old shelter in Medley.

The new Animal Services shelter will feature an adoption center, improved clinic facilities, and quarantine areas to protect animals and prevent the spread of disease. The larger size will provide increased capacity for dogs and cats, and could help the county get closer to its goal of becoming a no-kill facility.

“My administration has made it a top priority to ensure that we all work together to make this new Animal Shelter a reality for our community,” said Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “Today, we celebrate the long-awaited groundbreaking as another milestone toward our common goal of a No-Kill community and improving the conditions for all the animals that we are placed in our care.”

Every year, Miami-Dade Animal Services provides care for more than 27,000 homeless dogs and cats.

Photo Credit: NBC Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds Turn Out for Free Food Giveaway in Miami]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:47:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082214+farm+share+free+food+giveaway.jpg

Hundreds of people waited in line in Miami Friday to receive a free food package worth $100.

People got a little thirsty while waiting in the heat for a few hours but for these men and woman, it was well worth it for $100 dollars’ worth of fresh free food.

Luckily the parking lot is pretty big at the Central Shopping plaza on Northwest 7th street, after the turnout was more than expected.

Though event sponsors Farm Share and City of Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez came prepared.

"It says that’s it a wonderful event but at the same time it also says there’s a tremendous amount of need in our city and community we are a poor city….to make these things happen," Suarez said.

No one knows the need for these fresh vegetables, juices and foods like Juanita Alvarez, nor are they more deserving.

"I retired from the military after 25 years as a nurse," Alvarez said.

On a fixed income now, she says the food is going to go a long way.

"This will help me at least for a month, even though it’s two or three bags," Alvarez said. "But it helps me because I’m by myself."

And forget about going to pick up food at a McDonald’s or Burger King. People who wanted food quick got it after Farm Share and company actually set up their own drive-thru where you didn’t even have to get out of your car.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Dad, Girlfriend Arrested in Boy's Dog Mauling Death]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:51:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082214+javon+dade+alessandra+carrasco.jpg

The father of a 4-year-old Miami boy who was found mauled to death in a dog attack has been arrested, authorities said.

Javon Dade Sr., 30, was arrested early Friday on a charge of child neglect causing great bodily harm, Miami-Dade Jail records showed. His girlfriend, 26-year-old Alessandra Carrasco, was also arrested on the same charge.

Both were being held on $7,500 bond, and it was unknown if either has an attorney.

The body of Javon Dade Jr. was found in overgrown grass in the family's back yard after he was reported missing on Aug 13. He had been mauled to death by a dog or dogs in the yard, police said.

According to Miami-Dade Police arrest reports released Friday, Dade Jr. was found with "severe head trauma and neck trauma consistent with a dog mauling."

Carrasco and Dade Sr. had spent the night and early morning smoking marijuana cigarettes laced with cocaine, the reports said.

When Dade Sr. went to check on his son around 9:20 a.m., he wasn't in his bedroom, the report said. Police arrived and found the body in the yard.

Police said Animal Services workers took six dogs from the scene and one, a blue and white adult pit bull, was later euthanized.

"The decision to euthanize was based solely on the animal's temperament," the department said in a statement. "What, if any involvement this dog had in the tragedy involving Javon Dade, Jr., has not yet been determined. The Animal Services Department continues to assist Miami-Dade Police and the State Attorney's Office in their ongoing investigation."

The Department of Children and Families had warned of the dogs three years before the incident, officials said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Holding Adoption Extravaganza]]> Fri, 23 May 2014 12:24:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082214+broward+humane+society+adoption.jpg

The Humane Society of Broward County will be holding a 4-day "Adoption Extravaganza" beginning Friday.

For four days, anyone who adopts any pet four years of age or older or over forty pounds will have their adoption fee waived. The special lasts through Monday.

"we have so many great pets that are waiting to be adopted. We hope this offer will encourage people who have thought about adopting to visit," Humane Society CEO Christopher Agostino said.

All pets that are adopted will be spayed/neutered before going home, microchipped, receive preliminary vaccinations, deworming, dogs over 7 months will be heartworm tested and cats will be tested for feline leukemia. In addition, pets receive a limited 10-day health care plan courtesy of VCA Animal Hospitals, dogs can enjoy a one week complimentary stay at Fort Lauderdale/Pompano Pet Lodge and you will receive a complimentary bag of Purina One pet food.

