It’s Wednesday, September 8th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - The past few weeks have been marked by tragedy for law enforcement across South Florida with officers gone too soon, taken by COVID-19.
The latest memorial was held for Miami Beach Police Officer Edward Perez, who died from the virus on Aug. 19. Days before that, two officers died on the same day from the virus. Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Jennifer Sepot and Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Lazaro Febles both died on Aug. 14. Since last year, the Broward County Sheriff's Office has had eight employee deaths due to COVID, including sworn deputies and civilian employees. Now more than ever, law enforcement leaders are pushing for officers to get vaccinated. By October, all BSO employees will have to be fully vaccinated. In a previous interview, Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo weighed in. Click here for that story from NBC 6 reporter Kim Wynne.
No. 2 - With 64 percent of the adult population being fully vaccinated, more Floridians are dying from COVID-19 now than ever before.
The seven-day average peaked on Aug. 20 at 269 deaths a day, with more than 11 Floridians dying per hour from a virus that has claimed 46,973 lives in the state, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data relies on the actual date of death, not the increase in reported deaths over the previous day, which is a less reliable gauge of the pandemic’s lethality at any given moment. Last month, 6,619 died — a number certain to rise as more deaths occurring last month are confirmed in coming days to be related to COVID. By comparison, in August 2020, 5,186 Florida residents died. Click here for more on the story from NBC 6 investigator Tony Pipitone.
No. 3 - A large percentage of Florida's Republican voters continue to support Gov. Ron DeSantis, but his overall popularity has been declining in recent weeks amid the surge in COVID-19, a new poll shows.
In the Morning Consult Political Intelligence poll of 4,174 registered Florida voters conducted Aug. 21-30, 48% approve of DeSantis' job performance, while 48% disapprove. A similar poll conducted from June 22 to July 1 showed 54% approval to 40% disapproval. The first-term Florida governor’s approval among Republicans remained strong at 83%, compared to 87% in the earlier poll. Approval among Democrats was at 21% compared to 24% in the previous poll. But among independents, DeSantis' approval has dropped 10 percentage points, from 50% to 40%, according to the poll. Disapproval among independents has gone from 38% to 51%.
No. 4 - Residents of a Miami Beach condo building say they’re feeling frustrated after mail’s twice been stolen from their boxes in a matter of weeks, and now they’re calling on postal police to do something about the problem.
People living in the Meridian Manor condo building say their surveillance cameras were rolling when thieves raided their mailboxes in mid-August. The video appears to show two people standing next to a gray SUV, forcing their way into mailboxes and digging around for what was inside. Residents like Robert Ziu say it happened again Sunday. Video appears to show a passerby jimmying the mailbox doors open and walking away with mail in hand. Click here to see the video in a story from NBC 6 reporter Ryan Nelson you’ll see Only on 6.
No. 5 - Every time Broward Sheriff's Deputy Aaron Moore makes a step, he takes with him the battle to stop those out to do America harm.
Moore’s journey to the battlefield in the Middle East began on 9/11 when he was a BSO Community Service Aid handling traffic accidents. After hearing about the attacks while at a gas station, he then rushed to his BSO station. Days later, Moore had his Army infantryman fatigues on. After doing security checks at South Florida airports, Moore ultimately ended up in Iraq — the Pentagon out to make sure that there were no safe havens for terrorist groups to expand and plot more attacks similar to those on Washington and New York. Click here for Moore’s story in a report from NBC 6 investigator Willard Shepard.
No. 6 - An alligator was freed after it was stuck in a storm drain for days in a Westchester neighborhood.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to the 1700 block of SW 102nd Court. The alligator, which crews estimate is about 8 feet long, had been stuck in the drain since at least Friday. Javier Alvarez and Louis Fernandez found themselves nearly face to face with the gator — they were playing catch when the ball landed on the storm drain, and they noticed the gator through the grate. A tow truck and a Miami-Dade Water and Sewer truck were at the scene to try to help safely remove the gator. Click here to see the wild moments in a story from NBC 6 reporter Julie Leonardi.