The Humane Society of Broward is located at 2070 Griffin Road. Adoption hours are Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

For more info, visit www.humanebroward.com.

View Full Story]]>
<![CDATA[Low Pressure Area Likely to Become Tropical Depression: NHC]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 07:10:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082214+disturbance.jpg

A small low pressure area in the north Atlantic is likely to become a tropical depression over the weekend or early next week, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Friday.

The area has a 60 percent chance of formation over the next two days and an 80 percent chance over the next five days. It's still early to tell whether South Florida will be affected, but most models showed the disturbance staying to the east.

The disturbance remained limited and disorganized Friday as it moved over the Leeward Islands. It was expected to move over or near Puerto Rico and Hispaniola later Friday.

Gusty winds and heavy rainfall are expected across portions of the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Friday and over Hispaniola and the southeastern Bahamas Friday night and Saturday.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Drier Weather Pattern Friday and Into Weekend]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:09:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082214+erika+delgado.jpg Weather Forecast -- 5 AM -- August 22, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Boat Burglary Suspect Missing Off Key Biscayne]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:02:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082214+boat+burglaries.jpg

One suspect was in custody and authorities were searching for a second man after the pair burglarized boats at a Key Biscayne marina early Friday.

The incident happened around 2 a.m. at the marina in the 3500 block of Rickenbacker Causeway.

Officials said the men had stolen GPS devices from three boats when they were spotted by a security guard. The guard was able to chase down one suspect after he jumped into Biscayne Bay, but the other fled and also may have jumped into the water, officials said.

"The owner paid the money to get the boat there so we just did our job, that's all," security guard Ovans Isaac said.

The U.S. Coast Guard was called in to assist Miami and Miami-Dade Police in the search for the second suspect.

"I think it's stupid, you know, at the end of the day you risk your life for a couple hundred bucks," boat owner Manny Reyes said. "I mean, where are we today? It's stupid."

Check back with NBC 6 South Florida and NBC6.com for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Heat and Humidity Return on Friday]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:41:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/sun-shot.jpg

The sunshine and heat will return in a big way on Friday to most of South Florida.

The Friday forecast calls for highs in the low 90’s and heat indices pushing 104 degrees. There will be a slight chance of thunderstorms across the area as well. Friday night, temperatures will drop to around 77 degrees with partly cloudy skies.

On Saturday, the heat is back with temperatures in the low 90’s and heat indices once again climbing to the lower to mid triple digits.

Thunderstorms should return to the area to start next week with highs in the 90’s and a better than 50 percent chance of rain on Monday.

The long-range forecast hinges on what happens in the tropics as an area of disturbed weather continues trying to spin up into a tropical cyclone. As of Thursday night, the National Hurricane Center was giving the disturbance a roughly 80 percent chance of turning into a tropical depression in the next five days.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[Police Accused in Court of Witness Tampering]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:08:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/199*120/Police+Involved+Shootings+1270x766.jpg

Lawyers for the estate of a confidential informant killed in a botched sting operation by Miami-Dade Police are accusing the department of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, according to a pleading filed this week in the wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the dead man’s family.

The filing comes after the victim of a December 2010 home invasion told the Team 6 Investigators police contacted her last month and told her the Redland victims, including confidential informant Rosendo Betancourt, were involved in her home invasion.

Despite repeated inquiries, Linda Horvat said she wasn’t told by police her crime was solved until July 30, two days after NBC6 requested public records from the police involving any prior home invasions they connect to the men they killed on June 30, 2011.

Relying on confessions from the getaway car driver, the lone survivor of the sting who is seeking a reduction in his 27-year prison sentence, police say they identified 15 home invasions connected to that survivor or one or more of those killed. But records released by the department on those 15 cases reveal only one victim in one case identified Betancourt, and did so only after he saw Betancourt’s photo on television after he was killed.

Horvat told Team 6 Investigators she can place only one of those killed in her home: Jorge Lemus, whose killing by police in the Redland is the only one ruled justifiable. Prosecutors said “unusual, counterintuitive, suspicious and/or disturbing factors” precluded them from ruling the other three killings by police were legally justified.

In an interview, Horvat said police public information officer Alvaro Zabaleta called her to say “since these were the guys that perpetrated your crime we would like you to speak about your experience and how outraged you are that they’re obtaining a settlement.”

The Team 6 Investigators revealed last month that families for three of those killed – Lemus, Roger Gonzalez, Sr. and Antonio Andrew – are being paid a total of $600,000 to settle their wrongful death claims against the county.

Betancourt’s lawsuit is pending.

After Team 6 showed Betancourt family lawyers video of what Horvat claims police told her, they filed a motion saying police “have initiated a campaign to falsely implicate Mr. Betancourt in prior home invasions by interviewing previous victims and suggesting that Mr. Betancourt was part of those invasions.”

Horvat said police did not suggest it; they stated it as fact, stating outright the men killed by police, including Betancourt, were in her house terrorizing her family, including her then 6- and 8-year-old children.

But in the hours and days after the Dec. 28, 2010 invasion, she and two other adults in her home described only three invaders:

One, a black man, whom she identified at the time as a car wash worker who frequented her workplace. He was arrested after Horvat said she was 100 percent certain he was one of the armed invaders, but charges were dropped by prosecutors for lack of evidence;

Second, a man she now says she is convinced was Lemus;

And third, a man with blonde hair and blue eyes, who she said is not Betancourt, who has black hair and brown eyes.

She now says Betancourt is not one of the men she saw in her house.

But she was so convinced of the Redland victims’ involvement after meeting with Zabaleta and another officer on July 31, she filed a lawsuit the next day seeking damages from the estates of Betancourt and those involved in the $600,000 settlement. She said she will not prosecute that case because too much time has passed from the establishment of the estates for the courts to consider her claims.

After seeing video ofsome of what Horvat said in her interview, Betancourt attorney Andrew Hall said it appeared police were soliciting her “to provide false testimony. … It looked to me like witness tampering, an attempt to cover up by suggesting that my client was actually at this poor lady’s home.”

Zabaleta said the department was not undertaking an effort to color the testimony of witnesses to mitigate what could be substantial damages for his department killing their own informant after he is seen on aerial infrared video with his hands up surrendering to approaching officers.

He also denied telling Horvat or others that Betancourt was involved in their crimes. “No, we just showed them pictures of the individuals involved and they made spontaneous statements,” Zabaleta said.

But Horvat said Zabaleta told her point blank: Betancourt was in her house.

Betancourt, a convicted cocaine trafficker, is heard on surveillance audio telling Gonzalez Sr. he owed him money – what police suspect were unpaid proceeds from the sale of booty Betancourt was supposed to sell from the Gonzalez crew’s prior home invasions, according to police reports.

In police and state attorney’s office records, Betancourt is said to have become a confidential informant after he called Crimestoppers with a tip on the Gonzalez crew, saying he was concerned they were becoming more violent and had begun targeting law-abiding citizens and not just drug dealers and others with illicit cash.

Less than three weeks later, he would help police lure the crew to the county-owned house in the Redland, where more than 100 officers were waiting to spring a trap. Police planned for Betancourt to stay in the vehicle and just drop off the would-be invaders, but Gonzalez Sr. changed the plans, leaving his son, Roger Jr. as the getaway car driver and, it turned out, the only suspect to survive.

Andrew is seen on video lying spread eagle on the ground near officers minutes before he was shot to death by officers, including one who said he was reaching for his waistband.

Gonzalez Sr. is seen curled in the fetal position hiding unarmed under a tree before officers fired 52 rounds at him. Prosecutors wrote in their report they question whether the officer who said he saw Gonzalez reach for his waistband could really see what he said he saw from his position at the time.

Lemus was shot in the head as he held a handgun and was confronted by an officer – the only killing prosecutors found justifiable. His family received a $120,000 settlement, compared to the $240,000 each given to the Gonzalez and Andrew families.

After Lemus is shot, Betancourt is shown raising his hands in surrender and getting on the ground as ordered by police, who would kill him 70 seconds later, claiming he was reaching toward a gun in his waistband.

<![CDATA[One Dead After Shooting in Miami]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:00:53 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/shooting-generic.jpg

One person is dead after a shooting near the intersection of NW 54th Street and Fifth Avenue in Miami.

Miami Police said the victim is believed to be in his 40’s.

Police haven’t released a description of the shooter.

Stay with NBC6.com for the latest developments on this breaking news.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

<![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Mercury in Fish]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:45:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/tlmd_9_salmon.jpg

Eating fish can be a great choice. It’s an excellent, low-fat source of protein and other nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect your heart, and if you’re pregnant, boost your baby’s brain development. But there’s a catch. Some seafood contains high levels of a form of mercury called methylmercury. Mercury can damage the brain, and it can damage the nervous system¬¬, especially when that exposure occurs in the womb.

The government advises young children, and women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or might become pregnant, to avoid the four fish with the highest mercury levels: swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. The Food and Drug Administration is also considering adding marlin and orange roughy to the list.

Consumer Reports’ food-safety experts agree but have additional concerns about tuna. Tuna accounts for 40 percent of our mercury exposure. Most of that is from canned tuna. Fresh tuna, popular in sushi, can also be especially high in mercury. To be safe, Consumer Reports recommends that pregnant women not eat any tuna at all. And children and anyone who eats a lot of fish should really limit the amount of tuna they eat.

All of this discussion doesn’t mean you should skip eating fish. In fact, for the first time, the FDA has just said how much fish women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant should be eating. The minimum is at least 8 ounces per week of a variety of fish lower in mercury. Some good choices include: Wild and Alaska salmon, canned or fresh; shrimp; sardines; tilapia; scallops; oysters; and squid.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Providing Plenty of Homework Help]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:06:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/homework-generic-1202.jpg

The room packed with kids looked like a classroom at any school. There were teachers, computers and white boards. But the young students weren’t in class; they were at the North Lauderdale Branch Library, after school.

They’re part of a program called “Afterschool at Your Library.” It provides snacks, games, and homework help from real teachers for elementary school kids.

“We have kids who came to us who cannot speak English or cannot write a sentence and by the end of the program in June, they’re writing poems, they’re able to read, they’re passing their grade levels and they’re moving on,” said Karen Williams, who directs the county-wide program funded by the Broward Children’s Services Council.

The teachers in the program say it’s especially rewarding for them because they’re providing help many of these kids cannot receive at home.

“Ninety-eight percent of them passed the FCAT and were promoted,” said Lizette Pacheco, who is a veteran teacher in the program. “Feels really good, it absolutely does, we are doing something great for the children.”

Last year, 420 kids registered for the free program, offered at 12 Broward libraries. But wait, there’s more: Broward offers another free program for all ages, called Homework Help, at five libraries. No prior registration is required. Students can just just show up and get help, computer access, supplies, whatever they need.

“They can depend on having internet access, having the resources. They don’t have to worry about pencils, papers, erasers, and there’s someone who’s actually gonna look at their homework to determine if they’re doing it right,” said Vonda Bryant, learning services director for Broward County Libraries. “Many of the parents cannot help them with homework, they don’t know how to do it themselves or they can’t afford the internet access.”

The programs in Broward used to have counterparts in Miami-Dade’s public libraries, but those programs are gone; the victims of budget cuts.

However, the Children’s Trust charity does sponsor 32 after-school programs all around Miami-Dade County. (link to their website here) if they’re not convenient, your kids can get homework help on-line.

<![CDATA[Man Remains in Jail in Missing Teen Case]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:45:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/prescovitzgidermugshot.jpg

A five-day search for a missing Fort Lauderdale teenager ended with her safe at home and a man behind jail for the first time in his life.

Fort Lauderdale Police arrested James Pescovitz-Gider, 20, Wednesday on two counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a minor. Court documents alleged that Gider first met the 14-year-old victim in June and stayed in touch using an online messaging application.

FLPD detectives said the girl and Gider met last Friday morning and went back to a local hotel where they stayed for five days. During those five days, the girl’s family was desperately searching for her, as was law enforcement around the area.

Fort Lauderdale Police said Gider impersonated an FBI agent and had sex with the teenager. During his first appearance in bond court, his attorney argued that no one would “believe he’s an FBI agent” and that the sex was consensual.

“Maybe to you and I, we’d realize he’s not an FBI agent, but to a 14-year-old vulnerable girl, at that age, they’re not as worldly as you and I,” Broward County Judge John Hurley responded.

Gider is being held on $15,000 bond. The teenager is back home with her family and they have requested privacy.

Gider's father was also in court Thursday, but would only tell NBC 6 that the entire incident was a surprise to him.

Fort Lauderdale Police said anyone with more information on the incident should call Detective Brice Brittenum at 954-828-5898 or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:14:51 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/0821Ant+512870.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[Pizzi Goes to Court Against Governor Scott]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:19:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/081814+michael+pizzi.jpg

Former Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi brought legal action against Governor Rick Scott Thursday seeking to force him to revoke the former mayor’s suspension from office.

Pizzi was suspended when public corruption charges were filed against him in federal court. Pizzi was acquitted of all of the public corruption charges last week and since then has been saying his suspension should be lifted and he should once again be mayor of Miami Lakes.

“What the Governor has done – suspend Michael Pizzi upon his arrest – the Governor must now undo – revoke the suspension upon Michael Pizzi’s acquittal,” the petition for the writ to the Florida Supreme Court states.

The petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Pizzi’s attorney Thursday asked for expedited treatment of the complaint “in light of the continued, unjustified deprivation of Michael Pizzi’s right to have his suspension revoked ‘forthwith.’”

In the filing, Pizzi’s attorney said under the Florida Constitution, specifically Article IV, Section 7 (c), Governor Scott has no choice but to lift the suspension of the former mayor since he was acquitted on all of the charges.

“When a municipal official is acquitted of all charges that form the basis of a gubernatorial suspension pursuant to the Florida Constitution and Florida law, the Governor shall forthwith revoke the suspension,” the petition for the writ stated. “This directive is mandatory and ministerial, allowing no discretion to the Governor to refuse or delay the revocation of the suspension.”

The petition also referred to Pizzi as “the duly elected Mayor of the Town of Miami Lakes.” That point is disputed by the current Mayor of Miami Lakes, Wayne Slayton.

Slayton was elected in a 2013 special election while Pizzi was suspended and under the federal indictment. When Scott was asked about the dispute last week, he said, “Miami Lakes already had an election and so they have a mayor now. So there is no place to reinstate him to.”

Slayton’s term doesn’t end until 2016 and he said he has “no intentions of resigning.”

The filing of the petition doesn't address whether Pizzi should be re-instated to the job of mayor.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: Laura Rodriguez/NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Target Extends Shopping Hours in Florida Stores]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:04:08 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/target+generic.jpg

Beginning this month, more than 900 Target stores across the country will be extending their store hours.

"We have previously extended store hours on a smaller scale based on this feedback, but as we continue to increase our focus on customizing our approach for individual stores and communities, we took a closer look into guests’ evening shopping habits," a Target representative told NBC 6.

The extended hours include over 70 Florida locations, WFLA reports. Stores will be closing as late as 11 p.m. or midnight to help accomadate young shoppers.

Here is a list of the extended Florida locations (via WFLA): 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Homework Help for Your Kids After School]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:43:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/school_generic.jpg

Afterschool @ Your Library Program, Grades K-5, Locations and Hours:



  • Carver Ranches Branch, 4735 S.W. 18 Street, West Park – 954-357-6245, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Deerfield Beach Percy White Branch, 837 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach – 954-357-7680, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Hallandale Beach Branch, 300 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach – 954-357-6380, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Hollywood Branch, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood – 954-357-7760, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Jan Moran Collier City Learning Library, 2800 NW 9th Ct., Pompano Beach – 954-357-7670, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Lauderdale Lakes Branch, 3580 W. Oakland Park Blvd. – Lauderdale Lakes – 954-357-8650, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Margate Catharine Young Branch, 5810 Park Drive, Margate – 954-357-7500, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • North Lauderdale Saraniero Branch, 6901 Kimberly Blvd., North Lauderdale – 954-357-6660, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Northwest Branch, 1580 N.W. 3 Avenue, Pompano Beach – 954-357-6599, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Pompano Beach Branch, 1213 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach – 954-357-7595, Mondays to Wednesdays and Fridays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Riverland Branch, 2710 W. Davie Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale – 954-357-7455, Mondays to Thursdays – 2 to 5:30 p.m.


Homework Help Locations at Broward County Libraries, Grades K-12, Locations:

  • African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, 954-357-6282
  • Jan Moran Collier City Learning Library, 2800 NW 9th Ct., Pompano Beach, 954-357-7670
  • Lauderhill Towne Center, 6399 W Oakland Park Blvd, Lauderhill, 954-357-6406
  • Tyrone Bryant Library, 230 N.W. 21 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, 954-357-8210
  • West Regional Library, 8601 W Broward Blvd, Plantation,954-765-1560

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF]]>
<![CDATA[Homework Help for South Florida Students]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:40:53 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/homework-generic-1202.jpg

Homework Help/Tutoring:

Live Homework Help Online
(Requires a Broward County Library card):
Live, free tutoring/skills-building for K-12, college and adult learners in SAT/ACT/GED, English/language arts, math, writing, foreign language, science, social studies and U.S. citizenship tests.  Click here.

The Library for Children (some resources may require a Miami-Dade county library card) :
Miami-Dade public libraries offers on-line resource specifically for children which offers practice lessons in everything from fractions to educational games. Click here.

The Children’s Trust After-School Guide
The Children's Trust After-School Guide lists free or discounted after school programs that offer homework and literacy programs. Click here.

Preparing for the Florida Standards Assessment:
The Florida Department of Education provides on-line training tests for Florida’s new standardized test that is replacing FCAT. Click here.

For Parents:

The Parent Toolkit:
Created by NBC News and sponsored by Pearson, this website is designed to help parents support their child’s development and academic progress from PreK-12. The site also lists fun and helpful educational sites that can help with lessons in math and language arts. Click here.

For All Grades:

Help with Math:

Khan Academy:
This website offers thousands of free video-tutorials on everything from understanding quadratic equations to prep materials for the SAT exam. Click here.

IXL Learning:
Math assistance. Click here.

Wolfram Alpha:
Math assistance. Click here.

Help with English Language Arts:

Discovery Education:
English Language Arts assistance. Click here.

English Language Arts assistance. Click here.

English Language Arts assistance. Click here.

<![CDATA[Dad Arrested After Child Thrown From Car: BSO]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:45:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082114+roland+delancy.jpg

A Miami man is facing child neglect charges after his small child was thrown from a car in Hallandale Beach, authorities said.

Roland Delancy, 25, is also facing a resisting arrest without violence charge in the Wednesday afternoon incident, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office arrest report.

According to the report, Delancy and his girlfriend were driving eastbound in the 4200 block of Hallandale Beach Boulevard when they got into a verbal altercation. Delancy, who had the child sitting on his lap without a safety belt, wanted to make a call so he grabbed the phone from his girlfriend's hand, causing her to swerve, the report said.

As the car slowed down, Delancy intentionally jumped from the car, causing the child to fall onto the roadway in the middle of traffic, the report said.

Delancy ran from the scene and the girlfriend picked up the child, who apparently wasn't badly injured, and drove away, the report said. A witness called police and gave a description of the car, which was found a short time later.

“They say that I ran,” Delancy said in court Thursday. “I had no reason to run sir. I had an argument with my girlfriend, so I decided to exit the vehicle to remove myself from the situation.”

Deputies caught up with Delancy later and according to the arrest report, when deputies tried to arrest him, he braced his arms and yelled, “All you want to do is shoot a *expletive*, what’s this for?”

“This is a common occurrence,” said Dani Moschella of the Broward Sheriff’s Office. “Often times when deputies try to arrest somebody, they try to distract the deputy. Sometimes they actually flee, they yell. He continued yelling throughout the arrest.”

Delancy was ordered held on $1,000 during a bond court appearance Thursday. It's unknown whether he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[South Florida Doctor Heads to Nigeria to Treat Ebola Patients]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 23:55:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dr+aileen+marty.jpg

A Miami doctor is in Nigeria helping infected patients fight the Ebola virus.

Dr. Aileen Marty, who teaches at Florida International University's Wertheim College of Medicine, left Miami Aug. 15th to work with the World Health Organization's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.

Marty is treating patients infected with the virus, along with participating on a team focused on threat analysis and risk assessment.

The FIU doctor has more than 30 years of medical experience, including 25 years in which she served as a Navy doctor and traveled 50 countries, treating diseases like leprosy, dengue, malaria and Ebola.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: Florida International University]]>
<![CDATA[Assistant Principal Stabbed Trying to Break Up Fight]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:19:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/crime-stock-police-scene-tape.jpg

A female assistant principal at a Palm Beach County school was stabbed in the wrist while trying to break up a fight off campus, officials said.

The stabbing happened after the woman, who was working outside of Royal Palm Beach High School, saw a group of students fighting and tried to intervene, WPTV reported.

As she tried to break up the fight, the unidentified woman was stabbed, suffering minor injuries. She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is investigating the stabbing, and there was no word on any arrests.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bomb Threat Leads to Search at Pembroke Pines School]]> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 12:44:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082114+silver+trail+middle+school+threat.jpg

Authorities searched a Pembroke Pines school Thursday morning after a teacher received an email threat including the words "blowing up the school," officials said.

The threat was received by a teacher at Silver Trail Middle School at 18300 Sheridan Street Wednesday night from an unknown source, Pembroke Pines Police said.

The email was identical to one sent earlier in the year and to the same recipient, police said. That incident, which happened in April, also led to a search.

As a precautionary measure, the school was searched early Thursday and nothing suspicious was found. Students were requested to not bring a book bag or backpack to school Thursday, officials said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Low Pressure Area Could Become Tropical Depression]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:06:54 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082114+low+pressure+area.jpg

An area of low pressure in the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression in the next couple days, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Thursday.

The area was about 300 miles east of the Windward Islands and was expected to move west-northwest at 10-15 mph across the Lesser Antilles and over the eastern Caribbean Sea.

The mountainous terrain of eastern Cuba and Hispaniola could limit development but the chance for formation increases to 70 percent over the next five days, the NHC said.

It's unknown whether South Florida could feel any effects from the system, which is forecast to move near or over the Bahamas early next week.

A Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the low Thursday afternoon, if necessary.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Shot in Car in Northeast Miami-Dade]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:38:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082114+man+shot+in+car+miami-dade.jpg

A man was shot in the head after a car full of people were ambushed by gunmen in a K-Mart parking lot in northeast Miami-Dade early Thursday.

The shooting happened just before 1 a.m. in the parking lot of the store at Northeast 12th Avenue and 109th Street.

Police said two men and three women were in the car at the time of the shooting.

The driver reportedly tried to drive away as the gunmen opened fire, but the car struck a tree. The injured driver and his friend ran a block away and were knocking on doors asking for help, police said.

The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital, where his condition was unknown.

Miami-Dade Police are investigating the incident.

Check back with NBC 6 South Florida and NBC6.com for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Weather Forecast: Humid With Isolated Storms Thursday]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:47:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082114+weather+miami.jpg

Another humid day is ahead Thursday with a chance for isolated storms popping up in the afternoon.

The morning could see a few passing showers as temperatures start out in the low 80s and quickly reach the 90s.

Drier air will move in Friday as storm chances stick around through the weekend.

View Full Story]]>
<![CDATA[Two M-D School Districts Underperforming: Study]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 22:13:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_empty_classroom_0127.jpg

A new study from the National Council on Teacher Equity of the nine Miami-Dade Public School Districts says two are providing the least experienced and least effective teachers.

“It’s a hard, hard job,” said Nancy Waymack of the National Council on Teacher Equity. “They’re not coming and going because it’s an easy place to be. So certainly teachers in those schools need support and they need to know they’re gonna have that support.”

The districts in question are District One and Two. Both have more African-American students and more low-income students than anywhere else in the county. The study said as a result, students are being shortchanged a quality education at Carol City, Norland Senior, North Miami, Central, Edison, Jackson, Northwestern, and Booker T. Washington High Schools.

The study also said teachers in Districts One and Two also have a higher turnover and are absent more.

“They often also have the youngest teachers, the least experienced teachers, those that are out of the classroom,” Waymack said.

Miami-Dade County Public School administrators said they identified the inequities years ago and started making changes to correct it.

“Since that time, we’ve already understood and recognized the need to increase our teacher retention rates in particular at our most fragile schools and we’ve seen a dramatic increase with the teachers that are staying,” said Pablo Ortiz of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

The president of the Miami-Dade teachers union also said that during the first week of the new school year, the focus should be only on that.

“I think our teachers are working really, really hard, be they novice teachers or experienced teachers. It takes a combination of everybody to make this school,” said Frederick Ingram of the United Teachers of Dade.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>